Friday, August 11, 2017

How climate change might affect the Nile

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will have to learn to share water, or their people will suffer

TO THE untrained eye, the satellite photos of north-west Ethiopia on July 10th may have seemed benign. They showed a relatively small pool of water next to an enormous building site on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the Nile river. But the project under construction is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is more than halfway complete. And the water is why it is so controversial.

Since Ethiopia announced its plan to build the dam, it has inspired threats of sabotage from Egypt, which sits downstream and relies on the Nile for electricity, farming and drinking water. Egypt claims that it is entitled to a certain proportion of the Nile’s water based on colonial-era treaties. Ethiopia dismisses those agreements. The pool of water in the photos suggested that it was beginning to fill the reservoir behind the dam, reducing the river’s flow.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Up to 50 migrants from Somalia, Ethiopia `deliberately drowned' by smuggler off Yemen, UN says.

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Up to 50 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia were “deliberately drowned” when a smuggler forced them into the sea off Yemen’s coast, the U.N. migration agency said Wednesday, calling the drownings “shocking and inhumane.”

International Organization for Migration staffers found the shallow graves of 29 of the migrants on a beach in Shabwa during a routine patrol, the agency’s statement said. The dead were buried by those who survived.

At least 22 migrants remained missing, the IOM said. The passengers’ average age was around 16, the agency said.

The narrow waters between the Horn of Africa and Yemen have been a popular migration route despite Yemen’s ongoing conflict. Migrants try to make their way to the oil-rich Gulf countries.

The smuggler forced more than 120 migrants into the sea Wednesday morning as they approached Yemen’s coast, the IOM statement said.

“The survivors told our colleagues on the beach that the smuggler pushed them to the sea when he saw some ‘authority types’ near the coast,” said Laurent de Boeck, the IOM’s chief of mission in Yemen. “They also told us that the smuggler has already returned to Somalia to continue his business and pick up more migrants to bring to Yemen on the same route.”

IOM staffers provided aid for 27 surviving migrants who remained on the beach, while other migrants left.

De Boeck called the suffering of migrants on the route enormous, especially during the current windy season on the Indian Ocean. “Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future,” he said.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Corruption Is Holding Back Democracy and Prosperity in Ethiopia

Charles Busch / James M. Roberts / August 07, 2017 /

Ethiopia, a huge and beautiful country that straddles the Great Rift Valley just north of the equator in Africa, traces its history to biblical times.

Blessed with a long growing season and rich agricultural land, it is also a nation in political turmoil—albeit also one that is a key U.S. ally and partner in the fight against terrorism throughout that turbulent region of the world.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s political coalition claimed all 547 seats in May 2015 parliamentary elections that critics charge were conducted in an atmosphere of government intimidation.

Little remains of democracy in Ethiopia, especially since the hardening (beginning in 2015) of enforcement of laws that repress political opposition, tighten control of civil society, suppress independent media, and control online activity.

Although robust economic growth has reduced the percentage of the population living in poverty, the government’s violent repression of demonstrations in the past 12 months by the large Oromo tribe has claimed hundreds of lives.

In response to domestic and international pressure, in 2016 the government established the Ethiopia Human Rights Commission to investigate abuses.

Regarding the police’s aggressive use of teargas at a festival that triggered a stampede that killed dozens, the head of the Commission, Addisu Gebre-Egziabher, said that the state actors were “negligent.”

Speaking at an event attended by Heritage Foundation analysts in July 2017 at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, Gebre-Egziabher promised that those in power using excessive force are “being held accountable.”

This is a step in the right direction, but only time will tell if it is truly effective.

The commission is still largely connected to and dependent upon the government for substantial action. Freedom House reports that the media remains severely restricted in the country and that some journalists are among the political prisoners held by the state in grueling conditions.

Ethiopia’s overall score in The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom has risen by more than three points during the past five years, but if human rights conditions deteriorate, continued progress could be jeopardized.

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Ethiopia govt 'redefined protesters grievances,' lifting curfew 'welcome news' - HRW

They will never listen.... but hope they will learn through hard way

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban 1 hour ago

International rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says according to information available to them, it is just a matter of time before protests hit Ethiopia again if the government does not aver itself to the true demands of protesters.

According to HRW’s Senior Researcher for the Horn of Africa region, Felix Horne, the government used the October 2016 state of emergency rule to achieve the end of halting protests but it had failed to address the root causes of the mass action.

Horne in a statement reacting to the end of the state of emergency said despite the end of the curfew which he described as ‘welcome news, ‘‘Government Should Use Reform, Not Force, to Avoid More Protests.’

‘In October 2016, at the beginning of the state of emergency, the government promised “deep reform” in response to the year-long protests that left over 1000 people dead. The reforms included tackling corruption, cabinet reshuffles, and a dialogue with what was left of opposition political parties.

‘‘The government also pledged youth job creation and good governance. But these are not the fundamental issues that protesters raised during the hundreds of rallies between November 2015 and October 2016.

‘‘The government has largely redefined protester grievances in its own terms, ignoring more fundamental demands to open up political space, allow dissent, and tolerate different perspectives that are critical in such a large and ethnically diverse country,’‘ he said.

He further reiterated the failure of Addis Ababa ‘‘to conduct even a remotely credible investigation into security force abuses since the protests began.’‘ Consequently, he renewed calls for an independent investigation into the deaths.

Horned averred that despite the opportunity the 10-month long curfew gave authorities to deal with issues that will bring durable peace, they failed via the use of brutal force. ‘‘Suppressing grievances through brutal force is more likely to provoke instability than to ensure Ethiopia’s long-term stability,’‘ he stressed.

He called on the government to release those arbitrarily detained or subject to politically motivated charges, including leading opposition politician Dr. Merera Gudina, Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress.

HRW has in the past voiced their concerns over the extent to which emergency powers had resulted in mass detentions across the country. The decried what they said were politically motivated charges and restrictions on movement and communication.
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Friday, July 28, 2017

British (In)Justice: The Persecution by Proxy Prosecution of Ethiopian Dissident Tadesse B. Kersmo

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

I cut my “legal teeth” nearly four decades ago pouring over the Magna Carta, Blackstone’s “Commentaries” and Edward Coke’s legal treatises on the primacy of common law principles and the rule of law. Coke enunciated the principle of judicial review (and supremacy) in Bonham’s Case declaring, “when an act of parliament is against common right or reason, or repugnant, or impossible to be performed, the common law will control it and adjudge such act to be void.” Blackstone later described the power of Parliament to make laws in England as absolute and without control. Judicial review today is the linchpin of American democracy as President Donald Trump has learned.

More recently, I took great pride in celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta on my campus with my students (arguably the only celebration of its kind on any American campus in 2015). It was an honor to have my commentary, “A Magna Carta for Ethiopia” posted on the official website of the 800th Magna Carta Committee.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Egypt faces water insecurity as Ethiopian mega-dam starts filling

why Egyptian complaining so and they sent So much ??

Published on 18/07/2017, 5:24am

Farmers along the lower Nile have little information to guide them as upriver barrage threatens to compound the impacts of global warming

By Aya Nader in Cairo

“The land has become very dry,” observes Mahmoud Abo Khokha, a farmer from Al Monofeyya governorate, in Egypt’s Nile delta. “Drought is no longer predictable; it used to hit a certain 15 winter days. The whole year’s crops could be destroyed because of one week’s drought.”

Like most farmers round here, he blames Ethiopia. They are under the impression that a massive hydropower dam being built upriver is already affecting their water supply.

In fact, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is only starting to store water this month, reports Daily News Egypt, citing Ethiopian officials. The water scarcity farmers have experienced to date has other causes: climate change and the demands of a growing population.

But during the 5-15 years it is expected to take to fill the reservoir behind the 1,800 metre-wide barrage, the Nile’s fresh water flow to Egypt may be cut by up to 25%.

“Nobody is telling farmers how to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” says Magda Ghoneim, a socio-economist and professor of agricultural development at Ain Shams University. “Adding the pressure of a dam puts Egypt on the verge of catastrophe. Soon enough we won’t [find food to] eat.”

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Ethiopia set to run out of food aid for 7.8 million people as drought drags on

Ethiopia will run out of emergency food aid for 7.8 million people hit by severe drought by the end of this month, the Government and humanitarian groups have said.
Successive failed rains blamed by meteorologists on fluctuations in ocean temperatures known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) have created a series of severe back-to-back droughts in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region.

In Ethiopia, the number of people now critically short of food is expected to rise by at least 2 million by next month.

Donors, international aid groups and the Government said existing food aid for the current 7.8 million would run out as funds are critically short this year, with Ethiopia receiving only slightly more than half of the $US1.235 billion to meet requirements until July.

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Ethiopia denies emergency food aid will run out within weeks

Ethiopia has denied suggestions by UN officials that it will run out of emergency food aid for millions of people by the end of this month.

The UN's World Food Programme said 7.8 million people affected by drought would be left without food assistance.

But Ethiopian officials put the number of those affected at 1.7 million and said they would receive new help either from donors or the government.

Ethiopia has been struggling following successive failed rains.

Famine has been declared in South Sudan, and there have been warnings of famine in north-east Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia.

Ethiopia's commissioner for disaster risk management Mitiku Kassa said: "It's true that in some areas food will run out by the end of the month but this will only affect around 1.7 million people.

"We expect the donor community to step in to fill that gap and we are hopeful. But if they fail to do that, we will have to use some of our development budget to provide emergency assistance to our people."

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ethiopian politician Yonatan Tesfaye guilty of terror charge

Ethiopian opposition politician Yonatan Tesfaye has been found guilty of encouraging terrorism for comments he made on Facebook.

He was arrested in December 2015 as a wave of anti-government protests in the Oromia region was gathering momentum.

The authorities objected to several posts including one in which he said the government used "force against the people instead of peaceful discussion".

Ethiopia has been criticised for using anti-terror laws to silence dissent.

Amnesty International described the charges as "trumped up", when they were confirmed in May 2016.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Anguish and unrest in Amhara over Ethiopian state of emergency

Anti-government protests spread from Oromia to country’s second most populous area

In the Ethiopian city of Gondar the chewing of the mildly narcotic plant khat stimulates animated conversation about recent events during the country’s ongoing state of emergency.

“If you kill your own people how are you a soldier – you are a terrorist,” says 32-year-old Tesfaye, plucking at a bunch of green leaves. He recently left the military after seven years of service around the border with Somalia. “I became a soldier to protect my people.”

Demonstrations last August in the country’s Amhara region, and particularly the cities of Bahir Dar (the region’s capital) and Gondar (the former historical seat of Ethiopian rule) signalled the spreading of protests to Ethiopia’s second most populated region.

For much of the previous year, protesters in the Oromia region, to the south of Amhara, had been engaged in anti-government demonstrations to highlight perceived discrimination against the Oromo people.

The Oromo and Amhara are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups and both claim they are excluded from the country’s political process and economic development.

On October 9th, 2016, following further unrest, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front party declared a six-month state of emergency, which was extended for four months at the end of March this year

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