12 March 2020 – Update
Canadian Humanitarian can confirm that all of our Canadian employees and volunteers from the recent Ethiopian expedition have returned to Canada. We are thrilled beyond words to see them reunited with their loved ones.
Given that there are still elements of this file that need to be completed, we have no further information at this time.
Our members will be taking this time to spend with their families and we would appreciate the media’s respect for their privacy.
04 March 2020 – Update
Canadian Humanitarian can confirm that the organization’s 10 Canadian volunteers, three Canadian staff and two Ethiopian staff that have been detained in an Ethiopian prison in Gondar since February 29th have now been released on bail.
With support of Canadian consular officials, Global Affairs Canada and legal representatives on the ground, Canadian Humanitarian can confirm that documentation has been processed and the detainees have been released on bail. At this point they are free to move within the country, but it is uncertain when Ethiopian authorities will allow their return to Canada.
“This has been deeply distressing for all of us,” said James Murphy, a brother-in-law of one of the detainees. “We are focusing all of our efforts on getting our loved ones back to Canada safely and quickly.”
A representative of Canadian Humanitarian, and consular officers, were permitted brief access to the prison during the detainment and can confirm that the detainees have received fair and humanitarian treatment in accordance with internationally recognized law.
Ethiopian authorities have suggested the detainees may need to remain in Ethiopia while an investigation is completed. The organization will be pursuing all avenues to see its employees and volunteers return home as soon a possible.
Canadian Humanitarian is a non-political organization dedicated to providing urgently needed medical and dental support, education programs, and other humanitarian needs, to Ethiopian youth. Since 2003 the organization has sent hundreds of Canadian volunteers on humanitarian trips in support of thousands of Ethiopian children. Canadian Humanitarian works with local partner communities in Ethiopia and has the support of Global Affairs Canada.
February 29, 2020
Canadian Humanitarian, a Canadian non-political humanitarian organization, can sadly confirm that we have a dedicated group of 15 medical professional volunteers, general volunteers, and Canadian Humanitarian staff members who have been detained in Ethiopia. The group that is detained consists of 10 Canadian volunteers, 3 Canadian staff members, and 2 Ethiopian staff members. As of right now they are being investigated on the allegations that they were practicing medicine without permission and had dispensed expired medication.
In collaboration with Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Embassy in Ethiopia, we are working hard to resolve this as quickly as possible, ensure the fair and humanitarian treatment of our team in accordance with internationally recognized laws, and expediate their safe return to Canada. We are hopeful that Ethiopian authorities are ensuring their humane treatment in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Just like all of our trips, our team and organization followed all necessary steps and protocols to ensure our group had all permits needed to provide medical support and care while in Ethiopia. While we cannot comment on the specifics of the expiry of the medication, we can with confidence say that all medicine and care offered by our team was safe. Our medical groups are comprised of numerous doctors and medical professionals. The care they provide in Ethiopia is the same care they would provide here in Canada. We are vigorously defending the actions and decisions of our team knowing that every decision was made by highly trained and certified Canadian medical professionals and that their mission on this trip was to provide essential medical care to the citizens of Ethiopia who need it most.
Canadian Humanitarian is non-political organization that has provided humanitarian support via educational, medical, dental, and social-emotional support to thousands of Ethiopian youth over the last 15 years. Our organization does not engage in any activity that is outside of our humanitarian efforts, political or otherwise. Our volunteer teams also follow this policy.
Since 2003, our organization has sent hundreds of Canadian volunteers on humanitarian trips to lead educational projects, provide urgently needed medical and dental support, and provide other humanitarian services. The group of volunteers currently detained are in Ethiopia to offer these services to our various local partner communities, with whom we have had long-standing, positive, and collaborative relationships for over 15 years. We trust the integrity of these positive relationships with both local and national authorities to ensure the best and quickest resolution to this situation.
To respect the privacy of our volunteers and staff, we are not releasing any more information at this time. We ask that you also respect the privacy the families of those involved and allow for our team to put all their time and energy into working on resolving this concerning issue.