World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

An Appeal on the Crisis in Ethiopia

10 June 2005

From the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches, 10
June, 2005

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the All Africa Conference of Churches
(AACC) are deeply disturbed by the recent events in Ethiopia. Over twenty people
have lost their lives and several hundreds were injured, as a result of action of
the security forces against peaceful student demonstrators. The demonstrations
were staged to protest against alleged voting irregularities in the parliamentary
elections of 15th May. The security forces not only blocked the demonstrations,
but also intimidated and beat up the people including opposition candidates. The
protest demonstrations are now in their third day, and emotions and tensions are
running high. It is imperative that the authorities in Ethiopia exercise utmost
care and understanding in handling the present crisis so that the situation is not
allowed to further deteriorate.

The WCC and AACC call on the government of Ethiopia to ensure that the security
forces exercise maximum restraint in handling the protesters and refrain from
using excessive force. We have received reports of large numbers of arrests made
by the security forces without due process. Consequently, we request that those
held in detention should be properly treated and not held incommunicado, tortured
and/or beaten.

Given the tense situation in the country we appeal to the government of Ethiopia
to enter into a dialogue with the opposition political parties and civil society
groups in order to find an amicable settlement of the present crisis.

We call on the churches of Ethiopia to play their prophetic and pastoral role in
helping to bring the situation to normalcy, and assure them of our readiness to
support their efforts towards bringing peace, justice and reconciliation.

We pray for the people of Ethiopia and hope that peace and calm will return soon
so that people can get back to their normal lives.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary - World Council of Churches
Rev. Dr H. Mvume Dandala
General Secretary - All Africa Conference of
Churches