FREEDOM 4 ALL ETHIOPIANS

FREEDOM,DEMOCRACY.JUSTICE.AND UNITY FOR ALL ETHIOPIANS …by DANIEL TESFAYE

Archive for the month “December, 2015”

ፕሮፌሰር ብርሃኑ ነጋ ባቀረቡት ጥሪ ኢትዮጵያውያን ቅድሚያ ሰጥተው ሊተገበራቸው የሚገቡ ስድስት ተግራት

Dec20,2015

አርበኞች ግንቦት 7 በሚከተሉት ስድስት ነጥቦች ዙርያ የተቀናጀ ትግል እንዲካሄድ ለመላው የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ የትግል ጥሪ ያደርጋል።

1. በኦሮሚያና በአማራ ክልሎች እየተካሄደ ያለው ትግል ከአሁኑ በተሻለ ተጠናክሮ እንዲቀጥል! ለዚህም በነኝህ አካባቢዎች ያለው የነኝህ ማህበረሰብ አባላት ብቻ ሳይሆን ባካባቢዎቹ የሚገኙ ሌሎች ኢትዮጵያውያን ትግሉን በስፋት እንዲቀላቀሉ እንጠይቃለን! በትግሉ ሂደትም በአሮሞና በአማራ ሕዝብ መካከል የትግል አጋርነትና የግብ ተመሳሳይነት መኖሩን ማጉላት ይገባናል። በአሁኑ ሰዓት ግፉና ስቃዩ እጅግ ለበረታበት የኦሮሞ ሕዝብ “አለንልህ፣ ከጎንህ ነን” ማለትና በርግጥም ከጎኑ ተሰልፎ መገኘት ይኖርብናል።

2. በሌሎች ክልሎች ያሉ ኢትዮጵያውያን ትግሉን በያሉበት ባስቸኳይ እንዲቀላቀሉ ጥሪ እናደርጋለን! ሌሎች ክልሎችና አካባቢዎች የሚያቀርቧቸው ጥያቄዎች በየአካባቢያቸው ባሉ የአስተዳደር በደሎችና የነጻነት ፍላጎት ላይ ያተኮሩ እንዲሆን ማድረግ ይገባል፤ ሆኖም ግን ለአካባቢያዊ ችግሮች ዘላቂ መፍትሄ ማግኘት የሚቻለው የአገራችን የፓለቲካ ሥርዓቱ ሲለወጥ ብቻ መሆኑ በትግሉ ሂደት ማሳየት ይጠበቅብናል!

3. የኢትዮጵያ መከላከያና ፖሊስ ሰራዊት እንዲሁም በያካባቢው ስርዓቱን እንዲያገለግሉ የተመለመሉ ሚሊሺያዎች ከኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ አብራክ የወጡ፤ ራሳቸውም የወያኔ አገዛዝ ሰላባ የሆኑ መሆኑን ሁሌም ማስታወስ ይገባል። አርበኞች ግንቦት 7 ይህ የኢትዮጵያ ሰራዊት በወንድሞቹ፣ እህቶቹና ወላጆቹ ላይ እንይተኩስ ይልቁንም አፈሙዙን በዚህ እኩይ ስርዓት ላይ እንዲያዞር በደተደጋጋሚ ጥሪ አድርጓል፤ አሁንም በዚህ ባስራ አንደኛው ሰዓት ይህንን ህዝባዊ ጥሪ በድጋሚ እናደርጋለን! በትግሉ ውስጥ የምትሳተፉ ኢትዮጵያውያን ሁሉ ይህንን ጥሪ በየትግሉ አደባባይ ማስተጋባት፤ በጎናችን ለምናገኘው ጎረቤታችን፤ ዘመዳችን ወይንም ጓደኛችን ለሆነ የዚህ ያፈና መዋቅር አባል ሁሉ በተደጋጋሚ መንገር አንርሳ!

4. ለኦህዴድ፣ ብአዴን፣ ደህዴድና ህወሓት መካከለኛና አነስተኛ ካድሬዎች እንዲሁም ዝቅተኛ የመንግስት ባለስልጣናት ለሆናችሁ ሁሉ! እናንተ ዛሬ ከሕዝብ ትግል ጎን ቆማችሁ ራሳቸሁንም ሆነ አገራችሁን መታደግ የምትችሉበት ወቅት መሆኑን እወቁ። ዛሬ የሕዝብን ጥሪ ሳትሰሙ ሥርዓቱን ለመታደግ ግፍ መፈፀማቸሁን ከቀጠላችሁ ነገ ዘራፊ አለቆቻቸሁ የዘረፉትን ለመብላት ሲሮጡ እናንተን የማያስጥሏችሁ መሆኑን መረዳት ለራሳችሁም ሆነ ለቤተሰባችሁ ዘለቄታዊ ጥቅም ይበጃል። አሁኑኑ ሰልፋችሁን አሳምሩ! ነገ አብሮአችሁ ከሚኖረው ህዝብ ጋር አትጣሉ! በትግሉ ውስጥ የምትሳተፉ ኢትዮጵያውያንም ከሕዝብ ትግል ጎን ለመቆም ለሚፈልጉ ለነኝህ ወገኖች መንገዱን አመቻቹላቸው!

5. ደም እየበዛ ሲሄድ ሀሞት እየመረረ እንደሚሄድ የኢህአዴግ ከፍተኛ ባለስልጣኖች ጊዜው ሳይመሽ ቢገነዘቡት ይበጃቸዋል! የኢህአዴግ ባለሥልጣናት አገራችን መመለሻ የሌለው ቀውስ ውስጥ ከመግባቷ በፊት እና የዘረፉትን ንብረት በሰላም ለመብላት በፍጹም የማይችሉበት ሁኔታ ከመፈጠሩ በፊት እየሄዱበት ያለውን የእውር ድንብር መንገዳቸውን ቆም ብለው እንዲያስቡ እንመክራቸዋለን! ለሀገራችን ችግሮች ፖለቲካዊ መፍትሄ ለመስጠት ወደ እውነተኛ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ሥርዓት የሚያሻግር ሁሉንም ያሳተፈ ድርድር አሁኑኑ ቢጀምሩ ለራሳቸውም ላገሪቱም እንደሚበጅ ልናሳስባቸው እንወዳለን! ይህን ለማድረግ ደግሞ በቅድሚያ ሰላማዊ ሰዎች መግደልና ማፈንን በአስቸኳይ እንዲያቆሙ፤ የፓለቲካ እስረኞችን በሙሉ ባስቸኳይ እንዲፈቱና አፋኝ ህጎችን በመሰረዝ ለእንዲህ አይነት ሰላማዊ ሽግግር ዝግጁ መሆናቸውን በተግባር እንዲያሳዩ እንጠይቃቸዋለን!

6. በመጨረሻም በመሳሪያም ሆነ በሌላ መንገድ ለዴሞክራሲያዊ ሥርዓት የሚታገሉ ኃይሎች ሁሉ እንዲሰባሰቡና ይህን ስርዓት ለማንበርከክም ሆነ በይበልጥም ከዚህ ስርዓት ባሻገር የጋራ ቤታችን የሆነችውን ኢትዮጵያ አገራችንን በእውነተኛ እኩልነት፤ በፍትህና በዴሞክራሲያዊ ስርዓት እንደገና የምትታነጽበትን መንገድ በጋራ ለመተለም ባስቸኳይ ውይይት እንዲጀመር ጥሪ እናደርጋለን!

posted by daniel tesfaye

Ethiopian mother’s anger at murdered son in student protests

DEC18,2015

BBC) — “Yeshi” is still trying to come to terms with the trauma of discovering the body of her son being carried through the streets of the Ethiopian city of Ambo.

protesters-funeral-ambo

A 27-year-old rickshaw driver, he had been caught up in deadly protests between the police and students in the city in April.

They were demonstrating about plans to extend the administrative control of the capital, Addis Ababa, into Oromia state.

Oromia is the country’s largest region and completely surrounds Addis Ababa – and some people feared they would be forced off their land and lose their regional and cultural identity if the plans went ahead.

The government says the “Masterplan”, as it is known, would allow them to better extend city services to rural areas.

However for Yeshi – who asked for her name and those of her family to be changed – the heavy-handed response by the security forces that saw her son shot in the head is hard to fathom.

She had come across a group of people carrying a body and overheard people saying it was her son, Tamiru.

Unable to recognise his features as they were too disfigured, she identified him by his “clothes and shoes”.

“I think they were killing people on purpose,” she told the BBC, saying that Tamiru was not directly involved in any trouble that day.

Five other young people were also killed with bullet wounds to the head, she says.

Red roses

One of her other surviving sons, Ibsa, said he was unable to believe that his brother was dead and asked for the coffin to be opened.

“His head was blackened and torn apart. The bullet had gone through his temple. You couldn’t identify him by his face but I recognised his body,” he said.

“He was a very good boy, level-headed. He did well in his studies. Nobody has a bad word to say about him… But what good is that now?”

Three months later it was a very different atmosphere in Ambo, which is about 125km (77 miles) west of the capital and was the focal point of the protests.

When the BBC team visited, it was in the middle of the graduation season and the area around the university was full of graduates in their gowns and caps ahead of their big ceremony.

Students were posing for photographs with armfuls of red roses wrapped in cellophane and the mood was one of celebration.

Yet this was the same place – the main entrance to Ambo University – where witnesses say the protesters and police clashed in April.

The government says that 17 lives were lost in the violence. Opposition, human rights groups and some eyewitnesses say the figure is much higher.

‘Rabble rousers’

Ethiopia’s Information Minister Redwan Hussein old the BBC the dead included five students and 12 civilians and strongly denies that the government was responsible for any of the violence.

The protest was hijacked by “rabble rousers” with a political agenda – “hell-bent on raising havoc”, he said.

“They were shooting, they had guns – ammunitions,” Mr Redwan said.

“They were attacking and fighting so it was not through the government shooting, or the police shooting that people died.”

He dismissed accusations from international human rights organisations that police and government security forces shot at unarmed protesters.

“Whatever they said was not actually founded on facts.”

The students, the minister added, had a right to ask questions about the “Masterplan” and that the government was “ready to discuss” it with them.

Mathewos Asfaw, general manager of the “Masterplan”, told the BBC that the demonstrators had completely misunderstood the project and that no-one would be forced off their land.

“The plan doesn’t have a single concept or idea of expansion, because it’s not possible to expand the city of Addis beyond the current boundary and jurisdiction.”

Ethiopia is no stranger to accusations of intolerance when dealing with its critics and opposition groups.

The UN Human Rights Council recently recommended that the country improve on its media freedom and pay more attention to human rights.

Mr Redwan says he has “no objection” to the recommendations as they are already “being implemented”.

This is no consolation for Yeshi, who remains dressed in traditional mourning clothes.

“I’m very sad – until now I’m not right in the head. I’m walking around like a zombie. I’m not OK.”

posted by Daniel tesfaye

TPLF attacked Amhara’s in Ameya Woreda to distract the Oromo protest

Dec 14,2015

Ethiopia Oromo Protests Trigger Fatal Ethnic Clashes, Group Says

by William Davison

Protests by Ethiopia’s largest community against a plan to integrate the capital, Addis Ababa, with surrounding towns have spiraled into fatal clashes between ethnic groups over land in one district, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council said.

ambo-protest

Conflict between Oromo and Amhara people in Ameya Woreda of Oromia state flared on Dec. 12 after three weeks of protest across the region over the Addis Ababa plan, according to Betsate Terefe, executive director of the Addis Ababa-based group.

“Real ethnic conflict broke out and is under way,” he said in an e-mailed statement on Sunday. “Many houses burned, people killed and wounded.”

Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic federation whose constitution gives groups the right to self-government and protects their language and culture. Oromo protesters say the plan for the capital will lead to a further loss of autonomy and marginalization for Oromo living on the outskirts of the capital. The government says integrated development will benefit everyone.

Security forces mostly left Ameya when they faced resistance after fatally shooting an Oromo farmer on Sunday, said Tesfaye Hirtasa, who’s visiting his family in the district.

Razed, Fleeing

Five people have died in the ethnic clashes, more than 10 properties have been razed and families are fleeing the fighting, he said by phone on Monday. “Everybody is full of fear, no one has security. Those who have armaments are protecting their house from any attack. Others are moving in the forest, others are taking their property to other places,” Tesfaye said. “Things are not stable, we are totally in danger.”

The situation in Ameya is because government agents incited ethnic violence to distract from the Oromo protest movement, said Bekele Gerba, the deputy leader of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress. More than 40 people have been killed by security forces during three weeks of protests, including over the last three days in the West Shewa zone that contains Ameya district, he said by phone from Addis Ababa on Monday.

Communications Minister Getachew Reda said a minimum of five people have died during the demonstrations, which he said started off largely peaceful and have degenerated into extremist Oromo groups trying to incite further unrest by attacking Amhara, officials, factories and government installations.

“The security forces will be taking very responsible and measured steps to neutralize the armed gangs which are now terrorizing the people in the region in those localities,” he said by phone from the capital on Monday.

posted by daniel tesfaye

Full Text] Prof. Berhanu Nega’s Address to the European Parliament

Des6,2015

Ethiopia as an Anchor for Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa and

The Need for a Broad-based Transitional Political Order

by Berhanu Nega

Prof. Berhanu Nega's European Parliament Speech

Honorable chair, and distinguished members of the European parliament

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Allow me to first express my sincere condolences to the families of the victims, to the People of France and the European Community in general for the most recent senseless and barbaric terrorist crime committed against innocent people in Paris on the evening of November 6. In my view, such acts are not only contrary to the basic norms of civilized behavior and devoid of rudimentary moral principles, they can never be an acceptable instrument to achieve any objective, no matter how noble the cause.

Madam Chair,

Let me also thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts about the current situation in Ethiopia and its potential implications for the stability of the Horn of Africa.

Madam Chair,

Currently, the livelihood and peace of the people in the horn of Africa and its surrounding region are in a very precarious condition. This situation is caused by long simmering conflicts and crises. Among the openly known major crises are:

  • The havoc being created by the terrorist group Al-Shabaab
  • The conflict in Southern Sudan
  • The Ethio-Eritrean no-war, no-peace stand off
  • The increasing and incessant migration of the youth
  • The exposure of people to recurrent famine

Even as the international community and the people of the region make efforts to manage some of these crises, close observers of the situation see more latent internal dynamics in some of the major countries of the region that can perpetuate and worsen these crises.

The current situation in Syria and Libya demonstrates the consequences of ignoring the underlying causes and drivers of instability for a long time while only focusing on the symptoms as episodes of bursts of crises in societies that are dominated by dictatorial and sectarian regimes. Crises in such situations can easily degenerate into a conflict between narrow-based repressive regimes and simmering extreme societal forces that harbor uncompromising religious or ethnic dispositions. We all know now in conflicts like this, the search for a durable solution becomes extremely difficult as the internal middle ground and moderate forces would be supplanted by extreme forces. As an Ethiopian, I would like to focus the attention of this audience and the international community in general on the internal conditions of Ethiopia which are the sources of instability and civil strife with impending grave consequences to the peace and stability of the country and the region.

Ethiopia was a Monarchy until 1974. The inability of the monarchy to effect desperately needed reforms led to the 1974 popular apprising. From 1974 to 1991 the country was ruled by a military junta called Dergue that refused to find a peaceful negotiated solution to the country’s various problems and conflicts choosing instead brute force to deal with essentially manageable political problems. As a result the country went through a traumatic experience of civil wars in different parts of the country. The single minority ethnic-based Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) that later took power after the Dergue has been in power for the past 24 years. Since 1991, the country is ruled as a one-party state under a facade of multi-party system. Ethiopians are once again faced with a regime that is led by a group of people who deny them basic human and political rights and who are determined to block a democratic process. In addition to denying people their fundamental freedoms, the regime is determined to perpetuate it’s monopoly of political power in order to transfer the country’s economic resources to a handful of people from a minority ethnic group and those politically connected to the ruling party. For illustration purposes I will enumerate below only five of the major manifestations of the tyrannical rule of the narrow-based TPLF/EPDRF regime in order to help you appreciate why the people of Ethiopia from all major ethnic and religious groups have started to resist it in an open rebellion:

  1. Ethiopians are suffering under an entrenched ethnic minority rule: The TPLF ethnocratic regime, under the guise of a coalition known as the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), controls all aspects of life in the country by installing its ethnic representatives as heads of major institutions across the entire state apparatus. Ethiopians and international observers including those who bend backwards to “apologize” for the regime know very well that ethnic Tigrayans who are members of the TPLF control the army, security apparatus, telecoms , foreign affairs, and other nerve centers of the Ethiopian state machinery. The TPLF party pits different ethnic and religious groups against one another simply to perpetuate its minority rule and monopoly on resources. The regime has no respect for religious freedom. It has created havoc in both the Orthodox Christian church and the Muslim mosques by interfering in the internal administration of purely religious institutions through its political cadres. Religious leaders who resist this interference are exiled (as the Orthodox Christian leaders) and imprisoned (as the Muslim community leaders). Ethnic minority domination is damaging the harmony of the people. In a diverse multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Ethiopia, the harmony of the people is essential for their peaceful co-existence. When a handful of elites from a single minority ethnic group control political power, economic resources and social institutions of a country; it’s a sure thing that a disenfranchised and powerless majority will use all means at its disposal to be free. In the case of my country, Ethiopia, unless something is done by all stakeholders, and very soon, the struggle for freedom may take the country and the region to civil strife, instability, and even worse scenarios.
  1. Ethiopians are subjected to oppression with impunity: In the last twenty four years, the people have been appealing to the regime to respect the fundamental political and civil liberties of the citizenry. The response by the government has been more repression and more violence. Today, there is no independent media and freedom of expression to speak of in the country due to the wide spread practice of jailing and forcing publishers and reporters in to exile. Today, there are no functioning independent political parties due to the practice of systematic disruption of their normal day-to-day activities, jailing of opposition leaders or forcing them out of their country. Currently, major prisons in Ethiopia are filled with hundreds of well-known political, civic organization and religious leaders as well as journalists under trumped-up terrorism charges. These prisoners are tortured to falsely confess and incriminate themselves and their colleagues. Victims of the regime have no recourse to justice since the judiciary is made subservient to the political manipulation of the ruling TPLF/EPRDF Coalition.

Independent media is not tolerated in Ethiopia. The International Federation of Journalists has declared the regime to be one of the worst offenders of press freedom. Television, Internet, and major print media are owned and operated by the government. The state is the only Internet Service Provider and uses Chinese, Italian and British Internet hacking and intercepting technology vendors that are contracted to spy, trap and intimidate the regime’s critics and opponents not only at home but abroad including in Europe and the US. The regime also spends precious resources on signal jamming technology to stop the free flow of satellite and short wave radio broadcasts from abroad. Foreign based and independently operated radio and TV broadcasts by the Ethiopian Diaspora such as Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio are jammed on regular basis as are broadcasts in Ethiopian languages by Voice of America and Deutsche Welle Radio.

  1. The livelihood of Ethiopians is at the mercy of the corrupt economic grip of the regime: Like in all totalitarian regimes, the Ethiopian government owns all land in the country, including urban land, and thus through land allocation determines who builds residential and commercial real estate in towns and cities. The industrial and service sector of the economy is also heavily controlled by the state. What is left of the state’s economic holdings is dominated by the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), a conglomerate serving as a front economic organization for the ruling TPLF party while other allied parties engage in relatively smaller but equally corrupt and disruptive activities in their domain regions. Key beneficiaries from this economy are the well placed military and political leaders and their cronies while the millions of ruling party members and the alarmingly expanding security personnel get the crumbs left from the ruling elites. Urban poverty as well as income inequality has been increasing dramatically and the relatively small “middle class” is all but wiped out through a policy induced inflation. What we have in urban Ethiopia now is a small fabulously wealthy and corrupt class of government and ruling party officials along with their crony “business partners” on the one hand, and the great majority of the destitute urban population on the other. While these corrupt elites send roughly 3 billion dollars a year in the form of capital flight (partly money sent from western taxpayers in the form of foreign aid) the honest and unconnected business people see their businesses slowly die for lack of capital and foreign exchange as well as corruption induced red tape. The inability to generate jobs for the urban population including those who supposedly graduate from universities along with the suffocating political environment is one of the main reasons for the massive influx of migrants from Ethiopia to all corners of the world including Europe.
  1. Despite the regime’s claims to political legitimacy through its “developmental” achievements, particularly in the rural economy where over 80% of the population reside (which by the way has always been supported by dubious and manufactured statistics, and unfortunately uncritically endorsed by western governments and institutions), the economy’s deep structural weaknesses and the failed economic policies pursued by the regime over the past 24 years are now exposed for all to see by the tragic ongoing famine in the country. An economic policy centered around a suffocating land and agrarian policy whose primary objective is control of the peasantry and leaves no room for human creativity and imagination, combined with drought has led to the potential starvation of over 15 million Ethiopians unless the west urgently delivers massive food aid. According to recent media reports, (of course denied by the regime) children have already started dying in some of the affected regions.

Madam Chair,

As you well know, drought does not kill people, bad policy and unaccountable governance does. As the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen in his study of famines around the world amply demonstrated, people die of starvation in periods of drought in countries that are not free, where there is no free media and where there is no government accountable to the public. During the 2005 elections, the only period where there was a meaningful political debate in the country, the party I belonged to then, the CUD, warned against the futility of the ADLI policy pursued by the ruling party. Our argument was that the rural population, whose means of livelihood stems from an increasingly unsustainable traditional small holder farming whose land size and fertility of land is diminishing every year owing to a suffocating land policy that provides no security of tenure along with demographic pressure and environmentally unsustainable practices cannot support the population in periods of environmental distress. We argued instead for a revision of the land policy as well as a deliberate policy to transform the agricultural economy. We also suggested that no government that sees its people starve to death on its watch deserve to be in power even for a day. Of course, this ruling party never listens to anything that it feels would loosen its stranglehold over political power. What is sickening to watch in this most tragic period in our country is the total incompetence and irresponsible nature of the regime in its response to this tragedy. More interested in saving face rather than saving lives, the regime is still in denial about the human suffering that is caused by the famine declaring that they have everything under control and don’t even need outside help to avert an incoming disaster. “We are food self-sufficient” declared the Prime Minister only a few months ago. Even worse, it is forcing people to contribute money to the tune of 300 million birr to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the founding of one of the parties in the ruling coalition after spending an inordinate amount of money earlier in the year to celebrate the birth day of the real ruling party the TPLF. The sheer obliviousness of the regime and their complete detachment from reality is manifested in a recent interview by an official who proudly informs its subjects on local radio that the government is now building a number of luxury villas (with swimming pools and all) costing an average of 25 million birr per villa to house retiring government officials. This, Madam chair, is happening in a country where 15 million of its citizens are facing death from starvation and in one of the supposed miracle economies of the continent!

  1. Ethiopians have given up on elections as they have become meaningless rituals: There have been five national elections under the TPLF. The first election in 1995 resulted in 3 opposition members being elected to a parliament that has a total of 548 MPs. In the second election of 2000, the number for the opposition members rose to 27. In the 2005 general election, the only election that was meaningfully contested, which was monitored by the Carter Center, European Union (led by you, Madam Gomes) and other observers, Ethiopians turned out in a record numbers and voted for their representatives. The results were rigged; and when voters protested the blatant usurpation of their power peacefully, they were gunned down in broad daylight (the government’s official count was 193 dead). Following this election, opposition party leaders, (including myself, as you know) civic society leaders, journalists and ordinary citizens were thrown in jail for almost two years along with some 40,000 young people deemed to be opponents of the regime. The government appointed election commission ruled the ruling party a winner. In 2010, in the fourth national election, only 1 opposition member was able to slip in to the parliament. In the most recent election that was held in May 2015, the regime claimed to have won 100% of the parliamentary seats. No outside observers other than from the African Union were allowed to monitor the election. The paradox here is that, in a nation where a very large majority of the population opposes the government, no single member of the opposition is elected to the parliament. In short, the so-called multi-party system and democracy paraded by the regime to hoodwink the international community is a mockery of a democratic system as we know it. The Obama administration’s cynical and disgraceful attempt to render legitimacy to its temporary military ally against Al Shabaab in Somalia, will not alter the illegitimacy of the regime one bit in the eyes of the Ethiopian people, in the same way as putting a lipstick on a pig will not alter the nature of the pig.

Currently, despite their deep desire to lead a peaceful life, the existence of the Ethiopian people is almost on the verge of total collapse because of the low intensity rebellions and resistance bursting in various parts of the country. These rebellions are caused none other than by the tyrannical rule of the ethnocratic regime that is shattering the social fabric of the country. The predicament the Ethiopian people find themselves today is not unique in history. People in many countries, who were living under similar conditions have rightfully revolted against tyranny and are now living examples of peaceful and stable democracies.

This universal truth and natural response of the Ethiopian people against their oppressors is best captured by the founding fathers of one of the Western democracies; the American Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, it says:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Unless otherwise one maintains an inherently racist belief that we Ethiopians or Africans in general are less of human to deserve or possess this “natural endowment,” these words ring true today for the people of Ethiopia who are rising against an egregious tyrant as they were over two hundred years ago to the people of the 13 Colonies.

Madam Chair,

At this critical juncture, to facilitate the Ethiopian people’s struggle with able, responsible and effective leadership, the democratic forces in the country are coalescing under the newly formed United Movement for the Salvation of Ethiopia through Democracy (UMSED) as a beginning towards the formation of a broad movement for democracy in Ethiopia. It is not lost on the part of these democratic forces that one of the potential obstacles on the road to the Ethiopian people’s struggle for freedom and democracy is the international community’s multifaceted collaboration with the TPLF led government with cruel indifference to the prevailing corrupt and repressive political as well as the abysmal economic conditions in the country.

Following their new goal of making inroads into Africa, some countries have become major financiers of the TPLF repressive regime. This may be an expected behavior from these governments, given the nature of their political systems. However, the West’s support for the rogue dictatorial regime in Ethiopia is inconsistent with the values of freedom, justice, and democracy the West practices at home and its vital importance for a stable world order. The West led by the US has understandably declared terrorism as a menace to global peace while in a typical short-term calculus have also decided to consider dictatorial and sectarian regimes like that of Ethiopia to be “allies” in its anti-terrorism effort. As a result, the West has made the Ethiopian regime a beneficiary of its substantial financial, political, diplomatic and even military support directly emboldening it to continue its human rights abuse and repression of its own people with impunity. This policy on the part of the Western countries is short sighted, not constructive and certainly immoral.

Once again, I would like to emphasize that establishing and entrenching the Ethiopian regime by force on very narrow ethnic and exclusionary line is one of the main causes of instability in the region. Such a regime driven by its constant desire to monopolize the political power and resources of the country for a narrow-group interest and its deep insecurity is internally in continuous conflict with its citizens composed of different ethnic and religious groups. To perpetuate its rule beyond the already intolerably long 24 years, the regime continues to use scorch-earth military expeditions in the Ogaden region to the east and occasional incursions into Kenyan territory pursuing resisters from the Oromia region. Human rights groups have many times reported that ethnic minorities in the Gambella, Omo and Afar regions are being displaced from their fertile farm lands to make way for new landlords from abroad and the regime’s ethnically affiliated retired military officers. This has triggered armed resistance in these regions. The regime has also continued to pit different ethnic groups against the Amharic speaking people in the south and western parts of the country thereby driving them out from places where they have lived for generations. As the recent and ongoing bloody conflict in Northern Gonder shows, the Amhara region is in an almost open and armed rebellion. As we speak Universities in Oromia region are looking like combat zones as the government uses brute force to suppress the peaceful demands of students to stop land grab in Addis Ababa and surrounding regions.

As the international community is well aware, the regime is also externally locked in constant conflict with Eritrea in the north. This is the reason why the TPLF/EPDRF government has one of the biggest standing armies in Sub-Saharan Africa thus spending large portion of the poor country’s budget on the military while the danger of famine and lack of resources for basic needs of its population are always lurking around. While this is the true reason for the TPLF regime to build an army that is beyond the country’s legitimate security needs, it cynically uses a fraction of this army in international peace keeping missions in order to get acquiescence from the West for its nefarious repression at home as well as use these missions as a source of hard currency income for its corrupt highest military brass. Recently, the Ethiopian government is even seen scheming to leverage its security cooperation with the West, hopefully in vain, for extending its repressive hand abroad by invoking the legitimate rebellion and resistance of Ethiopians as a terrorist act. The truth is that the Ethiopian people’s resistance is a very disciplined and well organized struggle that is focused only on a political goal of making Ethiopia a democratic country either by forcing the government to come to the table for a peaceful resolution or removing it if the government persists in blocking the natural right of the Ethiopian people for self-government. The people’s resistance movement is also very much aware of its responsibilities for the Ethiopian people, the people of the region and the international community. It is a resistance movement which is informed from the rich multi-ethnic and multi-religious tradition of Ethiopian history, international laws, morality, and norms.

In conclusion, I strongly believe that the sure and least expensive way to avert a pending crises in the largest country in the Horn of Africa is to change the political situation in Ethiopia from the narrow-based repressive and corrupt regime of TPLF/EPDRF to that of an all-inclusive and broad-based transitional order that can lead towards a truly democratic political dispensation, stability and peace in the country and consequently in the region. The TPLF/EPDRF regime must be pressured to accept this transition, and very soon, unless it wishes to lead the county and itself into unfathomably catastrophic conditions of strife and conflict in Ethiopia.

Towards this goal, I appeal to this august body, the European parliament, and of the international community to stand in solidarity with the Ethiopian people and make all possible efforts to avert the impending conflict in Ethiopia by advocating and working for broad-based and all-inclusive transitional government instead of emboldening the tyrannical and sectarian dictatorship of TPLF/EPDRF for short term gains that is neither durable nor sustainable. If you can’t help our people’s aspirations for liberty and to be ruled by a government of their choice, please, please, don’t support and finance their tormentors!

Madam Chair,

I am here to tell you in no uncertain terms that the people of Ethiopia are simply tired of this situation and will rather fight for their freedom by whatever means necessary than accept to live under such a brutalizing tyranny in the 21st Century.

It is only by having a broad based national reconciliation process, an all-inclusive transitional process, and a real and meaningful democratization of Ethiopia that the specter of conflict, instability and, yes, terrorism can be averted effectively and durably. It is only through such policy shift on the part of the European, American and other powers that lasting stability can be achieved in one of the most volatile regions of the world. Anything less, will surely serve the destabilization of Ethiopia with catastrophic consequences of turning the Horn of Africa into a hot bed of conflict, terrorism, and a plethora of human suffering and tragedies including massive forced migration.

But, Madam Chair, time is of the essence here. It is much easier to avert a catastrophe if you catch it before it happens. I believe that is the painful lesson we should be learning from Syria!!

Thank You

Posted by Daniel Tesfaye

A National Call to Defend Ethiopia’s Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity

DES2,2015

ress Statement from the Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee

Ethiopia and Sudan Border Affairs

The Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee (EBAC) was established in response to secret border negotiations between the Ethiopian government led by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the government of the Sudan that we believe would materially affect our Motherland’s territorial integrity, national independence and sovereignty and the interests of millions of Ethiopians for generations to come. In this regard, EBAC has conducted background research, mobilized tens of civic and political organizations, raised public awareness, provided press releases, transmitted official letters to the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Chairperson of the African Union, permanent members of the UN Security Council, members of the European Union, members of the Arab League, governments of Ethiopia and the Sudan and also the different governments of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, defended Ethiopia’s legitimate rights and exposed the deceitful and traitorous nature of the secret dealings orchestrated solely by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This minority ethnic group exercises singular sway within the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front that is now led by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn.

EBAC believes that Ethiopia’s borders are a consequence of enormous sacrifices in lives and material spanning hundreds of years. Successive Ethiopian governments led by Emperors Tewodros, Yohannes, Menelik and Haile Selassie and even the Socialist Military Dictatorship led by former President Mengistu Haile Mariam all had one thing in common. They defended Ethiopia’s territorial integrity and its borders with the Sudan.

On November 23, 2015, Sudan’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Osman Nafi “accused the Amhara regional government for recent skirmishes that” purportedly claimed the “lives of 25 Sudanese nationals.” He noted rightly that “This is an old problem not born yesterday. It was a matter of discussion between the two countries since the 1960s.” In fact, the problem emanated much earlier when Sudan was a British colony while Ethiopia was the only independent country in Africa.

In EBAC’s seminal letter cosponsored by 25 Ethiopian civic and political organizations to his Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations and the Chairperson of the African Union on January 10, 2014, we highlighted the legal underpinning of the border to which successive Ethiopian governments have adhered without compromising an inch of Ethiopian territory. None of Ethiopia’s previous governments recognized the boundary and border drawn by the British in the early 19th century. As we stated in our letter then and state again, The respective territorial limits of both countries were defined by the Anglo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1902 at the turn of the last century when Great Britain was the colonial power administering the Sudan. As is customary in international practice in delimiting national boundaries, the treaty provided for the setting up of a Joint Boundary Commission to be appointed by both sides to carry out the actual demarcation of the boundary on the ground. Upon completion of the demarcation process both parties were required to notify their citizens of the boundary as demarcated. We have insisted and continue to insist that this should occur before any binding agreement is concluded. Otherwise, it won’t be binding on Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

Despite the clear mandate of these undertakings, however, the treaty has remained a dead letter for over a century and, as a consequence, the boundary between the two countries has never been demarcated by a joint commission. Instead, contrary to both the spirit and letter of the provisions of the treaty, Great Britain appointed its own officer, Major Charles W. Gwynn, to unilaterally and arbitrarily demarcate the boundary without the knowledge and the participation of Ethiopian boundary commissioners. Ethiopians should know that the demarcation line which resulted from this high-handed exercise greatly favored the Sudan while causing Ethiopia to suffer a corresponding amount of territorial loss. It is this highhanded and arbitrary action that the TPLF led government wants to legitimize in the coming few weeks.

Notwithstanding the fact that the demarcation of the boundary by one of the Contracting Parties cannot legally bind the other, nevertheless Sudan has over the years importuned successive Ethiopian administrations to accept the validity of the unilateral demarcation undertaken by the British. Before the current government took power in Ethiopia in 1991, the consistent and unequivocal response of Ethiopian administrations has been to reject the validity of Sudan’s claims, calling instead for a negotiated settlement of the boundary on the basis of the original treaty with the full knowledge, participation and consent of peoples likely to be affected by the demarcation line. The TPLF has a treasonous track record of diminishing Ethiopia; it sponsored and facilitated the secession of Eritrea. EBAC states unequivocally that no Ethiopian regime in power has the right to cede Ethiopian territory without open discussion with the people of Ethiopia and without Parliamentary deliberations. EBAC is not aware of any government anywhere in the world that willingly, deliberately and treacherously cedes its country’s territory for which millions of lives have been lost and whose impact will be felt for generations to come. We urge all Ethiopians to reject this sinister act.

Gravely concerned about the imminent danger we foresaw coming, EBAC stated in its letter to H. E. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that the international political system grants a considerable degree of importance to rights in respect of territory. These rights are inviolable regardless of who wields power in either country. Territorial rights are principles that affect sovereignty. They have nothing to do with increase in population as the Sudanese Ambassador to Ethiopia claims. The function of a boundary between states is the attribution of territory and, thus, the extent of a state’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. When the extent and limits of a state’s territorial sovereignty are determined solely and arbitrarily by one state to the detriment of the other, however, the boundary so determined becomes an enduring source of friction, tension and war between the adjoining states. The Sudanese Ambassador is right that Ethiopians and Sudanese share a common history of peaceful coexistence. The TPLF dominated government is doing the opposite of what is in Ethiopia’s interest. It has no right to abrogate this enduring relationship for short-term political expediency.

International law is intended to anticipate and to avoid current and future conflicts. The principle that governs an international boundary is not arbitrary or capricious. Instead it provides a compelling degree of continuity and finality. This venerable principle will be respected and observed in practice by citizens concerned only if the given boundary was established in accordance with law rather than political expediency. The TPLF led regime which seized power unlawfully does not have legitimacy or legal credentials to cede Ethiopian territory and to create conditions that would trigger perpetual war in this highly volatile region. In order to avert future conflict and war, both the Sudanese and Ethiopian regimes have an obligation to abide by the Anglo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1902 and an appropriate Boundary Commission that will carry out the demarcation process. No other secret arrangement that will affect Ethiopia’s 100 million people adversely will be acceptable to us.

Ethiopians at home and abroad were stunned to hear that, following the Sudanese Ambassador’s protest concerning so called Ethiopian incursions into Sudanese territory; Prime Minister Hailemariam announced that his government is ready and willing to demarcate the border within the next few weeks. If this announcement takes legal effect, the TPLF dominated regime of Prime Minister Hailemariam will cede huge swathes of our ancestral lands to the Sudan; despite the fact that Sudanese authorities are not even asking for such a transaction. This is the reason why we call it treason. It is unprecedented in the annals of Ethiopia’s long history. It must be rejected by all Ethiopians at home and abroad. Members of the EPRDF and Ethiopia’s Defense Forces must reject the deal. It is their responsibility to defend Ethiopia’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and national honor. No party or defense force with honor and dignity trades its own territory for money or political power and stay.

EBAC wishes to remind the global community that Ethiopians received this announcement with utter shock, resentment and anger. Neither the current generation of Ethiopians nor those of future generations will allow the deal to stand. It won’t be binding. In fact, such action constitutes a serious violation of the treaty regime set up at the turn of the century and holds for naught the sacrifices of past generations of Ethiopians to preserve the territorial integrity of their country. We repeat our relentless pleas that hundreds of thousands of our people will be forced to lose their homes, farms and investments if the border deal is implemented without the participation and consent of the Ethiopian people.

EBAC believes that the lead responsibility to defend and preserve Ethiopia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty reside in the Ethiopian people. We have full confidence that they will hence reject this underhanded scheme by a manipulative and cunning regime. EBAC is not unmindful that members of the United Nations and the African Union and their sitting governments like those of the Sudan and Ethiopia are clothed with a certain degree of legitimacy in the eyes of international law and politics, even as such legitimacy deprives ordinary citizens adversely affected by the decisions of those who rule them legal standing and recourse in such matters. And yet the actions of these officials who purport to speak in their behalf are bereft of any legitimacy in the eyes of the very populace whose interests they claim to represent. This is particularly true when it concerns highly sensitive and emotionally charged questions of territorial sovereignty.

EBAC states unequivocally that the border deal of today hatched by unelected elites in Ethiopia will be the ticking bomb of tomorrow. Since the TPLF/EPRDF has neither support in law nor received the consent of the Ethiopian people, it will fester as a major source of friction and tension between the brotherly peoples of Ethiopia and the Sudan. The Horn of Africa region does not need an additional source of insecurity and instability beyond those that already plague the region.

Accordingly, EBAC wishes to urge Ethiopians everywhere to make their voices heard.

1. We urge Ethiopia’s Defense Forces to defend the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of their country and to stand by the side of the Ethiopian people.

2. We urge all Ethiopians to send emails and faxes to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the Chairperson of the African Union atChairperson@Africa-Union.org to the Sudanese Ambassador to the U.S., fax number 202-667-2406, and to Ethiopian political, civic and faith groups across the globe.

3. We call on all Ethiopian media outlets to give prominence to this unfortunate development of betrayal.

4. We urge Ethiopian academics and commentators to raise awareness concerning the dire consequences of the demarcation that will take place without public debate and Parliamentary approval.

5. We call on all Ethiopians to hold public demonstrations to forestall the scheme. We call on Ethiopia’s Parliament to hold a hearing at the earliest possible time.

EBAC goes on record asserting our right to territorial sovereignty as defined by the 1902 treaty – and not by any other agreement that is reached behind the back of the Ethiopian people.

We go on record that we will not honor any boundary that results from the agreement of an unelected government that is devoid of any support or legitimacy among its own people.

Finally, EBAC should like to go on record that the current extremely narrowly- based regime of Ethiopia and the similarly discredited government of the Sudan are grasping at straws by using the border deal as a way of ensuring their political survival by a mutual exchange of promises foreswearing the use of their territories by organized movements seeking to overthrow their respective governments. This survival instinct underlies the parties’ desire to make a border deal and to keep it from public scrutiny without consideration of its impact on the people of Ethiopia. We say to the Ethiopian people that this heinous act should not be carried-out at their expense.

Ethiopia’s Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity will be defended by her finest sons and daughters!

Long Live Ethiopia!

Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee (EBAC)
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 9536 Columbus, OH 43209 USA
E-mail: ethiopianborders@gmail.com

posted by daniel tesfaye

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