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Ethiopia crisis is ‘the beginning of the end of autocracy’ – Kenyan security expert. Africa News March 19, 2018

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Ethiopia crisis is 'the beginning of the end of autocracy' - Kenyan security expert

ETHIOPIA

A Kenyan conflict analysis resolution expert says Kenya must employ diplomatic channels to help Ethiopia out of the current political crisis it finds itself in.

According to Hassan Khannenje, the current state of affairs was just a matter of time after decades of iron fist rule by the Ethiopia Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

Speaking on a political talk show hosted by NTV Kenya channel he stressed that Ethiopia was nearing the end of authoritarian rule. “I don’t see the current Ethiopian crisis as the beginning of democracy (actually) I see it as the beginning of the end of autocracy.

Ever since the days of Hailesellasie to Mengistu Hailemariam and then after he was overthrown (really), there has never been a debate in Ethiopia or political space, essentially it has been a police state.

“Ever since the days of Hailesellasie to Mengistu Hailemariam and then after he was overthrown (really), there has never been a debate in Ethiopia or political space, essentially it has been a police state,” he stressed.

He averred that in the absence of a substantive head of government, i.e. a Prime Minister, the country was confused, adding that the state of emergency did not help matters because it is often used to repress opposition groups.

“And this is a culmination of many years of autocracy and authoritarianism. Now, in the absence of the Prime Minister at the moment or at least the state control of power in certain places, a lot of time the opposition tends to suffer, it gets scapegoated, it gets repressed.

“… the Oromo being the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and having been resistant to the status quo for many years, of course they are going kto get the first flak. Now, Kenya had seen this coming and we cannot pretend we were unaware of the goings on in Ethiopia.

Kenya until recently had not actively waded into the Ethiopian situation. The recent influx of thousands of refugees following a botched military operation in the border town of Moyale has forced the media to discuss Ethiopia.

“This was bound to happen sooner or later and what I am hoping is our Minister of Foreign Affairs or Interior have a moral bust approach both diplomatically with Ethiopia to make sure that thing does not overflow.

“But also to use its influence on the current rulers within at least on the Ethiopian circles, at least, to try and calm things down. Today Ethiopia needs help. They are still trying to figure out a direction where to go from here, they are confused,” he said.

 

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Politics of Death: The map maker who finds the bodies in Ethiopia’s land battle June 22, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #ABCDeebisaa, #OromoProtests, #SidamaProtests.
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Politics of Death: The map maker who finds the bodies in Ethiopia’s land battle

 

By Sally Hayden, This Is Place,  20 June 2017

 

A man at a funeral holds up the portrait of Tesfu Tadese Biru, 32, a construction engineer who died during a stampede after police fired warning shots at an anti-government protest in Bishoftu during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Denkaka Kebele, Ethiopia, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo


Academic Endalk Chala has been mapping the deaths of men and women killed in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, since violence erupted in November 2015By Sally Hayden


LONDON, June 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It was late 2015 when Endalk Chala began documenting deaths in his home country of Ethiopia, scouring Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to piece together who had died and where.

Chala comes from Ginchi, a town 72 km (45 miles) from Addis Ababa where protests began in November 2015, initially over a government plan to allocate large swathes of farmland to the capital city for urban development.

The plan would have displaced thousands of Oromo farmers, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.

“There were reports that people were killed in the protests and no one was reporting about it. No one cared who these people are,” Chala told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

“The information was all over the internet, not well organised. I just wanted to give perspective.”

While the land re-allocation project was officially scrapped by authorities, protests and conflict reignited over the continued arrest and jailing of opposition demonstrators with full-scale protests over everything from Facebook to economics.

Several hundred protesters were killed in the 11 months to October 2016 when the government declared a state of emergency and shut down communications, including the internet.

More than 50 people died at a single demonstration that month, after a stampede was triggered by police use of teargas to disperse anti-government protesters at a religious festival.

Watch: the map-maker’s mission

Witnesses also reported security forces firing live rounds into crowds of protesters at multiple locations.

A government report presented to parliament in April acknowledged a death toll 669 people – 33 of them security personnel – although activists believe it could be much higher.

For the government shutting off the internet for periods all but ended online contact across Ethiopia, leaving it to the Ethiopian diasporas to pull together the facts.

DIASPORA’S DATABASE

Enter Chala, a PhD student in Oregon, the United States, who decided to log every death he could on an interactive map, inspired by a similar Palestinian project.

“I started to collect the information from the internet: Facebook, Twitter and blogs. And I started to contact the people who had put that information out,” he said.

Once word spread that Chala was collating the deaths, Ethiopian friends and activists began to send details, including photographs of those injured and killed. They contacted Chala via social media and instant messaging applications like Viber.

Chala learned that Ethiopians in rural areas were driving miles to put evidence of the killings online, but he still feared there were information black holes.

Click here to see map WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC IMAGES OF VIOLENCE AND DEATH 

In its report of 669 deaths presented to parliament, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission – which works for the government – blamed protesters for damaging land and property.

In the report, seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Commission said the disturbances had damaged public services, private property and government institutions. It also cited harm to investment and development infrastructure.

However the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, criticised the government for a lack of accountability and called for access to protest sites.

Neither the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission nor the Ethiopian government responded to requests for comment.

FACEBOOK LEADS TO JAIL

In a country where fear of reprisals is common place, it is easier for those living outside Ethiopia to speak out, said Felix Horne, Ethiopia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Any time victims of human rights abuses share information with outside groups, with journalists – either domestic or international – there’s often repercussions, quite often from local security officials,” he said.

Protesters run from tear gas being fired by police during Irreecha, the thanks giving festival of the Oromo people in Bishoftu town of Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri – RTSQE9N

Horne said Facebook was a key source of information in the early stages of the protests but this was quickly seized on by the government and security officials checked students’ phones.

Last month, an opposition politician was sentenced to 6-1/2 years in prison because of comments he wrote on Facebook.

Horne, whose organisation also attempted to document the deaths, agreed that numbers are important for accountability, but said a focus on the death toll alone can be de-humanising.

“We’ve talked to so many people who were shot by security forces. Many of them children. Many of them students. The numbers sort of dehumanises these individuals.”

COST OF FREE THINKING

Benta, a 29-year-old veterinarian and former government employee who took part in the protests, saw nine people shot.

Speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Kenya, his new home, he recalled how a soldier fired directly on a car in Aje town, West Arsi on Feb. 15 last year. Five people were shot, two died and three were wounded, he said.

Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa makes a gesture while crossing the finish line at the Rio Olympics to protest Ethiopia’s treatment of his ethnic group, the Oromo people on August 21, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Six months later, on Aug. 6, Benta was participating in another protest in Shashamane in the Oromia region, when he saw four people shot. He says he was detained and tortured for nearly two months and has now made a new life in Nairobi.

“If you’re expressing your freedom, you’ll be shot, and if you’re asking for your rights, you’ll be detained,” he said.

Chala said bullet wounds were the most common injuries visible on the photos that flooded in to him from Ethiopia and the brutality he witnessed has stayed with him.

“It really hit me very hard,” he said.

“People will forget. They’ll bottleneck their emotions and grievances and the government will just extend and buy some time, and there will be another bubble sometime in the future. That’s a vicious circle.”


This is part of our series The Politics of Death”, reporting a global wave of violence against communities fighting for their lands. To find out why, read the full story here.


 

Thieving autocrat: The reign of Haile Selassie in Ethiopia February 13, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist


Selassie bred corruption in Ethiopia; he maintained a backward and inhuman system in which millions of his subject lived in degrading poverty, oppressive misery and ignorance. Nowhere in the world was the gulf between rich and poor greater.

Haile Selassie was not God or a great reformer; but a callous, greedy, thieving autocrat, who should be remembered for the murdering leech that he was.


Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia (full title “His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings and Elect of God”) has almost universally been remembered as a kindly benefactor, yet the evidence suggesting otherwise is overwhelming.

It is argued that he implemented many reforms in his country and Rastafarians believe him to be God incarnate – as prophesied by Marcus Garvey – but how justified are these suggestions?

If we take as starting point Fascist Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia we find Selassie fleeing to Britain in a brave attempt to rally support for his country. Garvey pointed out that he “ran away from his country to England, leaving his people to be massacred by the Italians” (Marcus Garvey, The Failure of Haile Selassie as Emperor, Black Man – London, March/April 1937). He remained in Bath for the duration of the war, but on returning to take his place on the throne he became paranoid about the partisans who had stayed and fought the Italians, fearing their bravery and preferring obsequiousness. Thus, they were gradually removed from positions of authority and replaced with those who had collaborated with the Italians as he knew they could be easily kept in line and would be open to the methods Selassie used to control his dignitaries. Selassie’s methods of asserting and achieving and maintaining power involved breeding an atmosphere of distrust and corruption, where government officials would inform on each other in a constant vying for power, each wanting to be noticed and promoted by the Emperor, as the financial rewards could be great.

Ethiopia had much in common with any other capitalist society. For instance, starving peasants felt themselves privileged to even see a rich person in the flesh (shades of the homeless in Britain grieving over a recently deceased Princess). To achieve this state of affairs, Selassie would throw crumbs to the poor and bribe the rich. An example of this was his practice of throwing coppers to the poor to celebrate his birthday each year.

That is why it is preferable for the Abyssinian Negroes and the Negroes of the world to work for the restoration and freedom of the country without the assistance of Haile Selassie, because at best he is but a slave master. The Negroes of the Western World whose forefathers suffered for three hundred years under the terrors of slavery ought to be able to appreciate what freedom means. Surely they cannot feel justified in supporting any system that would hold their brothers in slavery in another country whilst they are enjoying the benefits of freedom elsewhere. The Africans who are free can also appreciate the position of slaves in Abyssinia. What right has the Emperor to keep slaves when all the democratic sections of the world were free, when men had the right to live, to develop, to expand, to enjoy all the benefits of human liberty[?] (Garvey, 1937)

Always Selassie had to exercise absolute control, punishing those who undermined his authority, two examples being Prince Imru and Tekele Wolda Hawariat. Prince Imru gave some of his lands to the peasantry without the Emperors permission and as a result he was exiled form Ethiopia for twenty years for “disloyalty”. Tekele Hawariat, a celebrated war hero, refused bribes and special privileges and so was imprisoned and finally executed by decapitation. If Selassie couldn’t have someone in the palm of his hand then he would get rid of them.

Progressive
The image Selassie liked to project to the West was always one of being somehow progressive. To this end many youngsters were sent abroad to be educated, though when they returned Selassie’s megalomania and greed meant that this education could never be employed to initiate any reforms in the country. Yet, as we have said, Selassie is remembered by many as a great reformer. Rather than being interested in reform, Selassie was interested in ‘development’. This allowed him to appeal for funds to help this process. To this end hospitals, bridges, factories etc. were built, all bearing the name of the emperor. But as the money poured into Ethiopia much of it was misappropriated by Selassie and hundreds of millions of dollars found their way into his personal bank accounts. The West, however, continued to back Selassie, who they regarded as a bulwark against ‘communism’ in Africa.

In the sixties, when Selassie had begun to lose his grip following an attempted coup d’etat, he found it necessary to pay Army officers and his Police obscene amounts of money to maintain loyalty and order. Thus, in a country of 30 million farmers and 100,000 police and military personnel, 1% of the state budget was allocated to the farmers and 40% to the army and the police.

Sumptuous Banquets
Selassie bred corruption in Ethiopia; he maintained a backward and inhuman system in which millions of his subject lived in degrading poverty, oppressive misery and ignorance. Nowhere in the world was the gulf between rich and poor greater. In 1973 Jonathan Dimbleby visited northern Ethiopia and made the film which was to signal the end for Selassie. The film for the first time showed that people were starving to death in their multitudes, despite the money for ‘development’ which was being pumped into the country. At the Palace the splendour and riches seemed to know no bounds. The juxtapositioning of the two contrasting images in the film was striking; the pigs with their sumptuous banquets were growing fatter on the backs of walking skeletons. Of course this hunger suited Selassie as people could hardly rebel when they were starving to death. There was in fact, however, plenty of grain in Ethiopia. But landowners took the harvest from the peasants, grain prices doubled and the farmers who grew the grain could not afford to buy it.

As the dying continued, western journalists were no longer allowed into Northern Ethiopia. Selassie preferred to show off his great ‘developments’ to the world press. The suffering could not be hidden indefinitely so, as the situation became a bigger and bigger embarrassment to the Emperor, the Police began to kill off the starving en masse.

It is ironic that Selassie liked to project an image of himself to the world of a kind, tolerant and benevolent soul, yet those in his country who detracted from this image were usually executed. Supporters of Selassie could argue that it was his underlings and not he that were responsible for the atrocities and corruption, the Emperor being kept in total ignorance of the situation. A look at the facts shows this to be impossible. Selassie knew what he was doing when he stuffed the money stolen from his subjects under his mattress and encouraged others in his employ to do likewise. Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski wrote of Selassie: “the Emperor himself amassed his great riches. The older he grew, the greater became his greed, his pitiable cupidity…he and his people took millions from the state treasurer and left cemeteries full of people who had died of hunger, cemeteries visible from the windows of the royal palace” (The Emperor (1984) Picador p.160).

When the facts of history are written Haile Selassie of Abyssinia will go down as a great coward who ran away from his country to save his skin and left the millions of his countrymen to struggle through a terrible war that he brought upon them because of his political ignorance and his racial disloyalty. (Garvey, 1937)

Haile Selassie was not God or a great reformer; but a callous, greedy, thieving autocrat, who should be remembered for the murdering leech that he was.

Questions for Dr Tedros Adanhom, Ethiopia’s contender for WHO Director General, 2017 February 9, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomisttedros-adhanom-is-one-the-fascist-tple-tyranny-responsible-for-mass-killings-in-ethiopia

 

Poor young child selling cigarettes and chewing gum for her mother on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (photo taken in January, 2017) Dr Tedros Adanhom, until recently Ethiopia’s Foreign Minist…

Source: Questions for Dr Tedros Adanhom, Ethiopia’s contender for WHO Director General, 2017

TV4: Journalist Martin Schibbye who was imprisoned in Ethiopia : “I never thought I would see Chala again” November 5, 2015

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???????????Stop Torture

Journalist Martin Schibbye who was imprisoned in Ethiopia together with his colleague Johan Persson heard strange noises.In the next cell was subjected dissident poet and his cellmate Chala Hailu Abata of torture. They got in touch and it was the start of a friendship that eventually took Martin and Chala to Färila in Hälsingland.

http---prima.tv4play.se-multimedia-vman-VMan-P321-VMan-P3218475

Click the following link to listen to:-

http://www.tv4.se/efter-tio/klipp/martin-schibbye-jag-trodde-aldrig-jag-skulle-f%C3%A5-se-chala-igen-3218475?utm_campaign=tv4.se-framework&utm_content=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tv4.se%2Fefter-tio%2Fklipp%2Fmartin-schibbye-jag-trodde-aldrig-jag-skulle-f%25C3%25A5-se-chala-igen-3218475&utm_medium=facebook-like&utm_source=www.tv4.se

Oromia: Sabboonan Oromoo Barataa Tarreessaa Safaraamooraa Yunivarsiitii Mattuu keessatti Ajjeefame. Oromo national Tarreessaa Safaraa, Engineering student at Mattu University murdered by TPLF/ Ethiopian Security agents on 23rd October 2015 October 24, 2015

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???????????

(Oromedia, Mattuu, 24 Onkoloolessa 2015) Yeroo addaddaatti hidhaa keessatti dararamaa kan ture Barataa Tarreessaa Safaraa Onkololessa 23 galgala mooraa Yunivarsiitii Mattuu keessatti ajjeefamuun gabaasame.

Tarreessaa Safara_nMaddi gabaasaa keenyaa akka himetti, barataan kun yeroo hedduu humnoota tikaatiin hordofamaa ture.

Hiriyyoota isaattis, akka hordofamaa jiru himaa ture.

Tarreessaan eenyuu?

Barataa Tarreessaa Safaraa utuu barnoota idileerra jiruu bara 1999 barataa kutaa 11 ta’ee osoo jiruu yakka shororkeessummaan himatamee murteen waggaa 10 erga itti murtaa’e.  Kanumaan mana hidhaa Maa’ikelaawwii, Qaallittii, Qilinxoo fi Zuwaayitti jijjiiramee hidhamaa ture.

Haataúutii baratan kun yeroo hidhaa keessa turetti, hidhaa fi roorroof otuu hin jilbeeffanne, hiree argametti dhimma bahee beekumsaa fi dandeettii isa aguddifachaa ture.

Wayita mana hidhaa turettis tattaaffii inni waa dubbisee waa barachuuf godhaa ture namooti hedduu dinqisiifachaa kan turan hiriyooti isaa ragaa bahu.

Turtii waggaa jahaa fi ji’a saddet booda mana hidhaa bahe barnoota isaa bara 2007 xumuruun bara kana yuniversiitii Mattuutti ramadamee ture; akkanaan barnootatti deebi’uun hawwiisaa galmaan gahachuuf carraaqqii godheen Yunivarsiitii Mattuu muummee Injiinariingii seene.

Tarreessaa Eenyutu ajjeesee?

Oduun caasaa mootummaa iffaa facaafama ajiru, tarreessaan of ajjeese kan jedhuudha. Haata’uutii, Tarreessan sababa of ajjeesuuf akka hin qabne, kanneen itti dhiyaatan ragaa dha. “Tarreessaan of ajjeese jedhamee himamaa jira; kun waan taúu natti hin fakaatu,” kan jedhe barataan nageenya isaatiif jecha maqaa isaa jijjiiree “Olumaa” nuun jedhee, “Tarreessan kan ajjeefame humnoota tikaatiin; kun shakkii tokko illee hin qabu,” jedheera.

Tarreessaan goota obsa, kutannoo fi qabsoo Oromoof jaalala guddaa qabu, dargaggeessa qaroo ture.

Tarreessaan eessatti dhalate?

Barataa Engineeringii Waggaa 1ffaa kan ture, Tarreessaa Safaraa Lammeessaa Godina Horroo Guduruu Wallaggaa Magaalaa Shaambuu dhalate. Yuunivarsiitii Mattuu erga seenees amala gaarii akn qabu, naamusaa fi kabajaan hiriyyoota isaa waliin barumsa isaa hordofaa  ture.

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/10/omn-london-oduu-onkololeessa-24-2015/

Humni Tikaa Wayyaanee Barataa Qaroo fi Sabboonaa Tarreessaa Safaraa Yuuniversitii Mattuu Keessatti Ajjeessuun Gabaafame.

Yeroo addaddaatti hidhaa keessatti dararamaa kan ture Barataa Tarreessaa Safaraa Onkololessa 23 galgala mooraa Yunivarsiitii Mattuu keessatti ajjeefamuun gabaasame.

Tarreessaa Safara_nMaddi gabaasaa keenyaa akka himetti, barataan kun yeroo hedduu humnoota tikaatiin hordofamaa ture.

Hiriyyoota isaattis, akka hordofamaa jiru himaa ture.

Tarreessaan eenyuu?

Barataa Tarreessaa Safaraa utuu barnoota idileerra jiruu bara 1999 barataa kutaa 11 ta’ee osoo jiruu yakka shororkeessummaan himatamee murteen waggaa 10 erga itti murtaa’e.  Kanumaan mana hidhaa Maa’ikelaawwii, Qaallittii, Qilinxoo fi Zuwaayitti jijjiiramee hidhamaa ture.

Haataúutii baratan kun yeroo hidhaa keessa turetti, hidhaa fi roorroof otuu hin jilbeeffanne, hiree argametti dhimma bahee beekumsaa fi dandeettii isa aguddifachaa ture.

Wayita mana hidhaa turettis tattaaffii inni waa dubbisee waa barachuuf godhaa ture namooti hedduu dinqisiifachaa kan turan hiriyooti isaa ragaa bahu.

Turtii waggaa jahaa fi ji’a saddet booda mana hidhaa bahe barnoota isaa bara 2007 xumuruun bara kana yuniversiitii Mattuutti ramadamee ture; akkanaan barnootatti deebi’uun hawwiisaa galmaan gahachuuf carraaqqii godheen Yunivarsiitii Mattuu muummee Injiinariingii seene.

Tarreessaa Eenyutu ajjeesee?

Oduun caasaa mootummaa iffaa facaafama ajiru, tarreessaan of ajjeese kan jedhuudha. Haata’uutii, Tarreessan sababa of ajjeesuuf akka hin qabne, kanneen itti dhiyaatan ragaa dha. “Tarreessaan of ajjeese jedhamee himamaa jira; kun waan taúu natti hin fakaatu,” kan jedhe barataan nageenya isaatiif jecha maqaa isaa jijjiiree “Olumaa” nuun jedhee, “Tarreessan kan ajjeefame humnoota tikaatiin; kun shakkii tokko illee hin qabu,” jedheera.

Tarreessaan goota obsa, kutannoo fi qabsoo Oromoof jaalala guddaa qabu, dargaggeessa qaroo ture.

Tarreessaan eessatti dhalate?

Barataa Engineeringii Waggaa 1ffaa kan ture, Tarreessaa Safaraa Lammeessaa Godina Horroo Guduruu Wallaggaa Magaalaa Shaambuu dhalate. Yuunivarsiitii Mattuu erga seenees amala gaarii akn qabu, naamusaa fi kabajaan hiriyyoota isaa waliin barumsa isaa hordofaa  ture.

Haata’u malee guyyaa kaleessaa doormii dhabamuun har’a reeffi isaa argame. Ajjeechaan ilmaan Oromoo qaroo ta’an irratti raawwatamu har’as itti fufeera.

Haata’u malee guyyaa kaleessaa doormii dhabamuun har’a reeffi isaa argame. Ajjeechaan ilmaan Oromoo qaroo ta’an irratti raawwatamu har’as itti fufeera.

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/10/omn-london-oduu-onkololeessa-24-2015/

In drought (famine) ravaged Ethiopia there is a thin line between life and death. The last decent rains fell here two years ago. Families watch their animals die and wonder if they are next. October 22, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Famine in Ethiopia, Food Production, Free development vs authoritarian model, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Land Grabs in Africa.
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???????????Famine in Ethiopia 2015povertyAfrica is still struggling with povertyTPLF Ethiopian forces destroyed Oromo houses in Ada'a district, Central Oromia, July 2015Tigrean Neftengna's land grabbing and the Addis Ababa Master plan for Oormo genocide

“…UN now warning that without action some “15 million people will require food assistance” next year, more than inside war-torn Syria.  ….Hardest-hit areas are Ethiopia’s eastern Afar and southern Somali regions, while water supplies are also unusually low in central and eastern Oromo region.” Unicef

Millions hungry as Ethiopia drought bites

(Unicef,  News24, October 22,  2015): The number of hungry Ethiopians needing food aid has risen sharply due to poor rains and the El Nino weather phenomenon with around 7.5 million people now in need, aid officials said on Friday.

That number has nearly doubled since August, when the United Nations said 4.5 million were in need – with the UN now warning that without action some “15 million people will require food assistance” next year, more than inside war-torn Syria.

“Without a robust response supported by the international community, there is a high probability of a significant food insecurity and nutrition disaster,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, said in a report.

The UN children’s agency, Unicef, warns over 300 000 children are severely malnourished.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), which makes detailed technical assessments of hunger, predicted a harvest “well below average” in its latest report.

“Unusual livestock deaths continue to be reported,” FEWS NET said. “With smaller herds, few sellable livestock, and almost no income other than charcoal and firewood sales, households are unable to afford adequate quantities of food.”

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, borders the Horn of Africa nation of Somalia, where some 855 000 people face need “life-saving assistance”, according to the UN, warning that 2.3 million more people there are “highly vulnerable”.

El Nino comes with a warming in sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, and can cause unusually heavy rains in some parts of the world and drought elsewhere.

Hardest-hit areas are Ethiopia’s eastern Afar and southern Somali regions, while water supplies are also unusually low in central and eastern Oromo region.

Sensitive issue

Food insecurity is a sensitive issue in Ethiopia, hit by famine in 1984-85 after extreme drought.

Today, Ethiopia’s government would rather its reputation was its near-double-digit economic growth and huge infrastructure investment – making the country one of Africa’s top-performing economies and a magnet for foreign investment.

Still, nearly 20 million Ethiopians live below the $1.25 poverty line set by the World Bank, with the poorest some of the most vulnerable to weather challenges.

Ethiopia’s government has mobilised $33m in emergency aid, but the UN says it needs $237m.

Minster for Information Redwan Hussein told reporters at a recent press conference that Ethiopia is doing what it can.

“The support from donor agencies has not yet arrived in time to let us cope with the increasing number of the needy population,” he said.

http://www.news24.com/Multimedia/Africa/Malnutrition-in-Ethiopian-children-20110916

http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Millions-hungry-as-Ethiopia-drought-bites-20151002

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Haaluma kanaan gara godina Shawaa Bahaa aanaa Adaamii Tulluu Jidduu Kombolchaatti babaldhatee akka jirullee jiraattonni dubbatan.

Jiraataan aanichaa tokko OMN f akka himanitti, rooba dhabameen wal qabatee, hoongee uumameen, namoonni hedduun araddaalee gara garaa keessa jiraatan, beelaaf saaxialamanii jiru.

Bara kana keessa bokkaan si’a lama qofa reebe kan jedhan namni kun, sababa kanaan namoonni midhaan facafachuu qaban, nyaataaf oolfataniiru.

Kan hafe ammoo kafaltii xaa’oo akka baasaniif wayta mootummaan dirqisiiseetti, midhaan facafachuuf qopheeffatan gurguranii baasiif kennanii jiru.

Namoonni hedduun qabeenya harkaa qaban waan fixataniif, beelaaf saaxilamuu danda’aniiru jedhan.

Akka namni kun jedhanitti, namoonni hedduun baadiyaa keessa jiraatan, beela sukaneessaa isaan miidhaa jiru jalaa, qe’ee isaanii dhiisanii gara magaalatti deemaa jiru.

Namoota gara magaalatti deemaa jiran keessaa manguddoonni humna dhabeeyyi ta’anis ni jiru.
Erga magaalaa gahanii booda, lubbuu ufii jiraachisuuf jecha, hujii humnaa olii hojjatanii jiraachuudhaaf dirqamanii jiran.

Hujii humnaa kana hojjachuudhaaf kan dirqaman, lubbuu ufii du’a irraa hambisuuf kan jedhan namni kun, beelli bara kana aanaa isaanii muudatee jiru, haalan yaddessaa ta’uu dubbatan.

Namoota beela kanaan miidhamanii asii fi achi deemaa jiran kana, gama mootummaa biyya bulchaa jiruun, haga ammaatti birmannaan taasifameef tokkollee akka hin jirre namni kun dubbatan.

Namoonnii baay’een daa’imman isaanii waan nyaachisan dhabanii rakkataa jiru. Loon ammoo marga dheedan dhabuun du’aaf saaxilamaniiru jedhan.

Rakkoo kanaan dura muldhatee hin beekne kana, mootummaanis gargaaruu dhiisee caldhisee ilaalaa jira kan jedhan namni kun, sababa kanaaf haalli ammaan kana jiru garmalee yaaddessaadha.

Mootummaan humanan taaytaa qabatee jiru, diinaggeen biyyattii dijiitii lamaan guddatee jira jechuun wayta faarsaa jiru kanatti, lammiileen biyyattii hedduun beelaan saaxilamuu isaanii midiyaalee gara garaa gabaasaa jiraachuun ni yaadatama.

Usmaan Ukkumetu gabaase.

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/10/jiraattonni-aanaaadaamii-tulluu-gargaarsa-dhabanii-beelaan-miidhamaa-jiru/

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/10/omn-oduu-onk-21-2015/

Why is Ethiopia hungry again?

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/why-is-ethiopia-hungry-again/

The Cause of Ethiopia’s Recurrent Famine Is Not Drought, It Is Authoritarianism

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/the-cause-of-ethiopias-recurrent-famine-is-not-drought-it-is-authoritarianism/

Drought, food crisis and Famine in Ethiopia 2015: Children and adults are dying of lack of food, water and malnutrition. Animals are perishing of persisting drought. The worst Affected areas are: Eastern and Southern Oromia, Afar, Ogaden and Southern nations.

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/drought-food-crisis-and-famine-in-ethiopia-2015-children-and-adults-are-dying-of-lack-of-food-water-and-malnutrition-animals-are-perishing-of-persisting-drought-the-worst-affected-areas-are-e/

The tale of two countries (Obama’s/TPLF’s Ethiopia and Real Ethiopia): The Oromo (Children, Women and elders) are dying of genocidal mass killings and politically caused famine, but Obama has been told only rosy stories and shown rosy pictures.

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/ethiopia-the-oromo-children-women-and-elders-are-dying-of-genocidal-mass-killings-and-politically-caused-famine-but-obama-has-been-told-only-rosy-stories-and-shown-rosy-pictures-africa-oromia/

Ethiopia: Early Warning Project identifies countries most at risk for state-led mass killing. Ethiopia making the top 15th in the list September 21, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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???????????Tigrean Neftengna's land grabbing and the Addis Ababa Master plan for Oormo genocide

Report:-Which Countries Are Most Likely to Suffer Onsets of State-Led Mass Killing in 2015?

Sep 21, 2015

Read at:-

http://www.earlywarningproject.com/2015/09/18/2015-statistical-risk-assessment

The return of the Tigrean rebels to TPLF camp might be shocking to those who have been counting on them to serve as reliable ally. However for those who has followed recent development carefully, this event could hardly be surprising. September 18, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Tyranny.
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When an elite drawn from small minority ascends to power, the process of consolidation brings about two developments that are complementary and conflicting at the same time. On one hand, as they try to consolidate power by fending off potential rivals, they develop an exclusionist policy that leads them to accumulate disproportionately high wealth and power. On the other, such exclusionist policy leads to developments of resentment among excluded groups which would be expressed through generalized hostility towards the privileged group as whole. These two developments enable the regime to increase internal cohesion. The control of huge resource among the minority elites allows them to spread it around hence reducing internal competition and conflict. More importantly the ever increasing hostility of elites of the ‘other’ towards the privileged group in general creates sense of collective insecurity and solidarity making ‘sticking together’ an inevitable reaction.

This is basically what has been happening in Ethiopian politics in the last two and half decades. Tigreans who make up no more than 6% of the population have come to monopolize the meager wealth and power that country has. The TPLF regime has control over national resource that can be spread around the Tigrean elite reducing competition and conflict among them. The repression and exclusion of the rest has led to ever intensification of vocal hostility towards Tigreans. In such situation, even those Tigreans who might not support the regime policy and are not attracted to wealth and power would have to join the mothership due to shared sense of existential threat to the collective.

Ethiopia: The endless suffering of Oromo Nationals continued even after the landmark victory claim of the EPRDF in the election of May 2015. Human rights League of the Horn of Africa Urgent Action. #Oromia #Africa August 30, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Because I am Oromo.
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Ethiopia: The endless suffering of Oromo Nationals continued even after the landmark victory claim of the EPRDF in the election of May 2015

 

For Immediate Release

August 29, 2015

Even though the government of Ethiopia claimed 100% of the victory during the parliamentary election of May 2015, harassment and intimidation through arbitrary arrests, kidnappings and disappearances of civilians have continued unabated in all corners of the Oromia Regional State under the pretext they voted for opposition parties and did not give their voice for the EPRDF wing Oromo organization, the Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO) According to HRLHA correspondents in Oromia, the major target areas of these most recent government-sponsored human rights abuse include Bule Hora (Guji zone, Southern Oromia), Dambi Dolo (Western Oromia zone), Western and North Showa Zones (Central Oromia Regional State). According to the report obtained from Oromia, more than two thousand Oromo nationals have been arrested and many have been abducted since the May 2015 election. In another incident, the Ethiopian federal police arrested over 400 farmers, men and women in the North Showa Zone Warra Jarso district from different communities on the pretext that they harbored rebels who fought against the government. The victims were picked up from their homes and confined in Warra Jarso district administrative offices and different local schools. Although it has been difficult to identify everyone by their names, HRLHA correspondents have confirmed that the following were among those arrested.  The endless suffering of Oromo Nationals

 

Ethiopia: Why the World Bank Should Embrace Human Rights. #Africa #Oromia August 20, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aid to Africa, Free development vs authoritarian model, World Bank.
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 Ethiopia: Why the World Bank Should Embrace Human Rights

By Sarah Saadoun, Huffington Post  19 August 2015

World Bank underwrites repression in Ethiopia. What should the Bank do in situations like this — where it funds badly needed assistance to poor communities only to see those programs used as an instrument of political repression? (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

In Ethiopia, the World Bank helps fund a program that provides food and cash to people who work on public infrastructure projects. It’s a popular program and many people need the work. But a poor farmer said that when he went to sign up for the program he was turned away. “This doesn’t concern you,” the program coordinator told him.

Three other farmers said they registered and did the work, only to see their names taken off the distribution list to receive the promised two sacks of wheat and 400-500 Birr (US $35-$44). All four were members of Ethiopia’s opposition party. “There is not a single opposition person in the safety net program with me,” a member of the ruling party who took part in the program admitted.

What should the World Bank do in situations like this — where it funds badly needed assistance to poor communities only to see those programs used as an instrument of political repression? The bank’s answer is, not much. Situations like this appear not to violate the World Bank’s social safeguard policies, which borrowing countries are required to follow for World Bank-financed projects.

But those “safeguards” don’t specifically require bank projects to respect human rights at all–an inexcusable omission.

Now the bank is carrying out a supposedly comprehensive overhaul of its safeguard policies but without addressing this problem. Last Tuesday, it released a long-awaited second draft of its proposed changes. The bank had promised that the new safeguards will be “clearer [and] stronger” than its current policies, in support of the bank’s recently adopted twin goals to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.

But the revised draft still doesn’t recognize that those goals can’t be met without demanding respect for fundamental human rights. Instead, it treats human rights as aspirational values that the bank may selectively promote, rather than as a set of obligations with which its borrowers must comply.

As the bank rightly pointed out when adopting its twin goals, even as economic development has raised average income growth, the poorest 40 percent of the population have seen little improvement, and “the world should pay particular attention to those who are less fortunate.” But World Bank projects have harmed these same communities in country after country, as we and others have documented, threatening their land tenure, damaging resources they depend on, or forcing them to resettle in inferior locations.

We have also documented cases around the world of people who speak out against these problems being harassed or even arrested. The bank has policies requiring vulnerable people to be consulted in carrying out its projects, but none require the bank to take responsibility for preventing, investigating, and remedying attacks on people who dare to speak their mind or even the people who file complaints with the bank’s own independent accountability mechanisms.

Where safeguard policies fall short of human rights standards, they leave communities unprotected against governments’ abuses against the most marginalized and poorest communities in carrying out bank projects or retaliation against project critics. Requiring countries to respect human rights would ensure that, at a minimum, bank projects do not harm the same communities that the bank claims are their beneficiaries.

Embracing human rights also has implications beyond the bank. It could set the bar for other development banks and help build borrowing countries’ capacity and support for human rights. On the other hand, there is the risk that the bank’s dilution of human rights standards can weaken existing rights. As the case of the Ethiopian cash-for-work program illustrates, discrimination on the basis of political opinion – or a person’s language – violates human rights but apparently not bank policy. It is a grim sign that the definition of discrimination in the United Nations’ proposed Sustainable Development Goals does not explicitly include discrimination against people for their political opinions or language.

The World Bank should do three things to make good on its promise of clearer, stronger safeguards. First, its operational policies should make clear that it will not finance projects that contravene borrower’s human rights obligations. Second, it should revise its requirements, including on non-discrimination, to comply with human rights. And, third, it should obligate borrowers not to retaliate against project critics.
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Sarah Saadoun is the Leonard H. Sandler fellow at Human Rights Watch.

Ethiopia: The Italian spyware firm Hacking Team took no effective action to investigate or stop reported abuses of its technology by the Ethiopian government August 19, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Internet Freedom, The Ethiopian government’s systematic repression of independent media, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia.
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Ethiopia: Hacking Team Lax on Evidence of Abuse

Leaked Documents Show Need to Regulate Surveillance Sales

hrw(New York, August 13, 2015) – The Italian spyware firm Hacking Team took no effective action to investigate or stop reported abuses of its technology by the Ethiopian government against dissidents, Human Rights Watch said. A comprehensive review of internal company emails leaked in July 2015 reveals that the company continued to train Ethiopian intelligence agents to hack into computers and negotiated additional contracts despite multiple reports that its services were being used to repress government critics and other independent voices.

The Italian government should investigate Hacking Team practices in Ethiopia and elsewhere with a view toward restricting sales of surveillance technology likely to facilitate human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said.

“The Hacking Team emails show that the company’s training and technology in Ethiopia directly contributed to human rights violations,” said Cynthia Wong, senior Internetresearcher at Human Rights Watch. “Despite multiple red flags, Hacking Team showed a striking lack of concern about how its business could damage dissenting and independent voices.”

On July 5, 400 gigabytes (GB) of Hacking Team’s internal emails, documents, and source code that had been hacked were leaked online. The leaked emails confirm that the company had sold surveillance systems, training, and support and maintenance services to the Ethiopian Information Network Security Agency (INSA) as early as 2011, with contracts worth US$1 million in 2012. On November 5, 2012 Hacking Team congratulated INSA on infecting its first target.

Leaked Hacking Team emails showed that it reviewed independent reports published in 2014 and 2015 that presented findings that the government was targeting Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) employees based in the United States using Hacking Team technology. Yet the company’s internal emails show only a superficial effort to investigate these findings and end the abuse.

Hacking Team states it sells exclusively to governments. Human Rights Watch first contacted Hacking Team in February 2014 after the Toronto-based research center Citizen Lab reported that the Ethiopian government had attempted to use Hacking Team’s spyware, Remote Control System, to hack into the computers of ESAT employees. ESAT is an independent, diaspora-run television and radio station. On December 20, 2013, a third party made three separate attempts to target two ESAT employees who live outside of Ethiopia. In each attempt, ESAT employees received a file through Skype.

The ESAT employees did not open the files, which were presented as and appeared to be a Word document or PDF file. However, if the employees had opened them, the files would have covertly installed a program that would have given the Ethiopian government access to files, emails, passwords, and Skype calls made on the infected computer. Testing by researchers at Citizen Lab found that the program appeared to be spyware that matched previously established characteristics of Hacking Team’s Remote Control System.
In response to a Human Rights Watch inquiry about this incident, the company stated that under its “Customer Policy,” “when questions about the proper use of our tools are raised either internally or come to our attention from outside the company, we investigate.” If a government agency is found to have misused its software, the company states, it will suspend support for the agency’s system, leaving it “vulnerable to detection and therefor useless”. However, until the firm’s recent data breach, the company has been unwilling to disclose any information on its clients or whether it opened an investigation into how the Ethiopian government has been using its technology under its customer policy.
A second report published in March 2015 by Citizen Lab further corroborated evidence that the Ethiopian security agency continued to use Hacking Team’s system to target ESAT journalists. It also showed that the company provided at least one software update to the agency in between the attacks, despite clear indications of abuse of the software. This raised considerable questions about whether the company took the action set out in its customer policy on earlier reports.
Although Hacking Team point out that the leaked information is partial, arguing that it does not include a record of phone calls or discussions held during internal meetings at the company, the company’s leaked internal emails do not show that the company conducted a serious investigation in response to allegations that the security agency had misused the system in 2014. As Hacking Team staff debated over email about how to respond to media reports of the Ethiopian government’s hacking activities, they were also discussing the security agency’s requests to upgrade its system and purchase additional services.
In March 2015, in response to reports from Human Rights Watch and Citizen Lab, Hacking Team asked Ethiopian officials for a written response to allegations that it was conducting abusive surveillance. The government responded that its targets are members of Ginbot 7, a banned Ethiopian opposition organization that the government considers to be a terrorist organization. The emails show no further inquiry by Hacking Team to the government’s response.
The Ethiopian government has invoked national security to clamp down on core freedoms and human rights. Human Rights Watch documented in a March 2014 report that the Ethiopian government uses its surveillance capacities to unlawfully monitor the activities of perceived political opponents inside the country and among the diaspora. Individuals with perceived or tenuous connections to even registered opposition groups are arbitrarily arrested and interrogated based on their phone calls. Recorded phone calls with family members and friends – particularly those with foreign phone numbers – are often played during abusive interrogations in which people who have been arbitrarily detained are accused of belonging to banned organizations.

The Hacking Team emails show that the company’s training and technology in Ethiopia directly contributed to human rights violations. Despite multiple red flags, Hacking Team showed a striking lack of concern about how its business could damage dissenting and independent voices.

Cynthia Wong

Senior Internet Researcher

Human Rights Watch and others have documented that the country’s anti-terrorism law has been used to target journalistsand others critical of government policies. Dozens of journalists, bloggers, and media publishers have been criminally charged and at least 60 journalists have fled the country since 2010. The clampdown on dissent culminated in the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition taking 100 percent of parliamentary seats in the May federal election.

Human Rights Watch wrote to Hacking Team in July to request comment on these findings. The company stated that it “suspended the relationship [with Ethiopia] last year and terminated all relations with Ethiopia earlier this year.” The company also stated that since its stolen information is publicly available, “the record demonstrates that the company followed all laws and regulations as well as its own customer policy.”
The firm specified that it investigated allegations of abuse in 2014 raised by Citizen Lab by “interrogating the client,” but the facts were “inconclusive.” The firm however noted that “there were several within the company who argued that irrespective of the reasons for this particular surveillance attempt, the Ethiopian investigators were inept, and the relationship with the client should be suspended for that reason alone,” and Hacking Team suspended support to the Ethiopian security agency in the fall of 2014. According to statements from Hacking Team to theWashington Post, Hacking Team suspended support, but the government “would still have had some ability to collect data from existing surveillance.”
In internal discussions revealed by the leaked emails, Hacking Team staff appeared toaccept the government’s justification that the surveillance was “lawful.” Hacking Team briefly suspended service to Ethiopia in March 2015, though seemingly due to concerns that the government’s “incompetent” and “reckless and clumsy” use of the company’s system would expose Hacking Team’s technology to detection, rather than concerns over possiblehuman rights abuses.Hacking Team’s surveillance tools are designed to be undetectable by commercial anti-virus programs and other analysis. According to internal emails, Hacking Team believedthat the Ethiopian government’s flawed use of the tool put its covert nature in jeopardy, along withthe confidentiality of the firm’s other customers.In a leaked email, one staff member also expressed concern that if the company continued the relationship with the Ethiopian security agency, it would have “demonstrated that [Hacking Team doesn’t] take seriously [its] own policies” regarding customer misuse of its technology to violate rights. The leaked emails reflect that the government continued to have access to Hacking Team’s tools after March 2015 and the company issued a temporary license to Ethiopia while they began negotiations in April on a new contract worth at least $700,000. At the time Hacking Team was hacked in July, the Ethiopian security agency had allowed its previous license to expire and the agency and the firm had not yet finalized a new contract.

Hacking Team wrote to Human Rights Watch that its “software is operated by the client, not by Hacking Team, and the subjects of surveillance, the information gathered and the reasons for the surveillance” are not available to Hacking Team. Yet the leaked emails suggest that Hacking Team had multiple opportunities to assess whether the government’s surveillance activities violated human rights and take action to stop these abuses. As part of the company’s support and training services, it repeatedly asked Ethiopian officials for information about intended surveillance targets so that the company could better assist the government in carrying out a successful attack, including through more sophisticated “social engineering” techniques to gain access to a target’s computer.

Social engineering often involves sending highly personalized emails from seemingly trusted sources to entice surveillance targets to open documents infected with spyware, which requires knowledge of the target’s contacts and interests. The released emails show no indication that the company conducted any human rights due diligence based on this kind of information, which may have raised red flags about possible abuses. The new 2015 contract that the company was negotiating with Ethiopia at the time of the data breach included “many months of training combined to [sic] our continuous on-site presence — in order to assist them, teach them, and supervise their investigative activities” according toleaked emails.

Previous reporting by Citizen Lab and others described how the Ethiopian government had used tools provided by FinFisher, a UK and Germany based competitor to Hacking Team, to target or monitor computers owned by other individuals in the Ethiopian diaspora in the US, UK, and Norway. In February 2014, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the Ethiopian government on behalf of one of the victims for violating US privacy laws.

Italy and other governments should ensure that all sales of Hacking Team systems and similarly controlled technologies are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, Human Rights Watch said. At a minimum, controls should require an inquiry into the human rights climate of the destination country, the end user and likely end use, technical specifications of the technology, and marketing materials employed by the companies to sell to government agencies.

“The Hacking Team leaks show this industry cannot be depended upon to regulate itself,” Wong said. “Italy and other governments should not turn a blind eye to these revelations, but should immediately investigate the practices of international spyware companies and impose real oversight and control over the exports of surveillance technologies.”

Background

The sale of surveillance technologies is largely unregulated at the national and international level. In December 2013, countries participating in the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies added “intrusion software” to its multilateral export control list. As a result, the European Union and 41 member countries to the Wassenaar Arrangement have begun to introduce regulations to control the sale of systems like those sold by Hacking Team. The EU regulations, which apply to Italy, went into force in December 2014.

On February 25, Hacking Team released a statement saying it was “complying fully” with the Wassenaar’s intrusion software controls. The company stated that “under the procedures agreed to by Hacking Team and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, HT will request from the Italian Government export authorization for its technologies.”

The company’s leaked emails show the company’s lobbying efforts to ensure that it would not be required to seek specific authorization to export its technologies for all countries, undermining the Italian government’s ability to exercise oversight over its sales. In October 2014, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development briefly halted Hacking Team’s exports and proposed a broad control on the firm’s sales that would require a case-by-case review to approve each export, citing “possible uses concerning internal repression and violations of human rights.”

Leaked emails showed that company executives lobbied top Italian officials and government contacts to intervene. As a result, the Economic Development Ministry rescinded the broad control in November 2014, and instead granted a one-time “global license” for exports to countries that were part of the Wassenaar Arrangement in April 2015. It is unclear whether the Italian government has required Hacking Team to seek specific authorization for services, updates, and support the firm continues to provide under contracts signed before April.

Properly implemented export controls can be a valuable tool to help curb the unregulated spread of these systems and promote responsible business and human rights norms. Controls also act as an essential accountability and transparency mechanism. Greater transparency can assist governments and nongovernmental organizations in monitoring the human rights impact of their businesses, improving policies to address abuses, and enhancing remedies where violations occur.

 

Forbes: Obama’s True Legacy: Propping Up Dictators. #Africa August 6, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in US-Africa Summit.
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By praising Ethiopia’s repressive regime for being “democratically elected” last week, President Obama was driving home once again something that should be abundantly clear by now: His administration marks a radical departure from previous ones when it comes to democracy promotion.

 

Obama Ethiopia visit2

 

On the contrary, the Obama legacy will be one of propping up dictatorial regimes around the world. His praise for the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn merely took to Africa what Obama and his foreign policy team have already done on a grander scale in Iran, Cuba and Burma.

To be sure, President Obama was standing next to Desalegn at a joint press conference in Addis Ababa when he spoke. Maybe he didn’t want to be a bad guest. And the President did add that the Ethipiopian government has “more work to do.” After a slew of criticism at home, he later also questioned why African leaders clung on to office rather than leave after their terms were completed.
But Mr. Obama didn’t have to go out of his way to call Desalegn “democratically elected,” let alone do it twice. Nor did he have to make excuses for his government’s horrendous human rights record by recalling the country’s past hardship and the relative infancy of its constitution.
Before leaving for Africa, human rights activists and think tanks had called on Mr. Obama to use his trip to promote economic and political freedom—something the president did only in the mildest of ways.

The Ethiopian government, for the record, has been roundly criticized by all major human rights organizations for holding sham elections in May in which Desalegn’s Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) claimed to have won 100 percent of the vote. Immediately upon Mr. Obama’s comments, the President of Freedom House Mark P. Lagon released this reaction:

President Obama unfortunately was fundamentally wrong in his comments about the parliamentary elections Ethiopia held in May, in which the ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won every seat. Calling Ethiopia’s government democratically elected lowers the standards for democracy and undermines the courageous work of so many Ethiopians who fight to realize a just and democratic society.

And that’s just it. President Obama seems to have very little time for dissidents who fight brutal regimes in troubled lands. The reasons for that are many. My Heritage Foundation colleague Joshua Meservey, an Africa expert, brings up two when he tells me:

President Obama seems uncomfortable with democracy promotion for two reasons. First, he wants to distance himself from President George W. Bush’s agenda, a significant plank of which was democracy promotion. Second, I think he is a product of a certain liberal worldview that believes the U.S.’s and West’s past sins, such as slavery and the Crusades, disqualify them from pushing their values abroad, as doing so implies that the U.S.-led West’s model is superior.

Meservey is right, except what liberals don’t seem to get is that they are turning on its head one of the huge achievements of classical liberalism: the Enlightenment promotion of the idea that some rights are natural, and thus universal.

The 18th century Enlightenment was all about the universal applicability of such natural rights as life, liberty and the pursuit of property. Except that to modern liberals, the Enlightenment was all about dead white men, so promoting their ideas is culturally insensitive. Ironically, they resemble in this sense the conservatives of the 18th century, who shared Edmund Burke’s belief in each nation’s particularism.

Only up to a point, of course. Liberals still want to push their pet causes on others. Unfortunately these don’t include democracy or traditional human rights.

David Kramer, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights under President Bush, sees the hand of National Security Adviser Susan Rice in the Ethiopia faux pas, saying Rice has “had a long-standing interest in Ethiopia and… was a huge fan of the late President Meles Zenawi, who was no democrat, to say the least.” Ms. Rice’s sympathy for African despots is well known.

For the most part, though, Kramer’s analysis is the same as Meservey’s: Obama’s problems with democracy are larger.

“For the first year I put it down to ABB, Anything But Bush—Bush did it, so it was bad,” Kramer told me. “But seven years on that doesn’t explain it anymore. He’s the president who’s shown the least interest in democracy and human rights since Richard Nixon. It’s sad. For someone who constantly extols his past as a community organizer, this is pretty unexplainable.”

Read at:-

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikegonzalez3/2015/08/05/obamas-true-legacy-propping-up-dictators/

HRLHA Press Release: Ethiopian Election 2015: Is Democracy Prosperous or Destitute? June 29, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Sham elections.
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Ethiopian Election 2015: Is Democracy Prosperous or Destitute?

 

HRLHA Press Release

June 28, 2015

 Public, For Immediate Release

Ethiopia holds general elections every five years; the most recent one was held on May 24, 2015. The ruling TPLF/EPRDF party, which has been in power for the past twenty-four years, officially announced on this past Monday, June 22, 2015 that the government and its allies ((political organizations created by EPRDF) won a landslide victory in the country’s parliamentary elections. In the announcement, the ruling party proudly declared itself, not just the winner, but that it was also more victorious than ever before by taking all seats in both the federal and regional parliaments with its allies. In the months and weeks leading to the elections, under very restrictive conditions and in some places even where detentions were common, campaigns by the opposition parties were very intense, and the public response in support of the parties was far beyond expectations.

Unfortunately, all of that was to no avail. Looking at the end results of the elections, all that could be said is that the huge public rally behind the opposition parties instead alerted the ruling party- it prepared itself and came up with more and newer tactics to rig the elections. Heavily equipped armed forces were deployed in different areas including the surroundings of the capital, Addis Ababa/Finfinne.

As has been the case during the previous elections, hundreds of opposition party candidates, and observers were hunted down and detained at different places prior to the polling day under the pretext that they created obstacles to the process of election or were suspected of being members of political organizations labeled terrorist by the EPRDF government, groups such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Ogadenean Nation Liberation Front (ONLF) and Ginbot 7.

filanooThousands of Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) candidates and observers in Oromia Regional State, including Bule Hora (Guji Zone) South Oromia,  Makko and Darimu (Illu Abba Bora), Gimbi and Gulisso (Wallagga) West Oromia, Ginir and Goro (Bale), South Oromia were arrested and intimidated by the government security forces. OFC members Mr. Dula Matias and Mr. Zelalem Shuma in Dambi Dola (Wallagga), the Western Oromia Regional State were among those detained.

There have been cases of misinforming and misguiding voters, especially regarding voting times and places. Although it was announced ahead of the election day that there were plenty of voting cards, Oromo electors in some particular parts of the region were told that there were no voting cards left. In other areas of Oromia it has been confirmed that the voting cards were distributed to the people hours after the election has already started.

For example, in the following photo the EPRDF representative on the Toke Kutaye District (Ambo) was distributing voter cards on May 24, 2014.

Worst of all was the stealing of the ballot boxes after they were filled with voting cards in order to give all the votes to the candidates of the ruling party, regardless of whom the voter cards belonged to. The above mentioned incidents happened mainly in Eastern and Western Hararge, Dire Dawa, in various parts of central Shawa, in the Oromia Zone of Wallo, particularly at Wallo University, in Illu Abbabor, at Mettu University, in different parts of Wallaga, in Guji and Borana zones of the regional state of Oromia.

Accordingly, as proven in the announcement made by the National Election Board, the ruling TPLF/EPRDF Party stole most of the votes and, by so doing, systematically eliminated all opposition parties from the political game, leaving both the regional and federal parliaments without any alternative voices and differing political opinions. It is so worrisome that the country is once again back under a one-party monopoly of everything – political, economic, and social. All the rhetoric during the past two decades regarding the flourishing of democracy in Ethiopia has now proven to have been lies and deceptions- the reality is that democracy has been diminished.

Regardless of the unpopular results of the elections, both the Ethiopian peoples and all the opposition political parties should never feel that they lost. They should be rewarded for doing the best job that they have done – very peaceful election campaigns were conducted by the opposition parties and, in response, similar rallies and supports were shown by the general public. Both the Ethiopian peoples and the opposition parties have demonstrated and exercised genuine democracy in an oppressive political environment where democracy did not exist. Above all, the reaction of the population during the campaigns clearly demonstrated to the world that fundamental changes are needed in that country.

While the local observers were silenced by various types of harassment and intimidation, foreign and international independent observers such as the European Union and various human rights agencies chose to stay away knowing that, based on experiences from the past elections, their presence would make no difference except giving legitimacy to such a fake election. The decision taken by international observers not to participate in such a fake election could be described as a step in the right direction, a sign of rejection and refusal which showed that preconditions the government of Ethiopia followed for the election was wrong.  However, a lot more needs to be done to bring about positive political changes in Ethiopia.

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa is deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Ethiopia which keeps deteriorating over time. Ethiopia is a party to numerous instruments of international and regional human rights, humanitarian and other laws[1]. The Ethiopian government has accepted, signed and ratified most of the international human rights standards. It has an obligation to adhere to those agreements and their implementations.  However, the government of Ethiopia has repeatedly failed to implement those standards, including the Ethiopian constitution of 1995. On the contrary, the government adopted anti- terrorism legislation and NGO law which it has used to criminalize the democratic rights of the people.

The Ethiopian government has been given a number of recommendations from UN Human Rights Council sessions to adhere to the international instruments it has signed and ratified, including at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) assessment outcome of 2014, where the country was given 252 recommendations to improve its human rights infringements it has committed against its people. The Ethiopian government also was advised to implement in full its constitutional protection for freedom of expression, assembly and association, and to encourage political tolerance

The parliamentary election of May 2015 in Ethiopia confirms that the country is heading towards a mono- political system of government. To change this, the Ethiopian government needs to:

  • Adhere to International, Regional and Domestic human rights and their implementation, humanitarian rights and its own constitution
  • Abolish the Anti-terrorism Proclamation of 2009
  • Remove NGO law 2009
  • Reforming the Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation of 2009
  • Repealing the provisions shielding public officials from criticism

Therefore, the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) calls upon the international diplomatic and human rights agencies to join hands with the democratic-thirsty Ethiopian peoples and opposition political parties in their efforts to put pressure on the ruling TPLF/EPRDF party so that it abides by democratic principles as well as international laws and respects fundamental human rights so that genuine democracy can flourish.

[1] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/ETIndex.aspx

Human rights League of the Horn of Africa

Ethiopia: US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014 June 26, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Human Rights.
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 “We all witnessed the brutality and nihilism of the horrific attacks by Pakistani Taliban and Boko Haram on schoolchildren, the assassinations of Charlie Hebdo journalists, and numerous outrages and killings carried out by ISIL. The rise of ISIL was in part a consequence of, and illustrated the dangers of, atrocities committed by the government of Syria and failures of inclusive governance in Iraq. Meanwhile, governments in China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, among others, continued to stifle free and open media and the development of civil society through the imprisonment of journalists, bloggers, and non-violent critics. In Thailand, the military overthrew a democratically-elected government, repealed the constitution, and severely limited civil liberties; subsequent efforts by the military government to rewrite the country’s constitution and recast its political intuitions raised concerns about lack of inclusivity in the process. In the face of all this, the human aspiration for political liberty and honest, non-abusive governance remained strong.” – Secretary’s Preface
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
Ethiopia is a federal republic. The ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of four ethnically based parties, controls the government. In 2012, following the death of former prime minister Meles Zenawi, parliament elected Hailemariam Desalegn as his successor. In national parliamentary elections in 2010, the EPRDF and affiliated parties won 545 of 547 seats to remain in power for a fourth consecutive five-year term. Although the relatively few international officials allowed to observe the elections concluded technical aspects of the vote were handled competently, some also noted an environment conducive to free and fair elections was not in place prior to the election. Authorities generally maintained control over the security forces, although Somali Region Special Police and local militias sometimes acted independently.

Other human rights problems included alleged arbitrary killings; alleged torture, beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees by security forces; reports of harsh and at times life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; detention without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; a weak, overburdened judiciary subject to political influence; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights, including illegal searches; alleged abuses in the implementation of the government’s “villagization” program; restrictions on academic freedom; restrictions on freedom of assembly, association, and movement; alleged interference in religious affairs; limits on citizens’ ability to change their government; police, administrative, and judicial corruption; violence and societal discrimination against women and abuse of children; female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C); trafficking in persons; societal discrimination against persons with disabilities; clashes between ethnic minorities; discrimination against persons based on their sexual orientation and against persons with HIV/AIDS; limits on worker rights; forced labor; and child labor, including forced child labor.

Impunity was a problem. The government, with some reported exceptions, generally did not take steps to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed abuses other than corruption.

Factions of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an ethnically based, violent, and fragmented separatist group operating in the Somali Region, were responsible for abuses.

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:Share

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

Members of the security forces reportedly committed killings.

On April 30, a peaceful student protest in Ambo, west of Addis Ababa, escalated into violence and resulted in the deaths of at least eight persons. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that “witnesses said security forces fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters.”

There were no new developments in the credible allegations detainees died in detention as a result of arrests during the August 2013 Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

Scattered fighting continued between government forces–primarily regional government-backed militias–and elements of the ONLF. Clashes between ethnic groups resulted in injury and death.

On October 13, gunmen reportedly killed more than 40 security forces in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR), according to local press and NGOs in the town of Gambella. According to reports, the clash occurred between a group of ethnic Majanger and Ethiopian national and local security forces.

b. Disappearance

Unlike in previous years, there were fewer credible reports of disappearances of civilians after clashes between security forces and rebel groups.

There were no developments in determining the whereabouts of 12 residents of Alamata town detained in January 2013 by security forces following protests against government plans to demolish illegal housing units.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, there were reports security officials tortured and otherwise abused detainees.

In April, two journalists/bloggers affiliated with the Zone 9 activist group accused police of beating and mistreating them. One journalist reported police beat him across the face, while another stated police beat the undersides of his feet (see section 2.a.). The Federal High Court regularly sought explanations from prison officials on allegations of mistreatment.

Sources widely believed police investigators often used physical abuse to extract confessions in Maekelawi, the central police investigation headquarters in Addis Ababa. HRW reported abuses, including torture, occurred at Maekelawi. In an October 2013 report, the HRW described beatings, stress positions, the hanging of detainees by their wrists from the ceiling, prolonged handcuffing, pouring of water over detainees, verbal threats, and solitary confinement at the facility. Authorities continued to restrict access by diplomats and NGOs to Maekelawi, although some NGOs reported limited access.

In 2010 the UN Committee Against Torture reported it was “deeply concerned” about “numerous, ongoing, and consistent allegations” concerning “the routine use of torture” by police, prison officers, and other members of the security forces–including the military–against political dissidents and opposition party members, students, alleged terrorists, and alleged supporters of violent separatist groups such as the ONLF and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). The committee reported such acts frequently occurred with the participation of, at the instigation of, or with the consent of commanding officers in police stations, detention centers, federal prisons, military bases, and unofficial or secret places of detention. Some reports of such abuses continued during the year. Based primarily on interviews with Oromo refugees in Uganda, Somaliland, and Kenya, Amnesty International (AI), which had been denied access to Ethiopia since 2011, reported thousands of ethnic Oromos, whom the government accused of terrorism, were arbitrarily arrested and in some cases tortured.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison and pretrial detention center conditions remained harsh and in some cases life threatening. There were reports that authorities beat and tortured prisoners. Medical attention following beatings reportedly was insufficient in some cases.

Physical Conditions: In 2012 there were 111,640 persons in prison, of whom approximately 2,500 were women and nearly 600 were children incarcerated with their mothers. Authorities sometimes incarcerated juveniles with adults. Male and female prisoners generally were separated.

Severe overcrowding was common, especially in prison sleeping quarters. The government provided approximately nine birr ($0.45) per prisoner per day for food, water, and health care, although this amount varied across the country. Many prisoners supplemented this amount with daily food deliveries from family members or by purchasing food from local vendors, although there were reports officials prevented some prisoners from receiving supplemental food from their families. Medical care was unreliable in federal prisons and almost nonexistent in regional prisons. Prisoners had only limited access to potable water, as did many in the country. Also water shortages caused unhygienic conditions, and most prisons lacked appropriate sanitary facilities. Many prisoners had serious health problems in detention but received little or no treatment. Information released by the Ministry of Health in 2012 stated nearly 62 percent of inmates in jails across the country suffered from mental health problems as a result of solitary confinement, overcrowding, and lack of adequate health-care facilities and services.

The country had six federal and 120 regional prisons. A local NGO ran model prisons in Adama and Mekele, with significantly better conditions than those found in other prisons. There also were many unofficial detention centers throughout the country, including in Dedessa, Bir Sheleko, Tolay, Hormat, Blate, Tatek, Jijiga, Holeta, and Senkele. Most were located at military camps.

Pretrial detention often occurred in police station detention facilities, where conditions varied widely. Reports regarding pretrial detention in police stations indicated poor hygiene and police abuse of detainees.

Administration: Due to the lack of transparency regarding incarceration, it was difficult to determine if recordkeeping was adequate. Authorities did not employ alternative sentencing for nonviolent offenders. Prisons did not have ombudspersons to respond to complaints. Legal aid clinics existed in some prisons for the benefit of prisoners. Authorities allowed the submission by detainees of complaints to judicial authorities without censorship. Courts sometimes declined to hear such complaints. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Federal Police Commission sometimes investigated allegations of abuse, although there were reports detainees’ discussions with them were not carried out in private, which could inhibit their ability to speak freely.

The law permits prisoners to have visitors, although in some cases police did not allow pretrial detainees access to visitors (including family members and legal counsel). For example, the attorney for Arena Tigray party leader Abraha Desta detained in early July had been able to visit his client only once in a 28-day period. Family members of prisoners charged with terrorist activity alleged blocked access to the prisoners. There were also reports authorities denied those charged with terrorist activity visits with their lawyers or with representatives of the political parties to which they belonged. Prison officials continued to limit the number of individuals permitted to visit journalist Reyot Alemu.

Prisoners generally were permitted religious observance, but this varied by prison, and even by section within a prison, at the discretion of prison management. There were some allegations authorities denied detainees adequate locations in which to pray. Prisoners could voice complaints about prison conditions or treatment to the presiding judge during their trials.

Independent Monitoring: During the year the International Committee of the Red Cross visited prisons throughout the country. The government did not permit access to prisons by international human rights organizations.

Regional authorities allowed government and NGO representatives to meet regularly with prisoners without third parties present. Civil society representatives and family members were reportedly denied access to prisoners by prison officials, including access to individuals detained in undisclosed locations. The government-established EHRC, which is funded by parliament and subject to parliamentary review, monitored federal and regional detention centers and interviewed prison officials and prisoners in response to allegations of widespread human rights abuses. A local NGO continued to have access to various prison and detention facilities around the country.

Improvements: Some government and prison authorities cooperated with NGO efforts to improve prison conditions. Reports indicated some prison conditions, including the treatment of prisoners, improved upon completion of an NGO-sponsored local legal aid clinic in 2013, although specific data was not available.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

Although the constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, the government often ignored these provisions. There were many reports of arbitrary arrest and detention by police and security forces throughout the country.

Civilians, international NGOs, and other aid organizations operating in the Somali Region reported government security forces and local militias committed abuses such as arbitrary arrest.

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

The Federal Police reports to the Ministry of Federal Affairs, which is subject to parliamentary oversight. The oversight was loose. Each of the country’s nine regions has a state or special police force that reports to the regional civilian authorities. Local militias operated across the country in loose coordination with regional and federal police and the military, with the degree of coordination varying by region. In many cases these militias functioned as extensions of the ruling party.

Security forces were effective, but impunity remained a serious problem. The mechanisms used to investigate abuses by federal police were not known. There continued to be reports of abuse, including killings, by the Somali Region Special Police. The government rarely publicly disclosed the results of investigations into abuses by local security forces, such as arbitrary detention and beatings of civilians.

The government continued to support human rights training for police and army personnel. In 2013-14 the EHRC conducted training sessions for 1,622 police officers and 577 prison police on basic human rights concepts as well as rights of detained individuals as provided in the National Human Rights Action Plan. The government continued to accept assistance from certain NGOs and the EHRC to improve and professionalize its human rights training and curriculum by including more material on the constitution and international human rights treaties and conventions.

Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees

Although the constitution and law require that detainees be brought to court and charged within 48 hours of arrest, authorities did not always respect this requirement. With a warrant, persons suspected of serious offenses may be detained for 14 days without charge and for additional 14-day periods if an investigation continues. Under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP), police may request to hold persons without charge for 28-day periods, up to a maximum of four months, while an investigation is conducted. The law prohibits detention in any facility other than an official detention center; however, local militias and other formal and informal law enforcement entities used dozens of unofficial local detention centers.

A functioning bail system was in place. Bail was not available for persons charged with terrorism, murder, treason, and corruption. In most cases authorities set bail between 500 and 10,000 birr ($25 and $500), which most citizens could not afford. The government provided public defenders for detainees unable to afford private legal counsel, but only when their cases went to court. There were reports that while some detainees were in pretrial detention, authorities allowed them little or no contact with legal counsel, did not provide full information on their health status, and did not allow family visits.

Arbitrary Arrest: Authorities regularly detained persons without warrants. For example, on April 30, security officials in Addis Ababa detained Zekarias Yemanebirhan, Addis Ababa chairman of the opposition political party Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), and Nebiyu Hailu, a journalist for UDJ’sFinote Netsanet newspaper, for allegedly violating zoning restrictions while mobilizing supporters in advance of a UDJ protest. On May 12, authorities released both without charge.

Pretrial Detention: Some detainees reported being held for several years without charge and without trial. Information on the percentage of the detainee population in pretrial detention and the average length of time held was not available. Trial delays were most often caused by lengthy legal procedures, the large numbers of detainees, judicial inefficiency, and staffing shortages.

Amnesty: On September 11, in keeping with a long-standing tradition of issuing pardons at the Ethiopian New Year, the federal government pardoned 995 prisoners. Regional governments also pardoned persons. For example, in 2013 the SNNPR regional government pardoned 1,984 prisoners, the Oromia regional government pardoned 2,604, and the Amhara regional government pardoned 2,084.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for an independent judiciary. Although the civil courts operated with a large degree of independence, the criminal courts remained weak, overburdened, and subject to political influence. The constitution recognizes both religious and traditional or customary courts.

Trial Procedures

By law accused persons have the right to a fair public trial by a court of law within a “reasonable time,” a presumption of innocence, the right to be represented by legal counsel of their choice, and the right to appeal. The law provides defendants the right not to self-incriminate. The law gives defendants the right to present witnesses and evidence in their defense, cross-examine prosecution witnesses, and access government-held evidence. The government did not always allow defendants to access evidence it held. The court system does not use jury trials. Judicial inefficiency and lack of qualified staff often resulted in serious delays in trial proceedings and made the application of the law unpredictable. The government continued to train lower-court judges and prosecutors on effective judicial administration. Defendants were often unaware of the specific charges against them until the commencement of their trials; this also caused defense attorneys to be unprepared to provide an adequate defense.

The Public Defender’s Office provided legal counsel to indigent defendants, although its scope and quality of service remained limited due to the shortage of attorneys. Numerous free legal aid clinics around the country, based primarily at universities, provided advice to clients. In certain areas of the country, the law allows volunteers, such as law students and professors, to represent clients in court on a pro bono basis.

On February 3, the Federal High Court re-opened to the public the trial of 19 Muslims identified with July 2012 protests. The trial proceedings were previously closed for alleged national security and witness safety concerns.

Many citizens residing in rural areas generally had little access to formal judicial systems and relied on traditional mechanisms for resolving conflict. By law all parties to a dispute must agree to use a traditional or religious court before such a court may hear a case, and either party may appeal to a regular court at any time. Sharia (Islamic law) courts may hear religious and family cases involving Muslims. Sharia courts received some funding from the government and adjudicated the majority of cases in the Somali and Afar regions, which are predominantly Muslim. In addition other traditional systems of justice, such as councils of elders, continued to function. Some women stated they lacked access to free and fair hearings in the traditional court system because they were excluded by custom from participation in councils of elders and because of strong gender discrimination in rural areas.

The Access to Justice and Legal Awareness (AJLA) project, at Haramaya University, began in June 2013. The AJLA provided previously unavailable legal redress and protection for the neediest populations across East/West Hararghe Zones in Oromia and the Harari Region. By the end of the year, 128,357 vulnerable persons (73,905 women and 54,452 men) had benefited from these previously nonexistent legal services.

Political Prisoners and Detainees

Estimates by human rights groups and diplomatic missions regarding the number of political prisoners varied widely. The government did not permit access to prisoners by international human rights organizations. There were NGO reports of individuals held in unofficial detention centers throughout the country, particularly in military barracks, but also in private offices and homes.

All of the journalists, opposition members, and activists previously convicted and jailed under the ATP remained in prison.

In February the Federal Court of First Instance in Addis Ababa convicted Asrat Tassay, a prominent member of the UDJ, of contempt of court after he wrote in an opinion piece, “We should not expect justice from [Ethiopian] courts.” The judge sentenced Asrat to five months’ imprisonment but immediately suspended the sentence, opting for a two-year probationary period instead.

On July 9, police detained four opposition political-party leaders in Addis Ababa and the northern city of Mekelle in separate operations. Police reportedly did not bring Habtamu Ayalew, Daniel Shibeshi, Yeshiways Assefa, and Abraha Desta before a judge within 48 hours of their detention, as required by law. The group’s defense attorney and other political party leaders alleged police denied them access to the detainees. Police had not brought formal charges against the four defendants by year’s end.

In 2012 the government asked the Federal High Court to freeze the assets of Eskinder Nega and Andualem Arage, both convicted of terrorism and treason, while investigating whether their assets were used in conjunction with commission of the crimes for which they were convicted. The Federal High Court had not issued a decision by year’s end.

Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies

The law provides citizens the right to appeal human rights violations in civil court. No such cases were filed during the year.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law requires authorities to obtain judicial warrants to search private property; police, however, often ignored the law, and there were no reports of courts excluding evidence obtained without warrants.

There were reports throughout the year police carried out nighttime raids of Muslims’ homes in Addis Ababa to collect evidence against persons they alleged to be terrorists. The government claimed the police had warrants.

Opposition political party leaders reported suspicions of telephone tapping and other electronic eavesdropping, and they alleged government agents attempted to lure them into illegal acts by calling and pretending to be representatives of groups–designated by the parliament as terrorist organizations–interested in making financial donations.

The government reportedly used a widespread system of paid informants to report on the activities of particular individuals. Opposition members reported ruling party operatives and militia members made intimidating and unwelcome visits to their homes and offices.

Security forces continued to detain family members of persons sought for questioning by the government.

The national and regional governments continued to put in place “villagization” plans in the Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, SNNPR, and Somali regions. These plans involved the relocation by regional governments of scattered rural populations from arid or semiarid lands vulnerable to recurring droughts into designated clusters. The stated purposes of villagization were to improve the provision of government services (i.e., health care, education, and clean water), protect vulnerable communities from natural disasters and attacks, and change environmentally destructive patterns of shifting cultivation. Some observers alleged the purpose was to enable the large-scale leasing of land for commercial agriculture. The government described the villagization program as strictly voluntary.

International donors reported assessments from more than 18 visits to villagization sites since 2011 did not corroborate allegations of systematic human rights violations in this program. They found problems such as delays in establishing promised infrastructure. Communities and individual families appeared to have agreed to move based on assurances from authorities of food aid, health and education services, and land, although in some instances communities moved before adequate basic services such as water pumps and shelter were in place in the new locations. International human rights organizations, however, continued to express concern regarding the villagization process. A 2013 report by the Oakland Institute claimed the military forcibly relocated communities and committed human rights violations in the Omo Valley. The report noted that during a 2012 assessment in the South Omo Valley, donor representatives heard testimony from community members of human rights abuses.

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:Share

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press; however, authorities arrested, detained, charged, and prosecuted journalists and other persons whom they perceived as critical of the government. Some journalists, editors, and publishers fled the country, fearing probable detention. At year’s end at least 16 journalists remained in detention; of these, 10 were arrested and charged during the year, and all but one were denied bail and remain detained; four journalists and publishers were charged, tried, and convicted in absentia.

Freedom of Speech: Authorities arrested and harassed persons for criticizing the government. NGOs reported cases of torture of individuals critical of the government. The government attempted to impede criticism through various forms of intimidation, including detention of journalists and opposition activists and monitoring and interference in the activities of political opposition groups. The authorities pressed charges against several journalists, bloggers, and independently run publications. Some persons feared authorities would retaliate against them for discussing security force abuses.

Press Freedoms: The government continued to take action to close independent newspapers. On August 4, the Ministry of Justice issued a statement accusing independently run publications Enqu, Fact, Addis Guday, Lomi, Jano, and Afro Times of “repeated acts of incitement” intended “to cause a violent overthrow of the constitutional order.” In most cases articles cited as examples of incitement were mainly critical of government action. Some called for protests of such actions but rarely, if ever, for violent action. One week after issuing the initial statement, the government began pressing criminal charges against the publications and their staff. On October 7, the Federal Court tried and sentenced, in absentia, the managers of Addis Guday, Lomi, and Factmagazines. The managers were charged with inciting violent revolts, printing and distributing unfounded rumors, and conspiring to abolish unlawfully the constitutional system of the country. Their sentences ranged from three years and three months to three years and 11 months.

The remaining 18 independent newspapers had a combined weekly circulation in Addis Ababa of more than 144,000. Most newspapers were printed on a weekly or biweekly basis, with the exception of the state-owned Amharic and English dailies and the privately run Daily Monitor.

The government controlled the only television station that broadcast nationally, which, along with radio, was the primary source of news for much of the population. Six private FM radio stations broadcast in the capital, one private radio station broadcast in the northern Tigray Region, and at least 19 community radio stations broadcast in the regions. State-run Ethiopian Radio had the largest broadcast range in the country, followed by Fana Radio, which was affiliated with the ruling party.

Government-controlled media closely reflected the views of the government and the ruling EPRDF. The government periodically jammed foreign broadcasts. The law prohibits political and religious organizations and foreigners from owning broadcast stations.

Violence and Harassment: The government continued to arrest, harass, and prosecute journalists. This included the continuing prosecution of three persons associated with the defunct Muslim Affairs magazine under the antiterrorism proclamation. There were also allegations some journalists were tortured in Maekelawi prison.

On April 25-26, police detained six bloggers affiliated with the Zone 9 activist group and three independent journalists in Addis Ababa and Ambo, a town west of the capital. Police subsequently searched the detainees’ homes and seized personal property, including laptops, and prohibited family members and supporters from visiting them in detention. The Federal High Court charged the group under the ATP in July and denied the defendants bail. The trial continued at year’s end.

On October 27, a court sentenced Temesgen Desalegn to three years in jail for “provocation and dissemination of inaccurate information.” In 2012 the authorities initiated court proceedings against Desalegn, former editor in chief of the defunct Feteh newspaper.

Censorship or Content Restrictions: Government harassment caused journalists to avoid reporting on sensitive topics. Many private newspapers reported informal editorial control by the government through article placement requests and calls from government officials concerning articles perceived as critical of the government. Private sector and government journalists routinely practiced self-censorship.

Libel Laws/National Security: The government used the ATP to suppress criticism. Journalists feared covering five groups designated by parliament in 2011 as terrorist organizations (Ginbot 7, the ONLF, the OLF, al-Qaida, and al-Shabaab), citing ambiguity on whether reporting on these groups might be punishable under the law. Several journalists, both local and foreign correspondents, reported an increase in self-censorship.

The government used libel laws to suppress criticism.

On February 11, police temporarily detained Daniel Tefera, the former UDJ organization affairs head, for questioning in relation to allegations of defamation following Tefera’s involvement in the writing of a former parliamentarian’s biography. Police did not file formal charges.

On January 28, the Sidama Zone High Court in the southwestern city of Hawassa (Awassa) acquitted the editor in chief, managing editor, and publisher of the newspaper Ethio-Mihdar on defamation charges. Officials from Hawassa University had filed the charges against the Amharic-language weekly in response to a June 2013 article reporting allegations of corruption by university employees. According to media reports, the judge said the defendants “did the right thing by exposing faulty practices committed by public institutions.”

Internet Freedom

The state-owned Ethio Telecom was the only internet service provider in the country. The government restricted access to the internet and blocked several websites, including blogs, opposition websites, and websites of Ginbot 7, the OLF, and the ONLF. The government also temporarily blocked news sites such as al-Jazeera. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo! were inaccessible at times. Several news blogs and websites run by opposition diaspora groups were not accessible. These included Addis Neger, Nazret, Ethiopian Review, CyberEthiopia, Quatero Amharic Magazine, Tensae Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Media Forum. Authorities took steps to block access to Virtual Private Network providers that let users circumvent government screening of internet browsing and e-mail. Authorities monitored telephone calls, text messages, and e-mails. There were reports such surveillance resulted in arrests. According to the International Telecommunication Union, approximately 1.9 percent of individuals used the internet in 2013.

In 2013 Citizen Lab, a Canadian research center at the University of Toronto, identified 25 countries, including Ethiopia, that host servers linked to FinFisher surveillance software. According to the report, “FinFisher has gained notoriety because it has been used in targeted attacks against human rights campaigners and opposition activists in countries with questionable human rights records.” A “FinSpy” campaign in the country allegedly “used pictures of Ginbot 7, an Ethiopian opposition group, as bait to infect users.”

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

The government restricted academic freedom, including through decisions on student enrollment, teachers’ appointments, and curriculums. Authorities frequently restricted speech, expression, and assembly on university and high school campuses.

The ruling party, via the Ministry of Education, continued to give preference to students loyal to the party in assignments to postgraduate programs. Some university staff members commented priority for employment after graduation in all fields was given to students who joined the party.

Authorities limited teachers’ ability to deviate from official lesson plans. Numerous anecdotal reports suggested non-EPRDF members were more likely to be transferred to undesirable posts and bypassed for promotions. There were unspecified reports of teachers not affiliated with the EPRDF being summarily dismissed for failure to attend party meetings. There continued to be a lack of transparency in academic staffing decisions, with numerous complaints from individuals in the academic community alleging bias based on party membership, ethnicity, or religion.

According to multiple credible sources, teachers and high school students in grade 10 and above were required to attend training on the concepts of revolutionary democracy and EPRDF party ideology. In August the Ministry of Education announced a requirement that the 116,000 new and 250,000 existing university students attend mandatory government policy training.

A separate Ministry of Education directive prohibits private universities from offering degree programs in law and teacher education. The directive also requires public universities to align their curriculum offerings with the ministry’s policy of a 70/30 ratio between science and social science academic programs. As a result the number of students studying social sciences and the humanities at public institutions continued to decrease; private universities focused heavily on the social sciences.

Reports indicated a pattern of surveillance and arbitrary arrests of Oromo University students based on suspicion of holding dissenting opinions or participation in peaceful demonstrations. A 2014 AI report indicated students were also expelled or suspended as a result of such suspicions.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly; however, the government did not always respect this right. Organizers of large public meetings or demonstrations must notify the government 48 hours in advance and obtain a permit. Authorities may not refuse to grant a permit but may require the event be held at a different time or place for reasons of public safety or freedom of movement. If authorities determine an event should be held at another time or place, the law requires organizers be notified in writing within 12 hours of the time of submission of their request.

The government denied some requests by opposition political parties to hold protests but permitted other requests for demonstrations. According to the Addis Ababa City Administration, during the year political parties made 22 requests to conduct peaceful demonstrations, of which the city administration granted 13 of the requests and rejected nine. Organizers in most cases alleged government interference, and authorities required several of the protests to move to different dates or locations from those the organizers requested. Protest organizers alleged the government’s claims of needing to move the protests based on public safety concerns were not credible. During April and May, demonstrations occurred on university campuses throughout the Oromia Region against a draft development plan for Addis Ababa that would expand the capital city into towns previously controlled by the surrounding Oromia Region. There were reports of security forces beating and killing protesters at these demonstrations.

Local government officials, almost all of whom were affiliated with the EPRDF, controlled access to municipal halls, and there were many complaints from opposition parties local officials denied or otherwise obstructed the scheduling of opposition parties’ use of halls for lawful political rallies. There were numerous credible reports owners of hotels and other large facilities cited unspecified internal rules forbidding political parties from utilizing their spaces for gatherings.

Regional governments, including the Addis Ababa regional administration, were reluctant to grant permits or provide security for large meetings.

The government arrested persons in relation to opposition demonstrations. For example, on January 30, police temporarily detained Semayawi Party members as the party announced plans to hold a demonstration on February 2 in Gondar, as well as UDJ members as they announced plans for a public rally in April.

In January according to media reports, government officials in the northern city of Adigrat temporarily detained two members of opposition political party Arena Tigray and then beat other party members as Arena Tigray announced plans to hold a party conference on January 26. Arena Tigray member Asgeda Gebreselassie was reportedly admitted to a hospital with injuries caused by government officials.

In March police temporarily detained UDJ members meeting in a private home in the southern town of Wolaita Sodo and accused them of holding an illegal meeting. Police reportedly destroyed the detainees’ cell phones by dipping them in chemicals.

On July 18, police detained 14 persons, primarily Muslim worshippers, and two Semayawi Party members following protests at the Anwar Mosque. After nearly one month, the detainees, some of whom reportedly suffered injuries during clashes with police, were released on bail.

Freedom of Association

Although the law provides for freedom of association and the right to engage in unrestricted peaceful political activity, the government limited this right.

A report of the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association stated, “The enforcement of these [the CSO law] provisions has a devastating impact on individuals’ ability to form and operate associations effectively.”

The CSO law bans anonymous donations to NGOs. All potential donors were therefore aware their names would be public knowledge. The same was true concerning all donations made to political parties.

International NGOs seeking to operate in the country had to submit an application via Ethiopian embassies abroad, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs then submitted to the Charities and Societies Agency.

c. Freedom of Religion

See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at www.state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/.

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

Although the law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, the government restricted some of these rights.

The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern; however, at times authorities or armed groups limited the ability of humanitarian organizations to operate in areas of insecurity, such as on the country’s borders.

Humanitarian organizations reported 32 incidents that impeded humanitarian work in the first half of the year, compared with 36 such incidents during the same period in 2013. The majority of these cases were in the Somali Region. The incidents included hostility toward and violence against humanitarian personnel, theft of assets, interference with the implementation of humanitarian programs, and restrictions on importation of personnel and goods into the country for humanitarian work. This data referred broadly to humanitarian work and was not limited to activities focusing on IDPs or refugees.

Access to Nogob (formerly Fik) Zone in the Somali Region improved during the year. Authorities permitted several government-led, multi-agency missions including UN and NGO representatives to visit the area. Access to other parts of the Somali Region, particularly those bordering Somalia, worsened due to security concerns stemming from reports of an increase in al-Shabaab terrorists operating in these areas. In several cases NGOs delayed travel to program sites and could not assess needs. Following credible information about a possible terrorist threat against international staff, UN agencies temporarily withdrew some of their international staff from Dollo Ado in June but began to return them in August. Attacks on vehicles carrying humanitarian personnel, assault on humanitarian staff members, and harassment, including arbitrary detention, reportedly continued.

In-country Movement: The government continued to relax but did not completely remove restrictions on the movement of persons into and within the Somali Region, continuing to argue that ONLF and al-Shabaab terrorists from neighboring Somalia posed a security threat (see section 2.d., Internally Displaced Persons). Security concerns forced a temporary halt of deliveries of food and medicine in the limited areas affected by fighting. The government continued a policy that allowed refugees to live outside of a camp. According to the Administration for Returnees and Refugee Affairs (ARRA), which managed the out-of-camp program, as of August there were2,993 individuals living outside the camps (2,806 in Addis Ababa and surrounding areas and 187 from Shire), compared with 3,412 in 2012. Prior to this policy, the government gave such permission primarily to attend higher-education institutions, undergo medical treatment, or avoid security threats at the camps.

Foreign Travel: A 2013 ban on unskilled workers travelling to the Middle East for employment continued in effect at year’s end. The ban did not affect citizens travelling for investment or business reasons. The government stated it issued the ban to prevent harassment, intimidation, and trauma suffered by those working abroad, particularly in the Middle East, as domestic employees.

On March 21, National Intelligence and Security Service officials at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa prevented Yilekal Getnet, chairman of the political opposition Semayawi Party, from travelling abroad for an exchange program sponsored by a foreign government.

Exile: Several citizens sought political asylum in other countries or remained abroad in self-imposed exile.

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated there were 426,736 IDPs in the country as of June, an increase of 51,091 from June 2013. According to the IOM, an estimated 71.4 percent of all IDPs were considered “protracted” IDPs, for whom durable solutions (return to home areas, local integration, and resettlement in other parts of the country) were not possible at the time. This was due to lack of resolution of conflicts, lack of political decisions or resources to support local integration, or undesirability of resettlement to other areas of the country.

Categories and totals of IDPs experiencing protracted displacement included victims of interclan and cross-border conflict (304,707), flooding (1,477), and volcanic eruptions (1,800). Seventy-two percent of the IDPs (308,770) resided in Somali Region; 10.3 percent (44,094) were in Oromia; 9.7 percent (41,489) in Gambella; 1.1 percent (4,580) in Harar; 0.6 percent (2,501) in SNNPR; and 5.9 percent (25,302) were in Afar Region.

Significant populations of IDPs experiencing protracted displacement included an estimated 3,500 households displaced in July 2013 in East Hararghe Zone, 1,310 households displaced in February 2013 in West Hararghe Zone, and nearly 2,000 households displaced in 2008 and 2009 in the border town of Moyale. Approximately 12,000 IDPs remained in the Gambella Region after fleeing conflicts that occurred in 2009.

Conflicts and natural disasters contributed to a rise in the number of IDPs. Conflict in the SNNPR’s South Omo Valley displaced 300 households. In March, following violence between Guji and Borena communities in the Oromia Region, approximately 120 persons were killed and another 30,700 persons displaced. In April conflict arose between Afar and Somali populations around Siti Zone, reportedly leading to the displacement of 900 households and the destruction of homes and other local infrastructure. In mid-September at least 600 households were displaced in Majang Zone of Gambella due to intercommunal violence between ethnic Majang and highlanders. In addition, storms caused flooding, which led to displacements in Afar, Gambella, SNNPR, and Somali Regions.

Following a change in Saudi Arabia’s foreign labor legislation, between mid-November 2013 and mid-March, Saudi Arabia unexpectedly deported 163,018 Ethiopian migrants. At the peak of the operation in November and December 2013, approximately 7,000 Ethiopians returned from Saudi Arabia per day. Humanitarian organizations worked with the government to provide medical care, water, food, and transportation for the returnees. The government collaborated with the Saudi Arabian government to ensure proper delivery and protection of the returnees’ possessions. As of mid-March, 94 percent of the returnees had received postarrival assistance. The government also assigned a significant number of personnel to coordinate the return operation and posted full-time staff at the transit sites set up with the help of the international community.

The government, through the Disaster Risk Management Food Security Sector (DRMFSS), continued to play an active role in delivering humanitarian assistance to IDPs. Federal and local DRMFSS officials collaborated with the IOM and its partners in monitoring IDP populations. In addition the Somali Regional State-level Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau, in collaboration with the IOM and other international actors, set up a Durable Solutions Working Group to seek sustainable solutions for the protracted IDP caseload in the Somali Region.

Protection of Refugees

Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees.

According to the UNHCR, by late December the country hosted 644,168 refugees. The majority of refugees were from South Sudan (248,580) and Somalia (244,066), with others coming from Eritrea (111,321), Sudan (35,606), and other countries (4,595), particularly Kenya.

The UNHCR, the ARRA, and humanitarian agencies continued to care for Sudanese arrivals fleeing from conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile State. The government also extended support to South Sudanese asylum seekers from South Sudan’s Jonglei and Upper Nile states. As of December more than 193,960 individuals had sought refuge in Ethiopia due to the political conflict that erupted in South Sudan in December 2013.

Eritrean asylum seekers continued to arrive in the country. This included a large number of unaccompanied minors. Many Eritreans who arrived in the country regularly departed for secondary migration through Egypt and Sudan to go to Israel, Europe, and other final destinations.

Employment: The government did not grant refugees work permits.

Access to Basic Services: The UNHCR and the ARRA, with support from NGOs, provided refugees in camps with basic services including health, education, water, sanitation, and hygiene. For those outside of camps, there were no reports of discrimination in access to public services.

Durable Solutions: The government granted refugee status to asylum seekers from Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan. The government welcomed refugees to settle permanently in the country but did not offer a path to citizenship or facilitate integration. It permitted Eritrean refugees to live outside refugee camps provided they sustained themselves financially. The government provided some support for Eritreans who were pursuing higher education. As of December, 6,553 refugees had departed the country for resettlement.

Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their GovernmentShare

The constitution and law provide citizens the ability to change their government peacefully. The ruling party’s electoral advantages, however, limited this ability.

Elections and Political Participation

Recent Elections: In August 2012, following the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the ruling EPRDF elected Hailemariam Desalegn to take Meles’s place as chairman of the party and subsequently nominated him for the post of prime minister. In September 2012 parliament elected Hailemariam as prime minister.

In the 2010 national parliamentary elections, the EPRDF and affiliated parties won 545 of 547 seats to remain in power for a fourth consecutive five-year term. Government restrictions severely limited independent observation of the vote. Although the relatively few international officials allowed to observe the elections concluded technical aspects of the vote were handled competently, some also noted the lack of an environment conducive to free and fair elections prior to election day. Several laws, regulations, and procedures implemented since the 2005 national elections created a clear advantage for the EPRDF throughout the electoral process. There was ample evidence unfair government tactics, including intimidation of opposition candidates and supporters, enlarged the EPRDF victory. In addition voter education was limited to information about technical voting procedures and was provided by the National Electoral Board just days before voting began.

The African Union, whose observers arrived one week before the vote, deemed the elections to be free and fair. The EU, some of whose observers arrived a few months before the vote, concluded the elections fell short of international standards for transparency and failed to provide a level playing field for opposition parties. The EU observed a “climate of apprehension and insecurity,” noting the volume and consistency of complaints of harassment and intimidation by opposition parties was “a matter of concern” and had to be taken into consideration “in the overall assessment of the electoral process.”

The EPRDF demonstrated its continued dominance in nationwide elections for local and city council positions held in 2013. EPRDF-affiliated parties won all but five of approximately 3.6 million seats; 33 opposition parties boycotted the elections.

Political Parties and Political Participation: Political parties were predominantly ethnically based. The government, controlled by the ruling EPRDF, restricted media freedom and arrested opposition members. Constituent parties of the EPRDF conferred advantages upon their members; the parties directly owned many businesses and were broadly perceived to award jobs and business contracts to loyal supporters. Several opposition political parties reported difficulty in renting homes or buildings in which to open offices, citing visits by EPRDF members to the landlords to persuade or threaten them not to rent property to these parties.

There were reports authorities terminated the employment of teachers and other government workers if they belonged to opposition political parties. According to Oromo opposition groups, the Oromia regional government continued to threaten to dismiss opposition party members, particularly teachers, from their jobs. Government officials alleged many members of legitimate Oromo opposition parties were secretly OLF members and more broadly that members of many opposition parties had ties to Ginbot 7. At the university level, members of Medrek and its constituent parties were able to teach. There were reports unemployed youths not affiliated with the ruling coalition sometimes had trouble receiving the “support letters” from their kebeles (neighborhoods or wards) necessary to get jobs.

Registered political parties must receive permission from regional governments to open and occupy local offices.

Participation of Women and Minorities: No laws or cultural or traditional practices prevented women or minorities from voting or participating in political life on the same basis as men or nonminority citizens, although women were significantly underrepresented in both elected and appointed positions. The Tigray Regional Council included the highest proportion of women nationwide, at 48.5 percent.

The government’s policy of ethnic federalism led to the creation of individual constituencies to provide for representation of all major ethnic groups in the House of People’s Representatives. There were more than 80 ethnic groups, and small groups lacked representation in the legislature. There were 24 nationality groups in six regional states (Tigray, Amhara, Beneshangul-Gumuz, the SNNPR, Gambella, and Harar) that did not have a sufficient population to qualify for constituency seats based on the 2007 census; however, in the 2010 elections, individuals from these nationality groups competed for 24 special seats in the House of People’s Representatives. Additionally these 24 nationality groups have one seat each in the House of Federation.

Women held three of the 22 federal government ministerial positions, including one of three deputy prime minister positions and 152 of 547 seats in the national parliament.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in GovernmentShare

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials. Despite the government’s prosecution of numerous officials for corruption, some officials continued to engage in corrupt practices. Corruption, especially the solicitation of bribes, remained a problem among low-level bureaucrats. Police and judicial corruption also continued to be problems. Some government officials appeared to manipulate the privatization process, and state- and party-owned businesses received preferential access to land leases and credit.

Corruption: The Ministry of Justice has primary responsibility for combating corruption, largely through the Federal Ethics and Anticorruption Commission (FEACC).

The FEACC continued criminal proceedings against the director general of the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority, his deputy, and other government officials and private business leaders for alleged corrupt practices. On January 10, Yaregal Ayesheshum, former president of the Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined 20,000 birr ($1,000) for “abuse of power” and corruption.

Financial Disclosure: The law requires all government officials and employees to register their wealth and personal property officially. The president and prime minister registered their assets. By June approximately 80,000 government officials had registered their assets as required by law (the 2010 Asset Disclosure and Registration Proclamation).

The FEACC held financial disclosure records. According to law any person seeking access to these records may do so by making a request in writing, although access to information on family assets may be restricted unless the FEACC deems the disclosure necessary. The law includes financial and criminal sanctions for noncompliance.

Public Access to Information: The law provides for public access to government information, but access was largely restricted. The law includes a sufficiently narrow list of exceptions outlining the grounds for nondisclosure. Responses generally must be made within 30 days of a written request, and fees may not exceed the actual cost of responding to the request. The law includes mechanisms for punishing officials for noncompliance, as well as appeal mechanisms for review of disclosure denials. Information on the number of disclosures or denials during the year was not available.

The government publishes laws and regulations in the national gazette prior to their taking effect. The Government Communications Affairs Office managed contacts between the government, the press, and the public; the private press reported the government rarely responded to its queries.

Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human RightsShare

A few domestic human rights groups operated but with significant government restrictions. The government was generally distrustful and wary of domestic human rights groups and international observers. State-controlled media were critical of international human rights groups such as HRW.

The CSO law prohibits charities, societies, and associations (NGOs or CSOs) that receive more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources from engaging in activities that advance human and democratic rights or promote equality of nations, nationalities, peoples, genders, and religions; the rights of children and persons with disabilities; conflict resolution or reconciliation; or the efficiency of justice and law enforcement services. The law severely curtailed civil society’s ability to raise questions of good governance, human rights, corruption, and transparency, and forced many local and international NGOs working on good governance and human rights to either close or cease advocacy. In 2012 the UN high commissioner for human rights expressed concern that civil society space “has rapidly shrunk” since the CSO law’s enactment. By year’s end approximately 3,056 NGOs had registered under the CSO law. Of these, however, only four groups were actively engaged in human rights-based advocacy.

Some human rights defender organizations continued to register either as local charities, meaning they could not raise more than 10 percent of their funds from foreign donors but could act in the specified areas, or as resident charities, which allowed foreign donations above 10 percent but prohibited advocacy activities in those areas.

One of several sets of the law’s implementing regulations, commonly known as the 70/30 rule, caps administrative spending at 30 percent of an organization’s operating budget. The regulations define training of teachers, agricultural and health extension workers, and other government officials as an “administrative” cost, contending the training does not directly affect beneficiaries, thus limiting the number of training programs that can be provided by development assistance partners who prefer to employ train-the-trainer models to reach more persons. The government addressed application of this regulation on a case-by-case basis. A Civil Society Sector Working Group, cochaired by the Ministry of Federal Affairs, three civil society organizations, and representatives of the donor community, convened periodically to monitor and discuss challenges that arose as the law was implemented.

The government denied most NGOs access to federal prisons, police stations, and undisclosed places of detention. The government permitted a local NGO, one of four organizations granted an exemption enabling them to raise unlimited funds from foreign sources and to engage in human rights advocacy, to visit prisoners. Some NGOs played a positive role in improving prisoners’ chances for clemency.

Due to security concerns, authorities limited access of human rights organizations, the media, humanitarian agencies, and diplomatic missions to conflict-affected areas, although it continued to ease such restrictions. Humanitarian access in the Somali Region in particular continued to improve; however, due to security concerns, some restrictions remained. The government lacked a clear policy on NGO access to sensitive areas, leading regional government officials and military officials frequently to refer requests for access to the federal government. Officials required journalists to register before entering conflict regions. There were isolated reports of regional police or local militias blocking NGOs’ access to particular locations on particular days, citing security concerns. Some government agencies limited project activities for security reasons.

Some persons feared authorities would retaliate against them if they met with NGOs and foreign government officials who were investigating allegations of abuse.

The United Nations or Other International Bodies: Requests to visit the country from the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment remained unanswered.

Government Human Rights Bodies: The EHRC investigated human rights complaints and produced annual and thematic reports. The commission operated 112 legal aid centers in collaboration with 22 universities and two civil society organizations, the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association and the Ethiopian Christian Lawyers Fellowship. The commission also signed cooperative agreements with Axum, Wolayta, Debre Berhan, and Jijiga universities.

The EHRC reported to parliament that in 2013-14 it had accepted 1,037 human rights-related grievances and completed investigations into 134 cases (13 percent of the total). In addition the EHRC claimed to have provided counseling services to 463 individuals, resolved 107 cases through negotiation, and referred 306 grievances (30 percent of the total) to the relevant government offices.

The Office of the Ombudsman has authority to receive and investigate complaints with respect to administrative mismanagement by executive branch offices. From September 2011 to September 2012, the office received 2,094 complaints. Of these, the ombudsman opened investigations into 784, and the office reported it resolved the remaining cases through alternative means. The majority of complaints dealt with social security, labor, housing, and property disputes. The Office of the Ombudsman did not compile nationwide statistics.

Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in PersonsShare

The constitution provides all persons equal protection without discrimination based on race, nation, nationality or other social origin, color, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, property, birth, or status, but the government did not fully promote and protect these rights. The constitution does not address discrimination based on disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Women

Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape and provides for penalties of five to 20 years’ imprisonment, depending on the severity of the case; the law does not expressly address spousal rape. The government did not fully enforce the law, partially due to widespread underreporting. Recent statistics on the number of abusers prosecuted, convicted, or punished were not available.

Domestic violence is illegal, but government enforcement of laws against rape and domestic violence was inconsistent.

Domestic violence, including spousal abuse, was a pervasive social problem. Depending on the severity of damage inflicted, legal penalties range from small fines to imprisonment for up to 10 to 15 years.

Although women had recourse to the police and the courts, societal norms and limited infrastructure prevented many women from seeking legal redress, particularly in rural areas. The government prosecuted offenders on a limited scale.

Domestic violence and rape cases often were delayed significantly and given low priority. In the context of gender-based violence, significant gender gaps in the justice system remained, due to poor documentation and inadequate investigation. Gender-based violence against women and girls was underreported due to cultural acceptance, shame, fear, or a victim’s ignorance of legal protections.

“Child friendly” benches hear cases involving violence against children and women. Police officers were required to receive domestic violence training from domestic NGOs and the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs. There was a commissioner for women and children’s affairs in the EHRC.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C is illegal, but the government did not actively enforce this prohibition or punish those who practiced it. The government strategy for combatting this practice was focused on community education rather than punitive measures, which had been seen to drive the practice underground in other countries (see section 6, Children).

Other Harmful Traditional Practices: The most prevalent harmful traditional practices other than FGM/C included uvula cutting, tonsil scraping, milk tooth extraction, early marriage, and marriage by abduction.

Marriage by abduction is illegal, although it continued in some regions despite the government’s attempts to combat the practice. A 2009 Population Council study of seven regions found that 2.6 percent of married female youth reported their marriages occurred through abduction. Of that number, the study found the rate to be 12.9 percent in the SNNPR, 4.4 percent in Oromia, 3 percent in Afar, and less than 1percent in Beneshangul Gumuz. The study did not include the Gambella or Somali Regions. Forced sexual relationships accompanied most marriages by abduction, and women often experienced physical abuse during the abduction. Abductions led to conflicts among families, communities, and ethnic groups. In cases of marriage by abduction, the perpetrator did not face punishment if the victim agreed to marry the perpetrator.

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment was widespread. The penal code prescribes penalties of 18 to 24 months’ imprisonment, but authorities generally did not enforce harassment laws.

Reproductive Rights: Individuals and couples have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of children; to have the information and means to do so free from discrimination, coercion, and violence; and the right to attain the highest standard of reproductive health. The government fully supported reproductive rights and worked actively to ensure equitable access to reproductive health services throughout the country. Orthodox and Muslim church leadership actively promoted use of health services, including family planning if desired, to ensure healthy families. A “mini” Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) was conducted during the year to measure progress in contraceptive prevalence, total fertility rate, maternal health, and nutrition. The mini-DHS indicated a modern contraceptive prevalence of 40 percent nationwide among married women, up from 27 percent three years prior. The mini-DHS also showed delivery with a skilled birth attendant had risen from 10 to 16 percent. Modeling completed by the government with support from the Gates Foundation and UN agencies indicated the number of women dying during pregnancy and childbirth had dropped from 676 deaths per 100,000 live births to an estimated 420 deaths per 100,000 live births, indicating the country had met its UN Millennium Development Goal target of reducing maternal mortality by 70 percent since 1990. Abortion is illegal but with numerous exceptions. The incidence of illegal, unsafe abortions had declined since legislation changed, which accounted in part for the drop in maternal mortality. All maternal and child health services were provided free of charge in the public sector; however, challenges persisted in accessing quality services in more remote areas of the country due to transportation problems.

Discrimination: Discrimination against women was a problem and was most acute in rural areas, where an estimated 85 percent of the population lived. The law contains discriminatory regulations, such as the recognition of the husband as the legal head of the family and the sole guardian of children more than five years old. Courts generally did not consider domestic violence by itself a justification for granting a divorce. Irrespective of the number of years a marriage existed, the number of children raised, and joint property, the law entitled women to only three months’ financial support if a relationship ended. There was limited legal recognition of common-law marriage. A common-law husband had no obligation to provide financial assistance to his family, and consequently women and children sometimes faced abandonment. Traditional courts continued to apply customary law in economic and social relationships.

According to the constitution, all land belongs to the government. Both men and women have land-use rights, which they may pass on as an inheritance. Land law varies among regions. All federal and regional land laws empower women to access government land. Inheritance laws also enable widowed women to inherit joint property they acquired during marriage.

In urban areas women had fewer employment opportunities than men, and the jobs available did not generally provide equal pay for equal work. Women’s access to gainful employment, credit, and the opportunity to own or manage a business was further limited by their generally lower level of education and training and by traditional attitudes.

The Ministry of Education reported female participation in undergraduate and postgraduate programs rose to 172,237 women in 2012-13 from 144,286 women in 2011-12, continuing the trend of increasing female participation in higher education.

Children

Birth registration: Citizenship is derived from one’s parents. The law requires all children to be registered at birth. Children born in hospitals were registered while most children born outside of hospitals were not. The overwhelming majority of children, particularly in rural areas, were born at home.

Education: As a policy primary education was universal and tuition-free; however, there were not enough schools to accommodate the country’s youth, particularly in rural areas. The cost of school supplies was prohibitive for many families, and there was no legislation to enforce compulsory primary education. The number of students enrolled in schools expanded faster than trained teachers could be deployed. Orchestrating government, NGO, and donor resources, the government had opened 5,322 new primary schools and 715 new secondary schools since 2009.

Child Abuse: Child abuse was widespread. The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2013, published by the African Child Policy Forum, found the government had increased punishment for sexual violence against children. “Child friendly” benches heard cases involving violence against children and women. There was a commissioner for women and children’s affairs in the EHRC.

Early and Forced Marriage: The law sets the legal marriage age for girls and boys at 18; however, authorities did not enforce this law uniformly, and rural families sometimes were unaware of this provision. In several regions it was customary for older men to marry girls, although this traditional practice continued to face greater scrutiny and criticism. The government strategy to address underage marriage was focused on education and mediation rather than punishment of offenders.

According to the 2011 DHS, the median age of first marriage among women surveyed between the ages of 20 and 49 was 17.1 years. The age of first marriage appeared to be rising. In 2005 the median age of marriage for women surveyed between ages 20 and 24 was 16.5 years, and while 39 percent of women between 45 and 49 reported being married by age 15, only 8 percent of girls and young women between 15 and 19 years of age reported being or having been married.

In the Amhara and Tigray regions, girls were married as early as age seven. Child marriage was most prevalent in the Amhara Region, where the median first marriage age was 15.1 years, according to the 2011 DHS, compared with 14.7 years in 2005. Regional governments in Amhara and, to a lesser extent, Tigray offered programs to educate girls and young women on problems associated with early marriage.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C is illegal, but the government did not actively enforce this prohibition or punish those who practiced it. The majority of girls in the country had undergone some form of FGM/C, although the results of the 2009 Population Council survey suggested its prevalence had declined. Of female respondents ages 21 to 24, 66 percent reported they were subjected to FGM/C, compared with 56 percent of those ages 15 to 17. Of the seven regions surveyed, the study found the rates to be highest in Afar (90.3 percent), Oromia (77.4 percent), and the SNNPR (74.6 percent).

FGM/C was much less common in urban areas, where 15 percent of the population lived. Girls typically experienced clitoridectomies seven days after birth (consisting of an excision of the clitoris, often with partial labial excision) and infibulation (the most extreme and dangerous form of FGM/C) at the onset of puberty. The penal code criminalizes the practice of clitoridectomy, with imprisonment of at least three months or a fine of at least 500 birr ($25). Infibulation of the genitals is punishable with imprisonment of five to 10 years. No criminal charges, however, had ever been brought for FGM/C. The government’s strategy was to discourage the practice of FGM/C through education in public schools, the Health Extension Program, and broader mass media campaigns rather than prosecute offenders. International bilateral donors and private organizations were active in community education efforts to reduce the prevalence of FGM/C, following the government’s lead of sensitization rather than legal enforcement.

Other Harmful Traditional Practices: Societal abuse of young girls continued to be a problem. Other harmful practices included early marriage, marriage by abduction, and food and work prohibitions, uvula cutting, tonsil scraping, and milk tooth extraction.

Sexual Exploitation of Children: The minimum age for consensual sex is 18 years, but authorities did not enforce this law. The law provides for three to 15 years in prison for sexual intercourse with a minor. The law provides for one year in prison and a fine of 10,000 birr ($500) for trafficking in indecent material displaying sexual intercourse by minors. The law prohibits profiting from the prostitution of minors and inducing minors to engage in prostitution; however, commercial sexual exploitation of children continued, particularly in urban areas. Girls as young as age 11 reportedly were recruited to work in brothels. Customers often sought these girls because they believed them to be free of sexually transmitted diseases. Young girls were trafficked from rural to urban areas. They also were exploited as prostitutes in hotels, bars, resort towns, and rural truck stops. Reports indicated family members forced some young girls into prostitution.

Infanticide or Infanticide of Children with Disabilities: Ritual and superstition-based infanticide continued in remote tribal areas, particularly South Omo. Local governments worked to educate communities against the practice.

Displaced Children: According to a 2010 report by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, approximately 150,000 children lived on the streets, of whom 60,000 were in the capital. The ministry’s report stated families’ inability to support children due to parental illness or insufficient household income exacerbated the problem. These children begged, sometimes as part of a gang, or worked in the informal sector.

A 2010 Population Council Young Adult Survey found that 82.3 percent of boys who lived or worked on the streets had been to or had enrolled in school, 26.4 percent had lost one parent, and 47.2 percent had lost both parents. Among these boys, 72 percent worked for pay at some point in their lives. Government and privately run orphanages were unable to handle the number of street children.

Institutionalized Children: There were an estimated 4.5 million orphans in the country in 2012, according to statistics published by the UN Children’s Fund. The vast majority lived with extended family members. Government orphanages were overcrowded, and conditions were often unsanitary. Due to severe resource constraints, hospitals and orphanages often overlooked or neglected abandoned infants. Institutionalized children did not receive adequate health care.

International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For country-specific information see the Department of State’s website at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/english/country/ethiopia.html.

Anti-Semitism

The Jewish community numbered approximately 2,000 persons. There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.

Trafficking in Persons

See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

Persons with Disabilities

The constitution does not mandate equal rights for persons with disabilities. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment and mandates access to buildings. It is illegal for deaf persons to drive.

The law prohibits employment discrimination based on disability. It also makes employers responsible for providing appropriate working or training conditions and materials to persons with disabilities. The law specifically recognizes the additional burden on women with disabilities. The government took limited measures to enforce the law, for example, by assigning interpreters for hearing-impaired civil service employees (see section 7.d.).

The law mandates building accessibility and accessible toilet facilities for persons with physical disabilities, although specific regulations that define the accessibility standards were not adopted. Buildings and toilet facilities were usually not accessible. Landlords are required to give persons with disabilities preference for ground-floor apartments, and this was respected.

Women with disabilities were more disadvantaged than men with disabilities in education and employment. The 2010 Population Council Young Adult Survey found young persons with disabilities were less likely to have ever attended school than young persons without disabilities. The survey indicated girls with disabilities were less likely than boys with disabilities to be in school; 23 percent of girls with disabilities were in school, compared with 48 percent of girls without disabilities and 55 percent of boys without disabilities. Overall, 47.8 percent of young persons with disabilities surveyed reported not going to school due to their disability. Girls with disabilities also were much more likely to suffer physical and sexual abuse than girls without disabilities. Of sexually experienced girls with disabilities, 33 percent reported having experienced forced sex. According to the same survey, approximately 6 percent of boys with disabilities had been beaten in the three months prior to the survey, compared with 2 percent of boys without disabilities.

There were several schools for hearing and visually impaired persons and several training centers for children and young persons with intellectual disabilities. There was a network of prosthetic and orthopedic centers in five of the nine regional states.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs worked on disability-related problems. The CSO law continued to affect negatively several domestic associations, such as the Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, the Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf, and the Ethiopian National Association of the Physically Handicapped, as it did other civil society organizations.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The country has more than 80 ethnic groups, of which the Oromo, at approximately 35 percent of the population, is the largest. The federal system drew boundaries approximately along major ethnic group lines. Most political parties remained primarily ethnically based.

Clashes between ethnic groups resulted in injury and death. For example, in late April and May, demonstrations on university campuses throughout the Oromia Region broke out following reports that a draft development plan for Addis Ababa would expand the capital city into towns previously controlled by the surrounding Oromia regional officials. On April 30, a peaceful student protest in Ambo, west of Addis Ababa, escalated into violence and resulted in the deaths of at least eight persons. HRW reported that “witnesses said security forces fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters.”

Authorities in the western region of Benishangul-Gumuz forcibly evicted as many as 8,000 ethnic Amhara residents from their homes; some of those evicted alleged police beat and harassed them because of their ethnicity. The regional president publicly stated the evictions were a mistake and called on the evictees to return. Government officials also stated that victims would be compensated for lost property and any injuries sustained. Authorities dismissed several local officials from their government positions because of their alleged involvement in the evictions and charged some of the officials with criminal offenses.

Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable with three to 15 years’ imprisonment under the law. No law prohibits discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. There were some reports of violence against LGBT individuals; reporting was limited due to fear of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. There are no hate crime laws or other criminal justice mechanisms to aid in the investigation of abuses against LGBT persons. Persons did not identify themselves as LGBT persons due to severe societal stigma and the illegality of consensual same-sex sexual activity. Activists in the LGBT community stated they were followed and at times feared for their safety.

The AIDS Resource Center in Addis Ababa reported the majority of self-identified gay and lesbian callers, most of whom were male, requested assistance in changing their behavior to avoid discrimination. Many gay men reported anxiety, confusion, identity crises, depression, self-ostracism, religious conflict, and suicide attempts.

HIV and AIDS Social Stigma

Societal stigma and discrimination against persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS continued in the areas of education, employment, and community integration. Persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS reported difficulty accessing services. Despite the abundance of anecdotal information, there were no statistics on the scale of the problem.

Section 7. Worker Rights

a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining

The constitution and law provide workers, except for civil servants and certain categories of workers primarily in the public sector, with the right to form and join unions, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively, although other provisions and laws severely restrict or excessively regulate these rights. The law specifically prohibits managerial employees, teachers, health-care workers, judges, prosecutors, security service workers, domestic workers, and seasonal and part-time agricultural workers from organizing unions.

A minimum of 10 workers is required to form a union. While the law provides all unions with the right to register, the government may refuse to register trade unions that do not meet its registration requirements and unilaterally cancel the registration of a union. Workers may not join more than one trade union per employment. The law stipulates a trade union organization may not act in an overtly political manner. The law allows administrative authorities to appeal to the courts to cancel union registration for engaging in prohibited activities, such as political action. While the law prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers and provides for reinstatement for workers fired for union activity, it does not prevent an employer from creating or supporting a workers’ organization for the purpose of controlling it.

Other laws and regulations that explicitly or potentially infringe upon workers’ rights to associate freely and to organize include the CSO law, Council of Ministers Regulation No. 168/2009 on Charities and Societies to reinforce the CSO law, and Proclamation No. 652/2009 on Antiterrorism. The International Labor Organization (ILO) Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations noted the CSO law gives the government power to interfere in the right of workers to organize, including through the registration, internal administration, and dissolution of organizations, and that the Antiterrorism Proclamation could become a means of punishing the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression and the right to organize.

While the law recognizes the right of collective bargaining, this right was severely restricted. Negotiations aimed at amending or replacing a collective agreement must be completed within three months of its expiration; otherwise the provisions on wages and other benefits cease to apply. Civil servants, including public school teachers, have the right to establish and join professional associations but are not allowed to negotiate for better wages or working conditions. Furthermore, the arbitration procedures in the public sector are more restrictive than those in the private sector. The law does not provide for effective and adequate sanctions against acts of interference by other agents in their establishment, functioning, or administration of either the workers’ or employers’ organizations.

Although the constitution and law provide workers with the right to strike to protect their interests, the law contains detailed provisions prescribing excessively complex and time-consuming formalities that make legal strike actions difficult to carry out. The law requires aggrieved workers to attempt reconciliation with employers before striking and includes a lengthy dispute settlement process. These provisions apply equally to an employer’s right to lock workers out. Two-thirds of the workers concerned must support a strike for it to be authorized. If a case has not already been referred to a court or labor relations board, workers retain the right to strike without resorting to either of these options, provided they give at least 10 days’ notice to the other party and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and make efforts at reconciliation.

The law also prohibits strikes by workers who provide essential services, including air transport and urban bus service workers, electric power suppliers, gas station personnel, hospital and pharmacy personnel, firefighters, telecommunications personnel, and urban sanitary workers. The list of essential services exceeds the ILO definition of essential services. The law prohibits retribution against strikers, but also provides for excessive civil or penal sanctions against unions and workers involved in unauthorized strike actions. Unions may be dissolved for carrying out strikes in “essential services.”

The informal labor sector, including domestic workers, is not unionized and is not protected by labor laws. Lack of adequate staffing prevented the government from effectively enforcing applicable laws for those sectors protected by law. Court procedures were subject to lengthy delays and appeals.

Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining were not respected. Although the government permits unions, the government established and controlled the major trade unions. As it had for more than four years, the government continued to use its authority to refuse to register the National Teachers’ Association (NTA) on the grounds a national teachers’ association already existed and that the NTA’s registration application was not submitted in accordance with the CSO law. According to the Education International report to the ILO in 2011, government security agents subjected members of the NTA to surveillance and harassment, with the goal of intimidating teachers into abandoning the NTA and forcing them to give up their long-standing demand for the formation of an independent union. In March the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association expressed its concern with regard to serious violations of the NTA’s trade union rights, including continuous interference in its internal organization that prevented it from functioning normally, as well as interference by way of threats, dismissals, arrests, detentions, and mistreatment of NTA members. In May 2013 the ILO mission made a working visit and signed the Joint Statement with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, according to which the government was ready and committed to register the NTA in accordance with the CSO Law. The committee continued to urge the government to register the NTA without delay and to undertake civil service reform to protect fully the right of civil servants to establish and join organizations of their own choosing. During the year the ILO experts committee reported the government was “ready and committed” to register the NTA under the Charities and Societies Proclamation.

While the government allowed citizens to exercise the right of collective bargaining freely, representatives negotiated wages only at the plant level. It was common for employers to refuse to bargain. Unions in the formal industrial sector made some efforts to enforce labor regulations.

Despite the law prohibiting antiunion discrimination, unions reported employers fired union activists. There were reports most Chinese employers generally did not allow workers to form unions and often transferred or fired union leaders, and intimidated and pressured members to leave unions. Lawsuits alleging unlawful dismissal often take years to resolve because of case backlogs in the courts. Employers found guilty of antiunion discrimination were required to reinstate workers fired for union activities and generally did so. While the law prohibits retribution against strikers, most workers were not convinced the government would enforce this protection. Labor officials reported that high unemployment and long delays in the hearing of labor cases made some workers afraid to participate in strikes or other labor actions. Antiunion activities occurred but were rarely reported.

b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits most forms of forced or compulsory labor, including by children, but it also permits courts to order forced labor as a punitive measure. The government did not effectively enforce the forced labor prohibition, and forced labor occurred. Both adults and children were forced to engage in street vending, begging, traditional weaving, or agricultural work. Children also worked in forced domestic labor. Situations of debt bondage also occurred in traditional weaving, pottery making, cattle herding, and other agricultural activities, mostly in rural areas.

Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

By law the minimum age for wage or salary employment is 14 years. The minimum age provisions, however, only apply to contractual labor and do not apply to self-employed children or children who perform unpaid work. Special provisions cover children between the ages of 14 and 18, including the prohibition of hazardous or night work. The law defines hazardous work as work in factories or involving machinery with moving parts or any work that could jeopardize a child’s health. Prohibited work sectors include passenger transport, work in electric generation plants, underground work, street cleaning, and many other sectors. The law expressly excludes children under age 16 attending vocational schools from legal protection with regard to the prohibition on young workers performing hazardous work. The law does not permit children between the ages of 14 and 18 to work more than seven hours per day, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., on public holidays or rest days, or on overtime.

The government did not effectively enforce these laws. The lack of labor inspectors and controls prevented the government from enforcing the law. The resources for inspections and the implementation of penalties were extremely limited. Despite the introduction of labor inspector training at Gondar University in 2011, insufficient numbers of labor inspectors and inspections resulted in lax enforcement of occupational safety and health measures and in increased numbers of children working in prohibited work sectors, particularly construction. The National Action Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor was signed at the end of 2012.

While primary education is tuition-free, it is not compulsory, and net school enrollment was low, particularly in rural areas. To underscore the importance of attending school, joint NGO and government-led community-based awareness raising activities targeted communities where children were heavily engaged in agricultural work. The government invested in modernizing agricultural practices and constructing schools to combat the problem of child labor in agricultural sectors.

Child labor remained a serious problem. In both rural and urban areas, children often began working at young ages. Child labor was particularly pervasive in subsistence agricultural production, traditional weaving, fishing, and domestic work. A growing number of children worked in construction. Children in rural areas, especially boys, engaged in activities such as cattle herding, petty trading, plowing, harvesting, and weeding, while other children, mostly girls, collected firewood and fetched water. Children worked in the production of gold. In small-scale gold mining, they dug their own mining pits and carried heavy loads of water. Children in urban areas, including orphans, worked in domestic service, often working long hours, which prevented many from attending school regularly. They also worked in manufacturing, shining shoes, making clothes, as porters, directing customers to taxis, parking, public transport, petty trading, and occasionally herding animals. Some children worked long hours in dangerous environments for little or no wages and without occupational safety protection. Child laborers often faced physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at the hands of their employers.

Also see the Department of Labor’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor at www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/findings/.

d. Discrimination with Respect to Employment or Occupation

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, marital status, religion, political affiliation, pregnancy, socioeconomic status, and disability. The law specifically recognizes the additional burden on women with disabilities (see section 6.) Sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV-positive status are not specifically protected. The government took limited measures to enforce the law.

Discrimination in employment and occupation occurred with respect to women, who had fewer employment opportunities than men, and the jobs available did not provide equal pay for equal work.

Discrimination against migrant workers also occurred (see section 7.e.).

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no national minimum wage. Some government institutions and public enterprises set their own minimum wages. Public sector employees, the largest group of wage earners, earned a monthly minimum wage of approximately 420 birr ($21). The official estimate for the poverty income level was 315 birr ($15.75) per month.

Only a small percentage of the population, concentrated in urban areas, was involved in wage-labor employment. Wages in the informal sector generally were below subsistence levels.

The law provides for a 48-hour maximum legal workweek with a 24-hour rest period, premium pay for overtime, and prohibition of excessive compulsory overtime. The country has 13 paid public holidays per year. The law entitles employees in public enterprises and government financial institutions to overtime pay; civil servants receive compensatory time off for overtime work. The government, industries, and unions negotiated occupational safety and health standards. Workers specifically excluded by law from unionizing, including domestic workers and seasonal and part-time agricultural workers, generally did not benefit from health and safety regulations in the workplace.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ inspection department was responsible for enforcement of workplace standards. In 2013 the country had 291 labor inspectors, down from 380. According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the decrease was the result of high turnover and limited financial resources. Due to lack of resources, the labor inspectors did not enforce standards effectively. The ministry’s severely limited administrative capacity; lack of an effective mechanism for receiving, investigating, and tracking allegations of violations; and lack of detailed, sector-specific health and safety guidelines hampered effective enforcement of these standards. In addition penalties were not sufficient to deter violations.

Compensation, benefits, and working conditions of seasonal agricultural workers were far below those of unionized permanent agricultural employees. The government did little to enforce the law. Most employees in the formal sector worked a 39-hour workweek. Many foreign, migrant, and informal sector workers worked more than 48 hours per week.

Workers have the right to remove themselves from dangerous situations without jeopardizing their employment. Despite this law most workers feared losing their jobs if they were to do so. Hazardous working conditions existed in the agricultural sector, which was the primary base of the country’s economy. There were also reports of hazardous and exploitative working conditions in the construction and fledgling industrial sectors.

– See more at: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper

Post sham elections and the scene of Fascist TPLF Ethiopia’s murder crimes: Berhanu Rebo, Hadiya National and member of Medrek foundation committee murdered June 22, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Sham elections.
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Mr. Berhanu Rebo, Hadiya National and member of Medrek foundation committee was murdered by Fascist TPLF Ethiopia’s killing squads on 18th June 2015. His body was damped near river bank. Mr. Berhanu Rebo was a resident of Diinaa Tooroo in Sooroo district, Hadiya Zone (Southern State). Mr. Rebo was a husband and father of five.

Jiraataan Biyya Hadiyyaa, konyaa Sooroo, ganda Diinaa Tooroo fi miseena kommiitee bu’uraa partii Madrak kan ta’an lammiin saba Hadiyyaa Obbo Biraanuu Reeboo ergamtoota wayyaaneen Kamisa, Waxabajji 18 Bara 2015  qeyee isaaniitti admfamanii ajjeefamanii laga qaraqara irratti gatamuuni isaan beekame.

Obbo biraanuu Reeboo umurii waggaa 40 yoo ta’ni, abbaa manaa fi abbaa ijoollee shaniiti.

Oromia and Hadiyya

ዜና መድረክ:- በሀዲያ ዞን ሶሮ ወረዳ ዳና ቶራ ቀበሌ የኢማዴ-ደህአፓ/መድረክ መሠረታዊ ኮሚቴ አባል አቶ ብርሃኑ ረቦ ተገደሉ

(ዜና መድረክ) – በሀዲያ ዞን ሶሮ ወረዳ ዳና ቶራ ቀበሌ የኢማዴ-ደህአፓ/መድረክ መሠረታዊ ኮሚቴ አባል አቶ ብርሃኑ ረቦ ተገደሉ፡፡

በደቡብ ብ/ብ/ሕ ክልላዊ መንግሥት በሀዲያ ዞን ሶሮ ወረዳ በዳና ቶራ ቀበሌ ነዋሪና የኢማዴ-ደህአፓ/መድረክ መሠረታዊ ኮሚቴ አባል የነበሩትና በ2007 ሀገር አቀፍ ምርጫ በቅስቀሳ ሥራ ላይ ተሰማርተው ከፍተኛ አስተዋጾ ሲያበረክቱ የቆዩት አቶ ብርሃኑ ረቦ ሰኔ 11 ቀን 2007 ዓ ም ከምሽቱ 2፡00 ሰዓት ላይ በመኖሪያ መንደራቸው በተፈጸመባቸው ድብደባ ከተገደሉ በኋላ ወንዝ ውስጥ ተጥለው ተገኝተዋል፡፡ በዕለቱ ይኼው የመድረክ አባሉ ከመገደላቸው በፊት ብርሃኑ ደቦጭና ታዲዮስ ጡምሶ የሚባሉ ፖሊሶች ሟቹንና ሌሎች በቀበሌው የሚኖሩ የመድረክ አባላትን ለመደብደብ ሲያሳድዱ ሟቹ ከአከባቢው ሸሽተው የሄዱ ሲሆን ሌሎቹን አባላት አግኝተው መደብደባቸውና እርሳቸውን ሲፈልጉ ካመሹ በኋላ ማታ ወደቤታቸው ሲመለሱ ጠብቀው ግዲያውን ፈጽመው ወደ ወንዝ ወስደው እንደጣሉ ከአከባቢው ከደረሰን መረጃ ለማወቅ ተችሎአል፡፡ ከግዲያው ቀደም ባሉት ቀናትም እነዚሁ ፖሊሶች በሟች አቶ ብርሃኑና ሌሎች የመድረክ አባላት ላይ ግዲያ እንደሚፈጽሙና ከአከባቢው እንደሚያጠፉዋቸው ሲዝቱ መቆየታቸውም ታውቋል፡፡

አቶ ብርሃኑ ረቦ የ40 ዓመት ጎልማሳ ሲሆኑ ባለትዳርና የአምስት ልጆች አባት ነበሩ፡፡ የቀብር ሥነ ሥርዓታቸው ይህ ዜና እስከተጠናቀረበት ጊዜ ድረስ እንዳልተፈጸመም ለማወቅ ተችሎአል፡፡

በ2007 በተካሄደው ሀገር አቀፍ ምርጫ ሙሉ በሙሉ ማሸነፉ የሚወራለት የኢህአዴግ ካድሬዎች በአሁኑ ወቅት በምርጫው ቅስቀሳ ንቁ ተሳትፎ ያደረጉ የመድረክ አባላትን በየአከባቢው የማዋከብ፣ የማሰር፣ በገንዘብ የመቅጣት፣ የመደብደብና የመግደል ተግባራትን በማከናወን ላይ የሚገኙ ሲሆን ከምርጫው ዕለት ጀምሮ ከተገደሉት የመድረክ አባላት አቶ ብርሃኑ ረቦ 4ኛው ሟች ናቸው፡፡ ቀደም ስል በኦሮሚያ ክልላዊ መንግሥት ምዕራብ ሸዋ ዞን ሚዳ ቀኝ ወረዳ አቶ ጊዲሳ ጨመዳ፣ በምዕራበ አርሲ ዞን ቆራ ወረዳ አቶ ገቢ ጥቤ እና በትግራይ ክልላዊ መንግሥት ምዕራብ ትግራ ዞን በማይካድራ ከተማ አቶ ታደሰ አብርሃ የሚባሉ የመድረክ አባላት ከምርጫው ዕለት ጀምሮ መገደላቸው ይታወሳል፡፡ በምርጫው ወቅት መድረክ ጠንካራ እንቅስቃሴ ባደረገባቸው በደቡብ ብ/ብ/ሕ፣ በኦሮሚያና በትግራይ ክልሎች ከምርጫው ወዲህ ብቻ ቤታቸው የተቃጠለባቸው፣ የፈረሰባቸው፣ በጥይት የቆሰሉ፣ በድብደባ ከፍተኛ ጉዳት የደረሰባቸውና በእስር በመሰቃየት ላይ የሚገኙት የመድረክ አባላት ቁጥር በብዙ መቶዎች የሚቆጠር ነው፡፡

When Peace Wreckers Become Peacekeepers: Why Do Authoritarian Regimes Make Their Armies Readily Available to Participate in International Peacekeeping? By Alem Mamo June 16, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in The study of Evil, The Tyranny of Ethiopia.
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“Peace is not merely the absence of war but the presence of justice, of law, of order – in general of government.”
—Albert Einstein

Why Do Authoritarian Regimes Make Their Armies Readily Available to Participate in International Peacekeeping

When the first United Nations Peacekeeping force was proposed by the Canadian Foreign Minister Lester B. Pearson in 1956 in response to the Suez Crisis the idea was received with a mixed reaction in the international diplomatic and policy circles. Some welcomed it as a ground breaking and watershed moment for global peace and security while others viewed it as a strange and impossible idea to build consensus from all member states. Whatever the initial reaction, establishing an international peacekeeping force eventually won the support of the majority, and Lester B. Pearson who subsequently became the Prime Minister of Canada won a Noble Peace Prize for his contribution in proposing and designing and building consensus to the establishment of UN peacekeeping force.

Since its founding UN Peacekeeping has come a long way in scope, mandate, mission and size. The traditional peacekeeping force contributors, such as Canada, have significantly reduced their participation to peacekeeping and moved into combat and combat related missions, creating a gap in troop contribution. As a result, nations from the global south are filling this void. This shift, in return, has raised the question of the human rights record of regimes, their armies and policies participating in peacekeeping missions in different parts of the world.

Over the last six decades UN peacekeeping operations led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) have played an irreplaceable role in maintaining peace and stabilization in countries facing inter-state and intra-state conflict. This general achievement record, however, is not without a history of spectacular failure resulting in a tragic consequences. The slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis in1994 by Hutu extremists and the failure of the UN to prevent the genocide remains one of the darkest chapters of the UN and international diplomacy and multilateral response to crisis.

In the recent years UN peacekeeping operations ushered in new guidelines, frameworks and mandates to respond to each conflict dynamic effectively. Alluding to this point the United States Ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers was quoted as saying, “This is not your mother’s, or your grandmother’s, peacekeeping.” Indeed, most of the changes that have taken place over the last decade or so are commendable and they could significantly strengthen the capacity of the UN peacekeeping missions and their effectiveness. However, some of the changes, particularly the expansion of the pool where the uniformed and civilian peacekeepers comes from, is a case for concern both for the reputation and prestige of UN peacekeeping missions and for upholding the principles of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

In this regard, one particular case among many others stands out. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)-led authoritarian regime in Addis Ababa has significantly accelerated its contribution to international peacekeeping, and currently there are 37 police, 113 military experts, and 7712 troops volunteered by the TPLF regime serving in peacekeeping missions in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, the Sudan regions of Darfur and Abeyi, and South Sudan.2 The basic question to be asked here is why would the TPLF regime in Addis Ababa be interested in participating in international peacekeeping? Is it driven and motivated by world peace? World peace as a motivation certainly is a noble cause, however, the fact is world peace and regional stability are not TPLF’s primary concerns. Peace is the least defining characteristics of the regime. In fact, since its inception the TPLF has exploited conflict and directly and indirectly manufactured national and regional conflicts to advance its political and economic agenda.

So, why get involved in international peacekeeping? There are four key motivations for the regime to jump on the bandwagon of international peacekeeping. Money, international prestige, creating an illusion of peace at home, projecting military capacity and preparedness. Let’s review each one of these rationales separately.

First, TPLF sees international peacekeeping as lucrative business / money making opportunity. According to the UN’s publicly available information “countries volunteering uniformed personnel to peacekeeping operations are reimbursed by the UN at a standard rate, approved by the General Assembly, of a little over US$1,028 per soldier per month.”3 Which means based on the current troop contribution TPLF pockets close to a million US dollar a year (7862 x $1028= $80,811.36 x 12 =$969856.32). How much of this fund is allocated to the participating troops or police officers is not disclosed and there is no system of accountability or audit.

Second, the regime’s eagerness to dispatch troops to international peacekeeping is motivated by gaining some level of international prestige/recognition, which it often propagates for a local audience, as well as the outside observer. This allows it to project an image of internationally responsible regime. In doing so the regime believes it can harvest legitimacy to govern, which it has lost from the citizens of the country it rules with an iron fist.

Third, participating in international peacekeeping helps the regime create an illusion of ‘peace’ and ‘stability’ at home. Although, there is no full scale inter or intra-state conflict at the moment, sporadic and low-level conflict in different parts of the country continues. Most importantly, the undemocratic and authoritarian nature of the regime has led some groups to consider challenging the regime through armed resistance.

While the primary objective of this article is to highlight the deceptive nature of the TPLF regime and its selfish motivation for participating in international peacekeeping, it is also worth noting that other authoritarian undemocratic regimes marred in internal conflict and violated the rights of citizens are participating in international peacekeeping. It is an open secret that TPLF treats the army and police as its own private force instead of a national force that protects its citizens from any harm. In fact the biggest harm inflicted upon the people of Ethiopia comes from the police, Special Forces, and the army that the regime dispatches to squash any peaceful dissent or opposition to the regime. Structurally, the army and police senior ranking positions are reserved for members of a particular group instead of merit based representation of the all members.

Authoritarian regimes such as the TPLF use their military and police to silence dissent, torture citizens, and murder peaceful protesters, as has been the case in Ethiopia over the last two decades. How it is morally and ethically acceptable that members of the same police and army are welcomed the fold of international peacekeeping? Doesn’t this contradict the very values and principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)? The UN must uphold its own values and principles and hold those who violate the rights of citizens accountable instead of allowing them to participate in international peacekeeping. It is also worth noting that regimes known for violating citizen’s rights, such as Burundi, D.R. Congo, Central African Republic (CAR), and Yemen among others are participating in the UN peacekeeping missions. More significantly, these are regimes year after year failed to provide political, social and economic leadership that are vital for building sustainable peace in the countries they rule and yet they are part of the UN peace keeping missions.

‘Positive peace’ is not the absence of war, it is rather the presence of economic, political, social and cultural structures that promote, enhance and strengthen justice, inclusive economic growth free and fair political participation and promotion and protection of human rights. In the absence of these, one cannot claim sustainable peace in its complete form.

Read more at:

http://www.ayyaantuu.net/when-peace-wreckers-become-peacekeepers/

The Politics of Representation and State Violence in Ethiopia: The Oromo Colonial Experience June 11, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia.
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The Politics of Representation and State Violence in Ethiopia: The Oromo Colonial Experience

Published by oromopress on Jun 10, 2015
Authors: Gemetchu Megerssa & Aneesa Kassam. Scanned by Oromo Press staff with the permission of one of the authors (Dr Gemetchu Megerssa).
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Darajjee Goobanaa, Oromo national and 3rd year student at Bule Hora University is murdered by fascist TPLF Ethiopia (Agazi) forces: Barataa Waggaa 3ffaa Yuuniversitii Bulee Horaa Kan Ta’e Sabboontichi Darajjee Goobanaa Rasaasa Poolisoota Wayyaaneen Wareegame. June 9, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Amnesty International's Report: Because I Am Oromo.
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Barataa Waggaa 3ffaa Yuuniversitii Bulee Horaa Kan Ta’e Sabboontichi Darajjee Goobanaa FDG Qindeessite Jedhamuun Rasaasa Poolisoota Wayyaaneen Wareegame.

Waxabajjii 08,2015 Gabaasa Qeerroo Bulee Horaa 

Oromo oromiaGaafa Caamsaa 24,2015 Fincila Diddaaa gabrummaa Yuuniverstii Bulee Horaa keessatti ka’een wal qabatee baratoota Oromoo irratti loltoota Wayyaaneen dhukaasi banamuun kan yaadatamu dha. Haala kanaan barattaan Oromoo ganna 3ffaa Yuuniverstii  Bulee Horaa irraa baratu barattoota Oromoo adda durummaan fincilaaf qindeessiteetta jedhamee adamfamuun rasaasa Wayyaaneen yeroo rukutamu iyyaa fi diddaan barattootaa waan itti hammaateef jecha loltooti barataa rasaasaan rukutan achitti gatanii deeman,haala kanaan gootichi barataan Darajjee Goobanaa gargaarsa barattootaan Hosptala Xiqur Ambessaatti  ergamee osoo waldhaanamuu Waxabajjii 05,2015 lubbuun isaa uummata Oromoof jecha wareega qaalii kaffaltee jirti.

Barataa Darajjee Goobanaan godina Wallaggaa Horroo Guduruu aanaa Jaardagaa Jaartee jedhamutti kan dhalatee guddate ta’uu fi amal qabeessaa fi qaroo ilma Oromoo akka ta’e barattooti Yuuniverstii Bulee Horaa dubbatu.

Survival International Reports surface of ‘massacre’ of Hamar people in Omo valley June 9, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Omo, Omo Valley.
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Without our land we are not people

Reports surface of ‘massacre’ of Hamar tribespeople in Ethiopia

 Survival International, 5 June 2015

Hamar family outside their home in Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley

Hamar family outside their home in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley
© Magda Rakita/Survival

Survival International has received reports that violent conflict between Ethiopian soldiers and Hamar pastoralists has left dozens dead. The Hamar, like the other tribes of the Lower Omo Valley, are victims of the government’s policy of “villagization.” They are being evicted to roadside villages without their consent, and their ancestral grazing lands are being sold off to investors for commercial plantations. These land grabs have already led to starvation in some parts of the Lower Omo Valley. Tensions have been rising as a result of these evictions and, at the end of May, Hamar were reportedly attacked by soldiers with mortars and semi-automatic weapons. A news blackout imposed by the government makes it impossible to know the exact number of casualties, but one expert has referred to what took place as a “massacre.”

Hamar children, Omo Valley

Hamar children, Omo Valley
© Survival

Some observers have also linked the violence to the failure of the government to investigate the alleged rape of Hamar girls by local government officials, and to the prosecution of Hamar men for hunting on their ancestral homelands. For several years, evictions have been accompanied by other serious human rights abuses in the Lower Omo Valley, including beatings, rape and arbitrary arrest. One Hamar refugee told Survival, “The government told us that if we don’t give into them we will be slaughtered in public like goats.” In response to Survival’s campaign, international donors to Ethiopia visited the region in August 2014. However, they have yet to release the reports from their investigation, despite formal requests by Survival to the European Union and the UK and US governments to do so. Reports indicate that the soldiers are still in the Lower Omo and are now threatening the Mursi and Bodi, the Hamar’s neighbors, with violence. According to one indigenous person currently in the region, “They say they will kill us. We are now crying a lot. Crying to ourselves.”

 More at: http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10802

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Ethiopia’s Sham Elections: Making sense of 100 percent election victory June 4, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Sham elections.
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Ethiopia: Making sense of 100 percent election victory

Messay Kebede, Pambazuka News, Issue 729

3rd June 2015

Zenawi the tyrant still rules after death
The 24 May election was worse than a sham. In turning the poll into a process of complete elimination of the opposition, the government and the ruling party have loudly told the Ethiopian people that any hope of change through peaceful means is just an illusion.

According to the National Election Board of Ethiopia, the result of last week’s national election is that the EPRDF (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front) has achieved a complete victory by grabbing all the parliamentary seats. The same board and the Ethiopian government qualified the result as a triumph of democracy, which leads one to assume that in today’s Ethiopia the progress of democracy is measured by the size of exclusion of opposition parties from parliamentary participation. In 1995, the process resulted in 75 seats to various opposition parties; then it evolved to one representative in 2010; until it has reached the present stage of advanced democracy with zero representative from the opposition. Bravo to the EPRDF! Be it noted that this novel interpretation of democracy seems to be endorsed by the American government through the authoritative voice of Wendy Sherman, the Under Secretary for Political Affairs (go to http://www.diretube.com/ethiopia/under-secretary-of-state-wendy-sherman-talking-about-ethiopia-video_851c48f3b.html) The only step remaining to achieve the apex of democracy is the banning of opposition parties, obvious as it is that they have become obsolete.

On a serious note, last week’s election appears very enigmatic to many observers. For one thing, in view of the creeping discontent in the country, which is even expressed outwardly here and there, in view also of the paranoia of the regime showing an unprecedented level of mobilization of its repressive forces to intimidate voters and stifle dissenting voices, a complete parliamentary victory strikes by its utter impossibility. There is only one possible conclusion: not only the election was not free and fair, but it was also subjected to fraudulent practices, such as stealing or eliminating votes supporting the opposition.

The question that comes to mind is the following: if neither the people and opposition parties give an iota of credibility to the official result, nor for that matter the officials and the cadres of the ruling party themselves––since they used all repressive and fraudulent means to eliminate the opposition––in a word, if nobody lends any credibility to the official outcome, why is the ruling party going through such a costly, time-consuming, and utterly useless exercise? What is the expected gain?

Can we say that the election serves the purpose of renewing legitimacy? But how can a government renew legitimacy by claiming an unbelievable victory? Who falls for a score of 100 percent? What about the international community? Perhaps, but again provided that you come up with something believable, and 100 percent is not believable. Accordingly, such a score defeats its purpose, if it is legitimacy.

This is what is most perplexing: a lesser score (say, for example, of 80 percent) would have gained some credibility without, however, endangering the hegemony of the ruling party. Indeed, why not leave some seats to the opposition? So long as the ruling party retains an overwhelming majority, the opposition does not present any risk. What is more, the presence of the opposition, however negligible, would give some sense to the voting process in the parliament.

There is more: in turning the election into a process of elimination of the opposition by all means necessary, the government and the ruling party are loudly telling the Ethiopian people that any hope of change through peaceful means is just an illusion. This is none other than forcing the people to seek other means, namely, violent forms of struggle, such as uprisings and armed struggle. It is hard to understand why a government would push its own people to violent methods.

If, instead of renewing legitimacy, a score of 100 percent only succeeds in cornering people to violent means, why on earth would a government adopt such a detrimental policy? We only saw negative sides. Where is the gain? The huge enigma here is that, unlike most dictatorial states, the regime in Ethiopia has recognized multiple opposition parties, even if it has restricted their activities to what it deems tolerable. While the general rule for dictatorial regimes is to ban opposition parties altogether, the Ethiopian regime recognizes them except that it does not want them in parliament. Since in both cases the result is the same, the behavior of the Ethiopian regime may become intelligible if we get hold of the reason why even dictatorial regimes that ban opposition parties organize elections.

Where no opposition parties exist, the purpose of election cannot be the achievement of victory. As there is no contest, the claim of victory would be simply surreal. By contrast, single-party regimes are concerned with the number of people who come out to vote, the issue being to get out the maximum number of voters by all means necessary. Clearly, the objective is not to gain the majority of votes; rather, it is to demonstrate force. Elections are meant to show the extent of the control of the government and the ruling party over the people. The less the people like the regime, the higher is its need to show the maximum electoral score, thereby displaying its invincibility. The message is then clear enough: even if you do not like the regime, there is nothing you can do about it. As such, it is a celebration of defiance, a parade, a showoff of political force.

It seems to me that the dominant party in the governmental coalition, the TPLF (Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front), has perfected the meaning of election under dictatorial rule: unlike one-party dictatorships, it recognizes opposition parties, allows them some freedom of maneuver, only to deprive them of even one seat in the parliament as a manifestation of its absolute hegemony. This is none other than an extreme form of political bullying, as in the case when a child donates his toy to another child and takes it back after some time as a way of showing his dominance by aggravating the frustration of the other child.

The ultimate goal of this political bullying is, of course, the inculcation of submission through the sense of hopelessness. While in democratic countries, elections establish the legitimacy of states through the exercise of popular sovereignty, in dictatorial regimes, like that of the TPLF, they are periodical rituals displaying the submission of the people. To the extent that these elections raise and then dash hopes for change, they renew the sense of hopelessness of the people, and so deepen their resignation.

* Messay Kebede is professor of philosophy at the University of Dayton, Ohio (USA). He previously taught philosophy at Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia). He is the author of five books: Meaning and Development (1994), Survival and Modernization—Ethiopia’s Enigmatic Present (1999), Africa’s Quest for a Philosophy of Decolonization (2004), Radicalism and Cultural Dislocation in Ethiopia, 1960-1974 (2008), and Ideology and Elite Conflicts: Autopsy of the Ethiopian Revolution (2011). He has also published numerous articles in professional and nonprofessional journals.

* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

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http://www.pambazuka.net/en/category.php/features/94830

 

ETHIOPIA: AUTHORITARIAN OVER SPEECH AND THE ASCENDANCE OF “DEVELOPMENT FETISHISM” May 28, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Free development vs authoritarian model.
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???????????AUTHORITARIAN OVER SPEECH

THE ASCENDANCE OF “DEVELOPMENT FETISHISM”

In its literal definition, the term development is generally understood to mean an intentionally conceived course of action that aims to realize the full potential of a given population. Though previously the notion of planned development was largely confined to communist countries, it now seems to have drawn some attention across the board.

Probably, the reason why the word has attracted attentions outside the communist block was partly due to the phenomenal success registered with US Marshal Plan and “Reverse Course” program to rehabilitate the war-torn Europe and Japan respectively in the aftermath of World War II.

Later on, several attempts have been made to replicate the success of the aforementioned planned development interventions in most developing countries after they won their political independence. Nevertheless, unlike the European and Japanese case, an all-out success with planned development in many of the developing countries, with the exception of a handful of Asian and Latin American countries, had remained until very recently quite a distant dream.

To the contrary, the net outcome of long years of planned development interventions in many of these countries for the most part ended in creating unbridgeable income gap between the rich and the poor, pervasive poverty, environmental degradation, chronic political dictatorship, civil wars, insecurity and instability.

The ever changing economic models and strategies which these countries have opted to on various occasions such as economic growth approach, centrally planned socialist economy, growth and transformation plan, structural-adjustment program, poverty alleviation program, participatory development and all that could well be symptomatic of the crisis of planned development in the past decades.

Of course, in speaking the adoption of a development model, it is worth noticing that there may be several internal and external factors that directly or indirectly impact the choice made by a given country. The competing major international ideological orientations, the fashionable development discourses, the leverage and influence of hegemonic powers, the influence of global financial and economic institutions, bilateral and multilateral diplomatic relationships between and among countries and the political and ideological orientations of the powers that be are to mention but a few.

Be that as it may, in this article I would like to argue about Ethiopia’s adoption of the ‘developmental state’ ideology that can largely be attributed to the incumbent’s political interest to mend legitimacy crisis and carry on with its repressive rule. And for this to happen it has apparently resorted to different political strategies as briefly discussed below.

Mystifying development

One of the biggest lessons learned from the failure of the first ever attempted ‘economic growth’ model that sought only to enhance the national economic wealth of the nation – GDP – was that a true and sustainable development must give due attention to all-round development which includes, among others, the economic, social, moral, intellectual and spiritual needs and demands of the larger population.

Subsequently, this has led to the new concept of an inclusive, participatory and human-centered development that has found wide currency since the 1980s. Such concepts of development also compel the need to make citizens active and conscious actors in a development process that ultimately determines their destiny.

Contrary to this, what is now transpiring in Ethiopia largely looks a full-blown psychological campaign to instill false-consciousness among the people by elevating the notion of development to a mystique and idol stature. The intention behind this clearly lies in making people unconscious and unquestioning actors who would readily submit to everything that comes in the name of development.

Consider the unrelenting media propaganda which scarcely misses mentioning development in the course of the day. Now, each and every government initiation comes wrapped with the tag of development. While a view or an action that aligns with the government would soon receive the honorific title of ‘developmental’, in contrast, any dissenting view or action would quickly be admonished as ‘anti-development’. In short, observing how the term development is used today in Ethiopia, probably one gets the impression that it might have acquired a new meaning which approximates something ‘sacred’.

Just imagine for a moment what a message of a sticker commonly put on the door of a soon-to-be-demolished shop that reads, “Sealed for Development Purpose” implicitly implies. In this connection, it is also worth to recall the occasion some years back when the top religious leaders had appeared on the public media to ‘consecrate’ the “Great Renaissance Dam” whereby they pronounced any non-consenting gesture towards the construction of the dam to be viewed as a kind of blasphemy that deserves some sort of admonition.

When people attempt to make the things that they themselves have created an object of worship, in the Marxist economic discourse, it is often said to be a form of fetishism. Thus, the unrelenting effort that the Ethiopian government has been waging supposedly to mystify and idolize the notion of development could be none other than “development fetishism”.

Development as a pretext

One major reason for instilling the attitude of “development fetishism” among the people seems to lie in the government’s ambition of attaching itself with a rather eye-catching infrastructural and building construction activities now underway in the country irrespective of its effect on the living realities of the ordinary mass and thereby portray itself as an indispensable actor without which Ethiopia’s development would be impossible to think of.

In this regard, it’s worth looking back at the circumstances that led the government to proclaim the status of ‘developmental state’ some few years back. Apparently, the government switched to the idea of ‘developmental state’ following the infamous 2005 election when it lost its credibility with the larger public. Furthermore, it was followed by the time when it kept itself busy with issuing some draconian laws. From this it follows that the declaration of ‘developmental state’ was but a tacit act of openly installing an authoritarian system.

After all, the notion of ‘developmental state’ is often associated either with those Asian countries with a communist political system or naked authoritarian regimes that have clung to power for so long, except Japan.

Evidently, all the messages and actions that now emanate from the ruling party in connection with the upcoming election also well signify how the ruling part is determined to use development as an excuse to cling to power indefinitely without any serious contender. Ironically, all this is not only against the unrelenting rhetoric of democracy and freedom but also in flagrant contradiction to the spirit of the constitution that itself has given birth to.

Fought for the sake of development or justice?

While proclaiming the status of developmental state which is in many ways repressive, the present day rulers seem to have forgotten why in the first place they had fought a bitter war against the former repressive regime, the Dergue. Surely, it was not so much for the sake of primarily economic development as it was for social justice.

As a matter of fact, development – especially that of material and physical – is just one among many other important duties and functions that a just government is required to carry out. This is not to say, however, for poor countries like ours the issue of development is not an imperative one. Yet, to promote development at the expense of justice, the rule of law, freedom and democratic rights, which in fact are crucial for sustainable development, presumably by virtue of being a ‘developmental state’ is very much unbecoming of such a sort of government.
Above all, the essence of a truly democratic government lies in its commitment to advance the freedom and democratic right as well as the welfare and security of its citizens. Indeed, the prime difference between authoritarian and democratic government rests on the fact that in the latter such great questions as development that evidently bears great stake in the life of people are to be decided not by whims and illusions of an individual or a group of tyrannical rulers but by well-informed, rational needs and demands of the larger citizens. Certainly, no thoughtful and rational government would attempt to reduce citizens to be blind worshipers of an idol that is created for political purpose. As the eminent classical sociologist Emile Durkheim had put it, “A healthy political system requires good faith and the avoidance of force and fraud. It requires, in a word, justice.”
Ed’s Note: The writer can be reached at tayesosa@yahoo.com

Déjà vu in Ethiopia’s May 24, 2015 Sham Elections: Marred by rampant electoral fraud, malpractice and violence by the ruling TPLF to stay on and maintain the 24 years tyrannic rules May 24, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Sham elections.
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???????????TPLF in electoral fraud, 24 May 2015

BREAKING NEWS: Video: Oromo University Students Rally Against Vote Rigging in Oromia (Ethiopia)

“90% of MEDREK election observers in Oromia are harassed & aren’t on election observarion.”

-Obbo Bekele Naga

“BREAKING NEWS | OFC/Medrek Leaders Report Election Irregularities (OMN).”

“Merera Gudina (PhD), a candidate of MEDREK, told Fortune that observers of his party are being massively harassed. .”
-Addis Fortune

In Hadia Zone, Mehar Kerga-“Ha” Polling Station,the ballot box got moved to a nearby health centre due to power outage.

Deja vu in 2015 Ethiopian Elections
https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/05/omn-oduu-amma-nu-gahe/
https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/05/marii-filannoo-caamsaa-242015/
https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/05/omn-london-election-special-part1/
https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/05/omn-london-election-special-part2/

VOA: Mr. Elias Hadero, Hadiya National & Medrek Candidate in Southern Region, Claims Vote Rigging.

 VOA: Mr. Elias Hadero, a Hadiya National and a Regional Parliament candidate of the Ethiopian Social Democracy-Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Union (a Medrek party), explains the vote rigging in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region.    http://gadaa.net/FinfinneTribune/2015/05/voa-mr-elias-hadero-hadiya-national-medrek-candidate-in-southern-region-claims-vote-rigging/

-Souce: Caamsaa/May 25, 2015 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com

VOA Afaan Oromoo: Guyyaa Filannoo (Qophii Addaa)

http://www.voaafaanoromoo.com/content/article/2788607.html
http://gadaa.net/FinfinneTribune/2015/05/voa-afaan-oromoo-guyyaa-filannoo-qophii-addaa/

Oduu Owwituu!!! Oduu Owwituu!!!!!! ================================ ////////Filannoon osoo hin jalqabamiin xumurameeee!!!!!!//////// Godina Harargee Bahaa Aanaa Giraawaa Araddaa Raasaa Nagayaa je’amanitti filannoon…xumuramee tahu maddeen oduu gabaasan.

Naannoo oromiyaatti Godina Harargee Bahaa aanaa Giraawaa araddaa Raasaa nagayaa Akka maddeen keenya nuf gabaasanit Hawaasa naannichaa humna waraansatin eega waliti qaban booda Kaardi filannoo eega irra sasaaban booda Wanta irraa hafe nutu guuta jechuun ummanni gara mana isaati akka gale beekun dandayameera . Mootummaan wayyaane yeroon filannoo osoo hin gahiin humna woraana issat fayadamuudhan Gandoota baadiyyaa adda addaati gochoota akkas ni geggeeysa jedhame kan sodaatama ture yommuu tahu , akkuma jedhameeti Haraarge bahaa Aanaa Giraawwa ganda raasaa keeysati filannoon yeroo isaa male akka geggeeyfame xumurame madden keenya nuf gabaasaniiru . Akkasumaas bifuma walfakkaatuun Naanoo oromiyaa Godina Arsii Aanaa Balee Ganda Xaqqetti Waraqaan Kaardi filannoo Qaamota mootumaatin haawaasa doorsisuudhan kaardi filannoo hunda isaan irra guurani akkaxumuran madden gaabasiniiru .

Roorroo Falmataa Roobsan

ODUU GADDAA AKKA ODUUN NU GAHE IBSUTTI HOJJATTOONNI FILANNICHAA SEERA QABSISOOTA TURAN AKKA IBSANITTI MAGAALAA DIRRE DHAWAATTI HARKA 100%90 MADAREK TAHUU YEMUU ARGAN HOJJATTOOTUMA ISAANII WAAMANII WARAQAA 300 IRRATTI OFUMAA MALLEEFFATANII SANDUUQA KEESSA GALCHAN JEDHAN ODUU 100%100tti DHUGAA TAHEEDHA OF QOPHEESSAA KAN LAMMIIF HADOODDAN WANTI TOLAAN DHUFTU HIN JIRTU

– Social Network ( Facebook)

No Democracy in Ethiopia. No fair and free election in Ethiopia.   Caamsaa 24/2015 Mooraan Yuunibarsiitii Jimmaa, Mattuu, Wallaggaa, Amboo, fi Dirree Dawaa addatti humni waraanaa guddaan itti seenee jira.

Caamsaa 24/2015 Gabaasa Qeerroo Jimmaa,img101861

Qeerroon Bilisummaa Oromoo barruulee warraaqsaa belbetuu qabxiiwwaan armaan gadii of irraa qabduu Mooraalee Yuunibarsiitii biyyaatti hundarra facaasuun mootummaa Wayyaanee raafama guddaa keessa galche jira. waraanni wayyaanees bifa lamaan mooraa Yuunibarsiitii seenaa jira, inni tokko uffata sivilii uffachuun, inni lammaffaa immoo hidhannoodhan, barruulee qeerroon facaasaa jiruu adamsuufis lafa waranni kun hin seeniin hin jiru, qabxiiwwaan barruu qeerroo irra jiru muraasni isaa: 1. Dimookiraasiin hin jiru, filannoon hin jiru (No Democracy in Ethiopia and no fair and free election in Ethiopia) 2. Gaaffii mirga abbaa biyyummaa uummata Oromoof deebiin kennamuu qaba. 3. Ilmaan Oromoo jumlaan hidhaman gaaffii tokko malee hiikamuu qabu. 4. Mootummaan Ce’umsaa hundeeffamee, filmaanni demookiraatawaa ta’ee fi haqaa fi bilisa irratti hundaa’ee akka gaggeeffamu jabeessinee gaafatna. 5. Nuti Qeerroon dargaggootni barattootni Oromoo bilisummaa fi dimookiraasii barbaadna, hanga Oromoon bilisoomuu fi Oromiyaan Walaboomtutti FDG jabaatee itti fufa. 6. Waranni nagaa biyyaa,fi daangaa biyyaa eeguuf ijaarame malee dhaaba siyaasaa tokkitti EPRDF/TPLF eeguuf hundeeffame diigamuu qaba. 7. Humni waraanaa Mooraa Yuunibarsiitii seenee barattoota gooluun yakka. waraannii uummata keenya irra qubsiifame kaafamuu qaba, barruun jedhuu mooraalee dhaabbilee barnootatti raamsuun wal qabatee wayyaaneen lafa seentuu dhabuun humna waraanaa guddaa mooraalee Yuunibarsiitiitti ol seensisuuf dirqamtee jiraachuun gabaafame.. gabaasaan itti fufa!!

Ethiopia’s May 24, 2015 election in Oromia Special Zones near Finfinnee voters were not allowed their phones

https://www.cpj.org/blog/2015/05/with-limited-independent-press-ethiopians-left-vot.php

Ethiopia’s election is a wake-up call on human rights and sound governance. The international community must challenge Ethiopia’s oppressive regime by funding local human rights and democracy groups May 23, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Sham elections, The Tyranny of Ethiopia.
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???????????TPLF's sham elections

Ethiopia’s election is a wake-up call on human rights and sound governance

‘Ethiopia’s elections are just an exercise in controlled political participation.’
Jason Mosley

On Sunday, millions of Ethiopians will line up at polling stations to participate in Africa’s largest exercise of political theatre. A decade-long campaign by Ethiopia’s government to silence dissent forcibly has left the country without a viable political opposition, without independent media, and without public challenges to the ruling party’s ideology.

For most Ethiopians, these elections are a non-event.

The one potential dividend of these sham polls, however, is the international attention they will garner for the government’s growing political repression. The blatant disregard for internationally recognised standards for free and fair elections just might convince Ethiopia’s largest donors that it is time to rethink their relationship with an increasingly authoritarian government.

As long as democratic governance and respect for human rights are pushed aside by donors in favour of economic development and security cooperation, Ethiopia’s long-term stability is at serious risk.

Since 2005, the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) has cracked down on independent media and human rights groups.

In 2009, parliament passed the charities and societies proclamation, which placed restrictive regulations on non-government organisations, including limitations on foreign funding. Today,only a handful of these groups exist, and most are struggling to survive.

The preferred government strategy for eliminating independent media is to file criminal charges against publishers, and to impose hefty fines and prison terms. When lawsuits do not succeed, the government simply arrests journalists, as occurred last year when bloggers and journalists affiliated with the Zone 9 blogging collective were apprehended. The group remains imprisoned and charged as terrorists.

Post-election, the EPRDF, secure in its hold on power, might be willing to allow a small degree of dissent: Ethiopian officials are increasingly wary of reactions by the international community to the crackdown on critics and in 2013 published a national human rights action plan.

Global development podcast What causes conflict and how can it be resolved? – podcast
From the ready availability of weapons to the marginalisation of women, many factors can push a population towards conflict
The US, UK and European Union – Ethiopia’s largest donors – need to increase their support for democracy and human rights because much can be done right now.

Despite years of political repression, a new generation of human rights defenders is slowly emerging. The Zone 9 bloggers represented this new generation, using new technologies to educate fellow Ethiopians on exercising and defending their rights.

The human rights and democracy groups that remain are finding creative ways to conduct their work. This includes working with traditional development organisations, which the government generally tolerates, or focusing on seemingly apolitical issues, such as government accountability and corruption, that are important in strengthening Ethiopia’s democracy.

Donor countries fall short in their support for these groups. In the US, President Barack Obama’s latest budget request includes some $400m (£257m) in assistance to Ethiopia – but only $2m of it is for democracy and human rights programming.

The UK is equally parsimonious in democracy support. One reason is that the EPRDF makes it difficult for domestic groups to accept outside aid.

Donors could take concrete action right now. First, supporting off-shore programming allows activists to travel outside Ethiopia to get technical and strategic advice. Second, donors’ strategies for Ethiopia should include funds specifically dedicated to strengthening independent media outlets and journalists; the EU intends to take this step after the election.

Placards belonging to protestors outside the Foreign Commonwealth Office to demand the immediate release of UK citizen, Andargachew Tsege, who is being held in incommunicado detention in Ethiopia, having been kidnapped in Yemen in June 2014. Facebook Twitter Pinterest
A poster demanding the release of UK citizen Andargachew Tsege, who was kidnapped in Yemen last June and is being held in Ethiopia. Photograph: Stephen Chung/Alamy
Also, donors can find ways around foreign funding restrictions by pushing for the creation of funding pools considered local under Ethiopian law. The EU did this in 2011, when it created the Civil Society Fund, providing assistance to local human rights and democracy groups. The US should use its economic and diplomatic leverage to do likewise, a move that would provide a much-needed lifeline for these groups.

Greater funding for human rights will be vital for Ethiopian activists, whose reach has been limited by the charities and societies proclamation.

Before that came into being six years ago, the country’s leading human rights organisation, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO), operated with a budget of $400,000 and 60 employees.

Today, its budget is less than half that figure, and staffing is down 80%. The only thing keeping EHRCO alive is financial aid from the EU Civil Society Fund.

Ethiopia receives nearly $4bn in official development assistance. This is more than any other country in Africa and makes up a significant portion of the government’s annual budget. If the US, UK, EU and Canada coordinated policies, Ethiopia would have to respond to their human rights and democracy concerns.

Ethiopia’s election should be a wake-up call for the international community. With each successive election that does not allow genuine choice, both apathy and resentment grow, and Ethiopia risks falling prey to the same instability that has plagued its neighbours.

Daniel Calingaert is executive vice-president of Freedom House. Kellen McClure is an advocacy officer in its Africa programmes.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/may/23/ethiopia-election-wake-up-call-human-rights-governance

Related:AmnestyInternationalReport_BecauseIAmOromo014

What’s at stake when Ethiopians vote in May 2015

Even by Ethiopia’s own standard, the 2015 elections appear to be far less competitive than the last two polls. The country’s one-time vocal opposition is all but decimated, in part because of their own undoing but largely due to the ever-tightening political space and the lack of freedom to organize.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/africaatlse/2015/05/12/whats-at-stake-when-ethiopians-vote-in-may-2015/

Amnesty International: Ethiopia: Onslaught on human rights ahead of elections. #Africa. #Oromia May 23, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Sham elections.
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???????????Because I am Oromo

Ethiopia: Onslaught on human rights ahead of elections

Amnesty International, 22 May 2015

The run-up to Ethiopia’s elections on Sunday has been marred by gross, systematic and wide-spread violations of ordinary Ethiopians’ human rights, says Amnesty International.

“The lead-up up to the elections has seen an onslaught on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. This onslaught undermines the right to participation in public affairs freely and without fear as the government has clamped down on all forms of legitimate dissent,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

The Ethiopian authorities have jailed large numbers of members of legally registered opposition political parties, journalists, bloggers and protesters. They have also used a combination of harassment and repressive legislation to repress independent media and civil society.

The lead-up up to the elections has seen an onslaught on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. This onslaught undermines the right to participation in public affairs freely and without fear as the government has clamped down on all forms of legitimate dissent.
Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

In the run-up to Sunday’s elections, opposition political party members report increased restrictions on their activities. The Semayawi (Blue) Party informed Amnesty International that more than half of their candidates had their registration cancelled by the National Electoral Board. Out of 400 candidates registered for the House of Peoples Representatives, only 139 will be able to stand in the elections.

On 19 May, Bekele Gerba and other members of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC)-Medrek were campaigning in Oromia Region when police and local security officers beat, arrested and detained them for a couple of hours.

On 12 May, security officers arrested two campaigners and three supporters of the Blue Party who were putting up campaign posters in the capital Addis Ababa. They were released on bail after four days in detention.

In March, three armed security officers in Tigray Region severely beat Koshi Hiluf Kahisay, a member of the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (EFDUD) Arena-Medrek. Koshi Hiluf Kahisay had previously received several verbal warnings from security officials to leave the party or face the consequences.

In January, the police violently dispersed peaceful protesters in Addis Ababa during an event organized by the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ). Police beat demonstrators with batons, sticks and iron rods on the head, face, hands and legs, seriously injuring more than 20 of them.

At least 17 journalists, including Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu and Wubishet Taye, have been arrested and charged under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP), and sentenced to between three and 18 years in prison. Many journalists have fled to neighboring countries because they are afraid of intimidation, harassment and attracting politically motivated criminal charges.

Civil society’s ability to participate in election observation has been restricted under the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP) to only Ethiopian mass based organizations aligned with the ruling political party.

Amnesty International calls on the Africa Union Election Observation Mission (AU EOM) currently in Ethiopia to assess and speak to the broader human rights context around the elections in both their public and private reporting. It also calls on the AU EOM to provide concrete recommendations to address the gross, systematic and widespread nature of violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly which have undermined the right to participate in public affairs freely and without fear.

“The African Union’s election observers have a responsibility to pay attention to human rights violations specific to the elections as well as more broadly,” said Wanyeki. “The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights protects the right of Ethiopians to freely participate in their government. This right has been seriously undermined by violations of other civil and political rights in the lead-up to the elections.”

Background

Amnesty International has been monitoring, documenting and reporting on the human rights situation in Ethiopia for more than four decades.

Since the country’s last elections in 2010, the organization has documented arbitrary and politically motivated arrests and detentions, torture and other ill-treatment, as well as gross, systematic and wide-spread violations of the rights to freedom of expression and association.

https://www.amnesty.org/articles/news/2015/05/ethiopia-onslaught-on-human-rights-ahead-of-elections/

Related: AmnestyInternationalReport_BecauseIAmOromo014

Ethiopia: Elections Signal Need for U.S. Policy Change. #Africa. #Oromia May 23, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Sham elections.
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???????????Freedom HouseEthiopia's scores on freedom

Ethiopia: Elections Signal Need for U.S. Policy Change

Freedom House, Washington, May 21, 2015

In advance of Ethiopia’s elections scheduled for May 24, Freedom House issued the following statement and policy recommendations:

“The Ethiopian government’s disregard for international standards for free and fair elections as it prepared for voting should convince the United States that it must rethink and shift its relationship with that government,” said Mark P. Lagon, president of Freedom House. “For Ethiopia to represent a stable, reliable ally in the region, U.S. security and economic assistance must be accompanied by Obama administration strongly urging it take tangible steps to strengthen civil society’s voice, good governance, and democracy.”

Policy Recommendations 

  • Reallocate a portion of the economic and security assistance to programs dedicated to supporting democracy.
  • Push for creation of a special U.S. fund that could become a source of outside support for Ethiopian human rights and democracy groups.
  • Regularly request that visiting U.S. officials obtain access to detention centers where journalists, human rights defenders and other political prisoners are being held.
  • Pursue a strict application of all laws and regulations, including the Leahy Law, that ensure security assistance does not go to perpetrators of human rights abuses.
  • Include in the USAID country development strategy clear guidance on the importance of supporting independent media in Ethiopia, to promote freedom of expression, ensure accountability of government, and fight corruption.

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2014.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

https://freedomhouse.org/article/ethiopia-elections-signal-need-us-policy-change#.VV_c9dJVikp

Is the age of #Africa’s political ‘ big man syndrome’ nearing an end? Burundi’s turmoil points to a shifting social and political landscape. #Ethiopia. #Oromia May 21, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Burkina Faso.
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Burundi’s turmoil points to a shifting social and political landscape

Clár Ní Chonghaile,   The Guardian, Thursday 21 May 2015
Analysts see the upheaval in Burundi as symptomatic of a public craving for principled politics and an end to the era of the autocratic statesman

Is the age of Africa's political big man nearing an end

The upheaval in Burundi may bear many of the hallmarks of a classic African military coup but, for some analysts, the crisis is indicative of a newfound public hunger for good governance, and a reaction against administrations run by political strongmen who cloak repression in the trappings of democracy.

As global leaders work on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), a blueprint for governing development over the next 15 years, young people in Burundi are making their own demands, of their leaders as well as international donors.

Their appeals for democracy and abuse-free institutional processes mirror the call in SDG 16 to promote the rule of law, ensure equal access to justice, and develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions.
Burundi refugees say there is no turning back as fears grow of reprisals at home.

Burundi’s crisis began in late April after the ruling CNDD-FDD party nominated President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term in the country’s June elections, despite a two-term constitutional limit. Protesters took to the streets and clashed with police.

Then, on 13 May, Major General Godefroid Niyombare told reporters that he had dismissed the president. The attempted coup was short-lived, however, and Niyombare is now on the run. Nkurunziza is back in charge, and fears of reprisals are widespread.

Rights groups say at least 20 people have been killed and more than 110,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring countries, raising fears of a “severe humanitarian crisis”.

Some observers predict a drawn-out period of uncertainty and violence, with particular risks for opposition activists and the media. Protests continued on Wednesday, while the government said local and parliamentary elections would be delayed for a week but the presidential elections would go ahead as planned on 26 June.

Some elements of the crisis – the timing of the coup to coincide with the president’s absence at a regional summit, the fear of ethnic tensions exploding – seem to hark back to Burundi’s unstable past. But Jesper Bjarnesen, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, says the dynamic is different this time.

Bjarnesen visited the Burundian capital Bujumbura recently and met with young activists who style themselves “the Arusha generation”, a nod to the peace accords that, in 2005, brought an end to a 12-year civil war between Hutu rebels and the mainly Tutsi army.

For these activists, ethnicity is no more the issue than Nkurunziza himself: rather, they feel the president has violated the constitution.

“It’s about political principles,” says Bjarnesen. “That is remarkable. It’s not that long ago that ethnicity was in many ways the … defining split. What I got from [the activists] was this sense that formal politics are just not a useful medium for those not in power.”

Yolande Bouka, a researcher in conflict prevention and risk analysis at the Institute for Security Studies, says Burundi’s government has long shown a disdain for the Arusha peace accords that has chipped away at trust between political actors.

The protestors and the opponents to Nkurunziza’s third term are trying to evoke an African spring
Jesper Bjarnesen, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
“Should the conflict drag on and erode inter-ethnic trust … it is possible to see a flare-up of ethnic tensions,” says Bouka, adding that the international community should have acted sooner on warning signs that the authorities were cracking down on dissent after the 2010 elections.

Nkurunziza is not alone in attempting to use almost absolute political power to extend his rule. Next door, Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, is said to be considering another term despite a two-term limit. Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, already one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, has already changed the constitution to allow him to run again.

There are more cautionary tales. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila was forced to withdraw a bill seen as an attempt to extend his term after protests in January. Nkurunziza may also be mindful of Burkina Faso’s former president, Blaise Compaoré, one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, who was forced from office after he tried to change the constitution and run for another term.

End of Africa’s ‘big men’?
The idea that the “big man” model of rule is running out of steam may be gaining traction among the continent’s leaders.

At a regional summit this week, west African heads of state discussed a proposal to limit presidential mandates. The proposal was rejected because of opposition from Gambia and Togo, where there are no term limits, Reuters reported. But the discussion did not go unnoted.

“The protestors and the opponents to Nkurunziza’s third term are trying to evoke an African spring, with Burkina Faso setting the precedent. They are trying to use public protests to end a regime that has used both legal and illegal ways of reinforcing its grip on power,” says Bjarnesen.
Burundi unrest leaves 50,000 refugees facing dire conditions in Tanzania.

Thierry Vircoulon, project director for central Africa at the International Crisis Group, says Burundi’sproblems are in the 2010 elections, which most opposition parties boycotted.

“The first mandate of President Nkurunziza was about the consolidation of his power within the ruling party, and his second mandate was about the consolidation of his grip over the institutions and the preparation of his third mandate. This is a pattern that we see in a lot of post-conflict regimes in the region,” says Vircoulon.

A former Belgian colony, Burundi is one of Africa’s poorest countries, ranking 180 out of 187 states in the 2014 UN human development index. It relies on foreign aid for half its national budget. Britain’s Department for International Development ended bilateral aid in 2012, and has been criticised by a parliamentary committee for doing so.

Bjarnesen says that while donors are in a catch-22 situation, suspending assistance will only hurt the poorest. This month, the EU said it would withhold €2m ($2.2m) of aid, while Belgium also announced a suspension of electoral aid.

“Cutting aid in itself just does not work,” says Bjarnesen. “The threat now of cutting funding to the elections, who is that serving?”

For Bjarnesen, elections now would be devastating for the opposition but perhaps palatable to international partners – a situation that encapsulates an ideological tug-of-war between the merits of stability versus true democracy.

“To a large extent, the international community would rather have some sort of elections and then relative stability rather than continued political instability with the threat of conflict,” he says.

“That’s the biggest weakness of the response from the international community: it’s so short-sighted and focused on visible symptoms … whereas what is actually keeping the status quo is this kind of structural violence that has been in place since Nkurunziza came to power.”

Bjarnesen is critical of “international lenience” towards African governments. “The argument would be these are young democracies, they need time to develop … I think that moment has passed. I don’t see any reason why you would measure democracy in Burundi against standards other than those you use in the UK or Sweden.”

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/may/21/burundi-turmoil-shifting-social-political-landscape#comments

As Ethiopia votes, what’s ‘free and fair’ got to do with it? May 18, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Amnesty International's Report: Because I Am Oromo, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia.
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???????????Ethiopia's scores on freedom

As Ethiopia votes, what’s ‘free and fair’ got to do with it?

By Terrence Lyons, The Washington Post

Ethiopia, Washington’s security partner and Africa’s second most populous country, is scheduled to hold national elections on May 24. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and its allied parties won 99.6 percent of the seats in the last round of elections in 2010. There is no doubt that the ruling party will win again.

The party has ruled since 1991 when it seized power following a prolonged civil war. It dominates all major political, economic, and social institutions, has virtually eliminated independent political space, and opposition parties are fractured and harassed. Ethiopia has jailed more journalists than any other country in Africa.

The EPRDF is an extremely strong and effective authoritarian party. Yet Wendy Sherman, the Under Secretary of Political Affairs in the Department of State, recently said, “Ethiopia is a democracy that is moving forward in an election that we expect to be free, fair and credible.” What roles do elections play in authoritarian states and what, if anything, do they have to do with “free, fair, and credible” standards?

Part of the answer is to recognize that elections and political parties in autocratic states play different roles than they do in democratic states. Electoral processes are used by authoritarian regimes to consolidate power and to demonstrate the ruling party’s dominance, as argued by scholars of comparative politics such as Schedler and Gandhi and Lust-Okar. Research by Geddes shows that single-party authoritarian regimes tend to be more stable and last longer than military or personalistic ones. Strong partiesmanage instability by encouraging intra-elite compromise, co-opting opposition, and institutionalizing incentives to reward loyalty. Elections and strong political parties thereby contribute to “authoritarian resilience,” as scholars note with reference to China, Iran and Syria, and Zimbabwe.

Non-competitive elections are common in authoritarian states and incumbents often win by incredible margins. In Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir won 94 percent of the vote in April 2015 elections, Uzbek President Islam Karimov over 90 percent in March 2015, and Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev 97 percent in April 2015. Rwandan President PaulKagame, when asked if his 93 percent landslide in 2010 represented the will of the people, reportedly answered: “So, 93 percent – I wonder why it wasn’t higher than that?” The EPRDF’s 99.6 percent victory in 2010 createdcredibility problems in North American and European capitals where diplomats often asked, “Couldn’t they have just won by 60 or 75 percent?” But the point of elections under authoritarian rule is not to obtain a working majority or to win international approval. The purpose is to dominate domestic politics completely and thereby deter any leader from thinking he or she could challenge ruling party successfully. The dramatic, overwhelming victories send an important domestic message of strength and power, even as they strain credibility abroad.

The EPRDF recognizes the dangers it faces from competitive elections and that it democratizes at its peril. In 2005 Ethiopia held competitive elections, complete with significant opposition participation, major rallies, and televised debates. According to official results, the opposition’s share of seats in parliament increased from 12 to 172, representing 31 percent of the total. The opposition parties swept all the seats in Addis Ababa and many cabinet ministers and high-ranking officials lost their positions. This shift represented the potential for an important advance in democratization and a major break in the ruling party’s domination.

Members of the opposition, however, refused to accept the results and claimed that massive fraud had denied them outright victory. Some opposition leaders boycotted the parliament. Post-election demonstrations turned violent and were brutally put down by the Ethiopian military, leaving nearly 200 dead and an estimated 30,000 arrested. The 2005 election began with a democratic opening but ended with what the Department of State characterized as the criminalization of dissent.

In the aftermath of the 2005 crisis, the EPRDF responded by demonstrating its extraordinary strength in using the levers of state power and its considerable organizational capacities to control all aspects of political life. New laws largely eliminated civil society institutions and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation has been used against journalists and other critics. Just before a visit by Secretary of State Kerry in April 2014, the regime arrested a group of young bloggers who called themselves Zone Nine and charged them with terrorism. Washington recently urged Addis Ababa “to refrain from using its Anti-Terrorism Proclamation as a mechanism to curb the free exchange of ideas.”

As a consequence of its restrictions on politics over the past decade, the ruling party has little to worry about with regard to the opposition parties competing in the upcoming elections. The limits on formal political competition have made social mobilization outside of the electoral process more important. A series of non-violent protests in 2012 by Ethiopian Muslims provided an important model of sustained, peaceful social mobilization. The regime arrested the movement’s leadership and has tried to link the protests to external enemies and terrorism. In 2014, the security services quickly suppressed demonstrations on university campuses by Oromos, highlighting the historical sense of marginalization perceived by many in Ethiopia’s single largest ethnic group. In April 2015, a government organized rally to mourn the killing of Ethiopian migrants in Libya by the Islamic State (ISIS) ended with arrests and clashes between security forces and protestors. The Ethiopian regime has managed each of these challenges without significant difficulty but the underlying grievances remain.

blob:https%3A//www.youtube.com/4b8fffcb-345b-4b23-b7b3-e2a218263c28

Editor’s Note: This video contains graphic content. Clashes broke out in Addis Ababa at a government-organized demonstration against the killing of Ethiopian Christians by Islamic State militants in Libya.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/05/18/as-ethiopia-votes-whats-free-and-fair-got-to-do-with-it/

Related: Widespread brutalities of the Ethiopian government against the Oromo people in different parts of the State of Oromia, Oromian Economists May 17, 2015 Report

US Gov – Ethiopia Travel Alert. #Oromia. #Africa May 16, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Free development vs authoritarian model, Groups at risk of arbitrary arrest in Oromia: Amnesty International Report, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia.
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???????????US Gov – Ethiopia Travel Alert

 

(Oromia Press) US Gov – Ethiopia Travel Alert

The State Department recommends U.S. citizens maintain a high level of security awareness during the electoral period and avoid political rallies, polling centers, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind as instances of unrest can occur. Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Although there have been no specific incidents of violence targeting U.S. citizens, U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and stay current with media coverage of local events. Election results are scheduled to be announced June 22, 2015.

During previous elections, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) required all diplomats and international organization staff living in Addis Ababa to receive an official pass from the MFA if they planned to travel outside of Addis Ababa during the election season. While not in effect this election, the U.S. Embassy continues to urge U.S. citizens to be aware of election sensitivities. We especially recommend avoiding public polling stations on the day of the election, including schools and other public buildings. In Addis Ababa alone there will be nearly 1,600 polling stations – roughly one polling station for every kilometer.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Ethiopia enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have Internet access, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to enroll directly.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Ethiopia. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is located at Entoto Street, P.O. Box 1014. The Consular Section of the Embassy may be reached by telephone: +251-111-306000 or e-mail at consacs@state.gov, and is open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. For after-hours emergencies, U.S. citizens should call +251-111-306911 or 011-130-6000 and ask to speak with the duty officer

– See more at: http://www.oromiapress.com/us-gov-ethiopia-travel-alert/#sthash.pL12WAJ2.dpuf

 

ELECTIONS IN ETHIOPIA: BEYOND WINNING (AND LOSING) May 12, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Sham elections.
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???????????Zenawi the tyrant still rules after death

ELECTIONS IN ETHIOPIA: BEYOND WINNING (AND LOSING)

By Tsegaye R Ararssa*  in   ADDIS STANDARD

 

Part I
1 . Introduction
Election fever is gaining momentum in Ethiopia. It is ‘Election 2015’, the 5th general election since Ethiopia’s formal adoption of the more (or less) liberal constitution of 1995 that ended the hesitant ‘transition’ from the Derg’s military rule to a western-style representative democracy[1]. The projected aim of the transition was to liberalize and pluralize the politics, to reform and resuscitate the economy, to restructure the state (through democratization and decentralization), and to transform the hitherto tenuous state-society relations. Through the constitution, the regime provided itself the legal edifice on which to ensure that transitional project is attained and a liberal democracy (expressed through representative and participatory institutions) is formally instituted. In a gesture of transforming the state, the constitution recognized national diversity, legalized collective rights such as the right to self-determination[2], and institutionalized federal non-centralization. Having ostensibly demilitarized politics [3], electoral contestation became the formal mode of contending for political power. The election fever that is steadily gripping the nation now is the symptom of that contention.
Over the last few weeks, controversy has progressively raged over the politics and the logistics of the upcoming election. Decisions pertaining to recognition by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) of political parties with the ‘right’ leadership [4], registration of ‘qualified’ candidates [5], and ensuring the proper adherence to the relevant rules of constitutional, electoral, and political party registration laws have provoked a lot of ire among some of the parties seeking to partake in the election. Rulings over who is qualified as a candidate and which party is qualified as a contestant have unleashed a conversation over the process and speculations over the outcome of the election. In the first election debate conducted live on public television, the major ideological fault lines between the three major political parties were outlined. In the same week, we heard that some of the parties (such as the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum, alias Medrek in Amharic) were denied access to the state media (Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, EBC) on the pretext that the parties’ criticism of the media’s bias towards the incumbent is an attempt to undermine the impartiality of the media. Their petition to the NEBE has not found a response yet. Not entirely unexpectedly, tension has started to build up.
As anyone familiar with Ethiopia and its histories knows, the tension around elections is only symptomatic of deeper issues that have roots in—but never contained by—the political contestations of the past. In this piece, I offer a reflection on what election means to the various sectors of the population in the Ethiopian polity in the light of that past. I will thus reflect on what election means to the incumbent, the opposition political parties, and to the electorate, north and south. Along the way, I will also reflect on the mood in the context of which the election takes place. By drawing historical parallels between 2015 and 1915 (historical moments when two dead leaders—Meles Zenawi and Menelik II, respectively -rule from the grave in spite of the place holders whose genealogies make them unlikely successors, namely Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Emperor Eyasu II, alias Lij/Abeto Eyasu, respectively), I will point to the continuity in the nature of the State in which the election takes place, irrespective of the appearance of change. Lastly, I will offer my points on what is beyond winning and losing this particular election, and how it affects the nature of the Ethiopian state.
The starting point of this reflection is that election is a language. It is the new language one speaks in order to secure democratic legitimacy. Posited within the confines of liberal constitutionalism, it is a particular language with the idiom and vernacular of modern representative democracy. Whoever is proficient in this language technically ‘wins’ the election. In this piece, in a rather iterative manner, I reflect on the ‘facility’ or ‘proficiency’ of the contestants in this language within the context of Ethiopia in order to imagine what is beyond winning (or losing) this election.
The thrust of my argument is that there is much more work to do about the state than partaking in the motion of election. There is more to Ethiopia than mastering the language of election. I suggest that to EPRDF election is a mode of securing a technical legitimacy. To its adversaries, it is a mode of resistance to hegemonic oppression. Some of its adversaries resist its hegemonic position if only to replace it with their own. Others resist it and the State form it embodies and represents. For this latter group, the election is, more than anything else, a gesture of negating the status quo, it is a talking back to power, an utterance of societal pain long suppressed and contained. It is a way of sustaining a lamentation. It is yet another moment of reminding Ethiopia that all is not well. For the protagonists in this election saga, especially for the ruling EPRDF, the election is merely war by other means. As such, for EPRDF, it is a mode of entrenching its power by eliminating its opponents through the technology of election. Consequently, the election has little to do with the desired transformation of the state-society relations in Ethiopia.
As a result, I argue, there is little the election can do to tackle outstanding political issues that are contained in the unfinished business of state-building. In particular, there is little it can do to expand citizenship to the subject peoples of the wider South. EPRDF’s anti-democratic posture to disallow a political space where deeply political issues can be discussed (by reducing everything down to the technicalities of law and economic governance) is a proclamation of closure of politics by relegating the discussion to the realm of techniques. Election is thus reduced to a mode of enhancing what the French philosopher Michel Foucault calls ‘governmentality’, a technical-ideological apparatus of controlling and regulating the population by eliciting acquiescence in their own control and regulation. EPRDF’s adversaries, especially the north-central ethio-political class, also play their own role in this proclamation and enactment of closure of politics by aestheticizing a heavily contested political issue. As I shall argue in subsequent sections, they engage in exoticizing and aestheticizing an essentially political issue of the past and the future. They engage in a double movement that also politically demonizes – and excludes – the essentially political questions (such as the question of diversity [sameness and difference], historical political violence/injustice, misrecognition, inclusion-in-citizenship, and co-equal (re)founding of the polity. They thus aestheticize the inaugural violence by iconizing the leaders of the past through a raft of artistic products (images and lyrics, pictures and songs, etc) thereby rehabilitating them from the tyranny and oppression they represented, the tyranny and oppression they were once criticized for. At the same time, they demonize what could probably be the most important political question of modern Ethiopia—the question of diversity—by presenting it rather negatively as “politicized ethnicity.”
By so doing, i.e., by removing the important issues from the realm of the political to that of the aesthetic, they do their own bit of closing the political space for discussing the irreducibly political questions politically. The combined effect of these closures (by both groups)—born chiefly out of insecurity of EPRDF as a Government, only symptomatic of the greater insecurity of the ever more fragile Ethiopian State it runs, manages, and embodies—causes our judgement of the process and consequence of the election to be pessimistic. The insecurity of the ‘eternal kingdom’ assumed to have been established by Menelik, Haileselassie, and Mengistu; the insecurity born out of the incomplete nation-building project, prompts EPRDF’s opponents of the Amhara constituency to aspire for similar closure of the political space through aestheticization and exoticization of the infinitely political questions.
2. The Mood: Hope and Anticipation, or Angst and Despair?
Election is time-bound. Its temporality is its essence. The intensity or lack thereof is the function of its being limited in time. As a result, its process, outcome, and significance are dependent on the ‘political ecology’ of the time. It is dependent on what is ‘in the air’, what is troubling the polity, and what is exercising the large majority of the electorate. This is because election needs a particular kind of ‘democratic ambience’, as it were, a (more or less) festive atmosphere imbued with hope and anticipation (the subtext of which is fear and anxiety). Election has its own ‘mood’, sort of a national ‘political labor’. Understanding the mood – capturing the pulse of the polity in the electoral moment – helps us situate the election (the process, the result, and the context) in proper perspective. This underscores the supreme importance of a ‘right’ ‘political ecology’ that can engender hope (of winning) and of security (in the event of losing).
Hope and anxiety attend to all elections, the hope of winning and the angst of losing. However, in as much as possible, it is important that a proper balance is stricken between hope and fear, anticipation and despair. After all, the hope of renewal – the promise of exercising creative agency among the electorate – is an important ingredient of a healthy electoral democracy.
What attends Election 2015 in Ethiopia? Two areas of the public life of Ethiopia must be considered in order to map the electoral mood, namely the civic-political space for active citizens who can engage in politics on the one hand and the ‘nature’ of the state and its relation with the society on the other.
2.1 Civic-Political Space in Decline
The civic-political space has been a subject of controversy, especially since the 2005 election, the election that revealed not only the outer limits of the public sphere but also the foundational cracks in the State form in Ethiopia. In the wake of the 2005 election, the regime started to stiffen the rules of procedure in the parliament thereby limiting the discursive space even within the EPRDF-dominated parliament. That was followed by a raft of legislations on the civic/public space available for dissent, or its discursive and institutional articulation. These legislations constrained freedoms that are instrumental for, and constitutive of, democracy at a time. The Freedom of Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation (Proclamation N0. 590/2008), the Anti-terrorism Proclamation (Proclamation No. 652/2009), and the Charities and Societies Proclamation (Proclamation No. 621.2009) were the three major legislative acts deployed by the Ethiopian government to (re)occupy the already limited space for political dissent and consequent pluralism. These laws, for all their preambular commitment to expand and implement constitutional right to freedom of expression, press and association rationalized and perfected the pre-existing streak noticed in the regime’s intolerance of expressed dissent. Self-censorship has become a way of being, a way of life, among journalists and other writers as a result. The prohibitive punishment/fines in the media and press laws and the expansion of the anti-terrorism law to press products (art 6 of Proc. 652/2009) [vi] have effectively muted an overt criticism. The extensive use of surveillance [vii], the blocking of several websites (perceived to be in opposition to the regime in power), jamming of other press/media outlets has contributed to the increasing undermining of the expression of robust dissent.
The challenge of financial self-sustenance faced by civil society organizations working on causes related to human rights, democracy, and conflict, among otbers, owing to the prohibition of external funding above the 10 % maximum has not only forced such bodies to close or re-organize themselves as purely humanitarian organizations or relocate themselves as foreign or ‘resident’ NGOs, it also severely limited their voice as an alternative articulation of socio-economic challenges of the people from the perspective of daily lived experience [viii]. The government increasingly became the only source of information on vital socio-economic and political issues of various sectors of the society.
The invocation of the anti-terrorism law for trivial reasons such as having a contact with foreign journalists, international non-governmental human rights organizations (such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch), or foreign diplomats and embassies has effectively smothered people into watching their contacts and relationships. People feel that their relationships and exchanges (physical and electronic) are monitored. The invocation of the anti-terrorism law in relation to the Muslim activists protesting government intervention in religious affairs [ix]and the ‘Zone 9’ [x] bloggers and journalists jailed and currently standing trial has unveiled to us how the law can be strategically deployed against those the government perceives as opponents. This and other cases have shown the extent to which one can freely and peacefully express dissent without harassment, intimidation, and the terror of standing trial under the anti-terrorism law.

The pattern of government denial of the right of assembly and peaceful political demonstrations, especially when organized by political groupings perceived as fierce opponents of the regime (such as the Semayawi Party), selective permission of such meetings to factions of parties the government seeks to weaken (e.g. the faction within Unity for Democracy and Justice, UDJ), denial of meetings even within the premises of private organizations such as hotels to some groups (e.g. UDJ at the Imperial Hotel, 2009), the constant outlawing of meetings and demonstrations by unreasonably exploiting the “notification” duty under the Freedom of Assembly Proclamation (Proclamation No-3/1991) – where the duty to notify the municipality is interpreted as the duty to seek and secure prior permission – have all contributed to the practical stifling of freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration. Through this strategy – and the rhetoric of averting “street action” and “color revolutions” [xi] – the government has effectively silenced political protest to its decisions, policies, and laws. This in turn has weakened and subverted participatory democracy envisaged in the constitution (art 8(3)). In practice, such violation of the right to assembly and peaceful demonstration has been repeatedly witnessed in the Muslim protest to the government’s unconstitutional intervention in the choice of leadership of, and doctrines for, the Muslim population (since 2011).
Freedom of association of political parties has repeatedly been violated in the process of political party registration by the NEBE. The recent intervention by the NEBE to ‘recognize’ the leadership of factions within the UDJ and the All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP) is not only meddling with the internal issues of political parties, but also unconstitutionally limiting the freedom of association of members and their right to a choice of the leaders they deem fit to lead them.
Apart from this, one can say that there is a healthy ‘electoral climate’ only when – in addition to the right to vote and be elected – citizens have the right to administrative justice, i.e., the right of access to justice in a free, fair, and impartial court or tribunal, in the event that these rights are violated or threatened. The voter intimidation historically observed in the process of voter-registration by the kebeles (often suggesting possible deprivation of vital social and public services sought from local offices) are violative of the very basic political rights that are constitutive of the very essence of democratic practice. At times such intimidations tend to forget that their right to elect includes the freedom not to vote. They forget that in Ethiopia, voting is a right, not a duty.
The enhanced developmentalist gestures of the incumbent which views individual civil and political rights as less important in the face of the colossal “war on poverty”; the unabashed emphasis on growth (even in the Growth and Transformation Plan, GTP); its increasing turning away from its ‘original’ (1991) commitment to liberal policies (also charted out in the constitution); its continued neglect, or deliberate weakening, and strategic and manipulative use of democratic institutions (i.e., institutions of representation [House of Peoples’ Representatives, HPR, and House of Federation, HOF], empowerment [NEBE, Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, Ombudsman], and of accountability and monitoring [e.g. the judiciary, Anti-corruption Commission, Auditor General] are not helping to create an environment conducive for a free and fair election. To that extent, there are complaints, grumblings, and disaffection among most of the opposition political actors who have a stake in the election. So, the rules and rulings around the process suggest that the mood is less than ideal. But a more complete account of the mood is revealed only when we examine the contradictions that come from the state form in Ethiopia. In the next sub-section [which will come in the form of a second instalment in this series of reflection around Elections 2015], I will turn to considering these contradictions that emanate from the state form and the constraints they impose on electoral democracy.

Endnote

*Tsegaye R Ararssa is a Constitutional lawyer currently in the process of completing his PhD studies at the University of Melbourne Law School. He can be contacted at tsegayer@gmail.com.

[1] The Transitional Charter of July 1991 starts with recognition of the supreme importance of the UDHR, especially civil and political rights such as freedom of expression, assembly, association. It explicitly made assertions about the need for comprehensive restructuring of the state by ensuring equality and sovereignty of the ‘nations, nationalities, and peoples” of Ethiopia and by foregrounding the right to self-determination as an organizing principle. It was negotiated principally among ethno-national liberation fronts (most centrally TPLF, OLF, EPLF but also others) who referred to themselves as “the peace-loving forces of Ethiopia”. See, Provisional Government of Ethiopia, ‘Transitional Period Charter,’ Negarit Gazetta, Proclamation No. 1/1991.

[2] Art 39 (1-3) entitles every “nation, nationality, and people” to the right to political, cultural, and economic self-determination.

[3] EPRDF was quick to work on disarming the army of the Derg and the fighters of the other liberation fronts that negotiated the Transition with it. It also proclaimed its TPLF fighters to serve as the Ethiopian Defence Force of the transitional period. The demobilization of some of the soldiers came later after the formal inauguration of the FDRE as per the Constitution. It is interesting that the first government-like institution set up everywhere immediately after the arrival of EPRDF on the scene was the “Peace and Stability Committees”. Most meetings it held in its attempt to build rapport with the people was invariably called “Peace and Democracy Conference”. The people who negotiated the Transitional Charter referred to themselves as “the peace Loving Forces of Ethiopia.” There was a rhetoric that privileged peace even in the leaders’ speeches/interviews on why relinquish Ethiopia’s right/interest over Eritrea without a fight. The climactic moment in this series of peace-venerating rhetoric came when a line is inserted even in the preamble of the FDRE Constitution to the effect that the constitution-makers are “determined to consolidate, as a lasting legacy, the peace and the prospect of a democratic order…” This flourish in rhetoric never matched with reality. The fact that TPLF’s army became the State’s national army and substantially remained to be so to date indicates not only the partisan nature of the army but also the fundamentally militarized nature of EPRDF’s politics that keeps a politicized guerilla fighters for a national army. Obviously, the needed separation of politics from (military) force in a democracy is absent in Ethiopia.

[4]  The NEBE made a blunder around the election of the leadership of the All Ethiopian Unity p party (AEUP), the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ).

[5] Some candidates of parties such as the UDJ and Semayawi (notably its leader Engineer Getinet Yilikal) were excluded allegedly because of the overcrowding of candidates that are running for elections in one electoral district.

[vi] Art 6 entitled “Encouragement of terrorism” reads as follows: “Whoever publishes or causes the publication of a statement that is likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom it is published as a direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement to them to the commission or preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism stipulated under article 3 of this proclamation is punishable with rigorous imprisonment from 10 to 20 years.” This article has been almost routinely (ab) used to arrest persons who run photocopy shops both in Addis Ababa and other towns.

[vii] Claire Lauterbach, “Ethiopia expands surveillance capacity with German tech via Lebanon” (23 March 2015). https://www.privacyinternational.org/?q=node%2F546

[viii] The law on Charities and Societies limits the amount of foreign money that goes into the budget of an Ethiopian (activist) NGO to a maximum of 10 % of the total. The reason given is to limit an external influence on the local organization’s agenda of promoting human rights, democracy, peace and security, etc. In principle, the argument goes, these issues of governance are a matter under the sovereign jurisdiction of the government of Ethiopia and are not items to be shaped by financing external forces. In order to get more funding, one should be registered as a ‘resident’ or a foreign/international NGO who, if it seeks to work on issues of political governance (e.g. elections, democracy, human rights, conflict resolution, constitutionalism and rule of law, prisons, access to justice, minorities etc), should get a specific permission from the government. This has made it necessary for many of the NGOs to recast the focus of their work shifting mostly from human rights to humanitarian causes and their approach from human rights based approach (HRBA) to needs-based approach (NBA).

[ix] The Muslim activists have been protesting peacefully against the government’s interference in their religious affairs. They particularly called on the government to desist from assigning teachers and determining the content of the teachings to be delivered in Mosques. They also sought to exercise their right to select their own religious leaders without any influence by the government. After the arrest and indictment of the leaders of these protests (and those government claims are associated with them), the protestors continued to demonstrate demanding the release of their leaders. Their peaceful protest has been met by a series of violence, arrests, and various forms of intimidation by the government’s police and security forces. The arrested leaders have been tried for terrorism since. Their case has gone has been debated before regular and constitutional tribunals (CCI/HOF) and is even presented to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Muslim protestors relentlessly insisted on a peaceful resistance throughout; when they are unlawfully forced to face trial, they tried to exhaust all the possible legal remedies both national and international with a hope that the government will have no excuse in accusing them of any form of violence let alone terrorism. By so doing, they are in effect putting the entire system on trial.

[x] In March 2014, six bloggers (whose blog is known as Zone 9) and three journalists were suddenly arrested and are now being tried for terrorism.

[xi] The term “Color Revolution” is often mockingly used in Ethiopia to invoke the memory of the Rose Revolution (of Georgia) and Orange Revolution (of Ukraine) and deny their possibility in Ethiopia. It is also used by EPRDF to suggest that, unlike the regimes in Georgia and Ukraine, they are too strong to be unseated by such street actions and unarmed/civilian struggles

http://addisstandard.com/elections-in-ethiopia-beyond-winning-and-losing-2/

Africa Rising: From Burkina Faso to Burundi, Africa’s Cheetah Generation rises against corrupt and failed rule. #TPLF. #Ethiopia May 12, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Corruption in Africa, Dictatorship.
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Ocheetas

The greatest crisis facing Africa is a leadership crisis in all areas of people activity.In terms of natural resources, Africa is the world’s richest continent. It has 50% of the world’s gold, most of the world’s diamonds and chromium, 90% of the cobalt, 40% of the world’s potential hydroelectric power, 65% of the manganese, millions of acres of untilled farmland, as well as other natural resources.   Yet, despite this vast resource the bulk of African people live as if they were citzens of deserts. Despite being home to millions of skilled and talented innovators, African leadership struggles to stimulate and retain it strongest resource — the people: They either live in unnecessary frustration, hopelessness and poverty, die of preventable disease, or run to the West to gain appreciation. The greatest crisis in Africa is not due to HIV, religion, or famine, or even war. Because all of those things are tied to leadership in some capacity. The failure to produce an African brand from the billions of tons of raw material Africa exports to the West, is primarily due to the Faustian, myopic, selfish, backward type of non-progressive leaders who are planted as candidates in post-colonial empires. Top traits are either naive, vision-less, proxy implants, opportunistic/parasitic and totally compromised.

– African Holocaust Society

http://www.africanholocaust.net/news_ah/africanleadership.html

“The Cheetah Generation refers to the new and angry generation of young African graduates and professionals, who look at African issues and problems from a totally different and unique perspective. They are dynamic, intellectually agile, and pragmatic. They may be the ‘restless generation’ but they are Africa’s new hope. They understand and stress transparency, accountability, human rights, and good governance. They also know that many of their current leaders are hopelessly corrupt and that their governments are contumaciously dysfunctional and commit flagitious human rights violations.” George Ayittey, the distingushed Ghanaian economist.
 http://theafricaneconomist.com/ethiopia-2013-year-of-the-cheetah-generation/#.VVHnoI5Viko
 From Burkina Faso to Burundi, jobless young Africans rise against corrupt and failed rule

Pauline Bax,  Bloomberg

TALL ORDER: An extra 450 million jobs need to be created in the next 20 years to match expansion in the number of working-age people in the region.
Young people without opportunities are getting angry all over Africa - and there are hundreds of millions of them. (Photo/AFP).

PROTESTS from Burkina Faso to Burundi have been sparked by youthful populations with little hope of employment and by leaders who have in some cases ruled for decades.

The discontent, which began in Burkina Faso in October, spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in January, and has now crossed the continent to Burundi, prompting regional leaders to call an emergency meeting after two weeks of protests and at least 14 deaths. Mass demonstrations in Burkina Faso ended Blaise Compaore’s 27 years in power.

“Underpinning a lot of these protests is anger about stalled development, rising food prices and cutting fuel subsidies,” Clive Gabay, an expert on African politics at the Queen Mary University of London, said. “You have this youthful, unemployed population that has been sidelined.”

While sub-Saharan Africa has grown faster than every region except developing Asia in the past 10 years, there aren’t enough jobs for the 1 billion people on the continent. An extra 450 million jobs need to be created in the next 20 years to match the expansion in the number of working-age people in the region, the International Monetary Fund said last month.

About 40% of people in Africa are under 15 years old, the most of any region, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The unemployment rate for people 15 to 25 years old living in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, is three times higher than the rest of the working population, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Rwanda President Paul Kagame has warned that the violence in neighbouring Burundi threatens stability in East Africa. Youth have led two weeks of protests to prevent President Pierre Nkurunziza from seeking a third term in office next month. The Constitutional Court approved his request, despite the opposition claiming it violates a 15-year-old peace agreement that sets a two-term limit.

Protest risk

The nations that will likely watch closely what happens in Burundi are those with elections scheduled in the next two years, Yolande Bouka, a researcher on conflict prevention at the Institute for Security Studies in Johannesburg, said. Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania and Uganda all have polls during that period.

There is “serious discontent with the type of governance offered by the leaders,” Bouka said. Given the large youth population and unemployment rate “it is not surprising that people take the street to address unresponsive government.”

Burundi ranks eighth-lowest on the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures indicators such as income, child mortality and education. Congo is second-to-last on the 190-member list.

“In many countries it’s a risky thing to go on a protest and you’re not going to risk getting arrested or shot unless there’s something real at stake,” Gabay said. “There’s something else that’s propelling people onto the street and for me they’re economic issues.”

https://magic.piktochart.com/embed/6055699-africa-bombUsing social media like Twitter and Facebook, young activists can mobilise faster than in years gone by and can collaborate across borders. The movements in Congo and Burkina Faso draw inspiration from Senegalese artists, who began protests in 2011 against power outages. The Senegalese movement was key in mobilising youth to vote President Abdoulaye Wade, who had ruled for 12 years, out of power a year later.

Demonstrations erupted in Congo in January when lawmakers tried to change electoral laws in a way that could have delayed elections. That would have extended the 14-year rule of President Joseph Kabila, who took over when his father was assassinated in 2001.

Congolese activists met with artists and musicians from Senegal and Burkina Faso in March. The police arrested them in the Congolese capital and accused them of “promoting violence.” Kabila, who faced criticism from Human Rights Watch, said he will not run for office next year.

Presidents for life

While there are countries in sub-Saharan Africa with leaders who have been in power for more than three decades, including Zimbabwe, Angola and Equatorial Guinea, political opposition there says they are suppressed.

Rwanda’s Kagame, who has been president since 2000, also hasn’t faced popular opposition as he says he is open to staying another term. Parliament is reviewing a petition signed by 2 million people who support changing the constitution to allow for a third term.

“African people are tired of presidents who aren’t delivering to their people and they’re tired of presidents who want to stay for life,” Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa director for the International Crisis Group, said by phone. “There’s a sort of exasperation because governments aren’t delivering.”

-With assistance from David Malingha Doya in Nairobi and Michael J. Kavanagh in Kinshasa.

http://m.mgafrica.com/article/2015-05-11-from-burkina-to-burundi-jobless-young-africans-rise-against-corrupt-and-failed-rule#.VVHSKY5Vikp

AU urges African leaders to handover power peacefully. #Africa May 10, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Sham elections.
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???????????Zenawi the tyrant still rules after death

Oromia Support Group Australia Appeal for Urgent Action Regarding the Kidnapping And Disappearance of Two Oromo civilians By The Ethiopian Security Forces. May 9, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Because I am Oromo, Ethnic Cleansing, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Kidnapped and disappearance of Oromo civilians, Oromia Support Group, Oromia Support Group Australia.
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O

Ethiopia: Kidnapped And Disappearance of Oromo Civilians

OSGA Asxaa

Oromia Support Group Australia Appeal for Urgent Action:

To: Committee on Enforced Disappearances and Committee against Torture

Human Rights Treaties Division (HRTD)
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson – 52, rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva (Switzerland)

Ethiopia: Kidnapped and disappearance of Oromo civilians Magarsa Mashsha And Urgessa Damana:

Oromia Support Group Australia Inc. (OSGA) expresses its deep concern regarding the kidnapping a nd disappear an ce of two Oromo civilians by the Ethiopian security forces. Mr Magarsa Mashasha Ayansa was kidnapped and diapere d on April 23rd, 7pm local tim e while Urgessa Damana was on May 4th, 2015. Mr Magarsa, community health worker, a student of Ambo University is the local area resident. He was kidnapped by Ethiopian security forces from the country’s central city Fifinna (Addis Ababa) – Bole area – while he was on a trip for his personal business. In a similar situation, Mr Urgessa Damana a former Rift Valley University Student and resident of Ambo town also captured on 4th of May 2015 by Ethiopian security forces. Since then the whereabouts of theses Oromo civilians remained unknown.

OSGA believes that th e Ethiopian government conduct violated the fundamental rights. The right to freedom from torture and the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Per sons under Any Form of Detention and Imprisonment including the UN Standard Minimum Treatment of Prisoners is entirely denied. We are concerned that this pattern will continue to worsen.

We respectfully believe that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) – Human Rights Treaties Division (HRTD) has a duty to use its diplomatic relationships with the reciprocal expectation of protecting human rights and legitimate democratic governance. These accusations reveal serious violations of human rights and legal process, and without external accountability, many vulnerable people will suffer in the country.

We, therefore, urge you to:

1. Request the Ethiopian Government to reveal the whereabouts of these two Oromo civilians and immediate and unconditional release of them including all
political prisoners under their captivity.

2. Request to investigate, amongst other things, actions taken by the Ethiopian
Government security forces in the state of Oromia and the suffering of Oromo
civilians in hundreds of official and hidden torture chambers.

3. Raise this case with the international community and other relevant
United Nation bodies. Stress the righ t to remedy, restitution,
compensation, non-repetition, and punishment of the perpetrators, in line
with the UN Guidelines on the right to treat.

We denounce the attacks on peoples who are exercising their fundamental and democratic rights.

Thanks for considering of OSGA appeal
Oromia Support Group Australia

Read More:-  osga-appeal-for-urgent-action-on-the-disapperances-of-mr-magarsa-and-urgessa-may-8th-2015-photo-include

More than 50 #Oromo students arrested by Ethiopia’s tyrannic TPLF regime in Ambo, Oromia; 20 being tortured May 9, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Amnesty International's Report: Because I Am Oromo, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Jen & Josh (Ijoollee Amboo).
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OHuman rights League of the Horn of Africa

More than 50 Oromo students arrested by Ethiopia’s tyrannic TPLF regime in Ambo, Oromia; 20 being tortured

The following is a statement from the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA).

——-

Ethiopia: The Endless Violence against Oromo Nationals Continues

Fear of Torture | HRLHA Urgent Action

For Immediate Release

May 7, 2015

Harassment and intimidation through arbitrary arrests, kidnappings and disappearances have continued unabated in Ambo and the surrounding areas against Oromo youth and intellectuals since the crackdown of last year (April 2014), when more than 79 Oromos, mostly youth, were killed by members of the federal security force.

According to HRLHA correspondents in Ambo, the major targets of this most recent government-sponsored violence were Ambo University and high schools Oromo students in Ambo town. In this incident, which started on April 20, 2015, more than 50 university and high school students were arrested; more than 20 were severely beaten by the security force and taken to the Ambo General Hospital for treatment.

Although it has been difficult to identify everyone by their names, HRLHA correspondents have confirmed that the following were among the arrestees:

AmboArrests_HRLHA1

AmboArrests_HRLHA2

kidnappings and disappearances of Oromo students

Those who were badly beaten and are being hospitalized in the Ambo General Hospital:

AmboArrests_HRLHA4

According to HRLHA reporters, the arrests were made to clear out supporters and members of the other political organizations running for the 5th General Election to be held May 24, 2015. The EPRDF, led by the late Meles Zenawi, claimed victory in the General Elections of 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. The TPLF/EPRDF government of Ethiopia has started a campaign of intimidation against its opponents. Extrajudicial arrests and imprisonments, particularly in the regional state of Oromia, the most populous region in the country, began late October 2014.

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern over the safety and well-being of these Oromo nationals who have been arrested without any court warrant, and are being held at police stations and unknown detention centers. The Ethiopian government has a well documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens, who were suspected of supporting, sympathizing with and/or being members of the opposition political organizations. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopia’s official prisons and other secret detention centers.

HRLHA calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand the immediate halt to such extrajudicial actions against one’s own citizens, and the unconditional release of the detainees.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to the Ethiopian Government and its officials as swiftly as possible, written in English, Ahmaric, or your own language. The following are suggested:

– Indicate your concern about citizens being tortured in different detention centers, including the infamous Ma’ikelawi Central Investigation Office; and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;

– Urge the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that detainees will be treated in accordance with the regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners, and that their whereabouts be disclosed, and

– Make sure the coming May 24, 2015 election is fair and free

Read full the statement in the following links:

The Endless Violence against Oromo Nationals Continues, HRLHA Report, 7th May 2015

Elections, Ethiopian style. #Africa. #Oromia May 5, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Sham elections, The Ethiopian government’s systematic repression of independent media, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia.
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Ojimma

Opinion: Elections, Ethiopian style

By Felix Horne, Horn of Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Since the last election, the ruling party has exerted more control and increased its repression of basic liberties.

Dissent of any type, particularly in rural areas, is dealt with harshly. The long-standing 5:1 system of grassroots surveillance – under which one individual is responsible for monitoring the activities of five households – has let local officials clamp down on dissent before it spreads beyond the household level.

This is what an election campaign looks like in Ethiopia, where the ruling coalition took 99.6 percent of parliamentary seats in the last national elections, in 2010.

Jirata, who asked that his real name not be used, is a 19-year-old student who was campaigning for a legally registered opposition party recently, when security officials arrested him.

They told him that he was working for a “terrorist group” that sought to forcibly bring down the government. He was badly beaten over the course of three nights and released on the condition that he end his involvement in politics. He is still limping from his injuries, and he told me he no longer has any interest in getting involved in politics. He says he will vote for the government party “because life is easier that way”.

Jirata was working for an Oromo party, representing an ethnic group long targeted by the government. But as Ethiopians go to the polls in late May, the prospects for opposition parties to fully and fairly campaign are grim.

Since the last election, the ruling party has only exerted more control and increased its widespread repression of basic liberties, including the rights to free expression, assembly, and association.

The courts provide no justice in cases of political importance. While election day is unpredictable, it’s clear that the avenues by which opposition parties can fully function and citizens can engage on political issues are largely closed.

While there are 75 registered opposition groups, several of the largest parties have talked of boycotting the elections because of flawed electoral processes. Challenges with registering candidates, acquiring the funds they are legally entitled to, mobilising their supporters, and keeping their members out of prison have taken their toll.

In short, there is limited space for government critics to play a peaceful and constructive role.

Suppression of non-governmental voices

The Ethiopian media provides little coverage of relevant political issues ahead of the election since what vestiges of independent media existed have largely been eliminated since 2010.

Reporters critical of the government are regularly harassed, threatened and detained. In 2014 alone, over 30 journalists fled Ethiopia and at least six publications were closed down.

Sources providing information to media and human rights groups are regularly targeted. Many diaspora media websites, while heavily politicised, remain blocked in Ethiopia. Journalists must choose between self-censorship, harassment, imprisonment, and exile.

The situation hasn’t been much better for opposition parties that want to organise peaceful protests and rallies ahead of the election. The Semayawi party (Blue Party), for example, is one of the newcomers in Ethiopia’s electoral landscape, and since 2013 has tried to hold regular and peaceful issue-based protests.

Protesters and organisers have frequently been arrested and harassed, their equipment has been confiscated, and permits unfairly denied. One of their leaders is on trial on trumped-up terrorism charges.

The lone opposition parliament member is not running this time due to a split in his party, the Union of Democracy and Justice, in which Ethiopia’s national electoral board played favourites. The net effect is that the government awarded the party name to an offshoot of the party that is more closely aligned to government policies and interests.

No dissent allowed

There are few ways for Ethiopians to peacefully express dissent or to contribute to the national political dialogue. Dissent of any type, particularly in rural areas, is dealt with harshly. The long-standing 5:1 system of grassroots surveillance – under which one individual is responsible for monitoring the activities of five households – has let local officials clamp down on dissent before it spreads beyond the household level.Telephone surveillance is commonplace, and the ongoing trial of a group of bloggers called Zone 9 has resulted in increased self-censorship online.

In short, there is limited space for government critics to play a peaceful and constructive role. The only international observers to the election will be the African Union. The European Union is not sending observers, noting that Ethiopia has not implemented recommendations by previous election observers. As Human Rights Watch documented after the 2010 elections, those who complain about election irregularities risk arrest and harassment.

“If we have an issue with government where do we go?” an Ethiopian who lives in a rural area recently told me, summing it up: “There is no media that will write our story, there are no more organisations that work on issues that the government does not like, if we take to the streets we are arrested, and if we go to their office to question we are called terrorists. If we go to the courts, there is no independence – we go to jail. There are no large opposition parties to vote for in the election, and even if there were, if we vote for them our lives then become very difficult. So what can we do? The elections are just another sign of our repression.”

Felix Horne is a Horn of Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/04/elections-ethiopian-style-150430084220440.html

The Tigray only and unbalanced discriminatory growth: Severity of poverty increases in Ethiopia, UNDP reveals in its National Human Development Report 2014 which was launched on 1st May 2015. May 3, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Poor, Amnesty International's Report: Because I Am Oromo, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Poverty, Schools in Oromia, The State of Food Insecurity in Ethiopia.
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 ???????????

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

-George Orwell, Animal Farm

“The very common way that the EPRDF and its agents try to shift the public attention from lack of human and democratic rights and the daylight looting of the country’s resources, is by referring to the ‘impressive’ economic development registered in their rule. If they are talking about the only region that they are exclusively devoted to developing, then, they are absolutely right.”

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/opinion-why-ethiopias-growth-rhetoric-is-faulty-africa/

In TPLF /Tigray dominated minority tyrannic regime of Orwellian social and development policy, all nations and nationalities  in theory are equal in Ethiopia, but in reality Tigray  is more equal than others. This is not a development process.

According to UNDP report, while more than  45% of children in Tigray have achieved Net Lower Secondary Enrollment, the statistics for Oromia is only 16.9%, very huge inequality variations. The report indicated that  while Human development Index (HDI) of Tigray is the highest (above national average),  states  such as Oromia,  Afar, Ogaden and Amhara have the lowest HDIs, below the national HDI of 0.461. These are the outcomes of Tigray only, exclusionist, social, economic and development policies of the ruling regime. UNDP is not exposing the Tigray only growth and development strategy but we can read from its data and graphs.

Ethiopia, expected years of schooling Ethiopia, National Human Development Report 2014 expected year of schooling by regions

As the TPLF has been engaged (https://oromiaeconomist.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/amnesty-internationals-report-because-i-am-oromo-a-sweeping-repression-in-oromia/) in destabilizing, robbing and massive evictions of people from their ancestral home and land grabs in Oromia, by all sorts of engagement, resource and soil transfers,   it has conducting massive  subsidized development  in its Tigray home. In other studies,  BBC Magazine in its 20th April 2015 publication  under the title ‘ Turning Ethiopia’s desert green,’reports: ” A generation ago Ethiopia’s Tigray province was stricken by a famine that shocked the world. Today, as Chris Haslam reports, local people are using ancient techniques to turn part of the desert green. In the pink-streaked twilight, a river of humanity is flowing across Tigray’s dusty Hawzien plain. This cracked and desiccated landscape, in Ethiopia’s far north, occupies a dark corner of the global collective memory. Thirty years ago, not far from here, the BBC’s Michael Buerk first alerted us to a biblical famine he described as “the closest thing to hell on earth”. Then Bob Geldof wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas? – a curious question to ask of perhaps the world’s most devoutly Christian people – and thereafter the name Tigray became synonymous with refugees, Western aid and misery. The Tigrayan people were depicted as exemplars of passive suffering, dependent on the goodwill of the rest of the planet just to get through the day without dying. But here, outside the village of Abr’ha Weatsbaha, I’m seeing a different version. From all directions, streams of people are trickling into that human river.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32348749.

Martin Plaut’s analysis which is based on world banks report is also interesting and important to refer here which is as follows:-

The World Bank has just published an authoritative study of poverty reduction in Ethiopia. The fall in overall poverty has been dramatic and is to be greatly welcomed. But who has really benefited?

This is the basic finding:

In 2000 Ethiopia had one of the highest poverty rates in the world, with 56% of the population living on less than US$1.25 PPP a day. Ethiopian households experienced a decade of remarkable progress in wellbeing since then and by the start of this decade less than 30% of the population was counted as poor.

There are of course many ways of answering the question – “who benefited” – were they men or women, urban or rural people. All these approaches are valid.

The Ethnic Dimension

But in Ethiopia, where Ethic Federalism has been the primary driver of government policy one cannot ignore the ethnic dimension.

Here this graph is particularly telling:

Ethiopia poverty reduction

Tigray first

The answer is clear: it is the people of Tigray, whose party, the TPLF led the fight against the Mengistu regime and took power in 1991, who benefited most. What is also striking is that the Oromo (who are the largest ethnic group) hardly benefited at all.

This is what the World Bank says about this: “Poverty reduction has been faster in those regions in which poverty was higher and as a result the proportion of the population living beneath the national poverty line has converged to around one in 3 in all regions in 2011.”

The World Bank does little to explain just why Tigray has done (relatively) so well, but it does point to the importance of infrastructure investment and the building of roads. It also points to this fact: “Poverty rates increase by 7% with every 10 kilometers from a market town. As outlined above, farmers that are more remote are less likely to use agricultural inputs, and are less likely to see poverty reduction from the gains in agricultural growth that are made. The generally positive impact of improvements in infrastructure and access to basic services such as education complements the evidence for Ethiopia that suggests investing in roads reduces poverty.”

Not surprisingly, the TPLF under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and beyond concentrated their investment on their home region – Tigray. The results are plain to see.  https://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/ethiopias-poverty-reduction-who-benefits/

In its  2014 National Human Development Report, which has been written on the theme of “Accelerating Inclusive Growth for Sustainable Human Development in Ethiopia,”  UNDP indicates that 25 million Ethiopians currently remain trapped in poverty and vulnerability. This and many Ethiopians just above the poverty line are vulnerable to shocks and food insecurity. Maternal health care has lagged well behind other health statistics and the availability of effective health care is inconsistent across the country. UNDP’s educational indicators suggest ongoing problems with the quality of education, as shown by retention rates and educational performance markers.  UNDP says, perhaps most worrying from the standpoint of inclusive growth are the high rates of un- and underemployment in both urban and rural areas, especially as large numbers of productive jobs for the poor and near-poor are needed under current and projected labour market trends. Economic growth over the past decade has generally meant an increase in productivity and output levels in some parts of the economy, but these have been accompanied by increasing severity of poverty.  The absolute number of the poor is roughly the same as 15 years ago and a significant proportion of the population hovers just above the poverty line and is vulnerable to shocks. Moreover, the severity of poverty 2 increased from 2.7 per cent in 1999/2000 to 3.1 per cent in 2010/11 (MoFED, 2013b). The prevalence of vulnerabilities  and food insecurity are  on the rise.

According to UNDP report, during the last three years (2010/11-2012/13), inflation was in double digits. The inflation rate, which was 18 per cent in 2010/11, increased to 33.7 per cent in 2011/12, declined to 13.5 per cent in 2012/13 and fell further to 8.1 per cent in December 2013. Other studies demonstrate that inflation figures have always been in double digits including 2013 and 2014 and at present.

Further,  UNDP says with a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.435 in 2013, the country is still classified as a “low human development” country, based on UNDP’s Human Development Index. Even though Ethiopia is one of the 10 countries globally that has attained the largest absolute gains in its HDI over the last several years,  in the most recent Human Development Report (2014) Ethiopia ranks 173rd out of 187 countries. Thus,  its Human Development Index (HDI) has not moved appreciably during the past decade, when compared with other developing countries that have registered similar growth rates. Looking at the HDI values of Seychelles, Tunisia and Algeria, which are in the high HDI bracket, and the other 12 African countries, which are in the medium HDI bracket, the major reasons why Ethiopia is still in the low HDI bracket are low education performance (particularly low mean years of schooling) and low GNI per capita. The minimum mean years of schooling and GNI per capita for medium HDI countries were 3.5 years and US$3,000, respectively in contrast to Ethiopia’s mean years of schooling of 2.6 years and GNI per capita of US$1,300. The inequality-adjusted Human Development index (IHDI), which is basically the HDI discounted for inequalities, is also computed for Ethiopia. Between 2005 and 2013, the IHDI increased from 0.349 to 0.459 indicating an average human development loss of 0.5 per cent per annum due to inequalities in health, access to education and income. According to (UNDP 2014), Ethiopia’s IHDI for 2013 was 0.307 in contrast to HDI of 0.435 indicating an overall human development loss of 29.4 per cent.

With regard to regional disparities in HDI values, while Tigray is significantly above national average,  the four states of Afar, Somali, Amhara and Oromia have the lowest HDIs, below the national HDI of 0.461.

The outcome of the development  strategy of Tigray only when mathematically averaged to the whole  regions cannot hide TPLF’s Apartheid policy  on Oromia and the rest as it is only the development focus for 5% of the  94 million population. Thus, Tigray is rich but Ethiopia is poor. Ethiopia is rich and fast growing only for development tourists those who lodge in Finfinne and  tour to Tigray to take  a sample and conclude the result for the whole states.

With regard to regional disparities in HDI values, while Tigray is significantly above national average,  the four states of Afar, Somali, Amhara and Oromia have the lowest HDIs, below the national HDI of 0.461.

Another social indicator which  demonstrates that Tigray is more equal than others is  health services. UNDP’s report confirms that there are wide inequalities in the immunization status of children in Ethiopia. Children of educated women, rich households, and  Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) and Tigray State have higher chances of being fully immunized. Children from the richest and middle income households are less likely to have no immunization at all (by 74 per cent and 57 per cent respectively) compared with those from the poorest households. Children from SNNPR, Oromiya and Amhara are 3.82, 7.00 and 3.65 times less likely to be fully immunized compared with those from Tigray, which has the second highest proportion of fully immunized children.  According to UNDP,  a report by Save the Children (2014) also raises concerns about equity in health services citing how immunization coverage is different among different income groups, and between urban and rural areas. According to the report, children from richest households are twice as likely to be immunized compared to those from the poorest households and children in urban areas are twice as likely to be immunized as those in rural areas. Based on revised data from the National Water Sanitation and Health Inventory, national potable water supply coverage increased from 58 per cent to 68.4 per cent between 2009/10 and 2012/13, reflecting an increase in both rural and urban coverage. Even though many health outcomes have improved significantly over the last decade, Ethiopia is still lagging behind on some measures. For example, Ethiopia has still higher than expected shares of malnutrition compared with countries at the same income level. What is especially striking about Ethiopia’s health data is the exceptionally high level of maternal mortality, given Ethiopia’s income level.

UNDP argues that that development can be inclusive and reduce poverty only if all people contribute to creating opportunities, share the benefits of development and participate in decision making.

Ethiopia at a Glance (UNDP Report Data)

Ethiopia at glance, UNDP Data

Population: 85.8 million (2013)

GDP: US$46.6 billion (2013)

GDP per capita: US$550 (2013)

Annual Average Br/US$ exchange rate: 18.3 (2012/13)

Life expectancy at birth (years): 62.2 (2013)

Primary school gross enrolment rate (%): 95.3 (2012/13)

Births attended by skilled health professional (%): 23.1 (2012//13)

Contraceptive prevalence rate (%): 28.6 (2011)

Literacy rate (% of both sexes aged 15 and above): 46.7 (2011)

Unemployment rate (urban) (%): 16.5 (2012/13)

Unemployment rate among urban youth (15-29) (%): 23.3 (2011/12)

Areas further than 5 km from all-weather roads (%): 45.8 (2012/13)

Mobile phone subscribers (million): 23.8 (2012/13)

Poverty incidence (%): 26.0 (GTP/APR 2012/13)

HD Index: 0.435 (2013) HDI rank: 173/187 (2013)

http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/nhdr2015-ethiopia-en.pdf

Descent into hell continues in the Horn of African Country: Ethiopia is ‘not free’, global press freedom survey finds April 30, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Internet Freedom, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia.
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Freedom of the press around the world has plummeted to the worst level in a decade, a survey warned Wednesday, with the United States and China both tightening the noose.

Journalists globally encountered more restrictions from governments, militants, criminals and media owners, the annual report by the human rights group Freedom House said.

“Journalists faced intensified pressure from all sides in 2014,” said Jennifer Dunham, project manager of the report.

“Governments used security or antiterrorism laws as a pretext to silence critical voices, militant groups and criminal gangs used increasingly brazen tactics to intimidate journalists, and media owners attempted to manipulate news content to serve their political or business interests.”

One factor was the passage and use of restrictive laws, often on national security grounds.

“One of the most troubling developments of the past year was the struggle by democratic states to cope with an onslaught of propaganda from authoritarian regimes and militant groups,” Dunham said.

“There is a danger that instead of encouraging honest, objective journalism and freedom of information as the proper antidote, democracies will resort to censorship or propaganda of their own.”

Of the 199 countries and territories studied in 2014, a total of 63, or 32 percent, were rated “free” for the news media, while 71 (36 percent) were “partly free” and 65 (32 percent) “not free.”

Only 14 percent of the world’s inhabitants live in countries with a free press, Freedom House said.

The rating for the United States fell due to detentions, harassment, and rough treatment of journalists by police during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, the report said.

Elsewhere in the Americas, declines in press freedom were seen in Honduras, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico and Ecuador.

The report said only five percent of people in the Asia-Pacific region have a free press, and that the rating for China fell as “authorities tightened control over liberal media outlets.”

Europe as a region had the highest score but also experienced the second-largest decline over the past 10 years.

The report also cited tougher conditions for journalists in Russia, Syria, Algeria, Nigeria and Ethiopia, while Tunisia “registered the best score of any Arab country.”

Why are African citizens leaving their countries ? Xenophobia – Mediterranean Sea – Killing in Libya… April 30, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Amnesty International's Report: Because I Am Oromo, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethnic Cleansing, Groups at risk of arbitrary arrest in Oromia: Amnesty International Report, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Jen & Josh (Ijoollee Amboo), Nimoona Xilahuun Imaanaa, The 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, The Mass Massacre & Imprisonment of ORA Orphans, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia.
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OEthiopia is the one of the lowest in social Progress 2015Oromo refugees in Yemen

When we are condemning J-Zuma and his fellow Zwelithini‘s statement, we must not skip the fundamental question of “why are citizens running away from their countries in Africa? Why Zimbabweans, Nigerian, Mozambicans etc. are so many in South Africa? What Malian, Senegalese, Eritreans… are doing on the Mediterranean Sea? What Ethiopian, Eritreans… are looking for in Libya on their way to cross the sea? And Why African Leaders and institutions are silence on these questions? Close to 2000 migrants died crossing the Mediterranean to Europe this year only, many times more than during the same period in 2014…

Many in our continent, many of our leaders and institutions know the answers to these questions. Unfortunately, there are no actions being taken to resolve them; there are not even any honest acknowledgements of the problem; rather we are served with empty diplomatic statements everyday with no decisive action for change. We are turning around and the situation is getting worse.

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/if-ethiopias-economy-is-so-vibrant-why-are-young-people-leaving/

assodesire

President Jacob Zuma, reacting to criticisms from African countries over the xenophobic violence against foreigners in South Africa recently declared: “Why are their citizens not in their countries? Why are they in South Africa? This is an unacceptable statement from a leader of a big country, and made in a very wrong time. We all know that the xenophobic violence started last month after the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini said that “foreigners should pack their belongings and leave the country”.

In that context, President Zuma’s declaration this week is a dangerous move that can be understood by those South African involved in the violence as a justification of their evil actions… This is really unfortunate especially as it is coming from an African Union member that is investing and doing business in most of African countries.

Wrong timing again because South Africa is due to host the 25th

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UNPO: Cartoon Democracy – Authoritarian Rule and Elections in Ethiopia. #Africa. #Oromia April 27, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia, UNPO.
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OROMO LIBERATION FRONT (OLF) AND OTHER PROMINENT OPPOSITION POLITICAL GROUPS AND SOME CIVIC SOCITIES OF ETHIOPIA HELD A CONFERNCE IN EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

report-of-eu-conference-23042015-brussels

On 23 of April 2015, a high level conference entitled ‘Cartoon Democracy – Authoritarian Rule and Elections in Ethiopia’ was held in European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium. The conference was organised by some members of European Parliament from different Party Groups and member states and UNPO. The conference was unique in a sense it is standing against the established mind set-ups and traditional working system of politics in the Ethiopia Empire. It managed to assemble a diversified gathering that includes various opposition leaders, journalists, international experts, politicians and human rights advocators. The conference was aimed at consulting and coordinating various voices on the ever worsening political landscape in Ethiopia.

This Conference which was held a week after the US official Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman praised Ethiopia as a democracy, suggesting Ethiopia made great strides toward an open and inclusive electoral process. Despite the US official already endorsed the outcome of Ethiopia’s traditional National election, on the other side the Atlantic Ocean, the Europeans are showing a firm stand against endorsing Sham and ceremonial election. The keynote speaker of the conference clearly indicated that assisting Authoritarian one party rule might lead the country to formidable civil conflict. The current  prevalent inter- and intra-regional armed conflict, popular uprising, desperate repressive acts of the regime against civilians, rampant corruption, mismanagement, Hunger, population growth, Environmental degradation, displacement of peoples as a result of land grabbing, high rate of the expansion of pandemic diseases, government-instigated ethnic conflicts as an instrument of divide-and-rule, etc. are all indicative for Ethiopian regime’s authoritarian nature and lack of democracy in the country. Read More:-Report of EU conference 23042015 Brussels

United in Opposing Ethiopian Cartoon Democracy: European Parliament Conference Offers Platform for Dialogue ahead of 24 May Election

Overall, there seemed to be a strong agreement among the speakers on two main points: firstly, that any real democratic change and cessation of ongoing human rights abuses in Ethiopia can only be achieved through joint action involving all ethnic and political opposition movements; and secondly, that the EU and other major donors must hold the Ethiopian government accountable for its actions, by conditioning and better overseeing the flow of funds, thus ensuring that foreign aid is not being misused to perpetrate human rights violations and oppress the people it is supposed to serve. Following this successful conference, UNPO, together with its partners, will continue to work towards ensuring the Ethiopian peoples’ voices are better heard on the international stage, and encourage different ethnic and political groups to put their differences aside and work together towards positive change in Ethiopia.

http://unpo.org/article/18152

The Tyrannic Ethiopian Government is Responsible for the Inhuman Treatments against Ethiopian Refugees and Asylum Seekers around the World April 26, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Amnesty International's Report: Because I Am Oromo, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Jen & Josh (Ijoollee Amboo), Nimoona Xilahuun Imaanaa, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia.
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The Ethiopian Government is Responsible for the Inhuman Treatments against Ethiopian Refugees and Asylum Seekers around the World

HRLHA Press Release
25th April 2015
Human rights League of the Horn of Africa
The  Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa has been greatly saddened by the cold-blooded killing of 30 Christian Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers in the past week  in Libya by a group called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria/ ISIS. The HRLHA also highly concerned about thousands of Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers living in different parts of Yemen were victimized due to the political crises in  Yemen  and hundreds have suffered in South Africa because of the unprecedented actions taken by a gang opposing refugees and asylum seekers in the country.  The suppressive policy  of the EPRDF/TPLF government  has forced millions of Ethiopians to flee their country in the past twenty-four years. The mass influx of Ethiopian citizens into neighboring countries every year has been due to the EPRDF/TPLF policy of denying its citizens their socioeconomic and political rights. They have also fled out of fear of political persecution and detention.  It has been repeatedly reported by human rights organizations, humanitarian and other non – governmental organizations that Ethiopia is producing a large number of refugees, estimated at over two hundred fifty thousand every year.
The HRLHA calls upon the Ethiopian government to unconditionally release the detained citizens and allow those who have been injured during the clash with police to get medical treatment.In connection with the incident that took place in Libya, on April 22, 2015 tens of thousands of Ethiopians marched on government- organized rallies against the killing of Ethiopian Christians in Libya. However, with the demonstrators’ angry expressions were directed at the authorities, the police used tear gas against them and hundreds of people were beaten on the street and arrested. On the 23rd and 24th of April 2015 others were picked up from their homes and taken to unknown destinations according to the HRLHA reporter in Addis Ababa.
Recommendations:
  1. The Ethiopian government must stop political suppression in the country and respect the human rights treaties it signed and ratified
  2. The Ethiopian Government must provide the necessary lifesaving help to those Ethiopians stuck in crises in the asylum countries of Yemen, South Africa and others.
  3. The EPRDF/TPLF government must release journalists, opposition political party members, and others held in Ethiopian prisons and respect their right to exercise their basic and fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution of Ethiopia and international standard of human rights instruments.

AmnestyInternationalReport_BecauseIAmOromo014