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Women Rally To Demand Protection Of Their RightsPanafrican News Agency (Dakar), 10 February 2001
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia—Saturday staged a peaceful rally in Addis Ababa to demand the protection of women’s rights in the country.The women first gathered at Maskal Square and later marched to parliament building and the nearby council of state to deliver petitions to legislators and the Prime Minister’s office.The protestors chanted slogans as they carried placards exhorting the protection of women’s rights. They urged the government to amend Ethiopia’s criminal law so that stiffer sentence would be meted out against those that rape and abduct minor females, a common practice in the country.The rally was preceded by three nights of a candle-light vigil at the square where activists held pep-talks and parents of rape victims related stories to raise public awareness of this type of abuse.During the rally at Maskal Square, three parents—one of them a father—told listeners of about the rape of their children aged 10 years and below.In one case the rapist was given only a five-year sentence, they said, adding that in the other two cases, the suspects were set free on 1,000 birr (120 US dollars) bail.I urge all of you to fight such injustices. The laws should be strictly applied against criminals that abuse our children, one mother said. GenderCopyright © 2001 Panafrican News Agency. Distributed by For information about the content or for permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the publisher.

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  “Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown

“Just know, when you truly want success, you’ll never give up on it. No matter how bad the situation may get.” - Unknown
The Plight of women—A Call for a change!By Tewedj Kebede, The Reporter (Addis Ababa), 8 December 1999

It is the women who are the major victims of many harmful cultural practices.

Abduction, rape and abortion are some of the common practices in Ethiopia as a result of which thousands of women’s lives were wrecked. Women are abducted, raped and were forced by circumstances to abort a child because of their social, economical or cultural status.In a manner of speaking, abduction, rape and abortion were not considered to be serious problems in our country. In fact, they were considered, especially in rural areas, as a must.

Although the law forbids them, they are practiced by society.Therefore, to protect the victims of these harmful practices—women—the Women’s Affairs Standing Committee in the House of Peoples’ Representatives organized a seminar from 2 to 4 December at the House of People’s Representative. More than 50 people, professionals and regional representatives were present to discuss the modification of the Ethiopian Penal Code to guarantee women, children and family rights and security.Concerning abduction and rape, Ato Tiumelisan Lemma, an expert in the court, said that the main reason was society’s strong beliefes rooted in culture which considered the practice as normal and even obligatory.

​In some cases, he said, it was found difficult for a woman to get married unless she was abducted. He cited examples of the Southern regions of Ethiopia where 80% of the marriages are the result of abduction. On the other hand, he said, because it is only seen as a must there are situations where a woman is abducted and even forced to marry the person who abducted her without her own consent.Explaining the hazardous consequences of abduction, he said that women face psychological as well as physical harm, whether married or not. In addition, the woman would be rejected by thje society if she leaves her abductor, and however logical her reasons, she would be considerd as promiscuous.
According to the Ethiopian Penal Code, article 558/1, abduction is considered to be a crime. It says: Whosoever carries off a woman by violence, or after having obtained her consent to abduction by intimidation or violence, trickery or deceit, is punishable with rigorous imprisonment not exceeding three years.Although the Ethiopian Penal Code stipulates that abduction is punishable, the practice is continuing as normal in Ethiopia, said Ato Tiumelisan. In addition, the feebleness in the implementation of the law is the major factor for the expansion of the practice, he added. Hence, he commented that it was important that the law must be put right so as to protect women’s rights.Although the cultural boundary was the major obstacle to the occurrence of any visible change, he said, societal organizations, in addition to government and law, must try hard to change the harmful attitude of the practitioners.
​He also explained that rape was the other major problem where a lot of consideration must be given. According to Ato Tiumelisan, the same problem in the implementation of the law made it difficult to save not only women, but also girl-children of the country. He pointed out that 93 girl-children below the age of fifteen are raped every day in three Ethiopian regions.Rape is one of the major causes of unwanted pregnancy, said Doctor Zufan Lakew a labor medical expert. She said that today from the 910,000 pregnancy rate in the world, 50% are unplanned and unwanted. Hence, she said, there are more than 60 million women who abort and half of them are practiced illegally.
In Ethiopia, she said, the majority of the victims of abortion were youngsters. The reason was, she said, lack of awareness of the physical and physiological consequences.She said that about 600 thousand mothers die as a result of health problems where about 40 percent were caused by abortion. Among these, 90 percent was observed in developing countries and poor family members, she added.According to Dr. Zufan, legalizing reliable abortion will help to reduce the number of maternal death and also bring a healthy relationship between the sexes.Concerning the legality, Ato Tsehay Weda, from the Addis Ababa University Law Faculty, said that abortion, according to the Ethiopian code, was a crime. Representatives of religions institutions at the conference also indicated that it was a sin to kill a life.
​The observed reasons for abortion, Ato Tsehay explained, were poverty, sex before marriage, unplanned pregnancy, rape, unplanned pregnancy, health problem of the foetus or the mother, control of population growth and incest.Ato Tsehay also stressed that the implementation of the law made it difficult to control the practice which he termed a paper tiger. Since the practice will be implemented whether legalized or not, the law must improve its penal code on abortion.To solve these problems, the participants of the seminar urged the government to improve the Ethiopian Penal Code and follow up the implementation of the law. In addition, they call upon governmental, private, NGOs and religious institutions to use every mechanism to raise the society’s awareness so as to cradicate the harmful practices against women in particular.Copyright © 2000 The Reporter. Distributed by For information about the content or for permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the publisher.

Ethiopian Women's Organization Founder, President & CEO Etalemahu Fikre Taddesse as a special guest 0n January, 4th 2015 at Ethiopian American kids TV Show 

Police investigating Hanna Rape and Murder Case

Ministry of Women, Children and Youth denounced with the strongest terms the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 16 year old high school student Hanna Lalango in Addis Ababa last week.The Minister, Zenebech Taddesse described the act as barbaric, heart breaking and stated her profound condemnation. She expressed her Ministry’s condolences to the family of the victim.She reiterated that suspects of the horrific rape and murder are facing charges in a court of law and asked the general public to collectively denounce this gut-jolting barbaric crime.The Minister added several other Hanas suffer from similar violent sexual harassments and called on a concerted effort to address the problem. She said the White Ribbon Campaign to be marked in late November through mid December as an opportune moment to highlight and galvanize support for the fight against sexual violence and harassment against women and raise awareness regarding the problem. 

Addis to host a dialogue that aims to end AIDS by 2030By Elias Meseret


The African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and UNAIDS will hold a High Level Dialogue on November 25, 2014 on Ending AIDS by 2030. A statement the AU issued today said the Dialogue is part of the activities to commemorate World AIDS Day 2014.  Reports say Africa has made tremendous progress in tackling the AIDS epidemic. It is now leading the world in expanding access to antiretroviral therapy, and new HIV infections have declined by 33% from 2005 to 2013.However, the AIDS epidemic is far from over and it remains a leading cause of death in the region, killing 1.1 million people in 2013.“Ending the AIDS Epidemic is a key priority for the African Continent. Africa thus the need to pave a new roadmap for ending AIDS by 2030. In this High Level Dialogue, heads of the key continental, regional and national institutions, key opinion leaders, development partners, AU Member States and other stakeholders in the AIDS response will share information and perspectives that will inform the development of a roadmap for ending AIDS in Africa,” the AU said.African Union Member States, the African Union Commission, United Nations Organisations and Civil Society representatives will attend the Dialogue.   DireTube News 
EMPOWER: Real power comes by empowering others!
“Its hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but its harder to give up when you know its everything you want.” – Unknown
   “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makeslife meaningful.” - Joshua J. Marine
Irin Focus On Trafficking Of WomenUN Integrated Regional Information Network (Nairobi), 28 February 2001

Nairobi—A new study by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has highlighted the widespread human rights abuses suffered by Ethiopian women trafficked to Arab countries.

The study, launched in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa last week, cites cases of rape, death in prison, starvation, confinement, and physical abuse.The report of the IOM findings noted that at least 67 women migrants died whilst working in the Arab countries from 1997-1999. The study was based on extensive interviews with 36 female returnees from Beirut and Bahrain. Information was also gleaned from the files of women migrant returnees in the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association, local newspapers and complaints filed with the Federal Police.Estimates of the number of Ethiopian women working in Arab countries vary from 12,000 to 20,000. Most work in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Typically, migrants are single females between the ages of 20 and 30 seeking an income abroad due to lack of employment opportunities in Ethiopia. Usually, an agent offers the women domestic work in an Arab country for a salary of about US $100 a month.The family then has to raise hundreds of dollars to cover a visa, air ticket and administration.

​Often the money comes from a high interest loan that can saddle the family with huge debt for years to come. Some women entered into contracts to pay travel costs back from their future salaries, says the report.Once visas arrive, the women travel to their destinations with only a passport and a document that serves as an entry visa. Generally, no other documents are signed regarding pay or conditions of work. But the report highlights the fact that many women have to sign a document stating they will pay a penalty of US $3000 if they leave the job or return to Ethiopia. Women returnees from Beirut said that on arrival there they had their passports confiscated by immigration officials who then handed them to local employment agents. From this moment onwards the women are at the mercy of the agent. Some women interviewed for the study said that they would then be confined at the agent’s premises until taken away by employers.Once with an employer the women commonly experienced very long working hours, poor food, beatings and lack of contact with friends and family.

One woman interviewed said she was confined to the house for three years and had to work 18 hours a day with no time off. They have no freedom to change or quit jobs. According to the study, some employers refused to pay the first few months’ salary saying they had paid a large sum to hire the women. Because of the harsh conditions, some women ran away from their employers, many ended up in prison where conditions were even worse. Many are raped in prison or die in custody. The report pointed out that working and living conditions in the Arab countries varied widely and that some interviewees testified that they were treated humanely and paid regularly.The report calls for attacking the trafficking problem at its root, namely promoting skills training, education and job opportunities for young women to reduce the attraction of economic migration.

​It also wants to see continuous information campaigns on the dangers and risks of unprotected migration. Better laws more rigorously applied would also serve to reduce trafficking, the report stated.Copyright © 2001 UN Integrated Regional Information Network. Distributed by For information about the content or for permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the publisher.
Priorities...    “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 
“Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will.” - Unknown
“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace & gratitude.” - Denis Waitley


Bride Price, Female Mutilation Still Common In Ethiopia

By Yemisrach Benalfew, IPS, 13 July 1999

ETHIOPIA, JUL 13 (IPS)— With three camels, plus 38 US Dollars, a man can 'buy' a wife in rural Ethiopia.

If the groom doesn't have camels, he offers his future in-laws cattle. He also has to farm her father's land.This tradition, called 'gurgura', or to sell, is widely practiced among Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, the Oromo, who make up about 40 percent of the country's 60 million people.Similar practice exists in Gambela, a region on the border with Sudan, where a man, aged 60, can 'buy' a 19-year-old girl for several heads of cattle, says National Committee of Harmful Traditional Practices , a non-governmental organisation (ngo) based in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

​Once married, the girl is treated more like a servant than a wife, says the committee's Executive Director, Abebech Alemneh.Even so, families dislike the idea of their daughters returning home, after a dispute. Since they have already spent the dowry paid by their son-in-law, they prefer their daughter to suffer than come home, says Beynech Wata, deputy chairman of the Women Committee of southern Ethiopia.Wata, who was herself circumcised at the age of 10, has embarked on a campaign, with other women, to end the growing harmful traditional practices in Ethiopia.Recalling her ordeal, Wata says her mother covered her eyes, while two other women held her legs apart. With a new razor, a another lady mutilated the whole part of my genital, she says.They poured water on the wound after cutting me. It was burning.

I couldn't urinate for four days, she recalls. Wata didn't undergo the stitching of her genital after being mutilated.Unless a girl is circumcised, she is regarded a 'harem', an outcast in her society, says Abdi Ibrahim who hails from Dire Dawa, a town in the south eastern Ethiopia, where the practice is common.Ibrahim says, a small girl's eyes are covered with cloth, while her hands and legs are tied. She is stitched and torn again on her wedding night, says Zeyneb Abdulahi of Dire Dawa. Until then, she has just a hole to urinate and menstruate.Infubilation, the worst type of circumcision, is practiced among the ethnic Afar, Harri, Somali and Oromo, the committee says.The UN Children's Fund (UNCIEF) says the age of circumcision varies from the first week of life, infancy or puberty, before marriage, or just after having the first child.

​They usually use crude and unclean instruments like rusted, pointed metal or razor, according to the committee. They cut a vein, bleeding the girl more.Another form of marriage, which involves elopement, is also common in parts of Ethiopia, especially in the southern and Oromiya regions. At one market place, the committee says, up to five girls used to be kidnapped.A group of six to seven men wait in a forest for a girl of 12 to 14 years of age to return from fetching water or collecting woods to abduct her. They break her pot, pick up the struggling girl and run. If she struggles, they beat her, says the committee. If they are educated they use cars to facilitate the elopement.If caught, the kidnappers face up to ten years in prison, according to the committee. 
Unless the girl has an influential father, to argue on her behalf, people will always say, afterall, a girl's ultimate goal is to get married, Wata says.The women groups have began educating the population against the risks of circumcision and abduction.Researches indicate that 30.7 percent of Ethiopia's population is against FGM, 74.7 percent oppose early marriage and 85.3 percent against abduction.The rate of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is 73 percent, early marriage 54.5 percent and abduction 69 percent in 1997, the committee says.
Early marriage is prevalent among the Amhara and Tigray people. A 12-year-old girl marries a man, gets pregnant, gives birth to a still baby, or undergo a prolonged labour, or even dies. She develops fistula, the inability to control her urine and faeces.Early marriage is a result of social pressure and economic problem. If a girl doesn't marry at early age, she is regarded an outcast in her community.FGM is practiced in nine of Ethiopia's 11 regions. 

​It will take a long time to eradicate the practice in the country, Alemneh notes.The committee believes that harmful practices are declining in the country. The number of circumcised women has, they say, declined from 90 percent in 1990 to 73 percent in 1997.(END/IPS/yb/mn/99)[c] 1999, InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS) All rights reservedMay not be reproduced, reprinted or posted to any system or service outside of the APC networks, without specific permission from IPS. This limitation includes distribution via Usenet News, bulletin board systems, mailing lists, print media and broadcast. For information about cross- posting, send a message to
. For information about print or broadcast reproduction please contact the IPS coordinator at .<>.​
Empowerment...    “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't.” ― Steve Maraboli 

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Lebanese man arrested for kidnapping, raping Ethiopian woman

​BEIRUT: The Internal Security Forces arrested Sunday a Lebanese man who raped an Ethiopian woman after kidnapping her from the area of Dawra near Beirut, a statement said Monday.The suspect, 31, identified by his initials M.A., abducted the Ethiopian woman Sunday after impersonating a security official.He told the woman she was being detained for not carrying legal documents, and transported her to the northern town of Chekka where he raped her, and took naked pictures and videos of her.The suspect also made her call her friends to send prepaid mobile credit valued at $250 to his mobile phone in return for deleting the videos. 
“One of the most important keys to Success is having the discipline to do what you know you shoulddo, even when you don’t feel like doing it.” - Unknown