ASA Condemns the Destruction of Educational Institutions in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia

The African Studies Association (ASA), founded in 1957 in the United States, is the largest membership organization of scholars about Africa. The Association condemns the destruction of educational institutions, particularly institutions of higher education, and the reported killing and jailing of university faculty in the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Since the conflict broke out in November 2020, at least two Universities in the region have been completely looted and shut down, their students scattered, and their libraries and physical infrastructure destroyed. This includes Axum University and Adigrat University. In addition, there has been damage to the main university in the regional capital, Mekelle University, which has had to absorb many of the displaced faculty and students. Other reports point to the widespread destruction and looting of primary and secondary schools throughout Tigray and the use of schools as places for housing soldiers or internally displaced persons.

The ASA stands in solidarity with academic colleagues in Ethiopia, especially those in the Tigray region, and calls on the Ethiopian authorities to support the faculty, staff, and students at these institutions so that they may safely resume their studies and access the materials they need. The Association calls on governments and international donors, multilateral organizations, foundations and other sources to support efforts to create a safe space for learning, to help rebuild these crucial institutions of higher education, and assist in humanitarian and development work in the Tigray region and all of Ethiopia.

Sources:

Eyder Peralta, 2021 “Ethiopia to Hold critical elections in a period of Political Turmoil,” NPR Weekend Edition, June 5, 2021.

Human Rights Watch, 2021, “Ethiopia: Tigray Schools Occupied, Looted,” May 28, 2021.

J. Nyssen, E. Negash, J. Deckers, 2021, “Status of the Tigray Universities (Ethiopia) after five months of war.” https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349750000 Updated on 28/3/2021

Tghat.com list of destruction