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Howard University asked to cancel Woyanne meeting

Global Civic Movement for Change in Ethiopia, a group of pro-Ethiopian activist around the word, has written a letter to Howard University president Sidney A. Ribeau asking him to cancel a meeting that is organized at the university’s campus next weekend by cadres of the brutal dictatorship in Ethiopia. Read below:

President Sidney A. Ribeau
Howard University Office of the Secretary
2400 Sixth Street, NW, Suite 440
Washington, DC 20059
(202) 806-2250
[email protected]

Re: Request of cancellation of the April 9th event organized by the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia.

Dear President Ribeau:

The Ethiopian-American community in the Diaspora and human rights activists, in particular, is stunned that Howard University is willing to give its space to the agents and messengers of the criminal and repressive regime of Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. Providing a meeting venue to a regime known for egregious human rights violations, extra-judicial killings, torture and the use of rape as a weapon of war to undermine the movement for freedom and democracy is very disheartening. It casts a blemish on the reputation of this great institution of higher learning and an affront to all people, especially those of African descent. It also makes Howard University — a living symbol of the determination of the people of African descent to free themselves of oppression and enjoy the fruits of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and prosperity as responsible citizens in a free and egalitarian society —appear to be a tacit supporter of social injustice and gross human rights abuses in Africa.
Under the regime of Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia suffers from the absence of the rule of law, independent judiciary, free press, strong civil society, a strong opposition and a vibrant private sector. The United States Department of State 2010 Country Report on Human Rights and Practices documented that Mr. Meles Zenawi’s government continued to carry out “unlawful killings, torture, beating, abuse and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces, often acting with impunity; poor prison conditions ; arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly of sympathizers of members of opposition groups detention without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; use of excessive force by security services..” International rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Genocide Watch have repeatedly documented and condemned the gross violation of human rights, war crimes and even genocide perpetrated in Gambela and the Ogaden regions by the regime of Meles Zenawi.

These gross human rights violations are an affront to humanity and we believe the American people will not remain silent about these abuses, especially since the Zenawi regime is funded by taxpayer money. In the 2010 parliamentary elections, violation of human rights and the absence of a fair and free election process in Ethiopia allowed the ruling minority clique to claim that it won by 99.6%. In 2005, Mr. Meles Zenawi’s government rigged the relatively free and fair election, imprisoned thousands of innocent Ethiopians and the entire leadership of the major opposition party; and killed more than 200 peaceful protestors.

Despite massive foreign aid estimated at $30 billion since 1991, and $3 billion per year fro the U.S. government alone, the latest Oxford University Multi-Dimensional Index (MDI) showed that Ethiopia is the second poorest country, behind Niger in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ninety (90) percent of the population is poor; there are 5 million orphans; 70 percent of Ethiopian youth is unemployed and an estimated 7 million Ethiopians depend on international emergency food aid to survive.

The national economy is dominated by party owned and endowed enterprises. Endemic corruption is rampant at the highest levels of the regime. Inequality is on the rise. Ethiopian economists estimate that growing inequality is a consequence of economic and other asset concentration into the hands of a few government officials and their cronies at the expense of the majority. Land, the primary source of livelihood for the vast majority of the Ethiopian people, is owned by the state. The ruling party has used its power to illegally lease millions of acres of ancestral farmlands to foreign investors engaged in a neo-colonial land grab. These foreign agri-business companies are investing millions to produce food in Ethiopia to feed their own population and the rest to export to rich countries.

Under Meles Zenawi’s single party rule, Ethiopia continues to be ruled with an iron fist and suffer from incalculable “brain drain” Howard University as the alma mater of pioneer Ethiopians, such as Dr. Melaku Beyan stands to suffer irreparable damage to its reputation by allowing a brutal regime to hold a political meeting in its prestigious ground.

We, a coalition of civic organizations, advocacy and human rights activists, strongly urge you to cancel this embarrassing event that is due to be held at Cramton Auditorium on April 9, 2011. We would be very happy to meet with you and discuss our concerns further, and we can be reached by email: [email protected]


Neamin Zelleke
Global Civic Movement for Change in Ethiopiaa


Provost and Chief Academic Officer
James H. Wyche, Ph.D.
[email protected]

Executive Vice President and
Chief Operating Officer
Troy A. Stovall
[email protected]

Senior Vice President
Strategic Planning, Operations & External Affairs & Chief Technology Officer
Hassan Minor, Ph.D.
[email protected]

Senior Vice President and Secretary
Artis Hampshire-Cowan, J.D.
[email protected]

Senior Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer – Treasurer
Robert Tarola
[email protected]

Vice President for
Development and Alumni Relations
Nesta Bernard
[email protected]

Keith Miles
Chief of Staff
Email:[email protected]
Office of University Communications

Latta, Judi Moore
Executive Director
Phone: (202) 238-2338
Fax: (202) 986-0409
E-mail: [email protected]

Greg E. Carr
Associate Professor of Africana Studies
Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 202-806-7581

African Studies Department
Cham, Mbye B.
[email protected]

David, Wilfred L.
[email protected]
202.238.2315 426

Edgar, Robert R
[email protected]
202.238.2356 410

Nyang, Sulayman S
[email protected]
202.238.2311 430

Serapião, Luis B
[email protected]
202.238.2318 406

Shams, Feraidoon
Associate Professor
[email protected]
202.238.2324 402

Zewde, Almaz
Assistant Professor
[email protected]
202.238.2321 401

Hailu, Alem
Assistant Professor
[email protected]

Johnson, Krista
Assistant Professor
[email protected]
202.238.2312 424

5 thoughts on “Howard University asked to cancel Woyanne meeting

  1. Gimel Serqo Megonabes!!!

    Just like carrying fresh red meat on the field of Serengetti no one would not smel it.

    Do you think you loot 10 tone of coffees, auctiong our lands, cutting generations old rainforest trees and landlocked country would not be noticed by anyone????

  2. Thank you to all of you who have worked on this matter. I have been waiting to read something tangible and constrictive like this letter for a while. Please keep it up.
    How about sending a copy of this letter to Howard University Student Paper? Howard University Students should be informed and encouraged to question why their University President is associating and inviting people who are working for a brutal dictator like Meles that has the blood of tens of thousands Ethiopians. And a tyrant who has been accused for tortures and genocide by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Meles works against everything what Martin Luther King stood and died for. More than other colleges and Universities, Howard University President, staff, facility members and students should know better to distance themselves from a man who has been oppressing and ruling 80 million Ethiopians with iron fist for the last 20 years.

  3. Excellent letter, I hope that Howard University will wake up to some of the abuses going in Ethiopia and in Africa in General. Defending the freedom and dignity of the people of Africa is a moral and historical obligation for the Afro-American community. Saving the African people from corrupt governance a denial of their basic rights is a fundamental responsibility for High Educational Institutions whatever their country.
    Good work Global.

  4. I am praying the Dean and faculty members of Howard University come to their senses and cancel this shameful meeting. In case if they dont, we all should be there to expose these thugs to the world

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