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An open letter to H.E Ambassador Tiruneh Zena from Dr.Negaso Gidada, Chairman of UDJ

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To H.E Ambassador Tiruneh Zena,
Commissioner: Ethiopian Human Rights Commission
Addis Ababa

Dear Ambassador Tiruneh,
Dr.Negaso GidadaI have to write you this note because situation is getting worse with the hope and request that you take actions to protect the Human Rights of members of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ) whose rights are being violated these days. As I have been updating you since last week, UDJ  has planned to hold public meetings, rally and demonstrations to demand the revocation of the anti-terrorist law, the release of all political prisoners (including our leaders, Andualem Aragie and Natnael Mekonen) and then respect of democratic and human rights. UDJ has started the campaign under the motto “Million Voces for Freedom” and collecting signatures for a petition for the demands.
As you know the Constitution of FDRE Article 30 provides the right to protest and hold demonstrations. According   to the proclamation concerning meetings and demonstrations (Proc. Year 50, Nr. 4) one has to inform the authorities that public meeting or demonstration is planned. The authorities must be informed in writing in 48 hours before the meeting or demonstration. The authorities must then react in writing in 12 hours if they allow the activity or not.
In accordance with these provisions our members in Gondar informed the Zone and Gondar Town Administration that a demonstration is planned for the 7th of July, 2013. The authorities did not react in 12 hours. UDJ insisted then that it will carry out the demonstration as planned. The security people then started to arrest our members who were distributing leaflets calling the people to participate on the demonstration. The following people are who were arrested while distributing leaflets are under custody since the 29th of June, 2013:
1.      Teacher Awaju Siyum, Chairperson of UDJ branch in Takusa Woreda.
2.      Ato Maru Ashagre, Secretary of UDJ branch in Gondar Zone.
3.      Ato Amdemariam Izira, Member the executive committee of UDJ branch in Gondar Zone.
4.      Ato Dirash Asrejaw, Treasurer of UDJ branch in Gondar Zone.
5.      Ato Angaw Tegegn, Chairperson of UDJ branch in West Armacheho.
6.      Ato Alelign Abay, member of the executive committee of UDJ branch in    West Armacheho.
7.      Ato Abraham Lijalem,                 “
8.      Ato Ingidaw Gignaw,                    “
9.      Ato Simachew Ginbe, member in UDJ branch in West Armacvheho.
10.   Ato Tegegn Sisay, Chairman of UDJ branch in South Armacheho.
 UDJ requests the Commission to see to it that the human rights of these members are respected and that they are released as soon as possible.
As you have a branch office in Bahirdar, we think you can follow the situation in Gondar  and update you. We are also planning a parallel demonstration in Desie on the 14th of July.  We hope and wish that your branch offices in Amhara Region will also follow the developments in Wallo, Desie as well.
At the same time UDJ has started to collect signatures in Addis Ababa for the petition.  All our members in all 23 Woredas of Addis Ababa are busy on this since Saturday. But we are experiencing negative developments already. Our member, Mulugeta Tefera of Woreda 15 was arrested yesterday while having citizens sign on the petition. He was brought to court today, although we do not know in which police station he is detained. We shall let you know the details as soon as we get more information. We also request you to follow his case in particular and Addis Ababa in General.
Thank you very much.
Dr.Negaso Gidada,, Chairman of UDJ