On November 20, 2023, several independent Amharic medias reported receiving a handwritten letter from 29 Amhara prisoners of conscience detained in Awash Arba military camp which describe suffering ongoing human rights violations and potential risks to their lives. The original letter is displayed below followed by an English translation.
A letter sent from 29 prisoners of conscience detained in Awash Arba Military Camp
To all whom this may concern wherever you may be,
Subject: Informing regarding the imminent threat against our lives
As it is known, we, the ethnic Amhara prisoners of conscience whose names are listed below have been extra-judicially detained in the Awash Arba Military Camp for more than three months where we have been subject to horrific human rights violations.
Prior to this, we had detailed the numerous horrific rights violations perpetrated against us to various national and international institutions. We had undertaken a hunger strike which lasted days in protest of the injustices and suffering we faced. We had even held discussions with Ethiopian Human Rights Commission officials and staff as well as with delegates of the State of Emergency Coordinating Board.
However the concerns we raised and the frank conversations we had during inspections on an organizational level failed to prevent the grave human rights violations against us. In fact, the concerns we raised were used against us as excuses for further injustice and suffering.
Even at this time, we continue to face egregious human rights violations while detained in the Awash Arba Military Camp including deprivation of medical care, ethnic-based attacks, intense respiratory hazards, deprivation of food (deliberate starvation) and clean water, and overall systematic dehumanization and demeaning mistreatment. Going further, we have faced a premeditated campaign of systematic physical and psychological torture sponsored by the government.
In addition, under the current circumstances while being held in this military camp, we are facing conditions which endanger and pose a significant threat to our lives which we cannot detail but are numerous and very real. We hold a very serious concern that we are in danger of the ethnic-based massacres and killings of Amhara people normalized elsewhere, in this very camp. We have observed specific activities which justify this concern.
Though we fully understand that we are victim of the wider campaign of ethnic-based mass killings, extermination and attacks perpetrated against the Amhara people at large, we once again call upon you to fulfill your legal, moral and historic responsibility to help free us from the horrific human rights violations and suffering we have experienced.
Ethiopian Human Rights Commission
Ethiopian Human Rights Council
The House of Peoples' Representatives
United Nations Commission on Human Rights
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights Commission
Ethiopian Human Rights Defenders Center
Ethiopian National Elections Board
Ethiopian Political Parties Joint Council
List of names of detainees
Ato Yohannes Buayalew
Ato Christian Tadele
Dr. Kassa Teshager
Ato Sintayehu Chekol
Dr. Simegnew Alamnew
Dr. Channie Kebede
Dr. Zerihun Gessesse
Ato Bekalu Alamrew
Cpt. Admassu Alemu
Ato Atirsaw Alemo
Ato Girma Shitaw
Ato Tewodrose Nibret
Ato Ammanuel Adamu
Ato Amare Melese
Ato Gashaneh Lake
Ato Lake Inewegaw
Ato Tewodrose Zerefa
Ato Andubet Asfaw
Ato Addis Berhanu
Ato Shibeshi Mekonnen
Deacon Ayele Tilahun
Ato Tesfaye Solomon
Ato Sileshi Abebaye
Ato Altaye Dagne
Ato Mar Esubalew
Ato Belay Eshete
Ato Birhanu Bekalu
Ato Seyoum Mekonnen
Ato Abay Zewdu