Ethiopian Human Rights Advocate Professor Mesfin Woldemariam Dies

By Staff Reporter

Professor-Mesfin-WoldemariamSeptember 30, 2020 ( -- Veteran Ethiopian human rights advocate and politician Professor Mesfin Woldemariam has passed away at the age of 90.

Professor Mesfin died on Tuesday in Addis Ababa after suffering from coronavirus pandemic.

Professor Mesfin, founder of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, a rights watchdog had been known as a critic of successive governments.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has expressed condolence over the death of human rights advocate and author to Woldemariam's family and all Ethiopians at large.

In 2005, Professor Mesfin 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.

Following the dispute, senior leaders of the party including Mesfin were accused by the government of unconstitutional attempts at power grab and were jailed.

Professor Mesfin left the party later and described his involvement in party politics as a mistake, saying that he was more comfortable in critiquing those in power than seeking to be in power.

A geography professor by training, he wrote more than a dozen books on politics, history and culture. He was also a prolific commentator on newspapers and later on social media.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has described him as “a champion of peaceful struggle” and someone “who stood only for what he believed.

Professor Mesfin 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.

Mesfin endeavored for 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, Mesfin seamlessly transitioned to the online world. In the past ten years alone, he published several books in Amharic on Ethiopian politics including Mekshef ende Ethiopia.

Professor Woldemariam, 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.

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