The founder of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, has died from COVID-19 complications at age 90.
Ethiopian activist Professor Mesfin Woldemariam and founder of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council has passed away. Woldemariam reportedly passed away on Tuesday in the capital city Addis Ababa reportedly from coronavirus-induced complications. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has since expressed his grief upon hearing the news and extended his condolences to Woldemariam's family and all Ethiopians at large.
Professor Woldemariam was a humanitarian, renowned activist and academic who studied in the USA and India. A propellant of law and order through politics, he critiqued Ethiopia's tradition of ethnic appointments for government officials. In 2005, he played a crucial role in the formation of the "Coalition for Unity and Democracy" (CUD) which opposed the TPLF-led government and defeated the ruling party at the ballot box.
Woldemariam endeavored scholarship and continued to offer philosophical and political critique on Ethiopia throughout his career. He was the voice of the country in 1990 when Ethiopia was going through socio-political upheaval. When blogging gained popularity, Woldemariam seemlessly transitioned to the online world. In the past ten years alone, he published several books in Amharic on Ethiopian politics including Mekshef ende Ethiopia.
Ethiopia continues to face political unrest as ethnicity still remains a factor for government appointments. Internet shutdowns have been constantly used to diffuse social demonstrations and protests. Oromo musician Hachula Hundessa was allegedly shot and killed in public in an alleged government-ordered assassination. Hundessa's music criticised the government and allegedly roused Ethiopians to challenge the ruling party.
Professor Woldemariam of having tested positive for the coronavirus emerged only eleven days ago. He was 90-years-old and served as a geography professor at Addis Ababa University.
Those on social media reacted to news of Woldemariam's passing below:
RIP Prof Mesfin, a beloved family friend, inspiration to many and a rebel to the end. A giant has fallen. #Ethiopia https://t.co/YSsdSg3BMk— Eleni Gabre-Madhin (@Eleni Gabre-Madhin)1601448767.0
Professor Mesfin Woldemariam has passed away at the just of 90. He was an Ethiopian academic, author, politician an… https://t.co/aSBHLDIIjW— Samson Berhane Asmelash🇪🇹 (@Samson Berhane Asmelash🇪🇹)1601438406.0
The one and the only, the defiant, the true human right advocate when no one was there! Thank you Prof. Rest in p… https://t.co/pWHQyW4NIi— ሰለሞን መንገሻ #GERD (@ሰለሞን መንገሻ #GERD)1601445079.0
Very sad to hear news of Professor Mesfin Woldemariam’s passing. A monumental loss for #Ethiopia. 💔 Thank you for e… https://t.co/zvFnW8XYpB— Yeabsira (@Yeabsira)1601440983.0
Rest in peace Professor. Mesfin Woldemariam #Ethiopia https://t.co/JR0j7l449s— Bereket Teketel 💚💛❤️ (@Bereket Teketel 💚💛❤️)1601472388.0