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Ethiopia The Rising Opposition ?

By William Lloyd-GeorgeReprint |       |  Print | Send by email

On Jul. 14 several hundred opposition protestors gathered in northern town of Gondar to and called on the government to stop exploiting the antiterrorism law and release those whom the law has been used to imprison. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPSOn Jul. 14 several hundred opposition protestors gathered in northern town of Gondar to and called on the government to stop exploiting the antiterrorism law and release those whom the law has been used to imprison. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

GONDAR, Ethiopia, Jul 18 2013 (IPS) – Since the violent quashing of political protests after the ruling party won Ethiopia’s 2005 elections, this East African nation has seen little in the way of political dissent. That is, until the last few months.

Since June, the country has witnessed mass protests in three of its major cities. Despite the significance of these protests, observers disagree over how much they signal a rebirth for the country’s opposition movement and the government’s tolerance of it.

“Until the recent protests, most had lost faith in the democratisation process and opposition parties,” Hallelujah Lulie, a political analyst from the Ethiopia-based Institute for Security Studies told IPS.

When the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front won another term of office in 2005, thousands of protestors took to the streets in protest, as the party has been in power since 1991. It had appeared that the ruling party rigged the vote as many expected the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy and the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces to win.

The crackdown led to the arrest of several opposition party politicians, with many others being forced to flee the country and give up politics.

“We need legislative change in order for proper liberalisation where opposition groups are free to operate without arrests and other harassment.” — Hallelujah Lulie, political analyst

 

“Recent opposition activities, however, show that people are beginning to recognise the opposition again, which could be a big boost for the domestic opposition parties,” said Hallelujah.

On Jun. 2 a new opposition group, the Blue Party, organised mass protests in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa. Thousands marched down one of the city’s main avenues, calling for the release of political prisoners and journalists and the reform of government policies.

The protest was given permission, and no arrests were made during, before, or after the demonstration, leading some to believe that the government had become more tolerant towards opposition activities.

“While there have been no arrests so far, we have credible information that the government is plotting to break up our movement and label us as terrorists. We have seen no change in the government or a willingness to engage in dialogue with us,” Yilkal Getnet, chairman of the Blue Party, told IPS.

Getachew Reda, spokesman for the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office, told IPS that they would not negotiate with the protestors, as there are proper legal channels to address issues that the opposition politicians had not exhausted.

“Despite a lack of response from the government, we believe that the opposition movement will continue to gain momentum and are deeply encouraged by the (recent) protests,” said Yilkal.

On Jul. 14, the major opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), organised protests in two major cities, Gondar and Dessie, in north and north-central Ethiopia, respectively. It was part of a campaign ‘One Million Voices for Freedom’, which sought to get one million signatures on a petition with demands similar to those of the Blue Party.

In Gondar, protestors marched through the capital and called on the government to stop exploiting the anti-terrorism law and release those whom the law has been used to imprison, including political prisoners andjournalists. But bad weather and reports of intimidation prior to the march meant that the protestors numbered in the hundreds at most.

“Numbers do not matter right now, it is just very symbolic that the recent protests took place out of Addis, as most the activism is in Addis where it is easier to mobilise supporters,” said Hallelujah. “It shows that the opposition movement could be on the path to regaining popular recognition and trust again.”

Hallelujah believes the protests could be a sign that the opposition is emerging again, he argued that they still face huge challenges that could hinder their chances of success. He said that it is hard for opposition parties to increase their membership freely, to raise funds and even to rent a hall for party meetings.

“They are still operating in a very tight and unfriendly environment,” said Hallelujah. “We need legislative change in order for proper liberalisation where opposition groups are free to operate without arrests and other harassment.”

In the run-up to the protests in Gondar, UDJ party leaders say they faced extreme harassment by the regional state authorities. According to the UDJ, on Jul. 13 local police surrounded the office and would not let their members out all day. Only at the last minute an unofficial deal was reached with the local commander to hold the protest, or so claim party members. Also, over 10 members of their group were arrested for distributing leaflets to the general public in the days leading up to the protest.

Peering through rusty metal bars at Gondar’s Police Station 3, a simple mud hut structure, Amedemakryam Ezra, a UDJ party member, said he was arrested two weeks ago for distributing leaflets.

“They beat my legs so bad, I could not even walk for a week,” Amedemakryam told IPS from the prison. “We have not been allowed out of this cell since. It’s horrible.”

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Before he could finish his sentence, another party member who was also arrested for distributing leaflets appeared. Maru Ashagere, a hairdresser, told IPS that the local authorities went to his parents’ chicken farm and said they would poison all the chickens as punishment for their son’s political activities.

“This kind of harassment makes it very difficult for us to operate but we will struggle through none the less to achieve our goals,” Asrat Tassie, Secretary-General of UDJ, told IPS at the police station.  “Despite all this, we were able to go on with our protest and mobilise the people.”

Not only were party members harassed, but some Gondar residents told IPS they were too scared to join the protests due to threats made throughout the city.

While some might have not have joined out of fear, it appears that many around Gondar did not join because of a lack of faith in the UDJ and the opposition movement. Several residents told IPS that they did not trust the UDJ or believe that it could find real solutions.

“If they can show us real policies to replace the ruling parties, then maybe more for us would join,” said Tesfaye, 34, a local shopkeeper. “They just shout against the government but don’t offer a decent alternative, or solutions to the problems. That is not helpful to anyone.”

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Gonder and Dessie Towns of Ethiopia held government staged Show manifestation

The Ethiopian government staged manifestation is held for the 2nd time in the cities of Gonder and Dessie.

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The so called  “Ethiopian opposition activists” on Sunday demanded the release of journalists and political prisoners jailed under anti-terror legislation in demonstrations in two major towns.

In these planned rare public outpours of anger, people marched peacefully in the towns of Gondar and Dessie, chanting “freedom” and carrying pictures of jailed politicians and journalists.

Government officials said there were around 1,500 protesters in total in both towns, while the activists themselves claimed the number to be as high as 20,000.

“The protests were peaceful and successful,” said Senegas Gidada, protest organiser and chairman of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ) party.

“We are unhappy about the lack of human rights and democratic freedom in Ethiopia,” he added.

The demonstrations follow a rally last month in the capital Addis Ababa when several thousand activists demanded the government adhere to basic human rights.

The recent rallies are the largest since post-election violence in 2005 resulted in 200 people being killed and 30,000 arrested.

“The cost of living is too high. We have no rights. They took away my family’s property and land and gave us no compensation,” said one young unemployed protester, who asked not be named, but who was speaking by telephone from Gondar.

“The dogs on the street have more freedom than we do. We are here to demand freedom and we will continue to protest until the government makes fundamental changes.”

But the government dismissed the protesters’ calls.

“The protesters are demanding the release of prisoners who have been convicted of terrorism, these are not pro-democracy protests,” government spokesman Shemeles Kemal told AFP.

“Most of these demonstrators are Islamic extremists. The government is not concerned by these demonstrations. They are meddling in religious issues and mixing them with political matters.”

The government had allowed the protests to go ahead despite earlier saying they had not received official permission.

Protesters have said they will continue to demonstrate until the government addresses their grievances.

Journalists, opposition members and religious leaders have been jailed under Ethiopia’s 2009 anti-terrorism legislation, which rights groups say is used by the government to stifle peaceful dissent.

Ethiopian journalist, Eskinder Nega, and UDJ Vice-Chairman, Andualem Arage, were both jailed last year under the government’s anti-terror legislation for treason and conspiring to commit acts of terror.

Another such government planned  demonstration is planned for next month.

Volcano erupted in Eritrea as expected breaking the Ethiopian Ocean, the mega dams are menaced

 

 

The volcano of the Horn of Africa are set in motion by exploding in Eritrea  for the  making of  the most expected Ethiopian ocean. It set in action as we have foretold in this site in previous articles. Many geophysicist and seismologist  thought  it will take millions of years to split the horn of Africa. But we have explained in serious of articles that it is in the end of  the  millions of  years phase,  and even in our time we will see the opening of the new ocean.

It is very simple to give  a reality description of events but the true prediction we have been making will save thousands of live if the government of the region  start evacuating the population and stop damming the region.

In the evening of June 12 2011, a series of earthquakes struck the Afambo, Eritrea area. The earthquakes were followed by 2 strong 5.7 earthquakes.  This pattern will continue till the final breaking  of the Horn  from the rest of the continent of Africa.

 

 

 

 

UPDATE 21:36 UTC : Some more information on the volcanic complex :
Mallahle is the central of three NE-SW-trending stratovolcanoes in the Danakil horst SW of Dubbi volcano, and lies SSW of Nabro volcano.
These two volcanoes, along with Bara Ale and Sork’Ale, form the Bidu volcanic complex. The complex Mallahle stratovolcano is truncated by a steep-walled 6-km-wide caldera. Mallahle is formed of rhyolitic lava flows and pyroclastics. Basaltic lava flows blanket the slopes of the
volcano. Recent obsidian flows are found on the NW flank of Mallahle and older obsidian flows were erupted on the northern caldera floor.
Flank spatter and scoria cones are most numerous on the western side of the volcano. Extensive ignimbrite deposits associated with the collapse of Mallahle and Nabro volcanoes blanket the countryside.

UPDATE 21:28 UTC : These magnitudes can lead to serious damage if the epicenter is below or very near to Afambo (which is very nearby based on the seismological data) . We do not think that there will be injured people as the series started with moderate earthquakes and as people will stay on the streets after so many earthquakes.  The current situation tends to become very dangerous.

UPDATE 21:23 UTC : A Mw5.7 has been also recorded at depth 9km in around the same area. No record of damage has yet been recorded.

UPDATE 21:03 UTC : Lucas Tavares reports in our Facebook page : I was studying about this volcanoes past hours. Maybe the shakes surrounds the Mallahle or Nabro Caldera, there is’nt any known eruptions of these volcanoes! Shakes are becoming stronger!

UPDATE 20:58 UTC : We have still no trace (as expected) of what is really going on. This last 5.4 earthquake can be damaging at this shallow depth when the epicenter is located below a village or town. As we are unsure of the exact epicenter (the error margin may be 10 to 30 km different than reported by the USGS).

UPDATE 20:56 UTC : The earthquakes are continuing with the last one as the strongest so far with a magnitude of 5.4 at a depth of 10 km.

UPDATE 20:33 UTC : We are more and more convinced that one of the nearby volcanoes went into an active status as the distance to the ridge fault is to big to create this kind of earthquakes. Additionally almost all the earthquakes are occurring near the volcano complex on the picture (courtesy Google Earth)

UPDATE 19:37 UTC : This unusual series of moderate earthquakes have also occurred a couple of months ago in the Gulf of Aden. The earthquakes are typical for separating irregular tectonic plates. The series in the Gulf of Adenhad their epicenter in the immediate area of the ridge fault.
Due to the close-by volcanoes, an eruption pattern of the Dubbi volcano is still possible.  The pre-eruption pattern of both the Icelandic and Chilean volcanoes from the last few weeks is also present here. Compared to Iceland and Chile, Eritrea has other concerns than looking to beautiful eruptions. We will follow up these events and will come back to you as soon as we can get more data ?
UPDATE 16:11 UTC : Other agencies are reporting totally different and less dangerous numbers : GFZ: 4.9 @ 43 km and EMSC 4.7 @ 200 km
Moderate shallow earthquake with an epicenter almost below Afambo.
Approx. 15 km from the Dubbi volcano. The peak of the Dubbi volcano is 1625 m. There have been four known eruptions. In 1400 lava was determined to have reached the Red Sea while in 1861 ash was thrown over 250 km from the volcano. Two further events were suspected between 1861 and the 20th century.

During the late afternoon and evening of June 12 2011 a series of moderate earthquake struck at first near Afambo in Eritrea and later 100 km more to the south in Ethiopia. At the moment of writing, we do not know whether these earthquake have a tectonic or a volcanic origin.

Other moderate earthquakes which occurred after the first earthquake which is described in detail

M 4.5      2011/06/12 21:37     Depth 15.0 km      ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 5.7      2011/06/12 21:03     Depth 9.9 km      ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 5.7      2011/06/12 20:32     Depth 10.1 km      ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.8      2011/06/12 19:44     Depth 9.9 km      ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.7      2011/06/12 19:37     Depth 10.1 km      ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.5      2011/06/12 18:01     Depth 10.1 km      ETHIOPIA
M 5.0      2011/06/12 19:21     Depth 10.0 km     ETHIOPIA
M 4.7      2011/06/12 17:47:21       13.538       41.588     Depth 10.0 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.8      2011/06/12 17:18:10       13.381       41.764     Depth 9.9 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.3      2011/06/12 16:33:12       13.507       41.722     Depth 10.0 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.8      2011/06/12 16:24:44       13.436       41.682     Depth 10.0 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.7      2011/06/12 16:12:03       13.397       41.734     Depth 10.0 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.5      2011/06/12 16:09:30       13.443       41.696     Depth 2.9 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 5.1
UTC Time : Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 15:37:05 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 06:37:05 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 10 km
Geo-location(s) :
Almost below Afambo, Eritrea
128 km (79 miles) WNW of Assab, Eritrea

Source:

http://earthquake-report.com/2011/06/12/unusual-series-of-moderate-…

 

NameElevationLocationLast eruption
metersfeetCoordinates
Alid910296614.88°N 39.92°EHolocene
Asseb910298612.85°N 42.43°EHolocene
Dubbi987533113.58°N 41.808°E1861
Gufa600196912.55°N 42.53°EHolocene
Jalua713233915.042°N 39.62°Eunknown
Mousa Ali2028665412.47°N 42.40°EHolocene
Nabro2218727713.37°N 41.70°EJune 13, 2

 

Eruption

Satellite images showed a large eruption occurring shortly after 2200 UTC June 12, close to 1 AM East Africa Time, in the Southern Red Sea Region. The eruption created a large ash cloud near the Eritrea-Ethiopia border region, eventually extending over 1,000 km (620 mi) into neighboring Sudan.[6]

Forecasters predicted that the ash plume may reach Israel.[7]

Geology

The erupting volcano is located within the Afar Triangle, in the larger Danakil Depression that holds many other active volcanoes. However, neither volcano thought potentially responsible for the eruption has seen activity in the past century, with Dubbi last erupting in 1861 and Nabro remaining quiet for thousands of years. No eruption of Nabro occurred in recorded history.

Earthquakes

A series of earthquakes[8], including two at magnitude 5.7[9][10] struck the region in the hours preceeding the eruption. The tremors may be volcanic in origin.[11]

References

  1. ^ News, BNO (June 13, 2011). “VAAC: Eruption underway at Dubbi volcano in Eritrea”. Channel 6 news. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  2. ^ News, BNO (June 13, 2011). “UPDATE 1 — Volcanic eruption in Eritrea sends plume into the air, …. WireUpdate. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  3. ^ VAAC, Toulouse. “Toulouse VAAC – Volcanic Ash Advisories”. Meteo France. Toulouse Volcano Ash Advisory Centre. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  4. ^ Vervaeck, Armand (June 13, 2011). “Eritrea volcano eruption : Ash cloud advisory extending further into Africa”. Earthquake – Report. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  5. ^ Gubin, Anastasia (June 13, 2011). “Africa: Volcán Nabro erupciona lanzando cenizas hasta Sudán” (in Spanish). The Epoch Times. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  6. ^ Duran, Jim; Warren Miller (June 13, 2011). “Dubbi volcanic ash cloud expands westward through Northern Africa”. The Weather Space. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  7. ^ Masa, Israel. “ענן וולקני מהר געש באריתריאה מתקדם לעבר ישראל” (in Hebrew). Masa.co.il. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  8. ^ A, Solomon (June 13, 2011). “Series of moderate earthquakes hit Eritrea – Ethiopia border region”. Ethiopian Journal. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  9. ^ Earthquake, USGS. “Magnitude 5.7 – ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION”. United States Geological Survey. Earthquake Hazards Program. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  10. ^ Earthquake, USGS. “Magnitude 5.7 – ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION”. United States Geological Survey. Earthquake Hazards Program. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  11. ^ Stuff, NZ (June 13, 2011). “Quake swarm hits Ethiopia-Eritrea”. Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 13 June 2011.

 

Ethiopia on the 20th anniversary of Irredentism, War & Famine is ready to balkanize in model of Somalia and Yugoslavia, Muse Tegegne, Prof.

Ethiopia inaugurates the 20th year of Ethnical irredentism balkanizing  of the unitary  state as existed for over 3000 years. This dictatorial regime of Melese Zenawie came to power at the demise of the satellite regime of Mengistu Haile Marian two years after  the fall the iron curtain in  19191. Melse acessed  power by  manipulating  famine aide  to buy arms at the expense of millions starving in the region of Tigre and the rest of Ethiopia.

The recent “day of rage” counter demonstration planned by democracy activists failed to materialize  in the model of  Arabic Awakenings is  due to two principal reasons –  first of the absence of a grass root movements to embrace their call since the diasporas has been  busy collecting money  criticizing one another in pal talks    rather than organizing  mass under trodden inside Ethiopia , thus end up being a media tiger  –  and  second of the Ethiopian youth is at embryonic stage of social networking highly controlled by the state. If any, they are all those the benefiter of the regime who manipulated the internet not the mass youth like that of Egypt and Tunisia.

Thousands of Ethiopians were forced to turn out in Addis Ababa’s main square to mark Prime Minister Melees Zenawi’s 20th anniversary in power at the risk of losing their job
though at the gunpoint the turnout at Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square was a fraction of the one million predicted by the dictator. The dictator order to cut down the event to its minimum gave further instruction for the office workers to go back to work.

In many part of country the regime deliberated its 2th anniversary the day before to circumvent the mass uprising.

The dictator Melese Zenawi’s address bit the record of minimum speech of 5 minutes to commemorate his coming to power 20 years ago, he used to make a long brain storming at the model of  totalitarian regimes. Rather he tried even to drawn it in the Nile by calling for support of construction of a massive dam. This I unprecedented challenge  for  downstream  riparian  by constructing a megalomaniac  death dam which eventually will drain and dry the  flow of the Nile river  by stopping the annual flooding., while Ethiopia endowed with plenty of thermal energy accessible with a less cost to human and environment consequences in a country   over 3 million starveling.

The last two decades of Melse’s regime took the starving Ethiopians for three major wars_ two Eritrea and one with Somalia. He dumped the election of 2005 which he lost in a day light. In 2010 he rugged the election by assuring his 3 decades of power in a dictatorial regime he created.

Today the regime is confronting a war in Somali region, in Kenyan border, and in the West of the country a conflict not yet accessible to the international media.

When it comes to liberation movements they have not yet found their Ethiopianist identity struggling inside the country. Many seems to follow the rhythm imposed by the belligerent regime of Eritrea or others or those movements fighting to create an independent Ethnic region in the model of Southern Sudan or Somaliland.

If the country could not find an avantgardist  alternative  to bring it to a democracy and consolidate the national state hood it will catch the syndrome of Somali and that of Yugoslavia leading to eventual  of balkanization based on the Ethnical constitution and its article 39  which permits  self determination up to independence. This the only constitution  having such article in the world.

Article 39 the Right of Nations, Nationalities and Peoples

1. Every nation, nationality or people in Ethiopia shall have the unrestricted right to self determination up to secession.

Meles Zenawi Speech on the 20th Anniversary of Ginbot 20, May 28


 

 

Adwa once unified all the people of African descent, 115 years after divides Ethiopia Prof. Muse Tegegne

The name Adwa divides and unifies Ethiopians today.  115 years ago the 1st of March 1896 it unified not only Ethiopia but the whole people of African descent and the rest of people under colonial subjugation.  Today the name in Ethiopia signifies division dismemberment. It was in 1991 that the son of Adwa Melese Zenawie took over the reign of power in the palace of Menelik II.  This is the same throne where the king of kings the lion of Adwa the pride of all people of African descent seat. Melese the worst dictator Ethiopia has ever seen is set to balkanize Ethiopia, a country Menelik fought and won the greatest battle against the Scramble for Africa.

The battle of Adwa of March first of March, 1896 a great victory and pride for Africans at home Diaspora. The victory assured that Ethiopia successfully resists European colonization.

Italy the late comer to the scramble for Africa in the late 19th century   was allocated to Ethiopia but just needed to take control. The Italians and the rest of the European powers present at the Berlin Conference 1880’s wrongly assumed that Ethiopia was made up of rival tribes fighting one another and thought it would be a quick promenade for their 20,000 strong highly trained invasion forces, they never though these what they call “tribal back word savages “could be united raising a much larger patriotic people’s army to defend their country and even to win an all out war.

 

Map of the Battle of Adowa, between the forces of General Oreste Baratieri, Italian governor of Eritrea and Menelik II, Emperor of Ethiopia.

[stream provider=youtube flv=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DzAPoLu4W6TE%26feature%3Drelated img=x:/img.youtube.com/vi/zAPoLu4W6TE/0.jpg embed=false share=false width=340 height=260 dock=true controlbar=over bandwidth=high autostart=false playlist=right /]

The main cause of the Battle being the European colonial ambition it manifested through the deferent treaty the colonial powers used to cheat the Africans. This was highly manifested by Italo Ethiopian Treaty known as the Wechale Treaty.   The colonial manipulation started when Menelik II came to the throne in 1889 the Italians thought that he would surrender sovereignty to them since they had been supplying him with ammunitions. They succeeded to manipulate the king on  May 2, 1889, to make him  sign  the Treaty  of Uccialli in the province of Wello, with which Menelik accorded for the  Italians some land in Tigre to the already concession he has made by letting them to take Eritrea. In this famous once sided treaty, they   tricked Menelik by having two different versions- one in Italian and other in Amharic. The secret of the Italian plan was manifested on   article 17 which read in one in Amharic and other in Italian.   Thus the Italian version read: –
The Emperor consents to use the Italian government for all the business he does with all the other Powers or Governments“.
The Amharic version reads:-
The Emperor has the option to communicate with the help of the Italian government for all matters that he wants with the kings of Europe.”

When Menelik realized that he had been cheated he immediately rejected the treaty and refused all further offers of gifts from the Italians. Turkey, Russia and France stood to the Ethiopian version of the story.  Finally Menelik decided to confront the advancing Italian Army which has already occupied Tigre Provence without his contentment.

As a result in September of 1895, Menelik, King of Kings of Ethiopia mobilized the population of Ethiopia to arms. Over 100,000 Ethiopians gathered under his rank to liberate his occupy province by the Italian forces.

 

[stream provider=youtube flv=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Did_3pzPjTd0 img=x:/img.youtube.com/vi/id_3pzPjTd0/0.jpg embed=false share=false width=340 height=260 dock=true controlbar=over bandwidth=high autostart=false /]

“God, in his bounty, has struck down my enemies and enlarged my empire and preserved me to this day. I have reigned by the grace of God….Enemies have come who would ruin our country and change our religion. They have passed beyond the sea which God gave us as our frontier….These enemies have advanced, burrowing into the country like moles. With God’s help I will get rid of them.”

Menelik divided his Army under three leaders:-

  1. Emperor Menelik II, The King of Kings of Ethiopia
  2. Empress Taytu Betul, The Wife of Menlik II
  3. Negus Tekle Haymanot Tessemma ,
  4. Ras Welle Betul ;
  5. RasMengesha Atikem ;
  6. Ras Mengesha Yohannes ;
  7. Ras Alula Engida ;
  8. Ras Mikael of Wollo;
  9. Ras Makonnen Wolde Mikael;
  10. Fitawrari Gebeyyehu,

[stream provider=youtube flv=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DYdEifBqlcvI img=x:/img.youtube.com/vi/YdEifBqlcvI/0.jpg embed=false share=false width=340 height=260 dock=true controlbar=over bandwidth=high autostart=false /]

 

On the night of 29 February and the early morning of 1 March three Italian brigades advanced separately towards Adwa over narrow mountain tracks, while a fourth remained camped.  The Italiano Forces were led by:-

  1. General Oreste Baratieri ;
  2. Brgdaire Matteo Albertone,
  3. Giuseppe Arimondi,
  4. Giuseppe Ellena  and
  5. Vittorio Dabormida.

 

These invading Italian forces were made up of 18,000 infantry and 56 artillery guns, and with many thousands of   Eritrean militias were prepared to fight against Menelik II on the battle field.

At 6:00 on the 1st of March 1896 the Italian Gen.  Albertone used the Eritrean askari peasant fighters to face their brother Ethiopian as is always the game to make the enemy to kill one another at a place called Kidane Meret. This was the hill where the Ethiopians had managed to set up their mountain out front.  On the hill side though outnumbered by the Eritrean askaris, the Ethiopian fighters were able to hold their position for two hours which they broke the rank of the Italians and able to capture General Albertone’s.  At such heroic fight the Italian and their remaining askaris dispersed leaving the wounded and the dead.  Seeing the capture of the Albertone Gen  Arimondi’s brigade joined the fight at the last minute and start punching the Ethiopians to liberate the captured Italians. The Ethiopians fought courageously  and battled the colonizers three  hours while Menelik himself joined the combat with his  25,000 strong  Shewans people’s army and  broke their back bones once for good. Brigadier Dabormida now made a fatal error as he retreated from Menelik’s push, he was cornered  into a narrow hill where he  was ransacked  by Ras Mikael ‘s Oromo Army . They wiped him  out, his body was never recovered. The last blow came at noon the next day   when Negus Tekle Haymonot led his  Gojjam forces  break the back bone of  the remaining  Italian brigade.  This happened when Negus  was attacked by the last of the invading army which he  destroyed and by one o’clock the battle was finished with victory to the African Army.

The battle was bloody over 8,000 Italians died and 1500 wounded many captured fighting hard to save the pride of European colonizers, but  with no avail. Almost the same amount of Ethiopians perished in this decisive war of history in the African heartland after the war of the Zulu in South Africa  and Mhadist victory against the Britons in Khartoum led by Mahadi.

“In Ethiopia, the military genius of Menelik II was in the best tradition of Piankhi, the great ruler of ancient Egypt and Nubia or ancient Ethiopia, who drove out the Italians in 1896 and maintained the liberties of that ancient free empire of Black men.” Huggins and Jackson analyzed the victory not only in terms of its significance to the postcolonial African world, but also in terms of its linkage to the tradition of ancient African glories and victories.  An Introduction to African Civilizations, Huggins and Jackson write

 

 

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Freedom is not Free in Dictatorial Ethiopia 2010

Freedom House has made the yearly report for political freedom, 2010. We  we have made the following extract concerning Ethiopia.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Major declines were recorded in Ethiopia and Djibouti, both of which dropped from Partly Free to Not Free. In addition, declines were noted in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Rwanda, Swaziland, and Zambia. Improvements were noted in Kenya, Nigeria, Somaliland, and Tanzania, as well as in Guinea, which received an improvement in status from Not Free to Partly Free.

Ethiopia (2010)

Capital: Addis Ababa

Population:82,825,000

Political Rights Score: 5
Civil Liberties Score: 5
Status: Partly Free

Trend Arrow

Ethiopia received a downward trend arrow due to the narrowing of political space in advance of the 2010 elections, the government’s crackdown on the operations of nongovernmental organizations, and its passing of a draconian antiterrorism law.

Overview

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government bolstered restrictions on political activity in 2009 as it prepared for federal and regional elections scheduled for 2010. Opposition party activists were arrested, and a new antiterrorism law gave the government broad authority to crack down on perceived opponents. Other legislation enacted during the year imposed strict controls on civil society organizations.


One of the few African countries to avoid decades of European colonization, Ethiopia ended a long tradition of monarchy in 1974, when Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in a Marxist military coup. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam ruled the country until a coalition of guerrilla groups led by forces from the northern Tigray region overthrew his brutal dictatorship in 1991. The main rebel group, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), formed a new regime, and its leader Meles Zenawi became interim president.
Under the EPRDF, democratic institutions and a new constitution were introduced. Most of the opposition boycotted elections held in 1995, claiming harassment of its supporters precluded a fair vote, and Meles became prime minister. He began a second five-year term after the 2000 elections, which the EPRDF also won easily. Opposition parties and some observers criticized the government’s conduct of the vote.
A border dispute with Eritrea, which had gained formal independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long guerrilla conflict, triggered a war that lasted from 1998 to 2000. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission was then established to draw a new border, but Ethiopia rejected its 2002 decision to assign the town of Badme to Eritrea.
In the 2005 elections for the powerful lower house of Parliament, the EPRDF and its allies won 327 seats, while the two main opposition parties took 161 seats, up from 12 in the previous Parliament. Notwithstanding their gains, opposition parties argued that fraud and interference in the electoral process had deprived them of outright victory. Street demonstrations led to violence and a harsh reaction by the authorities. At least 193 people were killed and more than 4,000 were arrested, including leading opposition figures, who were finally pardoned and released in 2007.
The opposition boycotted local elections in 2008, accusing the EPRDF of harassment. Opposition activities were further restricted in 2009, as the EPRDF prepared for the 2010 federal and regional elections. In June, 45 members of an unregistered political party were charged with trying to topple the government.
Ethiopia’s relations with neighboring countries were tense but stable in 2009. The border dispute with Eritrea remained unresolved, but Ethiopian forces completed their withdrawal from Somalia, ending a disastrous three-year campaign aimed at destroying Islamist rebel groups and propping up the war-torn country’s Transitional Federal Government.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia continued to face separatist movements in Oromiya and the Ogaden. Sporadic fighting persisted between government forces and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) guerrillas. The authorities have banned journalists from the region, preventing the outside world from accurately assessing the situation there.

Ongoing drought in parts of the country in 2009 led to a warning that five million people would be in need of food aid, in addition to the eight million who already received it. The drought also reduced Ethiopia’s hydroelectric power output, causing frequent outages in Addis Ababa and contributing to a growth rate of less than 2 percent according to the United Nations, which was far less than the 10 percent claimed by the government.

Political Rights and Civil Liberties

Ethiopia is not an electoral democracy. However, the presence of a significant elected opposition at the federal level since 2005 does mark a possible step forward in the development of the country’s democratic political culture.
The bicameral Parliament consists 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, with both serving five-year terms. The House of People’s Representatives selects the prime minister, who holds most executive power, and the president, who serves in a largely ceremonial capacity for six-year terms. 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 EPRDF dominates political life. Government harassment has seriously impeded the ability of opposition parties to function, although some have used rhetoric that could be interpreted as advocating violence, or have failed to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with a democratic political culture.
A recent series of arrests of opposition figures appeared to signal a crackdown on political freedoms in advance of the 2010 elections. Unity for Democracy and Justice party leader Birtukan Mideksa, who had received a sentence of life in prison after the 2005 postelection violence and was pardoned in 2007, was rearrested in December 2008 after her pardon was revoked. In June 2009, 46 people were charged with plotting to overthrow the government on behalf of Ginbot 7, an unregistered party. In November, a court convicted 26 of the defendants after a trial that legal rights groups criticized as unfair. However, a high-profile opponent of the government, the singer Tewodros Kassahun, known as Teddy Afro, was released early from a two-year prison sentence in August 2009; he had been convicted for a hit-and-run automobile accident, but his supporters claimed that the case was politically motivated.
The government has taken a number of steps to limit corruption, including the imposition of asset-disclosure rules for state officials. However, graft remains a significant problem. Former prime minister Tamrat Layne and former defense minister Seye Abreha were convicted of corruption in 2007, but both had been released by the end of 2008, having already served several years in prison on other corruption charges.Ethiopia was ranked 120 out of 180 countries surveyed in Transparency International’s 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index.
The news media are dominated by state-owned broadcasters and government-oriented newspapers. There are a number of independent newspapers, but they struggle financially and face intermittent government harassment. The only independent newspaper in the capital, Addis Neger, suspended operations in November, as staff said they feared prosecution by the authorities. A 2008 media law has had a chilling effect on freedom of speech. Although it barred government censorship of private media, the measure allowed prosecutors to seize material before publication in the name of national security and gave the government broader powers to pursue defamation cases. Journalists who fall foul of the government risk exile or imprisonment. In two separate cases in August 2009, journalists were given one-year prison sentences for spreading false information. Internet usage is confined mainly to major urban areas, and the government has blocked opposition-run websites.
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 the Somali, Oromo, and Afari ethnic groups.
Academic freedom is restricted. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has accused universities of being friendly to the opposition, and their activities are closely monitored. In recent years, student protests against government policies have led to scores of deaths and injuries and hundreds of arrests. The government has tried to establish a more orderly and loyal academic community by creating 13 new state universities. Growing intolerance of dissent has dampened private discussion in the country, as even ordinary citizens face harassment or arrest for speaking out against the government.
Freedoms of assembly and association are limited. In January 2009, the House of People’s Representatives passed the Charities and Societies Proclamation, which is designed to restrict the ability of foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to bypass government channels when they disburse funds. Foreign NGOs are defined as groups that receive more than 10 percent of their funding from abroad. The measure also gives the government broad authority to restrict NGO activities it deems unhelpful, such as campaigning for human and political rights. All civil society organizations are required to reregister with the government under the new rules.
Trade union rights are tightly restricted. Government workers in “essential industries,” a term that is broadly defined, are not allowed to strike, and the Confederation of Ethiopian Unions is under government control. Some union leaders suspected of engaging in political activity 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. Suspects are routinely held without warrants, and cases can take a long time to reach court. A draconian new counterterrorism law, passed by the government in July 2009, defines terrorist activity very broadly and gives great discretion to the security forces. According to Human Rights Watch, the law could be used to prosecute peaceful political protesters and impose the death penalty for offenses as minor as damaging public property. Conditions in Ethiopia’s prisons are harsh, and the International Committee of the Red Cross is not permitted to inspect federal facilities and police stations. Detainees frequently report being abused or tortured.
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 Liberation Front. Discrimination against other groups, especially the Oromo, has been widespread. According to the International Crisis Group, Ethiopia’s federal system of government, which grants autonomy to the dominant ethnic group in each region, has increased tensions between communities. Repression of the Oromo and ethnic Somalis, and government attempts to co-opt their parties into subsidiaries of the EPRDF, have helped to fuel nationalism in both Oromiya and the Ogaden.
The government has established a Women’s Affairs Ministry, and Parliament has passed legislation designed to protect women’s rights. 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. 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.

Rwanda is accused of Genocide for the 2nd time. Tutsis regime in power rejects their Ethiopian origin and national recognition of the Hutu and the Twa as a main cause of Genocide . Prof. Muse Tegegne

In  the epic  of the  1973  Bawetu and  Batutsi conflict of Burundi,  the Emperor of  Ethiopia Haile Selassie  invited to the Tutsi minority to immigrate  back to their homeland Ethiopia and resolve the Tutsi Question in the great lakes  defensively.   He even later suggested swap of population between Rwanda and Burundi.  The Negus sent a messenger saying:-

Come and let me give a region bigger than Burundi /Rwanda” and let me send you planes to start the Exodus like the Rastafarians in Shashemene. “

The Genocide of the Tutsi accused of their origin and the moderate Hutu as collaborator

The Melese Zenawie regime in Addis Ababa who supposedly helped the liberation of Rwanda and received a heroic medal did not send a single solider to stop the bloody massacre of the Tutsis due to their Ethiopian identity. The Tutsi were thrown to the Nile River after slaughtered as a sacrifice ram  and told to return back where they came from. A bloody massacred that turned the river red, like plague of Egypt in the Bible, which scared even   the population of   Cairo to drink from the Nile waters in the aftermath the genocide. Melese Znawie did not move his finger but not ashamed to receive a heroic medal for the “bloody spectacle” at the massacre of the people of Ethiopian origin in the Great Lake region. He would have refused the medal after visiting the Genocide Museum of Rwanda. How can one accused of a genocide could receive a  medal for a Genocide? This is done to wash his crime committed in Ethiopia against the Anuaks and others . Now is the time for Melese prepare a medial for his friend Kagme to wash him white from the coming indictment. The African dictators start delivering  and honoring one another for the misfortune   they committed  while in power against their own  defenseless populations.

Today the government of Rwanda is working to destroy the identity of Ethiopianism in the Great Lakes with his friend dictator Melese  in the Horn of Africa.   Melese with his Ethnic federation is destroying what is left of Ethiopia and Kagame is denying the identity of the people of Ethiopian origin. Today as in Addis Ababa at Kigali   to claim once identity as to be Ethiopian Tutsi is to be Jews in the National   Weimar Republic.  The Rwandese regime refused even to recognize the existence of the TWA the original inhabitants of the great lake region who were victim of the 1994 genocide like the rest of the Tutsis and moderate Hutu. According to the UN  30% of the Twa population of Rwanda died in the fighting.[1] The Twa were one of the Ethnic three David Stars engraved on the national flag of Burundi at its outset.

The Rwanda’s main cause of the Genocide is a taboo   to recognize publicly in Kigali once Ethiopian identity. The regime of Rwanda publically declare”There is No Tutsi or Hutu, but Rwandan ” he did not mentioned the Twa since  no one care about them any  way.  The majority of the population rejects this imposition to this day. The government who is now stands accused by the UN as a perpetuator of genocide even in Congo against its own population.

It is a Logical Fallacy to believe that Two Wrongs Make a Right (“Wrong + wrong = right.”).

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.” .. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

The Twa are often ignored in discussions about the conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis, which reached its height in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

The colonial powers were responsible for the creation of these hate and division among the Rwandese is undeniable fact and easy accusation. People in Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones,   post colonial  the governments in Rwanda and Burundi did not help to create bondage among the three Ethnic groups in the country that of the majority Hutu and the minority Tutsi and dominated Twa. They demonstrated unprecedented massacre of their mutual  population in the post colonial period.

Rwanda experienced Africa’s worst genocide in modern times, and the country’s recovery was stained by unnecessary   intervention in the conflict in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The country has been beset by ethnic tension associated with the traditionally unequal relationship between the dominant Tutsi minority and the majority Hutus at the departure of the colonial power.

In 1959 the ethnic relationship was reversed to the favor of the agricultural Huts taken power. The civil war that followed forced over 200,000 Tutsis to flee to Burundi and the rest of the Great lake region with a lingering resentment which led to periodic massacres of Tutsis.

In 1993from the neighboring Rwanda the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) launched a military campaign to control the country. At the outcome at least 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus had been brutally massacred in 1994. Some two million Hutus fled to Zaire, today’s DR Congo. They included some of those responsible for the massacres, and some joined Zairian forces to attack local Tutsi.  Rwanda did not recognize the Tutsi a distinct people but invaded refugee camps dominated by Hutu militiamen as a response to the Genocide taking justice in its hand.

Rwanda withdrew its forces from DR Congo in 2002. Later Rwanda continues accusing the Congolese army of aiding Hutu genocidal rebels in eastern DR Congo.

Rwanda has used traditional “gacaca” community courts to try those suspected of taking part in the 1994 genocide. But key individuals – particularly those accused of orchestrating the slaughter – appear before an International Criminal Tribunal in northern Tanzania.

Today the only way out for Rwanda is to recognize the cultural identity of the three distinct people that composed Rwanda and make a democratic reelection based on one man one vote according to Mandela. The recent election of Paul Kagame for the coming 7 year is the same as his friend Melese Zenawie who gave him the necessary expertise to rage election shamelessly and claim to win over 90% of the ballet.

Rwanda must recognize her misdeeds in Congo and bring those military leaders to justice and learn from South African Experience to create a Reconciliation Committee and resolve the conflict once for and all.

Prof. Muse Tegegne   the author wrote and dedicated a Book for the Rwanda Genocide in 1999

In 1992 in hist Book Stigma  Predicted coming  the Genocide …

THe Children of the Ark in French.


1.”Minorities under Siege: Pygmies today in Africa”. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-11.

Timeline: 100 days of genocide


BBC

Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 April, 2004, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Some 800,000 Rwandans, mainly Tutsis, were murdered in a 100-day period following the killing of the Hutu president of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana.
The presidential guard quickly murdered the political opposition and enacted a pre-planned campaign of slaughter that spread across the country. Soldiers, government officials and business leaders organised the killings and were joined by a Hutu militia, the Interahamwe.

The international community did little to stop the killings and the slaughter was brought to end by the military defeat of the government by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a Tutsi-led rebel group.

6 April 1994: President Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira are killed when the Rwandan leader’s plane is shot down as it is about to land at Kigali Airport. Hutu extremists opposed to the Arusha Peace Accords are believed to be behind the attack.

7 April: The Rwandan armed forces and Interahamwe militia begin the systematic killing of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. UN forces, unwilling to breach their mandate, fail to intervene. 10 Belgian UN peacekeepers are killed.

8 April: The Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) launches a major offensive to end the killings and rescue 600 of its troops based in Kigali under the Arusha Accords.

9-10 April: French, Belgian and American civilians are rescued by their governments.

11 April: The International Red Cross (IRC) estimates that tens of thousands have been slaughtered. UN soldiers protecting 2,000 Tutsis at a school are ordered to withdraw to Kigali airport. Most are killed after their departure.

14 April: Belgium withdraws its troops from the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda.

15 April: Slaughter of thousands of Tutsis gathered at Nyarubuye Church seeking protection.

21 April: The UN cuts the level of its forces in Rwanda by 90% to just 270 troops. The IRC estimates the dead could now number over 100,000.

30 April: The UN agrees a resolution condemning the killing but omits the word ‘genocide’. Tens of thousands of refugees flee into neighbouring Burundi, Tanzania and Zaire.

Mid-May: The IRC estimates that 500,000 Rwandans have been killed.

17 May: The UN Security Council issues a fresh resolution saying that ‘acts of genocide may have been committed’. It also agrees to send 5,500 troops with new powers to defend civilians, however deployment is delayed by disagreements between the US and UN over the financing of the operation.

22 May: RPF forces gain control of Kigali airport and Kanombe barracks, and extend their control over the northern and eastern parts of Rwanda.

22 June: With arguments over the deployment still continuing, the UN authorises an emergency force of 2,500 French troops under Operation Turquoise to create a ‘safe’ area in the government-controlled part of Rwanda. The killing of Tutsis continues in the ‘safe’ area despite the presence of the French.

4 July: The RPF takes control of Kigali and the southern town of Butare. Its leadership claims it will form a government on the basis of the Arusha Accords.

13-14 July: Refugees fleeing the RPF advance in north-western Rwanda flood into Zaire. Approximately 10,000-12,000 refugees per hour cross the border into the town of Goma. The massive influx creates a severe humanitarian crisis, as there is an acute lack of shelter, food and water.

18 July: The RPF announces that the war is over, declares a cease-fire and names Pastor Bizimungu as president with Faustin Twagiramungu as prime minister

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Rwanda’s Paul Kagame Center of Controversial Election

Ethiopia – Meles receives highest Rwandan medals

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi received two medals on Saturday from the Government of Rwanda.

One of the medals has been given for Meles’s immense contribution he made in the struggle to topple the dictatorial Derg regime and bring peace, and socio-economic development in Ethiopia.

The other medal was vested in him in recognition of Ethiopia’s contribution in deploying peace keepers to end the civil war in Rwanda.

While marking its 15 years of victory, Rwanda has also given its highest national medal to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and former Tanzania President Julius Nyerere.

The leaders received the award for their contribution to halt the Rwandan genocide, according ETV report

Congo examines mass graves to find proof of revenge genocide on Hutus

Hutu Victims

UN DR Congo ‘genocide’ draft report – key excerpts

27 August 2010 BBC Africa

Weapons belonging to a Rwandan Hutu rebel of the FDLR

Among the Hutus who fled to DR Congo in 1994 were many of the militiamen responsible for Rwanda’s genocide

A UN report into massacres of Hutu civilians in DR Congo after the Rwanda’s 1994 genocide has been leaked ahead of its official publication.

Experts say it is the first rigorous investigation – the researchers required two independent sources for each of the 600 incidents documented in their 545-page report – into alleged atrocities committed in eastern DR Congo between 1993 and 2003. Rwanda’s Tutsi-dominated government has dismissed the claims as “rubbish”.

Here are some of the draft report’s key findings:

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The systematic use of barriers… enabled them to identify people of Hutu origin by their name or village of origin and thus to eliminate them”

Paragraph 513

512. The systematic attacks, in particular killings and massacres perpetrated against members of the Hutu ethnic group, are described extensively in section I of the report. These attacks resulted in a very large number of victims, probably tens of thousands of members of the Hutu ethnic group, all nationalities combined. In the vast majority of case reported, it was not a question of people killed unintentionally in the course of combat, but people targeted primarily by AFDL [Congolese rebels led by Laurent Kabila, who became president in 1997]/APR [Rwandan army]/FAB [Burundi’s army] forces and executed in their hundreds, often with edged weapons.

The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who posed no threat to the attacking forces. Numerous serious attacks on the physical or psychological integrity of members of the group were also committed, with a very high number of Hutus shot, raped, burnt or beaten. Very large numbers of victims were forced to flee and travel long distances to escape their pursuers, who were trying to kill them. The hunt lasted for months, resulting in the deaths of an unknown number of people subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading living conditions, without access to food or medication. On several occasions, the humanitarian aid intended for them was deliberately blocked, in particular in Orientale Province, depriving them of assistance essential to their survival.

513. At the time of the incidents covered by this report, the Hutu population in Zaire, including refugees from Rwanda, constituted an ethnic group as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Moreover, as shown previously, the intention to destroy a group in part is sufficient to be classified as a crime of genocide. Finally, the courts have also confirmed that the destruction of a group can be limited to a particular geographical area. It is therefore possible to assert that, even if only a part of the Hutu population in Zaire was targeted and destroyed, it could nonetheless constitute a crime of genocide, if this was the intention of the perpetrators. Finally, several incidents listed also seem to confirm that the numerous attacks were targeted at members of the Hutu ethnic group as such.

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Several of the massacres listed were committed regardless of the age or gender of the victims. ”

Paragraph 515

Although, at certain times, the aggressors said they were looking for the criminals responsible for the genocide committed against the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, the majority of the incidents reported indicate that the Hutus were targeted as such, with no discrimination between them. The numerous attacks against the Hutus in Zaire, who were not part of the refugees, seem to confirm that it was all Hutus, as such, who were targeted. The crimes committed in particular in Rutshuru (30 October 1996) and Mugogo (18 November 1996), in North Kivu, highlight the specific targeting of the Hutus, since people who were able to persuade the aggressors that they belonged to another ethnic group were released just before the massacres. The systematic use of barriers by the AFDL/APR/FAB, particularly in South Kivu, enabled them to identify people of Hutu origin by their name or village of origin and thus to eliminate them. Hundreds of people of Hutu origin are thus thought to have been arrested at a barrier erected in November 1996 in Ngwenda, in the Rutshuru territory, and subsequently executed by being beaten with sticks in a place called Kabaraza. In South Kivu, AFDL/APR/FAB soldiers erected numerous barriers on the Ruzizi plain to stop Rwandan and Burundian refugees who had been dispersed after their camps had been dismantled.

514. Several incidents listed in this report point to circumstances and facts from which a court could infer the intention to destroy the Hutu ethnic group in the DRC in part, if these were established beyond all reasonable doubt. Firstly, the scale of the crimes and the large number of victims are illustrated by the numerous incidents described above. The extensive use of edged weapons (primarily hammers) and the systematic massacre of survivors, including women and children, after the camps had been taken show that the numerous deaths cannot be attributed to the hazards of war or seen as equating to collateral damage. The systematic nature of the attacks listed against the Hutus also emerges: These attacks took place in each location where refugees had been identified by the AFDL/APR, over a vast area of the country. Particularly in North Kivu and South Kivu but also in other provinces, the massacres often began with a trick by elements of the AFDL/APR, who summoned the victims to meetings on the pretext either of discussing their repatriation to Rwanda in the case of the refugees, or of introducing them to the new authorities in the case of Hutus settled in the region, or of distributing food.

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“These “awareness-raising speeches” made in North Kivu also incited the population to look for, kill or help to kill Rwandan Hutu refugees, whom they called “pigs””

Paragraph 515

Afterwards, those present were systematically killed. Cases of this kind were confirmed in the province of North Kivu in Musekera, Rutshuru and Kiringa (October 1996), Mugogo and Kabaraza (November 1996), Hombo, Katoyi, Kausa, Kifuruka, Kinigi, Musenge, Mutiko and Nyakariba (December 1996), Kibumba and Kabizo (April 1997) and Mushangwe (around August 1997); in the province of South Kivu in Rushima and Luberizi (October 1996), Cotonco and Chimanga (November 1996) and Mpwe (February 1997) and on the Shabunda-Kigulube road (February-April 1997); in Orientale Province in Kisangani and Bengamisa (May and June 1997); in Maniema in Kalima (March 1997) and in Équateur in Boende (April 1997). Such acts certainly suggest premeditation and a precise methodology. In the region south of the town of Walikale, in North Kivu (January 1997), Rwandan Hutus were subjected to daily killings in areas already under the control of the AFDL/APR as part of a campaign that seemed to target any Hutus living in the area in question.

515. Several of the massacres listed were committed regardless of the age or gender of the victims. This is particularly true of the crimes committed in Kibumba (October 1996), Mugunga and Osso (November 1996), Hombo and Biriko (December 1996) in the province of North Kivu, Kashusha and Shanje (November 1996) in the province of South Kivu, Tingi-Tingi and Lubutu (March 1997) in Maniema Province, and Boende (April 1997) in Equateur Province, where the vast majority of victims were women and children. Furthermore, no effort was made to make a distinction between Hutus who were members of the ex-FAR/Interahamwe [militia behind Rwanda’s 1994 genocide] and Hutu civilians, whether or not they were refugees.

This tendency to put all Hutus together and “tar them with the same brush” is also illustrated by the declarations made during the “awareness-raising speeches” made by the AFDL/APR in certain places, according to which any Hutu still present in Zaire must necessarily be a perpetrator of genocide, since the “real” refugees had already returned to Rwanda. These “awareness-raising speeches” made in North Kivu also incited the population to look for, kill or help to kill Rwandan Hutu refugees, whom they called “pigs”. This type of language would have been in widespread use during the operations in this region.

516. The massacres in Mbandaka and Wendji, committed on 13 May 1997 in Équateur Province, over 2,000 kilometres west of Rwanda, were the final stage in the hunt for Hutu refugees that had begun in eastern Zaire, in North and South Kivu, in October 1996. Among the refugees were elements of the ex-FAR/Interahamwe, who were disarmed by the local police force as soon as they arrived. In spite of everything, the AFDL/APR opened fire on hundreds of defenceless Hutu refugees, resulting in large numbers of victims.

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“It seems possible to infer a specific intention on the part of certain AFDL/APR commanders to partially destroy the Hutus in the DRC, and therefore to commit a crime of genocide”

Paragraph 518

517. The systematic and widespread attacks described in this report, which targeted very large numbers of Rwandan Hutu refugees and members of the Hutu civilian population, resulting in their death, reveal a number of damning elements that, if they were proven before a competent court, could be classified as crimes of genocide. The behaviour of certain elements of the AFDL/APR in respect of the Hutu refugees and Hutu populations settled in Zaire at this time seems to equate to “a manifest pattern of similar conduct directed against that group”, from which a court could even deduce the existence of a genocidal plan. “Whilst the existence of such a plan may contribute to establishing the required genocidal intention, it is nonetheless only an element of proof used to deduce such an intention and not a legal element of genocide.”

It should be noted that certain elements could cause a court to hesitate to decide on the existence of a genocidal plan, such as the fact that as of 15 November 1996, several tens of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees, many of whom had survived previous attacks, were repatriated to Rwanda with the help of the AFDL/APR authorities and that hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees were able to return to Rwanda with the consent of the Rwandan authorities prior to the start of the first war. Whilst, in general, the killings did not spare women and children, it should be noted that in some places, at the beginning of the first war, Hutu women and children were in fact separated from the men, and only the men were subsequently killed.

518. Nonetheless, neither the fact that only men were targeted during the massacres, nor the fact that part of the group were allowed to leave the country or that their movement was facilitated for various reasons, are sufficient in themselves to entirely remove the intention of certain people to partially destroy an ethnic group as such. In this respect it seems possible to infer a specific intention on the part of certain AFDL/APR commanders to partially destroy the Hutus in the DRC, and therefore to commit a crime of genocide, based on their conduct, words and the damning circumstances of the acts of violence committed by the men under their command. It will be for a court with proper jurisdiction to rule on this question.

Conclusion

1139. In light of the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and the repetition of crimes within the territory of the DRC, there is a manifest urgency for justice and security service reform. The members of the Mapping Team were able to observe the constant fear on the part of affected populations that history would repeat itself, especially when yesterday’s attackers are returning in positions that enable them to commit new crimes with complete impunity.

Ethiopian Regime’s Staged manifestation in front of the Oval House exporting conflict to the US streets against Public Manifestation

Ethiopian Regime staged Demonstration show up in DC August 5, 2010

Ethiopian Anti China Demonstration DC August 5, 2010

One people Two Flags

August 5, 2010 a manifestation was instigated and staged Demonstration in front of the White House and the State Department in Washington DC by a Dictatorial regime of Melese Zenawie from Addis Ababa. It is a first of its kind in any independent country’s government record to lobby US Government in front of the Oval House in such a shameless manor but the Ethiopian Dictatorial regime of Melese Zenawie. This is not a normal diplomatic Channel to address inter governmental issues. When it comes to US government there is the ambassador in Addis Ababa, or the African regional affairs head, in the last recur you can go to the under secretariat of the foreign affairs. However, the Dictatorial regime of Melese Zenawi for his declaration of War against Egypt by damming the Nile used his disarmed beleaguered weakened citizen to come out dressed in a blue T shirt with  pre prepared slogans. This is a shame for a country that has been independent for over 3 thousand years. A country that existed long before the 1st European put his feet in America.   It is put in stage by a government who boasts” winning 99%” of the vote in his recent rugged election, and supposedly has the support of its entire population. And it is not a proper channel to pressure the US government to act in its favor. The regime of Melese Zenawie acted as simple minority group inside the US asking to move the White House certain internal issue. Melese Zenawie proved his incapacity to discern where and when to act as an independent government but as a simple US internal pressure  group. Melese demonstrated as a simple satellite puppet regime with no existing out right decision making apparatus. The Dictator once he eliminated the opposition parties, he is left with no more true working political institutions inside his regime but mere executors around him. Left for himself the new Pharaoh of Ethiopia forced his exiled Diaspora who escaped his regime’s atrocity to stage demonstration. These days Ethiopians seems not in peace at home and in Diaspora. Many were forced to go for the demo left with no choice but to be a puppet for a puppet regime. The regime is exporting its ideologies of hate  even in the streets of  Washington DC.

The next stage of the Ethiopian Dictatorial regime would be to export group fighting and Kampala’s world Cup type indecent even in the US streets, or in one of the many Ethiopian restaurants who were apparently were  targeted  as many feared  would have  taken  place as a revenge of a  worst dictatorial war mongering regime infected by Somalia Syndrome. The whole world was waiting to see the confrontation between those anti Ethiopian Dictatorial Regime groups manifesting in front of the Chinese Embassy at the same moment of staged demonstration in front of the White House. Gladly the situation was controlled by the security forces not to mix both groups. The result would have been chaotic. We hope the US government will consider not allow the same staged foreign regime manifestation and public demonstration of the Ethiopian oppositions to take place in the same day and on the same place. And to in force the government of Dictatorial regime of Ethiopia to use the proper channel rather than staged demonstrations. The government must be or be allowed to occupy the streets and the the arena of state at the same time extrapolating the democratic environment in the west.  This will risk the lives of innocent civilians. The government of Ethiopia prohibits anti government manifestation in Addis Streets rather prefer to export to the US.   A regime    cannot be in exile and in government at the same time, risking the safety of those living in US as a genuine refugee.

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Orchestrated Demonstration

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The  anti  China manifestation in front of  China Embassy  in the US

1.      Cease its support for Meles Zenawi’s ethnocentric regime;

2.      Cease arming and supplying Meles Zenawi’s minority ethnic dominated military;

3.      Cease its support for tyranny in Ethiopia/Africa

4.      Cease its support to Meles Zenawi’s regime in jamming the Voice of America,

Deutsche Welle, and Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT);

5.       Respect the human rights of the Ethiopian people,  Ethiopian  workers employed  in Chinese owned projects  in accordance with accordance labor and environmental standards as well as the Universal Declaration of Human rights.

6.       Stop bribing and corrupting Ethiopian officials to get no bid

Some see worsening rights situation in aid donor ‘darling’ Ethiopia

y Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times

August 12, 2010|1:33 p.m.

The U.S. gives about $1 billion annually to Ethiopia. But even as U.S. and other international aid has surged in the last decade, activists charge that the government has become more authoritarian.

Reporting from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — Like many in the West, former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn watched the country’s recent elections for signs that democracy was finally taking root.

When the results of the May vote were announced, all but two of 547 parliamentary seats went to the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, the coalition that has been in power here for nearly 20 years, or its allied parties.

“How do you win 99% of the vote?” Shinn said. “That’s un-American.” And yet, he said, “Ethiopia remains a darling of the donor community.”

The U.S. gives about $1 billion annually to Ethiopia, more than to any other country in sub-Saharan Africa except Sudan. But even as U.S. and other international aid to Ethiopia has surged in the last decade, activists charge that the government has become more authoritarian.

“There’s been an inverse ratio of rising donor aid and a worsening human rights record,” said Leslie Lefkow, a researcher with Human Rights Watch.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government has won a degree of favor from the West for sending troops to fight radical Islamists in neighboring Somalia, but reports of rights abuses and a string of draconian laws that have constricted political space have put donor countries in an awkward position.

“It’s a dilemma for the international donor community, which doesn’t want to walk away from Ethiopia because the needs are so great,” said Jennifer Cooke, the director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Recent allegations of aid corruption have caused further unease among donor countries.

A March report by Human Rights Watch alleged a countrywide pattern of local government leaders denying aid to opposition supporters. Eligibility for many major aid programs is determined by local government officials — almost all of whom belong to the ruling coalition or its affiliates.

One former Ethiopian aid worker, who didn’t want to be named out of fear of government retribution, told The Times that aid is leveraged by local leaders to consolidate power.

“Aid is a tool for development,” the aid worker said. “It is also a tool for politics.”

Ethiopian officials deny such claims. Communications Minister Bereket Simon said Human Rights Watch was “engaged in the continuous fabrication of allegations” and said Ethiopia “has put in place a transparent mechanism for the distribution of food aid.”

But Western donors appear to be taking the allegations seriously.

Claims that aid programs had fallen victim to political distortion prompted an investigation into U.S.-funded food programs in seven local districts in December 2009, said an official with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The probe “found no indication of political discrimination,” the official said.

A report released last week by a consortium of donors that includes the U.S., several European countries and the World Bank conceded that Western aid programs would benefit from more transparency and independent monitoring.

The Donor Assistance Group report said donor countries would work with the Ethiopian government “for continued strengthening of safeguards” against fraud.

Africa experts agree that walking away from Ethiopia is out of the question.

Almost a sixth of Ethiopia’s 85 million people depend on food aid. In an added geopolitical dimension, twin bombings in Uganda last month by the Al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group Shabab underscored the importance of having U.S. allies in the troubled Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia’s rise to “donor darling” is due in large part to its savvy leader, Cooke said.

Meles, the former Marxist guerrilla leader who has ruled Ethiopia since 1991, “is good at talking the donor speak and the rhetoric of development,” she said.

Hailed by former President Clinton as part of a new generation of African leaders who would bring stability to the continent, Meles was invited to sit on then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa in 2004.

The commission argued that economic growth and democracy would come to Africa only after hunger, poverty and the spread of disease were stamped out — an expensive proposition that required a “big push” of new aid.

The year after he was named to the commission, security forces loyal to Meles killed nearly 200 people who were protesting that year’s election and arrested tens of thousands of opposition supporters, including Birtukan Mideksa, an opposition leader who is now serving life in prison for violating the conditions of a 2007 pardon.

The U.S. has been cautious in its criticism, although some say the Obama administration has been taking a tougher tone. In May, a top U.S. diplomat said the recent elections “were not up to international standards.”

Meles bristles at such statements and has suggested that Ethiopia could forgo its dependence on Western aid for a closer relationship with China, which has lent money for a dizzying number of development projects in recent years.

“If [the U.S.] feels the outcome of the elections are such that we cannot continue our relationship,” he warned in May, “that’s fine and we can move on.”

Ethiopia failed & rogue State of Melese Zenawie stands at 17th place

Melese of Ethiopia mastered the art of  silencing  oppositions, imprisoning  all all dissents, and dumping  elections.  Melese’s   has been in Failed  and rogue State Index ranking  behind many of  the worst  African dicttors.

Melese’s Ethiopia fullfill the 12 indactors of  Failed States sinece the founding of the orgnaization

The Twelve Indicators
Click on an indicator to see some examples of measures that may be included in the analysis of that indicator. These are neither exclusive nor exhaustive. You can add more measures, as appropriate. 

Social Indicators
I-1.  Mounting Demographic Pressures
I-2.  Massive Movement of Refugees or Internally Displaced Persons creating 
Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
I-3.  Legacy of Vengeance-Seeking Group Grievance or Group Paranoia
I-4.  Chronic and Sustained Human Flight

Economic Indicators
I-5.  Uneven Economic Development along Group Lines
I-6.  Sharp and/or Severe Economic Decline

Political Indicators
I-7.  Criminalization and/or Delegitimization of the State
I-8.  Progressive Deterioration of Public Services
I-9.  Suspension or Arbitrary Application of the Rule of Law and Widespread 
Violation of Human Rights
I-10. Security Apparatus Operates as a “State Within a State”
I-11. Rise of Factionalized Elites
I-12. Intervention of Other States or External Political Actors

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Core Five State Institutions

LeadershipMilitaryPoliceJudiciaryCivil Service
WeakWeakPoorPoorPoor

P

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is Ethiopia’s first democratically elected leader.  He is currently serving his third term, though his party’s victory in 2005 was widely disputed.  While several opposition parties have formed a coalition ahead of the 2010 elections and small militia groups have sought to separate themselves from Ethiopia, Zenawi and his party remain firmly in control of the government.

The Ethiopian military was one of the few state institutions to remain relatively well-funded during Mengistu’s regime.  While the military is well-trained and supplied compared to its neighbors, the Ethiopian army was largely unsuccessful in its attempts to halt the advances of Islamic insurgents in Somalia from 2006-2009.  Thousands of troops remain stationed near the Eritrean border, as border disputes still have not been completely settled after the two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 2000.  Ethiopian soldiers have been accused of committing widespread human rights abuses, particularly against women in rural areas.

The Ethiopian police have been accused of widespread corruption and frequent human rights abuses.  The police have a history of crushing most political demonstrations, as well as a reputation as unprofessional and poorly trained.

While civilian courts remain relatively independent, criminal courts are weak, overburdened, and subject to political intervention.  Many judges are largely unqualified, receiving little former training and reaching their posts by political appointment.

While attempts have been made at civil service reform, little progress has been made.  Civil servants are underpaid, making them vulnerable to corruption; they are also poorly-trained and inefficient.  Many departments are extremely under-funded, further hampering their ability to operate.

Prognosis
Ethiopia has had difficulty shaking its past history of repressive governments. The first democratically elected government has held a tight grip on power through violence, intimidation, arresting opposition voices, censoring independent media, and restricting human rights monitoring by foreign groups. Ethiopia remains unable to provide food security to its population. The country is prone to drought and flooding.  In the predominantly agricultural economy, yearly production is uncertain. The government still relies heavily on international aid for food supply.  Ethiopia must focus on diversifying its economy to be able to provide relief to its population when natural disasters do strike as well as improving its woeful education and health services.  The 2010 elections will be critical. The current government must allow opposition parties to run a fair campaign and hold a free election, or there will be a high probability of unrest.

Recent Developments

January 2009:  The Ethiopian Parliament passed a law that forbids any foreign NGO—or local NGO that receives at least 10% of its funding from abroad—from activities related to human rights or conflict resolution.

January 2009:  Ethiopian peacekeeping forces began deploying in Darfur.

June 2009:  The Ethiopian government announces a plan to build 5,000 kilometers of new railways, with the assistance of European Union funding.June 2009:  Two days after rejecting a plea by the Somali government to redeploy troops, the Ethiopian government agreed to intervene after the request was supported by the African Union.  The African Union currently has 4,000 troops stationed in Mogadishu; it remains to be seen how many troops Ethiopia will commit.



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Ethiopia

Failed states of the world 2009

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Methodology Behind CAST
The CAST methodology presents a framework for early warning and assessment of societies at risk of internal conflict and state collapse. The model can be used to enable the international community to take preventive action to stem conflict, prepare for peacekeeping and stability missions, assess conditions for sustainable security and provide metrics or measures of effectiveness for post-conflict reconstruction. For an example of how the methodology has been used, please see our Iraq reports.

The steps of the methodology are the following:

1.Pre-Assessment Steps
2.Rating the Twelve Indicators
3.Assessing the Core Five
4.Identifying STINGS
5.Building a Conflict Map

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Failed states of the world 2008

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Failed states of the world 2007

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Ethiopia after 3 thousand years freedom is no more free…

Freedom in Ethiopia in Down trends. A country which has been free for over 3 thousand years. A bastion of independence. This year record is  worst than last year according to  Freedom house report 2009. Melese Zenawie continue torturing killing the Ethiopians.  His case is in the hand  of the International court of Justice. It will not  be  long soon before he join Charles Taylor of Liberia .  According  genocide   Watch Melese is a an emerging dictator to be scrutinized.  The worst is that countries  preaching  and raising the Flags of Freedom and democracy continue  with Melese business as usual. The world  had  experienced  this misfortune  in the past with  Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Mobutu  and paid  heavy price. Read some of the reports below where Zenawi’s  Ethiopia is heading  :-

BBC World Service – Africa – Political freedom in Ethiopia

EU observers slam lack of political freedom in Ethiopia vote 

RIGHTS-ETHIOPIA New Media Law, New Threat to Press Freedom

Ethiopia: New Anti-Terrorism Proclamation jeopardizes freedom of 

Internet Repression in Ethiopia

Silenced – Ethiopia

Freedom of speech suffers in tense Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s government tamps down on press freedoms

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Freedom in the World –  Ethiopia (2010)

Capital: Addis Ababa

Population:82,825,000

Political Rights Score: 5 *
Civil Liberties Score: 5 *
Status: Partly Free

Trend Arrow

Ethiopia received a downward trend arrow due to the narrowing of political space in advance of the 2010 elections, the government’s crackdown on the operations of nongovernmental organizations, and its passing of a draconian antiterrorism law.

Overview

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government bolstered restrictions on political activity in 2009 as it prepared for federal and regional elections scheduled for 2010. Opposition party activists were arrested, and a new antiterrorism law gave the government broad authority to crack down on perceived opponents. Other legislation enacted during the year imposed strict controls on civil society organizations.


One of the few African countries to avoid decades of European colonization, Ethiopia ended a long tradition of monarchy in 1974, when Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in a Marxist military coup. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam ruled the country until a coalition of guerrilla groups led by forces from the northern Tigray region overthrew his brutal dictatorship in 1991. The main rebel group, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), formed a new regime, and its leader Meles Zenawi became interim president.
Under the EPRDF, democratic institutions and a new constitution were introduced. Most of the opposition boycotted elections held in 1995, claiming harassment of its supporters precluded a fair vote, and Meles became prime minister. He began a second five-year term after the 2000 elections, which the EPRDF also won easily. Opposition parties and some observers criticized the government’s conduct of the vote.
A border dispute with Eritrea, which had gained formal independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long guerrilla conflict, triggered a war that lasted from 1998 to 2000. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission was then established to draw a new border, but Ethiopia rejected its 2002 decision to assign the town of Badme to Eritrea.
In the 2005 elections for the powerful lower house of Parliament, the EPRDF and its allies won 327 seats, while the two main opposition parties took 161 seats, up from 12 in the previous Parliament. Notwithstanding their gains, opposition parties argued that fraud and interference in the electoral process had deprived them of outright victory. Street demonstrations led to violence and a harsh reaction by the authorities. At least 193 people were killed and more than 4,000 were arrested, including leading opposition figures, who were finally pardoned and released in 2007.
The opposition boycotted local elections in 2008, accusing the EPRDF of harassment. Opposition activities were further restricted in 2009, as the EPRDF prepared for the 2010 federal and regional elections. In June, 45 members of an unregistered political party were charged with trying to topple the government.
Ethiopia’s relations with neighboring countries were tense but stable in 2009. The border dispute with Eritrea remained unresolved, but Ethiopian forces completed their withdrawal from Somalia, ending a disastrous three-year campaign aimed at destroying Islamist rebel groups and propping up the war-torn country’s Transitional Federal Government.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia continued to face separatist movements in Oromiya and the Ogaden. Sporadic fighting persisted between government forces and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) guerrillas. The authorities have banned journalists from the region, preventing the outside world from accurately assessing the situation there.

Ongoing drought in parts of the country in 2009 led to a warning that five million people would be in need of food aid, in addition to the eight million who already received it. The drought also reduced Ethiopia’s hydroelectric power output, causing frequent outages in Addis Ababa and contributing to a growth rate of less than 2 percent according to the United Nations, which was far less than the 10 percent claimed by the government.

Political Rights and Civil Liberties

Ethiopia is not an electoral democracy. However, the presence of a significant elected opposition at the federal level since 2005 does mark a possible step forward in the development of the country’s democratic political culture.
The bicameral Parliament consists 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, with both serving five-year terms. The House of People’s Representatives selects the prime minister, who holds most executive power, and the president, who serves in a largely ceremonial capacity for six-year terms. 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 EPRDF dominates political life. Government harassment has seriously impeded the ability of opposition parties to function, although some have used rhetoric that could be interpreted as advocating violence, or have failed to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with a democratic political culture.
A recent series of arrests of opposition figures appeared to signal a crackdown on political freedoms in advance of the 2010 elections. Unity for Democracy and Justice party leader Birtukan Mideksa, who had received a sentence of life in prison after the 2005 postelection violence and was pardoned in 2007, was rearrested in December 2008 after her pardon was revoked. In June 2009, 46 people were charged with plotting to overthrow the government on behalf of Ginbot 7, an unregistered party. In November, a court convicted 26 of the defendants after a trial that legal rights groups criticized as unfair. However, a high-profile opponent of the government, the singer Tewodros Kassahun, known as Teddy Afro, was released early from a two-year prison sentence in August 2009; he had been convicted for a hit-and-run automobile accident, but his supporters claimed that the case was politically motivated.
The government has taken a number of steps to limit corruption, including the imposition of asset-disclosure rules for state officials. However, graft remains a significant problem. Former prime minister Tamrat Layne and former defense minister Seye Abreha were convicted of corruption in 2007, but both had been released by the end of 2008, having already served several years in prison on other corruption charges.Ethiopia was ranked 120 out of 180 countries surveyed in Transparency International’s 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index.
The news media are dominated by state-owned broadcasters and government-oriented newspapers. There are a number of independent newspapers, but they struggle financially and face intermittent government harassment. The only independent newspaper in the capital, Addis Neger, suspended operations in November, as staff said they feared prosecution by the authorities. A 2008 media law has had a chilling effect on freedom of speech. Although it barred government censorship of private media, the measure allowed prosecutors to seize material before publication in the name of national security and gave the government broader powers to pursue defamation cases. Journalists who fall foul of the government risk exile or imprisonment. In two separate cases in August 2009, journalists were given one-year prison sentences for spreading false information. Internet usage is confined mainly to major urban areas, and the government has blocked opposition-run websites.
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 the Somali, Oromo, and Afari ethnic groups.
Academic freedom is restricted. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has accused universities of being friendly to the opposition, and their activities are closely monitored. In recent years, student protests against government policies have led to scores of deaths and injuries and hundreds of arrests. The government has tried to establish a more orderly and loyal academic community by creating 13 new state universities. Growing intolerance of dissent has dampened private discussion in the country, as even ordinary citizens face harassment or arrest for speaking out against the government.
Freedoms of assembly and association are limited. In January 2009, the House of People’s Representatives passed the Charities and Societies Proclamation, which is designed to restrict the ability of foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to bypass government channels when they disburse funds. Foreign NGOs are defined as groups that receive more than 10 percent of their funding from abroad. The measure also gives the government broad authority to restrict NGO activities it deems unhelpful, such as campaigning for human and political rights. All civil society organizations are required to reregister with the government under the new rules.
Trade union rights are tightly restricted. Government workers in “essential industries,” a term that is broadly defined, are not allowed to strike, and the Confederation of Ethiopian Unions is under government control. Some union leaders suspected of engaging in political activity 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. Suspects are routinely held without warrants, and cases can take a long time to reach court. A draconian new counterterrorism law, passed by the government in July 2009, defines terrorist activity very broadly and gives great discretion to the security forces. According to Human Rights Watch, the law could be used to prosecute peaceful political protesters and impose the death penalty for offenses as minor as damaging public property. Conditions in Ethiopia’s prisons are harsh, and the International Committee of the Red Cross is not permitted to inspect federal facilities and police stations. Detainees frequently report being abused or tortured.
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 Liberation Front. Discrimination against other groups, especially the Oromo, has been widespread. According to the International Crisis Group, Ethiopia’s federal system of government, which grants autonomy to the dominant ethnic group in each region, has increased tensions between communities. Repression of the Oromo and ethnic Somalis, and government attempts to co-opt their parties into subsidiaries of the EPRDF, have helped to fuel nationalism in both Oromiya and the Ogaden.
The government has established a Women’s Affairs Ministry, and Parliament has passed legislation designed to protect women’s rights. 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. 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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Ethiopian Shadow Puppet electoral 3 round Debates

Chinese Shadow Puppet Theater type Electoral

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Ethiopian Electoral Puppet Show

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Ethiopian opposition parties threaten election boycott

News Africa news

Ethiopia’s main opposition coalition Wednesday threatened to pull out of the 23 May parliamentary elections, citing intimidation of party supporters and its inability to field candidates against the ruling party, PANA reported from here.

The eight political parties, under the Forum for Democratic Dialogue (Forum), led by Dr. Merara Gudina, said they were considering pulling out of the parliamentary race, if the harassment of supporters continued ahead of the polls.

“We cannot give the electorate a false promise that we will compete fairly in the upcoming elections,” said Engineer Gizachew Sheferew, the deputy chair of the forum.

The Forum is considered one of the most formidable challengers to the ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Party (EPRDF) under the leadership of Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

The EPRDF said the opposition parties were only interested in building a case for a post-election violence.

“We are unable to conduct the normal process of a democratic election, which includes the registration of candidates, the registration of voters,” Bulcha Mideksa, head of the party’s Foreign Relations Committee, told PANA.

“There is no possibility of us talking to the people. It is impossible to hold political rallies because the government will not allow us,” said Mideksa.

The opposition politicians spoke hours after the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) extended the registration of voters for an additional five days.

The Forum, however, said the five days were not enough to register more voters.

At least 27 million voters have registered for the elections, out of an estimated 32 million eligible to vote.

“We want to inform the public that we are not operating according to a normal political scenario of a free and fair election,” Mideksa added.

“There is a mini-war against us. There are places where our candidates cannot register, they are being intimidated and the government has blocked us from changing the candidates who have not registered for the elections,” the party leader said.

Prof. Beyene Petros, of the United Ethiopian Democratic Force, a member of the Forum, said opposition parties had about 50 per cent of their candidates blocked from registering for various elective positions during the upcoming elections.

“The best gift the government can give to the people of Ethiopia is to organise free and fair elections, free of intimidation,” Gudian told a news conference.

Ethiopia is set to hold its parliamentary elections on 23 May and the party with a majority of the seats in the 545-seat parliament forms the next government after the elections.

The Forum said it would form a government of national unity, bringing together all the opposition groups, including rebel groups in the country’s Southern region.

Addis Ababa – Pana 18/02/2010

UN Sanctioned & stigmatized Eritrea … IC Continues to deny Genocidal Woyane A Judgment day…?



Eritrean pleads not guilty to aiding terrorists

By LARRY NEUMEISTER | Posted: March 9, 2010 2:53 pm |

Evidence collected by the United States against an East African charged with providing support to a Somali terrorist organization linked to al-Qaida includes lengthy statements he made to authorities, a prosecutor told a judge Tuesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher LaVigne made the revelation during a plea proceeding for Mohamed IbrahimAhmed in Manhattan. Ahmed’s lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Ahmed, 35, a citizen of Eritrea, was brought to the United States on Saturday from Nigeria on charges that he supported al-Shabaab, a violent extremist group in Somalia.

Prosecutors say he gave the organization 3,000 euros and studied weapons and explosives at a training camp. They say he bought an AK-47 rifle, ammunition and two grenades in April in Somalia. Al-Shabaab was designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group in 2008.

LaVigne told U.S. District Judge Kevin P. Castel that evidence the government will turn over to the defense in the case includes extensive statements Ahmed made in Nigeria, along with items recovered from him.

The prosecutor said Ahmed’s statements were in six reports that amounted to 10 to 13 pages. As the prosecutor spoke, Ahmed nodded his head as he listened to a translator. The government wouldn’t disclose details on Ahmed’s statements.

His apparent cooperation with authorities seemed evident in court. At the end of the proceeding, which lasted only a few minutes, Ahmed leaped from his chair and headed toward the door leading to the cell block next to the courtroom. The marshals who accompanied him did not appear alarmed by his rapid movement.

Court papers indicated Ahmed might have been held by authorities since November, when officials say he was found in possession of documents reflecting bomb-making instructions. The indictment also said his crimes stretch from at least January 2009 through last November.

U.S. authorities would likely welcome any information Ahmed can provide about al-Shabaab.

An indictment charging Ahmed with providing material support to the organization and receiving training from the group said a former leader of al-Shabaab who trained with al-Qaida in Afghanistan prior to 2001 had called for foreign fighters to go to Somalia to join al-Shabaab in a “holy war” against the Ethiopian and African Union forces in Somalia.

The indictment said al-Shabaab’s recruitment efforts had led men from other countries including the United States to go to Somalia to engage in violent jihad _ holy war.

The indictment said al-Shabaab was believed to have provided protection and safe haven for al-Qaida operatives wanted for a 2002 hotel bombing in Kenya and the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that resulted in 224 deaths, including 12 Americans.

It said al-Shabaab in April declared it was responsible for mortar attacks against a U.S. congressman visiting Somalia. A year before that, al-Shabaab leaders declared that their fighters would “hunt the U.S. government” and warned that the U.S. and Ethiopia should keep its citizens out of Somalia, the indictment said.

Al-Shabaab is the most active group of violent extremists targeting Somalia’s weak U.S.-backed transitional government. The indictment said it has carried out assassinations of civilians and journalists and had distributed a videotape depicting the slow decapitation of an accused spy.

Somalia, an impoverished East African nation of about 10 million people, has not had a functioning government for more than a decade.

Federal prosecutors said al-Shabaab, hoping to impose strict Islamic law throughout Somalia, has claimed responsibility for suicide bombing attacks in recent years, including five simultaneous suicide bombings targeting government, Ethiopian and United Nations facilities in October 2008.

Woyane Man Charged with Terrorism in U.S. Court (the article above)

Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:54 pm

If you recall few days ago The New York Times made a deliberate error in its reporting of the terrorism suspect held in New York as being from “Eritrea.” And as usual the evil-slave woyanes hell bent to smear Eritreans run with it, flooding the cyberspace, including this forum, with their childish propaganda to smear the good name of their former masters — the Eritreans.

But now that the terrorism suspect is identified as an Ethiopian national, most probably from Tigray, the woyane propaganda guns are silenced. You slave-woyanes got to be careful what you wish for because essentially that it will come back to bite you in the a$$ – and here it has…..

Sabrina Schroff, the man’s lawyer in the United States, says that the Ethiopian native denies all the accusations. The New York Times identifies him as Eritrean, but the Swedish Foreign Minister holds that he is originally from Ethiopia.



U.S. report accuses Eritrea of systematic abuses

Bartamaha (Nairobi):– The United States has intensified its criticism of Eritrea, saying the Red Sea state systematically abuses human rights and is a destabilizing influence in the Horn of Africa.

In its annual human rights country report, released late on Thursday, the U.S. State Department accused Eritrea of sponsoring terrorism in the Horn of Africa, and acting as a source and conduit for arms to insurgents in Somalia.
It said Asmara oversaw unlawful killings by its security forces, routine beatings and torture, arbitrary arrests, and severely restricted freedom of speech, the press, assembly, association and religion.
“(Throughout 2009) consistent and systemic gross human rights violations persisted unabated at the government’s behest,” the report said.
Citing a June report by the U.N. Munitions Monitoring Group, it said the Red Sea state was guilty of sponsoring terrorism in the Horn of Africa.
The State Department report went on: “The government acted as a principal source and conduit for arms to antigovernment, extremist, and insurgent groups in Somalia.”
Asmara says there is no concrete evidence for the allegations, accusing Washington of inventing statistics and interfering in the region, and blames years of intrusive U.S. foreign policy as a cause of the conflict in Somalia.
RELATIONS STRAINED
Ties between the United States and Eritrea have been severely strained by a series of accusations and counter-accusations.
In February, the U.S. embassy suspended its consular services and last week issued a travel warning, referring to a rise in anti-U.S. sentiment among Eritreans. Eritrea then accused Washington of trying to create chaos in the country..
Asmara has still not officially recognized the U.S. ambassador and the state-owned media are running a sustained campaign against what they say are decades of U.S. persecution.
The United States sees Eritrea as an enemy in the fight against Islamist radicalization, alleging support for the al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group al Shabaab.
U.S. prosecutors said this week an Eritrean arrested in Nigeria was brought to New York to face charges after receiving bomb-making training from al Shabaab.
The United States bankrolled Eritrea’s regional rival Ethiopia during its long occupation of Eritrea, a memory that still rankles among Eritreans when ties with Washington start to go cold.
The occupation ended in the early 1990s when the outnumbered Eritreans fought Ethiopia and won independence.
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(Editing by David Clarke and Andrew Dobbie)

Source:- Reuters


UN Position

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Eritrean Position

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  • Eritrean response to sanctions

The UN Security Council has today passed a shameful resolution imposing sanctions against Eritrea. The unjustifiable measures imposed on Eritrea include: an arms embargo; the inspection and seizure by Member States in their territory of such cargo to and from Eritrea; and, the imposition of a travel ban, and the freezing of assets of, Eritrea’s political and military leadership who may be blacklisted by a Committee.

As Eritrea has strongly emphasized in the past weeks, this brazen act is neither based on fact nor on the provisions of international law. It constitutes a travesty of justice and amplifies the dangers inherent in a unipolar world.

The fact of the matter is this resolution was originally conceived and feverishly executed by the United States. Britain, and especially Uganda, were co-opted as sponsors of the resolution for purposes of deceitful packaging. The US Mission to the UN further tried to invoke a resolution of the African Union to disguise the real culprit. But in the end, this cover did not work. As it happened, the US Ambassador to the UN was ultimately forced to come out of the closet and cajole UN Member States to adopt the resolution willy-nilly.

Setting aside the misguided policies of the US Administration in the Horn of Africa region and the loathsome personal agenda of the US Ambassador to the UN who could not hide her obsession to “punish Eritrea” and “break its arrogance”, what are the accusations leveled against Eritrea? How do these accusations square with the provisions of the UN Charter? Does the
heavy-handed process pursued in this case conform to the modalities and precedents of the UN Security Council in imposing sanctions against a Member State?

1.     It must be stressed that the accusations against Eritrea for involvement in Somalia have never been substantiated or verified. Many Member States objected to the draft resolution in the early days precisely for these reasons though they acquiesced to US pressure later. The Somalia Monitoring Group had previously accused Eritrea for “supplying arms to those opposing the TFG”. This clause was later dropped quietly and the revised version indicts Eritrea for “providing political, financial, and logistical support to armed groups engaged in undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia”. As pointed out earlier, these allegations were, again, not explained or substantiated. Indeed, how can Eritrea provide logistical support to armed groups in Somalia when it does not have a contiguous border with that country? The allegation of financial support is equally tenuous. Eritrea has neither the political will nor the financial clout to bankroll armed groups in Somalia. As for the accusations of political support, it is well-known that Eritrea has not recognized the TFG for cogent and well-thought out reasons. This was also the case with the externally established previous TFGs installed in Mogadishu without the consent of the Somali people. Eritrea’s impartial and balanced position emanates from its profound desire to contribute to a durable and sustainable solution to the crisis in Somalia. These political considerations aside, the fundamental legal issue at hand is whether this matter of purely sovereign national jurisdiction can be misconstrued as a subject of UN Security Council concern. Is it the mandate of the Security Council to punish any Member State on account of the political views it holds or the diplomatic choices it makes? Has the Security Council ever imposed sanctions against one or more countries because they have not recognized Kosovo, Abkhazia, or South Ossetia? Does controversy on matters of this nature empower the UN Security Council to take punitive measures against a defenseless country arbitrarily?

2.    The resolution refers to the “decision of the 13th Assembly of the African Union in Sirte, calling on the Council to impose sanctions against Eritrea”. Again, this assertion is replete with distortions and half-truths. As underlined earlier, the resolution was co-sponsored by Uganda in its individual capacity. It was not tabled, but on the contrary, vehemently opposed by Libya which is the current Chair of the AU and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. More importantly, the UN Security Council’s function is not to rubber-stamp resolutions adopted by a regional organization when invoking Chapter VII of the UN Charter to impose sanctions against a Member State but to do so independently and only on the basis of incontrovertible facts and law.

3.    In a feat of unprecedented cynicism, the UN Security Council Resolution recommends other punitive measures against Eritrea on account of the U.S. fabricated “border dispute with Djibouti”. For seven long years now since the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission gave its final and binding Award on the border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia in April 2002, the Security Council has refused to shoulder its responsibilities to ensure the respect of the arbitration decision in accordance with the provisions of the Algiers Peace Treaty that was largely drafted and explicitly guaranteed by this same body. This has encouraged Ethiopia to violate its treaty obligations, the UN Charter and international law to continue its occupation of Badme and other sovereign Eritrean lands. This same Security Council is now singing to a different tune, simply because it is played by Washington, to threaten Eritrea with punitive measure for a non-existent border conflict.

Security Council Resolution 1907(2009) is thus not based on law and incontrovertible facts. The United States has simply employed its preponderant influence to ram through unjustifiable sanctions against a small country. What is shameful is that the United States has been allowed to use the platform and authority of the United Nations to perpetrate injustices against the people and Government of Eritrea; for the second time in recent history. What is shameful is that other major powers in the UN Security Council cannot go beyond expressing their disappointment, mostly in private meetings, to check the excesses of Washington. What is shameful is that the United States can turn the tables and victimize an innocent nation for the very crimes that it is responsible for in the first place. Because the truth is, the United States is mostly responsible for the mayhem and suffering that is bedeviling Somalia today. Indeed, it is common knowledge that as intractable as the Somali crisis is, there were real hopes of a turnaround for the better in 2006. For reasons that defy reason, the Bush Administration then acted to roll back those promising developments to instigate and support Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia. That single debacle claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Somalis, made half a million people homeless and aggravated the humanitarian crisis in Somalia to unprecedented levels. But then, the Security Council is not taking action on the basis of justice and legality. It is taking action on the basis of the existing power balance in a largely unipolar world. This does not bode well for international justice and peace. This is why today is a shameful day for the United Nations.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Asmara
23 December 2009

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Woyane Position

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AU Position

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Somalia backs UN sanctions on Eritrea

MOGADISHU (Somalilandpress) –The Somali envoy to the United nations security council, Elmi Ahmad Du’ale, has said the sanctions imposed on Eritrea by the Security Council on 23 December were “proof” that the country aided terrorism.

The Security Council on Wednesday imposed sanctions Eritrea over providing military support to Islamist insurgents battling the Somali government.

“The sanctions were based, first and foremost, on proof that Eritrea supports terrorism and extremist groups opposed to the Somali government, which have been the stumbling block to stability in Somalia” Du’ale said in a strong drawl in an interview with Hornafrik local radio in Mogadishu on Thursday.

Melese Zenawie inamte of Karadzic sooner …

Karadzic Trial Resumes March 1, Court Rejects Delay





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Genocide!!!

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What is Genocide?

An Evolving International Framework

Genocide is a term created during the Holocaust and declared an international crime in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Convention defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

a. Killing members of the group;
b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The specific “intent to destroy” particular groups is unique to genocide. A closely related category of international law, crimes against humanity, is defined as widespread or systematic attacks against civilians.

This timeline traces the development of the word and law of genocide.

Karadzic Trial Resumes March 1, Court Rejects Delay

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in the courtroom of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague in November 2009

February 26, 2010
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) — The war crimes trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will resume on March 1, judges at the Yugoslavia tribunal have ruled, dismissing his request for a postponement.

Karadzic, who denies all 11 counts of war crimes relating to the 1992-95 Bosnian war, had asked for a further delay of his trial after judges appointed London-based barrister Richard Harvey in November as his lawyer and postponed the trial to March 1.

“A further postponement would be a drastic measure that would, concurrently, have real repercussions for the parties’ rights to a fair and expeditious trial,” the court’s judges said in statement which was signed by Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon.

Karadzic had said more time was necessary until the court’s appeals chamber had ruled on one of his appeals against Harvey’s appointment and there was a decision on defence funding.

On February 12, the appeal chamber said Harvey could stay on as counsel because of Karadzic’s “persistent obstructive behavior.” Harvey was appointed after Karadzic boycotted the first three days of his trial in October.

Harvey’s exact role in the trial will be determined after Karadzic has given his opening statements on March 1 and 2, the judges said.

If Karadzic, who has said he plans to attend the March 1 opening, continues to boycott the rest of the trial, he loses his right to represent himself and the appointed lawyer will take over.

Karadzic, who was captured in July 2008 after 11 years on the run, is being charged with the genocide of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, the worst atrocity of the Bosnian conflict, and responsibility in the 43-month siege of Sarajevo beginning in 1992.

An estimated 10,000 people died in the siege as the former Yugoslavia was torn apart in the 1990s by Serbs, Croats and Muslims fighting for land.

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1945-1946

A New, but Limited, Legal Sanction is Issued

Allied forces codified the general principle of “crimes against humanity” into enforceable law and prosecuted Nazi war criminals for atrocities they committed against both their own and other nation’s citizens. However, the law was limited in scope, applying only to crimes committed during an international conflict.

The Charter of the International Military Tribunal (1945) defined crimes against humanity as “murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.” The definition of crimes against humanity was further refined during the process of drafting the Rome Statute (1998) which created the International Criminal Court.

1950-1990s

The Promise Goes Unfulfilled

Though massive atrocities against civilian populations were committed in the years following the Holocaust and throughout the Cold War, the very countries that signed their names to the Genocide Convention scarcely considered whether these crimes constituted genocide.

Not one country invoked the Genocide Convention when the Khmer Rouge (1975–79) regime in Cambodia caused the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people. Cambodia itself ratified the convention in 1950. These prisoners were interred at Tuol Sleng (Security Prison 21), a secret center operated by the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Documentation Center of Cambodia, Phnom Penh

1994

After the Genocide Ends, the World Creates a Tribunal for Rwanda

From April through mid-July, at least 500,000 civilians, mostly of the Tutsi minority, were murdered with devastating brutality and speed while the international community looked on. In October, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to include a separate but linked tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, located in Arusha, Tanzania.

1998

A Permanent Court to Prosecute Atrocities against Civilians is Established

Through an international treaty ratified on July 17, 1998, the International Criminal Court was permanently established to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The treaty reconfirmed the definition of genocide found in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It also expanded the definition of crimes against humanity and prohibits these crimes during times of war or peace.

Crimes Against Humanity: Any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

(a) Murder;
(b) Extermination
(c) Enslavement
(d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population
(e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law
(f) Torture
(g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity
(h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court
(i) Enforced disappearance of persons
(j) The crime of apartheid
(k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

2004

U.S. Declares that Genocide Is Occuring in Darfur, Sudan

Testifying before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 9, 2004, Secretary of State Colin Powell declared that “genocide has been committed in Darfur.” Though the United Nations and other governments agreed on the scale of atrocities being committed against civilians, they did not declare them “genocide.”

December 2003 Ethiopian Genocide

World Organization Against Torture and Genocide Watch respond to Ethiopian Prime Minister’s denial of massacres of Anuaks in interview with Reuters

Geneva – Washington, 5 May 2004

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and Genocide Watch reiterate the need for an independent and impartial investigation into reports of massacres of members of the Anuak community, mass rapes, forced disappearances, torture and burning of homes and crops in the Gambella region in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, in an interview with Reuters on 29 April 2004, dismissed reports that the Ethiopian army targeted and killed Anuaks as ‘fiction’ and said that at the most 200 people had been killed in clashes in the region. He stated that the “only people who had been killed by the military in the area were armed Anuak insurgents who had staged cross-border raids from Sudan.”

Genocide Watch, Survivors’ Rights International (SRI), and OMCT have previously drawn the attention of the international community to reports that Ethiopian government troops and ‘highlander’ militias massacred 424 Anuak civilians, including women and children and the elderly, in December 2003. Genocide Watch and SRI interviewed eyewitnesses and documented the massacres in the Gambella region in a 23-page joint report released in February 2004, titled ‘Today is the Day of Killing Anuaks’. A list detailing the names, gender and ages of the 424 people who were killed has also been compiled. Genocide Watch sent a letter to Mr. Zenawi on 8 January 2004 urging him to prevent the massacres from becoming full-scale genocide.  The letter also called on Mr. Zenawi to order the arrest of the perpetrators of the massacres, and named three Ethiopian government officials responsible for the killings.  Genocide Watch has received no reply to its letter to Mr. Zenawi.  The named officials have been promoted to positions of more authority, rather than arrested.

Following its own fact-finding in Gambella, the U.S. government called for “transparent, independent” inquiries into the violence in which hundreds were killed. In a statement from Washington on 20 February 2004, the U.S. said the Ethiopian government must investigate allegations that its troops were involved in the killings. On 25 March 2004, the European Union Council of Ministers called for “a full and independent enquiry into suggestions of involvement by members of the Ethiopian military in violence directed against innocent civilians” in the Gambella region of Ethiopia.

“We have interviewed numerous victims and eyewitnesses from the minority Anuak ethnic group who fled south-western Ethiopia in the wake of massive and unprovoked violence against unarmed men, women and children,” said Genocide Watch/SRI researcher Keith Harmon Snow. “We have collected detailed testimony suggesting that acts of genocide and crimes against humanity were committed against unarmed civilians by Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defense Forces (EPRDF) and ‘highlander’ militias.”

“There is irrefutable evidence of atrocities against thousands of civilians, and we continue to receive reports of killings and mass rape,” Mr. Snow said. “We are very concerned about rural areas where communications and access to civilians are prevented by isolation and a heavy military presence. On April 27, for example, we received reports of four girls and three farmers allegedly shot dead by EPRDF soldiers in Pinyudo and Abobo districts, but assessment of the scale of the violence in rural areas remains difficult because the government has prohibited access by independent investigators.”

Recent reports received by OMCT and Genocide Watch allege that killings and other acts of ethnic cleansing are continuing. On 8 April 2004, The United Nations Commission on Human Rights heard testimony estimating that between 13 December 2003 and 31 March 2004, the total number of persons killed had reached 1,137. (See http://www.genocidewatch.org/ethiopiastatementobang.htm.) These reports need to be investigated carefully, considering the massacres and other violations documented in December, accounts of ongoing violence from families of victims and other local sources, as well as information collected from the thousands of refugees who continue to flee to Pochalla in Sudan. Although the total numbers of victims are estimates, OMCT and Genocide Watch believe that the Government cannot dismiss the consistent accounts of scores of eyewitnesses as fabrications.

Mr. Zenawi has stated that, “Without the intervention of the army, the killings would have continued indefinitely.” This statement is in stark contrast to reports from victims and eyewitnesses to Genocide Watch and SRI and to documentation by a member of the OMCT network that uniformed Ethiopian troops incited highlanders to commit violence and led attacks on Anuak civilians in Gambella and the surrounding areas. The killings were allegedly ordered by Tsegaye Beyene, commander of the Ethiopian Army in Gambella, with the authorization of Dr. Gebrehab Barnabas, an official of the Ethiopian government. According to reports, the Ethiopian army continues to commit atrocities against Anuak civilians daily. The situation is reported to be so severe that OMCT, Genocide Watch and SRI have called for the withdrawal of Ethiopian government troops from the region.

The Ethiopian Parliament has mandated the establishment of an independent commission to investigate the reports of violence. While OMCT and Genocide Watch view this is as a positive development, and a recognition by the Parliament of the seriousness of the situation, we have raised profound concerns about the independence, composition and mandate of the commission that has been set up. One of the alleged planners of the attacks has even been named Chairman of the commission. The commission appointed seems to have been designed to “whitewash” the crimes committed. These concerns have not been addressed by Mr. Zenawi.

Genocide Watch and OMCT repeat the urgent requests that we have made to the Ethiopian government, urging an immediate halt to all military operations against Anuaks, and independent and impartial investigations to bring the perpetrators of massacres, mass rapes, torture, and other grave human rights violations to justice. We also strongly urge the government to invite independent UN human rights experts to visit the Gambella region, in order for them to carry out unrestricted investigations into these atrocities. Immediate access to the region by international monitoring groups and humanitarian assistance must also be guaranteed.

Ethiopia a regime that sales its Kids …

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Christian International Adoption Agency Buys children in Ethiopia

Stories

“Orphan Doctor” Helps World’s Children

(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.

dinsdag 16 februari 2010 12:47 door Ethiopian Times

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Watch CBS News Videos Online

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South Carolina adoption agency investigated for purchasing children

Tagged with: adoption christian CWA ethiopia world

The Christian World Association, with a base in Charleston, South Carolina, is currently involved in litigation over two Ethiopian sisters. It has been reported that their father sold the siblings to CWA. However, the two sisters said they believed they were coming to the United States for an education, not to have a new family.

The CWA specializes in adoptions from Ethiopia, Russia, Ukraine, China, and Bulgaria and has been doing so since 1991.

However, the CWA has posted a response on their website that suggests original reports by CBS news were intentionally sensationalized and left out important facts that proved CWA had done nothing wrong. Below is the CWS response:

It was with great disappointment that CWA was made aware of the various criticisms expressed by the Bradshaws to CBS news. In an effort to address each of these allegations, CWA agreed to an in-depth interview with CBS reporter Armen Keteyian. During the course of this interview, lasting well over an hour, CBS was provided facts and documents which discredit the allegations made against CWA. Instead of allowing its viewers to consider the position of both parties, CBS chose to exclude every piece of information provided by CWA during its lengthy interview.

Sadly, the appearance is that CBS is more interested in the sensational than the factual.

The truth is that CWA does not and has never given compensation of any kind to influence a parent to surrender a child for adoption. CBS was made aware that CWA workers had no contact with the parent in this video who allegedly “sold” his daughters. And, by virtue of the process in Ethiopia, CWA seldom has any contact whatsoever with relinquishing parents. An accurate understanding of the adoption process (as was provided CBS) bears this out:

In Ethiopia, a relinquishing caregiver who seeks to have a child declared an “orphan” and available for adoption initiates the process by appearing before a local court with three witnesses. These four individuals must swear to the court that the child either has no parents or that the child’s surviving parent does not have the financial ability to care for the child. Should the local court make a finding of need based on the testimony of these four individuals, an investigation is triggered by Ethiopia’s social services department called “Ministry of Women’s Affairs” (MOWA). MOWA is then responsible to conduct its independent investigation as to the need of the child and render its findings, together with those of the local court, to a higher court for yet a third review into the need of the child.

This entire process is undertaken by the Ethiopian government, without any involvement by international adoption agencies. Most often, the entire process is completed before international adoption agencies like CWA are even made aware of the child. Finally, before a child can immigrate to the United States, the entire adoption, including the “orphan” status of each child is investigated by the United States government through the U.S. Consular’s office prior to a child’s visa being issued.

While paying a relinquishing caregiver for an adoptive child would be deplorable in any context, as it relates to Ethiopia the concept even violates common sense. This desperate country has an estimated 6,000,000 orphans of whom only .03% per year will be adopted into the United States. This means that for every child chosen for adoption there is a pool of approximately 3,000 legitimate candidates from whom to choose. There is never a justification for paying a parent to surrender a child, but in Ethiopia there is also no motive to do so. The sad fact is there is no lack of children in Ethiopia needing homes, and no motive to “buy” them. This is particularly true for children who are not infants or those in sibling groups, like the ones in the CBS interview. It is hard to imagine any adoption agency being willing to pay for a child and risk criminal conviction when Ethiopia has an enormous number who are legitimately available.

CBS chose to withhold all of this information from its viewers in exchange for the more fantastic notion that these children were simply “bought” from their father and offered to an American family for adoption. The CBS position is absurd and is a sad and revealing commentary on the reliability of CBS reporting.

CWA does not misrepresent the ages of adoptive children. As was explained to CBS, adoption agencies do not make age determinations. The age of a child is determined by the Ethiopian government during the governmental process of investigating the orphan status of the child. The age determined by the government is then documented by the government and made a part of the child’s adoptive record to be provided to adoption agencies. Adoption agencies are not given the liberty to change the determination made by the government.

CBS was also made aware of the fact that determining the accurate age of children adopted from Ethiopia presents unusual challenges. Many of these children have no birth record from which ages may be calculated; for others, the only record upon which the Ethiopian government has to relay is the oral testimony of a relinquishing caregiver. CWA is deliberate in its adoption materials to repeatedly advise parents to be cautious concerning the government’s represented ages of prospective children. CBS was provided copies of these documents and an article CWA requires adoptive parents to review and sign authored by a prominent orphan doctor discussing the difficulties in assigning an accurate age to children from Ethiopia. Finally, in order to assist parents in making their own determinations as to age, CWA provides pictures and videos of prospective children so parents are given the same graphic “evidence” of a child’s age as is presented to CWA.

When CWA suspects a wide age variation in the reported versus actual age of a child, CWA caseworkers communicate an additional warning to parents. This communication becomes part of the adoptive record. Additionally, because of the nature of the Ethiopian adoption process, further information regarding a child’s age may be forthcoming immediately prior to a child’s visa being issued; when this occurs, this information is also documented in the adoptive record. CBS is aware that the Bradshaws chose not to cooperate in allowing CWA to give CBS documents from the adoptive record regarding the children’s ages.

The mission of CWA is to see orphan children and capable families come together to form permanent, mutually-rewarding family bonds. CWA is not a “business.” Revenue generated from adoptions goes to support the services as well as ongoing efforts to place children in families and to feed, clothe, house, and educate those who can never be placed.

CWA does not expect that every individual hearing the accusations will find no fault with CWA. All CWA would ask is for an opportunity to be heard and for open minds to consider all the facts before reaching a conclusion.

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Adopting Foreign Children is a Cruel Joke

Aster C. Lilly

Chicago, IL

Celebrities who adopt foreign children assume a few things about themselves. First, it’s a huge ego trip. Adoption is like one big Nietzsche-style charity.

Adopting a child provides these feelings for a celebrity: superiority, willfulness, godliness, and cultural imperialism.

Although this individual act may be noble, and indeed, children are the “future”, the underlying problems within the society have not been solved by that act of charity.

Adopting a baby does not create infrastructure in a country. Adopting a baby does not discourage the spread of AIDS. Adopting a baby does not provide clean drinking water for a village.

Adopting a baby saves one life; choosing that child is pretending to play God, even though it was probably done for sympathetic reasons.

And even though that adoption was meant to be an act of goodness, the native culture of the adopted child may have been caused serious harm by that act. Adoption of foreign children could be considered a form of international humiliation. Call it crass cultural imperialism. Imagine if a celebrity from another country came to America and adopted one of our children. What would our response be? I imagine people would find it repulsive and strange.

After a foreign child has been adopted, the celebrity can sit back and say “What a benefit I have made to the world!” This attitude contains a self-important subtext. As far as the actual benefits to the “world” that a celebrity has made, most of the time, they have simply acted in a few decent movies or are a musician.

Brad Pitt was in Thelma and Louise; Angelina Jolie was in Tomb raider. Madonna sang “Ray of Light”. Apparently if you earn enough money, you deserve to have a say in international affairs, regardless of credentials.

Another effect of celebrities is the lessening of the tragic perception of the nations where they adopt.

We will recognize Cambodia as the land of adopted babies; not the land of children-warlords, the killing fields, and cold-war espionage.

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.

Copyright notice: © Freedom House, Inc. · All Rights Reserved

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A Terrorist Law , by A Terrorists regime, for A Terrorist Act … “One man’s Terrorist is no more another’s Liberators”

Human Right Watch 2009 Report

Human Rights in Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

News and Publications

Report 2009

  • Head of state Girma Wolde-Giorgis
  • Head of government Meles Zenawi
  • Death penalty retentionist
  • Population 85.2 million
  • Life expectancy 51.8 years
  • Under-5 mortality (m/f) 151/136 per 1,000 Adult
  • literacy 35.9 per cent

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 6.4 million people suffering acute food insecurity, including 1.9 million in 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 in 2007. —————————- ——————- ————–

An Analysis of Ethiopia’s Draft Anti-Terrorism Law

Summary

This paper analyses Ethiopia’s draft Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and assesses to what extent the proposed law on its face conforms to international human rights standards. The draft law has been submitted to Parliament by the Council of Ministers and may be passed into law before the end of the current legislative session in July 2009. A first unofficial draft of the law obtained by Human Rights Watch earlier in the year contained numerous provisions that fundamentally contravened human rights guaranteed by Ethiopia’s constitution and international law. Only one of those provisions has been substantively revised, leaving the current draft law dangerously broad and inimical to fundamental human rights. The draft law is premised on an extremely broad and ambiguous definition of terrorist activity that could permit the government to repress a wide range of internationally protected freedoms, and contains provisions that undermine fundamental due process rights. If implemented as currently drafted, this law could provide the Ethiopian government with a potent instrument to crack down on political dissent, including peaceful political demonstrations and public criticisms of government policy that are deemed supportive of armed opposition activity. It would permit long-term imprisonment and even the death penalty for “crimes” that bear no resemblance, under any credible definition, to terrorism. It would in certain cases deprive defendants of the right to be presumed innocent, and of protections against use of evidence obtained through torture. The draft Proclamation is even more alarming when placed in the context of concerns over political repression, suppression of free speech and independent civil society, the impunity conferred on security forces, and the potential for consolidation of ruling party power in the run-up to national elections in 2010. Human Rights Watch takes no position as to whether anti-terrorism legislation is needed to fill gaps in Ethiopia’s existing criminal code. But even if that need exists, the draft Proclamation requires more than a substantial revision. Given the ways in which its provisions on their face violate fundamental due process rights of individuals and unlawfully restrict basic freedoms due all Ethiopians, the law’s drafters should revise the legislation so that the protection of human rights is recognized as essential for the prosecution of genuine acts of terrorism, not as an obstacle.

Background

In recent years, armed groups have committed a number of bombings and other attacks in Ethiopia or on Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions. A May 2008 explosion on a minibus in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, for which a little known group called the Islamic Guerrillas claimed responsibility, killed three people on the eve of national celebrations.[1] In October 2008 the Ethiopian trade mission in Hargeisa, Somaliland, was one of the targets of multiple suicide bombings that killed at least 20 people; the attacks were blamed on al-Shabaab, a Somali armed group with alleged links to al Qaeda.[2] Ethiopia reportedly considered adopting anti-terror legislation in 2006,[3] and a law was said to be in preparation in 2008.[4] In June 2009 Human Rights Watch obtained an English-language translation of the draft as submitted to parliament by the Council of Ministers. This analysis is based on that draft. An earlier version of this analysis was based on an unofficial draft of the Proclamation dated January 2009. To date the draft anti-terrorism legislation does not appear to have been publicly circulated or discussed, including with civil society, although a public debate took place in parliament on June 25, 2009. Analysis of the Draft Anti-Terrorism Legislation The provisions of Ethiopia’s draft Anti-Terrorism Proclamation can be broadly grouped under the following categories: defining terrorism and terrorist acts and imposing penalties (parts I and II); expanding police powers, including powers of arrest and detention (part III); modifying trial procedures and evidentiary rules (part IV); designating terrorist organizations and freezing assets (part V); designating institutional and judicial jurisdiction over terrorism crimes (part VI); and miscellaneous provisions (part VII).

Defining Terrorism

The draft Proclamation provides an extremely broad and ambiguous definition of terrorism that could be used to criminalize non-violent political dissent and various other activities that should not be deemed as terrorism. The draft Proclamation states that anyone who-with the purpose of “advancing a political, religious or ideological cause” and intending to “influence the government;”[5] “intimidate the public or section of the public;” [or] “to destabilize or destroy the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social institutions of the country”-commits: an act that causes death or serious injury; an act that creates risk to the safety or health of the public; kidnapping or hostage taking; serious damage to property; damage to natural resources, the environment, or the historical or cultural heritage; or “endangers, seizes or puts under control, causes interference or disruption of any public service”-is subject to punishment by “rigorous imprisonment from 15 years to life or with death.”[6] This definition of terrorism includes acts that do not involve violence or injury to people, such as property crimes and disruption of public services.[7] The United Nations special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights has stated that the concept of terrorism should be limited to acts committed with the intention of causing death or serious bodily injury, or the taking of hostages, and should not include property crimes. In addition, permitting the death penalty for property crimes would violate the requirement under international law that the death penalty only be imposed for the “most serious crimes.”[8] The broad and ambiguous definition of terrorist acts under the draft Proclamation could readily be used to criminalize acts of peaceful political dissent that result in “disruption of public services”-as public demonstrations sometimes do. A non-violent march that blocked traffic could qualify as a terrorist act, subjecting protestors to 15 years to life in prison, or possibly even the death penalty. The law might also permit prosecutions on terrorism charges for minor acts of violence committed in the context of political activism: thus a political protestor who damages a police car or breaks the window of a government building could conceivably be prosecuted as a terrorist. Furthermore, an individual need only “threaten to commit” any of the relevant acts, including property crimes and “disruption of public service,” to be prosecuted as a terrorist and punished with a minimum 15 years’ imprisonment, or death.[9] The overly broad definition of terrorist acts has implications for other parts of the Proclamation. For instance a “terrorist organization” is defined as “a.) a group, association or organization which is composed of not less than two members with the objective of committing acts of terrorism or plans, prepares, executes acts of terrorism or assists or incites others in any way to commit acts of terrorism, [or] b.) an organization proscribed in accordance with this proclamation.”[10] As noted above, the definition of “acts of terrorism” could include acts of political dissent. Therefore a group of two or more individuals who engage in peaceful political protest could be deemed a “terrorist organization,”[11] and membership deemed a crime, subject to five to 20 years’ “rigorous imprisonment.”[12] The draft Proclamation also contains broad and ambiguous language prohibiting material support for terrorism. Those providing “moral support or … advice” or “provid[ing] or mak[ing] available any property in any manner” to an individual accused of a terrorist act could be deemed a terrorist supporter under the law.[13] Someone who advised, or even just offered water and food to a political protester might find themselves charged with terrorism under this provision. Possessing or using property knowing or intending that it be used to commit a terrorist act (as defined by the draft statute) is a crime subject to five to 20 years’ imprisonment.[14] Possession of property that a person “ha[s] reason to know” are proceeds of terrorism is punishable by five to 15 years’ “rigorous imprisonment”.[15] Coupled with the broad and ambiguous definition of terrorist acts, these provisions open the door to a wide range of ways in which individuals seeking to express political dissent could find themselves prosecuted for terrorism and imprisoned for five to 20 years. For example, someone who held a sign used in a non-violent political protest that blocked traffic could arguably be found guilty of possession of property used to commit a terrorist act.

Infringement of Freedoms of Speech and Expression

Many national counterterrorism laws contain provisions criminalizing speech that incites or supports terrorism. But important international standards on freedom of speech require that such restrictions be limited to speech that directly incites-or is likely to result in-an imminent crime.[16] The draft Proclamation states that “whosoever writes, edits, prints, publishes, publicizes, disseminates, shows, makes to be heard any promotional statements encouraging, supporting or advancing terrorist acts stipulated under … this Proclamation, or the objectives of [a] terrorist organization; […] is punishable with rigorous imprisonment from 10 years to 20 years.”[17] Such a provision would violate the right to freedom of expression under international law even if the definition of “terrorist act” were in conformity with international standards.[18] In addition to relying on the overly broad definition of “terrorist acts,” this provision is problematic because the provision criminalizes speech ambiguously “encouraging,” “advancing,” or “in support” of terrorist acts even if there is no direct incitement to violence. Individuals who merely speak in favor of any of the “terrorist acts” could be convicted for encouraging terrorism, and sentenced to 10 to 20 years of “rigorous imprisonment.” For example, students participating in a peaceful demonstration seeking to influence government policy-or even someone merely voicing support for such a demonstration without participating-could be subjected to a 10- to 20-year prison term. Human Rights Watch is also concerned that the inclusion of the references to writing and editing may be aimed at the nation’s media. If the government were to place longstanding armed opposition groups such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) (which have already been banned) on the list of proscribed terrorist organizations, even a mundane newspaper article describing an Oromo student protest could be deemed “encouragement of terrorism.” This scenario is quite likely given that the Ethiopian government has repeatedly sought to characterize the attacks of the ONLF and other insurgent groups as “terrorist” activities. The government already imprisons government critics and opposition figures and accuses them of supporting the OLF, ONLF, and other opposition groups. Ethiopia has sought-so far unsuccessfully-to place the ONLF and other Ethiopian armed opposition movements on the US and UN sanctions lists for supporting terrorism. A journalist interviewing an opposition politician or a supporter of an armed opposition group could be deemed to be “encouraging” terrorism merely by publicizing the views of the interviewee.

Expansion of Police Powers without Due Process Guarantees

The draft Anti-Terrorism Proclamation expands police powers in significant ways. Despite Ethiopian constitutional protections, the police and armed forces have long been implicated in arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, and torture and other mistreatment of persons in custody.[19] Thus, the expansion of police powers without a serious effort to improve protections for those detained raises serious concerns that the law may facilitate further abuses.

Powers of Arrest, Search, and Seizure

The draft Proclamation distinguishes between a “sudden search” and a “covert search.”[20] A covert search requires a court-approved search warrant if an officer “has reasonable grounds to believe that a terrorist act has been or is likely to be committed.”[21] However a “sudden search” of “body and property” can be authorized by the director general of the Federal Police or his designee, without judicial oversight, if a police officer has “reasonable suspicion that a terrorist act will be committed and deems it necessary to make a sudden search.”[22] This gives the police and other security services almost unlimited power to conduct body searches, and search or seize property based solely on the belief that terrorist activity “will be” or has been committed. The provision contains no warrant requirement or any requirement of exigent circumstances that would make a warrantless search or seizure justified. The National Intelligence and Security Services is also provided authority to “intercept or conduct surveillance on the telephone, fax, radio, internet, electronic, postal, and similar communications of a person suspected of terrorism,” and to enter any premise to install and intercept communications after obtaining a court warrant.[23] Should a police officer believe a terrorist act “will be” committed in a particular place, he has the power to destroy property or restrict movement, even without any requirement of exigency.[24] Those who fail to cooperate with the police are subject to three to 10 years’ imprisonment.[25] The police also have the power to order “any government institution, official, bank, or a private organization or an individual” to provide information or evidence “which [the police officer] reasonably believes could assist to prevent or investigate terrorism cases,” without any warrant.[26]

Detention without Charge

The draft Proclamation grants the police the power to make arrests without a warrant, so long as the officer “reasonably suspects” that the person is committing or has committed a terrorist act.[27] The Ethiopian constitution requires that a person taken into custody must be brought before a court within 48 hours and informed of the reasons for their arrest-a protection that is already systematically violated.[28] The draft Proclamation reiterates the constitutional protection to be brought before a court within 48 hours of arrest, but then permits the police to request additional investigation periods of 28 days each from a court before filing charges, up to a maximum of four months.[29] Currently, Ethiopian police routinely detain people without charge for months, and sometimes ignore judicial orders for release.[30] Providing a statutorily-permitted period of four months whereby individuals may be detained without charge is likely to lead to even further abuses.[31] International law requires that anyone arrested shall be promptly brought before a judicial authority and criminally charged.[32]

Violation of the Right to Bodily Integrity

The draft Proclamation gives the police the power-without a warrant-to order a suspect in their custody to provide samples of blood and other body fluids, handwriting, hair, fingerprints, and undergo medical tests, and states that “if the suspect is not willing for the test, the police may use force.”[33] Evidentiary Rules and Use of Evidence Obtained by Torture The draft Proclamation sets new evidentiary standards for terrorism cases under the legislation that are far more permissive than the rules covering ordinary cases. Under these new rules, hearsay or “indirect evidences” can be admitted in court without any limitation.[34] Official intelligence reports can also be admitted “even if the report does not disclose the source or the method it was gathered.”[35] By making intelligence reports admissible in court even if the sources and methods are not disclosed, the law effectively allows evidence obtained under torture (if defense counsel cannot ascertain the methods by which intelligence was collected, they cannot show that it was collected in an abusive way). The draft Proclamation deems confessions admissible without a restriction on the use of statements made under torture.[36] The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment explicitly prohibits the use of any statement made as a result of torture as evidence in legal proceedings.[37] The Ethiopian constitution also bars the use of statements obtained through coercion.[38]

Additional Provisions of Concern

The draft Proclamation makes the failure to disclose information or evidence that may assist to “prevent terrorist act before its commission” or may contribute to “arrest, prosecute or punish a suspect” a crime that carries a sentence of three to 10 years’ “rigorous imprisonment.”[39] Also, any person who knowingly provides false information about a terrorist act, or “believing that the information is false” (a standard that falls short of actual knowledge) also faces punishment of three to 10 years’ imprisonment.[40] Such provisions could put citizens in an impossible position: On the one hand they could be charged with a crime for providing information that turns out to be false. On the other hand, they could be convicted of a crime for failing to provide information. The law also imposes an obligation to notify police within 24 hours if a foreigner is living in one’s house, and to provide the police a copy of the foreigner’s passport.[41] This violates the right under international law not to be subjected to arbitrary interference with privacy, family, or home.[42] Changes from the January 2009 Draft of the Proclamation There were very few substantive changes from a January 2009 draft of the law and the version that was ultimately submitted to parliament. Those worth noting here are as follows: The only major positive change to the current draft is that a provision in the January 2009 draft that allowed for shifting the burden of proof onto suspects who confess has been eliminated altogether. This was one of the worst provisions of the first draft, as it could have led to confessions extracted under torture being used to shift the burden of proof onto criminal defendants. The draft Proclamation’s definition of “terrorist acts”-one of the most alarming aspects of the first draft of the law-is even broader than it was in the January 2009 draft. The new draft expands the intent element of the crime. The first draft provided that carrying out one of the enumerated acts “with the intention of coercing or intimidating the government” was an act of terrorism.[43] The new draft changes this to “intending to influence the government.”[44] There is some uncertainty as to whether this was a deliberate change or an issue of translation from the Amharic version of the draft law, which is not currently available to Human Rights Watch. Section 14 of the draft Proclamation now requires that surveillance and interception of communications requires a court warrant; the first draft did not. However as noted above most of the other search and seizure provisions in the draft remain without any kind of warrant requirement. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Anti-terrorism legislation further restricts Ethiopian press

¨ July 23, 2009 His Excellency Prime Minister Meles Zenawi c/o Embassy of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia to the United States 3506 International Drive, NW Washington, D.C. 20008 Via facsimile: (202) 587-0195 Dear Prime Minister: We are writing to express our serious concerns about legislation that would further restrict press freedom in Ethiopia and about an ongoing pattern of criminal prosecutions, administrative restrictions, and Internet censorship. We are concerned that these measures, which official rhetoric has publicly justified as policies to safeguard the “constitutional order,” actually criminalize independent political coverage and infringe on press freedom as guaranteed by the Ethiopian Constitution. We call on you to use your influence to reverse this trend. On July 7, the Ethiopian House of Peoples’ Representatives passed the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation despite concerns raised by legal experts, lawmakers, and the private press about sweeping statutes that restrict fundamental constitutional rights, including press freedom. Several journalists, who asked that their names be withheld for fear of government reprisals, told CPJ they received phone calls and warnings from officials and government supporters to censor coverage scrutinizing the law. The proclamation contains far-reaching statutes giving the executive branch sweeping powers to imprison for as long as 20 years “whosoever writes, edits, prints, publishes, publicizes, disseminates” statements deemed “encouraging, supporting, or advancing” terrorist acts. This statute effectively institutionalizes censorship of reporting the government deems favorable to groups and causes it labels as “terrorist.” Worse, the law grants the federal police and national security agency exclusive discretion to carry out warrantless interception of communications, and search and seizure solely on the basis of “reasonable belief” that a terrorist act is in progress or “will be” committed. The law also provides for terrorist suspects to be held for up to four months without charge. However, in nearly 27 months, the government has yet to take to court Eritrean state television journalists Saleh Idris Gama or Tesfalidet Kidane Tesfazghi since identifying them among 41 people “captured” in Somalia on suspicion of terrorism. The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry has consistently declined to comment to CPJ’s requests for information about these imprisonments. Commenting on the legislation prior to passage, government spokesman Bereket Simon dismissed concerns of potential abuse. “This is a government that is committed to the constitutional provisions, and in the Constitution, any abuse of power is not allowed,” he told U.S. international broadcaster Voice of America (VOA). Despite these assurances however, the potential for abuse of this law is all the more troubling in light of the government’s long-standing pattern of criminal prosecution of the independent press over critical coverage, and the practices of Ethiopian judges and prosecutors in such cases. In principle, the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and the existing criminal code have high requirements for government prosecutors to prove intent in charges against the press, according to legal experts and CPJ analysis. In practice, however, Ethiopian judges have leniently interpreted these requirements, giving them little or no consideration. CPJ continues to document cases where government prosecutors charge journalists with the criminal code charge of “inciting the public through false rumors” for reporting allegations contradicting or questioning government’s positions or statements. Ethiopian judges have allowed such cases to proceed without questioning the positions or statements of the state, as the plaintiff in these cases, placing a disproportionate burden of proof on the defendant journalists, according to Ethiopian legal experts. We have also documented cases where judges have used “contempt of court” charges to detain journalists and censor coverage of sensitive cases, including the trial of pop singer Tewodros Kassahun. Last year, in an interview with Newsweek, you expressed hope that Ethiopia’s newly passed press reform legislation would be “on par with the best in the world.” The law intended to “ensure media diversity and provide adequate legal protection for the operational independence of media in general,” according to a February 26 press release from the Office for Government Communication Affairs. However, by all accounts, the Mass Media and Freedom of Information Proclamation fell well short of international standards. The law stiffened existing penalties for libel and granted government prosecutors the exclusive discretion to summarily block any publication for national security, but bans pretrial detentions of journalists, at least in principle. Four editors of Amharic-language weeklies have been detained this year on criminal charges, according to CPJ research, for anywhere from three to 16 days; two are still facing charges. In addition, several other journalists are facing charges and the possibility of criminal prosecutions, police interrogations, or government warnings over coverage deemed favorable to political dissidents, according to our research. The government is continuing its long-standing practice of reviving criminal prosecutions of journalists on charges dating back several years. Asrat Wedajo, former editor of the defunct Sefe Nebelbal newspaper, appeared in March before federal court in a criminal case over a story that appeared four years ago, according to local journalists. The official February 26 press release stated the administration’s commitment to “ensure the free flow of diverse ideas and information.” However, in January, a government agency, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority, was given exclusive authority over media regulation. The authority immediately issued directives not included in the press law stripping any media executive with more than 2 percent ownership share of any editorial authority in order to “avoid homogeneity of news and viewpoints,” according to local news reports. In April, the agency denied licenses to three journalists–award-winning publisher Serkalem Fasil, her husband, columnist Eskinder Nega, and publisher Sisay Agena–because their now-banned publishing companies were convicted on anti-state charges in 2007. In June, it ordered private Sheger Radio to stop carrying programs from VOA, after briefly revoking the accreditations of correspondents Eskinder Firew and Meleskachew Amaha. Amaha was imprisoned this year on spurious, years-old tax charges. He was later acquitted. In addition, your government continues to filter Web sites, particularly foreign-based independent sites and blogs discussing political reform and human rights, including our site. We urge you to amend statutes in the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and the Mass Media and Freedom of Information Proclamation that undermine constitutional rights to press freedom. We ask that you conduct an independent review of judicial practices and the application of criminal statutes used to prosecute journalists, and ensure the creation of an independent media regulatory body. We call on you to lift all restrictions on the free exercise of journalism in your country. Sincerely, Joel Simon Executive Director Human Rights Watch (Washington, DC) —————————

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Ethiopia: New Anti-Terrorism Proclamation jeopardizes freedom of expression

7 July 2009 Reacting to the news that the Ethiopian Parliament has today passed an Anti-Terror Proclamation in Ethiopia, Amnesty International warns that the law could restrict freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and the right to fair trial, with serious implications in the run up to Ethiopia’s 2010 parliamentary election. Although the Ethiopian government faces legitimate security concerns, any anti-terror legislation must be in accordance with international human rights standards. “The Government of Ethiopia has a history of stifling dissent and it is worrying that this law now risks further violating Ethiopia’s obligations under international human rights law,” said Erwin van der Borght, Amnesty International’s Africa programme director. “The Anti-Terror Proclamation is expected to provide Ethiopian authorities with unnecessarily far reaching powers which could lead to further arbitrary arrests”. Based on earlier drafts of the law previously made available to Amnesty International, “acts of terrorism” are vaguely defined and could encompass the legitimate expression of political dissent. The law defines “acts of terrorism” as including damage to property and disruption to any public service, for which an individual could be sentenced to 15 years in prison or even the death penalty. Thousands of protesters, political party leaders, journalists and human rights defenders were arrested and detained following the disputed November 2005 elections in which the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) retained political power. Ethiopia
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Ethiopia: Fears Over New Anti-Terror Law

Omaeyr Rado 23 July 2009 Addis Ababa — A little over 18 years ago, when the ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) came to power, people were so eager to exercise democracy that even children started to challenge their parents saying “this is my democratic right”. Perhaps it was too good to last. Earlier this month a new anti-terror law was passed, granting sweeping powers to the state to detain people it deems threatening. It follows closely on the heels of legislation that severely restricted the operations of NGOs working human rights issues. When 17 years of armed struggle finally ended the dictatorial rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam and the Derg in 1991, the EPRDF started preaching democracy, equality and human rights. The party soon proved impatient with opposition of any kind. In January 1993, the government carried out a brutal crackdown on students at the Addis Ababa University (AAU) who were demonstrating against the referendum on Eritrea’s independence. The incident led to the death of at least one student and 85 injuries when live ammunition fired into a crowd of unarmed students by security forces. In April of the same year, the government dismissed 40 professors from the AAU, reportedly because they were deemed too critical. There followed the harassment of the Ethiopian Teacher’s Association (ETA), its top leaders imprisoned. Human Rights Watch accuses the police of gunning down the ETA’s acting director, Assefa Maru, in 1997. More recently, the 2005 election campaign – preceded by a loosening of controls that saw opposition political parties able to freely debate issues live on even state media – was followed by violent repression, despite the EPRDF scoring a resounding victory. The opposition won a record number of seats, but in limited parts of the country; elsewhere, they alleged, government repression and intimidation had prevented them from winning even more. Street protests in the capital, Addis Ababa, led the deaths of nearly 200 at the hands of security forces. Hundreds more were wounded and thousands arbitrarily detained, including many leading opposition politicians. A number of prominent private newspapers were closed, their owners and editors charged with genocide and treason. Several were sentenced to lengthy jail terms. Over almost two decades in power, the ruling party has maintained a tight grip on power. Its latest moves suggest this is not about to change. Several months ago, the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) law was approved despite an uproar from local activists and the international community. This law expressly limits “foreign” and “Ethiopian resident” CSOs – the latter defined as any Ethiopian CSO that obtains more than ten percent of its funding from sources outside the country – from doing any work related to human rights, governance, and a range of other issues. The law makes it easy for the state to refuse to register organisations. The Ethiopian government this week suspended 42 NGOs for “exceeding their mandate” in the southern part of the country. Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation reported that the organisations had their licence revoked because, according to the local officials, they had supplied information to the United States State Department about human rights abuses in the area. The names of the organisations were not released, but are understood to include two local gender rights organisations and international humanitarian agency Médécins Sans Frontières.

Anti-terrorism law

With the ink barely dry on the CSO law, parliament has now approved the Anti-Terrorism Law, first crafted by the National Intelligence and Security Agency and experts from the Ministry of Justice and the Federal Police four years ago, and approved by the Council of Ministers in early June. The law is premised on an extremely broad and ambiguous definition of terrorist activity that could permit government to repress wide range of internationally-protected freedoms, and contains provisions that undermine fundamental due process rights, according to Human Rights Watch. The United Nations special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights has stated that the concept of terrorism should be limited to acts committed with the intention of causing death or serious bodily injury, or the taking of hostages. Ethiopia’s new law defines terrorism in such a way that it includes acts that do not involve violence or injury to people, such as property crimes and disruption of public services. The penalties range from 15 years to life imprisonment or even a death sentence. The law also gives police powers of arrest, search and seizure without guarantees of due process. The law also contains ambiguous language against material support for terrorism. An analysis by HRW suggests that who even offered water or food to a political protester might find themselves charged with aiding terrorism under the new legislation. “This [law] is a legal cover for every unlawful action the government has been and is taking against political dissent and free press,” said Beyene Petros, chairman of the opposition United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) party, which voted against the legislation. But, Beyene argues, even without this law, the “security forces have been above the law. They already make arbitrary arrests and stifle freedom of expression; yet the law intensifies this practice. “We objected to the fact that the law is against the country’s constitution and the issues it is planned to address are under the jurisdiction of the existing criminal codes of the country,” he said. “The country does not need this law.” Though his Ethiopian Democratic Party also voted against the law, Lidetu Ayalew, another opposition leader, believes Ethiopia needs some kind of anti-terror law because it has been a victim of various terrorist acts. In 2007, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) took responsibility for an attack on Chinese run oil exploration field in Ogaden killing 74 people. Numerous people have been killed in other bombings and grenade attacks in Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, and elsewhere in the country in recent years. The Ethiopian government has alleged that these attacks were carried out by armed opposition groups like the ONLF, the Oromo Liberation Front – both fighting for autonomy of various regions – as well as groups like Al-Itihad, which springs from Ehtiopia’s volatile neighbour Somalia. The government alleges all these groups are terrorist. However, aside from the ONLF’s attack on the oil installation, the popular view is that the government itself orchestrates these attacks to incriminate its oppositions; a charge government officials of course deny. Shimeles Kemal, deputy head of the Government Communication Affairs Office, told IPS that in the current globalised world, no country is insulated from the threat of terrorism. Fears Over New Anti-Terror Law in Ethiopia NEWS — Ethiopia: Govt Suspends 42 NGOs As Hunger Worsens PRESS RELEASE — Ethiopia: Anti-Terrorism Legislation Further Restricts Press “The normal court procedures will take the police more time than they have to put terrorist threats under control,” said Kemal. “By the time the police seek a court warrant, the damage might have taken place. This law is preventive and the police need the legal provision to effectively do their job. Besides, terrorist acts are very different and highly sophisticated from other crimes,” he said. The concerns of the EDP and the most of the rest of the opposition centre on the very broad definition of terrorism at the heart of the bill, which Lidetu says could serve to incarcerate opposition. “This means the police can simply arrest opposition members for choosing their preferred way to express their dissent including armed struggle or demonstration,” Lidetu told IPS ————————– Please Correct in the Video it is not the Derg regime that ruled Ethiopia since 1991  but that of Woyane, thank you..

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