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Good News in ETA's Long Legal Struggle

EI is very pleased to report news today from Ethiopia Teachers’ Association General Secretary Gemoraw Kassa that the registrar’s office of the Federal Supreme Court has informed the ETA that the verdict delivered by the Supreme Court on November 20 is in favour of the authentic ETA.

The Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the Federal High court of 30 March 2006 is unfair because it failed to address the main issue of the disputes. Stating the null and void parts of the previous verdict, the Supreme Court ruled on 20 November that the ETA court case has to return to the Federal High court to properly investigate the main issue of the disputes. ETA has an appointment with the registrar office of the Supreme Court to receive statements of the court ruling this Friday, 24 November. More infoprmation is expected at that time. “The ETA believes that the unwavering international solidarity, together with constant pressure of the international community, has paved a way for this positive indication of justice,” said Kassa, ETA General Secretary. “Hence we would like to thank all concerned and say congratulations particularly to our courageous members, EI and affiliates on this achievement.” EI applauds the incredible courage and commitment of our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia and congratulates them on this significant achievement. EI also welcomes this positive indication that the judicial system is independent and is able to rule according to principles of justice. EI Deputy General Secretary Janice Eastman thanked all members for their efforts, support and commitment to engage the international community and to keep the pressure on until human and trade union rights in Ethiopia are a reality for all people, and until the ETA is recognized as an autonomous and independent union able to represent its members to its full capacity without intereference and intimidation. Background in Brief: ETA activities have been stifled, its bank assets frozen, head office closed down, regional offices confiscated and its leaders and activists harassed, randomly dismissed, transferred, arbitrarily imprisoned, involuntarily disappeared and extra-judicially killed over the period since 1993. In 1993, the government sponsored a new organization, also named and registered as the Ethiopian Teachers’ Association. It filed charges against the authentic ETA in April 1993. Despite several Federal Court rulings in ETA’s favour, especially the clear-cut verdict in November 2003, none were ever implemented. More recently, in March 2006, the Ethiopian Federal High Court with a different judge revoked its own previous verdict and ruled that the authentic ETA had to hand over every asset and property to the government-sponsored ETA. The Supreme Court ruling announced today is in response to that earlier high court decision.

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