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Ethiopian Regime Repression

by GRAHAM PEEBLES

They speak of democracy, but act violently to suppress dissenting voices and control the people through the inculcation of fear: they ignore human rights and trample on the people, they are a tyrannical wolf in democratic sheep’s clothing, causing suffering and misery to thousands of people throughout Ethiopia. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) government repeatedly scoffs at international law and consistently acts in violation of their own Federal constitution – a liberal document written by the regime to please and deceive their foreign supporters. They have enacted laws of repression: the widely condemned Charities and Societies (ATD) law (CSO law) and the Anti Terrorism Declaration, which is the main tool of political control, together with
The ‘Mass Media and Freedom of Information Proclamation’ they form a formidable unjust arsenal of government control. Freedom of the media (which is largely ‘state-owned’) is denied and political dissent is all but outlawed.

Against this repressive backdrop, the Semayawi (Blue) party, a new opposition group, organized peaceful protests on the 2nd June in Addis Ababa. Ten thousand or so people marched through the capital demanding the release of political prisoners, “respect for the constitution” and Justice! Justice! Justice! It was (Reuters 2/06/2013 reported), an “anti-Government procession…. the first large-scale protest since a disputed 2005 election ended in street violence that killed 200 people”, a ‘disputed election’ result that was discredited totally by European Union observers and denounced by opposition groups and large swathes of the population.

The Chairman of the Semayawi Party, Yilekal Getachew, told Reuters, “We have repeatedly asked the government to release political leaders, journalists and those who asked the government not to intervene in religious affairs”. In keeping with the recent worldwide movement for freedom and social justice, he stated that, “if these questions are not resolved and no progress is made in the next three months, we will organize more protests. It is the beginning of our struggle”. To the disappointment of many and the surprise of nobody, the government has made no attempt to ‘resolve’ the questions raised, and true to their word a second demonstration was planned for 1st September in Addis Ababa. In the event, as the BBC report, around “100 members of Ethiopia’s opposition Semayawi (Blue) party were arrested and some badly beaten”, and “equipment such as sound systems were confiscated”, ahead of the planned rally, which was banned by the EPRDF. Government justification formed, and a cock and bull story was duly constructed with Communication Minister Shimeles Kemal stating “the venue [for Semayawi’s event) had already been booked by a pro-government group condemning religious extremism”.

Non-interference in religious affairs is one of the key demands of the Semayawi party, a demand based upon the constitutional commitment of religious independence from the State, which Muslim groups claim the government has violated. Enraged by government interference in all matters religious, the Muslim community have organised regular small-scale protests and sit-ins in the capital for the last two years. In early August, Reuters 8/08/2013 reported “Demonstrators chanted “Allahu Akbar” and hoisted banners that read “respect the constitution”, referring to allegations that the government has tried to influence the highest Muslim affairs body, the Ethiopia Islamic Affairs Supreme Council”. Around 40% of Ethiopia’s population (around 85 million) are Muslim, for generations they have lived amicably with their Orthodox Christians neighbours, who make up the majority in the country; they are moderate in their beliefs and peaceful in their ways. The EPRDF in contrast are violent, intolerant and ideologically driven; ‘Revolutionary Democracy’ being the particular tune to which the democratic dictatorship hums and drums its partisan rule.

“Name-Calling”

The government’s response to the peaceful demonstrations, has unsurprisingly been intolerant and dismissive; their comments inflammatory and predictable, stating Mail@Guardian 14/07/2013 record, “most of these demonstrators are Islamic extremists”, and showing their own ‘extreme’ tendencies, authoritively declaring that “the protesters aimed to set up an Islamic state in the country and were bankrolled and guided by “extremists” [this time] overseas”. Duplicitous nonsense, which serves to distract attention from the underlying issues being raised and the imperative (and legal requirement) for the government to act in accordance with its own constitution.

Along with such disingenuous comments the regime has responded to the protests in a repressive manner; imprisoning Muslims calling for justice, causing Amnesty International 8/08/2013 to be “extremely concerned at reports coming out of Ethiopia… of further widespread arrests of Muslim protesters”, Amnesty demand that the “on-going repressive crackdown on freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest has to end now”. Despite the fact that the protests have been peaceful and good-natured the regime has consistently described the protesters as violent terrorists, in February the ‘Holy War Movement’ was shown on State Television, it presented protestors and those arrested (including journalists), as terrorists. And in a clear violation of people’s constitutional right to protest, the regime has threatened to take firm action against further protests.

Whilst the majority of actions during the last two years have been without incident, protests in Kofele in the Oromia region on 8th August ended in “the deaths of an unconfirmed number”, there have also been reports of large numbers of people being arrested in Kofele and Addis Ababa, including two journalists. Following the Kofele deaths Amnesty called for “an immediate, independent and impartial investigation into the events in Kofele, as well as into the four incidents last year which resulted in the deaths and injuries of protestors”. Legitimate demands which the regime has duly ignored.

The EPRDF does not tolerate any independent media coverage within the country and indeed does all it can to control the flow of information out of Ethiopia and restrict totally dissenting voices. And they don’t care who the journalist is working for, key allies or diaspora media; In October 2012 a reporter from the Voice of America (VOA) covering a protest in Anwar Mosque in Addis was arrested and told to erase her recorded interviews, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) report. This was not the first time a VOA journalist had been detained. “They are criminalizing journalism,” said Martin Schibbye a Swedish freelance journalist who was jailed [in 2011] along with a colleague for more than 14 months in Ethiopia”, for entering the Ogaden region. A heavily militarized area where wide ranging human rights violations constituting crimes against humanity are taking place, which has been hidden from the International media and aid organisations since 2007. Fearing imprisonment, many journalists have left Ethiopia, CPJ report that in 2012, along with Eritrea, it was were Africa’s ‘top jailer’ of journalists”, coming in eighth worldwide.

Unjust Laws of Control

In July last year, hundreds of protesting Muslims peacefully demanding that the government stop interfering in their religious affairs and allow them to vote freely for representatives on the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC). Most were released, but 29 members of the protest committee were charged on 29th October under the universally criticized Anti Terrorist Declaration (ATD), accused of “intending to advance a political, religious or ideological cause” by force, and the “planning, preparation, conspiracy, incitement and attempt of terrorist acts.” Their arrest has been slammed by human rights groups as well as the United States Commission on religious Freedom, who “are deeply concerned that Ethiopia’s government is seeking to silence peaceful religious freedom proponents by detaining and trying them in secret under trumped-up terrorism charges.  They should be released now and their trials halted”. The men claim to have been “tortured and experienced other ill-treatment in detention”.

The ambiguous ATD was introduced in 2009 and has been used by the Ethiopian government, “to severely restrict basic rights of freedom of expression, association, and assembly”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) state. It violates dues process, which like a raft of other internationally recognized and legally binding rights, is enshrined in the Ethiopian constitution. The legislation cause outrage amongst human rights groups and the right minded when it was proposed. HRW (30/06/2009) said of the draft law, (which un-amended found its way onto the statute books) that it would “permit the government to repress a wide range of internationally protected freedoms”, – precisely the reason for it’s introduction, and it provides “the Ethiopian government with a potent instrument to crack down on political dissent, including peaceful political demonstrations and public criticisms of government policy”.

The unjust law allows for long-tem imprisonment and the death penalty for so called crimes that meet some EPRDF definition of terrorism, and denies in some cases a defendants right to be presumed innocent – the bedrock of the international judicial system. Torture is used without restraint by the military and police, under the ATD evidence obtained whilst a prisoner is being beaten, hanged, whipped or drowned is admissible in court, this criminal act contravenes Article 15 of the United Nations Convention against Torture (ratified by Ethiopia in 1994), which ‘requires that any statement made as a result of torture is inadmissible as evidence’. Terrorism is indeed an issue of grave concern in Ethiopia, it is not rooted in the Muslim community, the media, the Blue Party or the Universities, it is State Terrorism that stalks this land, that kills and falsely imprisons, tortures and rapes the innocent, it is the EPRDF; the rebel group that ousted a communist dictator in 1991 only to take up his tyrannical mantle, who manipulate the law to serve their repressive rule and who violates a plethora of human rights, consistently and with impunity. Ethiopia’s donors and international friends, (primarily America and Britain) have other, larger fish on their minds, and even though they give the country over a third of its federal budget they seem unconcerned by the criminality being committed, much of which is taking place under the cloak of development. Violent rule however is a storm that is imploding throughout the world, the people, who have suffered long enough, sense their collective strength and are awakening.

Need for Unity

Although completely contrary to the EPRDF’s pledge of Federal Federalism, divide and rule is the effective methodology of division employed by the regime. In a country with dozens of tribal groups, various ethnicities and different religious beliefs (Islam and Christianity), unity is the key to any popular social revolution, much needed and ardently longed for by millions throughout the land. We are witnessing a worldwide protest movement for change; age-old values of freedom, equality and social justice, brotherhood and peace are the clarion call of many marching and protesting. And so it is in Ethiopia, the Blue party and other opposition groups, the Muslim community and the students on the streets demanding Justice! Justice! Jusitce! are in harmony with the rhythm of the times. Out of step and blind to the needs of the people and their rightful demands, the ruling party acts with violence to drown out their voices and suppress their rights: in Addis Ababa, where thousands marched in June, in Oromia and the Ogaden, where the people seek autonomy, in Amhara, where thousands have been displaced, in Gambella and the Lower Omo Valley, where native people are being driven off their ancestral land into state created villages, women raped and men beaten.

Unity is the song of the day, rich with diversity united in intent, the collective will of the people of Ethiopia and indeed throughout the world is an unstoppable force for change. All steps need to be taken to remove the obstacle to the realization of unity throughout the country, ethnic prejudices and tribal differences; all need to be laid aside. The Ethiopian regime may succeed in subduing the movement for change that is simmering throughout the country, however with sustained unified action, peacefully undertaken and relentlessly expressed, freedom and social justice, longed for by millions throughout the country, will surely come.

Graham Peebles is director of the Create Trust. He can be reached at: graham@thecreatetrust.org

AMAN THE ETHIOPIAN ELITE A RARE RUNNER

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POSATHLETECOUNTRYMARK
1MohammedAMANETHETH1:43.31 SB
2Nick SYMMONDSUSAUSA1:43.55 SB
3AyanlehSOULEIMANDJIDJI1:43.76

View the full results for Men’s 800 Metres Final

History, of sorts, was made when Mohammed Aman became the first Ethiopian to win a world outdoor 800m title as he kicked hard coming off the final bend to snatch the gold medal on Tuesday night (13).The spectacular victory in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium supersedes his 2012 World indoor 800m title and came against a terrific field. To make the result even sweeter his winning time of 1:43.31 is his fastest of the season.Until now his countrymen have dominated 5000m, 10,000m and Marathon podiums but Aman, a sprinter turned middle distance star, has ignited a new flame of belief amongst the youth of his country.Still, only 19 years of age and the youngest man to win a medal in his event, let alone a gold, Aman understands the significance of his accomplishment.“Ethiopians are known for marathons and for long distance and now middle distances so I am very happy,” said Aman, who learned English in high school and practices by watching movies and reading.“Anything is possible. I train in Ethiopia and also I have a good Ethiopian coach (Negusse Gechamo). I train in Entoto, Sendafa and also around Addis. I train with the national team. There are many national team members in Addis.”The race itself was exemplary championship running as Aman escaped from a box created by the two Americans, Duane Soloman and Nick Symmonds, and ran down the latter to steal the gold medal in the last 20 metres.Asked if he was confident or nervous coming into the final, the native of Assela, a small town south east of Addis Ababa, which is coincidently is Haile Gebrselassie’s home town, he smiled.“I don’t know. I had the confidence, I won four Diamond League races and so I am very confident,” he admits. “But it’s the World Championships so there’s a bit more stress. It’s a championship, you have to be careful to win this one.

“The truth is I didn’t think too much about the race last night.  I slept. My coach called me and said: ‘what are you doing? ’ I didn’t think about the race, I just focused on getting rest.”

This is the man who inflicted two rare defeats upon the mighty David Rudisha, the only ones he suffered in 2011 and 2012, who is resting a knee injury, beating the Kenyan World record holder in Zurich last year and in Milan the year before.

Unfortunately for the teenage Ethiopian, the absence of the world record holder and Olympic champion has been noticed by some aficionados who erroneously believe that his gold medal has been somewhat devalued.

Moments after the semi-finals in Moscow, Aman responded to these comments.

“I am very sad for him because injuries are very hard on athletes,” he said. “I am very sorry for him, but I don’t do sport for Rudisha, though, I do it for me. I didn’t say that because Rudisha is not involved, that the gold is for me. I didn’t say that because there are some very strong athletes here.”

 

Aman will have to wait until Thursday to gets his hands on his prize. Moscow 2013 organisers have scheduled his awards ceremony then because there is no evening session on Wednesday.

The impending celebration will also have to wait as he plans to wrap up his 2013 Diamond Race title in Brussels on 6 September before heading home.

“After Brussels I will go directly to see my mum,” he said with a huge smile.

“She saw me run in Daegu and then London. She expects me to win and I didn’t. Now it is my time so I will go directly to my mum and see my family and celebrate there. My mum, my dad and also other Ethiopians we have traditional ways to celebrate with a party.”

Aman has a firm grip on the Diamond Race. Victory in Brussels would cap off one brilliant season for a history making Ethiopian, and perhaps make it an even bigger party in Assela early next month when he finally returns home.

Paul Gains for the IAAF

Gambella’s Life in land Grabbing

By Graham Peebles

To many people land is much more than a resource or corporate commodity to be bought developed and sold for a profit. Identity, cultural history and livelihood are all connected to ‘place’. The erosion of traditional values and morality (which include the observation of human rights and environmental responsibility) are some of the many negative effects of the global neo-liberal economic model, with its focus on short-term gain and material benefit. The commercialization of everything and everybody has become the destructive goal of multi-nationals, and their corporate governments manically driven by the desire for perpetual growth as the elixir to life’s problems.

Land for profit

Since the ‘food crisis in 2008’ agricultural land in developing countries has been in high demand. Seen as a sound financial investment by foreign brokers and agrochemical firms, and as a way to create food security for their home market by corporations from Asia and the Middle East in particular.

Three quarters of worldwide land acquisitions have taken place in Sub-Saharan Africa, where poverty ridden and economically vulnerable countries (many run by governments with poor human rights records) are ‘encouraged’ to attract foreign investment by donor partners and their international guides. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and donor partners, powerful institutions that by “supporting the creation of investment-friendly climates and land markets in developing countries” have been a driving force behind the global rush for agricultural land, the Oakland Institute (OI) report in Unheard Voices (UV)[i].

Poor countries make easy pickings for multi-nationals negotiating deals for prime land at giveaway prices and with all manner of government sweeteners. Contracts sealed without consultation with local people, which lack transparency and accountability, have virtually no benefit for the ‘host’ country (certainly none for indigenous groups), and as Oxfam[ii] make clear “have resulted in dispossession, deception, violation of human rights and destruction of livelihoods”.

Ethiopia is a prime target for investors looking to acquire agricultural land. Since 2008 The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) government has leased almost 4 million hectares, for commercial farm ventures. Land is cheap – they are virtually giving it away, tax is non-existent and profits (like the food grown) are smoothly repatriated. Local people are swept aside by a government unconcerned with human rights and the observation of federal, or international, law. A perfect environment then, where shady deals can be done and large corporate profits made. In their desperation to be seen as one of the ‘growth gang’ and “to make way for agricultural land investments”, the Ethiopian government has “committed egregious human rights abuses, in direct violation of international law,” OI state.

Forced from home

Bordering South Sudan the fertile Gambella region (where 42% of land is available), with its lush vegetation and flowing rivers, is where the majority of land sales in the country have taken place. Deals in the region are made possible by the EPRDF’s ‘villagisation programme’. This is forcibly clearing indigenous people off ancestral land and herding them into State created villages. The plan has been intensely criticised by human rights groups, and rightly so – 1.5 million people nationwide are destined to be re-settled, 225,000 (over three years) from Gambella.

More concerned to be seen as corporate buddy than guardian of the people, the Ethiopian government guarantees investors that it will clear land leased of everything and everyone. It has an obligation, OI says, to “deliver and hand over the vacant possession of leased land free of impediments”, swept clear of people, villages, forests and wildlife, and fully plumbed into local water supplies. Bulldozers are destroying the “farms, and grazing lands that have sustained Anuak, Mezenger, Nuer, Opo, and Komo peoples for centuries”, Cultural Survival (CS)[iii] records: and dissent, should it occur, is brutally dealt with by the government, that promises to “provide free security against any riot, disturbance or any turbulent time”. (OI) ‘Since you do not accept what government says, we jail you.’” The elder told from Batpul village told Human Rights Watch (HRW) [iv]. He was jailed without charge in Abobo, and held for more than two weeks, during which time “they turned me upside down, tied my legs to a pole, and beat me every day for 17 days until I was released”.

Hundreds of thousands of villagers, including pastoralists and indigenous people are being forcibly moved by the regime, HRW reports, they are “relocating them through violence and intimidation, and often without essential services,” such as education (denying children ‘the right to education’), water, and health care facilities – public services promised to the people and championed to donor countries by the government in their programme rhetoric.

Murder, rape, false imprisonment and torture are (reportedly) being committed by the Ethiopian military as they implement the federal governments policy of land clearance and re-settlement in accordance with its villagisation programme. ”My village was forced by the government to move to the new location against our will. I refused and was beaten and lost my two upper teeth”. This Anuak man told the NGO Inclusive Development International (IDI)[v], His brother “was beaten to death by the soldiers for refusing to go to the new village. My second brother was detained and I don’t know where he was taken by the soldiers”.

To the Anuak People, who are the majority tribal group in the affected areas, their land is who they are. It’s where the material to build their homes is found it’s their source of traditional medicines and food. It’s where their ancestors are buried and where their history rests. By driving these people off their land and into large settlements or camps, the government is not only destroying their homes, in which they have lived for generations, it is stealing their identity. Indigenous people tell of violent intimidation, beatings, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture in military custody, rape and extra-judicial killing. State criminality breaching a range of international and indeed federal laws, that Genocide Watch (GW)[vi] consider “to have already reached Stage 7 (of 8), genocide massacres”, against the Anuak, as well as the people of Oromia, Omo and the Ogaden region.

The Ethiopian government is legally bound to obtain the ‘free, informed and prior consent’ of the indigenous people it plans to move. Far from obtaining consent, Niykaw Ochalla in Unheard Voices, states that, “when [the government] comes to take their land, it is without their knowledge, and in fact [the government] says that they no longer belonged to this land, [even though] the Anuak have owned it for generations”. Consultation, consent and compensation the ‘three c’s required by federal and international law. Constitutional duties and legal requirements, which like a raft of other human rights obligations the regime dutifully ignores. Nyikaw Ochalla confirms that “there is “no consultation at all”, sometimes people are warned they have to move, but just as often OI found the military “instruct people to get up and move the same day”. And individuals receive no compensation “for their loss of livelihood and land”. In extensive research The Oakland Institute “did not find any instances of government compensation being paid to indigenous populations evicted from their lands”, this despite binding legal requirements to do so.

‘Waiting here for death’

The picture of state intimidation in Gambella is a familiar one. Refugees in Dadaab, Kenya, from the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, recount stories of the same type of abuse, indeed as do people from Oromia and the Lower Omo valley. Tried and tested Government methodology used to enforce repressive measures and create fear amongst the people. “The first mission for all the military and the Liyuu is to make the people of the Ogaden region afraid of us”, a former commander of the Liyuu police told me. And to achieve this crushing end, they are told “to rape and kill, to loot, to burn their homes, and capture their animals”. From a wealth of information collated by HRW and the OI, it is clear that the Ethiopian military in Gambella is following the same criminal script as their compatriots in the Ogaden region.

We were at home on our farm, a 17-year-old girl from Abobo in Gambella (whose story echoes many), told HRW[vii] “when soldiers came up to us: ‘Do you accept to be relocated or not?’ ‘No.’ So they grabbed some of us. ‘Do you want to go now?’ ‘No.’ Then they shot my father and killed him”; a villager from Gooshini, now in exile in South Sudan, described how those in his settlement “that resisted…. were forced by soldiers to roll around in the mud in a stagnant water pool then beaten”.

The new settlements that make up the villagisation programme, are built on land that is “typically dry and arid”, completely unsuitable for farming and miles from water supplies, which are reserved for the industrial farms being constructed on fertile ancestral land. The result is increased food insecurity leading in some cases to starvation. HRW documented cases of people being forced off their land during the “harvest season, preventing them from harvesting their crops”. With such levels of cruelty and inhumanity the people feel desperate as one displaced individual told Human Rights Watch, “The government is killing our people through starvation and hunger . . . we are just waiting here for death”.

And should families try to leave the new settlement (something they are discouraged from doing) and return to their village homes, the government destroys them totally, burning houses and bulldozing the land. “The government brought the Anuak people here to die. They brought us no food, they gave away our land to the foreigners so we can’t even move back,” HRW record in ‘Waiting Here for Death’[viii]. People forced into the new villages are fearful of government assault, parents “are afraid to send their children to school because of the increased army presence. Parents worry that their children will be assaulted”. (UV)

In the face of such government atrocities the people feel powerless; but like many suffering injustice throughout the world, they are awakening demanding justice and the observation of fundamental human rights. “We don’t have any means of retrieving our land” Mr.O from the village of Pinykew in Gambella, told The Guardian (22/01/2013)[ix]. “Villagers have been butchered, falsely arrested and tortured, the women subjected to mass rape”. Enraged by such atrocities, he is bringing what could be a landmark legal case against Britain’s Department for International Development (DfiD). Leigh Day & Co, solicitors based in London, have taken the case, “arguing that money from DfiD is funding the villagisation programme”, that “breaches the department’s own human rights policies.” DfiD administer the £324 million given by the British government to Ethiopia, making it the biggest recipient of aid from the country. They deny supporting forced re-location, but their own documents reveal British funds are paying the salaries “of officials implementing the programme and for infrastructure in new villages”, The Daily Mail 25/05/2013 [x] reports. Allegations reinforced by HRW, who state that “British aid is having an enormous, negative side effect – and that is the forcible ending of these indigenous people’s way of life.” (Ibid)

In an account that rings with familiarity, Mr.O, now in Dadaab refugee camp, says he was forced from his village at gunpoint by the military. At first he refused to leave, so “soldiers from the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) beat me with guns.” He was arrested, imprisoned in military barracks and tortured for three days, after which time he was taken to the new village, which “did not have water, food or productive fields”, where he was forced to build his house.

Government duplicity donor complicity

The government unsurprisingly denies all allegations of widespread human rights abuse connected with land deals and the ‘villagisation programme’ specifically. They continue to espouse the ‘promised public service and infrastructure benefits’ of the scheme that “by and large” OI assert, “have failed to materialise”. The regime is content to ignore documentation provided by human rights groups and NGOs and until recently had refused to cooperate with an investigation by the World Bank into allegations of abuse raised by indigenous Anuak people. The Bank incidentally that gives Ethiopia more financial aid than any other developing country, $920 million last year alone. Former regional president Omod Obang Olum oversaw the plan in Gambella and assures us resettlement is “voluntary” and “the programme successful”. Predictable duplicitous comments that IDI said “are laughable.”

An independent non-profit group working to advance human rights in development, IDI, has helped the Anuak people from Gambella “submit a complaint to the World Bank Inspection Panel implicating the Bank in grave human rights abuses perpetrated by the Ethiopian Government“. The complaint alleges, “that the Anuak people have been severely harmed by the World Bank-financed and administered Providing Basic Services Project (PBS)”. A major development porgramme which is described as “expanding access and improving the quality of basic services in education, health, agriculture, water supply and sanitation”, OI report[xi]. However IDI make clear that “villagisation is the principle vehicle through which PBS is being implemented in Gambella”, and claim “there is “credible evidence” of “gross human rights violations” being committed in the region by the Ethiopian military. Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that donors are “paying for the construction of schools, health clinics, roads, and water facilities in the new [resettlement] villages. They are also funding agricultural programs directed towards resettled populations and the salaries of the local government officials who are implementing the policy”. (Ibid)

IDI’s serious allegations further support those made by many people from the region and Mr.O in his legal action against the DfID. The Banks inspection panel have said the “two programmes (PBS and villagisation) depend one each other, and may mutually influence the results of the other.” The panel found “there is a plausible link between the two programmes but needs to engage in further fact-finding”. It is imperative the bank’s Inspection Panel have unrestricted access to Gambella and people feel safe to speak openly about the governments brutality.

All groups involved in land sales have both a moral duty – a civil responsibility – and a legal obligation to the people whose land is being leased. The Ethiopian government, the foreign corporations leasing the land and the donors – the World Bank and DfID, who, through PBS are funding the villagisation programme.

The Ethiopian government is in violation of a long list of international treatise that, in- keeping with their democratic pretentions, they are happy to sign up to, but less enthusiastic to observe. From the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and all points legal in between. Investors if not legally obliged, are certainly morally bound by the United Nations (UN) “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework,[xii] which, amongst other things, makes clear their duty to respect and work within human rights. Donor’s responsibility first and last is, to the people of Ethiopia, to ensure any so-called ‘development’ programmes (that commonly focus on economic targets), support their needs, ensures their wellbeing and observes their fundamental human rights.

To continue to turn a blind eye to widespread government abuse, and to support schemes, whether directly or indirectly, that violate human rights and cause suffering to the people is to be complicit to State criminality that is shattering the lives of hundreds of thousands of indigenous people, in Gambella and indeed elsewhere in the country.

Endnotes

[i] http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/unheard-voices-human-rights-impact-land-investments-indigenous-communities-gambella
[ii] http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/land-and-power-the-growing-scandal-surrounding-the-new-wave-of-investments-in-l-142858
[iii] http://www.culturalsurvival.org/take-action/ethiopia-stop-land-grabbing-and-restore-indigenous-peoples-lands/ethiopia-stop-land
[iv] http://www.hrw.org/node/109149
[v] http://www.inclusivedevelopment.net/ethiopia-gambella-villagization-program/
[vi] http://www.genocidewatch.org/ethiopia.html
[vii] http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/08/28/ethiopia-army-commits-torture-rape
[viii] http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/ethiopia0112webwcover_0.pdf
[ix] http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jan/22/ethiopia-resettlement-scheme-lives-shattered
[x] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2330911/UK-foreign-aid-Ethiopian-sues-Britain-claiming-1-3billion-programme-supports-Stalinist-regime-sent-worlds-biggest-refugee-camp.html#ixzz2UQj1KeIn
[xi] Development Assistance Group Ethiopia, PBS, http://www.dagethiopia.org/ndex.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=14&Item#sthash.5onLgZIf.dpuf (accessed May 2013).
[xii] http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/…/GuidingPrinciplesBusinessHR_EN.pdf

– See more at: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/29243-land-in-gambella.html#sthash.KSyJ2R3d.dpuf

Adoption- When the joy of adoption turn Sore, The case of Hanna Ethiopian Motherless Child & her adoptive brother

MOUNT VERNON — A boy of about 12 has post-traumatic stress disorder because of the way his adoptive family treated him, a mental health therapist testified Wednesday.

Larry and Carri Williams adopted the boy from Ethiopia in 2008, along with a girl believed to be older than him. Three years later, the girl, Hana, collapsed in the family’s Sedro-Woolley backyard and died, reportedly of hypothermia hastened by malnutrition and a stomach infection.

The Williamses are each charged with homicide by abuse and first-degree manslaughter in Hana’s death, and first-degree assault in connection with alleged abuse of her brother. They have pleaded not guilty.

Wednesday was the third day of testimony in the trial, and the sole witness was Dr. Julia Petersen, a mental health therapist from Seattle Children’s Hospital. Petersen works exclusively with children who, like her, are deaf or hard of hearing.

The adopted Williams boy testified Monday through an interpreter.

He started meeting with Petersen in December, when he had been in foster care for more than a year. One of the goals of those sessions was to address behavioral problems his foster parents reported, including tantrums and opposition.

Petersen said the boy fit the diagnostic criteria for acute PTSD based in part on his nightmares about being physically harmed and the fact he was constantly afraid of making mistakes or expressing himself lest he be “punished.” His behavior problems would come up when his PTSD was triggered, she said.

He said multiple times in therapy sessions he felt like he wasn’t supposed to talk about what happened in the Williams home, but that he didn’t want to go back there, Petersen said.

“The issue of safety came up a lot,” Petersen said through a sign-language interpreter. She noted she tried to let him know he would be “protected in what he told me.”

Discipline the boy experienced in the Williams home, plus seeing Hana in pain and dying, is traumatic enough to lead to PTSD, Petersen said. The boy’s experiences in Ethiopia and in foster care do not appear to be the reason for it, she said.

Defense attorney Rachel Forde, who represents Larry Williams, questioned that conclusion.

“Hypothetically speaking, (your patient) being abandoned by his parents and left in a field, rescued by police and dropped off in an orphanage — in a hypothetical where those things are true, it’s your belief that those just made (him) sad?” she asked Petersen.

The boy never said he was abandoned or expressed anxiety or fear over that experience — just sadness and grief, Petersen said.

Forde also asked whether Petersen’s diagnosis would change if the therapist learned some of the boy’s symptoms began when he arrived at the Williams home. The therapist resisted drawing conclusions based on hypotheticals and said she would need to speak to the child, know the context and look at the “big picture.”

Records from Seattle Children’s Hospital show the Williamses brought their adopted son there in 2008, but did not return for the recommended annual follow-up visits.

Also at issue Wednesday was whether two of the biological Williams children will testify. Both plan to assert their Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions on the stand.

Their adopted brother said Monday one of the older boys took part in some of the beatings he described getting in the Williams home. This testimony made that biological son even more wary of speaking in court, his attorney said.

Judge Susan K. Cook has not yet ruled as to whether the biological sons will have to testify. She asked the attorneys for both sides to review case law on the matter and get back to her.

10 things that make Ethiopia extraordinary and 10 things that makes Ethiopia Extraordinarily sad !

Fairy tale castles, superb coffee and the Ark of the Covenant (OK, possibly) are just some of the unexpected attractions of this African country

By Oliver Robinson, for CNN 20 July, 2013Ethiopian vista

Freebies on an Ethiopian road trip: the extraordinary views around every corner.

What sets Ethiopia apart from its African neighbors?

The excellent coffee?

The fact that it was never colonized?

Or that Rastafarians regard it as their spiritual home?

Or could it be the smooth, well-maintained roads, so rare on the continent, that make exploring the country by car such a joy?

After a 1,430-kilometer drive through Ethiopia’s Northern Circuit — up mountains, through Martian-like landscapes, into lost kingdoms of yore — we found 10 crucial things that define the country.

1. The best Italian restaurant in the world (according to Bob Geldof, anyway)

The buzzing bedlam of Mahatma Gandhi Street in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, is the setting for Castelli’s — arguably the best Italian restaurant this side of Bologna.

An Italian soldier, Francesco Castelli, founded the modest-looking eatery at the end of WWII. Since then it’s gained a global profile thanks to endorsement from celebrity diners such as Bob Geldof, Bono and Brad and Angelina.

But, high-profile praise aside, it’s the food that makes Castelli’s worth a visit before setting off from Addis into the Ethiopian wilds.

Ristorante Castelli, Mahatma Gandhi Street, Addis Ababa; +251 1 563 580, +251 1 571 757

2. Italian-style coffee

Like great Italian food, coffee is one of the legacies of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia during WWII.

While Mussolini’s men proved inept colonists (the Allies defeated them in 1943), their tenure in the country did at least ensure that an Italian-style espresso machine was installed in most cafes, restaurants and — weary travelers will be pleased to know — even dilapidated roadside shacks.

Ethiopians love their coffee and take pride in the fact that the plant’s invigorating effects were first discovered in the Oromia region of the country (see the 2006 documentary Black Gold).

3. Chinese roads

Ethiopian roadMade in China. Actually made by China. The country is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Ethiopia’s infrastructure.Aside from coffee and pasta, Ethiopia excels in roads.

Other African nations have roads — it’s just that few are a patch with those in Ethiopia.

The quality tarmac comes courtesy of huge Chinese investment — in 2009, it was estimated that China had poured $900 million into Ethiopia’s infrastructure, a figure that’s since increased exponentially.

Anyone who’s driven into Ethiopia from Kenya, via the perilous Marsabit route (fraught with bumps, brigands and bandits) will attest what a difference a nice road makes.

Ethiopia’s incredible mountain-top highway vistas don’t hurt, either.

Zanzibar: A very cultural beach holiday

4. Tanks … lots of them

Ethiopia tankSwords into ploughshares … or tanks into unusual climbing frames for kids, in the case of Ethiopia.Don’t worry: unless you get horribly lost and venture into Somalia, the tanks you’ll see along the roadside are burned-out remnants of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War (1998-2000).

Seen throughout the country, these defunct war machines stand as forbidding reminders of Ethiopia’s troubled past — and double as fun climbing frames for local children. (Next door Eritrea is the place to see if you really dig disused materiel.)

5. Underground churches

LalibelaLalibela’s monolithic churches still impress nine centuries later.Ethiopia sags under the weight of its cultural treasures, such as those at the UNESCO World Heritage site Lalibela.

In the late 12th century, Gebre Mesqel Lalibela had 13 churches — Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian nations — carved out of solid rock.

His achievement (meaning that of his stonemasons and slaves) is still incredibly impressive nine centuries on.

Lalibela — the first major point of interest on the Northern Circuit — is a 10-hour journey from Addis Ababa.

Head north up Route 1, passing through Debre Birhan, Kombolcha and Dessie. At Weldiya, leave the highway and follow the road west to Gashena.

At Gashena, take the road north to Lalibela.

6. Martian landscapes

Danakil Depression“The cruelest place on Earth?” Pretty, though.Located in the tumultuous Afar region on the Eritrean border, the Danakil Depression is strewn with volcanoes and salt lakes and is one of the hottest places on the planet.

So why visit what National Geographic calls “the cruelest place on Earth?”

Well, this also happens to be one of the most arresting natural sights you’ll see in Africa — or anywhere else.

With an unforgiving landscape that’s difficult to navigate, it’s also one of the few places in Ethiopia where you shouldn’t travel alone: most people go with an escort or in a convoy.

Tours can be arranged in Abbis. Reputable agency Ethiopia Travel and Tours (info@ethiotravelandtours.com) charges around $550 for a four-day trip.

7. Men-only monasteries

Debre DamoDebre Damo houses some of the most ancient Christian scripture in Africa. Gentlemen: you’ll have to describe it to the ladies.Just off the main road between Lalibela and Aksum lies Debre Damo, a monastery that can be reached only by scrambling up a 15-meter-high cliff face.

There is, however, a discriminatory door policy: only men are permitted to make the perilous ascent to the monastery.

That rule doesn’t apply just to female humans — even livestock of the fairer sex apparently risk distracting the monks from holy contemplation.

Gents who brave the climb can enjoy stunning vistas, as well as a chance to eye some of the most ancient Christian scripture in Africa.

Be warned that unofficial “guides” will try to extort inflated fees for their services before letting you back down the cliff — negotiate the charge beforehand.

It’s practical to visit Debre Damo en route to Aksum.

The monastery lies just outside the small town of Bizet, 12 hours’ drive north of Addis and about 50 kilometers west of Adigrat, the last stop on Route 1 before turning west on to Route 15.

Follow the road to Bizet and keep a keen eye out for the turn to Debre Damo on the right.

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8. The Ark of the Covenant

AksumFinal resting place of the Ark of the Covenant? Nice if you could get past the tracksuit guys and see it.The Lost Ark? In Ethiopia?

Someone should have told Indiana Jones that before he set off for Cairo.

According to enthusiastic local sources, the historic town ofAksum — focal point of the Aksumite Empire (AD 100-940) — is the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.

The catch? No one’s actually allowed to see it.

The closest you can get is by paying a few dollars to one of the tracksuit-clad men posturing as guards outside the temple where the ark is purportedly kept.

Luckily, Aksum is home to plenty of ancient tombs and other monuments, which makes the drive to one of Ethiopia’s northernmost towns worthwhile — ark or not.

Though Aksum can be reached by a small road west of Mek’ele, people wanting to visit Debre Damo monastery as well should take Route 1, turning west on to Route 15 at Adigrat, and join Route 3 at Adwa.

9. Roadside Rastafarians

Rasta child, EthiopiaRastafarian kids in Ethiopia, regarded as the movement’s spiritual home.The Rastafari movement is most often associated with Jamaica, but it was the Ethiopian Haile Selassie who inspired the religion.

Ethiopians are proud of their former ruler’s supposed status as Jesus incarnate and some have adopted the dress and lifestyle habits of their Jamaican counterparts — which makes meeting them in the Simien Mountains all the more bizarre.

The roadside Rastas you’re likely to meet are a friendly bunch, who’ll happily talk you through points of interest in the area (often relating to high cliffs off which Italian soldiers were thrown), as well as hawking red, green and yellow hats and accessories.

10. A fairy tale kingdom

Ethiopian castleEthiopian fairy tale: an imperial castle in Gondar.British and Dutch colonial buildings attract the most architectural attention in east Africa, but Ethiopia again stands out as the only country on the continent with its own fairy tale castles.

Aside from a few eye-catching art deco buildings left over from the Italian occupation, the castles of Fasilides, Iyasu and Mentwab, in the former imperial capital of Gondar, are the structures that stay in the mind.

Gondar is a five-hour drive southwest of Aksum. Follow Route 3 through the Simien Mountains.

A good stopping point is Debark, with its mountain vistas.

What defines Ethiopia to you? Let us know in the comments section.

 

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  • Avatar
    Prof. Muse Tegegne • a few seconds ago

    My 10 Extraordinarily sad  things about Ethiopia :-

    1. Dictatorial Regime,

    2. Land Grabbing while the people are starving,

    3. No Free Press,

    4. All journalists in prison,

    5. No Free & Fare Election,

    6. All land is nationalized like soviet era,

    7. Most of the educated elites are in exile,

    8. Young girls are sold as slaves to the middle East and tortured,

    9. one party system,

    10. All rivers are unnaturally dammed..

  • Avatar
    Alex Tessema • 6 hours ago

    Good presentation of Ethiopia except some of them are not described well. There are a lot of stuffs to talk about the country. It is one of the oldest and beautiful country in Africa with its own unique tradition, nice culture and old history. You could at least mention about that it is the origin of man kind, for eg. you could mention about Lucy. The people’s beauties, specially the ladies beauty, could be mentioned too. You used wrong picture of the roads to describe what chines did. You could show other modern ring roads, bridges and highways to present the correct pictures of the roads. you could state more about Lalibela, Axum, Gonder, or how the economy is changing now etc The other thing is Ethiopia is the origin of coffee not Italy. So don’t relate Ethiopia’s coffee with Italy except their espresso machines.

    I suggest to the word to explore this beautiful country, because most people don’t know about Ethiopia while the country is rich with many historical, cultural and amazing places in the world which need to be visited. The country is just not rich to show what it has to the world.

    But something is better than nothing. CNN at least tried to show the picture of Ethiopia to the world, even if there are many more! Go CNN!

    Visit Ethiopia and do your own judgement!

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.

Qatar signed agreement to continue to import Ethiopian young girls for modern day slavery

Ethiopian regime since 1991 is known selling young  girls as a mid wives  and servant in gulf and middle eastern  Arabic countries. As we have seen in 2011 in Libya how the young girl boiled live and 2012 in Lebanon hanged. Many had thrown themselves  from a top of building to end their suffering in Lebanon. And other were beaten to death by a jealous wives.

The recent agreement between Qatar and Ethiopian dictatorial regime is a continues of of this modern time slavery instituted since 1991.  Ethiopia has agreed to send domestic workers, including maids, to Qatar but said it would need seemingly  monthly reports about salary payments to them and that their work timings should not exceed that agreed upon in their job contracts.

The dignity and rights of Ethiopian workers must be protected in Qatar, the country’s Minister of State for Labour and Social Affairs, Dr Zerihun Kebede known for making his riches selling Ethiopian girls to Arabs , told a visiting delegation of Qatar Chamber, representative body of the private sector.

He said requests to recruit Ethiopian domestics will need to be submitted to the country’s embassy in Doha, and it would be sent to manpower agencies in Ethiopia for approval in order to collect in the name of tax good some of their salary to the regime in the name of protection

However, an extensive mechanism is being put in place for the recruitment process to take off based on terms and conditions agreed on by both sides benefiting both regimes on the back of the Ethiopian slaves.

The wages paid to the Ethiopian domestics will be uniform, the Qatari delegation told Ethiopian officials. There are 120 manpower agencies in Qatar while the number of recognized recruitment agencies in Ethiopia is 380.

Those shortlisted for recruitment will have to undergo medical tests in Ethiopia, and later on here. If a worker is sent home on health grounds, all costs would be borne by the Ethiopian agency concerned. 

 

 

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Nile Dam of Ethiopia Could Destroy Egypt’s Way of Life

    • MARK BYRNESEthiopia is currently building Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant. When it opens next year, the “Great Renaissance Dam” will tap into the Nile River. Unsurprisingly, Egypt, a country whose identity and way of life are tied to that body of water, feels threatened by its neighbor’s ambitions.

The new dam will help provide electricity to a country where more than 80 percent live without it. But in Egypt, most of its population is centered near the Nile valley and delta. The former chairman of the National Water Research Center tells Time that the dam will reduce water flow anywhere from 1,300 billion gallons to 6,600 billion gallons per year. It will also increase river pollution, harming fisheries and making it difficult for boats to navigate the river. As Egypt’s foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said recently, “no Nile, no Egypt.”

Tensions between the two nations over the dam project have been palpable. Egypt president, Mohammed Morsi said in a speech on June 10, “we will defend each drop of the Nile with our blood.” During a televised cabinet meeting the week before, several members told the president that “he must destroy the dam through any means available.” Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn however said recently that “nothing and no one” will stop construction of the dam.

Politics aside, the Nile does play a defining role in everyday life for Egyptians, whether they be farmers or floating restaurant owners. Below, via Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih, we get a glimpse of the wide ranging ways Egyptians use their treasured river:


A small cruise boat passes Nile City Towers, which is owned by Naguib Sawiris the owner of Orascom Telecom, overlooking the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A boat passes buildings under construction and the two towers of the Bank of Egypt building (R), overlooking the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A woman rows, while another holds a net as they fish in the river Nile in Cairo April 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Boats sail past the burned out headquarters of former President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, on the banks of the Nile in Cairo June 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Women wash clothes in the river Nile in Cairo May 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A boy jumps into the river Nile as people celebrate the spring holiday of Sham el-Nessim on the outskirts of Cairo May 6, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A boy washes his horse in the river Nile in Cairo May 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Men help a priest disembark from a river taxi on the river Nile April 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A fisherman rows his boat on the river Nile in Cairo April 13, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A farmer stands near his cow while it drinks from the river Nile in Cairo May 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Boys play on a ferry jetty on the shore of the river Nile in Cairo May 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


People sit on chairs set out by a cafe on the banks of the river Nile in Cairo April 21, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


People sit in a cafe overlooking the barrages of al-Qanatir on the river Nile in Cairo May 6, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A woman looks out as she sits in a boat during a cruise on the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Boats housing restaurants and nightclubs float on the river Nile in Cairo May 8, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)

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More than two out of every five children in Ethiopia are stunted and more than 80 percent of all cases of child under-nutrition go untreated.

Ethiopia loses around 16.5 percent of its GDP each year to the long-term effects of child malnutrition. That’s just one of the statistics to emerge from “The Cost of Hunger in Africa” study which measures the economic impact of malnutrition in 12 different countries. Ethiopia is the third country so far to publish its findings.

ADDIS ABABA (Ethiopia)—Over the past decade, Ethiopia has taken important strides towards reducing its high levels of hunger and malnutrition. Nutrition interventions aimed at mothers and children together with programmes to boost agriculture have left millions of Ethiopian families healthier and better able to feed themselves.

Cost of Hunger in Africa

The Cost of Hunger in Africa analyzes the impact of hunger across 12 countries in Africa. It was carried out with the support of the African Union Commission, a body which includes the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and WFP.

However, the lasting effects of malnutrition still weigh heavily on the Ethiopian economy, as new research shows. The “Cost of Hunger in Africa” report estimates that undernutrition costs the country billions of dollars every year in lost worker productivity. Here are 10 of its key findings.

1. Today, more than 2 out of every 5 children in Ethiopia suffer from stunting, which means they’re short for their age. Stunting is a lifelong condition that results when children miss out on critical nutrients while in the womb or during the first five years of their lives.

2. As many as 81% of all cases of child undernutrition and its related pathologies go untreated.

3. 44% of the health costs associated with undernutrition occur before the child turns 1 year-old.

4. 28% of all child mortality in Ethiopia is associated with undernutrition.

5. 16% of all repetitions in primary school are associated with stunting

6. Stunted children achieve 1.1 years less in school education.

7. Child mortality associated with undernutrition has reduced Ethiopia’s workforce by 8%

8. 67% of the adult population in Ethiopia suffered from stunting as children.

9. The annual costs associated with child undernutrition are estimated at Ethiopian birr (ETB) 55.5 billion, which is equivalent to 16.5% of GDP.

10. Eliminating stunting in Ethiopia is a necessary step for its growth and transformation.

 

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“Time of Brief Consultation and Studies” Between Egypt & Ethiopia, War Drums on the Nile Part 9,

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan agreed to conduct further studies on what impact a hydropower dam on the main tributary of the Nile River will have on downstream countries, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said.

Ethiopia also assured Egypt that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River is being built in a way that will address Egypt’s water-security concerns, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom said at a joint press conference with Amr today in Addis Ababa, the capital.

“We are embarking on a period of mutual cooperation,” Amr said. “We’re looking to the future and I think the future will be very good for both of us.”

Ethiopia is building the $4.3 billion, 6,000-megawatt dam about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Sudanese border. The facility is set to be Africa’s largest hydropower plant when it is completed in 2017. A joint panel report finalized last month, which hasn’t been made public, “didn’t clarify in detail the impacts” the dam will have, according to the Egyptian presidency.

The ministers agreed to “immediately initiate consultations among Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on how to move forward” with recommendations, which included further studies, made by the panel last month, they said in a statement handed to reporters.

Friendly Talks

Talks were friendly and Egypt is convinced that Ethiopia is “determined not to hurt” Egypt by blocking vital flows of the Nile River, Amr said.

Ethiopia is the source of 86 percent of the water that flows into the Nile, the world’s longest waterway, which Egypt relies on for almost all its water.

The dam “will only reduce Nile water flow significantly during the stage that the reservoir fills,” former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn said in a June 13 e-mailed response to questions. The 74 billion cubic-meter dam will be filled in about five to six years, according to Ethiopia’s government.

Tedros will visit Egypt soon to continue discussions, according to the statement.

Drums of War over the Nile – “Mater of life & Death” “Israel & US Behind It “


Ethiopia has angered Egypt with its plans to construct a massive hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, a key Nile River tributary. Ethiopia just divert to start filling the reservoir that may take over 5 years to fill up, mean while the flow of the Nile will be disrupt from Sudan and Egypt. Ethiopia contributes 87 % of the Nile water.

During Monday’s meeting, an Islamist party leader suggested Egypt support Ethiopian rebels to exert pressure on Addis Ababa. A liberal politician suggested spreading rumors that Egypt was buying military planes for possible airstrikes.

The Ethiopian foreign office summoned the Egyptian Ambassador to Ethiopia to clarify the position  of his country.

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The War of Armageddon in preparation in Syria

Not only the west and Russia confronting in Syria but also there is  more to the Syrian civil war than rebels versus the regime. Syria’s neighbors in the Middle East also have a stake in the conflict, which many analysts say has become a proxy for regional rivalries and competing interests:- Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Saudi are in the war …