Ethiopian Journalists Condemn Government's Threats to Ban the National Professional Association

- Statement issued by the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists’ Association (EFJA) Executive Committee -



DETAILS:


The Associations’ Registration Office in the Ministry of Justice has, in a statement it gave over Radio Ethiopia and Ethiopian Television on the evening of Nov. 4/2003, said it is making preparations to take measures against the Ethiopian Free press Journalists’ Association (EFJA) which obtained recognition seven years after its establishment and which has, for the past three years, been performing its tasks under very difficult and challenging conditions.


We in EFJA have, over the past three years, and especially since the past several months, been making efforts to withstand and challenge destructive propaganda and other malicious campaigns calculated to undermine our very survival, launched against us by senior government officials, government controlled media and organs of the ruling party.


So far, we have done all the piles of difficult homework given to us by the Association’s Registration office in the Ministry of Justice. We have been submitting periodic reports to the Ministry of justice (Ref.no.EFJA/0162,March 20,03/ Ref.no.EFJA/0163,March 28,03/ Ref.no.EFJA/0173, April 30,03/ Ref.no.EFJA/0177, June 5,03/ Ref.no.EFJA/0180, June 17,03/ Ref.no.EFJA/194, July 28,03/ Ref.no.EFJA/0196, Oct.2,03/regarding the activities of our association. Although we have given practical response to all the difficult assignment, the Associations’ Registration Office is presently engaged in a systematic and destructive activity to demolish EFJA, to create division between its members and to incriminate its leadership.


At present, the existence of free press journalists and EFJA is at risk. This is a crucial moment at which the Ethiopian people, all our professional allies and all democratic forces should muster their forces and salvage the Ethiopian free press from permanent destruction. This is a crucial time when, you (our allies), friends of the free press and all concerned should give a rapid response to the final question of existence and survival put before you especially by members of the free press and our association (EFJA).


Our compatriots and our International allies are acutely aware of the fact that ill-wishers have left no stone unturned to directly or indirectly bring the life of EFJA to an end.


We members of the free press were organized on the basis of the citizenship rights and human rights guaranteed to us by the constitution. In the process of organizing ourselves we enjoyed the support and confidence of our people. Ever since we were organized under EFJA, we have been performing over tasks only in accordance with the law.


We have been demanding and continue to demand one thing:

that over citizenship rights guaranteed to us by the constitution should not be infringed. The registration office has said in a statement that “it is ready to take action against EFJA because it has not fulfilled its legally required responsibilities.” Seen in light of the rights guaranteed to us by the constitution, this statement is absolutely irrelevant. We therefore urge the Registration offer to re-examine and re-consider its decision.


We call upon the House of Peoples Representatives, the Minister of Justice, to prevent the Registration office from taking such an action against our association.


We call on our international colleagues and allies, civic and professional associations to voice their protest against the planned action;


We call on members of EFJA- to make their own individual preparation for the 4th Regular general conference due to be held on Saturday, December 15/2003;


-To carry out their mission of explaining to our people and the international community the injustices being perpetrated against us by the authorities.


EFJA will as of November 5/2003, make efforts to transmit information on the current situation and on development related to it.


Once again, we call on all members, our people, democratic forces and the international community to closely follow the developments.


EFJA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

NOVEMBER 4, 2003

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA


Kifle Mulat

President, EFJA



EXTREMELY URGENT ACTION:


1. The Ethiopian Free press Journalists' Association (EFJA) particularly requests (calls on) IFJ, IPI, IFEX, WAN, WPFC, CPJ, RSF, ARTICLE 19, CJFE, AJU, AI, IMS, PEN INTERNATIONAL, MISA, WAJA, EAJA, AJU, WFPI, and all International free press institutions, counterpart professional associations, international human rights activists and organizations to express their protest against such illegal actions and to send letters of appeal to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the Ethiopian Authorities.


Addresses of Ethiopian officials are as follows:

1. House of Representatives, P.O.Box:80001, Fax:(251 1

550900) A.A. Ethiopia

2. H.E. Ato Girma W/Giorgis, President,FDRE, P.O.Box:1031,

Fax:(251 1 555020) A.A. Ethiopia

3. H.E Ato Meles Zenawi ,Prime Minster of the Federal

Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,P.O.Box:1031, Fax: 00 251

–1- 55 20 20

4. H.E. Ato Harka Hariye,Minister of Justice, P.O.Box:1031,

Fax: 00 251 –1- 55 20 20

5. Federal Police Commissioner, P.O.Box:199, Fax: 00 251 –1-

534253

6. H.E Ato Bereket Simon, Minster of Information,Fax:

+251-1- 533510, E-mail: Minoi@telecom.net.et


2. Once again we request all human rights activists and organization and professional association throughout the world that have received this message to disseminate our call to all concerned and to:


• President George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20500

Tel: (202) 456-2580; Fax: (202) 456-2461

E-mail: president@white-house.gov


• Mr. Kofi Annan

Secretary General, The United Nations

United Nations Plaza, Room S-3800

New York, NY 10017

E-mail: ecu@un.org

Fax: Fax 212 963 2155


• Secretary of State ,USA

U.S. Department of State

Tel: (202) 647-4000; Fax: (202) 657-1533


• Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Tel: 202 224 4651; Fax: 202 224 0836


• Chairman, House African Affairs Subcommittee

Tel: 202 226 7812; Fax: 202 225 6788


• U.S. State Department Bureau of Human Rights

Tel: 202 261 8022


• Amnesty Int'l USA, Washington DC

Tel 202 544 0200 Fax 202 546 7142

Advocacy for Africa Office


• Human Rights Watch, Washington DC

Africa Division

Tel:(202) 612-4321, Fax:(202) 612-4333

E-mail: hrwdc@hrw.org


• Human Rights Watch, New York

Tel: (212) 290-4700, Fax: (212) 736-1300

Email: hrwnyc@hrw.org


• UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Palais des Nations, 8-14 Ave. de la Paix, CH-1211

Geneva 10, Switzerland

E-mail: hrwdc@hrw.org

fax 41 22 917 0245


• C/O Deputy Head Mission - BRITISH EMBASSY

To: E.U MEMBER STATES, EMBASSIES IN ETHIOPIA

FAX:2+351 1 610588 ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA


The Ethiopian Free Press Journalists' Association (EFJA) would keep you all informed on the latest developments on this matter.