Ethiopia Losing Foreign-Investment Appeal as Attacks Spread

Ethiopia’s attraction as a favorite new destination for foreign investors is fast dissipating as businesses owned by Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote and Dutch fruit processors come under attack in growing political unrest.

The government declared a six-month state of emergency Sunday to deal with the violence accompanying protests by ethnic Oromo and Amhara communities that began 11 months ago over dispossession of their land, political marginalization and state repression. The security forces have killed more than 700 people during the demonstrations, according to the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia. The government says the attacks are being orchestrated by “foreign elements.”

Ethiopia Losing Foreign-Investment Appeal as Attacks Spread – Bloomberg

Ethiopia’s attraction as a favorite new destination for foreign investors is fast dissipating as businesses owned by Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote and Dutch fruit processors come under attack in growing political unrest.

The government declared a six-month state of emergency Sunday to deal with the violence accompanying protests by ethnic Oromo and Amhara communities that began 11 months ago over dispossession of their land, political marginalization and state repression. The security forces have killed more than 700 people during the demonstrations, according to the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia. The government says the attacks are being orchestrated by “foreign elements.” (Read More)

Ethiopia’s State of Emergency

Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners (SOCEPP-Canada)

የኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካ እሥረኞች አንድነት ኮሚቴ (ኢፖእአኮ-ካናዳ)

Email: socepp.can@humanrightsethiopia.com and socepp.can@sympatico.ca

Web: www.humanrightsethiopia.com

October 9, 2016

FROM THE FRYING PAN TO THE FIRE

Ethiopia’s State of Emergency

We are immensely offended to hear the Ethiopian government moving in reverse direction to the wishes of its people and the appeals of international rights groups, including SOCEPP Canada. Over the last 11 months the country has been engulfed by a growing number of protests that have increased in scale and intensity.  Among the demands protestors carried were included “release political prisoners”, “stop the killing of protestors”, “lift the lid on independent media and freedom of expression” and “start consultations with the opposition on the political direction of the country” etc..

 

Unfortunately the response of the government has been extremely violent and extremely brutal; to date hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands imprisoned. True to its repressive nature the government has called out the armed forces, with tanks and machine guns, to confront unarmed protestors. However, the heavy handed government response did not deter the protestors; on the contrary the turn outs have been massive and the geographic coverage extended from south to north. It is worth to note that these protests are fueled by anger and frustration against a dictatorship that has mismanaged the country and abused human rights for twenty five odd years.

 

On Saturday, October 8, 2016 the Ethiopian regime declared a State of Emergency. As we take a closer look at the current situation in Ethiopia, we must ask, why is the regime going forward with such a declaration in spite of local and international appeals to the contrary. Until today the government has wantonly killed and incarcerated protestors, locked up opposition leaders, banned news papers and closed internet connections; but the protests are not dead or weakened; on the contrary they have grown more popular, more resilient and more wide-spread. The only objective of the government, we may assume, in declaring a State of Emergency is to perpetrate mass killings on a captive population and continue the reign of terror and tyranny with out anyone witnessing.

 

SOCEPP Canada considers this a flagrant violation of the constitutional rights of Ethiopians and a breach of UN Human Rights protocols to which the country is signatory. We condemn in no uncertain terms this act of tyranny and call upon the Canadian government, the international community and international media net works to raise their voice and protest against the State of Emergency declared by the Ethiopian government.

SOCEPP Canada

To Permanent Representatives of Members and Observer States of theUN Human Rights Council

….The situation in Ethiopia has become increasingly unstable since security forces repeatedly fired upon protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions in August 2016. On 6 and 7 August alone, Amnesty International reported at least 100 killings and scores of arrests during protests that took place across multiple towns in both regions. Protesters had taken to the streets throughout the Amhara and Oromia regions to express discontent over the ruling party’s dominance in government affairs, the lack of rule of law, and grave human rights violations for which there has been no accountability….(Read More)

Ottawa urged to advocate for human rights in Ethiopia – Article – FYI

Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

On Sat, Sep 3, 2016 at 14:58, Mesfin Beyene
<mmesfinbeyene@yahoo.com> wrote:
Ottawa urged to advocate for human rights in Ethiopia
GEOFFREY YORK
JOHANNESBURG — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Sep. 02, 2016 5:33PM EDT

When Ethiopian security forces killed dozens of peaceful protesters in a hail of gunfire last month, the Canadian government responded with a brief tweet to say it was “disturbed” by the deaths.

But Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan did not cancel his scheduled visit to Ethiopia.

Three days after the killings, he arrived in its capital and held a friendly meeting with Ethiopia’s defence minister and prime minister, making no public comment about the government’s actions.

Canada’s muted response to the lethal crackdown on the biggest protests in Ethiopia’s recent history is a sign of its continuing close relationship with the East African country.

Ethiopia is often among the first stops for Canadian cabinet ministers when they visit Africa, and it remains one of the biggest beneficiaries of Canadian foreign aid, receiving $108-million from Ottawa last year.

The Liberal government, which has promised a “re-engagement” with Africa, must decide how to engage with Africa’s human-rights abusers, of which Ethiopia is among the worst.

The government in Addis Ababa has a long record of jailing and killing its critics, manipulating elections and using Western food aid to reward its supporters and punish its opponents.

The question many are asking now is whether the Liberals will turn a blind eye to these abuses as it tries to revive Canada’s often-neglected relations with Africa.

The growing wave of protests against the Ethiopian government over the past 10 months, especially in the Oromiya and Amhara regions, has been the most significant in this authoritarian nation for more than a decade.

And they have spread to the Ethiopian diaspora around the world, symbolized by Ethiopian marathon runners who made protest gestures as they crossed the finish line at the Rio Olympics and elsewhere.

The protests reached Canada last Sunday, at the Quebec City Marathon, when the winning runner, Ebisa Ejigu, a Canadian resident of Ethiopian origin, clenched his fists and crossed his arms in an “X” sign above his head as he crossed the finish line.

The gesture is a sign of solidarity with the Oromo people, the largest ethnicity in Ethiopia, who have been demonstrating against government plans to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, into traditional Oromo farmland.

A week earlier, Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa made the same protest gesture as he crossed the finish line at the Olympics.

He won the silver medal – and then refused to return home to Ethiopia, telling journalists that he is afraid of being imprisoned or killed for his protest actions.

“The Ethiopian government is killing my people,” he told journalists.

“My relatives are in prison, and if they talk about democratic rights they are killed.”

Ethiopian security forces killed more than 400 protesters in the Oromiya region – and arrested tens of thousands more – from last November until June, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

This was followed by the killing of a further 100 protesters last month, reports say.

Canada and other Western countries have long regarded Ethiopia as a useful ally in the fight against Islamist extremism in Somalia and elsewhere in East Africa.

Canada has been one of the biggest donors to Ethiopia in recent years, providing several hundred million dollars in development and humanitarian assistance.

The Liberal government could use this leverage to put pressure on Ethiopia to halt its killing of protesters, according to human-rights groups and Ethiopian-Canadian activists.

“We’ve been very concerned that the Ethiopian government has had a bit of a free ride from Canada and the international community,” said Alex Neve, secretary general of the Canadian branch of Amnesty International.

He said it is “utterly unacceptable” that Canadian officials and cabinet ministers don’t apply strong pressure on the Ethiopian government to halt the killing of protesters.

“It is absolutely time for Canada to make clear that this has to stop.”

Aside from the short tweet of disapproval from the Global Affairs department, there is no record of public statements by the Liberal government about the killings last month.

But a Global Affairs spokeswoman said Canada is “deeply concerned” about the reported deaths of the protesters.

“Canada has raised these concerns directly with the government of Ethiopia, and will continue to do so,” spokeswoman Jocelyn Sweet said in response to questions from The Globe and Mail.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Renée Filiatrault, deputy chief of staff to Mr. Sajjan, said the issue of the killing of protesters was “raised in private bilateral conversations” during the defence minister’s visit to Ethiopia.

“While I can’t go any further, I can say that the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms is key to our foreign policy and was a topic of discussion in every meeting that we had,” she said.

Some activists are urging the Liberal government to halt the flow of Canadian aid to Ethiopia and find ways to penalize the regime for its crackdown on protesters.

“Canada’s aid to Ethiopia has been a failed experiment in turning brutal dictators into democrats,” said Yohannes Berhe, an Ethiopian-Canadian human-rights activist.

“Spending taxpayers’ money without any measure of accountability and without demanding true political reform is, at the very least, a wasteful endeavour, and at worst, tantamount to encouraging one of the most repressive regimes in Africa.”