Ms. Ana Gomes has reappeared, not unexpectedly. She was the highly controversial head of the EU Electoral Observer Mission to Ethiopia in 2005 whose behavior and less than balanced relationship with opposition leaders and parties led to a formal complaint by the Government. Ms. Gomes has been active on a number of occasions in recent years on behalf of violent opposition movements in the Diaspora, particularly Ginbot 7. Now with the election coming up she is looking for the limelight again. This week, as a European Member of Parliament, she was hosting and opening a “hearing” on “Human Rights and the Security Situation in the Ogaden”, in collaboration with the Organization of Unrepresented Nations and Peoples, a collaboration which, by definition, demonstrates Ms. Gomes’ ignorance of the political situation in Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State where Ogaden Somalis are represented and participate in government. This week Ms. Gomes has been in London where she addressed a meeting organized by Third World Solidarity. It appears that Ms. Gomes and the Eritrean Government have something of a common agenda. Whether they are working together as some allege, is beside the point. Most of those at the meeting were former Derg members or supporters guilty of crimes against the people of Ethiopia. The organizers claimed the meeting would be attended by MPs but none of those listed actually attended. One person who did attend was a lady who is persona non grata in Ethiopia because of the dubious disposal of property from the Russian Embassy in Ethiopia in the early nineties. In a few weeks time, in early April, Ms. Gomes apparently plans to be in Washington to deliver a “keynote speech” at an opposition organized conference on Governance, Peace and Security and Development. No doubt Ms. Gomes will also surface at other meetings before the election on May 23rd. It would be difficult enough to accept this sort of deliberate effort to interfere in the electoral process by an outsider even if Ms. Gomes actually knew anything about the reality of politics in Ethiopia. Ms. Gomes, however, does not as she comprehensively demonstrated by her naïve, and frankly stupid, performance as head of the EU Electoral Observation Mission in 2005. Her recent efforts show she has not become any more sensible, or knowledgeable.” SOURCE: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Human Rights and Security in Ogaden: European Parliament Film screening (excerpts): Silent Cry Ms. Ana-Maria Gomes, MEP Mr. Marino Busdachin, UNPO Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed, African Rights Monitor Ms. Xasan Ruqiyo, Ogaden Communities & Civil Society Association The hearing, whose topic is “Human Rights and Security Situation in Ogaden,” will be opened by Ms Ana Gomes MEP, who is chairing the event, and Mr. Marino Busdachin, General Secretary of UNPO. Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed, from African Rights Monitor, and Ms. Xasan Ruqiyo from the Ogaden Communities & Civil Society Association will be speaking on behalf of Ogaden. There will also excerpts from a film, Silent Cry, a grassroots documentary produced by British students, reporting the lives of Somali refugees from Ogaden. These stories were discovered accidentally when the students, visiting Nairobi on vacation, met Omar, a taxi driver who shared with them his personal tragic story. The students then went to the Ifo Refugee Camp, in Northern Kenya, where they interviewed several refugees, including victims of rape and torture. Ogaden is a region in eastern Ethiopia with a majority population of Somalis. The Ethiopian government has waged a long-term war against the Ogaden, suppressing the region and its people. Years of neglect and war have left Ogaden in a state of turmoil, and human rights abuses by the Ethiopian government are commonplace. There is limited infrastructure, and due to Ethiopia’s corrupted federal structure, no political power on the part of the people of Ogaden to develop the area. The hearing is sponsored by Ms Ana Gomes, MEP from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu) of the European Parliament in collaboration with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
An Open Letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Justice Navanathem Pillay
Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Dear Madame High Commissioner,
Advocates of justice around the world are thrilled at the strong action the Prosecutor of the International
Criminal Court has taken in issuing a warrant for the arrest of Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan, resulting in
finally holding him accountable for the atrocities being committed in Darfur over the last six years. Under
al-Bashir’s leadership, millions of Sudanese from Darfur, as well as from Southern Sudan, have suffered
inconceivable harm, injustice and hardship.
The action that the International Criminal Court has taken in this situation has restored hope to peace and
justice loving people, affirming that international human rights law not only exists on paper, but in reality.
It also sends an important message to perpetrators throughout the world that impunity for their crimes is not
assured forever; which may be a primary reason that one of the first leaders to defend Omar al-Bashir and
condemn the warrant was Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, whose government has also been
implicated in a pattern of widespread perpetration of serious human rights atrocities in Ethiopia and in
Somalia. He and those within his government may be keenly aware of their own vulnerability to similar
actions by the ICC in the future that could upend a deeply entrenched system of government-supported
impunity that has protected perpetrators from any accountability.
I first became knowledgeable regarding the abhorrent human rights situation in Ethiopia when Genocide
Watch and Survivors Rights International were called by the head of the Anuak Justice Council, Obang
Metho, (now the leader of the newly formed Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia) to investigate the
brutal massacre of 424 Anuak carried out in Gambella, Ethiopia in December of 2003. The Anuak are a
tiny, dark-skinned ethnic group who live in a remote section of southeastern Ethiopia.
Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and civilian militia groups from another ethnic group utilized a
prepared list to target Anuak leaders, many of whom were opposed to the government’s plan to exclude
them from any involvement in the drilling for oil on their indigenous land. As militia groups chanted,
“Today is the day for killing Anuak,” both the military and militias used machetes, axes and guns to kill the
unarmed victims, frequently raping the women while chanting, “Now there will be no more Anuak
Extra-judicial killings, rape, disappearances, destruction of livelihood and the displacement of thousands of
Anuak continued into late 2005 before finally subsiding when the same Ethiopian National Defense Forces
were moved to the Ogaden area of southeastern Ethiopia and into Somalia where similar atrocities were
and still are being committed. A subsequent investigation of the Anuak massacre by Genocide Watch and
Survivors Rights International to determine who was behind the human rights crimes, documented the
existence of a plan called “Operation Sunny Mountain,” that could be traced to originating at the highest
levels within the central government of Ethiopia.
As a result of our investigation and based on our experience in international law and genocide, we
concluded that the killing of the Anuak in Gambella, Ethiopia, fit the definitions of genocide and crimes
against humanity. Human Rights Watch also conducted two investigations of their own and determined that
the crimes against the Anuak meet the stringent definition of crimes against humanity.
Most of the perpetrators in their report and in ours have never been brought to justice under the Ethiopian
justice system due to the failings and corruption of that system. Despite the violation of international law,
not only has no one has been held accountable for these crimes which occurred over five years ago, but
worse than that, such crimes continue in other places in the country.
Only some of these cases have been investigated by respected international human rights organizations, but
where they have, findings consistently point to the involvement of the Ethiopian government in the inciting,
the empowerment or the perpetration of crimes against humanity, war crimes and even genocide, often
justified by them as “counter-insurgency.”
In light of these facts, I would strongly urge you to initiate an investigation of the situation in
Ethiopia based on your proprio motu powers as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
We believe that your investigation is justified due to the culture of impunity that exists within Ethiopia.
Extensive documentation is available to examine the violations, most of which has been compiled in
independent investigative reports completed by international human rights organizations. We also believe
that the Ethiopian people have been waiting long enough for genuine justice and relief from the harsh
oppression and brutal tactics committed by a government that purports to be a partner in the War on Terror,
while terrorizing their own people. Addressing the EPRDF regime, friendly to Omar al-Bashir, may bring
greater stability to the entire Horn of Africa.
We are willing to provide assistance to you in carrying out this task because we, in Genocide Watch, and
other human rights organizations are determined to pursue justice, even long after violations have occurred,
as part of our mission. Investigative reports, contacts and other information can be provided should you
I thank you for the excellent work you are doing in combating impunity, the enemy of justice. Perpetrators
of crimes against humanity must not be allowed to walk free. Genocide Watch will continue to do its part,
collaborating with others, in pursuing additional ways to make such crimes carry a heavy penalty. One way
is to work with domestic governments to make sure that those Ethiopians who have committed these crimes
do not gain access to entry into western countries, something that is now supported through new legislation
in many of the western countries. Additionally, in Canada, Europe and in the US, there are now laws giving
authority to these governments to prosecute human rights perpetrators found within their new countries of
residence should admissible evidence be found to charge them. The western countries should no longer act
as a haven for such criminals.
Thank you for your consideration of this request for the initiation of an investigation of genocide, crimes
against humanity and war crimes in Ethiopia. We look forward to hearing from you.
Dr. Gregory Stanton,
President of Genocide Watch
Ogaden civilians fight back Woyanne death squads
Posted by SaveOgaden On January – 24 – 2010
(Ogaden Online) — Reports reaching the Ogaden Online service desk from the city of Diridhaba in the province of Shiniile confirm the existence of a recent pitched battle that took place between the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) troops stationed in the area and the local population.
It is reported that towards the end of last week, the civilians held an area-wide demonstration to protest the recent confiscation by the Woyanne militia of a fertile agricultural land estimated at 60,000 hectares. Reliable sources within the TPLF and in Addis Ababa intimated that the land was clandestinely sold to a Chinese consortium
Eyewitnesses reported that the TPLF troops, instead of letting the citizens vent their bent up anger and frustration through the peaceful demonstration, started shooting everyone on sight. Ogaden civilians, once they realized what was going on, immediately dispersed. However, Ogaden Online reporters in the area confirmed that instead of waiting out the TPLF troops to return to their barracks, as used to be the norm, the residents, many of whom were nomads who have firearms for protecting their livestock from wild animals in the area, went back to their homes and came back armed and ready to fight the TPLF gangs.
Eyewitnesses reported that the TPLF troops were quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of armed civilians from all corners of the city. As a result, the TPLF troops were quickly overrun by the local civilians. It is reported that the TPLF militias left five of their dead in the area and went back to their barracks. The casualty figured from the Woyanne side is unknown.
The civilians were said to have lost one, but there are many injuries sustained by the civilian side. The city is still tense. There are reports that the TPLF militias have consulted with their bosses inAddis Ababa on what to do next. It is said they are awaiting further instructions. Many of the civilians are said to have sworn that rather than vacate their fertile land, they would die facing off the TPLF militias and any other group that attempts to confiscate their land.