"Hopes that Ethiopia’s new leadership would pursue human rights reforms following Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s death in August 2012 have been shattered; there was no tangible change of policy in 2013. Instead, the Ethiopian authorities continue to severely restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, using repressive laws to constrain civil society and independent media, and target individuals with politically motivated prosecutions..." (read more)
Eritrean Journalist Mebrahtu Teclesion Berhe is honoured tonight by the NGO Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
December 4, 2013
This is an interesting piece of interview. (SOCEPP-CAN)
"In Eritrea, free speech is a guaranteed ticket to imprisonment, or worse. Despite that, a group of Eritrean journalists being honoured tonight in Toronto have taken extraordinary risks to fight for free expression at home".(Read more)
Eskinder Nega: Journalist unjustly jailed in Ethiopia
Please add your name to Amnesty International's petition to the Ethiopian authorities to release Eskinder Nega immediately.
Eskinder Nega is an Ethiopian journalist and human rights activist.
Eskinder has been subjected to outrageous injustices. He was sentenced to 18 years in jail for writing articles calling for freedom of expression and an end to torture in Ethiopia.
Sadly, this is not the first time that Eskinder has been jailed for his activism. Eskinder and his wife, Serkalem, a newspaper publisher, were previously jailed for speaking out against the government in 2005 and released in 2007 after continued campaigning by Amnesty International.(Read More and Take Action)
SOCEPP-CAN Utterly Condemns the Deplorable Treatment of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia
In the last three weeks, various news agencies, human rights agencies, Ethiopian Political Parties and Ethiopian social activists have documented, published, about the various atrocities and inhuman treatments perpetrated against Ethiopians residing in Saudi Arabia. This heinous act, carried by the security forces of Saudi Arabia, included beatings, illegal detentions, separation of families and killing of helpless and innocent immigrants of Ethiopian origin.
SOCEPP-CAN utterly condemns this inhuman act and demands that the Saudi Government stops this action and treat immigrants according to internationally agreed human rights regulations and standards.
SOCEPP-CAN wants to express its deepest dismay towards the Ethiopian government for its failure to protect its citizens by all available means in its power. The current Ethiopian government has once again proven its negligence to fellow Ethiopians. We demand that Ethiopian authorities who neglected to safeguard the wellbeing of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia be held accountable without delay.
Police Abuse Journalists, Opponents to Extract Confessions
October 18, 2013
(Nairobi) – Ethiopian authorities have subjected political detainees to torture and other ill-treatment at the main detention center in Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian government should take urgent steps to curb illegal practices in the Federal Police Crime Investigation Sector, known as Maekelawi, impartially investigate allegations of abuse, and hold those responsible to account. (Read More)
Ethiopia govt. links opposition leaders to terrorism
During the month of September alone, two anti-government protests were held in the streets of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. The protesters led by leaders of opposition political parties decried among other things the anti terrorism law passed by the Ethiopian parliament in 2009, claiming that it is targeting journalists and political leaders. ... (Rdead More)
Press Release from Ethiopian People's Congress for United Strugle (Shengo)
Shengo has issued a press releasse on te 29th of September 2013, in relation to the latest public demonstration carried out in Addis Ababa. (Read More)
A Point of View: Democracy and Islamic law
..."By contrast Europeans are more inclined to define ourselves in national terms. In any conflict it is the nation that must be defended. And if God once ordered otherwise, then it is time he changed his mind. Such an idea is anathema to Islam, which is based on the belief that God has laid down an eternal law and it is up to us to submit to it: that is what the word Islam means: submission"...Read More
Ethiopia to Yemen - The Most Dangerous Journey on Earth (BBC)
Please take a look at this documentary report from BBC about horrible and despicable situation Ethiopian youth are going through. This is just documented part. How many went through this, how many are currently going through this and how long will it continue like this? What can we do to stop this? Take a look;
Two Ethiopian journalists held for a week without charge
Aklilu Wendaferew the current President of SOCEPP-CAN appeared on Ethiopian Satellite Television and gave a detailed explanation, regarding the conference held in Ottawa on the 4th of June 2013. (The interview is held in Amharic) Click here to listen to the full interview.
The Ethiopian People’s Congress for United Struggle (SHENGO)
SOCEPP-CANAD is glad to inform you that SHENGO, a Congress in which SOCEPP-CANADA is a member, will be holdingits second congress from July 2-5, 2013 at 8727 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Maryland, 20910 MD. The public is cordially invited to attend this meeting on the 3rd of July 2013 at the same place. (For details pleas click on the icon in the box)
On a meeting organized by SOCEPP-Canada attended by Human Rights Agencies, Religious leaders, Professionals and Canadian Members of Parliament carried out a discussion that drew alternatives to the current problems in Ethiopia. Read More
...The most significant human rights problems included restrictions on freedom of expression and association through politically motivated trials and convictions of opposition political figures, activists, journalists, and bloggers, as well as increased restrictions on print media. In July security forces used force against and arrested Muslims who protested against alleged government interference in religious affairs. The government continued restrictions on civil society and nongovernmental organization (NGO) activities imposed by the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO).
Other human rights problems included arbitrary killings; allegations of torture, beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees by security forces; reports of harsh and at times life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; detention without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; a weak, overburdened judiciary subject to political influence; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights, including illegal searches; allegations of abuses in the implementation of the government’s “villagization” program; restrictions on academic freedom; restrictions on freedom of assembly, association, and movement; alleged interference in religious affairs; limits on citizens’ ability to change their government; police, administrative, and judicial corruption;...(Read More)
...The sudden death in August 2012 of Ethiopia’s long-serving and powerful prime minister, Meles Zenawi, provoked uncertainty over the country’s political transition, both domestically and among Ethiopia’s international partners. Ethiopia’s human rights record has sharply deteriorated, especially over the past few years, and although a new prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, took office in September, it remains to be seen whether the government under his leadership will undertake human rights reforms... (Read More)
Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Concerning Eskinder Nega
“... Mr Nega’s prosecution is a direct result of his legitimate work as an independent journalist and commentator. ...his detention runs counter to Article 19 ofthe International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHC) and Article 29 of the Constitution of Ethiopia.” (Read More)
From Ethiopia to Vietnam, researchers map reach of German-made government spy software
By Associated Press,
Mar 13, 2013 09:04 PM EDT
APPublished: March 13
LONDON — The discovery of a group of servers linked to an elusive espionage campaign is providing new details about a high-tech piece of spy software that some fear may be targeting dissidents living under oppressive regimes. (Read More)
Ethiopian journalist arrested for covering Muslim protests
Police in Addis Ababa, the capital, on January 17 arrested Kebede, managing editor of the now-defunct paper Ye Muslimoch Guday("Muslim Affairs"), and took him to the Maekelawifederal detention center. Solomon's health is in poor condition and he has been held without access to a lawyer, the journalists said. A court date has been set for February 13. (Read More)
...East Africa is also a region of censorship and crackdowns. Omar al-Bashir’s Sudan, where more newspapers were seized and the arrests of journalists continued during the summer, is stuck firmly in 170th place, in the bottom 10 of the index. Djibouti (167th, -8), which also has no independent media, detained a correspondent of the foreign-based news site La Voix de Djibouti. Despite the release of two Swedish journalists arrested in 2011, Ethiopia (137th) fell ten places because of its repressive application of the 2009 anti-terrorist law and the continued detention of several local journalists... (Read More)
Press Release from Heinrich Böll Foundation
Closure of the Heinrich Böll Foundation office in Ethiopia
For a long time now, Ethiopia has been pursuing an authoritarian development model, but in recent years there has been a further dramatic clampdown on freedoms – of the press, of expression and of assembly. Legislation in 2009 on the role and modus operandi of non-government organizations (NGOs) marked a new low point in terms of political control and restrictions on civil society...
Under these circumstances, the Ethiopian office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation cannot, in the foreseeable future, fulfil its mission of promoting democratisation, gender justice and sustainable development... The following is a brief description of the political situation and its impact on the work of the Heinrich Böll Foundation (Read More)
Press Statement: USCIRF Deeply Concerned by Emerging Religious Freedom Violations in Ethiopia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2012| By USCIRF
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is deeply concerned about the increasing deterioration of religious freedoms for Muslims in Ethiopia. Since July 2011, the Ethiopian government has sought to force a change in the sect of Islam practiced nationwide and has punished clergy and laity who have resisted. Muslims throughout Ethiopia have been arrested during peaceful protests: On October 29, the Ethiopia government charged 29 protestors with terrorism and attempting to establish an Islamic state.
“These charges are only the latest and most concerning attempt by the Ethiopian government to crush opposition to its efforts to control the practice of religion by imposing on Ethiopian Muslims a specific interpretation of Islam,” said USCIRF Commissioner Azizah al-Hibri. “The individuals charged were among tens of thousands peacefully protesting the government’s violations of international standards and their constitutional right to religious freedom. The Ethiopian government should cease interfering in the internal affairs of its Muslim community and immediately and unconditionally release those wrongfully imprisoned.”
Since July 2011, the Ethiopian government has sought to impose the al-Ahbash Islamic sect on the country’s Muslim community, a community that traditionally has practiced the Sufi form of Islam. The government also has manipulated the election of the new leaders of the Ethiopia Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC). Previously viewed as an independent body, EIASC is now viewed as a government-controlled institution. The arrests, terrorism charges and takeover of EIASC signify a troubling escalation in the government’s attempts to control Ethiopia’s Muslim community and provide further evidence of a decline in religious freedom in Ethiopia.
“The U.S. government should raise with the new leadership in Addis Ababa the importance of abiding by Ethiopia’s own constitution and international standards on freedom of religion of belief. USCIRF has found that repressing religious communities in the name of countering extremism leads to more extremism, greater instability, and possibly violence,” said USCIRF Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett. “Given Ethiopia’s strategic importance in the Horn of Africa and that Muslims account for more than one-third of all Ethiopians, it is vital that the Ethiopian government end its religious freedom abuses and allow Muslims to practice peacefully their faith as they see fit. Otherwisee, the government’s current policies and practices will lead to greater destabilization of an already volatile region. (Read more)
Amnesty International, CIVICUS and Human Rights Watch are deeply concerned at the 19 October 2012 decision by Ethiopia’s Supreme Court to uphold the freezing of the assets of the Human Rights Council, Ethiopia’s leading, and oldest, human rights organization and the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association, a prominent women’s rights organization.
The decision is yet another blow to the work of these two organizations and to the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the country.
Reeyot Alemu missed an important dinner engagement in Beverly Hills. But she had a good excuse.
The 31-year-old journalist is jailed in the notoriously brutal, rodent-infested Kaliti prison in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. She’s two years into a five-year sentence for daring to write about poverty, opposition politics and gender equality.
THE NEW RULERS IN ETHIOPIA SHOULD SHOW THEIR COMMITMENT TO HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION NOW
LIFT THE RESTRICTION ON PRESS FREEDOM NOW
September 1, 2012
SOCEPP Canada condemns the prohibition of the publication and distribution of the news paper, FINOTE NETSANET, by the Ethiopian authorities. Such action is against the basic right of the freedom of expression. The Ethiopian people have the right to expect the full respect of their inalienable rights of free speech.
In the last two decades, international press associations and human rights groups have variously and clearly established that the ruling group in Ethiopia has been among the top five violators of freedom of the press in the entire Africa. The new rulers have to disassociate themselves from such tainted history of abuse of the Meles era and follow a new path of respect for the basic rights of the Ethiopian people. Doing this only serves the best interests of all including the ruling EPRDF.
We demand that the ruling group lift immediately the restriction placed on FINOTE NETSANET as well as many others and refrain from further interference in the freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression without limitations.
We also urge the new rulers to take practical and wide ranging steps to show their renewed commitment, if they commit to do so, towards the full respect of human and democratic rights in Ethiopia. Such practical steps include, but are not limited to:
-The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience,
-Disclose the whereabouts of the disappeared, and
-Devise a credible and transparent plan of action as to engage the opposition in a genuine national dialogue in order to create a transition that is acceptable to all.
THE DEATH OF MELES ZENAWI PRESENTS AN OPPORTUNITY
FOR A NEW BEGINNING IN ETHIOPIA
August 21, 2012
The death of Meles Zenawi who ruled Ethiopia with an iron fist for the last 21 years could herald a great opportunity for a new beginning towards a government elected by the free will of the Ethiopian people, the establishment of the rule of law, respect for human rights and sustainable development in Ethiopia. This requires a departure from the stained and bankrupt politics of repression, exclusion, ethnic division and polarization.
The new leadership should create the foundation for national unity and reconciliation rather than continuing in the same path of deception and bitter politics of the last few decades.
As an immediate gesture, the government should release all political prisoners, account for the whereabouts of the disappeared, abrogate the repressive laws that were implemented and begin inclusive transition without delay.
We urge the international community to seize the moment and pressure the rulers in the country to begin a process of national dialogue and inclusive transition without delay.
Journalist jailed in Ethiopia is championed in D.C., abroad
(Washington DC) – For months, Eskinder Nega’s supporters in Washington, New York and around the world have been pleading for his freedom. In petitions, blogs and speeches, they have hailed the prominent Ethiopian journalist, detained last fall on terrorism charges, as a courageous champion of democratic rights in a country that is systematically snuffing them out. (click hereto read more)
July 14, 2012
SOCEPP Canada unequivocally condemns the sentencing of politicians, journalists, human rights advocates and the Assault on Moslems and their place of worship!
On july 13, 2012, the TPLF/EPRDF controlled Federal High Court in Addis Ababa has sentenced 24 Ethiopians on a trumped-up charge of “terrorism plot”. Victims of this latest assault on human rights include: - a prominent opposition leader - Andualem Arage, an award-winning blogger and journalist: Eskinder Nega, and exiled journalists like Abebe Belew and Abebe Gelaw, and a human rights advocate: Obang Metho and others
It must be known that this latest travesty is yet another feeble attempt on the part of the regime known for its notoriety to silence the opposition and all other voices that are critical of its 21-year brutal rule.
Having witnessed the power of the popular call for freedom and the costly change that transpired in North Africa, crumbling the powers that be in the process, one would hope that the TPLF/EPRDF-regime would be wise-advised as to take lessons and reflect on its two decades of political arrogance. This has now become a far cry for all and sundry: its supporters who are now being frustrated and have started voicing their concerns and its own internal political functioning - which now seems to be building a steam of internal partition. Add to that the latest assault on religious freedom aggravating the two major religious denominations: the Ethiopian Orthodox and the Ethiopian Moslems.
We unequivocally condemn the sentencing of the 24 individuals as well as the regime’s latest assault on the life and property of Moslems and their place of worship: the Awelia Masqe, on the night of July 13h, 2012.
We demand that:
1) The government of Canada takes strong actions by demanding the regime in Ethiopia to immediately release these prisoners of conscience.
2) Condemn the persecution of Moslems who are justly opposing the importation and imposition of a sect of Islam from elsewhere,
3) End the harassment of the Orthodox Christians who are justly protecting their places of worship like the “Waldba” Monastery – the latest target of the so-called economic development – an activity that has been selling the nation piece by piece to foreign interests in the Middle East and South-East Asia, and
4) The government of Canada immediately freeze all non-human security-related funding to the government in Ethiopia.
We also call upon all Canadian human rights groups to condemn such acts of violence against all in Ethiopia.
Disinvite Mr. Shigute – Alleged Ethnic Cleanser from Ethiopia
A letter to the President of Saskatchewan
June 8, 2012
DR Peter MacKinnon, President University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A2 Dear Mr. President, I am writing on behalf of SOCEPP Canada, an organization that is dedicated to defending human rights and political liberties in Ethiopia, to protest the invitation extended to Mr. Shiferaw Shigute to your university.
Mr. Shigute is the President of a region in Southern Ethiopia, and we have information that he is arriving at Saskatoon on June 10, 2012 as a member of a delegation from Ethiopia. We are not certain if the university is aware of the carnage and suffering Mr. Shigute caused to tens of thousands of Ethiopian peasants and their families including children just as recently as March 2012.
Mr. Shigute committed horrendous atrocities against peaceful citizens, including looting, torching entire villages and ordering in writing the forcible eviction of over 20,000 ethnic Amaras from a place called Gura Ferda in Southern Ethiopia, where he is currently the regional president. Picture of some of the forcefully evicted is shown below. It is appalling and morally repugnant for a renowned Canadian University like yours as to allow a person of such criminal baggage to step into its premises.
We urge you to dis-invite Mr. Shigute and send a clear message that the university does not associate with those involved in ethnic cleansing. Please find below a tiny sample of Mr. Shigute’s victims: Thank you, Solomon W Ottawa Representative The only crime of these innocent children is to be born from Amhara ethnic group. How can any one who cares about human tragedy stay silent in the face of such atrocity?
Please find below a tiny sample of Mr. Shigute’s victims:
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP
Taylor Verdict a Warning to War Crimes Perpetrators
Dakar/Nairobi/Brussels, 26 April 2012: The landmark guilty verdict today against former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor is a warning to those most responsible for atrocity crimes that they can be held accountable.
A decade after the war in Sierra Leone, the Special Court's ruling marks the first time that a former head of state has been found guilty of war-time atrocities by an internationally-backed court since the Nuremberg trials. The verdict is a fresh lesson to all those in power that they do not enjoy impunity and a sign of hope in Sierra Leone that those most responsible for the heinous crimes of the eleven-year civil war (1991-2002) are being brought to book. Nevertheless, Liberians are still waiting for Taylor and others to be tried for atrocities committed in the civil war in their country.
“The guilty verdict against Charles Taylor by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) is a watershed moment in the fight to hold high-level perpetrators accountable”, says Gilles Yabi, Crisis Group's West Africa Project Director. “It is also a momentous day for the victims' families, who have waited patiently for this ruling since the court began its work”.
The verdict has been a long time coming. Taylor was indicted in March 2003 on multiple counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international law. He was accused of helping to plan, order and encourage acts including murder, terrorising civilians, mutilation, rape, sexual slavery and recruiting child soldiers. The charges stemmed from his support for Sierra Leone rebel groups as commander of the National Patriotic Front for Liberia from 1989 and after becoming president in 1997.
Under the peace agreement that ended Liberia's civil war in 2003, Taylor resigned as president. He was granted exile in Nigeria but extradited in March 2006 to Freetown, at the request of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and after he violated the terms of his exile by meddling in Liberian politics. Owing to regional security concerns, his trial before the SCSL - a court set up jointly by the government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations - was held in The Hague.
This verdict ends the work of the court, which also convicted eight other individuals. Its mandate was to prosecute only those most responsible for the crimes within its jurisdiction. That brief was heavily criticised because it meant that many lesser perpetrators would go free, particularly given the weaknesses in Sierra Leone's justice system. While the judgment sends a strong message that heads of state can be prosecuted, many Liberians may feel short-changed. Despite the long and costly work of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which recommended prosecutions for the main perpetrators of atrocities during the Liberian civil war, impunity still prevails and remains an obstacle to national reconciliation.
“While this is a significant day for Sierra Leone, many in Liberia will have mixed feelings”, says Comfort Ero, Crisis Group's Africa Program Director. “Taylor and other Liberians have yet to be held to account for crimes committed in Liberia's civil war. Several suspects continue to serve in public office”.
For additional information about this issue please visit this link
To call this year’s winner of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award a hero would be an understatement. Eskinder Nega, one of Ethiopia’s leading advocates for freedom of expression, has consistently defended the right of his colleagues and fellow citizens to criticize the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and, like many others, is now paying the price.
Nega is standing trial under Ethiopia’s sweeping anti-terror legislation, which criminalizes any reporting deemed to “encourage” or “provide moral support” to groups and causes which the government considers to be “terrorist.” He could face the death penalty if convicted.
Stop the ethnic cleansing and forced expulsion of Amaras from Southern Ethiopia!
As variously confirmed by international media outlets including the German Radio, Voice of America and other Ethiopian media sources 22,000 Ethiopians of the Amara ethic origin have been forcibly expelled and their property expropriated within the last few weeks from places like: Guraferda, Benji Maji Zone, in Southern Ethiopia.
While the parents of these victims are originally from the central and northern provinces of Wello and Shoa, a number of them were born in that same location. These individuals were resettled in the area as part of the resettlement program following the devastating drought of the 1980’s.
Citing Tesfaye Tariku – Secretary General of the All Ethiopian Unity Party, the Amharic Newspaper - “The Reporter” reported on March 25, 2012 that 72 of the thousands evicted are now being sheltered in the all Ethiopian Unity Party office in Addis Ababa. The paper states that the 72 people first headed to the TrinityCathedralChurch at Arat Kilo looking for sanctuary but were kicked out by the guards”.
It is also reported that these victims were told to “go back to their native region” by the local government authorities who take direct order from the ruling group EPRDF/TPLF led by PM Meles Zenawi.
This clearly shows that the action is a deliberate political exercise on the part of the regime to change the ethnic composition of the area to make it “governable” through the divide and conquer policies which has been implementing in earnest since 1991.
For those who have been closely following the situation in Ethiopia, it is clear that this is not the first time that the Amara Ethnic group, among others, has been targeted and attacked by the ruling party and its supporters. In 1990s, brutal force was used by security forces and groups loyal to the regime to cleanse the Amara from Harrar, Arsi, Wollega and the like. Hundreds had been brutally murdered.
This sustained and systemic attack against the Amaras is once again on its ugly footing. As was the case in previous attacks, this time too, the federal government thus far has done nothing meaningful to stop this ethnic cleansing or bring legal action against those who perpetrate such horrible crimes.
The facts on the ground indicate that there is now a well-founded and alarming fear that the basic safety and security of those who may resist the current forced expulsion could be highly in danger. As well, the expulsion could be expanded even further.
Therefore SOCEPP- Canada calls upon all Ethiopian groups in Diaspora and the international community to:
Pressure the Ethiopian authorities to immediately stop the forced expulsion of citizens, return their confiscated property including their land.
provide immediate and sufficient relief aid
Guarantee their safety and security, and
initiate a full and independent investigation into this forceful expulsion and bring the perpetrators to justice
We call upon the government of Canada and members of the international community to give this grave human rights abuse a serious attention and put on notice the ruling group in Ethiopia that such ethnic based forced eviction is a serious threat to all humanity and will not be tolerated.
CC: Genocide watch, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International - Ottawa
STOP THE ABUSE OF ETHIOPIA MIGRANT WORKERS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
The abuse perpetrated on Ethiopian migrant workers in the Middle East is horrendous. In particular female Ethiopian domestic workers are treated like slaves, bitten, burnt and working for as many as 18 hours a day.
As you can see in the link below, one such horrific incident was caught on Camera recently in Lebanon.
Clearly, the Ethiopian authorities have abandoned their responsibility when it comes to the protection of rights of their citizens.
We want to ask the international community what they would have done if this victim was a citizen of their country. We ask the international community to investigate and do what is appropriate to protect the rights of Ethiopian migrant workers in the Middle East.
This video is very disturbing, viewer’s discretion is advised.
ለኢትዮጵያዊነት; LE-ETHIOPIAWINET ; The voice of Rights based Civic Societies (ENPCP published
The long awaited ለኢትዮጵያዊነት; LE-ETHIOPIAWINET ; The voice of Rights based Civic Societies (ENPCP) has been published on February 22, 2012. In this issue: Le Ethiopiawinet brings to you the following topics:
The timely emergence of ENPCP
Who are in ENPCP?
The Citizens Charter, a key document of ENPCP
An open letter to President Obama and the donor community
NORWAY: Stop Forcibly Repatriating Ethiopian Refugees to a country where they face Persecution!
The Norwegian government’s plan to forcibly repatriate Ethiopian refugees back to Ethiopia is indeed a very disturbing piece of news. Forcing asylum seekers to return back to Ethiopia where imprisonment, torture, and disappearances have become the rule rather than the exception, is indeed a shocking news that the international community must condemn if we were to respect the non-refoulment clause of the 1951 Refugee Convention, the 1969 Geneva Protocol and the 1980s African Charter.
As variously reported by human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the like, at different time, Ethiopia has become hell for refugee returnees who had and continue to be “disappeared”. As one of the few nations concerned about the plight of refugees and human rights abuses around the world, Norway should have known and done better rather forcing refugees to a country they were forced to leave.
Just like many organizations that have documented systemic violation of the people’s rights in Ethiopia, we at SOCEPP Canada would appeal to the conscience of PM of Norway - Honorable Jens Stoltenberg, and the UNHCR to intervene and stop the deportation of Ethiopian refugees.
We have no doubt that the Honorable Prime Minister and the UNHCR would do the right thing and avert this human tragedy.
Please write your appeal to the following addresses:
Stop THE TORTURE AND BRUTAL ASSAULT ON political prisoners IN ETHIOPIA
Reports coming out of Addis Abebe confirm that on Wednesday February 15th, 2012, the jailed leader of the opposition UDJ, Andualem Aragie, was physically assaulted by a prisoner who was set up and encouraged to do so by Ethiopian prison authorities.
According to reports, the ruling party through its prison authorities systematically allowed the said prisoner to commit this latest violence with impunity in order to terrorize and subjugate Mr. Andualem Aragie and other political prisoners into submission.
History tells us that the use of state-sanctioned violence (i.e beating,rape, abduction etc) by state-sanctioned groups is a classical approach used by many repressive regimes (i.e Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma) all over the world. Repressive governments typically use such approaches as an instrument of control, when their traditional approach could not bring them the results they expect.
The latest incident against Mr Andualem Aragie indicates the escalation of state violence which should be a serious alarm to all who care about Human and Democratic Rights in Ethiopia.
SOCEPP CANADA condemns in the strongest possible terms the assault and torture of Mr. Andualem Aragie and other political prisoners. We call, upon the government of Mr Meles Zenawi to immediately stop such escalation of state violence and to fully protect the rights of Mr Andualem Aragie and other political prisoners in Ethiopia.
We urge Mr Melese Zenawi and his government to free all political prisoners without delay. Once again, we would like to remind the regime in Ethiopia that violence only breeds violence. The way forward is respecting the human rights of all Ethiopians and engaging the opposition in genuine political dialog for a lasting solution through national reconciliation.
We call upon the Government of Canada, Canadian Parliamentarians, Human Rights advocates and the international community to take this latest escalation very seriously and review their assistance to the Ethiopian regime. We are troubled to witness serious human rights violations, such as this, goby unnoticed by the international community and without consequence to the regime that continues to receive millions of tax payer dollars.
To: The Prime Minister of Norway, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg
The Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
The Prime Minister ofNorway, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg
First of all, accept our warm greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and we wish you all the best in your political responsibility, career and life. Besides, we wish peace, prosperity and progress to your guest free, hospitable and beloved country, Norway. The reason why we are forced to write this appeal letter is because we have been very terrified, frightened, worried and spending sleepless nights since we came to know about the appalling news of the repatriation agreement your government has entered into with the ethno-fascist regime of Meles Zenawi. This agreement is outrageous and untenable given the escalating and widespread abuses and agreement you have made with Ethiopian and your government to repatriate rejected asylum serious violations of human rights in Ethiopia. These abuses and violations are deliberately and systematically committed by the Meles regime and are well documented and reported by the International Human Rights Organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights watch and the US State Department. The rejected asylum seekers including us who have fled the country in search of safety and freedom will risk facing persecution, imprisonment or losing our lives if we are forcibly returned and handed over to the security forces of the brutal regime inEthiopia.
We are aware that you are very busy and have tight daily schedules as the head of the government, but kindly request you to give our concern a minute`s attention. We have felt secure and lived in freedom since we came toNorwayas asylum seekers some years ago. We have enjoyed the rights which we and other Ethiopians are denied in our homelandEthiopiaeven though if it is harder and demanding to live as an irregular inNorway.
As you know, at the moment my country is under the worst dictatorship we have ever faced in our history. This dictatorship is ethnic based and commits atrocities such as massacres, genocide, starvation and incitement of interethnic conflicts and preaching and spreading of hatred among the different communities. It employs the old colonial method of divide and rule. Farmers that are accused of supporting and voting for the opposition parties are systematically abused and punished through the denial of access to fertilizers, improved seeds, humanitarian help and other social services. They are evicted from their fertile farming lands which are leased to foreign investors fromChina,IndiaandSaudi Arabiaand forced to settle elsewhere without adequate provisions and support. The newly graduating students will be denied jobs and further education opportunities if they do not become the members and supporters of the ruling party or front. Membership and loyalty to the authorities are the keys to job and higher education opportunities. Civil servants lose their jobs for the same reasons. The government has enacted different draconian laws including the anti-terrorism law mainly aimed at penalizing dissent, curbing freedom of expression, free media and cracking down on its opponents and pro-democracy activists.
Journalists of the free press, leaders, suspected members and supporters of the opposition parties are thrown into the worst and notorious prisons throughout the country on tramped up and fictitious charges, exposed to tortures and other inhuman treatments. The recent court charade against the two Swedish journalists is one of the cases and examples in this regard. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Freedom House, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and other organizations have reported the violations committed against the journalists and freedom of expression. The repressions and injustices in the country are forcing citizens to resort to desperate measures such as committing suicide. The Ethiopian teacher called Yenesew Gebre immolated himself on November 11, 2011 to show his disapproval of and in protest to the increasing repression and injustice in the country. He preferred death to humiliation, life without basic human rights and is hailed as Mohamed Bouazizi ofEthiopia.
The miserable rule and repression of the Ethnofascist rule of Meles Zenawi is forcing the ever increasing number citizens to leave the country in search of safety and better opportunities. Many are losing their lives in the Saharadesert and seas while attempting to reach the west. Corruption has been rampant and a chronic problem in the country. Please refer to this link: http://www.financialtaskforce.org/2011/12/05/illicit-financial-outflows-from-ethiopia-nearly-doubled-in-2009-to-us3-26-billion-reveals-new-global-financial-integrity-report/. Aid money and emergency humanitarian help are abused as political weapons against citizens. The abuses and excesses of the regime we have mentioned here are only some of the problems citizens face in their daily lives. We do not need to say a lot since you know very well or more than us about our country. We and other Ethiopians were victims inEthiopia because of our different political views and opinions. This being the reality, we are very worried and wondering as to how and why Norway has decided to send forcibly to a country where we will face torture, imprisonment, abuses, violations and even death because of differing and opposing political opinions and views.
We are certain that the Norwegian Security Service (PST) is aware of the fact that the Ethiopian regime agents and supporters are closely monitoring, filming and photographing our political activities and identities here inNorway. Many of our friends and us are actively engaged in the struggle for the real democratic change inEthiopia. If a person is accused of posting “beka” (enough) on the net-page and is sentenced to 14 years in prison, it is possible to anticipate what will happen to us who demonstrate, condemn and shout anti-regime slogans publicly.
We Ethiopians know thatNorwayis the base of one of the strongest Diaspora opposition groups in the West and the Meles regime wants to eliminate, weaken and silence its critics and opponents. We believe that this repatriation agreement is reached deliberately to crush this strong opposition groups in the Diaspora as the regime has done inEthiopia. We think this forcible deportation may damageNorway’s good International image and reputation as the defender of human rights and shelter of the persecuted and those in need of protection
Therefore, we sincerely ask you and your government to review and reconsider the decision to send back forcibly or deport others and us who are in fear of persecution, imprisonment, torture and inhuman treatment. We once again appeal to you for protection from ethno-fascist regime inEthiopiauntil it will be safe for us to return home.
The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), email@example.com
Ethiopia: UN experts disturbed at persistent misuse of terrorism law to curb freedom of expression
2 February 2012
GENEVA– A number of UN human rights experts on Thursday expressed their dismay at the continuing abuse of anti-terrorism legislation to curb freedom of expression in Ethiopia.
A week ago, three journalists and two opposition politicians* were given prison sentences ranging from 14 years to life imprisonment under Ethiopia's anti-terrorism laws. This follows the sentencing of two Swedish journalists to 11 years in prison on 27 December 2011. Another 24 defendants are scheduled to appear before the court on 5 March 2012, for various charges under the anti-terrorism law, several of whom may face the death sentence if convicted.
“Journalists play a crucial role in promoting accountability of public officials by investigating and informing the public about human rights violations,” said Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, who emphasized that “they should not face criminal proceedings for carrying out their legitimate work, let alone be severely punished. Ethiopia has an obligation to fully guarantee all individuals’ right to freedom of opinion and expression under international human rights law.”
Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, said that “the anti-terrorism provisions should not be abused and need to be clearly defined in Ethiopian criminal law to ensure that they do not go counter to internationally-guaranteed human rights.”
The Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, emphasized that “journalists, bloggers and others advocating for increased respect for human rights should not be subject to pressure for the mere fact that their views are not in alignment with those of the Government.” Ms. Sekaggya was particularly concerned by the case of Mr. Eskinder Nega, a blogger and human rights defender who may face the death penalty if convicted. Mr. Nega has been advocating for reform on the issue of the right to assemble peacefully in public.
Similarly, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, cautioned against the on-going campaign of harassment against associations expressing dissenting views. “People should have the right to associate freely and assemble peacefully. These rights are complementary to the full enjoyment of their right to freedom of opinion and expression,” he said.
“The resort to anti-terrorism legislation is one of the many obstacles faced by associations today in Ethiopia,” Mr. Kiai added. “The Government must ensure protection across all areas involving the work of associations, especially in relation to human rights issues.”
Gabriela Knaul, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, deplored the reported failure to ensure the defendants’ right to a fair trial. Several public statements by high-level officials and broadcasts on public television may have undermined the defendants’ presumption of innocence. The defendants also allegedly did not have access to a lawyer during the pre-trial stage of the process.
“Defendants in a criminal process should be considered as innocent until proven guilty as enshrined in the Constitution of Ethiopia,” Ms. Knaul said. “And it is crucial that defendants have access to a lawyer during the pre-trial stage to safeguard their right to prepare their legal defence.”
Citing information received that suggests at least one lawyer was placed under surveillance, she stressed that all governments should respect the confidential nature of lawyers’ communications and consultations with their clients. “Lawyers should be able to discharge their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference,” Ms. Knaul said.
The human rights experts called on the Ethiopian Government to respect the concerned individuals’ fundamental rights, especially their right to a fair trial. They reiterated the need to apply anti-terrorism legislation cautiously and in accordance with Ethiopia’s international human rights obligations.
*Mr. Elias Kifle (journalist – life imprisonment), Mr. Wubshet Taye (journalist – 14 years’ imprisonment), Ms. Reeyot Alemu (journalist – 14 years’ imprisonment), Mr. Zerihun Gebre Egziabher (opposition member – 17 years’ imprisonment) and Mr. Hirut Kifle (opposition member – 19 years’ imprisonment).
The Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya to stand trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crime against humanity
The International Criminal Court at the Hague ruled Monday that four prominent Kenyans, including two who are likely to seek the presidency, must stand trial for crimes related to the deadly violence that followed the disputed 2007 presidential election.
Among those facing trial is Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the son of Kenya's founding president and the country's richest citizen. Also charged with crimes against humanity are former education minister William Ruto, civil service chief Francis Muthaura, and radio broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang. Read more
SOCEPP-Canada condemns the conviction of journalists & Leaders of the Opposition.
On January 19, 2012, the EPRDF/TPLF controlled Federal High Court in Ethiopia convicted three Ethiopian journalists, an opposition leader and a fifth person under the so-called an anti-terrorism law. The journalists are Wubshet Taye Abebe of the now-closed weekly newspaper - Awramba Times, Reeyot Alemu Gobebo of the weekly newspaper - Feteh, and Elias Kifle, editor of the online Ethiopian Review (tried in absentia), an opposition leader, Zerihun Gebre-Egziabher Tadesse of the Ethiopian National Democratic Party, and a woman named Hirut Kifle Woldeyesus. (Read More)
Forced Displacement and “Villagization” in Ethiopia’s Gambella Region
January 16, 2012
This report in Ethiopia’s Gambella Region examines the first year of Gambella’s villagization program. It details the involuntary nature of the transfers, the loss of livelihoods, the deteriorating food situation, and ongoing abuses by the armed forces against the affected people. Many of the areas from which people are being moved are slated for leasing by the government for commercial agricultural development. Read more at the following link: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/01/16/waiting-here-death
A NEW VOCE OF ETHIOPIAN CIVIC SOCIETIES COMING SOON
Ethiopian National Priorities Consultative Process (ENPCP) is pleased to announce the commencement (birth ) of a new publication LE ETHIOPIAWINET, the voice of ENPCP. The inaugural issue of Le Ethiopianwinet will be available to the public shortly read more at the following link:
Update on the activities of The Ethiopian National Priorities Consultative Process (ENPCP) ENPCP is short for the Ethiopian National Priorities Consultative Process. It is a freely associated non-partisan group, composed of civic organizations and individuals.
It is a civic group that is striving to empower Ethiopians: individuals and civic groups, by bringing them under an umbrella organization, to maximize their capabilities, resources and influence the political process of our country.
It enables our people to assert their will as citizens, on critical national issues…
Read more on the web site link below about ENPCP’s Vision, Core values as well as current activities (Read More)
DISMANTLING DISSENT INTENSIFIED CRACKDOWN ON FREE SPEECH IN ETHIOPIA
Since March 2011, at least 108 opposition party members and six journalists have been arrested in Ethiopia for alleged involvement with various proscribed terrorist groups. By November, 107 of the detainees had been charged with crimes under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and the Criminal Code. A further six journalists, two opposition party members and one human rights defender, all living in exile, were charged in absentia. Trials in all these cases have begun, and are ongoing at time of writing.
Amnesty International believes that the prolonged series of arrests and prosecutions indicates systematic use of the law and the pretext of counter-terrorism by the Ethiopian government to silence people who criticise or question their actions and policies, especially opposition politicians and the independent media. Whilst these groups have often been arrested and prosecuted in the past, the large numbers of arrests indicates an intensified crackdown on freedom of expression in 2011.read more at Amnesty International’s web site shown below
Analysis of the Prosecutorial Strategy and Policies of the Office of the Prosecutor (2003-2011)
Recommendations to the Next ICC Prosecutor During the first election of ICC officials, Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo was unanimously elected as the first Prosecutor of this institution. His nine-year term will soon come to an end. Throughout the years, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has closely monitored the set-up of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), as well as its activities. FIDH has noted several criticisms in relation to the work of the OTP under the mandate of the first Prosecutor. It has also regularly made recommendations in relation to both strategic and policy issues, as well as activities in certain countries where crimes under the Court’s jurisdiction have been committed. This report assesses some of the most relevant developments, criticisms and achievements of the OTP during the Moreno-Ocampo term. Based on this analysis, the report makes recommendations for Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s successor.
Fatou Bensouda, new ICC Prosecutor, was elected at the tenth session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, held in New York from 12 to 21 December 2011 (Read more at the following link ) http://www.fidh.org/The-Office-of-the-Prosecutor-of
A Joint Call On Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton And America’s Western Allies To Publicly Repudiate Ethiopia’s Efforts To Use Terrorism Laws To Silence Political Dissent
Ethiopia's broad anti-terrorism laws that went into effect earlier this year is being used as a pretext to make a politically motivated arrests and silence politicians and journalists who criticize government policies. As a result dozens of journalists arrested so far. Political leaders of opposition groups living outside of the country are sentenced in absentia and many more in the country are thrown to prison.
Many national and international groups have shown their opposition to this law. Lately, Professor William Easterly of New York University, Mark Hamrick ( President) of National Press Club Washington, D.C., Aryeh Neier (President) of Open Society Foundations New York City, Kenneth Roth (Executive Director) of Human Rights Watch New York City and Joel Simon (Executive Director)of Committee to Protect Journalists New York City have jointly called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and America’s Western allies to publicly repudiate Ethiopia’s efforts to use terrorism laws to silence political dissent. They also urge the US to ensure that Amerca's more than $600 million in aid to Ethiopia is not used to foster repression.
Extreme repression only breeds extreme reaction!! Ethiopian teacher burns himself to death in protest: A call for immediate action
A number of media sources confirm the disturbing news that on November 11, 2011, a teacher by the name Yenesew Gebere, who resided in Waka, Southern Ethiopia, burned himself to death in protest. Our condolences to his parents, siblings and friends and May he rest in peace as we continue the struggle for justice. . (Read More)
Ethiopian man burns himself to death in protest
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 @ 09:11 PM ed
By Angus Stickler (Bureau of Investigative Journalism)
Events in Ethiopia have taken a disturbing turn following reports that ateacher in his late 20s burnt himself alive last week in protest against the ongoing brutal clampdown on dissent in the country. According to reports Yenesew Gebre made an impassioned plea at a protest gathering before dowsing himself in petrol and setting himself on fire.
Addressing fellow protestors he is reported to have said: ’I want to show to all that death is preferable than a life without justice and liberty and I call upon my fellow compatriots to fear nothing and rise up to wrench their freedom and rights from the hands of the local and national tyrants.’
It is understood that Gebre died from his injuries three days later at the Tercha city local hospital.
According to sources who spoke to the satellite TV station, ESAT, Yenesew had been campaigning against injustice at the hands of ruling party officials. It also appears that he had been fired from his teaching position because of his political views.
The event happened at a public meetng on November 11, aimed at resolving a series of local protests.
It was during the meeting that Yenesew Gebre reportedly spoke out against President Meles Zenawi’s regime. When security agents tried to stop him, Yeneneh walked out of the meeting hall and set himself alight infront of the other protesters gathered in the compound.
‘While fire was engulfing his whole body, he was calling for justice, freedom and democracy and urged people to rise up against the oppressors. He wanted martyrdom … he chose to sacrifice his life for the sake of liberty and justice,’ a local source who witnessed the shocking incident told ESAT.
According to close friends, Yenesew Gebre was widely respected and well known for raising serious issues and challenging authorities.
In a bid to quash any further protests in the area, the federal police and the security services have reportedly sealed off the town. The regime has cut telephone lines to prevent the news of Yenesew’s death from spreading across Ethiopia, according to ESAT.
Zelalem Tessema, spokesman from Mass Advocacy of Communities, Ethiopia (MACE) a Diaspora group based in the UK, told the Bureau: ‘This unprecedented form of self-sacrifice has caused shock and anger amongst his compatriots both at home and abroad. Gebre’s action demonstrates the high level of despair prevailing amongst the public at large that is firmly under the brutal rule of Meles Zenawi.’
Yenesew Gebre’s death follows a recent investigation by the Bureau and BBC Newsnight into allegations of torture, repression and the political manipulation of foreign aid. The report was strongly denied by representatives of President Meles Zenawi.
The Bureau has been told of a concerted crackdown following the broadcast, particularly in the southern region. ‘Sadly there has been a crackdown by the security forces on people who have suspected to have cooperated with the programme,’ said Zelalem Tessema. ‘And certainly we’ve got reports that people have been arrested, some people have been questioned by security forces and some people have left the area in fear of what would follow.’
The crackdown has intensified and spread to other areas of the country, according to members of the Ethiopian community in the UK. The Bureau has learned that at least 40 opposition politicians, their supporters and journalists have been arrested by security forces in recent months. Many are being held in the Central Investigation Centre in Maikelawi where allegations of torture are rife.
The most prominent are Bekele Gerba and Olbana Lelisa, opposition leaders in Oromia, Andualaem Arage the vice chairman of Unity Democracy and Justice Party and the prominent journalist Eskinder Nega.
The government has been accused of using sweeping anti-terror legislation passed in 2009 to crush dissent. The definitions of terrorist activity under the law are broad and ambiguous. It permits a clamp down on political demonstrations and public criticisms of government policy. The law criminalises any reporting that authorities deem to ‘encourage’ or ‘provide moral support’ to groups the government has labelled ‘terrorists.’
The legislation is also being used to stifle Ethiopia’s media. Last week a judge in Ethiopia’s federal high court charged six journalists with terrorism. According to the New York based campaign group – the Committee to Protect Journalists, (CPJ), 10 journalists have now been charged with terrorism related offences since June.
‘Ethiopia’s terrorism charges against journalists critical of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government are becoming vague and ludicrous,’ said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. ‘The authorities have failed to provide any hard evidence and should drop these charges immediately.’
In an interview with Agence France-Presse, government spokesman Shimelis Kemal accused the journalists of ‘abetting, aiding, and supporting a terrorist group.’
And the crack-down is not confined to Ethiopian nationals. Earlier this month an Ethiopian court said two Swedish journalists must face charges of helping a terrorist group and entering the country illegally. Reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson were charged with terrorism after they were arrested crossing from Puntland into Ethiopia’s troubled Ogaden region with members of the banned Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in July.
If found guilty, they could face a maximum of 15 years in jail.
Related article: Ethiopian media gagged by anti-terror laws
In August, a delegation from Amnesty International was expelled from Ethiopia. Speaking shortly after her expulsion from the country, Amnesty’s Claire Beston told the Bureau: ‘Civil society activists have said the situation is rapidly deteriorating – to use their words. Journalists are more afraid even than they were before, and we are even talking about a significant climate of fear – all those groups are already operating in a climate of fear.’
Foreign Tourists under Surveillance
In a separate move it has also been reported that the government is targeting tour operators to monitor the movements of foreign nationals on holiday following the Bureau’s original investigation. The Bureau/Newsnight team entered the country on tourist visas posing as holidaymakers.
According to the Indian Ocean Newsletter, representatives of the tour operators active in the country were summoned to a meeting at the ministry of transport in Addis Ababa last month. It says that during the meeting the tour operators were blatantly asked to include an Ethiopian intelligence officer from now on.
It says: ‘According to one source present at the meeting, the instructions from the government official specified that the tour operators should meet the agent’s expenses. The agent’s job will be to keep a watch on all the movements of the visitors and determine their reason for going to Ethiopia.
‘This measure follows on a recent BBC report criticising the situation in the Ogaden region and the political use the Ethiopian government made of international aid,’ states the Newsletter. ‘It would appear that from now on the Ethiopian authorities want to prevent foreign journalists from entering the country with tourist visas and travelling around the country.’
The Bureau asked the Ethiopian Embassy in London for a response to the death of Yenesew Gebre and the allegations concerning the current government crack-down. It is yet to respond
November 12, 2011
SOCEPP Canada welcomes the release of Abera Yemaneab & Calls for the release of All Political Prisoners!
SOCEPP Canada welcomes the release of Mr.
Abera Yemaneab, the longtime prisoner of the TPLF/EPRDF regime, and extends its congratulations to the victim, his family and friends.It is to be remembered that, Mr.Yemaneab, the then leadership member of the Coalition of Ethiopian Democratic Forces (COEDF), was arrested along with others on his arrival in 1993 to Ethiopia to participate in the National Peace and Reconciliation Conference and has since been in prison except for a brief period when he was released on the order of the courts. A few weeks later, however, he was arrested again extra-judicially, presumably on the order of PM Meles Zenawi, and was made to suffer the hardships of prison life until his release recently. (Read More)
September 15, 2011
Ethiopia has become the locus of mass Incarceration:
Is this the end of "history"?
The TPLF/EPRDF regime led under the iron grip of dictator Meles Zenawi appears to be sounding the bells of the "end of history" – while completely shutting down on democracy that never took-off the ground, and freedom that never was in place hence, drawing a somewhat similar but different political parallel to that of Francis Fukuyama’s controversial "end of history" thesis of 1989/90, made on the day after the crumbling of the Eastern Camp when he declared that "democracy triumphed over communism". What actually replaced the failing, if not the failed, system was in fact not democracy but new forms of dictatorship in places like Ethiopia. (Read More)
September 04, 2011
End all hostilities and release all political prisoners Now!
In the last few months, the repression of rights in Ethiopia has intensified. As variously reported by different media outlets, the Ethiopian authorities have arrested two prominent political leaders namely: Bekele Gerba, the deputy chair of the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM), and Olana Lelisa of the Oromo People’s Congress (OPC) on August 27, 2011 and remain in detention. Subsequently, the authorities expelled from Ethiopia international delegates of the Amnesty International. (Read more)
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the Honorable Jack Layton who passed away on August 22, 2011.
The death of Mr. Layton is a great lose not only to his family but for all who advocate for social justice , respect of Human rights and the creation of just societies every where. In addition to the many great contributions Mr. Layton has made to Canada, he has also been an advocate and inspiration for those of us who advocate for respect of Human Rights, the release of political prisoners and the basic respect of citizens rights half way round the globe in places such as Ethiopia. (Read More)
August 7, 2011
Help the starving in Ethiopia while also addressing the root causes of the vicious cycle of Famine and all sorts of Misery!!
Once again, millions of Ethiopians are starving while agonizing on the loss of personal and political freedom. After 20 years in power, the ruling group in Addis Ababa - the TPLF/EPRDF regime, has persistently failed its basic responsibility as a government to provide the basic necessities of life to its citizens. Instead of taking responsibility, the regime is now resorting to the same approach that has repeatedly failed – reliance and dependency on foreign aid. (Read More)
May 5, 2011
Stop the Eviction of Mekele ResidentsReports trickling out of Mekele (Tigray) in Northern Ethiopia indicate an increasing and disturbing violation of rights of the residents of the city including the forceful eviction and displacement, violent suppression, imprisonment and beating of peaceful protesters. (Read more)
Ethiopia is a federal republic led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The population is estimated at 82 million. In the May national parliamentary elections, the EPRDF and affiliated parties won 545 of 547 seats to remain in power for a fourth consecutive five-year term. In simultaneous elections for regional parliaments, the EPRDF and its affiliates won 1,903 of 1,904 seats. In local and by-elections held in 2008, the EPRDF and its affiliates won all but four of 3.4 million contested seats after the opposition parties, citing electoral mismanagement, removed themselves from the balloting. Although there are more than 90 ostensibly opposition parties, which carried 21 percent of the vote nationwide in May, the EPRDF and its affiliates, in a first-past-the-post electoral system, won more than 99 percent of all seats at all levels. Although the relatively few international officials that were allowed to observe the elections concluded that technical aspects of the vote were handled competently, some also noted that an environment conducive to free and fair elections was not in place prior to election day. Several laws, regulations, and procedures implemented since the 2005 national elections created a clear advantage for the EPRDF throughout the electoral process. Political parties were predominantly ethnically based, and opposition parties remained splintered. During the year fighting between government forces, including local militias, and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an ethnically based, violent insurgent movement operating in the Somali region, resulted in continued allegations of human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict. Security forces generally reported to civilian authorities; however, there were instances in which security forces, specifically special police and local militias, acted independently of civilian control...
Academic Freedom and Cultural Events
The government restricted academic freedom during the year. Authorities did not permit teachers at any level to deviate from official lesson plans and actively prohibited partisan political activity and association of any kind on university campuses. Innumerable anecdotal reports suggest that non-EPRDF members were reportedly more likely to be transferred to undesirable posts and to be bypassed for promotions. There was a lack of transparency in academic staffing decisions, with numerous complaints from individuals in the academic community of bias based on party membership, ethnicity, or religion. Speech, expression, and assembly were frequently restricted on university and high school campuses. Several teachers who were members of, or were perceived to support, opposition parties--particularly in Oromia, Tigray, Amhara, and the SNNPR--reported being harassed by local officials and threatened with the loss of their jobs or transfers to distant locations.
Some college students reportedly were pressured to pledge allegiance to the EPRDF to secure enrollment in universities or postgraduation government jobs. According to multiple credible sources, teachers ... (Read More)
It is widely reported that in the last two weeks, the government of Mr. Meles Zenawi has intensified its attack on activists in particular members and supporters of the opposition Coalition Medrek. Accordingly, it is reported that at least 200 of Medreks supporters and members have been jailed in a crack down. These individuals are arrested in Oromya region mainly in Wollega Zone.
While the government is using different pretext, it is believed that this is a preemptive strike against a possible mass protest like that of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and other parts of North Africa and the Middle East.(Read Entire Document)
Leaders quotes just before giving up power Published On Sun Feb 6 2011
When Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak worried that his country, besieged by mass demonstrations, would dissolve into chaos without him, one could almost hear the voices of similarly threatened leaders, past and present.
Following are quotes from world leaders before giving up their grip on power.
• “I am fed up. After 62 years in public service, I have had enough. I want to go. If I resign now there will be chaos.” Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday.
• “I said in 1987 no presidencies for life. I repeat now no presidencies for life. I refuse to touch the constitution, I will not change the age in the constitution.” Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, on Jan. 13. The next day he stepped down after more than two decades in power.
• “Apres moi, le deluge.” King of France Louis XV (1710-1774) is believed to have said as he lay dying. As it turned out the French Revolution did not come for another 15 years. The literal translation is “after me, the flood.” But the comment was believed to have meant something along the lines of: after my reign let the destruction come.
• ”I have earned every cent. And in all of my years of public life I have never obstructed justice. People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.” U.S. President Richard Nixon on Nov. 17, 1973 at an Associated Press Managing Editors. He resigned the following August for his role in the Watergate scandal.
• “When I finish they can kill me as I expect. I’m a soldier and I’m ready to go.” General Augusto Pinochet of Chile on Aug. 16, 1984, facing mass protests against his rule. He was defeated in a referendum in 1988 and handed over power peacefully to an elected civilian government in 1990 in what was seen as a model transition from dictatorship to democracy in Latin America.
• “I am president of Iraq by the will of the Iraqi people.” Saddam Hussein of Iraq said defiantly on May 16, 2006, at a court hearing during his trial after being captured by U.S.-led forces. He was executed by hanging on Dec. 30, 2006. (source)
Maintaining good relations with autocrats is an unfortunate but often necessary component of the delicate balancing act that is U.S.foreign policy. But as Washington learned once again this week, supporting a strongman for the sake of stability can present risks of its own. Here are eight more alliances that could prove embarrassing.
Record: The 2010election, in which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's party won a remarkable 99.6percent of the vote, was the culmination of what Human Rights Watch called "thegovernment's five-year strategy of systematically closing down space forpolitical dissent and independent criticism." This included attacks and arrestsof prominent opposition figures, the shutting down of newspapers and assaultson journalists critical of the government, and doling out international foodaid as an incentive to get poor Ethiopians to join the ruling party.
In addition to attacks on domestic media and NGOs, thegovernment also jammed broadcasts by Voice of America and Deutsche Welle in the run-up to the elections. The U.S. NGO FreedomHouse downgradedEthiopia to "Not Free" for the first time in its annual Freedom in the Worldsurvey this year.
U.S. support: Borderedby Sudan and Somalia, Ethiopia benefits from being an at least nominallypro-American government in a very dangerous neighborhood. In 1998, U.S. PresidentBill Clinton described Zenawi as theleader of an "African Renaissance." Washington's strong support for AddisAbaba continued under President George W. Bush, who saw Zenawi's primarilyChristian government as a bulwark against Islamic extremism in East Africa, andpoured in millions in military aid. Bush opposed legislation linking militaryaid for Ethiopia to human rights and gave tacit support for the country's 2006invasion of Somalia.
SOCEPP-Canada concluded a successful public forum in Ottawa (Canada)On January 15, 2011, a public meeting called by the Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners Canada (SOCEPP Can) took place in the presence of concerned citizens, invited guests, parliamentarians and human rights groups in Canada’s capital – Ottawa. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss major issues affecting present day Ethiopia and their implications for democratization and human rights in that country. This meeting, which was attended by a significant number of Canadians of Ethiopian origin Ethiopians and Canadians, was addressed by five prominent individuals: ·Mr. Paul Dewar, Member of Canadian Parliament and the Foreign Affairs Critic of the New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP) ·Dr Busha Taa, Lecturer and Researcher, and former long time Chair of the Ethiopian Association in the Greater Toronto and the Surrounding Regions ·Mr. David Lord, Executive Director, Peace-build Canada ·Dr Ghelawdewos Araya , Professor of Education at City University of New York, and ·Dr Worku Aberra, Chair of the Economics Department, Dawson College - Montréal, Canada In his opening remark, Mr. Paul Dewar stressed how concerned he was about the continued repression of Ethiopians by the current regime further stating that he even received credible reports on the misuse of international aid by the same regime for its political ends. He stressed that the time has come for donors to review their policies and assert their mandate to have a very close review of donor/role of promoting Human Rights in Ethiopia. He pledged to continue working to make sure that Canadian aid is not used to strengthening the arms of the ruling group and that he would continue to campaign to end repression in Ethiopia. Mr. David Lord who spoke on the topic, “ Prospects for Durable Peace in Africa and in Ethiopia, what needs to be done” elaborated on the human security essence of peace by stating that: “peace implies the absence of war, but also the general absence of violence within a society among and against people” and “positive peace” he adds: “ is meant to describe people’s general sense of physical security, as well as opportunities and processes to improve everyone’s well-being within a society. Making progress implies finding solutions that provide the greatest benefits to the majority of the people, balancing the needs and interests of those who don’t benefit, and, in all of this, preventing conflicting interests from turning violent and destructive.” He summarized his statement by stating “We are witnessing a number of positive developments and trends in terms of preventing and responding to violent conflicts in Africa, but it’s also very obvious that millions of Africans are still directly affected by war, by predatory or ineffective governments, political repression, as well as the effects of poverty, unemployment and lack of education.” He stated that much work needs to be done to help build the conditions for political peace and physical security and that the way to do that involves not just political engagement and action but also economic and social development. With regards to Ethiopia, he clearly stated that: “the prospects for peace in Ethiopia are very cloudy -- I am talking about both the absence of war and the more complicated definition that links physical safety and well-being with political and economic opportunities and freedoms.” Describing how the continued repression of political rights increases the possibility for conflict, he stated, “Ethiopia now lacks an effective opposition with a public institutional platform for expressing alternative views, holding the government to account for its actions or inactions, and presumably presenting constructive political, economic and social options.” Without a credible forum for open dialogue at the national or state levels, he adds, the country is missing what many consider essential mechanisms for national consensus-building and political problem-solving, as well as a safety valve to let off political and social pressure. “Manipulating election processes and suppressing legitimate dissent through the widespread use of state-sanctioned violence by the security apparatus, rather than reducing risks to those in power, I would think increase them” He concluded by explicitly stating that “one prediction that is safe to make is that Ethiopians can expect the unexpected to happen and that Ethiopian men and women will continue to act to shape their futures.” (Read More) Dr Busha Taa discussed in depth how the 20 years ethnic focused politics of the ruling TPLF/EPRDF contributed for creating and maintaining discord and suspicion among the diverse ethnic and linguistic groups in the country and how it curtails human rights such as the freedom of movement etc. He emphasized the need to address the grievances of diverse groups, the need to establish a system that celebrates the linguistic and cultural diversity of the Ethiopian people while respecting their commonalities, their shared heritage, and aspiration for respect, justice and unity. Speaking on the role of the Diaspora for democratization in Ethiopia, Dr Ghelawdewos Araya stated that the Diaspora has been relentlessly and fervently seeking democracy in the Ethiopian setting for the last two decades. He further explained that: “in order to further understand the problem of democratization, the Ethiopian Diaspora must be able to evolve a modicum of democratic culture within itself and then strategize how to get rid of the undemocratic political system or regime in Ethiopia”. Dr Ghelawdewos identified a number of shortcomings and challenges for democracy in Ethiopia and among the Diaspora community including: 1.The lack of tolerance to different ideas, agendas, and political programs 2.The ethnic divide and ethnic politics in Ethiopia that has surfaced during the rule of the EPRDF, but has now been emulated and exaggerated by Diaspora Ethiopians. 3.The global intervention in Ethiopian affairs that ironically contributed to the delay of the establishment of democracy in that country. He concluded by stating “the democratic transformation of Ethiopia is not going to be easy, but it is not impossible to realize it. It may take time, but the democratization of Ethiopia is feasible and possible especially if all of us are engaged in planting the seeds of democratic ideals, very much like a gardener does in his/her garden feeding the soil with nutrients that would enrich it”. (Read more) Dr Worku Aberra, Chair of the Economics Department at Dawson College in Montréal, Canada, on his part explained how the ruling party’s polices are based on discrimination and a purposeful effort to create hierarchy among the diverse linguistic groups within Ethiopia. He further explained that such discrimination is not sustainable and is not in the best interest of any one in Ethiopia. Dr.Worku’s presentation was based on statistics from official sources within Ethiopia, as well as data used by international agencies. The meeting concluded with a thank you note from Aklilu Wendaferew, Chair, SOCEPP Canada who indicated that this program was one of the many activates SOCEPP Canada plans to undertake to highlight the repression of human and political rights in Ethiopia including the case of the disappeared such as Tsegaye Gebre Medhin, Aberash Berta etc. The presentations of Mr. David Lord and Dr Ghelawdewos Araya are posted on our web page at www.humanrightsethiopia.com . We will also make the other presentations available as soon as we receive the transcripts.
Events of 2010 The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) consolidated political control with a striking 99.6 percent victory in the May 2010 parliamentary elections. The polls were peaceful, but were preceded by months of intimidation of opposition party supporters and an extensive government campaign aimed at increasing support for the ruling party, including by reserving access to government services and resources to ruling party members.
Although the government released prominent opposition leader Birtukan Midekssa from her most recent two-year stint in detention in October 2010, hundreds of other political prisoners remain in jail and at risk of torture and ill-treatment. The government's crackdown on independent civil society and media did not diminish by year's end, dashing hopes that political repression would ease following the May polls. (Read more)
SOCEPP-CAN's brief about the Human Rights Situation in Ethiopia to Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development SOCEPP-CAN April 2010
On April 27, 2010, The Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners Canada (SOCEPP Canada) was invited to present a brief on the current situation of Ethiopia to the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Two members of SOCEPP Canada, attended and briefed the full session of the Committee in the Canadian Parliament.
The brief which was attended by ten Parliamentarians and their assistants was followed by a question and answer period which covered a range of issues from pre-election repression to the incarceration of Birtukan Mideksa, aid to Ethiopia, the prospect for peace and stability in Ethiopia and the region and Ethio-Canadian relations etc. (To see the full document of the session press here)
Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners - Canada (SOCEPP – CAN)
P. O. BOX 413 STATION E, TORONTO, ON M6H 4E3 CANADA.
HORRENDOUS ACCOUNT OF ETHNICALLY-DIRECTED ATROCITIES IN AN ETHIOPIAN PRISON (the CIO) Translated from the original Amharic document into English By Assefa Negash, M.D. Resident of Amsterdam, the Netherlands 25th of December 2010, E-mail address: Debesso@gmail.com
About the Authors of this Report
“We the authors of this report are individuals who work within the TPLF controlled prison administration and Criminal Investigation system.
Through what we have compiled in his report, we want to inform the Ethiopian and by extension the international community about the suffering, gruesome tortures and horrendous mistreatment of political prisoners across the country. ..(to read more please click on the PDF icon to your left)
I am writing to respond to the October 21, 2010 statement of the Development Assistance Group (DAG) in Addis Ababa regarding Human Rights Watch's recent report, Development without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia. (read more)
Ethiopia is often cited as a model for development assistance, a leader in efforts to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and a good example of how aid can help African nations fight poverty. On the strength of these supposed attributes, Ethiopia receives more than $3 billion (€2.2bn) in foreign development aid a year, with close to one-third of that coming from Europe. The European Commission alone donates more than €400 million each year.
But Ethiopia is no model for human rights. The government has crushed the political opposition, established intrusive surveillance over the population and eviscerated civil society organizations and the independent media. (read more)
European Union Final Election Report of May 2010 Election in Ethiopia
Ethiopia held its fourth elections to the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) and State Councils on 23 May 2010. The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) was present in Ethiopia from 14 April to 21 June 2010, following invitations from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). The EU EOM was led by Mr. Thijs Berman, Member of the European Parliament. The Mission deployed 170 observers from 25 European Union Member States, as well as, Norway, Switzerland and Canada to all the country’s regions, to assess the electoral process against international and regional commitments for elections as well as the laws of Ethiopia. The EU EOM is independent in its findings and conclusions and adheres to the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation commemorated at the United Nations in October 2005. On Election Day, EU EOM observers visited 815 polling stations in every region of Ethiopia to observe voting and counting.... Read English Version or Amharic Version
Aid as a weapon By Leslie Lefkow, Citizen SpecialOctober 25, 2010
...Canada is one of Ethiopia's largest bilateral donors and Canadian officials should not continue sitting quietly by while Ethiopian government officials use foreign assistance to abuse poor Ethiopians. Taxpayers cannot be asked to underwrite aid programs that are used as tools of repression.
CIDA has said it is "deeply concerned" by the Human Rights Watch report. If so, the right first steps are clear. Canada should be much more vocal in pushing to make sure aid is not used as a weapon to fight dissent, and programs that provide direct budget support to the Ethiopian government should be off the table altogether. All aid programs in Ethiopia should be independently monitored -- a sensible measure that donors have no legitimate reason to resist. Read more:
How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia October 19, 2010 This 105-page report documents the ways in which the Ethiopian government uses donor-supported resources and aid as a tool to consolidate the power of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest recipients of development aid, more than US$3 billion in 2008 alone. The World Bank and donor nations provide direct support to district governments in Ethiopia for basic services such as health, education, agriculture, and water, and support a “food for work” program for some of the country’s poorest people. The European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany are the largest bilateral donors. Read the full Report
Oct 6, 1:15 PM EDT
Ethiopian officials release top opposition leader
By SAMSON HAILEYESUS Associated Press Writer
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -- Ethiopian officials on Wednesday released a top opposition leader who had been sentenced to life in prison after the government said she had violated a pardon agreement and sent her back to jail in late 2008.
The Ethiopian government said Wednesday in a statement that they released Birtukan Mideksa because she requested a pardon last month, after spending nearly two years in prison. (Read More)
Jailed Ethiopian opposition leader freed
By Barry Malone
ADDIS ABABA | Wed Oct 6, 2010 3:11pm IST
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia released the country's most prominent opposition leader from jail on Wednesday, four months after the government's landslide win in elections criticised by Western powers.
Birtukan Mideksa, a former judge, is the leader of Ethiopia's biggest opposition party, Unity for Democracy and Justice.
She left a prison in the capital Addis Ababa in a car with her daughter and mother, a Reuters witness said. Supporters said she was going to her home.(Read More)
SOCEPP CANADA WELCOMES THE RELEASE OF MISS BERTUKAN MEDEKSA
OCTOBER 6, 2010
SOCEPP Canada welcomes the release of Miss Bertukan Medeksa, the leader of the opposition - Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ). It is indeed a relief for her family and her supporters and we, therefore, congratulate her mother W/O Almaz and her only daughter – Hale, who have suffered immensely due to her imprisonment. ( To read more click on the PDF icon below)
Happy New Year, Birtukan Invictus (Unconquered!) By Alemayehu G. Mariam | September 11, 2010 ...In December 2008, Birtukan's "pardon" from a kangaroo court conviction was revoked and her life sentence reinstated. She was literally snatched from the streets and thrown in solitary confinement for six months, despite a court ruling that such punishment was a violation of her constitutional rights.She is denied access to visitors except for her aging mother and five-year old daughter, despite a court order granting her visitor access without restrictions.She has been the object of ridicule by dictator-in-chief Meles Zenawi who has characterized her as a "chicken" who did herself in and an idle prisoner sitting around and "putting on weight".
Mandela said, "Prison itself is a tremendous education in the need for patience and perseverance. It is above all a test of one's commitment." It is comforting to know that Birtukan is receiving "a tremendous education" at Kality "Unversity" Federal Prison where she continues to face daily humiliation, isolation, degradation and dehumanization. But Birtukan perseveres and shall certainly overcome. To paraphrase William Ernest Henley's poem "Invictus" (Unconquered), for nearly two years Birtukan has been shackled in Zenawi's "pit of wrath and tears" and faced the "horror" of solitary confinement and degradation without "wincing or crying out loud." Her "head has been bloodied, but unbowed." Though she faces the "menace of the years" in prison, she remains unafraid because she is the "mistress of her fate and the captain of her soul."... (Read more)
SAY NO TO DICTATORS! RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS!!!! JOIN US ON OUR PROTEST AGAINST THE PRESCENCE OF MELES ZENAWI AT THE G20 MEETING ! (click here for details)
Beloved, and behind bars
Birtukan Mideksa, the country’s main opposition leader, has been in jail for 18 months
...Mideksa, the only female leader of a main opposition party in Africa, is being held in a two-by-two-metre cell she shares with two other prisoners. She’s been at Kaliti jail for 18 months—her second stay in the hot, crowded maze of sheet-metal shacks at the southern edge of Addis Ababa, the capital... ...All this as the West, Ottawa included, lavishes record amounts of aid on Ethiopia, subsidizing a government now ranked among Africa’s most repressive and dictatorial regimes... (read Mores)
Ethiopia election win tainted, observers say
...Official results show a massive victory for the ruling party of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has dominated Ethiopia since seizing power in an armed takeover in 1991. His party captured at least 499 of the 547 parliamentary seats, the national election board announced...
...But the election was marred by “a narrowing of political space and an uneven playing field,” according to a statement by election observers from the European Union...
..Aklilu Wendafetrew, head of the Canadian branch of a solidarity committee for Ethiopian political prisoners, said the election shows that Ethiopia is “continuing to slide away from democracy into absolute totalitarianism.” Western donors such as Canada should use their influence to pressure Mr. Meles to move toward free and fair elections, he said. (Read More)
Head of the main opposition coalition Merera Gudina said he will not accept the results, which gave Prime Minister Meles Zenawi a landslide victory.
Mr Merera says two party members were killed by security forces, reports say. The EU and US have both criticised the polls, saying they fell short of international standards. Ethiopian officials have denied fraud. Mr Merera, chairman of the Medrek coalition of eight main opposition parties, has called for a new election. (Read More)
May 26, 12:53 PM EDT
Ethiopia PM rebuffs election critics
By ANITA POWELL Associated Press Writer
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -- Ethiopia's newly re-elected prime minister sharply rebuffed U.S. and European Union criticism of the weekend election, as opposition leaders called Wednesday for a rerun.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his party's landslide win in Sunday's poll was free and fair despite the EU's initial report that concluded the ruling party was given an unfair advantage. He is now poised to begin five more years of rule, and celebrated that by holding a rally on Tuesday. (read more)
CHRIS FLAHERTY GOES ON HUNGER STRIKE TO RAISE AWARENESS A
LAUDABLE CHALLENGE WE MUST ALL SUPPORT!
We have learned that the filmmaker and producer of the “Migration of Beauty” – a documentary about Ethiopians who fled their country, is launching today a one-man hunger strike in front of the White House to help raise awareness about the grim human rights conditions in Ethiopia. It must be known that Mr. Flaherty has been and remains to be one of the few friends of Ethiopia who has irelessly been campaigning for the unconditional release of Miss Birtukan Mideksa and all prisoners of conscience who continue to suffer in the dungeons of the TPLF/EPRDF regime.
SOCEPP Canada applauds and fully endorses the works and efforts of this courageous fighter for justice and human rights and will continue to do its part in all its power to make sure that the plight of Ethiopians is heard and answered positively.
We call upon all Diaspora Ethiopians and human rights advocates worldwide to heed the calls of Mr. Flaherty, support his efforts if not also do what he does best – take part in the hunger strike, so that the government of the United States and other concerned parties may pay attention to the plight of the Ethiopian people and stand behind their/our call for the respect of their human and political rights, for justice and democracy.
A fight for justice is always right and we support it wherever it takes place!
A STANDING COMMITTEE OF CANADIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSED PRE-ELECTION REPRESSION IN ETHIOPIA
On Tuesday, April 27, 2010, The Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners Canada (SOCEPP Canada) was invited to present a brief on the current situation of Ethiopia to the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Two members of SOCEPP Canada, attended and briefed the full session of the Committee in the Canadian Parliament.
To read more on this and the presentation of SOCEPP-CANADA please click on the icons on the right
Ethiopia is a federal republic led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition. The population is estimated at 77 million. In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the EPRDF won a majority of seats to remain the ruling party for a third consecutive five-year term. In local and by-elections held in April 2008, the EPRDF and allied parties took virtually all of the more than three million open seats contested nationwide. Prior to the vote, ruling coalition agents and supporters used coercive tactics and manipulation of the electoral process, including intimidation of opposition candidates and supporters. Political parties were predominantly ethnically based, and opposition parties remained splintered. During the year fighting between government forces, including local militias, and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an ethnically based, nationalist, insurgent movement operating in the Somali Region, resulted in continued allegations of human rights abuses, particularly diversion of food aid from intended beneficiaries suffering from a severe drought. While civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces, there were numerous instances in which elements within those forces acted independently of government authority. (readmore)
A Statement from Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners-Canada (SOCEPP Canada)
March 04, 2010
CANADIANS AND ETHIOPIANS CANNOT BE DUPED TO SERVE THE CAUSE OF A REPRESSIVE REGIME IN ETHIOPIA
The Canadian Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners (SOCEPP CANADA) is a non-governmental and non-partisan organization that campaigns for human rights protection and good governance in Ethiopia. One of our mandates is to inform the Canadian public and civic society groups on an ongoing basis about the continued human rights abuses and political repression in that country. As professional Ethiopian Canadians, it is our duty to inform and seek the support of the Canadian public and the government on issues that affect the interests of the two peoples.
The purpose of this statement is to bring to your attention atrocities of the current government of Ethiopia and appeal to your conscience not to get entangled in a Machiavellian scheme that is bent on making you a tool of one of the most despicable dictatorships in Africa... (To read more Click the PDF dcoument on your top right corner)
Ethiopia: Amnesty International calls on the Government of Ethiopia not to execute Melaku Tefera
Amnesty International has called on Ethiopian authorities not to execute Melaku Tefera, the only one of five men sentenced to death on 22 December 2009 who remains in Ethiopia. The other four sentenced to death in absentiaare exiled Ginbot 7 party leaders Berhanu Nega, Andargachew Tsige, Muluneh Eyouel and Mesfin Aman. On the same day 33 others, including one woman, received life sentences ( Click here to read more)
Notes and recommendations to the Heads of State and Government for the 14th Summit of the African Union
Addis Ababa – January 2010
On the occasion of the 14th Ordinary session of the Summit of Heads of state and government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, the FIDH would like to present its analysis, its preoccupations and its recommendations on the main issues that will be addressed by heads of state and governement: the issues of peace and security in Africa, the fight against impunity in Africa and, especially, the role of international justice on the continent. (click here to read more)
Release Birtukan Mideksa and All Political Prisoners!
In recognition of the first anniversary of Judge Birtukan Mideksa's unlawful imprisonment,
Advocacy for Ethiopia (AFE) calls for the unconditional release of Ethiopia's prisoner of conscience, and the first female political party leader in Ethiopia's long history, Judge Birtukan Mideksa... (Read More)
SOCEPP Canada unequivocally condemns the brutal sentencing of leaders and alleged members of the Ginbot (May) - 7 Movement!
SOCEPP Canada sincerely believes that TPLF/EPRDF latest action is part and parcel of the ongoing suppression of any dissent in the country that has become more prominent after the stolen election of May 2005. Read more
SOCEPP-CANADA WITH THE MEDIA
SOCEPP Canada had a very successful meeting in Ottawa, Canada Nov 18, 2009 where seven Members of Canadian Parliament and a number of Canadia government and non government official attended. Issues addressed in this meeting were Human Rights and the year 2010 election in Ethiopia. Presentation of organizers and invited guests and the final report of the conference were posted earlier.
This time, we are bringing you Mr. Aklilu Wondaferew's interview with the Voice Of America. Mr. Aklilu Wendaferew is the Current chairperson of SOCEPP-CANADA. We will provide you with other interviews as they come about.
If you have any comments or suggestions regarding SOCEPP-CANADA, this issue and or specifically to this interview, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tamerat Negera was the editor-in-chief of Addis Neger, a weekly newspaper in Addis Ababa that has ceased publication after intimidation and harassment by the Ethiopian government. Mr. Negera, pictured here at Addis Neger's former offices, has since fled Ethiopia. Erin Conway-Smith for The Globe and Mail
With its staff forced into exile, influential newspaper succumbs to government crackdown and prints final edition
Addis Ababa — From Monday's Globe and Mail Published on Sunday, Dec. 06, 2009 11:18PM ESTLast updated on Monday, Dec. 07, 2009 3:48AM EST
It was one of the few remaining independent voices in Ethiopia. But one by one, the editors of Addis Neger have quietly slipped out of the country, fleeing from the imprisonment that they expected at any moment. (Read More)
Advocacy for Ethiopia
until every right is respected and every person free
No Blank Check for African Kleptocrats at Copenhagen Climate Conference!
From December 6 to 18, 2009, leaders and representatives of nations around the world, international organizations, and prominent individuals will convene in Copenhagen, Denmark at the much anticipated
Summit on Climate Change. We look forward to a positive outcome of this gathering and are hopeful that the conference achieves its objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to avert the colossal implications of climate change globally. We also recognize that those who would be most affected by ongoing damaging climate change are the people of developing nations, particularly those living in the continent of Africa. (Read More)
Report of the Ottawa (Canada) Panel Discussion on Human Rights & Election 2010 in Ethiopia
Organized by the Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners in Ethiopia ? (SOCEPP-CAN), a member of The Canadian Peace-building Network (Peacebuild), a panel discussion of invited parliamentarians, civic society organizations and other guests was held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa (Canada) on November 18, 2009 on two important agenda items: The state of Human Rights and Election 2010 in Ethiopia. (for the full report pleas click on the link below)
Concern About Human Rights As Ethiopia Prepares For Elections
Ethiopians go to polls next year amidst concerns about human rights abuses.
Douglas Mpuga | Washington, DC 21 November 2009
As Ethiopians prepare for elections next year some in the opposition say a credible election is impossible without urgent political reforms. The Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners Canada (SOCEPP-Can), an Ethiopian human rights group, this week held a one-day meeting in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, to discuss human rights issues in Ethiopia and the 2010 elections. The elections are slated for May 23 1010. (Read More)
Panel Discussion: Human Rights and Elections 2010 in Ethiopia
SOCEPP Canada had a very successful conference in Ottawa , Canada yesterday, Nov 18, 2009, where seven Canadian Members of Parliament and a number of government and non government official attended. The issue was Human Rights and the year 2010 election in Ethiopia . A complete report including presentations by Amnesty International Head in Canada , and other senior Canadian NGO leaders will be posted soon. Wehave posted the Agenda, an opening speech delivered by SOCEPP-CANADA representative, Aklilu Wendaferew and the press release.
Free and Fair Election Requires Substantive Negotiation!
For Immediate Release, 21 October 2009
The Ethiopian National Priorities Consultative Process (ENPCP), a network of rights based civil society organizations, is convinced that free and fair election is an important instrument for the prevention and resolution of conflicts, and the installation of a government that is accountable to the electorate. A democratically elected government opens political space for the opposition and civil society organizations, and has a better chance of resolving conflicts, building political stability and economic prosperity that helps stem the recurring scourge of hunger. It is from this firm belief that ENPCP enunciated the minimum conditions that are necessary for holding free and fair election in Ethiopia, in 2010...
..ENPCP members also note the recent positive intervention of the diplomatic community in Addis Ababa whose past posture, in the view of the general public, did not put enough pressure to temper the bellicose stand of the ruling regime. Our hope was and still is that the negotiations between the ruling regime and the opposition will be broader in scope so that the process paves the way for a comprehensive settlement of the country’s
governance problems. We keep observing that the present negotiations between EPRDF and most opposition parties do not bode well, in some cases even abruptly interrupted, simply because the government is irresponsibly posturing to escape from substantive and an all inclusive negotiation... (Read More)
International Conflict groups "Ethiopia: Ethnic Federalism and Its Discontents," has shown the prevailing gross violations of human rights in today's Ethiopia. Angered by this document Prime Minister Meles Zenawi commented on the document as a trash compiled by his enemies. However, his comments have caught the air times of many major international radios. In relation to this, Radio France International spoke with SOCEPP-CAN chair, Mr Aklilu Wendaferw, briefly.For details, please click on the icon below
The ICG report and Meles Daniela Kroslak replied to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's recent dismissal of the International Conflict Group's "Ethiopia: Ethnic Federalism and Its Discontents," by pointing out that he thought it was important enough to read it. (Read more)
ETHIOPIA: ETHNIC FEDERALISM AND ITS DISCONTENTS
The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), led by its chairman and prime minister, Meles Zenawi, has radically reformed Ethiopia’s political system. The regime transformed the hitherto centralised state into the Federal Democratic Republic and also redefined citizenship, politics and identity on ethnic grounds. The intent was to create a more prosperous, just and representative state for all its people. Yet, despite continued economic growth and promised democratisation, there is growing discontent with the EPRDF’s ethnically defined state and rigid grip on power and fears of continued interethnic conflict. The international community should take Ethiopia’s governance problems much more seriously and adopt a more principled position towards the government. Without genuine multi-party democracy, the tensions and pressures in Ethiopia’s polities will only grow, greatly increasing the possibility of a violent eruption that would destabilise the country and region. ( Read More)
Ethiopia: Human rights violations and conflicts continue to cause displacement
For decades, Ethiopia has been affected by famine and conflict. In 2009, there have been various reports of internal displacement resulting from conflicts and human rights viola-tions perpetrated by the army and groups opposed to the government. It is difficult to estab-lish the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) as neither the government nor any international organisation has undertaken a profiling exercise. The access of humanitarian and human rights organisations and the media to some areas of the country has been re-stricted.
The ongoing conflicts in Somali Region between the army and the Ogaden National Libera-tion Front, and in the south and south-west of the country with the Oromo Liberation Front, both pose serious security, humanitarian and protection challenges. The impact on civilians of the conflict in Somali Region has been likened to that of Darfur. Meanwhile, there are also conflicts in at least five of the country’s nine regions with causes ranging from compe-tition over scarce water and pasture resources to disputes over administrative boundaries. In February 2009 alone, some 160,000 people were driven from their homes by conflict be-tween the Garre of the Somali region and the Boran of the Oromiya region over a contested piece of land.
Displacement in Ethiopia is well documented but there is no evidence of durable solutions for IDPs. There is no agency or ministry mandated to respond to issues of forced internal displacement. Even though Ethiopia is actively involved in the drafting of the African Union convention on internally displaced people, there is growing evidence to suggest that con-flicts in the country have far-reaching implications for protection and humanitarian assis-tance for internally displaced people. In a context of widespread impunity, no-one sanctioning violence that leads to displacement has been prosecuted.
The absence of political efforts to resolve internal conflicts and the continuing border dis-pute with Eritrea presents an ongoing serious risk of renewed conflict and displacement in the Horn of Africa. If the government does not improve humanitarian access, affected IDPs and other vulnerable people will continue to face a protection and humanitarian crisis (Read More)
We demand justice for Makhtal Beshir
A number of media sources reported today, August 3, 2009, that a court in Addis Ababa , Ethiopia sentenced the Ethiopian born Canadian, Mr. Makhtal Beshir to life imprisonment for his alleged leadership role in the outlawed group Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). Read More
Please refer to "The Toronto Star"( Lawsuit challenges aid to Ethiopia ) link below for further information related to this case.
Lawsuit challenges aid to Ethiopia
...A lawsuit against the Canadian government filed yesterday in federal court argues that Canada is breaking the law by providing financial aid to Ethiopia. Read more
For your further information, you may Click here and Listen to CBC radio interview
ENPCP Letter to The President of the United States
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
We, the undersigned, represent the collaborative effort of rights based civil society organizations and individuals of Ethiopian origin, living in North America, Africa, and Europe under an umbrella group called the Ethiopian National Priorities Consultative Process ENPCP. This fledgling effort, launched two years ago, has been initiated by a burning desire to promote a fresh grass-root democratic movement that can help ensure the protection of Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law in Ethiopia. The first inaugural public activity of the ENPCP took place successfully on 2
nd July 2009 in Chicago with a daylong Symposium as a preparatory effort for holding a National Convention by early 2010... Read More
We, members of the Ethiopian National Priorities Consultative Process (ENPCP) comprising civic society organizations and individuals, after having met in Chicago on 2nd July 2009, after having conducted serious deliberations on the basis of ENPCP’s fundamental principles, and: ( Read more )
African Union refuses to cooperate with Bashir arrest warrant 6 July 2009 The African Union (AU) has refused to cooperate with a war crimes arrest warrant against Sudan President Omar al-Bashir. Amnesty International has described the AU's decision not to acknowledge the warrant, which was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March, as an insult to victims of human rights violations in Darfur. (Read More)
Proposed Counterterrorism Legislation Violates Human Rights
June 30, 2009 (Nairobi) - Ethiopia's draft counterterrorism law could punish political speech and peaceful protest as terrorist acts and encourage unfair trials if enacted, Human Rights Watch said today. The government and members of parliament should amend the draft law, which may otherwise be imminently passed as-is by parliament, to meet international human rights standards, Human Rights Watch said. (Read the full text)
Ex-UN chief Kofi Annan tells Kenya to set up a poll violence tribunal by August or he will hand a list of suspects to the ICC. (read more)
Amnesty InternationalREPORT 2009 The State of the World's Human Rights Amnesty International is calling for a New Global Deal on human rights, because of a human rights investment gap by world leaders. "It's not just the economy, it's a human rights crisis – the world is sitting on a social, political and economic time bomb," said Irene Khan.
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.(Read more)
Press Release The Launching of the Ethiopian National Priorities Consultative Process (ENPCP) 5th May 2009
This first communiqué announces the launching of the Ethiopian National Priorities Consultative Process (ENPCP.) We are freely associated, non-partisan, non-profit civil society organizations (CSOs,) and individuals, that have been deliberating for over a year, with the initiative and support of the Ethiopian National Congress (ENC,) in order to forge genuine partnership, and unity of purpose and action...
Sustained resistance by Ethiopians from all walks of life against oppression and division has not produced the desired outcome of freedom and democracy, largely due to an unresponsive government but also from lack of unity amongst political and civic leaders that spearheaded the struggle…. (Read More)
The Candian Governement Shares SOCEPP-CANADA's Concern “Human Rights, the right to due process and democracy are key Canadian values and the Government of Canada will continue to encourage the Government of Ethiopia in this regard. Canadian officials in Addis Ababa are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to use appropriate forums to engage with the Government of Ethiopia on this issue.” (to read more, click on the line below)
SOCEPP-Canada is deeply concerned about the detention of 35 individuals in Addis Ababa under the pretext of coup plot April 27, 2009
The regime says the people arrested in April 25, 2009 raids fall into two groups: some were soldiers and others civil servants. It also claims that weapons had been found, including land mines, as well as military uniforms and copies of the group’s future plans,.Reports coming out of Ethiopia indicate that those arrested included an army general,Teferra Mamo and a civilian Melaku Tefera, an organizer for the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice Party who was reportedly among the kinijit leaders arrested following the rigged 2005 election. Additionally, it is reported that the accused included relatives of the exiled leaders of Ginbot 7, Dr Berhanu Nega as well as the 80-years old father of Andargachew Tsige. (To read more click on the next line)
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. (read more)
Lawsuit challenges aid to Ethiopia ...But now comes an inventive court challenge that lawyers for Bashir Makhtal hope will pack a financial punch and lead to the Canadian's release from Ethiopia.
A lawsuit against the Canadian government filed yesterday in federal court argues that Canada is breaking the law by providing financial aid to Ethiopia.
"Official government development aid shall only be provided to countries if the aid `is consistent with international human rights standards,'" the claim alleges, quoting from a new law that came into effect in June... (Read more)
eles included in the 2009 World’s Worst Dictators list
Posted 23rd March 2009
By David Wallechinsky
No16 World’s Worst DictatorEthiopia
Age:53 In power since:1991 Last year’s rank:15
A former guerrilla leader, Meles shows no signs of sharing power with anyone. In January, his government passed a law forbidding any NGO that receives more than 10% of its budget from abroad from doing human rights work in Ethiopia. Despite Meles’ excesses, the U.S. considers him an important regional ally and continues to train his military.