Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2018, 16:17 GMT

Ethiopia: Treatment of ethnic Amharas and of All-Amhara People's Organisation (AAPO) members, leaders and activists, etc.

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 19 April 2001
Citation / Document Symbol ETH36731.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ethiopia: Treatment of ethnic Amharas and of All-Amhara People's Organisation (AAPO) members, leaders and activists, etc., 19 April 2001, ETH36731.E, available at: [accessed 18 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Information specific to the treatment of Amharas in Ethiopia could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Various media reports identify the AAPO as one of the principal opposition political parties active in Ethiopia's political process (Addis Tribune 19 May 2000; AFP 1 Mar. 2001; ION 13 Jan. 2001 ibid., 15 Jan. 2000; ibid., 29 Jan. 2000; Seven Days Update 3 Feb. 2000).

According to information current to November 1999, the president of AAPO is Hailu Shawul [also spelt Shawel] who succeeded former president Asrat Woldeyes, who died in May 1999 (ION 18 Nov. 2000). He had reportedly helped found AAPO in 1991 and became its vice-president but reportedly resigned and went into private business following disagreements Asrat Woldeyes (ibid.).

In January 2000 AAPO said that it was withdrawing two candidates from Bahr Dar in the May 2000 general election citing government harassment and "claimed that in Nazareth, Oromia Regional State officials had discouraged the local population from going to AAPO meetings on the grounds that the party was as dangerous an enemy as Eritrea" (ION 15 Jan. 2000). The Addis Ababa Tribune reports that AAPO won seats both in the House of Representatives and in the regional council in Addis Ababa (19 May 2000).

Amnesty International reports that in 1999,

Trails began of a number of long-term detainees. In April, Wondayehu Kassa and three other officials of the opposition AAPO, and 18 other people, were convicted of conspiracy to armed opposition in connection with an attack on a prison in 1996. They were sentenced by the High Court in Addis Ababa to prison terms ranging from three to 20 years ... the AAPO officials (who were released after serving their sentences) appeared to be prisoners of conscience (2000, 101-102).

According to Country Reports 2000,

in June 1999, a youth attending the funeral of AAPO founder Dr. Asrat Woldeyes was shot and killed by an undercover security officer who subsequently was arrested and charged for the crime. No further action was taken in the case by year's end ... Some AAPO co-defendants, convicted in 1998 on charges of treason, completed their prison sentences in 1998 and 1999 but have not been permitted to leave the country (Mar. 2001).

Regarding the local elections in February 2001, the AAPO reportedly "revealed that 700 of its 1400 candidates presented in twenty four districts have had to withdraw their candidature following pressure from supporters and representatives of the regime" (ION 13 Jan. 2001).

In March 2001, the AAPO and the six other political groups announced their withdrawal from the municipal election scheduled to take place on 3 March 2001 claiming that the election was undemocratic and that their participation would be "inappropriate and useless" (ibid., 1 Mar. 2001).

AFP reports that January 2001, six opposition parties including the AAPO called on Ethiopians to demonstrate their opposition to the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the government coalition for signing the Algiers peace accord with Eritrea, charging that it did not represent the national interests of Ethiopia (28 Jan. 2001).

At the same time, the Eritrean government is said to be "courting" the Amhara members from Gondar who are living in the United States and have reportedly invited and held talks with with AAPO's exiled leader Tadesse Wale in Asmara (ION Mar. 17 2001).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Addis Tribune [Addis Ababa]. 19 May 2000. "Ethiopia: Three Political Parties Win Elections in Addis Ababa." (NEXIS)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 1 March 2001. "Ethiopie-opposition: partis d'opposition annoncent leur retrait des elections municipales." (NEXIS)

_____. 28 January 2001. "L'opposition ethiopienne appelle a un vaste mouvement de protection." (NEXIS)

Amnesty International (AI). Amnesty International Report 2000. New York: Amnesty International USA.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000. 2001. US Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

The Indian Ocean Newsletter (ION). 17 March 2001. "Courting Ethiopia's Exiles." (NEXIS)

_____. 13 Janaury 2001. "Very Highly Controlled Elections." (NEXIS)

_____. 18 November 2000. "Hailu Shawel (Ethiopia)." (NEXIS)

_____. 15 January 2000. "No Gifts for the Opposition." (NEXIS)

Seven Days Update [Addis Ababa]. 3 February 2000. "Ethiopia: Looking To May." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Research Bulletin.

Africa Confidential.

Keesing's Record of World Events.


Resource Centre. Country File. Ethiopia.

Internet sites including,

All Africa News.

Relief Web

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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