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Ethiopien - Indtrængende opfordring til at standse al bistand til Meles' regime!

Denounce, NOT resource the Brutal Dictatorship of Ethiopia: A Renewed Call on the International Community to Stop Aid to the Meles Regime

Network of Ethiopian Scholars (NES) - Scandinavian Chapter
Press Release No. 23,
5. februar 2006

Ethiopiens regering kalder landet demokratisk, men ikke desto mindre har regimet frataget oppositionen alle fundamentale parlamentariske rettigheder og derefter buret stort set hele oppositionen inde da de dristede sig til at reagere mod regimets måder at forvalte den ethiopiske variant af demokrati på. Reaktionerne fra Europa og USA har bl.a. været omdirigering af bistandsaktiviteterne, så disse ikke længere blev forvaltet af regeringsorganer. Dette har Meles Zenawi og hans regering reageret på ved at vende kritikken rundt, og ensidigt totalt afvise samtlige udenlandske kritikpunkter som fuldstændig usande. Demokratiet bekymrer ikke længere Meles Zenawi, og det er ifølge Network of Ethiopian Scolars i Skandinavien af afgørende betydning at al bistand til Meles Zenawis regime indstilles huirtigst muligt, samt at beslutningerne fra den tidligere vedtagne EU-resolution gennemføres snarest muligt og helst omgående.

        "I fear God; I do not fear the current regime in Ethiopia"
        By an Ethiopian in the epiphany celebration that Meles turned into chaos
        by ordering the shooting of people accompanying the' Holy Tabot'
        (Replica of the Arc of the Covenant)

1. Why the call to Stop Donor Aid to the Meles Regime Now?

The Meles regime has locked up the entire opposition leadership. This is the only regime in the 21st century after an election that has done that. No other African country that we are aware of has committed such gross crimes as Meles did today. Even by what people often say, i.e., by African standards, Meles comes sharply as markedly and characteristically brutish and murderous. All democrats and republicans from every hemisphere in this planet can only deal with this outrage and horror from this regime with one word: utter and unconditional condemnation. They must stand up and be counted in denouncing such behaviour and not buy into all sorts of flimsy excuses to resource the criminal regime's plan to extend its perfidious repression.

No regime in Africa has taken a pre-emptive brutal measure to herd thousands of young people, criminalise them and put them in make shift concentration camps, exposing them to the elements, diseases and brutalities by the regime's special forces. This again must be denounced and not condoned by any democrat in the world. No regime has terrorised the rural population and used cynically donor money to subdue the same population that it still keeps treating with contempt and arrogance.

We call on all the leaders throughout the world who say and believe in values of human rights and democracy to denounce the Meles regime, isolate and ostracise it. Nothing else makes sense now than a total denunciation of this regime. It deserves not invitation but denunciation. For all democrats to accord this regime the usual diplomatic courtesy, the regime has to show with action that it has begun to change its behaviour. The yardstick of any sign of change is when at the very minimum the entire elected opposition leadership that is now in jail are released. The ball is entirely in the regime's court now. It has put illegally and unjustly in its jails people who should not be there at all. We reiterate our earlier calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the elected leadership, the elected Mayor of Addis Ababa, journalists, civil society workers such as Ato Daniel of Action Aid, and the youth in the urban and rural areas.

2. The Regime cares more over loss of control of donor aid than promoting democracy!

The Meles regime worries more about donor aid not flowing into its coffers than democracy being infused deeply in the veins and arteries of Ethiopian society. The idea of a possible sanction that might not make it possible to control the distribution of donor aid has been unsettling to it. Meles has begun to brag at one time that he has the economy that can cope without budget support, and when he realises that he does not have the economy to cope berates donors for a' breach of trust.'

He accuses Ethiopian citizens who have strongly stood against donor budget support to his government as if they are against support reaching the Ethiopian people and those who need assistance. Nothing is further from the truth than this openly violent lie. On the contrary what those at home and abroad are saying are the following:

Donor support directly to the people is to be encouraged more than donor budget support to the regime. We are saying switch the support from the regime to civil society and the grass roots communities, self-help associations and faith-based development orientated associations. Ethiopia has innumerable networks of traditional and community organisations. Donor money must flow directly to the people and their community organisation not to a corrupt ethnic cadre system that has been destroying the lives of ordinary Ethiopians from the central, regional, woreda, municipal and kebele levels... That is what we are saying. Stop budget support. Switch it and pass it directly to the people. It is better that the people are allowed this support and see what they decide to do with it for their communities than give it to the regime organs from the local to the central level with the hazard that the resources will be used against the peoples genuine interest to improve their collective livelihood and human security. Giving resources to the brutal and devious regime is as good as throwing it to the black hole of corruption and repression. Resources that are sent directly to the people have a good chance that they probably be used for productive and community improvement and development purposes.

The donors, like the British minister of International Development, claim that the regime has the organisation and the communities do not. It is actually the opposite. The communities left free from the heavy handed ethnically biased and brutal cadres are more likely to be capable of using the resources with prudence and integrity. The donors should find and can find a way to the communities to empower them. Nothing empowers as community self- empowerment.

No one should underestimate the ruling party control of the state from the localities to the federal level. The whole administration is infected with a cadre- control system that is very hard to inspect and open to accountability and transparency. The party-state order is fused from the top to the bottom and vice versa, making this one of the most mafia -like party-state despotic powers capable of wrecking havoc on society, democracy institution building and the protection of human rights and essential freedoms. It is no good to inscribe rights and freedoms in the constitution if there is a fused party-state authoritarian power that can freely abuse, misuse, and misinterpret to perpetuate its abuse of power. The donors will get more value for money if they directly resource the communities, the schools, the clinics, the water and sanitation systems and the infrastructure.

There is no doubt that what is given to the regime will be used to repress the people who fear God, but say they fear the regime no more. The world knows now that Meles has unleashed his special forces to commit massacres and forced removals of the youth and to hope that resources in the regime's hands will reach the people is to hope in vain and illusion. What is there from preventing the regime from using donor-fed resources to escalate its repression of the youth, farmers and other citizens across the country, and indeed elsewhere?

Above all the regime has shown itself to be an enemy of human rights, democracy, and rule of law and has violated the enlightened concept of development cooperation enshrined in article 96 of the ACP-EU Cotonu agreement. It has tried to unwind the clock of history back, taking Africa into the history of tyranny that all in the world wished Africa has come out finally for good. The Meles regime must be punished not only for its violations of rule of law, constitutionally confirmed rights of speech, press and assembly, human rights and democracy, but also for the way it responded when EU parliamentarians, the British Secretary of International Development and others who advise it to mend its destructive actions against the people and democracy. The regime responds by attacking the donors rather than taking seriously the concerns they raised of the rampant abuse. Meles has been reported to the elected leaders in prison that he will see to it that the call by outside pressure to get them released remains inconsequential. The regime's beggar status and its overweening arrogance do not make sense. But its arrogance must be punished. Meles has ignored and berated the opposition by ridiculing the call we all made for the international community to put pressure on it to release the unjustly and illegally jailed opposition leadership. We reiterate our demand: No release of the popularly elected opposition leadership including the elected mayor of Addis Ababa, no donor budget support!

3. Is the call for stopping Donor Aid to the Meles Regime 'Evil'?

Meles calls the people and parties that stand for democracy, and against repression 'evil'. What is evil is not to redirect the money from those who kill to those who may potentially save lives by putting the money for the use by the poor. What is evil is to kill Ethiopia's democracy, to change the celebration of people into mourning and sorrow, blood and tears. What Meles epitomises is the evil of dictatorship, intrigue, vicious brutality the likes of which is only known as the worst both in Ethiopian and other African history.

By accusing others of 'evil' because they demanded that donors should not provide money and guns to repress opposition and the people who wished nothing but to see their country develop into a flourishing democracy, it exposes the depravity and greed of the regime. This is a regime that shows no memory of the harm it did to the nation by spoiling the first ever democratic election with a turn out of 90 % of the electorate in recorded history. How can a regime which stands accused in front of history of the evil of dashing the democratic hopes of a nation, can claim to call those who genuinely wish a governance of values underscored with deep human rights, democracy and rule of law and constitutionally confirmed expression of rights to free speech, press, association and assembly to be institutionalised as a norm in the country evil?.

All the donors must recognise that dictators that suppress the people, that also violate their own laws, and kill unarmed ordinary citizens, would not blink from stealing donor money and using it as an instrument of repression. Donors cannot apply double standard. If they stand for human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good government, they must expel the Meles regime from all the forums where it behaves as if it is a respectable partner playing by the rules of decorum and democracy, and deny it donor money that it has been using, amongst other things, for repression. This is the only logical behaviour that makes sense given the arrogant defilement of Ethiopia's democratic process by the regime. Until the regime is forced by a combined pressure from all sides to create the environment for the full respect of human rights, good government, democratic freedom, and stop violating the rule of law and blame others for the crime it is itself supremely guilty of, the call for all bilateral, multilateral and other aid that go directly to the regime must stop without any hesitation. We say:


4. Call on the International Community

The international community should live by what it preaches. There must not be bifurcation between word and deed. Standing for human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good government empowers the disempowered majority. Standing to save the neck of Meles and the coterie around him is so disempowering to the people who demonstrated such spirit, interest and yearning for democracy. The international community should not look away at the injustices that spoiled their democratic celebration. The international community cannot condone electoral theft and see itself in the mirror of history. It must reject the regime's now openly known electoral theft and support the people who are struggling to rectify injustice and the abuse and arrogance of donor inflated local regime power. Not to make a stand when there is clear abuse now has long term dangers. Consistency of word and action is not a lot to ask given the enormity of the official crime in mishandling so grotesquely the trust of 90 % of those who vote in the country that cared to turn out and elect their representatives.

We say the international community must stand for human rights. They must uphold without fail democracy, justice, and rule of law and good government with consistency. They must not take, as an Ethiopian human right lawyer from Belgium said, poachers of democracy and human rights as gatekeepers of human rights and democracy. The regime in Ethiopia has been engaged in gross human rights violations and continues to do so. It needs to be brought to justice.

It is thus critically important that the international community stand with the 90 % of those who voted whose vote has not been properly accounted by the regime that panicked and reversed the election after the May 15, 2005 election, and denounce the regime and isolate it for its fraudulent behaviour and all the subsequent harm it caused the Ethiopian people. It is important that the international community through the UN Security Council put the regime into notice that its systematic and continuous abuse of human rights makes it liable for proceedings of legal action for crime against humanity to be initiated.

History will be severe in its judgment of those who betrayed Ethiopian democracy when they should not let the scoundrels get away from derailing a democratic historical turning point made and achieved by the people. The judgment this time will be even more severe than when the nation alone and forlorn warned in 1934 to act against the fascist aggression of the country by fascist Mussolini, and when those who could make a difference turned away from its heroic, proud but humble plea. Today, the world must admire what the Ethiopian people did for themselves and must rebuff the current scoundrels and stop the regime from disempowering the people to continue the democratisation of society, economy and polity in Ethiopia.

5. Concluding Call

Meles is playing the lethally foolish game of deception by denying that there is a complex and serious political problem that will not easily go away unless it is solved by inviting the arrested leadership into a process of genuine dialogue based on the fair, just and constructive eight point proposal submitted by the leaders before being arrested. He wishes the world to believe all is hanky dory. He claims any defects in democratic institution building are being fixed with the consultants hired by the regime from Canada, Britain and other places. He plans to hire more of these, as if the problem is one of lack of expertise. What is lacking is the political will to solve problems, and the violent reduction of political problems into legal technicalities. No consultant can fix the mistrust the people harbour to the regime. No consultant can fix the collapse of authority the regime is facing. The people call the regime thief, thief and thief. What consultant can fix those crises of confidence the people have in those who rule them that they no longer fear or respect? No political problem can be fixed by inviting foreign consultants, paying them fat fees and asking them to write position papers. Perhaps the consultants may be used to appeal to the donors to release the budget support they are withholding. This may be the purpose for employing consultants. What the hiring of consultants demonstrates is how tenuous the grip on reality the regime of Meles Zenawi has. This regime has lost the plot completely. Meles too has become a complete and utter liability to the country. Before this regime commits more damage to the people, we call on all those who invited Meles to all the international commissions and forums to denounce his lack of seriousness and chicanery. All along he pretended and talked democracy, when in fact his true character is authoritarian and dictatorial. He deceived many people including Prime Minister Blair who seems to have now understood with whom he has been dealing.

The AU, EU, leaders of the Germany, UK, USA and others must denounce the Meles regime and Meles himself for engineering post-election crises with so many murders, jailing and large scale repressions. Meles can only be out of his mind, if he thinks the situation is normal after putting in jail the entire elected leadership of the main opposition party. We call on all of them to make it possible to create an international inquiry to demonstrate that the real culprit is the Meles regime for all the crimes against the people and the nation. We call on the international community including China to stop any budget support to the regime until the entire elected leadership is released and inquiry system is set up. We call on the international community to switch budget support denied to the regime to be given to the people, community and to support all those who are struggling for human rights and democracy genuinely in the country especially in the rural areas. It is not only budget support that the international community must deny this regime, but also the international community must insist on the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners including first and foremost the elected opposition leadership. All the provisions in the resolution of the EU Parliament must be implemented.

© Press Release No. 22 by the Network of Ethiopian Scholars (NES) - Scandinavian Chapter 12. january 2006.
Professor Mammo Muchie, Chair of NES-Scandinavian Chapter
Berhanu G. Balcha, Vice- Chair of NES-Scandinavian Chapter
Tekola Worku, Secretary of NES-Scandinavian Chapter
Contact address:
Fibigerstraede 2, 9220 Aalborg East, Denmark
Tel. +45 96 359 813 or +45 96 358 331, Fax + 45 98 153 298, mobil: +45 3112 5507
mammo@ihis.aau.dk or berhanu@ihis.aau.dk or tekola.worku@bromma.stockholm.se




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Opdateret d. 6.2.2006