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“Russian Roulette”

Birtukan Mideksa embattled Ethiopian Party Leader “Forced Exile ” ?

 

ThumbnailETV Visit to Kalite Federal Prison – Meet Birtukan Mideksa

The Ethiopian opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa who was imprisoned for life  two times in post election riot   of 2005, and liberated two times with with so called   “dictatorial amnesty”  after recognizing the so called  ” crime committed “against the irredentist regime.

She was recently pushed to step down from the leadership of her party, Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) Party. This was done first   in a pretext to take care of her immediate family and now to pursue higher education in the US. We are hopping the truth will finally come to light once in the US. And the whole world will know the veracity about the dictatorial regime of Melese Zenawie behavior. Birtukan is not the only one after   so called «dictatorial pardon» who has been forced to exile.

ThumbnailBirtukan Mideksa Pardoned Again(English news).wmv

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Birtukan was scheduled to leave for the US on Saturday, March 19, 2011, accompanied by her daughter. She is expected to arrive first in San Francisco, California, where she has relatives, sources told Fortune.

Birtukan will head off for Maryland after spending three weeks in San Francisco, where she is expected to spend the next two to three years pursuing higher education there. In a statement she released on Friday, Birtukan asserted that she is not bowing out of politics.

“To believe that Birtukan would abandon her struggle towards building a free democracy is unthinkable,” the statement read. It was also learnt that Yilma Yifru would be mediating between the two factions that emerged within the party during her 21 months in jail.

 

ICC proved double standard & impartial, accused 6 Kenyans let Ethiopian electoral genocidal killers Run free…

Luis Moreno-Ocampo the prosecutor of ICC International Criminal Court  Charges Six Kenyan of murder, forced evictions, rape, torture and persecution. He confirmed that their actions, in more than 1,100 people being killed, 3,500 injured and more than 600,000 being displaced from their homes as far back as December 2006.  This was one year after the Ethiopian election massacre committed by Melese Zenawie’s forces but still not charged, ICC plays double standard when it comes to Ethiopia either in election or in genocide. The Ethiopian dictator has been in power for two decades by dumping votes and killing the innocent. In 2005 election the Ethiopian dictator killed 197 innocent demonstrators and jailed thousands after losing the election. He still reigns with terror and killing. He even started moving over a million inhabitants of three regions of Gambella, Ogaden and Benishengul since the inhabitants did not vote  in the last election in favor of  the dictator. For such Stalinian type mass forced inhuman deportation, the    pretext is  better services and development projects. The same method was used by the totalitarian regime of the fallen communist strong man Mengistue Haile Mariamin 1980’s.  The ecomical reason for today’s mass forced displacement in large scale is to sell their land for the international grabbers.  The Ethiopian electoral killer  Melese Zenawie stand accused of  Annuak genocide by international genocide watch  to this day , but still waiting  international arrest warrant from  Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who plays a double standard by favoring the Ethiopian killer. The Kenyan and Ethiopians blood is one and the same why to differentiate ? Such a double standard   destroys the image of such a great court of justice. The court has been accused in the past for its double standard when it comes to war crimes , but it is the first time when it comes to electoral killing in the  continent of Africa. Such impartiality made ICC  lose it’s  credibility and power vis a vis the rug dictators of  Africa.

Statement by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Kenya

ICC-CPI-20101214-PR614

As you know, tomorrow I will file two applications for summonses to appear for six individuals we believe are the most responsible for the post-election violence.

I believe summonses are sufficient to ensure the appearance of all six suspects. But as ICC Prosecutor, I am requesting that clear conditions be imposed on them, namely:

  • To frequently update the Court on all their personal contact details and whereabouts;
  • Not to make any personal contact with any of the other suspects, unless through their legal counsel to prepare their defence;
  • Not to approach any perceived victims or witnesses of crimes;
  • Not to attempt to influence or interfere with witness testimony;
  • Not to tamper with evidence or hinder the investigation;
  • Not to commit new crimes.

In addition, they must respond to all requests by ICC judges; they must attend all hearings when required, and post bond if the judges so instruct them.

These conditions are strict. They are in accordance with the Rome Statute and ICC rules.

Let me be clear.

If the suspects do not comply with the conditions set by the Chamber, I will request arrest warrants.

If there is any indication of bribes, intimidation or threats, I will request arrest warrants.

I expect the suspects to indicate to the Chamber shortly their intention to surrender voluntarily.

Statement by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Kenya

ICC-CPI-20101214-PR614

As you know, tomorrow I will file two applications for summonses to appear for six individuals we believe are the most responsible for the post-election violence.

I believe summonses are sufficient to ensure the appearance of all six suspects. But as ICC Prosecutor, I am requesting that clear conditions be imposed on them, namely:

  • To frequently update the Court on all their personal contact details and whereabouts;
  • Not to make any personal contact with any of the other suspects, unless through their legal counsel to prepare their defence;
  • Not to approach any perceived victims or witnesses of crimes;
  • Not to attempt to influence or interfere with witness testimony;
  • Not to tamper with evidence or hinder the investigation;
  • Not to commit new crimes.

In addition, they must respond to all requests by ICC judges; they must attend all hearings when required, and post bond if the judges so instruct them.

These conditions are strict. They are in accordance with the Rome Statute and ICC rules.

Let me be clear.

If the suspects do not comply with the conditions set by the Chamber, I will request arrest warrants.

If there is any indication of bribes, intimidation or threats, I will request arrest warrants.

I expect the suspects to indicate to the Chamber shortly their intention to surrender voluntarily.

Source: Office of the Prosecutor

Kenya’s post election violence: ICC Prosecutor presents cases against six individuals for crimes against humanity

ICC-OTP-20101215-PR615

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo today requested the International Criminal Court to issue summonses to appear against six Kenyan citizens to face justice for massive crimes committed during the post-election violence (PEV) in Kenya.

The Prosecutor has concluded there are reasonable grounds to believe crimes against humanity were committed, in the first Prosecution case, by:

1. William Samoei Ruto – currently: Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology (suspended), MP for Eldoret North and during the PEV, MP for Eldoret North. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters;

2. Henry Kiprono Kosgey – currently: Minister of Industrialization, MP for Tinderet Constituency, ODM Chairman and during the PEV: MP for Tinderet. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters; and

3. Joshua Arap Sang – currently Head of Operations, KASS FM and during the PEV: Radio broadcaster. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters.

And in the second Prosecution case, by:

4. Francis Kirimi Muthaura – during the PEV and to date: Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet and Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee. The Prosecution considers that he authorized the Police to use excessive force against ODM supporters and to facilitate attacks against ODM supporters.

5. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta – currently: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The Prosecution considers that during the PEV he helped to mobilize the Mungiki criminal organization to attack ODM supporters; and

6. Mohamed Hussein Ali – currently: Chief Executive of the Postal Corporation of Kenya and during the PEV he was Commissioner of the Kenya Police. The Prosecution considers that during the PEV he authorized the use of excessive force against ODM supporters and facilitated attacks against ODM supporters.

“The post election period of 2007-2008 was one of the most violent periods of the nation’s history,” said the Prosecutor.

The post election attacks left more than 1, 100 people dead, 3,500 injured and up to 600, 000 forcibly displaced. During 60 days of violence, there were hundreds of rapes, possibly more, and over 100, 000 properties were destroyed in six of Kenya’s eight provinces.

“These were not just crimes against innocent Kenyans”, said Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo. “They were crimes against humanity as a whole. By breaking the cycle of impunity for massive crimes, victims and their families can have justice. And Kenyans can pave the way to peaceful elections in 2012.”

The judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II will now review the evidence. If they determine that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the six persons named committed the alleged crimes, they will decide on the most appropriate way to ensure their appearance in Court. The Prosecution has requested Summonses to Appear.

15.12.2010 – Prosecutor’s Application Pursuant to Article 58 as to William Samoei Ruto, Henry Kiprono Kosgey and Joshua Arap Sang

15.12.2010 – Prosecutor’s Application Pursuant to Article 58 as to Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali

Summary of the Application

1. As early as December 2006, WILLIAM SAMOEI RUTO (“RUTO”) and HENRY KIPRONO KOSGEY (“KOSGEY”), prominent leaders of the Orange Democratic Movement (“ODM”) political party, began preparing a criminal plan to attack those identified as supporters of the Party of National Unity (“PNU”).[1]JOSHUA ARAP SANG (“SANG”), a prominent ODM supporter, was a crucial part of the plan, using his radio program to collect supporters and provide signals to members of the plan on when and where to attack. RUTO, KOSGEY and SANG coordinated a series of actors and institutions to establish a network, using it to implement an organizational policy to commit crimes. Their two goals were: (1) gain power in the Rift Valley Province, (“Rift Valley”) and in Kenya Central Government, (2) punish and expel from the Rift Valley those perceived to support PNU (collectively referred to as “PNU supporters”).

2. Kenyans voted in the presidential election on 27 December 2007. On 30 December 2007, the Electoral Commission of Kenya declared that Mwai Kibaki, presidential candidate for the PNU had won the election. The announcement triggered one of the most violent periods in Kenya’s history. The Prosecution will present some of the incidents, identifying those who are most responsible.

3. Thousands of members of the network (“perpetrators”) cultivated by RUTO, KOSGEY and SANG began to execute their plan by attacking PNU supporters immediately after the announcement of the presidential election results on 30 December 2007. On 30-31 December 2007, they began attacks in target locations including Turbo town, the greater Eldoret area (Huruma, Kimumu, Langas, and Yamumbi), Kapsabet town, and Nandi Hills town. They approached each location from all directions, burning down PNU supporters’ homes and businesses, killing civilians, and systematically driving them from their homes. On 1 January 2008, the church located on the Kiambaa farm cooperative was attacked and burned with more than hundred people inside. At least 17 people died. The brunt of the attacks continued into the first week of January 2008.

4. All identified attacks occurred in a uniform fashion. Perpetrators gathered at designated meeting points outside of locations selected for attack. There, they met Coordinators, who organized the perpetrators into groups with assigned tasks. Perpetrators then attacked target locations. Some perpetrators approached on foot, while others were driven or in trucks, previously arranged. SANG helped coordinate the attacks using coded language disseminated through radio broadcasts.

5. In response to RUTO, KOSGEY and SANG’s planned attacks on PNU supporters, as well as to deal with protests organized by the ODM, prominent PNU members and/or Government of Kenya officials Francis Kirimi MUTHAURA (“MUTHAURA”), Uhuru Muigai KENYATTA (“KENYATTA”), and Mohammed Hussein ALI (“ALI”) developed and executed a plan to attack perceived ODM supporters in order to keep the PNU in power.

6. First, under the authority of the National Security Advisory Committee, of which MUTHAURA and ALI were Chairman and a member, respectively, the Kenya Police in joint operations with the Administration Police (“Kenyan Police Forces”) were deployed into ODM strongholds where they used excessive force against civilian protesters in Kisumu (Kisumu District, Nyanza Province) and in Kibera (Kibera Division, Nairobi Province). As a consequence, between the end of December 2007 and the middle of January 2008, the Kenyan Police Forces indiscriminately shot at and killed more than a hundred ODM supporters in Kisumu and Kibera.

7. Second, MUTHAURA, KENYATTA and ALI also developed a different tactic to retaliate against the attacks on PNU supporters. On or about 3 January 2008, KENYATTA, as the focal point between the PNU and the criminal organization the Mungiki, facilitated a meeting with MUTHAURA, a senior Government of Kenya official, and Mungiki leaders to organize retaliatory attacks against civilian supporters of the ODM. Thereafter, MUTHAURA, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee (“NSAC”), telephoned ALI, his subordinate as head of the Kenya Police, and instructed ALI not to interfere with the movement of pro-PNU youth, including the Mungiki. KENYATTA additionally instructed the Mungiki leaders to attend a second meeting on the same day to finalize logistical and financial arrangements for the retaliatory attacks.

8. As a consequence, the Mungiki and pro-PNU youth attacked ODM civilian supporters in Nakuru (Nakuru District, Rift Valley Province) and Naivasha (Naivasha District, Rift Valley Province) during the last week of January 2008. During these attacks, the attackers identified ODM supporters by going from door to door and by setting up road blocks for intercepting vehicles, killing over 150 ODM supporters.

9. The violence resulted in more than 1,100 people dead, 3,500 injured, approximately 600,000 victims of forcible displacement, at least hundreds of victims of rape and sexual violence and more than 100,000 properties destroyed in six out of eight of Kenya’s provinces. Many women and girls perceived as supporting the ODM were raped.


[1] This is a coalition of parties including the Kenya African National Union (KANU), Ford-Kenya, Ford-People, Democratic Party and the National Alliance Party of Kenya.

Source: Office of the Prosecutor

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says that Mr Sang used his radio program  to collect supporters and provide signals to members of the plan on when and where to attack.

“Their two goals were:

(1) to gain power in the Rift Valley Province and ultimately in the Republic of Kenya, and

(2) to punish and expel from the Rift Valley those perceived to support the PNU,” Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s application says.

Immediately after President Kibaki was announced as the winner of the 2007 presidential election, Mr Moreno-Ocampo adds, thousands of members of the network put together by the three accused began to execute their plan by attacking PNU supporters.

He states that on December 30 and 31, they attacked several locations including Turbo Town, the greater Eldoret area (Huruma, Kimumu, Langas, and Yamumbi), Kapsabet Town, and Nandi Hills Town.

“They approached each location from all directions, burning down PNU supporters’ homes and businesses, killing civilians, and systematically driving them from their homes,” the application reads.

The three are accused of coordinating the burning of the Kiambaa church where at least 17 people died.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo says in his application that all the attacks occurred in a uniform fashion. The perpetrators gathered at designated meeting points outside of locations selected for attack, he says.

“There, they met coordinators, who organised the perpetrators into groups with assigned tasks. Perpetrators then attacked target locations. Some perpetrators approached on foot, while others were driven in trucks,” the prosecutor says.

He adds that Mr Sang helped coordinate the attacks using coded language disseminated through radio broadcasts.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo says that in response to the attacks by the three “prominent PNU members and/or Government of Kenya officials Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali developed and executed a plan to attack perceived ODM supporters in order to keep the PNU in power.”

He accuses the National Security Advisory Committee, which was chaired by Mr Muthaura and where Mr Ali was a member, of authorising and deploying the police into ODM strongholds.

During the operation, he adds, the officers used excessive force against civilian protesters in Kisumu and in Kibera, Nairobi.

“As a consequence, between the end of December 2007 and the middle of January 2008, the Kenyan Police Forces indiscriminately shot at and killed more than a hundred ODM supporters in Kisumu and Kibera,” the application reads.

The three are also accused of developing a different tactic to retaliate against the attacks on PNU supporters.

The application says that on or about January 3, 2008 Mr Kenyatta, as the focal point between the PNU and the Mungiki criminal organisation, facilitated a meeting with Mr Muthaura and Mungiki leaders to organise retaliatory attacks against civilian supporters of the ODM.

“Thereafter, Mr Muthaura, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee, telephoned Mr Ali, his subordinate as head of the Kenya Police, and instructed Mr Ali not to interfere with the movement of pro-PNU youths, including the Mungiki,” reads the application.

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“Complicity with a dictator never pays?”:- Critical reading of EU Report on Ethiopian Election

The European Union gave its report on Monday after delaying over 7 months. This slow movement to publish the report is seen as to lull the dictator Melese Zenawie regime and to have all the elements to its side as the proverbs says «One who laughs last laughs the best”. In the end it fire back on the reporter, Mr. Thijs Berman, a member of the European Parliament and head of Ethiopian election observer mission from Belgium.  He recently complained that his team was denied a visa by ‘unhappy’ Ethiopian authorities. The mission was supposed to officially submit its report to Ethiopian Government in Addis Ababa. However, Addis authorities are furious about the report which they have infiltrated to know the content were prouder to humiliate him by denying visa to Ethiopia where he was supposed to declare the report.

Melese Zenawie the outrageous dictator of Ethiopia who controls all power in country and heads the   Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), rugged and won 99.6 per cent in May this year election. He thought he got the European Union observer Mr. Berman under his rug. The final report he succeeded to drag it over 7 months in contradiction to 5 years earlier election EU Reporter Mrs. Ana Gonzales in 2005 did not fall under the charm of Zenawie.    Mr. Thijs Berman did not hit the Iron when it is hot as his collage Gonzales. You never make complicity with a murderous dictator like Zenawie. The Reporter would have made his report like everybody else 7 month ago. Any way late is better than never.

The long waited compromised report of the EU declared that the Ethiopia’s national elections in May were flawed. It says the electoral process was short of international standards concerning transparency, and that state resources were used in the ruling party’s campaign. The late report further affirmed that Opposition candidates also feared the consequences of their political activities.

It is the Human Rights Watch on Monday who gave the courage to  Mr. Thijs Berman  that  the long held report to come out  and  declare that  the    Ethiopia has systematically clamped down on its citizens’ right to cast ballots freely, and the government’s overwhelming victory shows how little Ethiopia allows dissent.

The whole world has seen  the electoral  game  that  the Ethiopian  electoral  field was  balanced in favor of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and allied parties won all but two of the 547 seats in parliament,  but this out right truth   took Mr. Berman to declare over  7 months.

Mr. Berman after reading the Human right watch report recognized that the local administrations that are almost entirely controlled by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front should in future have a reduced role in elections to make the process fairer if Melese did not control more than 99 percent of local administrations in the country.

Mr. Berman presented his report in Brussels after observers failed to get permission to deliver the report in Addis Ababa, said Thijs Berman, a Dutch member of the European Parliament who led a team to the Horn of Africa country in May. He declared that he had “no idea” why the report wasn’t presented in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian ruling Party EPRDF used a combination of harassment and arrests and withholding food aid and jobs to thwart the oppositions ahead of the election, Human Rights Watch, a New York- based advocacy group, said in a March 24 report entitled “One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure.”

The EU reporter saw in front of their eyes that the dictatorial regime’s   ruling party alliance won all but four of the 1,904 seats for the regional state councils in this year’s elections.

The late report was late to recognize  that  the  “Changes to the legal framework and the fragmentation, imprisonment and exile of opposition figures following disputed elections in 2005 have made it difficult for opponents of the ruling party to operate  freely in Ethiopia.”

The EU reporter which did not hit the Iron when it was  hot prefer to harness it seven month later,   declared that “the EPRDF used state resources to fund its campaign and reporting by state media ahead of the vote was biased in favor the ruling party. Freedom of assembly was sometimes not respected for opposition parties, and the volume of complaints of intimidation against the ruling party, local administrations and police was a matter of concern.”

Prof. Muse Tegegne

EU Election Observation Mission to Ethiopia 2010 PDF

Melese Zenawie Bought Vote by Food Aid in 2010 and in 1990’s came to Power by Band Aid Complicity

Melese Zenawie the genocidal dictator of Ethiopia came to power in 1991 baying arms with the money collected by Band Aid in mid 80’s. In 2010 he used famine aid money to intimidate the voters to maintain his power for life. Read here under how Band Aid tried to justify how he makes million on the back of million Ethiopian Dry Bones making discs. Bob Guldof and his group must face international investigation on his complicity with African dictator to suppress the famines. Surely he will face the international court of justice with his complicit Melese Zenawie.

Since a criminal comes back on his crime scene, Melse and Bob Guldof continue cheating the whole world. One keeps his powers the other continuing his so called “Band Aid “to perpetuate the starving millions in misery. His disc was in bankrupt in mid 80′ when band Aid ingeniously saved him rather than the dying millions supposedly helped.

Ethiopia uses aid to bribe voters – Human Rights Watch

Ethiopia: Donor Aid Supports Repression

(London) – The Ethiopian government is using development aid to suppress political dissent by conditioning access to essential government programs on support for the ruling party, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch urged foreign donors to ensure that their aid is used in an accountable and transparent manner and does not support political repression.2008_Ethiopia_AidList.jpg

The 105-page report, “Development without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia,” documents the ways in which the Ethiopian government uses donor-supported resources and aid as a tool to consolidate the power of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

“The Ethiopian government is routinely using access to aid as a weapon to control people and crush dissent,” said Rona Peligal, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “If you don’t play the ruling party’s game, you get shut out. Yet foreign donors are rewarding this behavior with ever-larger sums of development aid.”

Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest recipients of development aid, more than US$3 billion in 2008 alone. The World Bank and donor nations provide direct support to district governments in Ethiopia for basic services such as health, education, agriculture, and water, and support a “food-for-work” program for some of the country’s poorest people. The European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany are the largest bilateral donors.

Local officials routinely deny government support to opposition supporters and civil society activists, including rural residents in desperate need of food aid. Foreign aid-funded “capacity-building” programs to improve skills that would aid the country’s development are used by the government to indoctrinate school children in party ideology, intimidate teachers, and purge the civil service of people with independent political views.

Political repression was particularly pronounced during the period leading up to parliamentary elections in May 2010, in which the ruling party won 99.6 percent of the seats.

The Ethiopian government is routinely using access to aid as a weapon to control people and crush dissent. If you don’t play the ruling party’s game, you get shut out. Yet foreign donors are rewarding this behavior with ever-larger sums of development aid.(Rona Peligal, Africa director at Human Rights Watch)

Despite government restrictions that make independent research difficult, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 200 people in 53 villages across three regions of the country during a six-month investigation in 2009. The problems Human Rights Watch found were widespread: residents reported discrimination in many locations.

Farmers described being denied access to agricultural assistance, micro-loans, seeds, and fertilizers because they did not support the ruling party. As one farmer in Amhara region told Human Rights Watch, “[Village] leaders have publicly declared that they will single out opposition members, and those identified as such will be denied ‘privileges.’ By that they mean that access to fertilizers, ‘safety net’ and even emergency aid will be denied.”

Rural villagers reported that many families of opposition members were barred from participation in the food-for-work or “safety net” program, which supports 7 million of Ethiopia’s most vulnerable citizens. Scores of opposition members who were denied services by local officials throughout the country reported the same response from ruling party and government officials when they complained: “Ask your own party for help.”

Human Rights Watch also documented how high school students, teachers, and civil servants were forced to attend indoctrination sessions on ruling party ideology as part of the capacity-building program funded by foreign governments. Attendees at training sessions reported that they were intimidated and threatened if they did not join the ruling party. Superiors told teachers that ruling party membership was a condition for promotion and training opportunities. Education, especially schools and teacher training, is also heavily supported by donor funds.

“By dominating government at all levels, the ruling party controls all the aid programs,” Peligal said. “Without effective, independent monitoring, international aid will continue to be abused to consolidate a repressive single-party state.”

In 2005, the World Bank and other donors suspended direct budget support to the Ethiopian government following a post-election crackdown on demonstrators that left 200 people dead, 30,000 detained, and dozens of opposition leaders in jail. At the time, donors expressed fears of “political capture” of donor funds by the ruling party.

Yet aid was soon resumed under a new program, “Protection of Basic Services,” that channeled money directly to district governments. These district governments, like the federal administration, are under ruling party control, yet are harder to monitor and more directly involved in day-to-day repression of the population.

During this period the Ethiopian government has steadily closed political space, harassed independent journalists and civil society activists into silence or exile, and violated the rights to freedom of association and expression. A new law on civil society activity, passed in 2009, bars nongovernmental organizations from working on issues related to human rights, good governance, and conflict resolution if they receive more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources.

“The few independent organizations that monitored human rights have been eviscerated by government harassment and a pernicious new civil society law,” Peligal said. “But these groups are badly needed to ensure aid is not misused.”

As Ethiopia’s human rights situation has worsened, donors have ramped up assistance. Between 2004 and 2008, international development aid to Ethiopia doubled. According to Ethiopian government data, the country is making strong progress on reducing poverty, and donors are pleased to support Ethiopia’s progress toward the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Yet the price of that progress has been high.

When Human Rights Watch presented its findings to donor officials, many privately acknowledged the worsening human rights situation and the ruling party’s growing authoritarian rule. Donor officials from a dozen Western government agencies told Human Rights Watch that they were aware of allegations that donor-supported programs were being used for political repression, but they had no way of knowing the extent of such abuse. In Ethiopia, most monitoring of donor programs is a joint effort alongside Ethiopian government officials.

Yet few donors have been willing to raise their concerns publicly over the possible misuse of their taxpayers’ funds. In a desk study and an official response to Human Rights Watch, the donor consortium Development Assistance Group stated that their monitoring mechanisms showed that their programs were working well and that aid was not being “distorted.” But no donors have carried out credible, independent investigations into the problem.

Human Rights Watch called on donor country legislatures and audit institutions to examine development aid to Ethiopia to ensure that it is not supporting political repression.

“In their eagerness to show progress in Ethiopia, aid officials are shutting their eyes to the repression lurking behind the official statistics,” Peligal said. “Donors who finance the Ethiopian state need to wake up to the fact that some of their aid is contributing to human rights abuses.”

Background
Led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party is a coalition of ethnic-based groups that came to power in 1991 after ousting the military government of Mengistu Haile Mariam. The government passed a new constitution in 1994 that incorporated fundamental human rights standards, but in practice many of these freedoms have been increasingly restricted during its 19 years in power.

Although the ruling party introduced multiparty elections soon after it came to power in 1991, opposition political parties have faced serious obstruction to their efforts to establish offices, organize, and campaign in national and local elections.

Eight-five percent of Ethiopia’s population live in rural areas and, each year, 10 to 20 percent rely on international food relief to survive. Foreign development assistance to Ethiopia has steadily increased since the 1990s, with a temporary plateau during the two-year border war with Eritrea (1998-2000). Ethiopia is now the largest recipient of World Bank funds and foreign aid in Africa.

In 2008, total aid was US$3.3 billion. Of that, the United States contributes around $800 million, much of it in humanitarian and food aid; the European Union contributes $400 million; and the United Kingdom provides $300 million. Ethiopia is widely considered to be making good progress toward some of the UN Millennium Development Goals on reducing poverty, but much of the data originates with the government and is not independently verified.

Quotes from the Report

“There are micro-loans, which everybody goes to take out, but it is very difficult for us, [opposition] members. They say, ‘This is not from your government, it is from the government you hate. Why do you expect something from the government that you hate?'”

– A farmer from  southern Ethiopia

“Yesterday in fact the kebele [village] chairman said to me, ‘You are suffering so many problems, why don’t you write a letter of regret and join the ruling party?'”

– A farmer with a starving child from  southern Ethiopia, denied participation in the safety net food-for-work program”The safety net is used to buy loyalty to the ruling party. That is money that comes from abroad. Democracy is being compromised by money that comes from abroad. Do those people who send the money know what it is being used for? Let them know that it is being used against democracy.”

– A farmer from Amhara region”It is clear that our money is being moved into political brainwashing.”

– Consultant to a major donor, Addis Ababa”Intimidation is all over, in every area. There is politicization of housing, business, education, agriculture. Many of the people are forced or compromised to join the party because of safety net and so on, many do not have a choice – it is imposed.”

– Western donor official, Addis Ababa”Every tool at their disposal – fertilizer, loans, safety net – is being used to crush the opposition. We know this.”

– Senior Western donor official, Addis Ababa”Which state are we building and how? It could be that we are building the capacity of the state to control and repress.”

– World Bank staff member, Addis Ababa

Ethiopia used aid to bribe voters – Human Right Wach

Aid was denied to those known who belong to opposition parties, Human Rights Watch found

Ethiopia’s government has been withholding foreign aid from opposition supporters, Human Rights Watch says.

Its report urged donors to ensure their aid was distributed transparently.

Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest recipient of development aid – in 2008 international donations to the country totalled $3bn (£1.8bn).

Its government has not yet commented on the report but has rejected similar accusations in the past as “ridiculous and outrageous”.

BBC East Africa correspondent Will Ross says this leaves donors in a dilemma because they are reluctant to turn off the taps as they feel this would reverse the gains.

In May, Ethiopia’s governing party trounced the opposition in elections – only one opposition MP was elected in the 536-seat parliament.

In contrast, the opposition won more than 170 seats and swept the board in the capital, Addis Ababa in the previous election, in 2005.

However, they said they had been cheated of victory and organised street protests.

Nearly 200 opposition supporters and several policemen were killed and a comprehensive crackdown on the opposition followed, with politicians and supporters jailed.

Many analysts suggest the muzzling of the opposition was a major factor behind the governing party’s sweep to victory in May.

Our correspondent says the government has worked hard to deliver services to the population.

But Human Rights Watch accuses the donors of focusing only on the development and ignoring the repression as they continue to pour money into the country.

“If independent NGOs were allowed to work, civil society was allowed to play its role and international NGOs were allowed to distribute directly to Ethiopian citizens then you would cut out the pernicious role that the state is playing,” Mr Rawlence said.

He said that Ethiopia now was one of the most repressive societies in the world.

“People were very, very scared about talking to me – they would only do so in safe-houses,” he said.

Where Band Aid money goes

A new version of the Band Aid song Do They Know It’s Christmas? and a DVD of the Live Aid concert are expected to be big sellers in the festive season. Where is the money going?

No. The bottom line is at least £2.43 from each £3.99 CD single is going to charity, but it may rise to £3.53.

Record company Mercury and the Band Aid Trust say £1.83 goes straight to charity. Another 60p will be paid in VAT then refunded to the Trust by the government.

Record shops would normally keep a £1.10 slice. But most big chains – including HMV, Virgin Megastores, Woolworths, Tesco, WH Smith and Sainsbury’s – have agreed to give their profits to charity.

But it is not as simple as giving £1.10 back per CD. Shops have bought huge quantities from Mercury and need to sell enough to cover those costs before breaking even.

Only then would any profit go to charity – so the more copies sold, the more likelihood there is of shops making a profit, and the higher that amount is likely to be.

The other 46p in the £3.99 covers the record company’s essential costs – such as manufacturing, labels and distribution, which are all done by the company itself. Mercury is not making any profit from the CD.

But lots of people who would normally be paid have given their time and effort for free – from the singers and musicians themselves to PR people, artwork designers, shops that have done marketing activities and TV stations and magazines who have donated advertising space.

What about internet downloads and mobile phone ringtones?

The new version of Do They Know It’s Christmas? is being sold for £1.49 to download, or for £1.99 they will throw in the original 1984 version too.

But unlike CD singles, there is no manufacture and delivery process so almost every penny goes to charity. The same goes for ringtones, with telephone companies giving most proceeds to charity.

How much will be raised for charity?

If a million copies of the CD are sold, the total proceeds going to charity, including funds from downloads and ringtones, could be about £3m – depending on where they were bought.

What about the Live Aid DVD?

1. £1.83 - straight to Band Aid Trust charity 2. 60p - VAT to be given to charity by government 3. £1.10 Retailer's cut. How much goes to charity depends on the retailer and how many are sold 4. 46p - Record company costs eg manufacture, distribution

As with the single, the full price you pay does not go to charity – but it is impossible to say exactly how much does.

Live Aid

A DVD of the 1985 Live Aid concert has just been released

Warner Vision International won a bidding war for the rights to release the 1985 concert for the first time, paying an unspecified but “huge” sum in the millions, they say, to the Band Aid Trust.

On top of that, they are paying an “above-standard royalty rate” that will go up as sales increase.

Record shops and other retailers are taking some of their cut. They pay up to £27 per four-disc set and would normally keep the difference between that and the price fans pay. But shops are believed to be making an unspecified “fixed contribution” to charity for each DVD sold.

Internet retailers are the cheapest, selling the DVD for £27.99, with prices elsewhere rising to the recommended retail price of £39.99.

What will the charity money be used for?

The Band Aid Trust has been going since the original single was released, handing out $144m (£75m) to famine relief projects across Africa between January 1985 and November 2004.

Bob Geldof in Ethiopia in 1985

The Band Aid Trust has been funding projects in Africa since 1985,Bob Geldof in Ethiopia in 1985

Of the latest money raised, a Band Aid statement said: “These funds are distributed to various organisations that implement sustainable projects aimed at relieving poverty and hunger in Ethiopia and the surrounding area via a funding process.

“This involves inviting organisations to submit proposals to the trustees for consideration – those projects that meet the Trust’s objectives and the approval of the trustees are funded.

“The progress of each project is monitored by the trustees through the receipt of regular reports from each of the charity organisations funded.”

Ethiopia a land of 5 million orphans. Where is mother Ethiopia? “Child body trafficking is a mainstay in the African capital Addis Ababa “

Ethiopia a land of 5 million orphans. Where is mother Ethiopia? “Child body trafficking is a mainstay in the African capital Addis Ababa ” Prof. Muse Tegegne

Ethiopia the land of   Queen of Sheba, it was left bankrupt by years of civil war, drought, floods, famine, and disease have pushed many over 5 millions  of Ethiopian children are today motherless because their parents are either no longer living or are unable to care for them.

A number of U.S.-based adoption agencies have been authorized by the Government of Ethiopia to provide adoption services, and several others pending accreditation. The government office responsible for adoptions in Ethiopia is the Adoption Team in the Children and Youth Affairs Office (CYAO), which is under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA).   Symbolically  the fostering families  are  required  to submit post-placement reports until the child turns 18, very few are respecting them once the got the child.

Adoption from Ethiopia is open to any body while a country like thiland are banning due to chile abuse. Adoptions to both the U.S. and Canada have increased notably. In the U.S. the numbers were 1,725 in 2008, vs. 1,255 in 2007.

According to US/ Canadian agencies  “135 Ethiopian children adopted into Canada in 2007 (latest year available) represented 74 more than the year before, an increase of 121%. A Sept. 13, 2008 Toronto Star article “Doors closing on foreign adoptions” stated, “Some estimate that, because of AIDS and catastrophic drought, there may be 5 million Ethiopian orphans by 2010.”

Embracing Ethiopia – International adoption, parenting issues and 
Last year on July 4th, a little baby all the way in Ethiopia consumed our thoughts! Last year, we walked to the fireworks and talked about how next year, Mekonen would get to be with us. Crazy how a year from then has passed and for the 

“The children are beautiful. Children waiting for placement are male and female, infant to 15 years old, healthy as well as special needs. Single birth and sibling groups are available. Many children have resided in a local orphanage, community care or in the hospital of birth prior to being matched with a family. The children are tested for HIV, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis and Venereal Disease prior to being placed.”

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YOOMipSnaE

Today the  adoptions and foster  service providers in Ethiopia has greatly increased. Fews agencies comprehend  the  existing laws and inconsistent policies  among various agencies has caused confusion leading to unprecedented corruption leading to child trafficking.

Recent servant proved anomaly in the adoption policy  and its program in Ethiopia.  The government   nominaly put the follwing  non functionla policy to sell the childern of Ethiopia as a market comedity to the world:-

• Heterosexual couples (with or without children) who have been
married at least 3 years

• Those who have good medical insurance that will immediately
cover your child once he/she is adopted

• Families who have sufficient income

• Couples with a strong marriage and low divorce history

• Not more than 45 years older than the youngest child you adopt

• No history of criminal activity or incidence of child abuse


                • Adoption Advocates International
                • All God’s Children International
                • America World Adoption Association
                • Bethany Christian Services
                • Celebrate Children, Intl
                • Children’s Home Society and Family Services
                • Children’s Hope International
                • Children’s House International
                • WACAP
                • Wide Horizons for Children

Today  many foster familes are complaing the price an Ethiopian child  high in the market .

A  organizations  are set to help these familes to cover the offical price . The worst is the corrupted officals and middle men who makes  on every child. Many kids are  there on the under ground child traficing markets . Some are even sold in black market for body part  trafficking . Apart from abandoned children, there is also a steady increase in the number of Ethiopian children becoming orphans because of Aids.

There are nearly 40 agencies in Addis Ababa handling adoptions.

While we cannot change the fact that adopting internationally is expensive without any kind of adoption financial aid, we are concerned that the expenses often make adopting prohibitive for wonderful families desiring to love a child.”

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0Mrb70TzZE

In 2008, U.S. citizens adopted approximately 1,725 children from Ethiopia. Children of all ages are available for adoption including infants, sibling groups, multiples (twins and even triplets), older and special needs children, both boys and girls. These children reside in orphanages.

  • Children six months to 14 years of age.
  • Both boys and girls are available for adoption. First time parents should be flexible in regards to gender selection.
  • Children are generally healthy, but may have parasites and other treatable conditions caused due to living conditions. Children are tested – at minimum — for HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis and several other conditions. Special needs children are available.
  • Many older sibling groups are available.



 Ethiopian kids arriving to the US
Fiscal Year       Number of Immigrant Visas Issued
2009                                 2277
2008                                 1724
2007                                 1254
2006                                   731
2005                                   440
2004                                   289
2003                                   135
2002                                   105

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqELtNLEtTA

  • Adopted orphan abroad

Most of the parents are from abroad. The adoption of Ethiopian children by foreigners has increased sharply in the past few years, with thousands of parents from various parts of the Western world adopting children from this impoverished country.

Kids Care Orphanage is just one of the numerous orphanages and child care centres in the Ethiopian capital.

Mostly abandoned children and mutilated child bodies are  found in the  dark alleys of the African capital . You will  be surprised  at times even in toilets  a cry of a motherless child.

Some are licensed by the Ethiopian authorities, who claim Ethiopian orphans have a right to be adopted, but they practiced daily  sending  hundreds abroad  knowing it must be  a last resort since it is preferable for child to be brought up in their own culture. There are many  who are engaged in child traficing and body marketing too.

Very few are  orphans who merit a well  publicized adoptions, movie star Angelina Jolie adopted an Ethiopian child with the help of  a well known agency  ” Wide Horizons for Children”.

Today  many  local agencies  are are highly corrupted working cladestaily with child traficaing mafias  as a million dollar business.

Officially the process of adopting children from Ethiopia is much simpler than many other country today due to this wicked corruption.

In one of the most well-publicised adoptions, movie star Angelina Jolie adopted an Ethiopian child with the help of an agency called Wide Horizons for Children.

The  adoptive parents are asked  come personally and collect the child. This the moment  they will go to a lot  of unprecedented corruption methods and red tapes. The government has put it  mandatory the foster  the parents to stay at least two weeks in Ethiopia to study the culture. They will in the contrary have  the necessary time  to learn something about Ethiopia’s corrupted adoption and child trafficking  system. Adoption in Ethiopia has not been without international  controversy. It has been well described  as being   a center of child trafficking and body marketing flown out directely to the international Kideny and other body banks. It is a million dollar business. Many  preferred silence not to be a spot light on media and loss a lot of dollars fro the extradition of the motherless child.  Our investigation as proved that most of the adopted one have  one or two of their parents. The true orphans are lingushing in the orphanage waiting for adoption if they  do not fail in the hands of body or child  trafficking mafias those with connection or some relatives in Europe or America end up to be adopted as orphans.


[Ethiopia Adoption]

Ethiopian Child: U.S. Adoption Agency Bought Me

CBS News Investigates Serious Questions about the Legitimacy of Some Ethiopian Adoptions

(CBS) Videotapes showing poor orphans from third world countries melt the hearts of prospective parents every day in this country.

Three children, sisters from Ethiopia are shown in a video – ages, you are told, 7, 4 and 6. Their mother is dead, their father dying of AIDS. A life of prostitution is all but assured – if not adopted – saved – by a loving American family.

It was just such a pitch that spoke to Katie and Calvin Bradshaw, reports CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian. They adopted all three girls through a U.S. agency, Christian World Adoption.

“Aside from the gender of the children, everything else proved to be a complete lie,” said Katie.

In truth, the three sisters, Journee, Maree and Meya – were actually much older: 13, 6 and 11.

While their mother was dead, their father was healthy and very much alive. He was living, by local standards, a middle-class life – an extended family able to take care of the girls as middle sister Meya showed us first hand.

“My godmothers, my aunt, those are my mom’s friends, my uncles, my dad, my dad’s friends, that’s my brother,” she said.

In the last year adoptions from Ethiopia to the U.S. have skyrocketed – growing faster than any other country in the world. They have risen from 731 in 2006 to more than 2,200 last year. That’s nearly six children per day.

Now a CBS News investigation has discovered that growth has turned Ethiopia into fertile ground for child trafficking – a country in which some American agencies and their staff engage in highly questionable conduct.

Adoptive families allege that many children brought to the U.S. are not even orphans, that prospective parents are misled about a child’s health and background, that local families are recruited – and sometimes even paid – to give up their kids.

Which the Bradshaw sisters say is exactly what happened to them.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

“Your dad was paid,” Keteyian asked Meya.

“Yes,” she said.

“From Christian World Adoption,” Keteyian asked.

“Yeah,” she replied.

“For you to be adopted?”

“Yup.”

“You were sold?”

“Yeah,” she said.

Christian World Adoption is one of 70 agencies licensed to operate in Ethiopia. Beyond the alleged payment to their father, the Bradshaw sisters say they were told by local employees of Christian World they were only coming to America for an education; that they could return home when school was out. Not true. In fact it’s virtually impossible to reverse an adoption in Ethiopia.

“I thought I was going to be kind of like an exchange student,” Journee said. “Honestly, I never knew that I’m going to be here forever.”

“We have watched our kids grieve and cry and scream and melt down from the bottom of their souls over the loss of their country and their family,” Katie Bradshaw said.

A 2007 video shows Christian World representatives entering an Ethopian village and appearing to recruit children from poor villagers – an unethical practice against Ethopian law.

“If you want your child to be adopted by a family in America you may stay,” said Michelle Gardner. She spoke those words on a tape produced by Christian World for American parents seeking to adopt in Ethiopia. And now says she deeply regrets it.

“I was aware of a number of times when things were problematic,” she said. “And several families where children came over and the children didn’t understand that the adoption was permanent.”

Christian World was founded back in 1991 by Bob and Tomilee Harding. In 2008, records show, the non-profit agency took in nearly $6 million dollars – charging a fee of about $15,000 per child.

Citing ongoing litigation, the Hardings declined to speak with CBS News at their offices in Charleston, South Carolina.

One such case, filed last month, includes charges of “wrongful adoption,” “fraud” and “intentional misrepresentation.”

“How do you respond to charges that CWA knowingly deceived or misled adoptive parents through the adoption process in Ethopia?” Keteyian asked.

“Those allegations are completely unfounded,” said Curtis Bostic, attorney for CWA. He told CBS News he was prohibited by law from discussing specific adoption cases.

“I’m talking to parents who are really upset,” Keteyian said. “Who are devastated with their dealings with CWA.”

“Sometimes, people are upset when they just simply misunderstand things,” Bostic said. “I believe that’s exactly what you’re hearing. There have been thousands and thousands of adoptions conducted by CWA all over the world. Is there going to be a handful of folks who misunderstand, who – or who aren’t happy with their adoption? There’s going to be, and we regret that.”

The Bradshaw family lives with its own set of regrets. Parents who trusted and believed they were doing the right thing. The three young girls are learning to adopt a life far from the country they still call home.

Source: CBS News

Ethiopian Melese “Freely” and “Proudly” manipulated the ballot as new model for African Banana Union members who applaud his election for life …. ” Read the Council of Democrats Decision “

The Double sided dictator of Ethiopia Melese Zenawie lost his credilbity if left any in the eyes the world democrats.

He thought he mastered the arts of duping the whole world, but it was he who was dumped and lost face all around the world.

-He prepared   farse  40’000 ballots, only very fews samples were oberved by African and Europen observores.

-He blocked the US and the rest of the embasies not to live the capital so he could be free to manuplate.

-He killed and beated  the oppostion members.

-He recruted each and every one in the counry side to be the member of his party if  not just to vote only for EPRDF.

– He organized  armed  gangbusters to  force  over 31 million voters to be grouped by a cell of 5 in  each and every community, village, family   in all his ethnic regions … he otherwise  menaced  to starve them  to death  not giving them work for bread program for survival …

He controlled each and every  televised debates taking the majority time for him self…

-He jemmed the international Media VOA, DW, Internet acess…

-He closed private press and throw the journalist to jail..

-He imprisoned the opposition leaders like Brtukan Mediksa and others before election to assure his victory…

– He juged many international oppositions in their absentee to death to intimidate the Diaspora…

-He silenced the univeristy students by intimidating and occupying the university illegally by his security forces… etc, etc..

– He bombed the opposition on the Northern  and esatern part of the country to intimidate  before election…

It is the organization of the African Banana Union which is  his making , who recognized his election as being  fair and free, since  his  ballot rugging  was better than theirs, and his style of mastering the arts of silencing the opposition ,  his mechanism   of completely killing the voice of the people,  his way of brutalizing  and  starving  the population of Ethiopia to death, is a new style of  african democray in order to  become a  leader for live.

Ethiopia elections: Can the EU effectively monitor? | Analysis

The Council of Community of Democrats  confirm the accusation  Melese’s regime of Fraud

Ethiopian Opposition Leaders Sentenced to Life in Prison 18 July 2007

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tiIuJhFsYo

Fraud Accusations Tarnish Ruling Party Victory in Ethiopia
June 9, 2010
By: Benjamin Russell | Printer Friendly

Results show Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s ruling Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was the clear winner in Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections last month, despite accusations of fraud and the misuse of state funds, according to BBC News. Ethiopia’s Communications Minister Bereket Simon called the elections “free and fair,” but international observers from the EU and the United States said the contest fell well short of international standards.

Opposition parties, who gained only two of the possible 546 seats, accused the government of manipulating the electoral process in their favor. “The whole thing is a farce,” said Hailu Shawel, chairman of the All Ethiopia Unity Party. “In the countryside our observers are chased away by the militia. Our people are not allowed into the polling stations.”

EPDRF party members dismissed the allegations as an attempt to undermine the party’s rule. “We know the opposition had designed a strategy whereby they tried to tarnish the whole democratic electoral process. The facts on the ground tell everybody that this has been a competitive election…the system accommodated even extra requests by the opposition. So, one can say we have issued [a] free and fair playing ground,” said Communications Minister Bereket Simon.

Though this year’s elections were free from the political violence of previous contests, observers point out that the relative peace was more the result of careful planning by the EPDRF than of democratic progress. In 2005, a dispute over election results led to the death of 193 opposition protestors at the hands of Zenawi’s forces. This time around, the Prime Minister “closed down a number of critical newspapers, jammed Voice of America, blocked critical websites, banned all forms opposition rallies, crippled civil society organizations, and deliberately fomented divisions in the opposition camp,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Over the last 18 months, the “government has taken clear and decisive steps that would ensure that it would garner an electoral victory,” said US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson.

Despite the criticism, Ethiopia is likely to remain an important US ally in the fight against Islamic extremism. According to Nathaniel Myers of Foreign Policy, Ethiopia receives more foreign US aid than any country in sub-Saharan Africa and is an important source of stability in the region. “Wary of alienating Meles, the Obama administration has publicly criticized only the Ethiopian leader’s most blatant assaults on democracy. And indeed, with the failure to permanently reduce aid budgets following the 2005 violence, the West lost its trump card. At the end of the day, Meles knows that the United States and his other foreign friends can’t afford to back out,” said Myers.

Sources:

VOA News – Ethiopia Election Seen as ‘Free and Fair’ by Government Official

NY Times – Ethiopian Party Accused of Intimidation before Election

Foreign Policy – Ethiopia’s Democratic Sham

BBC News – EU Observers Say Ethiopia Election ‘Falls Short’

Wall Street Journal – Ethiopia’s Embarrassing Elections

Community of Democracies

Invigorated by the belief that the time had come in the year 2000 to establish a global network of democratic countries with the principal aim of fortifying democratic governance everywhere, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Bronisław Geremek convened the first Ministerial of the Community of Democracies (CD) in Warsaw. With delegates representing 106 democratic and democratizing countries in attendance, the Community of Democracies was established with the adoption of the Warsaw Declaration, committing CD governments to a multilateral framework of cooperation to advance democratic norms and to work in concert to support and deepen democracy worldwide.

United States House of Representatives Passes Resolution Commending the Community of Democracies

On May 12, 2010, United States Representative Mike Quigley, of Illinois, introduced a resolution to the United States House of Representatives entitled “Commending the Community of Democracies for its achievements since it was founded in 2000.” With 31 cosponsors, the resolution was passed without objection. The gathered representatives commended the CD for its ten years of work in “promoting democratic rules and
strengthening democratic institutions around the world,” as Representative Engel from New York stated in his remarks to the floor. With the High Level Democracy meeting in Krakow to commemorate the CD’s 10th Anniversary approaching in July, the resolution “endorses the Krakow conference” and “extends its best wishes … for the Community’s ongoing efforts to promote democracy worldwide.”

Read the Full Text of the Resolution Here

Guinea-Bissau’s Armed Forces Threaten Stability of Legitimate Government 9 June 2010
Government and Maoists Renew Constituent Assembly in Nepal 9 June 2010
Flag of ThailandThai PM Says Elections Must Wait 9 June 2010
Fraud Accusations Tarnish Ruling Party Victory in Ethiopia 9 June 2010
flag of kyrgyzstanInterim Kyrgyzstan Government Struggles to Regain Stability 7 June 2010
Great Lakes Policy Forum Discusses the Context and Implications of the Upcoming Rwandan Elections 7 June 2010
Flag of ivory coastCôte d’Ivoire President Says Election Preparations are Underway 3 June 2010
Flag of CubaCuba – A Way Forward Highlights Repression and Abuse, and Proposes an End to the Embargo 3 June 2010
Flag of CARCAR President’s Mandate Extended ‘Indefinitely’27 May 2010
Flag of ThailandHong Kong Legislators Hold ‘Referendum on Democracy’ 26 May 2010
Flag of GeorgiaGeorgian Lawyers Suspend Protest against Electoral System 26 May 2010
Flag of SomaliaGeorge Packer on Democracy Promotion under the Obama Presidency 24 May 2010

Calling New Election a confrontation for Melese’s new coming absolute power? Boycott would have been better than reelection demand …

EPRDF rallyEthiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi



“Addis Ababa, May 25, 2010 Ethiopian People?s Revolutionary Democratic Party (EPRDF) is leading the 4th national elections by winning 499 of the 547 federal parliamentary seats, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) Chairperson announced here late on Tuesday. In a news conference he gave here today, the Chairperson, Prof. Merga Bekana said partner parties on their part won 35 seats, according to provisional results reaching the Board. He said EPRDF won the election with a majority vote winning 499 seats. According to Prof. Merga, EPRDF won 38 seats in Tigray, 137 in Amhara, 178 in Oromia, 122 in South Ethiopia Peoples State and 22 seats in Addis Ababa. EPRDF partner parties on their part won 8 seats in Afar states, 2 seats in Benishangul Gumuz, 2 seats in Gambella State while winning 21 seats in Somali State, according to the provisional election results reaching the board. He said EPRDF won one seat in each of Harari state and Dire Dawa City Administration while its partners won the rest. Prof. Merga said Forum had won only one seat in Addis Ababa while a private contender won one seat in South Ethiopia Peoples State. He indicated that the Board has not received the result of 1 constituency from Amhara, 7 constituencies from Bensihangul Gumuz, 1 constituency from Gambella and 2 constituencies from Somali states. Prof. Merga thanked the public at large, election contending political parties, religious leaders, governmental and non-governmental organizations for helping make the 4th national elections successful, free, peaceful, fair and credible.”???

——————–

——————–


Ethiopia opposition leaders call for new elections

Will Ross
BBC News, Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s opposition leaders have called for a rerun of Sunday’s elections, saying they were flawed.

Head of the main opposition coalition Merera Gudina said he will not accept the results, which gave Prime Minister Meles Zenawi a landslide victory.

Mr Merera says two party members were killed by security forces, reports say.Supporters of Merera Gudina at an Oromo People's Congress (OPC) rally in Ambo, May 15, 2010Merera Gudina’s supporters were hoping to make gains

The EU and US have both criticised the polls, saying they fell short of international standards. Ethiopian officials have denied fraud.

Mr Merera, chairman of the Medrek coalition of eight main opposition parties, has called for a new election.

Earlier, another opposition leader Hailu Shawel had also called for a rerun of the elections.

The opposition has complained that its election observers had been beaten and driven away from polling stations in several regions.

Meanwhile, Mr Merera has said two members of his party were shot dead by security forces in the Oromiya region in the south of Ethiopia, Reuters news agency reports.

“The government is trying to prevent protests by massively repressing the people,” he said.

But a government spokesperson claims one man was shot when he stormed an office where ballots were being counted and the other was killed in self-defence by a policeman, Reuters says.

At a victory rally on Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Mr Meles warned international observers to respect the election results, saying: “The people’s vote will not be overturned by foreign forces.”

According to the official election results, 499 out of 536 seats declared so far have been awarded to the governing party.

Medrek – which had been seen as the main challenger to Mr Zenawi’s party – has only won a single seat.

Mr Shawel says the results “don’t look real,” reports the AFP news agency.

Ethiopia’s last elections, in 2005, were marred by violent protests over alleged fraud which left about 200 people dead.

At that time, Mr Shawel was leader of the opposition coalition and was jailed, along with several other opposition leaders, for his role in the protests.

Most of those jailed were later pardoned and released, although one opposition leader remains in prison.

The BBC’s Will Ross in Ethiopia says opposition leaders risk being sent to prison if they continue their protests, since in the eyes of the Ethiopian authorities, there is a thin line between rejecting the election results and inciting violence.

Mr Shawel says he will not call on his supporters to protest, reports AFP.

Mr Meles – who has been in power since 1991 – put Sunday’s election win down to an impressive track record, especially when it comes to economic growth.

The government has worked hard to improve infrastructure, especially in the urban areas, and social services such as healthcare have become more accessible.

Hailu Shawel, who heads the All Ethiopia Unity Party, must realise that his request for a rerun of the election is highly unlikely to be granted.

His other option is via the courts.

But he knows he must tread carefully as Ethiopia’s government may not tolerate much criticism.

In the eyes of the Ethiopian authorities, there is a thin line between rejecting the result and inciting violence and so the opposition party leader risks a return to jail.


Melese vis Melese vis Melese ….. won by melese the African famous electoral drama comes to an end in Ethiopia

From the the total 536 seats in Woyane parliament only one is won for an individual  runner the rest with his phantom parties  organized by himself 35 seats

Melese won 499+35=535

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sNy2lJPc_4

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9S83SVAumsQ

EU monitors slam Ethiopia polls

The European Union’s chief election observer in Ethiopia has said that last weekend’s poll was conducted on an “uneven playing field” that favoured the 

Ethiopia election results
BBC News
The opposition say some of their supporters were intimidated during the poll and that the electoral process was flawed. The BBC’s correspondent in Ethiopia

Ethiopia Ruling Party Celebrates Election Win; EU Has Concerns

The European Union says it has concerns about Sunday’s election in Ethiopia, won by the ruling party in a landslide. Ethiopia’s elections board says the 

Opposition might challenge Ethiopian vote count in court

Ethiopians waited in line yesterday to cast their votes in Addis Ababa. The election in Africa’s third most populous nation is being closely watched by 

Ethiopia Election Results: Zenawi’s EPRDF Wins

Incumbent Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has won the 2010 general elections, securing leads in 9 

Ethiopia election marred by intimidation, say rights group

Ethiopia: NEBE announces preliminary election results

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — May 24, 2010 (ENA) — The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced here Monday a preliminary election results drawn 

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOsoZNzwyNE

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sNy2lJPc_4


Ethiopian ruling party garners 499 seats in elections

DDIS ABABA, May 25 (Xinhua) — The Ethiopian ruling party has gained 499 seats in the 547-member parliament, media reported on Tuesday.

The report quoted the Ethiopian National Electoral Board as saying the outcome emerged when 536 results were announced.

Earlier on Tuesday, the National Electoral Board has announced that the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), is leading the fourth national elections by winning 477 of the 547 federal parliamentary seats.

Public Relations Head with the Board, Mohammed Abdurahman, said in a statement on Tuesday that the EPRDF won 38 seats in Tigray, 137 in Amhara, 160 in Oromia and eight seats in Afar states, according to the provisional election results.

Hundreds of thousands of members and supporters of the EPRDF on Tuesday celebrated party’s victory after announcement of provisional election results by the National Electoral Board.

Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s current Prime Minister and Chairperson of EPRDF, accompanied by senior government officials, joined the huge crowd at Maskal Square, the grand one in Addis Ababa, capital of the nation.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSmbG8HdWMQ

Human Right Watch

Ethiopia: Government Repression Undermines Poll

MAY 24, 2010

(Nairobi) – Ethiopian government and ruling party officials intimidated voters and unlawfully restricted the media ahead of the May 23, 2010 parliamentary elections, Human Rights Watch said today.

In assessing the polls, international election observers should address the repressive legal and administrative measures that the Ethiopian ruling party used to restrict freedom of expression during the election campaign, Human Rights Watch said.

2010_Ethiopia_Voting-Elections.jpg

Ethiopians vote inside a polling station in the capital Addis Ababa on May 23, 2010. © 2010 Reuters

“Behind an orderly façade, the government pressured, intimidated and threatened Ethiopian voters,” said Rona Peligal, acting Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Whatever the results, the most salient feature of this election was the months of repression preceding it.”

In the weeks leading up to the polls, Human Rights Watch documented new methods used by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to intimidate voters in the capital, Addis Ababa, apparently because of government concerns of a low electoral turnout.

During April and May, officials and militia (known as tataqi in Amharic) from the local administration went house to house telling citizens to register to vote and to vote for the ruling party or face reprisals from local party officials such as bureaucratic harassment or even losing their homes or jobs.

The May poll was the first national parliamentary election in Ethiopia since the government violently suppressed post-election protests in 2005; almost 200 people, including several police officers, died after the 2005 poll and tens of thousands of people were arrested, including opposition leaders, journalists and civil society activists.

In a March 2010 report, “‘One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure’: Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia,” Human Rights Watch described the complex and multi-faceted way in which the government has sought since 2005 to silence dissent, restrict the media and independent civil society, and leverage government resources such as civil service jobs, loans, food assistance and educational opportunities to encourage citizens to join the ruling party or leave the opposition.

The government’s efforts to ensure the election outcome continued right up to polling day in Addis Ababa, according to Human Rights Watch’s research in different areas of the capital, including in Merkato, Piazza, Wollo Sefer, Meskel Flower, Aya Ulet, Kera, Gotera, Hayat, Kotebe-CMC and Bole neighborhoods.

“Intimidation to register and to vote for the ruling party is everywhere,” a resident of Addis Ababa told Human Rights Watch. “If the local administration is against you, they’ll be after you forever. They can come and round you up at will.”

Residents of Addis Ababa described numerous forms of intimidation in Addis Ababa in recent weeks.

Pressure to Register to Vote
Many people told Human Rights Watch that tataqi, local kebele (or neighborhood) militia members came house-to-house asking to see registration cards and checking if people were members of the ruling EPRDF party.

A couple living in the Meskel Flower area said they were visited on a weekly basis by members of the neighborhood militia who were checking whether they were registered as EPRDF members. The wife told Human Rights Watch:  “One of them approached my husband. ‘We know who you are,’ he told him. ‘If you don’t want to register, no problem, but then don’t come to the sub-kebele and ask for your ID renewal, or for any other legal paper. We won’t help you. It’s up to you, now.” The following day the couple registered.

Pressure to Join the Ruling Party When Registering
Different sources across the capital confirmed to Human Rights Watch that alongside registration, voters were requested to sign a paper, under a heading “Supporter of EPRDF,” that included ID number, age, and address.

An Addis Ababa resident said, “There’s a lot of pressure for you to obey. They have your name, they ask you to sign. If you don’t, it means you’re against them. And they can come back to you whenever they want. At the end of the day, you just have to do what they force you to do.”

Pressure to Vote for the Ruling Party
Pressure to vote for the EPRDF appeared to take a number of different forms. Pressure was particularly acute among civil servants, people living in government-owned housing, and those living in poor neighborhoods.

An elderly resident living in state-owned housing said local government officials visited her house a few weeks before the elections asking to see her registration card. She said they wrote down her house number and told her, “We are going to check. And don’t forget to vote for EPRDF. We provide you the house, we can have it back.” She said that she was frightened by the threat and registered even though she had not intended to vote.

Civil servants are particularly pressured to vote for EPRDF, saying that ruling party officials remind them that it is the EPRDF government that employs them. Patterns of intimidation of teachers and others that were recently documented in Addis Ababa echo the examples previously documented across the country by Human Rights Watch in “‘One Hundred Ways Putting Pressure’.” For example, a teacher in a public school in Addis Ababa said: “A few weeks ago my headmaster called us all. He asked us to show him our registration cards. He wanted to know whom we were going to vote for as well. I refused. He harassed me and said, ‘You better get your card, and vote properly, otherwise after the elections you might lose your job.'”

Residents also described an EPRDF pyramid recruitment strategy called One-for-Five. A coordinator (ternafi) had to identify five recruits or fellow voters (teternafiwoch) among family members, friends, colleagues or neighbors. Coordinators then tried to compel their five signers to go to the polling stations and vote all together.

A woman in Aya Ulet area said, “A neighbor came to me. He said: ‘I know you voted for the opposition last time. Are you going to vote for them again? Do I have to report it to the kebele?’ I am a civil servant; I know that party officials and local administrators are the same thing. For fear of losing my job, the next morning I went to his place and signed.”

Pressure on the Media and Foreign Diplomats
Simultaneous with the increased pressure on voters, in the weeks before the polls the Ethiopian government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi acted to restrict electoral scrutiny by independent media and foreign diplomats.

The government issued several codes of conduct covering media and diplomatic activity. Initial drafts of the media regulation restricted foreign and local journalists from even speaking to anyone involved in the election process, including voters on election day, in violation of the right to freedom of expression. Several journalists in different countries told Human Rights Watch that when they applied for media visas to cover the elections, they were extensively questioned by Ethiopian embassy diplomats.

The government told Embassy staff they needed travel permits for any movement outside of Addis Ababa between May 10 to June 20.

“The government has used a variety of methods to strong-arm voters and try to hide the truth from journalists and diplomats,” said Peligal. “Donor governments need to show that they recognize that these polls were multi-party theater staged by a single-party state.”

Repressive Context of the Elections
Since 2005, Human Rights Watch has documented patterns of serious human rights violations by the Ethiopian government. Members of the security forces and government officials have been implicated in numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity both within Ethiopia and in neighboring Somalia. The pervasive intimidation of voters and restrictions on movement and reporting are serious concerns for the integrity of the electoral process, but represent only one aspect of the Ethiopian ruling party’s long-term effort to consolidate control.

The EPRDF’s main instrument for stamping out potential dissent is the local administrative (kebele) structure, which monitors households and can restrict access to important government programs, including seeds and fertilizer, micro-loans and business permits, all depending on support for the local administration and the ruling party.

Since 2008 the government has also passed new laws to clamp down on independent civil society and the media. The Charities and Societies Proclamation restricts Ethiopian nongovernmental organizations from doing any human rights work, including in the areas of women’s and children’s rights, if they receive more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources. Since the law’s adoption in 2009, the leading Ethiopian human rights groups have closed most of their offices, scaled down their staff, and removed human rights advocacy from their mandates. The new regulatory agency established by the Charities and Societies Proclamation froze the bank accounts of the largest independent human rights group, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council. At least six of Ethiopia’s most prominent human rights activists fled the country in 2009.

Another law, the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, has also been used to threaten with prosecution human rights activists and journalists for any acts deemed to be terrorism under the law’s broad and vague definition of the term. Several journalists also fled in 2009, including the editors of a prominent independent Amharic newspaper, and in February 2010 Prime Minister Meles acknowledged that the government was jamming Voice of America radio broadcasts.

Human Rights Watch urged the international election observer teams from the European Union and the African Union to take into account in their public reporting the insidious apparatus of control and the months of repression that frame the 2010 polls.

Ethiopia is heavily dependent on foreign assistance, which accounts for approximately one-third of government spending. The country’s principal foreign donors – the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, which provide more than US$2 billion annually in humanitarian and development aid, – were timid in their criticisms of Ethiopia’s deteriorating human rights situation ahead of the election.

Human Rights Watch called on the principle donors and other concerned governments to publicly condemn political repression in Ethiopia and to review policy towards Ethiopia in light of its deteriorating human rights record.

“Ethiopia is an authoritarian state in which the government’s commitment to democracy exists only on paper,” said Peligal. “The question is not who won these elections, but how can donors justify business as usual with this increasingly repressive government?”

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGrq00l1CrU

Ethiopian Election 9th Debate to Assure Melese’s land slide Victory supported by Bomb blasts & Intimidation

Election 2010 – 9th Round 1-1st Debate. May 06, 2010
1:25:48
Ethiopian Election 2010 – 9th Round 1-1st Debate. May 06, 2010
youtube.com
Ethiopian Campaign Has Become ‘War’ on Opposition, Leader Says
BusinessWeek
By Jason McLure May 7 (Bloomberg) — Ethiopia’s ruling party has increased harassment of opposition supporters before a May 23 election in the Horn of 

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jes5gpsnQUk

Two killed in Ethiopia bomb attack: official

ADDIS ABABA — Attackers hurled a bomb at a political meeting in Ethiopia, killing two people and wounding 14 others just over two weeks before national elections, a government spokesman said Friday.

The blast happened in Adaba in the Oromya region of southern Ethiopia on Thursday as members of a party from the ruling coalition were hosting a 20th anniversary ceremony, spokesman Shimelis Kemal told AFP.

“The suspects hurled the bomb at a ceremony attended by the region’s deputy administrator Abdulaziz Mohammed. There were two deaths from the blast while 14 sustained heavy and light wounds,” Shimelis said.

Shimelis said the blast did not wound any of the politicians, who were from the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation, a member of the ruling EPRDF coalition.

“Three suspects have so far been apprehended, one of whom was a former soldier who was discharged for disciplinary reasons,” he said, declining to point to any group for responsibility.

Authorities have in the past blamed the secessionist Oromo Liberation Front for past attacks, and some opposition politicians have been arrested with links to the rebel group.

The blast was the second in the African nation in the space of two weeks, following an explosion in a small town along the border with Eritrea on April 24 which killed five people.

Ethiopia goes to the polls on May 23. The Oromya region has the country’s largest constituencies.

Around 30 million people have registered to vote for Ethiopia’s fourth elections since the Communist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam was toppled in 1991.

Ethiopia govt, opposition exchange murder accusations

Fri May 7, 2010 5:42pm BST

* Three politicians murdered in two months

* Investors watching closely as election approaches

* Ruling party, opposition trade murder accusations

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA, May 7 (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s ruling party accused the opposition on Friday of killing one of its candidates ahead of this month’s national election, in an allegation denied by the main opposition alliance.

Both sides have stepped up rhetoric ahead of the May 23 election — the first vote in the Horn of Africa country since 2005 when a disputed poll ended with street riots and the jailing of politicians.

Ethiopian government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said one of the ruling party’s candidates had been stabbed to death, in a first murder accusation against Medrek, the country’s main opposition coalition.

“Itana Idossa was stabbed to death by Medrek members a week ago after he left a meeting,” he said. “Police have apprehended suspects — Medrek activists.”

Medrek dismissed the accusation. “The people who killed him have no connection with us,” Merera Gudina, leader of one of the coalition parties, the Oromo Peoples’ Congress, told Reuters.

The ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front is expected to win the election comfortably. Medrek is seen as the biggest political force challenging the 19-year-old government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

At the time of the 2005 vote, the government said the violence was part of a plan to force an unconstitutional change. Security forces killed 193 people on the streets and top opposition leaders were imprisoned. Seven policemen were killed.

The opposition says their candidates and voters are harassed and intimidated. The government, for its part, says the opposition plans to incite street violence and discredit the poll because it has no chance of winning.

The political climate in Ethiopia is watched closely by investors eyeing oil and gas exploration and large-scale farming projects there.

Last month, a senior Medrek official, Bulcha Demeksa, said an opposition activist was bludgeoned to death with a gun butt by ruling party members.

The ruling party responded by saying the man died of cancer and vowed to prosecute Bulcha. On Thursday, the man’s father told Voice of America radio station that his son was beaten to death by government militia men.

Both killings happened in the Oromia region, home to Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, the Oromo, who number 27 million out of 80 million people.

In March, a Medrek candidate in the north of the huge country, Aregawi Gebre-Yohannes, was attacked and stabbed to death. The opposition says his killing was a political murder, but the government says he died in a bar fight. A man has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for his murder. (Reporting by Barry Malone, editing by George Obulutsa and Maria Golovnina)

Ethiopian Election 5th phantom Debate :- interventionist, treason, war mongering & proxy foreign policy of Woyane regime

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Election 2010 : UDJ is alarmed and concerned about the medical state of its party leader Birtukan Mideksa
She’s no different than other prisoners, no special considerations: Gov’t

By Haile Mulu

UDJ is alarmed and concerned about the medical state of its party leader Birtukan MideksaUnity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) said that it is alarmed and concerned about the medical state of its party leader Birtukan Mideksa who is in prison. It called for the examination of Birtukan by an independent medical team.
In a statement released yesterday, UDJ said that it was seriously concerned about the health of its leader after learning of her continuing decline from her mother, who is the only person allowed to visit her inside prison aside from her daughter.
UDJ said that the government was transgressing Article 21 of the constitution by refusing Birtukan visitation right from her private doctor, relatives and spiritual counselor in a manner that is unheard of before.

In its statement, UDJ said Birtukan’s health is deteriorating and asked the government to allow an independent medical team to examine her in the presence of the Red Cross and the result be made public.

Andualem Arage, Secretary-General of UDJ, said in a phone interview that Monday marked 15 month since Birtukan was imprisoned again and called on the public, its members and supporters to commemorate the day by going on a hunger strike and holding prayers.

Asked for comments on the statement of UDJ, Shimelis Kemal, Deputy Head of Government Communications Office, said that the government was aware that numerous people have been using the issue of Birtukan as a political agenda. He pointed out that if Birtukan is ailing, she can get treated at the prison’s infirmary and said he was surprised that people were saying that she is in an alarming state knowing that. He added that if she has health concerns that cannot be handled in the infirmary, then she will be referred to other hospitals like every other prisoner.
“Birtukan is entitled to the same rights and treatments as any other prisoner and shouldn’t expect different,” he said. He added that attempts to obstruct any prisoner from serving their sentence are punishable by law.

Birtukan was imprisoned again a little over a year ago on the grounds that she claimed she did not didnot ask for the pardon that was granted to her. Shimelis said that she is just a convict and not a prisoner of conscious as many people make her out to be and any allegation to that effect is baseless and unacceptable.
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Hundreds of Ethiopian opposition party members jailed

By Mardy Shualy

According to opposition parties in Ethiopia, nearly 450 of their members have been jailed, as part of an effort by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to secure national elections being held this May. One opposition party reports that seven of its members have been murdered for political reasons during the course of this past year. The allegations fit Ethiopia’s history of violent repression, including arrests and harassment of dissenting students and teachers.

During Ethiopia’s last elections, held in 2005, widespread protests led to violent clashes with police, with about 200 protestors killed and many opposition leaders jailed. The ruling party, led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, said that the crack-down was simply to maintain law and order, and to stave off widespread ethnic conflict. Members of the opposition said it was a means of denying opposition parties electoral success.

The ruling party’s bid for electoral dominance has certainly been effective — during last year’s local and bi-elections, the EPRDF and affiliated individuals lost only three seats, out of nearly 3.6 million contested seats. This past January, the government took another step towards consolidating its power by essentially outlawing human rights work and curtailing freedom of association. And according to a Reuters news analysis, the EPRDF’s dominance is bolstered by a general sense that the West “would be comfortable with Meles staying on – as long as he remains a loyal ally in the volatile Horn of Africa and liberalises his potentially huge economy.”

Even so, former Ethiopian Minister of Defense Seeye Abraha characterizes his country as a dormant volcano. A recent statement posted by the opposition party Ginbot 7 makes it abundantly clear that tensions remain high:

[One type of nation] is composed of countries that are ruled by corrupt tyrants whose governance is characterized by gross human rights abuse, economic polarization, ethnic conflict and political intolerance…almost all of these dictators have become turn coat democrats and hold sham elections to satisfy the demand of donor nations. The reality, however, is that they never respect election results, or care for democracy. A perfect example of one such government is the illegitimate regime of Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia that deviously preaches democracy, but has ruled the country with an iron fist

Ethiopia Round 4 Election Human Right Abuses increases according Human right Watch …

The government says Human Rights Watch has got it wrong. Really?

INDEPENDENT voices in Ethiopia are finding it ever harder to be heard. Suffocated by an irascible government, the country’s newspapers are now the least informative in east Africa. Journalists deemed critical of the prime minister, Meles Zenawi, are pilloried. And they are not alone.

Foreign aid people and diplomats say a law pushed through parliament last month will curtail the activities of local human-rights workers. The new law means that independent local outfits that get more than 10% of their income from abroad will be classified as foreign. Once designated as such, they will not be allowed to engage in anything to do with democracy, justice or human rights. Real foreigners are already banned from doing so. As few home-grown charities and non-governmental organisations can stand on their own feet in a country as poor as Ethiopia, the government will be able to control domestic dissent more tightly.

The task of raising human-rights issues now increasingly falls to foreigners. A particularly bitter tussle is under way over allegations of atrocities by Ethiopian soldiers in the country’s south-eastern Ogaden region. This area abuts the border with turbulent Somalia and is populated mainly by ethnic Somalis traditionally hostile to the government in Addis Ababa, the capital.

Human Rights Watch, a pressure group, accuses Ethiopia of war crimes and crimes against humanity there. It says that Ethiopian troops burned down villages and killed, raped and tortured civilians in a counter-insurgency campaign against the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front after its fighters had killed 74 Ethiopian and Chinese oil-exploration workers in 2007. Ethiopia’s government was so incensed by the description of “systematic atrocities” in the Ogaden that it commissioned a report of its own that dismissed Human Rights Watch’s allegations as hearsay and its methods as slapdash.

The government report found “no trace” of serious human-rights violations. People reported to have been killed or tortured were said to have been found alive and well. Villages marked down as torched were said to be unscathed. The sole admitted instance of torture was said to have resulted in a court-martial. According to the Ethiopian report, Human Rights Watch was one-sided, since it failed to document the guerrillas’ thuggery. Perhaps unwittingly, said the Ethiopians, it had made itself a propaganda tool of the separatists.

The Ethiopian investigation did not, however, examine all of Human Rights Watch’s accusations. Some executions listed by the group go unchallenged or are blamed unconvincingly on the guerrillas. The report skims over the Ogaden’s humanitarian emergency, which Médecins Sans Frontières, a French-based charity, lists as one of the world’s ten worst. The Ethiopian report flatly denies that the government blockaded separatist strongholds during a famine, thus starving civilians. The Ethiopians also lambast Human Rights Watch for not visiting the Ogaden, knowing that it was they who blocked the visit. They claim that the Ogaden has been open to anyone, yet most independent journalists have been banned from travelling there freely. Several aid organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, have been kicked out. Aid workers there speak only anonymously, for fear of expulsion.

The government has a general election to win next year. A wave of arrests of political dissenters, including a prominent opposition leader, Birtukan Mideksa, suggests the government wants to keep all its opponents in check.

A simple way for it to win confirmation of its claim that Human Rights Watch’s accusations are false would be to let independent journalists, both foreign and Ethiopian, visit the Ogaden and see for themselves.

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Fear over Ethiopia poll media law

2010-03-23 22:15

Addis Ababa – A new media code that sets guidelines for coverage of Ethiopia’s elections in May has drawn fire from embattled media staff, who face fines and jail time if found guilty of violations.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia approved the framework two weeks ago, ahead of the May 23 polls, but journalists are already voicing their disapproval and fears over its restrictions.

The code bans journalists from carrying out interviews of voters, candidates and observers during election day, while it also prohibits predictions ahead of the announcement of results.

Transgressors face one year in jail for reporting on the latter.

“We stand against every article that is stipulated in the law. It simply puts an unreasonable amount of burden on any journalist,” Anteneh Abraham, head of the Ethiopian National Journalists Union, told AFP.

‘Rebellion and terrorism’

“We simply can’t work under those conditions. The strict restrictions have instilled fear in all media workers,” he added.

Further restrictions have also been placed on coverage from inside polling stations during the same day, in particular the limited access granted for photography and video footage.

However, an article on security has sparked the most concern due to what is seen as ambiguity.

“Media workers must refrain from reports that may incite rebellion and terrorism,” according to the article.

It bans the “preparation, publishing and distribution of reports that foment political instability and chaos along ethnic, religious, linguistic … lines.”

“It’s way too dangerous for anyone,” a reporter told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“I will simply avoid covering the elections as it is not worth the potential trouble,” he added.

Anteneh said he doubted the legality of the government’s decision to allow an electoral board to come up with a media law, and slammed its authorities for adopting the code “in secret” without consulting all stakeholders.

– SAPA

Human Rights Watch Report

Ethiopia is on a deteriorating human rights trajectory as parliamentary elections approach in 2010. These will be the first national elections since 2005, when post-election protests resulted in the deaths of at least 200 protesters, many of them victims of excessive use of force by the police. Broad patterns of government repression have prevented the emergence of organized opposition in most of the country. In December 2008 the government re-imprisoned opposition leader Birtukan Midekssa for life after she made remarks that allegedly violated the terms of an earlier pardon.

In 2009 the government passed two pieces of legislation that codify some of the worst aspects of the slide towards deeper repression and political intolerance. A civil society law passed in January is one of the most restrictive of its kind, and its provisions will make most independent human rights work impossible. A new counterterrorism law passed in July permits the government and security forces to prosecute political protesters and non-violent expressions of dissent as acts of terrorism.

Political Repression and the 2010 Elections

As Ethiopia heads toward nationwide elections, the government continues to clamp down on the already limited space for dissent or independent political activity. Ordinary citizens who criticize government policies or officials frequently face arrest on trumped-up accusations of belonging to illegal “anti-peace” groups, including armed opposition movements. Officials sometimes bring criminal cases in a manner that appears to selectively target government critics, as when in June 2009 prominent human rights activist Abebe Worke was charged with illegal importation of radio equipment and ultimately fled the country. In the countryside government-supplied (and donor-funded) agricultural assistance and other resources are often used as leverage to punish and prevent dissent, or to compel individuals into joining the ruling party.

The opposition is in disarray, but the government has shown little willingness to tolerate potential challengers. In December 2008 the security forces re-arrested Birtukan Midekssa, leader of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party, which had begun to build a grassroots following in the capital. The government announced that Birtukan would be jailed for life because she had made public remarks that violated the terms of an earlier pardon for alleged acts of treason surrounding the 2005 elections. The authorities stated that there was no need for a trial as the move was a mere legal technicality.

In July the Ethiopian government passed a new anti-terrorism law. The law provides broad powers to the police, and harsh criminal penalties can be applied to political protesters and others who engage in acts of nonviolent political dissent. Some of its provisions appear tailored less toward addressing terrorism and more toward allowing for a heavy-handed response to mass public unrest, like that which followed Ethiopia’s 2005 elections.

Civil Society Activism and Media Freedom

The space for independent civil society activity in Ethiopia, already extremely narrow, shrank dramatically in 2009. In January the government passed a new civil society law whose provisions are among the most restrictive of any comparable law anywhere in the world. The law makes any work that touches on human rights or governance issues illegal if carried out by foreign non-governmental organizations, and labels any Ethiopian organization that receives more than 10 percent of its funding from sources outside of Ethiopia as “foreign.” The law makes most independent human rights work virtually impossible, and human rights work deemed illegal under the law is punishable as a criminal offense.

Ethiopia passed a new media law in 2008 that improved upon several repressive aspects of the previous legal regime. The space for independent media activity in Ethiopia remains severely constrained, however. In August two journalists were jailed on charges derived partly from Ethiopia’s old, and now defunct, press proclamation. Ethiopia’s new anti-terror law contains provisions that will impact the media by making journalists and editors potential accomplices in acts of terrorism if they publish statements seen as encouraging or supporting terrorist acts, or even, simply, political protest.

Pretrial Detention and Torture

The Ethiopian government continues its longstanding practice of using lengthy periods of pretrial and pre-charge detention to punish critics and opposition activists, even where no criminal charges are ultimately pursued. Numerous prominent ethnic Oromo Ethiopians have been detained in recent years on charges of providing support to the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF); in almost none of these cases have charges been pursued, but the accused, including opposition activists, have remained in detention for long periods. Canadian national Bashir Makhtal was convicted on charges of supporting the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in July, after a trial that was widely criticized as unfair; he was in detention for two-and-a-half years before his sentence was handed down, and he was unable to access legal counsel and consular representatives for much of that period.

Not only are periods of pretrial detention punitively long, but detainees and convicted prisoners alike face torture and other ill-treatment. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have documented consistent patterns of torture in police and military custody for many years. The Ethiopian government regularly responds that these abuses do not exist, but even the government’s own Human Rights Commission acknowledged in its 2009 annual report that torture and other abuses had taken place in several detention facilities, including in Ambo and Nekemte.

Impunity for Military Abuses

The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) has committed serious abuses, in some cases amounting to war crimes or crimes against humanity, in several different conflicts in recent years. Human Rights Watch is not aware of any meaningful efforts to hold the officers or government officials most responsible for those abuses to account. The only government response to crimes against humanity and other serious abuses committed by the military during a brutal counterinsurgency campaign in Gambella in late 2003 and 2004 was an inquiry that prosecuted a handful of junior personnel for deliberate and widespread patterns of abuse. No one has been investigated or held to account for war crimes and other widespread violations of the laws of war during Ethiopia’s bloody military intervention in neighboring Somalia from 2006 to 2008.

In August 2008 the Ethiopian government did purport to launch an inquiry into allegations of serious crimes in Somali Regional State, where the armed forces have been fighting a campaign against the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front for many years. The inquiry was sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, lacked independence, and concluded that no serious abuses took place. To date the government continues to restrict access of independent investigators into the area.

Relations in the Horn of Africa

In August the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission issued its final rulings on monetary damages stemming from the bloody 1998-2000 border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Nonetheless the two countries remain locked in an intractable dispute about the demarcation of the heavily militarized frontier. Eritrea continues to play a destabilizing role throughout the Horn of Africa through its efforts to undermine and attack the government of Ethiopia wherever possible. The government of President Isayas Afewerki hosts and materially supports fighters from Ethiopian rebel movements, including the Oromo Liberation Front. Eritrea has also pursued a policy of supporting armed opposition groups in Somalia as a way of undermining Ethiopia’s support for the country’s weak Transitional Federal Government.

Key International Actors

Ethiopia is one of the most aid-dependant countries in the world and received more than US$2 billion in 2009, but its major donors have been unwilling to confront the government over its worsening human rights record. Even as the country slides deeper into repression, the Ethiopian government uses development aid funding as leverage against the donors who provide it-many donors fear that the government would discontinue or scale back their aid programs should they speak out on human rights concerns. This trend is perhaps best exemplified by the United Kingdom, whose government has consistently chosen to remain silent in order to protect its annual £130 million worth of bilateral aid and development programs.

Donors are also fearful of jeopardizing access for humanitarian organizations to respond to the drought and worsening food crisis. Millions of Ethiopians depend on food aid, and the government has sought to minimize the scale of the crisis and restrict access for independent surveys and response.

While Ethiopia’s government puts in place measures to control the elections in 2010, many donors have ignored the larger trends and focused instead on negotiating with the government to allow them to send election observers.

A significant shift in donor policy toward Ethiopia would likely have to be led by the US government, Ethiopia’s largest donor and most important political ally on the world stage. But President Barack Obama’s administration has yet to depart from the policies of the Bush administration, which consistently refused to speak out against abuses in Ethiopia. While the reasons may be different-the current government is not as narrowly focused on security cooperation with Ethiopia as was the Bush administration- thus far the practical results have been the same. The events described above attracted little public protest from the US government in 2009.

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Afrik.com

Ethiopia: Repression Rising Ahead of May Elections

Human Rights Watch is pleased to invite you to the launch of a new report, “’One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure’: Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia,” to be held in Nairobi on Wednesday, March 24, 2010.

I
n May 2010, Ethiopia will hold its first national election since the controversial polls in 2005. Using firsthand testimony and documentation collected over the past decade, ?One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure? examines the shrinking space for opposition parties, independent civil society, and the media, and assesses the potential impact of human rights abuses on the electoral process in 2010. In the report, Human Rights Watch calls on the Ethiopian government to take urgent steps to improve the electoral environment by immediately releasing political prisoners; supporting independent efforts to investigate and publicly report on abuses, including by international electoral observers; and ceasing attacks and intimidation on political opposition, independent civil society, and the media.

What: Human Rights Watch report release

“’One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure’: Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia”

Who: Georgette Gagnon, Africa director, Human Rights Watch

When: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.

Where: Chester House, 1st Floor, Room 4, Koinange Street, Nairobi, Kenya

Source: Human Right Watch (HRW)

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Fears over Ethiopia’s press code for poll coverage (By Aaron Maasho (AFP))

Ethiopian dictator is wining before the Vote and promised to jail the opposition soon after ..

It is My Election !

I am the Election itself !

I am the winner !

How can I lose since it is My own Election !

And  I will  Never Ever Lose !

Do you Understand ??? That is it what I call “Electoral Democracy”.

They Lost thus   Jail  is  a Must !!!

Listen to Me Now … my puppets I made You I am Your Bose ..I have hand picked you…

Do you understand?  Yes this is  “Parliamentary Democracy”  my  makings …

We are there for another 30 years …hahaha !!!!

We do not need observers and their Radios

Now Let us  jam it call Bob Marley Please …

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc7_RaJh8rY

I do not Need Observer at my own election.

Let them observe their own.

They never  invite me to observe their sham dumped  election ? Look What they say about my election of  2005:_

It is time the EU and US realise that the current regime in Ethiopia is repressing the people because it lacks democratic legitimacy “

Ana Gomes

EU election observer_

___

Marquee Ethiopia Election Matchup Pits PM vs Former Comrade

VOA Peter Heinlein | Addis Ababa 17 March 2010

Ethiopia’s May 23 elections for parliament have produced some interesting match-ups, with several prominent government officials facing stiff competition.  One contest pits Prime Minister Meles Zenawi against a former comrade in arms, Aregash Adane.
Aregash Adane seems an unlikely challenger to one of Africa’s most respected leaders. Invited for an interview about her bid to unseat the prime minister, she arrives on foot. No aides, no driver, no car.
“I’m only a few kilometers away,” she explains, “and I like to walk”.
Aregash Adane knows Meles Zenawi well. They are both from Adwa, in the northern Tigray region. The legislative seat they are contesting represents the town. She is three years older than the 54-year-old prime minister, but says they have close family ties.
“Adwa is both his home and my home. His family and my family are very close. They are friends. We are neighbors,” she added.
Mr. Meles and Ms. Aregash began their political careers as comrades in a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).  They fought together to overthrow the murderous Dergue regime led by the Communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.  When the Dergue collapsed in 1991, the TPLF seized power.
Mr. Meles became leader of both the TPLF and the new ruling coalition called the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).  Ms. Aregash was the senior female member of the decision-making central committee.
But in 2001, a power struggle split the TPLF.  Mr. Meles crushed his opponents.  The rival faction, including Aregash Adane, was banished to the political wilderness.
Ms. Aregash says since then, Mr. Meles has followed Leninist principles, establishing himself as the head of a one-party Revolutionary Democratic state.
“It’s a dictatorship,” she noted.  “Revolutionary Democracy is a philosophy of communism or socialism. It was designed by Lenin to create a certain period where they could develop and transit to socialism, so the ideology itself is very dictatorial.”
Ms. Aregash says her challenge to the prime minister is not personal, but policy-driven.  She argues that after 19 years in power, the EPRDF’s promise of democratic socialism has failed to materialize.  She calls Revolutionary Democracy an ideology of the past.
“The EPRDF government has failed in the sense that it didn’t build or create democratic institutions in the country,” she explained.  “There is no era of socialism, at least in the immediate future, so the ideology which Meles is still following is, I believe wrong, so I challenge him.”
The former guerrilla fighter says voters in Adwa are responding to her message, but she doubts Mr. Meles and the ruling party will give up power through the ballot box.  She says Ethiopia’s elections are stage-managed affairs designed to produce a desired outcome while giving the impression of multi-party democracy.
“If people voted against EPRDF, they are not ready to accept it, so they have to create an environment where the opposition couldn’t get a majority,” she said.  “The only thing it’s trying to do is portray he’s creating an environment where the election has been held democratically.”
The May 23 election will be the first parliamentary poll since the disputed 2005 vote, which gave the ruling party a solid majority. Allegations of fraud led to violent demonstrations in which nearly 200 protestors were killed. Scores of opposition leaders were tried and sentenced to life in prison for their part in the protests, but later pardoned.
Ethiopia’s most recent elections, the 2008 local council polls, also gave the ruling party an overwhelming victory. After most opposition parties boycotted, the EPRDF and its allies won all but three of 3.6 million seats being contested

Ethiopia’s May 23 elections for parliament have produced some interesting match-ups, with several prominent government officials facing stiff competition.  One contest pits Prime Minister Meles Zenawi against a former comrade in arms, Aregash Adane.
Aregash Adane seems an unlikely challenger to one of Africa’s most respected leaders. Invited for an interview about her bid to unseat the prime minister, she arrives on foot. No aides, no driver, no car.
“I’m only a few kilometers away,” she explains, “and I like to walk”.
Aregash Adane knows Meles Zenawi well. They are both from Adwa, in the northern Tigray region. The legislative seat they are contesting represents the town. She is three years older than the 54-year-old prime minister, but says they have close family ties.
“Adwa is both his home and my home. His family and my family are very close. They are friends. We are neighbors,” she added.
Mr. Meles and Ms. Aregash began their political careers as comrades in a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).  They fought together to overthrow the murderous Dergue regime led by the Communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.  When the Dergue collapsed in 1991, the TPLF seized power.
Mr. Meles became leader of both the TPLF and the new ruling coalition called the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).  Ms. Aregash was the senior female member of the decision-making central committee.
But in 2001, a power struggle split the TPLF.  Mr. Meles crushed his opponents.  The rival faction, including Aregash Adane, was banished to the political wilderness.
Ms. Aregash says since then, Mr. Meles has followed Leninist principles, establishing himself as the head of a one-party Revolutionary Democratic state.
“It’s a dictatorship,” she noted.  “Revolutionary Democracy is a philosophy of communism or socialism. It was designed by Lenin to create a certain period where they could develop and transit to socialism, so the ideology itself is very dictatorial.”
Ms. Aregash says her challenge to the prime minister is not personal, but policy-driven.  She argues that after 19 years in power, the EPRDF’s promise of democratic socialism has failed to materialize.  She calls Revolutionary Democracy an ideology of the past.
“The EPRDF government has failed in the sense that it didn’t build or create democratic institutions in the country,” she explained.  “There is no era of socialism, at least in the immediate future, so the ideology which Meles is still following is, I believe wrong, so I challenge him.”
The former guerrilla fighter says voters in Adwa are responding to her message, but she doubts Mr. Meles and the ruling party will give up power through the ballot box.  She says Ethiopia’s elections are stage-managed affairs designed to produce a desired outcome while giving the impression of multi-party democracy.
“If people voted against EPRDF, they are not ready to accept it, so they have to create an environment where the opposition couldn’t get a majority,” she said.  “The only thing it’s trying to do is portray he’s creating an environment where the election has been held democratically.”  The May 23 election will be the first parliamentary poll since the disputed 2005 vote, which gave the ruling party a solid majority. Allegations of fraud led to violent demonstrations in which nearly 200 protestors were killed. Scores of opposition leaders were tried and sentenced to life in prison for their part in the protests, but later pardoned.
Ethiopia’s most recent elections, the 2008 local council polls, also gave the ruling party an overwhelming victory. After most opposition parties boycotted, the EPRDF and its allies won all but three of 3.6 million seats being contested

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US criticizes Ethiopia’s “jamming” of Voice of America

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — The United States condemned Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles’ decision to jam Voice of America’s Amharic Service, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

The U.S. also condemned Meles’ comparison of their programming to Radio Mille Collines, a radio station that projected racist propaganda and hate during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

“Comparing a respected and professional news service to a group that called for genocide in Rwanda is a baseless and inflammatory accusation that seeks only to deflect attention away from the core issue,” said State Department acting spokesman Gordon Duguid.

“The Prime Minister may disagree with news carried in Voice of America’s Amharic Service broadcasts; however, a decision to jam VOA broadcasts contradicts the Government of Ethiopia’s frequent public commitments to freedom of the press,” Duguid added.

The U.S. said the Ethiopian Constitution states that all citizens have the right to freedom of expression “without any interference” and that this right shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, “regardless of frontiers.”

Ethiopia Freedom is not Free

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No Freedom of Press!

No Human Right!

No Freedom of Expression!

Freedom House

Citing harassment by the ruling party, the opposition decided to boycott local elections in 2008. Also during the year, revised draft and actual laws regulating the press and civil society provided a reinforced legal basis for government oversight and control. The political climate was further polarized by ongoing tension in several restive provinces, relations with Eritrea, and Ethiopia’s military engagement in Somalia. A drought and rising food prices proved to be complicating factors.

One of the few African countries to avoid European colonization during the 19th and early 20th centuries, Ethiopia ended a long tradition of monarchy in 1974, when Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in a Marxist military coup. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam subsequently established a brutal dictatorship that lasted more than 15 years. He was overthrown in 1991 by a coalition of guerrilla groups led by forces from the northern Tigray region. The main rebel group, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), formed a new regime, and EPRDF leader Meles Zenawi became interim president.
During the ensuing transitional period, the EPRDF government fostered the emergence of democratic institutions, and a new constitution took effect in 1995. The EPRDF dominated that year’s elections, which were boycotted by most of the opposition, and Meles became prime minister. He began a second five-year term after the May 2000 elections, which the EPRDF won in a landslide victory over the weak and divided opposition. Opposition parties and some observers criticized the government’s conduct of the vote.

A dispute over the border with neighboring Eritrea, which had gained formal independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long guerrilla conflict, resulted in open warfare from 1998 until 2000. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) was established in the wake of the bloody fighting to draw a new border. It announced its decision in April 2002, laying out a boundary that assigned the town of Badme to Eritrea. The commission’s judgments were supposed to be binding on both sides, but Ethiopia rejected the EEBC decision.

The May 2005 elections for the powerful lower house of Parliament resulted in a major increase in opposition representation. The EPRDF and its allies won 327 seats, while the two main opposition parties took 161 seats, up from 12 in the previous Parliament. The governing coalition also won elections for eight of nine regional parliaments. Notwithstanding their significant gains, opposition parties argued that interference and fraud in the electoral process had deprived them of outright victory. Street demonstrations led to violence, excessive use of force by the authorities, and widespread arrests. At least 193 people were killed and more than 4,000 were arrested, including leading opposition figures who were later charged with capital offenses. Under considerable pressure from human rights groups, the government ultimately pardoned and released those defendants in 2007.

At the end of 2006, Ethiopia sent troops into Somalia, routing Islamist groups that had taken control of Mogadishu and the southern parts of the country. The offensive enabled Somalia’s fragile Transitional Federal Government to establish a presence in Mogadishu, but clashes between Ethiopian forces and Somali militias continued through 2007 and 2008. The prospect of renewed violence in the border dispute with Eritrea presented another area of concern. In November 2007, the EEBC demarcated the boundary by map coordinates in a ruling accepted by Eritrea but rejected by Ethiopia. The UN Security Council voted to end its peacekeeping mission in July 2008. Meanwhile, the Ethiopian military also sought to quell ongoing unrest in the eastern Ogaden region.

The government maintained its tight control over the country’s officially pluralist political institutions in 2008. Citing harassment by the ruling party, the opposition decided to boycott local elections during the year. Revised draft and actual laws regulating the press and civil society created the potential for expanded government interference, and there was violence and repression in several provinces with a significant opposition presence. These problems were exacerbated by rising food prices and a drought that threatened as many as eight million people, according to the United Nations.
Political Rights and Civil Liberties

Ethiopia is not an electoral democracy. However, the presence of a significant elected opposition at the national level since 2005 does mark a possible step forward in the development of the country’s democratic political culture. Prior national elections had resulted in allegations from opposition parties and civil society groups of major irregularities, including unequal access to media, lack of transparent procedures, a flawed election law, and a partisan National Electoral Board.

The opposition claimed fraud again in 2005, and European Union and other observers stated that the elections did not meet international standards, citing problems including faulty voter-registration lists and significant administrative irregularities. However, observers led by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter concluded that despite its serious problems, the balloting essentially represented the will of the Ethiopian people.

The country’s legislature is bicameral, consisting of a 108-seat upper house, the House of Federation, and a 547-seat lower house, the House of People’s Representatives. The lower house is filled through popular elections, while the upper chamber is selected by the state legislatures. Lawmakers in both houses serve five-year terms. Executive power is vested in a prime minister, who is chosen by the House of People’s Representatives. The 1995 constitution has a number of unique features, including a federal structure that grants certain powers and the right of secession to ethnically based states. However, in 2003, the central government acquired additional powers to intervene in states’ affairs when public security is deemed to be at risk.

More than 60 legally recognized political parties are active in Ethiopia, but the political scene continues to be dominated by the EPRDF. Citing intimidation and arrests of its candidates, opposition parties boycotted local elections in April 2008, which predictably resulted in a large margin of victory for government supporters. Opposition parties have long argued that their ability to function is seriously impeded by government harassment, although observers also note that some opposition parties have at times used rhetoric that could be interpreted as advocating violence or otherwise failed to comport themselves in a manner consistent with a democratic political culture.

The government has taken a number of steps to limit corruption, but it has also been accused of participating in corrupt practices. In 2007, former prime minister Tamrat Layne and former defense minister Seye Abreha were convicted on corruption charges. Ethiopia was ranked 126 out of 180 countries surveyed in Transparency International’s 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index.

The news media are dominated by state-owned broadcasters and government-oriented newspapers. Opposition and civic organizations have criticized slanted news coverage. The Committee to Protect Journalists in 2007 cited the Ethiopian government for backtracking on press freedom issues. It noted increased imprisonment of journalists, with many reporters going into exile by choice or coercion. This trend continued in 2008, as the government forced two more magazines out of circulation using laws against the disturbance of public order. Also during the year, Parliament adopted a new media law after years of debate. The measure barred government censorship of private media and the detention of journalists, but it allowed prosecutors to seize material before publication in the name of national security. Furthermore, it gave the government broader powers to pursue defamation cases against the media.

A number of privately owned newspapers exist, but they struggle to remain financially viable and face intermittent government harassment. In 2006, licenses were awarded to two private FM stations in the capital. Internet usage is confined mainly to major urban areas.

Constitutionally mandated religious freedom is generally respected, although religious tensions have risen in recent years. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is influential, particularly in the north. In the south, there is a large Muslim community, made up mainly of Somalis, Oromo, and Afari.

Academic freedom is restricted. In recent years, student strikes to protest police brutality and various government policies have led to scores of deaths and injuries as well as hundreds of arrests. Student grievances include perceived government repression of the Oromo ethnic group. Many students were killed, injured, or arrested during protests against the May 2005 election results.

Freedoms of assembly and association are limited. A number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are active, but they are generally reluctant to discuss issues and advocate policies that may bring them into conflict with the government. The government closely regulates NGO activities and has introduced draft legislation that it claims would provide heightened financial transparency among NGOs and enhance their accountability to stakeholders. This legislation was under final consideration by parliament at the end of 2008. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have severely criticized the proposed law, arguing that it would codify provisions designed to control and monitor civil society groups while punishing those that do not have the government’s favor.

According to the Workers’ Group of the International Labor Organization (ILO), there are severe restrictions on the rights of trade unions in Ethiopia. The labor laws authorize only one trade union in companies employing more than 20 workers. Government workers in “essential industries,” a term that is broadly defined, are not allowed to strike. The Confederation of Ethiopian Unions is under government control. The law governing trade unions states that a trade organization may not act in an overtly political manner, and some union leaders have been removed from their elected offices or forced to leave the country. All unions must be registered, and the government retains the authority to cancel union registration.

The judiciary is officially independent, although there have been few significant examples of decisions at variance with government policy. The efficacy of police, judicial, and administrative systems at the local level is highly uneven. Some progress has been made in reducing a significant backlog of court cases. Human Rights Watch in 2006 reported that the government used intimidation, arbitrary detentions, and excessive force in rural areas in the wake of the 2005 election-related protests.

The government has tended to favor Tigrayan ethnic interests in economic and political matters. Politics within the EPRDF have been dominated by the Tigrayan People’s Democratic Front. Discrimination against and repression of other groups, especially the Oromo, have been widespread.
The government recently established a women’s affairs ministry, and Parliament has passed legislation designed to protect women’s rights in a number of areas. In practice, however, women’s rights are routinely violated. Women have traditionally had few land or property rights, especially in rural areas, where there is little opportunity for female employment beyond agricultural labor. Violence against women and social discrimination are reportedly common. Societal norms and limited infrastructure prevent many women from seeking legal redress for their grievances. While illegal, the kidnapping of women and girls for marriage continues in parts of the country. General deficiencies in education exacerbate the problems of rural poverty and gender inequality. According to the NGO Save the Children, Ethiopia has one of the lowest rates of school enrollment in sub-Saharan Africa.

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2009 Annual Report for Ethiopia

Amnesty  International

Restrictions on humanitarian assistance to the Somali Region (known as the Ogaden) continued. The government engaged in sporadic armed conflict against the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and both forces perpetrated human rights abuses against civilians. Ethiopian troops fighting insurgents in Somalia in support of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) committed human rights abuses and were reported to have committed war crimes. Security forces arrested members of the Oromo ethnic group in Addis Ababa and in the Oromo Region towards the end of the year. Independent journalists continued to face harassment and arrest. A number of political prisoners were believed to remain in detention and opposition party leader Birtukan Mideksa, who was pardoned in 2007, was rearrested. A draft law restricting the activities of Ethiopian and international organizations working on human rights was expected to be passed by parliament in 2009. Ethiopia remained one of the world’s poorest countries with some 6.4million people suffering acute food insecurity, including 1.9 millionin the Somali Region.
Background

The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission completed its mandate in October, despite Ethiopia failing to implement its ruling, and the UN Security Council withdrew the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) in the wake of Eritrean obstruction of its operations along the Eritrea/Ethiopia border.

Thousands of Ethiopian armed forces remained in Somalia to support the TFG in armed conflict against insurgents throughout most of the year. Accusations of human rights violations committed by Ethiopian forces continued in 2008. Insurgent factions stated that they were fighting to force Ethiopia’s withdrawal from Somalia. A phased plan for Ethiopian withdrawal was included in a peace agreement signed by the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia-Djibouti and TFG representatives in late October. Ethiopian forces began to withdraw late in the year, but had not withdrawn from Somalia completely by the end of the year.

The government faced sporadic armed conflict in the Oromo and Somali regions, with ONLF members also implicated in human rights abuses against civilians. Ethiopian opposition parties in exile remained active in Eritrea and in other countries in Africa and Europe.
“Ethiopian forces attacked the al-Hidya mosque in Mogadishu killing 21 men…”

Divisions split the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) party, leading to the emergence of new opposition parties, including the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP) led by former judge Birtukan Mideksa. She was one of more than 70 CUD leaders, journalists and civil society activists convicted, then pardoned and released in 2007.

Suicide bombers attacked Ethiopia’s trade mission in Hargeisa, Somaliland, on 29 October killing several Ethiopian and Somali civilians.
Prisoners of conscience and other political prisoners

A number of political prisoners, detained in previous years in the context of internal armed conflicts or following contested elections in 2005, remained in detention.
Bekele Jirata, General Secretary of the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement party, Asefa Tefera Dibaba, a lecturer at Addis Ababa University and dozens of others from the Oromo ethnic group were arrested in Addis Ababa and parts of the Oromo Region from 30 October onwards. Some of those detained were accused of financially supporting the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).
Sultan Fowsi Mohamed Ali, an independent mediator, who was arrested in Jijiga in August 2007 reportedly to prevent him from giving evidence to a UN fact-finding mission, remained in detention. Tried for alleged involvement in two hand grenade attacks in 2007, he was sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment in May 2008.
On 15 January Birtukan Mideksa, Gizachew Shiferaw and Alemayehu Yeneneh, then senior members of the CUD, were briefly detained by police after holding party meetings in southern Ethiopia. Birtukan Mideksa was rearrested on 28 December after she issued a public statement regarding the negotiations that led to her 2007 pardon. Her pardon was revoked and the sentence of life imprisonment reinstated.
Prisoner releases

Many released prisoners faced harassment and intimidation, with some choosing to leave the country.
Human rights defenders and lawyers Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie were released on 28 March. They had been detained since November 2005 together with hundreds of opposition parliamentarians, CUD members and journalists. Unlike their co-defendants in the trial who were pardoned and released in 2007, Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie remained in detention, having refused to sign a document negotiated by local elders. They mounted a defence and were convicted by the Federal High Court of criminal incitement (although the presiding judge dissented) and sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment. When it became evident they would not be released, even after they appealed, they chose to sign the negotiated document, and were subsequently pardoned and released after serving 29 months of their sentence.
Charges of conspiring to commit “outrages against the Constitution” faced by Yalemzewd Bekele, a human rights lawyer who had been working for the European Commission in Addis Ababa, were dropped, without prejudice, before trial.
Abdirahman Mohamed Qani, chief of the Tolomoge sub-clan of the Ogaden clan in the Somali Region, was detained on 13 July after receiving a large public welcome when he returned from two years abroad. He was released on 7 October, and his relatives who had also been detained were reportedly released several days later.
CUD activist Alemayehu Mesele, who had suffered harassment since his release from prison in 2007, fled Ethiopia in early May after he was severely beaten by unknown assailants.
The editor of the Reporter newspaper Amare Aregawi was severely beaten by unknown assailants on 31 October in Addis Ababa. He had previously been detained by security officers in August.

In September, the government announced that it had released 394 prisoners and commuted one death sentence to life imprisonment to mark the Ethiopian New Year.
Freedom of expression

Independent journalists continued to face harassment and arrest.

At least 13 newspapers shut down by the government in 2005 were still closed. Independent journalists were reportedly denied licences to operate, although others did receive licences. Serkalem Fasil, Eskinder Nega and Sisay Agena, former publishers of Ethiopia’s largest circulation independent newspapers, who had been detained with CUD members, were denied licences to open two new newspapers.

In February the Supreme Court upheld a decision to dissolve the Ethiopian Teachers Association (ETA) and hand over its assets to a rival union formed by the government, also known as the Ethiopian Teachers Association. This action followed years of harassment and detention of union members. In December the union, under its new name, the National Teachers’ Association, had its application for registration as a professional organization rejected.

On World Press Freedom Day (3 May) Alemayehu Mahtemework, publisher of the monthly Enku, was detained and 10,000 copies of his publication impounded. He was released after five days without charge and copies of the magazine were later returned to him.

In November a Federal High Court judge convicted editor-in chief of the weekly Enbilta, Tsion Girma, of “inciting the public through false rumours” after a reporting mistake. She reportedly paid a fine and was released.
Human rights defenders

A draft Charities and Societies Proclamation was revised several times by the government in 2008, but remained threatening to the rights of freedom of assembly, association and expression.

Its provisions included severe restrictions on the amount of foreign funding Ethiopian civil society organizations working on human rights-related issues could receive from abroad (no more than 10 per cent of total revenues). It would also establish a Civil Societies Agency with sweeping authority over organizations carrying out work on human rights and conflict resolution in Ethiopia. It was expected to be passed into law by Parliament in early 2009.
Ethiopian troops in Somalia

Ethiopia maintained a significant troop presence in Somalia which supported the TFG until the end of the year. Ethiopian forces committed human rights abuses and were reported to have committed war crimes. Ethiopian forces attacked the al-Hidya mosque in Mogadishu killing 21 men, some inside the mosque, on 19 April. More than 40 children were held for some days after the mosque raid before being released .

Many attacks by Ethiopian forces in response to armed insurgents were reported to have been indiscriminate and disproportionate, often occurring in densely civilian-populated areas.
Internal armed conflict

The government continued counter-insurgency operations in the Somali Region, which increased after attacks by the ONLF on an oil installation in Obole in April 2007. These included restrictions on humanitarian aid which have had a serious impact on conflict-affected districts of the region. The government did not allow unhindered independent access for human rights monitoring.

Reports, dating back to 2007, of beatings, rape and other forms of torture, forcible conscription and extrajudicial executions in the Somali Region were investigated by a government-contracted body but not by an independent international body.
Torture and other ill-treatment

Reports of torture made by defendants in the trial of elected parliamentarian Kifle Tigeneh and others, one of several CUD trials, were not investigated.

Conditions in Kaliti prison and other detention facilities were harsh – overcrowded, unhygienic and lacking adequate medical care. Among those detained in such conditions were long-term political prisoners held without charge or trial, particularly those accused of links to the OLF.
Mulatu Aberra, a trader of the Oromo ethnic group accused of supporting the OLF, was released on 1 July on bail and fled the country. He had been arrested in November 2007 and reportedly tortured and denied medical treatment for resulting injuries while in detention.
Death penalty

While a number of death sentences were imposed by courts in 2008, no executions were reported.
In May the Federal Supreme Court overturned earlier rulings and sentenced to death former President Mengistu Haile Mariam (in exile in Zimbabwe) and 18 senior officials of his Dergue government. The prosecution had appealed against life imprisonment sentences passed in 2007, after they were convicted by the Federal High Court of genocide and crimes against humanity perpetrated between 1974 and 1991.
On 6 April a court sentenced to death five military officers in absentia. They served under Mengistu Haile Mariam, and were held responsible for air raids in Hawzen, in the Tigray Region, which killed hundreds in a market in June 1980.
On 8 May a court in Tigray Region found six people guilty of a bus bombing in northern Ethiopia between Humora and Shira on 13 March and sentenced three of them to death.
On 21 May the Federal Supreme Court sentenced eight men to death for a 28 May 2007 bombing in Jijiga in the Somali Region.
On 22 May a military tribunal sentenced to death in absentia four Ethiopian pilots , who sought asylum while training in Israel.

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Freedom of the Press 2009 – Ethiopia

Status: Not Free
Legal Environment: 25 (of 30)
Political Environment: 33 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 18 (of 30)
Total Score: 76 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

Covers events that took place between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008.

Conditions for press freedom improved slightly in 2008, following the government’s November 2005 crackdown on opposition political parties and the civil society groups and media outlets that were perceived to support them. A controversial draft law to regulate civil society was introduced during the year, and while it did not directly affect the press, it had a chilling effect on all nongovernmental actors and increased concerns about government persecution. Separately, the government reversed an earlier decision and granted licenses to two of the publishers arrested in 2005. While many Ethiopian journalists have gone into exile, arguably the most important figures remain in the country, providing some hope for a reinvigorated press. Currently, however, the critical perspectives held by many newspapers before the 2005 crackdown have yet to resurface.

The constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but this right is often restricted in practice. The Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation was passed into law in December 2008 after years of consultation and debate. The legislation is not exceptionally restrictive, but it has been criticized by the private media and press freedom groups for imposing constraints on the practice of journalism and harsh sanctions for violations. The most controversial provisions were included in the penal code that took effect in May 2005. Of greater concern are the selective approach the government takes in implementing laws and the lack of an independent judiciary. Journalists have few guarantees that they will receive a fair trial, and charges are often issued arbitrarily in response to personal disputes.Court cases can continue for years, and many journalists have multiple charges pending against them. Laws provide for freedom of information, although access to public information is largely restricted in practice, and the government has traditionally limited coverage of official events to state-owned media outlets, albeit with slight openings that began in 2006. In late October 2008, the prime minister abruptly announced a major cabinet reshuffle, including the closure of the Ministry of Information. The precise effects of this move were still unclear at the end of the year.

The broad political crackdown that began in November 2005, in which several dozen journalists and politicians were arrested on charges ranging from treason to subverting the constitution, continued to have negative implications for the media during 2008. Of the 15 journalists released during 2007, seven subsequently sought asylum abroad, and others such as Sisay Agena, Eskinder Nega and Serkalem Fasil have found it difficult to obtain licenses to resume their work. In August 2008, Amare Aregawi, editor of the English- and Amharic-language weekly Reporter, was imprisoned for an article on a labor dispute at a government-run brewery in Gonder. He also received anonymous threats after running a series of articles alleging that associates of billionaire businessman Sheikh Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi had mismanaged his investments. On October 31, Aregawi was severely beaten outside his son’s school. There were several incidents of harassment and arrests related to media coverage of the politically charged hit-and-run trial of pop singer Teddy Afro, a government critic whose songs were seen as opposition anthems during the 2005 postelection period. The government continued to crack down on political reporting, especially involving the Ginbot 7 opposition movement. Several journalists remained imprisoned at year’s end, and reporters continued to be arrested on charges dating back several years. Two Eritrean journalists from Eri-TV who were reportedly arrested by Ethiopian forces in the Somali capital of Mogadishu in 2006 continue to be held at an undisclosed location in Ethiopia. Foreign journalists and those working for international news organizations have generally operated with fewer restrictions than their local counterparts; however, they regularly practice self-censorship and face harassment and threats from authorities.

The state controls all broadcast media and operates the only television station. In 2007, a new broadcasting authority was created, and the first licenses were finally awarded to two private FM stations in the capital, Addis Ababa. In June 2008, the first private, foreign-language FM station, Afro FM, was granted a license; it will broadcast in English, French, and Arabic. Dozens of print outlets publish regularly and offer diverse views, although following the November 2005 crackdown only a limited number of newspapers – none of which challenge the federalist constitution or ethnic makeup of the government – were allowed to continue publishing without interruption. Since 2005, the most important new entrant in the print market has been the private paper Addis Neger. This paper now enjoys the highest circulation. Publishers Dawit Kebede and Wosonseged Gebrekidan were authorized to start two newsweeklies, the Awramba Times and Harambe, in 2008. However, both papers faced regular government intimidation, and the government brought up old charges against Dawit. In 2005, authorities had largely targeted the Amharic-language private press, banning or shutting down more than a dozen opposition-inclined papers that together accounted for more than 80 percent of Amharic circulation. Most newspapers struggle to remain financially viable and to meet the minimum bank balance that is required to renew their annual publishing licenses.

In past years, access to foreign broadcasts has occasionally been restricted. This pattern continued into 2008 with the jamming of Deutsche Welle and Voice of America (VOA) signals, though the government denies blocking the stations. The U.S. State Department reported that the sustained jamming of VOA’s Amharic and Afan Oromo services largely ended in March. Diplomatic ties with Qatar were broken over the Qatar-based satellite station Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the insurgency by the Ogaden Liberation Front in southern Ethiopia.

Owing to an extremely poor telecommunications infrastructure, internet access is limited primarily to the major urban areas; less than 0.5 percent of the population could make use of this medium in 2008, but its popularity is growing with the proliferation of internet cafes. As more citizens, faced with an increasingly restricted traditional media environment, turned to the internet for information, the government responded accordingly. There are reports that the government monitored e-mail, and starting in 2006, blocked access to opposition websites and blogs, including news websites run by Ethiopians living abroad. Since 2004 the government has been using a unique e-government platform. Known as WoredaNet, meaning a network of local districts, it connects different nodes of the government, from the central to the local level, and has been used extensively by political cadres to instruct local administrators through videoconferencing. The Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation remained the only internet service provider during 2008.

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