An Ethiopian Human Rights Scholar and Gedeo Activist Returns Home

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Dr. Kalkidan Negash Obse, an Ethiopian human rights scholar and former President of Dilla University, has returned to Ethiopia after a yearlong exile in the United States and Canada. Dr. Kalkidan previously taught at the Addis Ababa University School of Law and served as former director of the Center for Human Rights at the same University before assuming the position of Academic Vice President and President of Dilla University in Gedeo Zone. He publicly resigned from his post at Dilla University in June last year following a grenade attack at the University which injured students and staff members of the University.

He resigned in protest against the government’s failure to properly investigate what he called “a highly alarming incident which took place for the second time in two years and despite clear indications that the university administration was also targeted in the bombing.” He had further revealed to Wazema radio, which first reported the resignation, that the government’s failure in the face of serious and massive violations of human rights related to the displacement crisis affecting Gedeo people was as an additional reason for his resignation.

 

Dr. Kalkidan has been outspoken in his criticism of the government’s handling of the ongoing forced displacement crisis during his stay in the United States and Canada. He says he returned to Ethiopia owing to “the need for a more effective advocacy work on behalf of victims of mass displacements and ethnic cleansing.” He hopes “working from the ground enables better communication with victims as well as might provide the possibility to seek and take advantage of any available local remedies to their plights”.