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Ethiopien - Opfordring til det internationale samfund om at implementere EU's resolution!

Call on the International Community to Implement the EU Parliament Resolution on the Post-Election Crises in Ethiopia Immediately!

Network of Ethiopian Scholars (NES) - Scandinavian Chapter
Press Release No. 22,
12. januar 2006

EU vedtog en resolution den 13. oktober 2005, der havde til formål at lægge pres på Ethiopiens premierminister Meles Zenawi og hans regering, for at få dem til at afstå fra og ophøre med at forfølge og ydmyge medlemmer af oppositionen. Derudover blev parterne opfordret til at genoptage deres forhandlinger. Regeringen blev udpeget som den part, der var ansvarlig for sammenbruddet i de tidligere forhandlinger. Regeringens reagerede ved at rette hårde angreb mod EU for at blande sig i Ethiopiens indre politiske anliggender, og resolutionen mindskede ikke undertrykkelsen af oppositionen. Network of Ethiopian Scholars (NES) opfordrer til at anvende resolutionen til at øge presset mod Meles Zenawi og hans regering og USA opfordres til ikke at indgå i ukritiske fredsforhandlinger med Ethiopiens ulegitime regering som nu rasler voldsomt med sablerne og truer med krig mod Eritrea, først og fremmest for at trække fokus væk fra de voldsomme krænkelser af menneskerettighederne, der finder sted over for alle oppositionsgrupper. Læs vurderingen fra Network of Ethiopian Scholars (NES) af, hvad EUs resolution efter deres opfattelse bør anvendes til, af såvel EU som USA.

"I entered parliament having been elected as an independent candidate. I thought and hoped there would be a chance to raise and debate substantive issues that matter most to the people. I expected to air them fully in the parliament and transmit my concerns to the public through the media. But currently what is happening in parliament is that we, non-EPRDF parliament members, are blocked. We are not allowed to propose motions and raise issues for discussion. We cannot put issues on the agenda. We are not given enough time to make our different voices and opinions to be heard. We have no opportunity to transmit our views to the people through mass media. Taken together, the parliamentary working procedure is wholly non-accommodative and uninviting"
     Dr. Negasso Gidada, Ex-President of Ethiopia,
     VOA (Voice of America), 11 January 2006, (translated by NES)

1. The Unjust and Illegal Imprisonment of Opposition leaders

As the interview above fully attests the current parliament is filled with a ruling party majority that is afraid of a few independent voices that had the illusion of using the parliament as a platform to voice the concerns they care about. As it is becoming clearly evident, the ruling party controls the parliamentary procedure and freezes out any dissident voices. They cannot propose a motion. They are not allowed to put issues on the parliamentary agenda. Their voices cannot be heard. It is as good as being imprisoned in parliament. Why they stay there when they recognise all these restrictions and oppressions to function with effectiveness is indeed inexplicable.

(Left): A huge opposition rally (1.2 million people) last May 08, 2005 in Addis Ababa in Support of the Opposition, CUD. (Right): Troops ordered by the prime minister to intimidate, arrest, and kill people in June 8, 2005 popular protest. - Caption and photo montage: Ethiomedia, Photo: Courtesy of Andrew Heavens
What the perspicacious leadership of the opposition that finally had the courage to boycott the current parliament feared most was exactly what Dr. Gidada found out by joining parliament. Unless the parliamentary procedures were designed to accommodate a range of different views, the opposition leaders who have been thrown into jail rightly believed that they would not be able to represent the people who voted for them. Rather than joining the stillborn parliament, they chose to struggle to reform it to conform to universal democratic norms.

Not only are the voices of those independent opposition elected persons ignored and un-listened to, but even more worryingly, the people who voted for them are being beaten, jailed and even killed in various parts of the country. We have heard reports of repression against the people that voted for the opposition. The regime has thus not only criminalised dissent, but also those who voted for the opposition.

Ethiopia today has been controlled by unscrupulous men who control a parliament that is illegal, a Government that is not legitimate, a court that is into more drama and theatre than observing law and protecting the presumption of innocence until one is proven guilty; indeed a court that is denying the right of bail to popularly elected political leaders by attempting to violently reduce them into criminals whilst the truth lies in the fact that the regime is locking them because of its lack of democratic toleration of difference. The only appropriate designation of regime action is that it is the one that is committing the crime it is accusing of the jailed opposition leaders of. It is crystal clear that the imprisonment of those who wished to highlight the injustice of the election that produced an illegal parliament and an illegitimate Government is itself highly unjust, illegal immoral and disingenuous.

2. The Significance of the EU Parliament Resolution on the post- Election Ethiopian Crises

We found the EU resolution on the post-election crises in Ethiopia significant because the EU parliament tries to promote values of human rights, democratic governance and rule of law by condemning those with consistency that violate the peoples trust, voice and votes. We hope the other bodies of the EU such as the commissions and the council would take the unanimous resolution with one abstention by the parliament on the post- Ethiopian election crises and implement expeditiously and scrupulously the key and significant recommendations made by the parliament:
  1. Suspend the budget substitution fund for the regime
  2. Apply targeted travel and other bans on the regime's inner cabinet and the formal cabinet
  3. Press the international community especially the USA and the UN to form an international independent inquiry into the entire situation that brought about the post-election killings, brutality and cruelties
  4. Condemn strongly by isolating the regime for criminalising dissent and continuing to violate its own constitution by keeping opposition leaders in jail
  5. Use every diplomatic avenue to show what the regime is doing by jailing elected leaders of opposition parties, journalists and others is illegal, unjust and cannot be tolerated in international public life
  6. Implement the suspension of the illegal regime in Ethiopia from all-important international councils.
We would like the USA Government to go beyond seeing the post-election crises as if the culprit-the illegal regime, and the opposition, that have steadfastly stood for human rights, democracy are on a par. They are not. The regime must be confronted with the fact that it is both illegal and unjust and is accused for vote tampering and the muzzling of democratic voice expression. The opposition that has been falsely accused of 'treason' and 'genocide' is being criminalised for the expression of dissatisfaction with the way the election has been mishandled.

We call on the Government of the USA and its various branches such as the Congress, the Senate, the State Department and the other relevant agencies to follow the EU Parliament's persistence to promote value based governance based on human rights, democracy, public ethics and the rule of law in order to promote long-lasting global security. Support to dictatorship by sacrificing human rights will not promote lasting security to the USA or the world. The sooner the USA acts together with consistency with those like the EU parliament that connect the realisation of true security with the preservation of human rights and democracy, the better and the sooner the world would be safe from terrorism and other scourges that have marred no end the much expected post-cold war peace, stability and development based on justice, human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

3. Sustainable Peace with Eritrea with the democratic transition in Ethiopia!

We have heard reports that the USA Government has decided to send its Assistant Secretary Frazer and General Fulford to mediate the dispute over the border demarcation issue between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The bottom line regarding this war is this: if Meles was prepared as he did to make a deal with the Eritrean leadership by signing the Algiers agreement, there was no reason in the first place for him not to have acted to forestall the war all together by entering into mediation and talks with the same leadership prior to the war. What was the reason for rushing into this war? What are the hard gains and losses from this war? The only spectacular result of this two-year war is that firstly it was one of or perhaps the most stupid wars in the annals of world history. Secondly it resulted in nearly an estimated 100,000 lives dead along with those who were displaced and the ugly manifestation of ethnic cleansing that it occasioned.

We would like to bring to the attention of the USA Government that the human rights activist leaders who are now in jail have stood steadfastly and consistently in opposition to the 1998-2000 war. This is a historically and internationally recocognised fact. Such principled leaders as Emeritus Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam highlighted with high principle and high ethics pointing to the massive human rights violations that the war created. They stood firmly against the massive violations of human rights by using the principle of opposing the war and recognition that the interest of the people in Eritrea and Ethiopia is not war but peace. They stood firmly behind the people and not war or the warmongers and were horrified especially by the human rights violations from the hideous practice of ethnic cleansing regardless of who perpetrated this crime against the people.

When the USA Government tries to assume the role of brokering 'peace' between the Government of Eritrea and the Meles regime, we would like it to recognise that the latter has formed an unjust and illegal Government. It has no moral or legal right to keep the duly and legally elected leaders in jail and try to impose an illegal peace. The Ethiopian people are right to think and believe that the first order of business is to get their illegally and unjustly incarcerated leaders to be released. Only a nationally legitimate Government can make peace and not an illegal regime that has stolen the votes of the people. Ultimately the Eritrean- Ethiopian predicament will be solved based on the expressed will of the people on both sides with free deliberation and peaceful and democratic engagement. Any other backhanded deal is likely to unravel sooner or later. This is something that both the Eritrean leadership and the Meles regime may not be aware of. We trust the US Government would not wish to impose temporary deals that are doomed to fail on the people of Ethiopia. The most urgent task is to release the prisoners in Ethiopia and help stimulate the democratic process and not suppress democracy and subordinate in the interest of brokering peace that would probably evaporate sooner or later.

4. Concluding Remark

We say the first order of business is to restore the badly mauled election in Ethiopia in order to bring the much anticipated democratic transition in the country and settle the Eritrean -Ethiopian conflict peacefully and democratically based on the will of the people on both sides. We call on the international community to act and guide their foreign policy on Ethiopia with values of human rights and democracy in order to establish an enduring security architecture in the volatile Horn of Africa region.

Underlying the disorder of present day world politics is the rupturing of establishing lasting peace and security in the world from the diffusion and spread of universal values of democracy, human rights, accountable, transparent and people- empowering governance, and the rule of law. After the end of the cold war, there was a historical opportunity to bridge and align the establishment of lasting peace and security with the consistent and principled promotion of the rule of values of human rights, democracy and citizen empowering and legally protecting rights. We hope the international community will not tolerate abusive dictators because of their putative role in the fight of terror and ignore the jailed elected democrats.

We call on the USA Government and its various branches to take heed of the EU parliament and condemn rather than support the regime that puts into jail elected leaders, kill their people and cart away tens of thousands of youth into concentration camps. We call on the USA to recognise that the regime in Ethiopia has unjustly and illegally incarcerated the elected opposition leadership and accused them of false and trumped up- charges. We call on the USA Government to impose strict sanctions against such illegal behaviour and not reward it with 600 million dollars that could be used to escalate the repression of the people. We call on the USA Government to review its aid to the regime and find ways of reaching the Ethiopian people by finding alternative ways of disbursing the support of the American people to their fellow Ethiopian people. We call on the USA Government to apply the principle of protection of human rights and democracy as the surest way of promoting security in Ethiopia, Africa and indeed throughout the world. In the end it is democracy and freedom and not dictatorship that is a friend of national and human security.

© 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. 16.1.2006