SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: January 11, 2020

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Hawassa University

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Ethiopia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 11, 2020, ethnic tensions reportedly led to violent clashes among students on the campus of Hawassa University. One student was killed and several others were wounded as a result.

Violent clashes, apparently driven by tensions between the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, have erupted on a number of Ethiopian university campuses in late 2019 and early 2020. 

A disagreement between two students reportedly escalated into a lethal ethnic clash. Neither the source of the disagreement nor the identity of the student who was killed have been publicly disclosed as of this report. Police reportedly arrested around forty students who were allegedly involved in the violence.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent, ethnic clashes on campus. While students have a right to express themselves, they must do so peacefully and responsibly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, ethnic conflict and violence erodes equitable access, and undermines freedom of expression, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.