Horn of Africa This Week

Oromo activist dies in prison

The death of Oromo activist Tesfahun Chemeda in prison earlier this week underscores the appaling state of human rights and abuse of political prisoners in donor darling Ethiopia, activists said.

In an open letter addressed to UK’s Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Africa), Dr. Trevor Truman, Chairman of Oromia Support Group wrote:

Over one third of Ethiopia’s budget is in foreign aid. Ethiopia receives more aid from the UK than any other country in the world.

It is a shocking state of affairs and an appalling way to spend UK taxpayers’ money. I am tired of hearing from Ministers and officials that they take every opportunity to engage with representatives of the Ethiopian government at the highest level to express their serious concerns about human rights abuses and lack of democratic progress in Ethiopia.

If the UK is so wedded to providing aid to Ethiopia, than at least we should insist on it being contingent on real, measurable benchmarks of human rights and democratization and not the desk-based studies of government-controlled data, which support the status quo in Ethiopia.

This should be backed by effective sanctions so that members of the Ethiopian government are prevented from travelling to the UK and America and investing in property and businesses outside of Ethiopia.



About the author

Mohammed A

Mohammed Ademo is a freelance journalist based in Washington, DC. He's the founder and editor of, an independent news website about Ethiopia.

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