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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Corruption Currents - Ethiopian Illicit Outflows Doubled In 2009, New Report Says

By Christopher Matthews

Ethiopia lost $11.7 billion to outflows of ill-gotten gains between 2000 and 2009, according to a coming report by Global Financial Integrity.

That’s a lot of money to lose to corruption for a country that has a per-capita GDP of just $365. In 2009, illicit money leaving the country totaled $3.26 billion, double the amount in each of the two previous years. The capital flight is also disturbing because the country received $829 million in development aid in 2008.

According to GFI economist Sarah Freitas, who co-authored the report, corruption, kickbacks and bribery accounted for the vast majority of the increase in illicit outflows.

“The scope of Ethiopia’s capital flight is so severe that our conservative US$3.26 billion estimate greatly exceeds the US$2 billion value of Ethiopia’s total exports in 2009,” Freitas wrote in a blog post on the website of the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development.

The report, titled “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries over the Decade Ending 2009,” drew on data from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on external debt and trade mis-pricing to calculate illicit capital leakage. The study, which will be released later this month, measures the illicit financial flows out of 160 different developing nations.

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries on earth as 38.9% of Ethiopians live in poverty, and life expectancy in 2009 was just 58 years.

“The people of Ethiopia are being bled dry,” Freitas wrote. “No matter how hard they try to fight their way out of absolute destitution and poverty, they will be swimming upstream against the current of illicit capital leakage.”

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Ethiopia's crackdown 'a threat to democracy'

By Jenny Vaughan (AFP) | December 1, 2011

A spate of arrests and terrorism charges leveled against opposition politicians and journalists in Ethiopia this year raises fears of a government slide away from democracy, analysts warn.

"The sheer numbers of arrests and prosecutions this year indicate a systematic crackdown, a systematic dismantling of the last few independent voices," said Amnesty International's Ethiopia researcher Claire Beston.

"The democratic process has been made a mockery by the events this year," she added. In November, 24 people were charged with terrorism and three journalists fled the country, citing fear of prosecution or imprisonment.

Local media also reported in November that an Ethiopian man called on his compatriots to fight for freedom, before torching himself to death.

"This is indicative of the desperation that people are starting to feel in Ethiopia," Beston added. The case follows several mass arrests: over 150 opposition members and journalists have been jailed since January, the worst crackdown since the country's bloody 2005 elections, according to rights groups.

Scores, including two Swedish journalists arrested after entering illegally into Ethiopia, are charged with terrorism. "We have reached a seminal point, which unfortunately we hit in the 2005 post-election crisis," said Tom Rhodes, from the Washington-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

"We were always afraid of reaching those dark days again and I feel now in 2011, six years later, we've reached them," he told AFP.

Political science professor Merera Gudina said the unrest is a popular reaction to a worsening economic climate in the country, where basic costs are rising. Food prices have jumped 63 percent from last year, according to the World Bank.

"The cost of living is really dramatically increasing and many people are going hungry," the Addis Ababa University teacher said. "Hostility from the population can be expected."

But government spokesperson Bereket Simon insists the ruling party is "trying its best" to address social and economic inequality.

"The government is moving in the right direction, there might be problems here and there, but we are solving problems as we go along," he said. Ethiopia is one of Africa's fastest growing economies and has seen great improvements in the areas of child mortality and malnutrition.

But some say these improvements are not enough to stave off popular discontent. Beston said the surge in arrests is driven by a fear of an Arab Spring-style social uprising. "The government has indicated they fear those protests and a mass-scale uprising moving to Ethiopia, and they have taken measures to prevent that from happening," Beston said.

The political environment is too tight to allow for mass protest, said Ben Rawlence from Human Rights Watch (HRW). "It's not a question of whether the Ethiopians might follow the Arab Spring. They had a spring (in 2005) and it didn't bloom into summer, it went back into winter," he said.

Bereket insists most Ethiopians want to see the government develop, not topple it.  "We see cooperation being the rule rather than the exception. Most Ethiopian are cooperating to fight poverty and support good governance," he said. Bereket added this year's arrests are in response to legitimate threats from both inside Ethiopia, and not as means to stifle dissent.

"These arrests are made because government had special evidence to incriminate the suspects," Bereket said. But both Amnesty and Human Rights Watch in November accused the government of using anti-terrorism legislation to stifle peaceful dissent, while Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been accused of condemning suspects before trial.

In October, local media reported that Meles told parliament concerning those accused that "we know in our hearts that they are involved in terrorism acts." Some maintain Ethiopia's strategic importance in the region -- a relatively stable state in the volatile Horn of Africa bordering war-torn Somalia -- allows the government to clampdown with little objection from donor countries.

Ethiopia, one of the top recipients of foreign aid in Africa, also provides bases for US surveillance drones reportedly monitoring Shebab insurgents, the Al-Qaeda linked group based in southern Somalia.

"It's the same old story, (donors) believe quiet diplomacy is the best way of maintaining their access and their influence, they don't want to endanger their relationship with the government," HRW's Rawlence said.

Some fear the tight political climate could spark an angry reaction from those angry at the crackdown.

"Sooner or later, really things can go horrid," Merera said. "We can reach what you call a breaking point."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ethiopia: Stop Using Anti-Terror Law to Stifle Peaceful Dissent

Human Rights Watch (Nov. 21) The Ethiopian government should cease using its overly broad anti-terrorism law against journalists and peaceful political activists, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today.

On November 23, 2011, the trial of 24 people charged with terrorism offenses on November 10 will continue. Those charged include six journalists and two members of the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party. Sixteen of the 24 are being tried in absentia. Several other terrorism trials of journalists and opposition activists are ongoing.

“The Ethiopian government is exploiting its vaguely worded anti-terror law to crush peaceful dissent,” said Rona Peligal, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

The Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009 includes an overbroad and vague definition of terrorist acts and a definition of “encouragement of terrorism” that makes the publication of statements “likely to be understood as encouraging terrorist acts” punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison. These provisions mean that critics of government such as journalists and political opponents could be charged for encouraging terrorism, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said.

The organizations urged the Ethiopian government to facilitate systematic monitoring of the trials by the diplomatic community. The times and locations of hearings have been altered at the last minute at least twice during the ongoing trials. The government should ensure that key information, including location and time of hearings, is available to the public.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also urged diplomats stationed in Ethiopia to carry out systematic monitoring of the ongoing terrorism trials and the trials of members of the Oromo political opposition arrested during 2011. This is particularly important in the absence of independent human rights organizations, which the Ethiopian government has effectively banned. While diplomatic representatives have attended several remand hearings and trial sessions of terrorism cases, none were apparently present at the November 10 confirmation of charges hearing, following a last-minute change of location, nor at the subsequent hearing on November 15.

Ethiopia’s foreign partners closely followed a series of trials from 2005 to 2007, in which treason charges were brought following contested elections. The Council of the European Union appointed a full-time trial observer, although the findings of its report were never made public. EU embassy staff monitored these trials on a rotating basis, and a US embassy staff member was also present.

“Diplomats’ systematic monitoring of these trials is essential,” said Michelle Kagari, deputy director for Africa at Amnesty International. “Without the presence of local civil society, diplomats can play a vital role in witnessing whether or not the suspects’ right to a fair trial is respected.”

None of the defendants detained and charged under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation during 2011 had access to a lawyer during the pre-trial period. Three of those charged have complained in court of mistreatment in detention.

Public comments by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the government spokesman, Shimeles Kemal, have undermined the defendants’ presumption of innocence, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said. Their comments might also exert political pressure on the courts in a country where the judiciary lacks independence.

Since June 2011, the Ethiopian government has charged at least 33 people under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009.

In addition, in 2011, at least 98 members of the two main Oromo political opposition parties, the Oromo Federal Democratic Movement (OFDM) and the Oromo People’s Congress (OPC), have been arrested and charged under the Criminal Code on the basis of alleged involvement with the Oromo Liberation Front, a banned rebel group.

Seven of the people charged on November 10 had previously been charged during the trials that followed the 2005 elections. All had been given presidential pardon. Three of the seven are among the defendants who are now in custody, two others fled the country after their earlier release, and two were already living in exile when they were charged in the earlier cases.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have long called for the anti-terrorism law to be amended to bring it into line with Ethiopia’s domestic and international legal obligations.

“The anti-terror law itself is a huge problem,” Peligal said. “The international community, especially the European Union, United States, and United Kingdom, should ask the Ethiopian government hard questions about why it is using this law to crack down on peaceful independent voices.”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Landgrabbing in Ethiopia: Legal Lease or Stolen Soil?

By Philipp Hedemann* | November 13, 2011

ABABA, Nov 12, 2011 (IPS/Street News Service) - Kneeling in the middle of a sugar cane field in blistering 40 degree heat, a young boy is digging up weeds while an Indian worker stands over him to make sure he does not miss any. Red is eight years old and earns 73 pence for one day’s work - less than the cost of using pesticides.

By exporting food produced by child labour in Ethiopia, an Indian farm manager hopes to earn millions within three years. "It's still total wilderness here, but we will soon start growing sugar cane and palm oil and everything will look tidy," explains Karmjeet Singh Sekhon as he drives in a Toyota 4x4 through the burning bushland on his farm.

The 68-year-old Indian is the manager of a huge farm, which covers an area of 100,000 hectares in Western Ethiopia. Soon he wants to farm 300,000 hectares, an area bigger than Luxembourg.

Since 2008 there has been an unprecedented rush to secure farmland in Africa, South America and Asia. This is a result of the rise and fluctuation in food prices on world markets, which has seen food riots in a number of countries. Countries such as India, China and the Gulf states want to feed their growing populations, but are also looking to position themselves in the race to produce bio-fuels.

The World Bank says 45 million hectares of farmland were leased in 2009 - up from only four million a year between 2006 and 2008. It is estimated that by 2030 another six million hectares will be leased annually in developing countries, two-thirds in sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

Maize, rice, wheat, soy, sorghum, sesame, sugar cane and oil seeds are the main commodities. The World Bank sees both opportunities and risks.

"These large land acquisitions can come at a high cost. The veil of secrecy that often surrounds these land deals must be lifted so poor people don't ultimately pay the heavy price of losing their land," said former World Bank managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

In the world's thirteenth poorest country, the race for the country's most productive agricultural land has only just begun and the social and environmental consequences are unforeseeable. According to the U.N., 4.5 million people in Ethiopia are currently in need of aid as a result of a devastating drought. The majority of the food aid is imported from abroad.

"No problem," says farm manager Sekhon. "Some parts of our production remain in the country, and through the export Ethiopia gains hard currency to buy at the world market."

There is no law in Ethiopia to ensure that a certain percentage remains in the country. Karuturi marketing and logistics boss Birinder Singh makes no secret of the fact that his company is commercially orientated. They will sell to those who pay most, whoever that may be.

Eighty-five per cent of Ethiopia's population of 80 million live off the land, and little has changed over the past 100 years: most of the tiny fields are still worked using ox-drawn ploughs and the yields are low.

The government hopes that leasing farmland to foreign investors will lead to a wave of modernisation. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation, food production needs a 70 per cent boost between 2010 and 2050 to meet global needs.

All Ethiopian land – 111.5 million hectares - belongs to the state. According to the government, three-quarters of it are suitable for agriculture, but so far only 15 million hectares are cultivated.

The government has now assigned 3.6 million hectares to foreign and domestic investors. One hectare of land costs between six and 231 dollars a year to rent, and the contract periods are between 20 and 45 years. Critics say the developing world is being sold off.

But Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi rejects the attacks as "ill-informed" or even "ill-intentioned." "We want to develop our land to feed ourselves rather than admire the beauty of fallow fields while we starve," Zenawi said.

It is not surprising that the Ethiopian government has become the darling of international agribusiness investors. "There is plenty of good land, enough water, a cheap labour force, and a stable government that ensures law and order", says Karuturi's Singh.

According to Esayas Kebede, head of the state agency which is responsible for the land leases, Ethiopia benefits in many ways from the deals. "By exporting food, we will receive dollars, the farms provide jobs, they import know how, they will help us to boost productivity and therefore to improve food security," says Kebede.

But many local farmers are not convinced. Ojwato is one of them. It only takes him a few minutes to cross his two acre field on foot, while Sekhon takes several hours to cover his by jeep.

The idea that his neighbour's harvests are being exported while he and his country regularly receive food aid makes Ojwato angry. "The foreigners promised to bring electricity, water and hospitals. But in the end only a few of us have worked in their fields and the pay was poor," the farmer says.

"We always pay the national minimum wage," Singh claims.

"Nobody is forced to work on the farm," Kebede says. However, many children labour on the fields.

Though his family could use some extra money from child labour, Ojwato forbids his children to work on the Indian farm. One day they shall become doctors, teachers or engineers, he says. But therefore they need to go to school, instead of working on the fields.

Not all parents are as far-sighted as Ojwato: "Sometimes only five out of 60 students are attending class. The others are working at the fields," says Tigaba Tekle, deputy headmaster of a school near the Karuturi farm.

Officially, only uninhabited land is used for the giant farms, but human rights groups fear that people are forced to leave their land. As a matter of fact, a state-run relocation programme is currently taking place in Western Ethiopia.

According to the government, there is no link between the relocation and the farm projects; everybody moves voluntarily. Human right groups doubt this, and the author was obstructed several times during the research for this article. The official reason given was: "We don't want you to gather politically unwanted information."

As well as human rights organisations, environmentalists also have a problem with the farms. Some four decades ago, 40 per cent of Ethiopia was covered by forest, but today it is less than three per cent - and the bushland in Gambella is burning.

Farm manager Sekhon does not hide his lack of interest in environmental concerns. For him, it is important to develop the farm, and he is behind his ambitious schedule. To catch up, little Red and his friends must continue weeding.

* Published under an agreement with Street News Service.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

‘Itoophiyaa Keessa Hongee Malee Beelli Hin jiru’ Jechuun

 ‘Itoophiyaa Keessa Hongee Malee Beelli Hin jiru’ Jechuun
Lubbuu Ummatootaatti Qoosuu Dha

Sirni Wayyaanee beela hamaa ummatoota miiliyoonota gaaga’e haaluudhaan ‘hongee malee beelli hin jiru’ jechuun kijiba. Balaa beelaa sababaa hongeetiin dhalachuuf ture irratti dursinee qophii gahaa waan gooneef lammiin tokko illee beelaan hin miidhamne jechuun lubbuu ummata miiliyoonotaatti qoose. Fiilmii dokmantarii kan haqa irraa fagoo tahe qindeessee miidiyaalee isaa irratti dhiheessuun sirna gaafatamni itti hin dhagahamne tahuu isaa dabalee mirkaneeffate. Balaa hongee fi beelaa dhalate kanaan akka malee kan miidhaman lammiilee Oromoo Kibba Oromiyaa tahuun beekamaa dha. Fiilmiin Wayyaaneen eega lafti itti guyya’ee booda miidiyaatti baafatee garsiifatus miidhaa guddaa jiraattota Oromoo naannoo kanaa mudate haguuguuf yoo tahe malee miidhama ummataa amananii fudhachuun fala barbaachisu faluuf kan qophaawe miti.

Ololli ‘Itoophiyaa keessa hongee malee beelli hin jiru’ jedhu yeroo kanatti akka dhihaatu maaliif barbaachise? Deebiin gaaffii kanaa ifaa dha. Balaa beelaa hongeen wal qabatee Kibba Oromiyaa, Kibba Baha Oromiyaa, Baha Oromiyaa, naannoo Ogaadeenii fi naannoo Ummatoota Kibba Itoophiyaa miidhe irratti amma dura baay’ee dubbatameera. Gabaasaaleen dhugaa kana ragaa bahan miidiyaalee idil addunyaa tokko tokkoo fi miidiyaalee arraata dhaabota siyaasaa kan akka Sagalee Bilisummaa Oromoo (SBO) irratti dhihaatanii turan. Miidiyaaleen kunis haala sirna Wayyaanee garmalee rifaasisee fi aarseen dhugaa jiru gurra addunyaan gahanii jiru. Maddeen oduu idil addunyaa bebbeekamoo keessaa tokko kan tahe BBCiin sagantaa isaa Newsnight jedhamuun dokmantarii dhugaa irratti hundaawee dhiheesseen Wayyaanee mataa wareersuun beekamaa dha. Akka gabaasaa BBC kanaatti beelli Itoophiyaa keessatti dhalate irra guddaatti namtolchee dha malee kan uumamaa qofa miti. Warra beela’eef gargaarsi biyya alaa irraa dhihaatus gara dabarfamee dantaa siyaasaa mootummaaf oolfamuu miidiyaan kun ragaa bahuun beekamaa dha. Ummata beela’e keessaa warri paartii aangoo irra jiru hin deeggarre gargaarsa dhowwatamanii adabamuu tu saaxilame. Arjoomtonni addunyaa waggaa waggaatti doolaara biiliyoona 3 ol Itoophiyaaf kan gumaachan tahu illee, horiin guddaan hangana gahu kaayyoo gumaachameef osoo hin taane akka sirnichi deeggarsa siyaasaa ittiin bitatee aangoo irra of tursuuf tajaajilaa jiraachuu tu ifatti ragaa bahame.

BBC qofas osoo hin taane miidiyaaleen akka VOAs, balaan beelaa keessumattuu Kibba Oromiyaatti dhalate, hangam akka ulfaataa tahe, balaa kanaanis lubbuun namootaa fi beeyladaa akka gaaga’ame saaxilanii jiru. Hagabaasaan VOA Sagantaa Amaariffaa Heenook Sammaagzeer torbaanota lama caalaaf naannoo Kibba Oromiyaa keessa sosso’ee gabaasaan dhiheessaa ture balaa ulfaataa sirnichi dhoksuu barbaadu BBCtti aanee kan saaxile ture. Akka gabaasaa kanaatti Kibba Oromiyaa keessatti hongee dhalateen lammiilee fi beeyladdan isaanii akka malee hubamuu tu saaxilame. Mootummaan Wayyaanee garuu hongee tu dhalate malee beelli hin jiru jedha waan taheef gabaasaan kun isa wareersuun hin hafne. Akka gabaasaa VOA kanatti omisha isaaniitiin kan beekaman loon Booranaa keessaa harka 70 ol kan tahan balaa hongee hamaa kanaan du’uu isaanii tu mirkanaawe. Kibba Oromiyaa, Boorana keessatti ilmaan namaa beelaan hubaman waan afaanitti qabatan dhabanii baala boqqolloo hongeedhaan goggoge beeyalada wajjin wal saamaa yoo nyaatan VOAn ragaa viidiyoodhaan deeggarameen saaxile. Sirni Wayyaanee garuu balaa beelaa suukaneessaa hangana ulfaatu dhoksuu barbaada ture.

Itoophiyaan loon horsiisuuudhaan addunyaa irratti 10ffaa, Afriikaa keessatti ammo 1ffaa jedhamuun beekamti ture. Baay’ina loonii kan sadarkaa guddaa kana irratti Itoophiyaa waamsise keessatti ammoo lakkoofsi loon Booranaa qooda guddaa qaba ture. Loon Booranaa kana keessaa har’a harki 70 caalaan balaa kanaan dhumaniiru. Kun silaa Itoophiyaa keessatti gadda ulfaataa uumuu fi xiyyeeffannoo miidiyaalee biyya keessaa harkisuu tu irra ture. Haa tahu malee akkuma hagabaasaan VOA naannoo sana deemee gabaasaa kana qopheesse ragaa bahe, ‘wayta balaan gaddisiisaan kana fakkaatu Kibba Oromiyaa rukutee jirutti miidiyaaleen mootummaa dubbii kana yoo xis ximbis jedhan hin dhagahamne. Balaa gaddisiisaa hangana gahu dhiisanii waa’ee misoomaa fi hidha laga Abbayyaa irratti xiyyeeffachuu waan filatan fakkaata. Yeroo itti Kibba Oromiyaa keessatti lammiileen beela’anii lafee qofatti hafan waan afaanitti jiifatan dhabanii qarree du’aa irratti argaman, Finfinnee irraa ayyaana bara haaraa kabajuuf dhiichifama ture.

Dhugaa dha! Yeroo itti lammiileen kumni kudhanoonni garmalee beelaan hubamanii qarree du’aa irratti argaman, loon kumni kudhanoonni dhumanii raaqni isaanii goggoee dirree keessa ciisu, dabballootni mootummaa Wayyaanee Finfinnee irraa ayyaana jedhanii cooma murachuu fi wiskii unachuu irraa kan hafe yaaddoon lammiilee Oromoo kun dhimma isaanii akka hin tahin hubatamaa dha.

Sirni Wayyaanee dhugaa dhoksuu yaalaa ture kana tu jalaa saaxilame waan taheef har’a reef akka waan irriba irraa dammaqee dhimma hongee Kibba Oromiyaa rukute irratti waa munaaguuf dirqame. ‘Itoophiyaa keessa hongee malee beelli hin jiru’ jechuun soba adii yoo sobu hin qaanfanne. Kijibni Wayyaanee kun gabaasaalee ragaa irratti hundaawanii miidiyaalee alaatiin dhihaatan haaluuf kan akeekkate tahu illee itti hin milkoofne.

Fiilmii sobaa Wayyaaneen dhimma kana irratti qindeessee dhiheeffate wantoota fudhatama dhabsiisan keessaa hanga tokko tarrisuun ni danda’ama. Fiilmii kana keessatti namootni beelaan miidhaman tahe jedhamee akka kaameeraa duratti hin mul’anne taasifameera. Naannoo hongeen dhawamu kamuu keessatti namootni beelaan miidhaman qaamni isaanii maal akka fakkaatu beekamaa dha. Fiilmii Wayyaaneen dhiheeffatu  keessatti garuu, tahe jedhamee namoota coraa cululuqaa qaban kan qubaan lakkaawaman  tu barbaadamanii dubbifaman. Jaras yoo tahe haasawa isaan Afaan Oromotiin haasawan jallisanii Amaariffatti hiikuudhaan akka waan isaan mootummaa galateeffataniitti dhiheeffame. Naannoo hongee fi beela hamaadhaan miidhame dhiisanii gabaa midhaanii magaalaa keessaa, akkasumas kuusaa midhaan gargaarsaa irratti xiyyeeffachuu tu fiilmii kana keessatti bal’inaan mul’ata.

Kana malees kaameeraan fiilmii sobaa kanaa loon coraa wayyaa qaban qofa barbaadee irratti xiyyeeffate. Loon kumni kudhanoonni dhumanii lafeen isaanii dirree keessa guute akka fiilmii kana keessatti mul’atan hin barbaadamne. Fiilmiin dokmantarii Wayyaanee kun osoo dhuguma laalaa balaa mudate kanaa agarsiisuuf akeekkatee dhugaa bal’inaan mul’atu kana bira dabree loon coraa wayyaa qaban qofa barbaadee mul’isuu irratti hin xiyyeeffatu ture. Garuu fiilmicha tu fiilmii Wayyaanee ti. Fiilmicha tu fiilmii dhugaa haaluuf qophaawe. Fiilmicha tu fiilmii ololaa sirna gaafatamni itti hin dhagahamnee fi madaan ummatootaa isa hin dhukkubnee ti. Kanaafuu fiilmii Wayyaanee keessatti dhugaa barbaadanii arguu dhabuun waan nama raaju hin tahu.

Wanni hubatamuu qabu garuu, Itoophiyaan Wayyaanee Itoophiyaa miidiyaalee walaba addunyaatiin ibsamaa jirtu malee Itoophiyaa miidiyaalee sirnichaatiin dhaadeffamaa jirtu miti. Ummatoonni biyyattii keessaas namoota miidiyaaleen wayyaanee kumoota keessaa tokko lama filatanii kaameeraa fi maaykraafoona dura qabaniin kan bakka bu’aman miti. Haalli ummatoonni biyyattii keessa jiranis dabballoota paartichaa kan akka lammii leexaatti of ibsanii miidiyaa sirnichaa duratti dhihaatanii kijiba munaaganiin hin ibsamu. Har’a lammiilee wayyaba imaammata farra-namoomaa sirnichaatiin toora namummaatii bahanii jiran miidiyaatti dhiheessanii agarsiisuu fi laalaa keessa isaanii dubbachiisuun hojii ulfaataa dha. Miidiyaaleen biyya alaa walabni biyya keessa deemanii hojii ragaan deeggarame akkasii akka agarsiisan sirnichi hin eehamu. Inumaa kanneen yaalii hojii akkasii irratti argaman himata ‘gooltummaa’ jedhamuun yakkamanii hidhamaa jiru. Gaazexessitoota lammii Siwiidin lama kan dhihoo kana Ogaadeen keessaa qabamanii hidhaman akka fakkeenyaatti kaasuun ni danda’ama. Kana malees miseensonni hogganaa paartiilee Oromoo biyya keessaa gaazexessaa BBC fi qorattoota Amnestii Internaashinaaliif yaada kennitan jedhamanii hidhamuun dubbii kanaaf ragaa dabalataa taha. 

Beelas tahee hongeen Itoophiyaa har’a addunyaan irraa dubbataa jirtu balaa uumamaa qofa akka hin tahin jala muranii ifsuu barbaachisa. Balaan kun balaa namtolchee ti yoo jedhame dhugaa irraa fagaachuu hin tahu. Jecha kanaaf fakkeenya gabaabaa tokko lafa kaayuun ni danda’ama. Sirnoota lamaan dabran keessa beelli deddeebi’ee Itoophiyaa keessatti mul’achaa ture naannoolee har’a balaan hongee fi beelaa irraa dubbatamaa jiru irraa fagoo ture. Akka fakkeenyaatti kaa’uuf, sirnoota dabran lamaan keessatti bakkoota balaa hongee fi beela hamaan dhawaman keessaa Tigraay toora duraa irra turte. Har’a garuu sun seenaa ta’ee dabree jira. Tigraay keessatti har’a waa’een hongee fi beelaa akka seenaatti dubbatama. Sababni isaas, Tigraay har’a mootummaa misoomaa fi badhaadhina isiif dhaabbate qabdi. Kana jechuun Tigiraay maaliif har’a beelaa fi hongee irraa baraaramte jedhanii qurramuuf akka hin tahin jala muruu feesisa. Ummatni Tigiraay kan sirnoota dabran keessatti beelaa fi hongee hamaadhaan dhawame har’a balaa kana jalaa dandamachuun oduu gammachiisaa dha. Dhalli namaa kamuu biyya lafaa irratti balaa suukaneessaa kana akka mudatu kan arguu hawwu hin jiru.

Haa ta’u malee hojii lubbuu oolchuu irra darbee misooma dinqisiisaa jedhame kana naannoo tokkoof qofa qoodanii kaan immo tahe jedhanii beelessuu fi beelas meesha sanyi-ballessaaf itti fayyadamamuu dha kan nama wal gaafachiisu. Mootummaan har’a aangoo siyaasaa Itoophiyaa dhunfatee jiru lafa dhaloota isaa kan taate Tigiraayiif mararfannoo addaa qabaachuun isaa nama hin ajaa’ibu. Wanni nama ajaa’ibuu fi gaddisiisu yoo jiraate, sirni kun naannoolee dur jiidhinaa fi xaahummaa isaaniitiin beekaman har’a lafa beelaa fi hongee hamaatti jijjiiruu isaa ti. Akka fakkeenyaatti godinaan Arsii baroota dabran mara hunda keessatti akka tayee daabboo (bread basket)tti laalamti ture. Dachii Arsii jiituu fi gabbattuu irraa midhaan qotamu ummatoota Itoophiyaa mara sooree akka irraa hafuu danda’u bal’inaan irraa dubbatamaa ture. Har’a garuu dachii badhaatuu tana fakkaattu fa’a tu beela’e.

Lafootni har’a balaa beelaa fi hongee hamaan dhawamuun isaanii qorannoo walabaan mirkanaawe Arsii qofas miti. Onootni Harargee Dhihaa fi Harargee bahaa baay’eenis balaa kanaan dhawamoo dha. Akka fakkeenyaatti Onni Fadiis dur fakkeenya dachii quufaa ture. Akka makmaaksaatti illee ‘Rabbi duubaan Fadiisi’ jedhama ture. Har’a bara Wayyaanee kanatti garuu ummata Oromoo lafa badhaatuu akkasii fa’a irra ture tu hongee fi beelaan dhawamee gargaarsa harka alagaa kadhachuutti jira. Sababni isaas Oromiyaa tu akka Tigraayitti mootummaa isiif quuqamu hin qabdu. Balaan hongee fi beelaa Oromiyaa keessatti miliyoonota gaaga’aa jiru balaa namtolchee ti malee kan uumamaa miti. Yoo kan uumamaa tahe balaa hamaa kan dur irraa qabee gama Kaabaa ture sanis irra aanuun hin danda’mu ture. Bakki dur hongeedhaan beekamu har’a badhaadhee bakki dur badhaadha ture har’a hongaawuun seera uumamaa osoo hin taane gochaa hammeenya ilma namaa ti. Mootummaan har’a Itoophiyaa bulchaan jira ofiin jedhu mootummaa naannoolee biyyattii hundumaa ija tokkoon hin laalle tahuu isaaf fakkeenyonni kaabaa kibbatti wal bira qabnee eerre kun ragaalee quufsoo dha.

    Imaamanni sirna Wayyaanee imaammata farrummaa fi tuffii ummatootaa akka tahe ragaa tarrisanii fixuun ulfaataa dha. Mootummaa ‘Itoophiyaa keessa hongee malee beelli hin hin jiru’ jedhu caalaa sirni ummatoota bulchaan jira ofiin jedhuuf tuffii hamaa qabu addunyaa irra kan jiru hin fakkaatu. Tuffiin kun ammoo jibba irraa madda. Jibbi kunis diinummaa sirnichaa qullaa baasee mul’isa. Diinni diinuma. Har’a humna harkaa qabutti gargaaramee gateettii ummatootaa irra qubatee dhiiga isaanii dhugaa jiraachuun hin haalamu. Guyyaa tokko garuu gateettii ummatoota walabaa irraa akka buniitootti buqqifamee darbamuun isaa waan hin oolle.

Kun immoo gurmuu, kutannoo fi warraaqsa ummata Oromoo fi ummatoota madaa wal fakkaataa qabaniin mirkanaawa.

Haqni ni injifata!

 Info Deskii ABO

TheFrustrating Situation of Refugees in Somaliland

HRLHA Appeal and Urgent Action

 November 12, 2011

The Frustrating Situation of Refugees in Somaliland

Your Excellency Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud,      

President of the Republic of Somaliland.

Dear Honorable President,

First of all, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) would like to express its appreciation to the people of the Republic of Somaliland and to its government for their hospitality and kindness towards thousands of refugees who have fled their homes to escaped government persecutions in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other neighboring countries and now living in Somaliland.

However, what has been happening to refugees in Somaliland over the past two and three weeks is contrary to the expectations of the HRLHA and those of international communities.  

According to information obtained by HRLHA through its correspondents in Hargeisa, Somaliland, the refugees in the country, most of whom are from Ethiopia have been subjected to different kinds of harassments and intimidations in a very unsafe situation. According those reports, the refugees have been (and are being) indiscriminately evicted from their rented temporary shelters; and, as a result, more than 700 refugees have been forced to live on the streets. They are temporarily gathered at a place know as Social welfare Centre near the UNHCR office in Hargeisa. At this place, only those who could afford to buy are using tents; while those who couldn’t are living in open air.  Confiscations of properties, documents in particular, take place along with the kidnapping happens at their temporary shelter on street.

 The refugees uniformly claim that their tenants told them that the evictions were on the order of the government of the Somaliland. Making their situations worse, those refugees have been denied any kind of accommodation and help from the local UNHCR office. The refugees add that they were told by the local UNHCR office that they will not get any help or support from the office unless and until they go back to their shelters (rented place), which is where they have been evicted from, and have been told they were not welcome back. The refugees also say that the local UNHCR office is aware of this situation. However, it has been difficult for the HRLHA to confirm this complaint with the local UNHCR office.

A very young child has died as a result of this unfriendly situation in which the refugees are; and, according to those refugees, more lives might have been lost especially due to lack of basic needs such food and water, had it not been for the some kinds of humanitarian gestures from local people.

The other frustrating situation is that there have been two very recent cases of kidnappings and disappearances by who were described as armed agents of the Ethiopian Government. HRLHA has confirmed that, in the first case of kidnapping which took place during the first week of this month (November 3 – 4, 2011), four refugees (all of whom were Oromo nationals from Ethiopia), have been kidnapped and taken away to currently unknown destination; but believed to be taken back to Ethiopia. They were Shek Abdurrahman Qabatoo, Mr. Riyaad Kamal, Mr. Ali Dabbal, and another refugee who was with Shek Abdurrahman at the moment. In the second case of kidnapping and disappearance, which happened on the 10th of November, 2011, two other refugees, namely, Mr. Abdushukuur Mahammad (RF/06/055), and Mr. Hassan-nuur Mahammad Suleeyman (REC /361/08) have become victims of this illegal action; while a refugee named Mohammed Bushura Gurrachaa escaped the kidnapping by running away from site. The hunting and attempts of kidnapping the refugees has continued even while this urgent action is being compiled. Originally, the refugees were targeted at their rented places of stay; and now (after evictions) at the Social welfare Centre near the UNHCR office in Hargeisa.  

According to eye witnesses, the armed team/group that is engaged in hunting and kidnapping the refugees drives around in a truck, approaches specific individuals it has targeted, or picks randomly, forces them onto the track, and drive away without any interference from the local government, or any other party. The fact that the vehicles were supplied by the local government makes the whole operation look like a joint work of the governments of Ethiopian and the Somaliland. It is important, here, to remind each other that such incidents and experiences of refugees are happening repeatedly; and that, in most cases, (as hinted at above through the UNHCR reference numbers provided) the victims of such illegal actions are refugees who are already under the UNHCR mandate.

Mr. President, even if those refugees are not protected by the UN mandate, what is happening to them is blatantly in breach of the 1951 International Refugee Convention.  In this (1951) document, it is stated that:

“No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers where his/her life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” 

The overall situations taken into consideration, the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) is highly concerned about the safety and wellbeing of hundreds of those refugees who are now in a socially, economically, and politically unfriendly environment in Somaliland.

So, the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) requests the government of the Somaliland to make efforts to honour its both local and international obligations, and ensure the safety of people within its jurisdiction. We specifically request that the Somaliland Government prevent such illegal actions as kidnapping from happening to innocent and defenseless people, and refrain from sending refugees back to a country that they fled because their lives were at risk.

  Also, the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) calls upon regional and international humanitarian and diplomatic communities to join us in making and sending these requests to the government of Somaliland.

The HRLHA is a non-political organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies


Please send appeals to the Somaliland Government officials as swiftly as possible, in English, Somali, or your own language:

v Urging the Somaliland Government  reverse its decision of expelling refugee from Somaliland

v Your Concerns at the apprehension and fear of Torture if they return to their home country

v Urging the authorities of Somaliland to ensure that these refugees are protected depending on the 1951 refugee convention.

·        His Excellency  Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud      

President of the Republic of Somaliland

TEL/FAX:     252-225-3871  


·        UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

United Nations Office at Geneva 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland Fax: + 41 22 917 9022

(particularly for urgent matters) E-mail: tb-petitions@ohchr.org This e-mail address is

being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

·        International Committee of the Red Cross

19 Avenue de la paix CH 1202 Geneva

Tel: +41 22 734 60 01

Fax: +41 22 733 20 57

·        African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR)

48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul, The Gambia.

Tel: (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 – 23 Fax: (220) 4390 764

·        U.S. Department of State

Tom Fcansky – Foreign Affairs Officer

Email;-TOfcansky@aol.com>Washington, D.C. 20037

Tel: +1-202-261-8009

Fax: +1-202-261-8197

·        Amnesty International – London

Tom Gibson

Telephone: +44-20-74135500

Fax number: +44-20-79561157

Email;- TGibson@amnesty.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots.

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·        Human Rights Watch – New York,

Leslie Lefkow

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Macha-Tulama Cooperative and Development Association (MTA), USA, Inc.

Press Release October 12, 2011

Illegal imprisonment of Macha-Tulama officials

As all its predecessors, the current dictatorial and terrorist regime of Ethiopia came to state power and managed to stay in office through brutal force for twenty years. Since it grabbed state power by force, the main target of its hidden war and terrorism is the Oromo people. This Tigrayan-led regime has been employing all means of violence, terrorism, intimidation, torture, harassment, throwing thousands of innocent people in prison camps by branding them with unsubstantiated labels. Furthermore, thousands of Oromo peasants, artists, intellectuals and students with any political dissent have been forced into exile. Independent political and civic associations were outlawed. Only those who bowed down to the will of the regime have been spared and they are used by the government as pawns.

The Macha-Tulama Self-help and Development Association are among many independent Oromo civic associations that have been surviving under the continuous attack by the brutal state machinery of Meles Zenawi. Sadly, the international community had been watching silently while the Ethiopian regime raided the Macha-Tulama office in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) and confiscated its property and thrown the leaders into jail in 2004. Continuing its crimes against Oromo leaders, recently in September 2011, the Ethiopian dictatorial regime repeated with impunity the same fiasco once again. Regrettably, the international community has not raised its voice against this heinous crime against humanity.

The Macha-Tulama high officials Mr. Laggese Deti Dhaba, Mr. Mulugeta Riqitu and Sisay Sarbesa are all held incommunicado at the Maikelawi Torture Center in Finfinnee as of today. Mr. Dhaba was the Secretary General of Macha-Tulama Self-help Association for the year 2002- 2003. Mr. Dhaba has also served as the Chairman of History and Culture Committee of the association. He is a cultural expert of Oromo society, and hence imprisoning and attacking him is tantamount to destroying Oromo cultural resources and foundations. Similarly, his colleagues who have been imprisoned with him have deep interests in promoting Oromo history and culture. They are Mr. Mulugeta Rikitu, School Director and Board Member of MTA; and Mr. Sisay Serbesa, 3rd Year Student at Addis Ababa University.

These Oromo notables were detained on August 24 on their way home returning from a celebration of Gubaa Ceremony, one of the oldest Oromo original holidays celebrated in connection with the beginning of the New Year in early September. They are mainly targeted for showing respect and interest in Oromo cultural festivals and for showing mental independence in Oromo cultural renaissance. There is a serious concern as to the safety and well-being of these detainees. The Ethiopian regime has well documented history of using torture on detainees and extrajudicial execution in cold blood. The Macha-Tulama Cooperative and Development Association, USA, Inc. appeals to the US government, European governments, human rights groups, the UN, political leaders and the international community to urge the Ethiopian regime to release Mr. Legesse Deti Dhaba, Mr. Mulugeta Rikitu and Mr. Sisay Serbesa immediately and unconditionally, and to stop its ongoing war of intimidation and terror on the Oromo people.


Board of Directors

Macha -Tulama Association, USA, INC.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa/HRLHA

 Press Release
Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa/HRLHA

 October 2011 - Somalia - Peoples’ Free Will; Not Coercions

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa strongly condemns the heinous and deadly terrorist attack carried out in the Somali Capital, Moqadisho  on the 4th of October, 2011, in which 70 plus innocent civilians were killed, and more than one hundred others wounded. Among the dead were students who were waiting for scholarship application results at the office of the Ministry of Education. It is so saddening and so shameful to hear that a group who claims to have been fighting in the name of the Somalis targets innocent civilians in such an indiscriminate manner, and kills students (the younger generation) in the hands of whom is the future of the country and the people.

In today’s world of the 21st century, when the maximum advancement, growth and maturity have been achieved in all aspects of human lives, and when all forms of communication, dialogue, negotiation, and peaceful resolution of conflicts are possible, it is difficult to find a reason as to why such deadly and destructive acts of terrorism are committed so indiscriminately. One of the reasons why Somalia has become an example of a failed state is because none of those groups who have been operating in the name of the Somalis has attempted to allow the ordinary Somalis to exercise their free will to make choices of their own, and be part of the decision making processes. The Somalis undoubtedly have a lot of socio-economic issues to be concerned and think about. Particularly at the present time, hard hit and taken up by severe drought and starvation, they are looking out into the hands of international communities for food - which they need to save as many lives threatened by the catastrophe as possible.

Any form of terrorist act is aimed at forcibly imposing one’s own wills and interests against the targeted group’s free will and/or consent. It would in no way bring a lasting solution to war torn countries and societies like Somalia. It is instead very likely that it would give rise to other different or similar forms of coercive systems.

HRLHA calls up on the Al-Shabab, the group that has claimed the responsibility of carrying out the deadly attack, to refrain from such terrorist acts against one’s own people, and engage in peaceful means of finding lasting solutions to the internal conflict of Somalia that has already caused enormous destructions.     

The HRLHA is a non-political and non-profit organization that attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own fundamental human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Resolution of the Oromo Liberation Front National Council Fifth Regular Session


Resolution of the Oromo Liberation Front National Council Fifth Regular Session

The Oromo Liberation Front National Council (OLF-NC) has successfully completed its fifth regular session held from October 3 - 10, 2011. The NC, during this session, addressed wide ranging issues including organizational matters, the situation of the Oromo people and its struggle, the unparalleled brutality of the TPLF/EPRDF regime against the peoples in Ethiopia in general and the Oromo people in particular, peace and stability in the Horn of Africa and other regional and global issues. After thorough deliberation the NC concluded its meeting by passing several important resolutions.

The Oromo liberation struggle for freedom and sovereignty, led by the OLF, continuous to enjoy popular support of our people, who continue paying immense sacrifices. The ongoing popular uprising led by the Oromo youth, the Qeerroo, which is gaining wide spread support from the Oromo and other peoples, is shaking the regime to its foundation. In the course of the struggle, our organization has encountered and overcame various internal and external challenges. The council reaffirms its unfolding commitment to the achievement of the Oromo people’s right to self-determination up to and including independence. At this junction, we call upon all Oromo political forces to join hands with us in the continuous effort to liberate our people. We are committed to peacefully resolve tactical differences that might have existed between us.

The TPLF/EPRDF regime has continued targeting the Oromo people through brutal repression to extend its grab on power. Accordingly massive human rights violations, extreme economic exploitation and blatant discrimination has become the lot of the Oromo people. The recent ‘Anti Terrorism Law’ by the rubber stamp parliament has worsened the condition of Oromo individuals of all walks of life. This law is being used to suppress fundamental human rights including the right to assembly and freedom of expression. Today more than any time in the past the Oromo people are subjected to extrajudicial killings, disappearance, torture, mass arrest, harassment and imprisonment in villages, workplaces, towns and cities. Imposition of exorbitant taxation on the farmers and small businesses, eviction of peasants from their ancestral farm lands for leasing to foreigners under obscure terms, denial of job opportunities and dismissal of employees from their jobs on flimsy excuses is a daily experience of our people. Oromos and Oromia are discriminated against in employment, promotion, education, and other social services.

Millions of people are facing famine due to deliberate wrong policies in Oromia. However, the fact that the existence of famine is denied and access to the area by outsiders is blocked by the regime, the people are not receiving the life saving assistance necessary from the international community. Therefore, we urge the international community to pressure the regime to open up the areas for access and provide necessary assistance. Because of the sever repression in Oromia, thousands of Oromos have sought refuge in the neighbouring countries like Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Djibouti and beyond. Many have perished trying to cross the Indian Ocean to the Arabian Peninsula. Others have faced the same fate trying to cross the Sahara and other deserts. The Ethiopian security agents have crossed international borders to assassinate, abduct or harass the refugees. We call upon the hosting countries and pertinent international agencies to assist the refugees in accordance with the relevant international law.

The regime has been maintaining itself in power by habitually instigating conflicts between the romo people and its neighbors using the defunct ‘divide and rule’ policy. The latest such tragic episode took place between Oromo and Gumuz people in western Oromia and between the Oromo and Somalis in the East. In addition, the regime has been working hard to incite religious conflict in the Oromo society and elsewhere by destroying the traditional tolerance among religious groups. Incidents like burning churches and holly books including the Qur’an, that have never been heard in the long history of peoples with different religions living side by side, have recently surfaced in some localities of Oromia with apparent connivance of the authorities. We call upon the Oromo and neighboring peoples to resist the enemy instigation and resort to the traditional way of resolving their differences peacefully. Similarly we call on Oromo and other religious communities to adhere to the long held tradition of practices of tolerance.

Ethiopia which shares border with all the IGAD countries except for Uganda, lies at the centre of the security complex of the Horn. Consequently the situation in Ethiopia should be of a serious concern to the IGAD member states. The instability in Oromia, which lies at the centre of Ethiopia, affects the stability of the whole region. The case of thousands of refugees in all the member countries and the cross border incursion by the Ethiopian security forces is one of the cases in point. Therefore, the Council urges the IGAD member states to support the genuine Oromo Liberation struggle for justice and freedom and dissociate themselves from the baseless and false allegations of the Ethiopian regime against the OLF.

The international community is turning blind eye to the injustices perpetrated by the TPLF/ EPRDF regime against the peoples in Ethiopia. Despite credible report of Human Rights Organizations Media Reports about the misuse of the assistance given to the regime some governments particularly from the west are actively continuing to support the regime by providing the means of oppression. The National Council calls on these governments to review their policy towards the oppressive brutal regime and instead support the genuine struggle of the Oromo and other peoples for freedom and equality which could serve for lasting peace in the region.

The Tigrian political elites ruling Ethiopia today are the enemy of the peoples in Ethiopia including the Tigrian people. The regime has slammed the door on peaceful means of resolving the perennial political conflict with resistance groups and closed the political playing field of legal oppositions. The OLF is ready to cooperate in the struggle against this regime. Therefore, we call upon all forces opposed to the dictatorial minority regime and struggling for liberation, equality, freedom and peace to rise up in unison to get rid of these autocrats.

Victory to the Oromo People!
Oromo Liberation Front-National Council
October 10, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

New Statesman (Sept. 29) The powerful NGO says the international development secretary has been "disingenuous" and "misleading".

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, of being "disingenuous" and "misleading" about the misuse of aid in Ethiopia.

Last month, an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Newsnight revealed that the Ethipian government was using long-term development aid for political purposes. It found that communities considered loyal to the opposition had been denied food aid, seed and fertiliser.

Appearing on Newsnight last Wednesday, Mitchell stated that no British development support goes through the government of Ethiopia. He also said that officials had conducted an on-the-ground investigation and found no evidence of the systemic misuse of food aid.

This is where HRW got involved. Jan Egeland, the deputy executive director for HRW Europe, has written an open letter questioning Mitchell's comments. It uses exceptionally strong language, and is unprecedented in accusing a secretary of state of being misleading, and implying he has bowed to pressure from the Ethiopian government. Here are the highlights:

You said in the Newsnight interview that DFID officials had investigated the allegations but, "found no evidence at all of systemic misuse of food support." However, a proper investigation capable of drawing conclusions about the nature of abuses by the Ethiopian government would need to be conducted at the field level, and our understanding is that no such investigation has been undertaken.

Your claim that no British support goes through the Ethiopian government is disingenuous. The vast majority of British support to Ethiopia passes through the government.

We recognise that the Ethiopian government is extremely resistant to scrutiny. Nonetheless, the British government and other donors to Ethiopia should not allow the Ethiopian government to dictate the terms on which public British money is monitored, and every effort should be made to prevent British development aid from strengthening authoritarian rule and repression.

The letter goes on to explain that the Ethiopian federal government is responsible for administering and monitoring the largest development programme, which the British Ambassador to Ethiopia said was "budget support in all but name".

Mitchell has replied:

As I have made clear, the British government does not agree with all of your assertions nor your conclusions. We also do not believe the report is methodologically sound.

Human Rights Watch is an organisation for which I have profound respect and admiration.

But it is important not to overstate criticisms in an unbalanced manner, the effect of which will be to undermine the vital work HRW carries out in other parts of the world.

You point out in your letter that the Ethiopian government must not dictate the terms on which British public money is monitored. I am happy to confirm that this is not the case.

After Mitchell's Newsnight appearance, a DfID official confirmed that the investigation he referred to was actually a desk study conducted from Addis Ababa. It looks as if the matter will not be resolved until a full on-the-ground investigation is carried out.

UPDATE - 3.20pm: I've been contacted by DfID, who said that the statement read out on Newsnight (regarding the desk study) was inaccurate. The following clarification was read out on Friday's programme:

The Department for International Development has confirmed that, as Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell made clear on Wednesday's programme, DFID officials in Ethiopia did make regular field visits to look into the allegations of aid distortion.

Those field visits -- and dozens of similar visits by other donor agencies -- made clear that there was no systemic distortion for political reasons in the distribution of aid.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Qeerroo Press Release

Email: Qeerroo2011@gmail.com
Facebook: Qeerroo Bilisummaa

“Just to point one, like the Woyane regime did in the past; we are observing organizations like Ginbot 7 are trying to take the invalid shortcut to their own goal.”
- Qeerroo
Press Release: Crackdown and campaign of mass imprisonment can never stop the struggle for freedom and Self Determination

The bitter struggle for freedom, democracy and self determination have come a long way from the day of the empire formation while to the contrary the response from the consecutive Ethiopian regimes happens to be mass imprisonment, looting, exiling and killing. What is special about the current regime is that, the life of these imprisoned and the other individuals, who are in principle free, are almost the same. It became customary to imprison, kill and confiscate the property of the people who have come up with legitimate discontent and spoke about their rights.
The reality dictates uniting efforts to topple the two decades long Woyane dictatorship as the only option on the ground. It is also the will of every nation in the country to join hands to erode the unspeakable tragedy of the people and to see the country on right path to development and equality. The clear goal after the days of the current dictatorship should also be to unchain the people and to open a new path of history whereby the people of the country decides freely on their future. The Oromo people is working for a system and a government that respects its rights and aspirations. It is against the other version of dictatorship whereby the Oromo continues to serve the interest of other hidden agendas and all sort of marginalization. The youth and people of Oromo is keenly and actively working to rebuff any sort of fake and ungrounded partnership even if we are open to democratic and credible partnership which is in line with the aspiration our people.

Having said that, we have not yet seen any credible support for our people ongoing struggle for freedom and democracy from these organizations who claims to have been fighting against Woyane regime. At a time when the Oromo people is suffering from mass imprisonment, killing, looting and land grabbing, not a single Pro Ethiopian organization have voiced against the injustice going on. Even if these things are all unfortunate, the Youth movement of Qeerroo still believes in the necessity of partnership and solidarity in the struggle that can secure the freedom all peoples in Ethiopia.
Just to point one, like the Woyane regime did in the past; we are observing organizations like Ginbot 7 are trying to take the invalid shortcut to their own goal. At a time when the imprisonment and killing in the country was intensified not only against the Oromo but also against other nations who started to say NO to the regime on power, avoiding the real way of dealing with the issue and engaging in a political game and show-off for simple political consumption is very disappointing.

As we all remember, the regimes on power have been doing all nasty tricks to divide the opposition camps. These tricks have brought nothing but intensified the problem in the country. It is a recent memory how the regime in power used individuals like Asefa Chamisso to divide and weaken the opposition camp on the CUD. Likewise the Ginbot 7 leaders look as if they are big fun of this nasty game. Rather than putting a credible and tangible struggle on the ground, they are busy to show the face of some individuals who have been proved to lack organizational discipline but claims to represent the Oromo people. This is not a fashion show and the Oromo clearly understand the terrible agenda behind the scene. This old and ugly way of struggle, which is the main reason for the failure of the Ethiopian politics so far; can never stand to the current need and aspiration of the people. The right answer is to engage in a serious and credible partnership in a bid to topple the dictatorship in Ethiopia once and for all and to work for freedom, democracy and self determination. It is the defining moment for these type of organization to clearly spell and tell their stand on solidarity, partnership and their understanding of right to self-determination in the country.
It is important to note that the objective of partnership is not to install new form of dictatorship which disregards the right to self-determination on empire mentality but to realise it and build the country on a democratic, justified and equal footing. By eroding the dictatorship in Ethiopia, we should be able to address the plight of the different peoples in Ethiopia, underline the unalienable right to self determination and open new era of bright future. There is no short cut to the realization of self determination but to accept and to deal with it. But if there are still some organizations that are not ready to accept the unalienable right to self determination in any form, they can not be seen different from the Woyane regime on power.
Qeerroo believes in the potential of new generation to realise freedom, democracy and justice in a sustained struggle against dictatorship. What is more, Qeerroo would like to assure that it will work for struggle that take all stake holders on board that can come up with a convincing and preferred option to solve the problems in the country.

Finally, the usual way of Woyane regime mass arrest and violence against people who raises a legitimate right, in a bid to take its regime forward can not work anymore. As we can understand from history Imprisonment and killing have never answered a clear political problem. Likewise the current unspeakable violence and inhuman treatment against people with legitimate demands can not stop us from struggle and can never deter us from realising self determination and democracy in Ethiopia.

Victory for the subjugated people!
Freedom and Democracy Shall Prevail!

National Youth Movement for Freedom and Democracy (NYMFD)

17th of September 2011

Map of oromia

Map of oromia