Saturday, July 26, 2014

Let God save Ethiopia from toothless oppositions and from arrogance of TPLF

By YOHANNES Y

Recently, the Gibot 7 secretary, Andargachew Tsigge, was capture by TPLF regime. I was shocked that the TPLF were capable to go out and captured their opponent in a foreign country and no forces were seemingly able to stop them. TPLF tried to send a clear signal to the Ethiopian oppositions: it is a matter of time, wherever you are, we will get you.

But the question is what does the Ethiopian government have to offer the western and other countries to silence them on this massive human right abuse?

The Ethiopian opposition and particularly Ginbot 7 seemed irrelevant in Ethiopia and in Ethiopian people struggle. All they do was vibrate their tongue from a distance without any proof of their existence in Ethiopia; even in the western countries, they cannot organize gravely divided Ethiopian societies, let alone fight in Ethiopia.
So the Ethiopian oppositions seem to have overestimated their own capabilities and their ability to execute a massive opposition movement in Ethiopia; because the Ethiopian government controlled the country, they could not find even a small opening to start a movement.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Joint letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister on Charges against Bloggers and Journalists


Who is in charge? I do not think Hailemariam Desalegn got power to change anything at all...
Re: Detained Journalists and Bloggers

Dear Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn,

We write to you to express our grave concern regarding the terrorism charges laid against seven bloggers associated with the “Zone 9” website and three independent journalists in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights—which both expressly protect the right to freedom of expression. We therefore urge your government to fulfill its obligations under international law and release all individuals who have been arbitrarily detained in violation of their fundamental rights.

As you may be aware, six of the bloggers (Zelalem Kibret, Atnaf Berahane, Natnael Feleke, Mahlet Fantahun, Befeqadu Hailu, and Abel Wabela) and the three journalists (Tesfalem Waldyes, Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, and Edom Kassaye) were arrested in late April, shortly after it was announced that the Zone 9 website would resume its activities after suspending operations because of increasing harassment and surveillance. All nine detainees were subsequently held for nearly three months before any specific allegations were presented or formal charges filed against them. Most concerning, however, are reports that some of the detainees have complained of serious mistreatment by investigators and that defense lawyers and their clients have been excluded from some of the proceedings.

Recent reports now indicate that the detained bloggers and journalists have been charged under the widely-criticized 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, including provisions that provide for the death penalty, in addition to charges of committing “outrages against the constitution.” A seventh blogger, Soleyana Shimeles, was also charged in absentia. In accordance with the requirements of both Ethiopian and international law, we call on you to ensure that all allegations of torture or other forms of ill-treatment are promptly investigated and that no statements obtained through such means are admitted in court. Further, we call on you to ensure that the detainees have full access to the assistance of legal counsel and that the proceedings related to this case are open to the public, the media, and members of the diplomatic community.

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Turning Ethiopia Into China's China

Ethiopian workers walking through the parking lot of Huajian Shoes’ factory outside Addis Ababa in June chose the wrong day to leave their shirts untucked. The company’s president, just arrived from China, spotted them through the window, sprang up, and ran outside. Zhang Huarong, a former People’s Liberation Army soldier, harangued them in Chinese, tugging at one man’s polo shirt and forcing another worker’s into his pants. Amazed, the workers stood silent until the eruption subsided.

Zhang’s factory is part of the next wave of China’s investment in Africa. It started with infrastructure, especially the kind that helped the Chinese extract African oil, copper, and other raw materials to fuel China’s industrial complex. Now China is getting too expensive to do the low-tech work it’s known for. African nations such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania want their share of the 80 million manufacturing jobs that China is expected to export, according to Justin Lin Yifu, a former World Bank chief economist who teaches economics at Peking University. Weaker consumer spending in the U.S. and Europe has prompted global retailers to speed up their search for lower-cost producers.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ethiopia: Drop Case Against Bloggers, Journalists

Nairobi, July 19, 2014) – The Ethiopian government should immediately drop politically motivated charges brought against 10 bloggers and journalists on July 17, 2014, under the country’s deeply flawed anti-terrorism law.

The Ethiopian authorities arrested six of the bloggers and three journalists on April 25 and 26. They have been detained in Maekelawi, the Federal Police Crime Investigation Sector in Addis Ababa. The court charged the nine with having links to banned opposition groups and trying to violently overthrow the government, local media reported. A tenth blogger, who was not in Ethiopia at the time of the arrests, was charged in absentia.

“Ethiopia’s courts are making a mockery of their own judicial system,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Hiding behind an abusive anti-terrorism law to prosecute bloggers and journalists doing their job is an affront to the constitution and international protection for free expression.”

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Friday, July 18, 2014

How Do You Solve a problem like Ethiopia?

Why the arrest of one of Addis Ababa's most vocal critics is a huge embarrassment for the West.

Tall metal gates guard a courtyard just off a busy street north of London's financial district. The area, once down and out, is today much sought after, but scattered between the newly refurbished warehouses and loft apartments are some blocks of municipal housing populated largely by the city's African immigrant communities. Inside their yard, small boys are kicking a soccer ball. "Yemi's my mum," one of the boys says, leading the way up the building's aging concrete stairwell to the fourth-floor flat.

A small, slim woman, Yemi smiles easily. On her shelves are portraits of her parents, who left Ethiopia for the United States in 1982 to make a new life for their family. A black-and-white photograph shows her father as a young man in Ethiopian uniform. "He was in the army," Yemi explains. "But he left for civilian life in 1972 before the Derg took power."

The Derg, or "Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army," comprised a group of low-ranking officers who deposed Emperor Haile Selassie. The emperor had ruled Ethiopia for four decades until his failure to respond to a devastating famine in 1974 led to his overthrow and subsequent murder. Mengistu Haile Mariam, an obscure army major, led the coup and went on to rule Ethiopia with an iron fist, engaging in a ruthless campaign of repression that became known as the Red Terror. Executions were rife and tens of thousands of people were imprisoned until the Derg was ousted by the country's current rulers in 1991.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ethiopian farmer takes UK to court over 'brutal' resettlement policy

Legal battle launched after man claims he was evicted from his farm and beaten under villagisation scheme funded by UK aid

The UK's Department for International Development (DfID) is to face a full judicial review over its alleged funding of rights abuses in Ethiopia.


On Monday, a high court judge ruled that "Mr O", an Ethiopian farmer who claims that British aid helped fund a brutal forced resettlement programme in his home country, has an arguable case against the UK government.


His lawyers argue there is evidence that British aid contributions to Ethiopia's promotion of basic services (PBS) programme has helped support its controversial villagisation programme, which aims to move 1.5 million rural families from their land to new "model" villages across the country.


Since it was launched in 2010,the resettlement programme has been dogged by allegations of forced evictions, rapes, beatings and disappearances.


Ethiopia is one of the biggest recipients of British aid and the UK is a major donor to its PBS programme, which is intended to improve access to education, healthcare and other services for poor and nomadic people. However, human rights campaigners say British money is also being used to pay the salaries and administrative costs of the officials running the relocation scheme.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Ethiopia: UK Aid Should Respect Rights

Ruling Permits Review of Development Agency’s Compliance

July 14, 2014

(London) – A UK High Court ruling allowing judicial review of the UK aid agency’s compliance with its own human rights policies in Ethiopia is an important step toward greater accountability in development assistance.

In its decision of July 14, 2014, the High Court ruled that allegations that the UK Department for International Development (DFID) did not adequately assess evidence of human rights violations in Ethiopia deserve a full judicial review.

“The UK high court ruling is just a first step, but it should be a wake-up call for the government and other donors that they need rigorous monitoring to make sure their development programs are upholding their commitments to human rights,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director. “UK development aid to Ethiopia can help reduce poverty, but serious rights abuses should never be ignored.”

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