UNPO General Assembly Adopts Resolution on its Presidency Member Dr Shigut Geleta, Arbitrarily Detained in Ethiopia

UNPO Geleta

August 5, 2020 (UNPO) — In light of the arbitrary arrest of its Presidency Member Dr Shigut Geleta, the XV General Assembly of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization adopted a strong resolution calling for the Ethiopian authorities to disclose information about the whereabouts and well-being of Dr Shigut Geleta immediately and guarantee to him and all of the detainees the basic rights to liberty and fair trial guaranteed under international law. The resolution makes reference to the events of 8 July 2020, when several leading members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) political party were arbitrarily detained by Ethiopian government forces without a warrant. Among them was Dr. Shigut Geleta, a German national and leading campaigner for dialogue and non-violence to resolve Ethiopia’s long-running inter-ethnic crisis, who was serving as a member of the Presidency of the UNPO.

Reaffirming the absolute commitment to non-violence and equal respect for self-determination of all peoples contained in the UNPO Covenant and the requirement that all actors must ensure that protests remain non-violent and do not threaten or harm lives and property of other people, the UNPO General Assembly has adopted a resolution strongly condemning the repeated attacks on members of the Oromo community by government forces and the arrests and detentions without valid reasons of OLF and other opposition party officials.

The resolution is a concerted effort of the UNPO General Assembly to appeal to the international community not to tolerate the tightening of basic civil and political liberties as well as the gross human rights violations committed by Ethiopian security forces against civilians and political party members.

With the human rights situation in the country quickly deteriorating day after day, the arbitrary arrest of Dr Shigut Geleta represents more than just the detainment without court order or warrant of a political leader. It means that a moderate voice committed to nonviolence has been silenced, even though Dr Geleta has been dedicated exclusively to peaceful and democratically motivated causes.

Given the blatant aggression and cruelty Ethiopian security forces have exhibited towards innocent civilians and in light of Ethiopia’s terrible record of human rights violations and the torture of detainees and prisoners, there are strong reasons to believe that Dr Geleta’s life is in serious danger.

Therefore, the UNPO General Assembly demands that the Ethiopian authorities disclose information about the whereabouts and well-being of Dr Shigut Geleta immediately and guarantee to him and all of the detainees the basic rights to liberty and fair trial guaranteed under international law.

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