Ethiopien - Verdenssamfundet opfordres til at suspendere alt samarbejde med Meles og hans regime!
Urgent Call on the AU, USA, Britain, EU and All Other bodies to Suspend the Meles Regime and Impose Sanctions Until it Stops the Large Scale Repression in Ethiopia
Network of Ethiopian Scholars (NES) - Scandinavian Chapter
Press Release No. 19,
8. december 2005
Oppositionsbevægelser i Ethiopien opfordrer nu det internatioale samfund om at presse Meles regime til at ophøre med den voldelige undertrykkelse mod regimets politiske modstandere. Den Afrikanske Union, USA og EU opfordres til at indføre sanktioner for at sætte magt bag kravet.
Since the May 15, 2005 election, there has been a historic clash between the yearning by the Ethiopian people to found a democratic order, and the derailment of this democratic process by the incumbent regime in order to perpetuate its tyrannical rule through large-scale repression in Ethiopia. The world must take a stand on this clash between the aspiration of the Ethiopian people to make a new history of democracy or be forced by repression to remain in the old history of dictatorship. The stakes are so high, the decision is so urgent, and the risk of letting repression decide the destiny of this old country to slide into a tyrannical order so great, that all in the whole wide world that have power to contribute to name, shame and expel the Meles dictatorship must do it by acting right now. Tomorrow is too late. Words are not enough. Empathy is not enough. Only action and deed count to make a difference.
2. Continuous History of human Rights Violations
For seventeen years prior to coming to power and fourteen years after they acquired power, Meles and his inner circle that rule Ethiopia today have been routinely violating human rights. Human Rights Watch reported in 1991 that they came to power with a record of deliberate and systematic violation of human rights behind them. Meles has never stopped the violation of human rights. If anything the scale and scope of the violations has increased in magnitude, cruelty and perfidy. As before, after Meles came to power he has continued the practice of violating human rights on a large scale. The local Human Rights Council have recorded over 3,500 confirmed deaths due to human rights violations by the regime from 1991- 2003. This figure relates only to the reported cases. There are clearly many cases of unreported violations probably as large as the number reported, if not more. Add to this the nearly 100,000 people that died in a war with Eritrea that both sides and the world in general called the "stupidest war" fought somewhat ominously between 1998-2000 at the most inauspicious time of the human race's entry into the 21st century. (1)
Consider also the escalating human rights violations after 2003 until now. What is striking with the new violations is the degree of cruelty is way beyond anything seen before. The current rulers anticipate and target a population group such as what they designate as unemployed youth, go after them, beat them, shoot them and cart them away into malaria infested areas like the Dedessa concentration camp and expose them to health risks. As a consequence thousands of young people, students and urban youth have contracted malaria. The rulers have also used the same blade to shave a number of people exposing them again to HIV/AIDS health hazards. The number altogether can run roughly into nearly 200,000 people killed. There is a case here probably to answer for crime against humanity.
3. Strange…the Donors Have Always Looked Away?
What is remarkable is that all along Meles and his group have been welcomed by the donor community in both periods despite the fact the donors knew perfectly well their crimes. The donors too congratulated the Ethiopian people for their historic turn out in the May 15, 2005 election. And when election fraud became evident and key independent observers corroborated it, the donors went ahead any way supporting a regime with a trademark and history of routine human rights violations.
The regime launched the election in May to buy "respectability" more from the donors to attract further aid than from any commitment to human rights, democracy and good government. Meles entered the election certain that he would win. According to the opposition and a number of independent observers, he lost the election with a landslide. He panicked at this news, and true to form, resorted to unleashing force and violence on the people and nation. The June 8 massacre ensued with thousands jailed, and a reported 46 people killed. Meles's drama to play the democratic game came with the huge cost in blood, tears and sorrow to the Ethiopian people.
Mr. Blair invited Meles to Gleneagles at the G8 giving him clear signal that large scale repression against the Ethiopian people, whose only crime is to say no to a system of fascistic governance that very much mirrors the now defunct apartheid rule in South Africa, is okayed. If it were Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Blair will have been hollering mad to get him evicted. But Meles has been selected arbitrarily as a poster boy, a darling who has been invited to the Blair Commission for Africa on dubious criteria. By comparison what has Mugabe done? We have not heard he sent 50,000 youth into a malaria-infested concentration camp? Has Mr. Blair seen the report on Channel 4 on the gross violations of human rights that is going on right now in Ethiopia? What is the reason for the double standard by Mr. Blair?
4. The Leopard Never Changes its spot.
Meles was at the head of a circle of narrow-minded persons who have a record of despising the Ethiopian people or Ethiopia as a nation first in order to rule it over. They came with an ideology of nihilism by propagating Ethiopia is a "fiction", and calling further Ethiopia as an 'invention.' At a time when the Ethiopian people manifested a collective will in the May 2005 election, Meles and his inner group ruling over Ethiopia were enraged. The election brought the idea of Ethiopia as a nation, people and country to the forefront. This went against everything they fought for. They plotted to repulse the democratic movement with force and violence. 90 percent of the voting population turned out to vote-indeed making this a founding democratic moment in the nation's long history. It was the first of its kind. How selfish and cruel can Meles and his clan be then, when they stole the historic moment and imposed blood, tears and tyranny on the nation? Imagine if in 1994 the South African victory over apartheid has gone off the rails. It would have been an unimaginable loss. In the great historical clash between democracy and tyranny, Meles chose squarely to impose tyranny over the people. What has not changed is his authoritarian constant behaviour. Indeed the leopard never changes its spot, whatever the pretences may be.
5. Why Poachers of Democracy will not be its Gamekeepers?
Meles and his inner core of Tigrayan narrow ethnicists came to power with a dual strategy. Their Manifesto in 1976 called either to form a separate greater Tigray state by encroaching and stealing real estate from the neighbouring provinces of Wollo and Gondar or to control the rest of Ethiopia in order to protect what they regarded Tigrayan interests. When they found it was feasible for them to control the rest of Ethiopia, they decided to use the other strategy to rule over the rest of Ethiopia. The latter strategy has nothing to do with any commitment to see Ethiopia develop and enshrine enduring democratic institutions. No, they tried to control Ethiopia and impose power and resource allocation by using the pernicious discriminatory criteria of ethnicism. At the heart and soul of their current cruel repression lies the politics of ethnicism where what is clearly emerging is that the landslide defeat that they forcibly reversed is related to their deep fear that they will lose control over Ethiopia in order to continue their discriminatory policies for the favoured region one of Tigray against regions with large populations in Ethiopia. The very nemesis of democracy in Ethiopia is the ethnic politics of controlling the majority in order to discriminate for the minority rule in Ethiopia. There is now open discussion that Meles & Co would prefer more to destroy Ethiopia than give up power through the free votes of freely expressing citizens. At the heart of the gross human rights violations is this bankrupt ethnic-racist policy of a minority regime afraid of the majority's assertion of the right to self-govern by using the opportunities open through the first multiparty election ever held in the country's history? It is an axiomatic law that any fair and free election in Ethiopia would never bring to power Meles, his group or party. No wonder 75 % of his cabinet were deselected in this highly rigged May, 2005 election. Imagine if the election has been free and fair, all would not be elected.
When Meles repeats ad nauseam Ethiopia cannot survive without 'democracy', he means precisely he cannot survive in power without entrenching ethnic discrimination for the allocation of resources and political power in Ethiopia. He means basically the status quo must not be changed. Over the last 14 years using bountiful donor money of over 20 billion dollars, he has managed to create a dense clientele ethnic based ruling class drawn from many ethnic groups who have developed a distinct interest and are now willing to destroy the country rather than lose their privileged existence. Despite this massive donor aid, those needing food- aid have grown from 7 million to 12 million. Poverty production is taking place and not poverty alleviation. Donor money has created scoundrels that are anti- Ethiopian with contempt for the poor. We have no leaders committed to serve the people with public ethics, sense and policy.
Meles is now regretting the day when he bowed to the pressure of donors to accept multiparty election and international observers. Meles was also attracted by the large budget to fund the election that he received from donors. It is not any commitment derived from principle that made him to permit a relatively open multi-party election in the pre May 15,2005 period. It is the expectation of no threat to winning hands down by playing the multi-party election game that tempted him. And when the losses became big, he went for criminalising the opposition and engineered the crises by accusing the opposition of fomenting "insurrection" and committing " treason.
Ethiopia has never seen such a reasonable opposition so committed to human rights, democracy, and good governance. The opposition tried to accommodate the wishes of the regime. They called for dialogue; for a national transitional Government, for an election recount or re-run of the election, and even abandoned all these and simply asked for fair procedures in parliament. The regime refused and preferred to criminalise the opposition and arrest them when the latter was left with no option but to call the people to use the right of assembly enshrined in the constitution.
6. The Essence of Minority Control is Discrimination and Dictatorship not Democracy
Unless the international community understands the context and logic of how a minority wants to control a majority by creating discrimination and division as a means of rule, they would never be able to understand Meles and his choices more to murder than take the open invitation of the people and opposition to enter into dialogue. What emerges is that Meles is not prepared to play by a rule of the normal democratic game that would make him exit graciously in the event of massive electoral defeat that he faced on May 15, 2005. Only when the rule of the game makes him a winner is he prepared to accept democracy, not when he loses. This makes it crystal clear that this regime would not submit to the will of the people now or for the foreseeable future. There is nothing more that Meles fears than the fear that his minority rule would succumb to the rule of the majority if Meles and his core allies do not divide by using a frame and blame tactic to keep apart particularly the majority population of the Amara and Oromo people. Nor does Meles ever want to see any alliance between the parties representing these communities. He knows unity of these two communities will spell the end of his minority rule as the majority vote of the South African black population ended the white minority regime in that country. The repeated threat of Rwanda genocide in Ethiopia logically follows from Meles's own preference to create a bloodbath rather than lose power through democratic election. Meles has been clear all along the alternative to losing power for him is violence against the opposition and the people. He is not prepared to sacrifice minority rule and ethnic discrimination of resource and political allocation for the sake of democracy. If the world quickly wakes up to his devious strategy and stops funding his now evident large-scale repression by evicting him from all the global organisations that he managed to sneak into, the better would be the investment for human rights and democracy in Ethiopia.
7. Concluding Remark
We call on the African Union, The UN, the EU, USA and UK and others in the world community to support the Ethiopian people in their struggle for human rights, democracy and good government. And the international community must realise that Meles the poacher cannot be the gamekeeper of human rights, democracy, rule of law and good Government. We call the international community to recommend the strict application of targeted punitive measures and sanctions against the regime's key figures, freezing their back accounts, putting travel bans and assisting with the struggle to bring them to justice for gross violations of human rights. All opposition leaders and all other prisoners must be released immediately and unconditionally. All opposition leaders, Prof. Mesfin, Dr. Berhanu, Engineer Hailu, Ms. Birtukan, Dr. Befekadu, Dr Yakob etc., and all other prisoners must be released immediately and unconditionally. Some of the opposition leaders are sick and they need care in a hospital and not torture in jail. They have been on a hunger strike to let the world know why they should be in prison for the 'crime' of calling the regime to enter dialogue to respect human rights, rule of law, democracy and good government. All the Ethiopian Gulags from Dedessa to other parts of the country must be removed. All freedoms must be respected. The donors must stop supplying billions to Meles until he releases all prisoners and accounts for all the murdered, the unlawfully jailed and the bullied. The world must stand up and be counted and support Ethiopia and the people at this critical hour in the country's long history.
Footnote (1): We made a Millennium Year resolution for Ethiopia: Millennium transitions are historic turning points that test the human mettle. "The unfortunate lose out and the fortunate make something of such turning points. Those who make it read in the change from one to two a new tone heralding and pressing forward to enlist hope to change the temper of the times and lives to come. A hopeful tone encourages an optimist temper and can feed imagination. A negative tone feeds pessimism and cynicism and generates a pessimist temper, which destroys imagination. A society, which is driven by lack of imagination, is as good as dead. Danger concentrates when imagination dies. To enter the millennium through war is ominous, may the country, the people and nation overcome the despair of war and poverty and work for peace, infinite well being of the disempowered majority and the development and structural transformation of the people, country and nation in the next 100 years" On the Millennium Year Resolution for Ethiopia from Mammo Muchie.
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