Two teachers were arrested and detained on 23 September for being members of the Ethiopian Teachers' Association (ETA). One of the teachers had already suffered severe injuries, at the hands of security officers, earlier this year.
According to the information provided by EI affiliate, the Ethiopian Teachers' Association (ETA) headed by Gemoraw Kassa, the two teachers arrested last Saturday were Wasihun Melese and Anteneh Getnet.
Wasihun Melese was arrested in his house from where security guards took him to the Maekelawi Investigation Centre. A prominent activist of the ETA's Addis Ababa branch and chairperson of the Addis Ketema zone teachers’ association, Melese was elected to the ETA National Executive Board on 26 August 2006.
In 2005, Wasihun was arrested and detained for having participated in the preparations for World Teachers' Day.
Anteneh Getnet was taken away by three plain-clothes security officers at a teachers' meeting he was attending in the ETA premises. The ETA meeting was a trade union gathering for teachers from the Addis Ababa region.
Earlier this year, Anteneh was dismissed from his job because of his ETA membership. On 1 May, he was abducted and physically assaulted by security officers. They drove him out of Addis Ababa and, after beating him up, left him to die in a forest full of hyenas. Fortunately, Anteneh regained consciousness and managed to seek help at a nearby village. However, he suffered severe health consequences due to the incident and has been unable to resume teaching.
The Ethiopian authorities have been harassing the ETA for a long time. As recently as last August, security forces even suspended the ETA's General Assembly, violating Article 3 of the International Labour Convention 87 which the country ratified in 1963.
According to the ETA, the Ethiopian security forces have a list of teachers to be arrested, and last Saturday's arrests are unlikely to be the last. The teacher union is determined to find out why the two teachers were arrested and whether an arrest warrant had been granted.
Both EI and the ETA submitted a complaint to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Commitee on Freedom of Association on 11 September. Melese and Getnet's names were mentioned in this, and these recent developments will be forwarded to the ILO as complementary information.