From May 18-23, an international mission composed of officials from Education International (EI), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) will be in Ethiopia to meet with Ethiopian government officials, embassy officials, and detained ETA officials.
The mission will investigate several recent developments which raise serious concerns, including:
1. The disruption of the April 30 ETA General Assembly by special army troops which surrounded the site and forced delegates to leave. On that day, delegates were arrested and had their identification and documents seized. Some delegates were further harassed after they returned home from the aborted meeting.
2. The March 30 action by the Federal High Court ordering ETA to surrender its assets and property to the surrogate (government-supported) ETA. Since the creation of the surrogate ETA, the authentic association has had no access to its original offices or financial assets. The current offices of the ETA are continually searched and ransacked by security forces.
3. The arrests of civil society leaders, including Mr. Kassahun Kebede, Chairperson of the Addis Ababa branch of the authentic ETA, who has been held in detention since November 2005. Other civil society leaders continue to be held, also without charges. Further, the Ethiopian government has issued an arrest warrant for the ETA President Dr. Taye Woldesmiate, who is currently in exile.
EI will be represented by Mrs Irene Adanusa, President of the EI African Regional Committee and General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and Mrs Dominique Marlet, EI Coordinator for Human and Trade Union Rights. The Global Unions mission is led by the International Federation of Journalists.