Archive | October 2014

Aid in the wrong hands

Is Ethiopia’s government, whose security forces are guilty of rape and torture, a worthy recipient of £329 million of British taxpayers’ money?

Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn speaks during a press conference at the Prime Minsters palace in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 18, 2014. The Prime Minster gave remarks and answered questions ranging from the South Sudan conflict, extradition of opposition leader Andargachew Tsege, as well as current GDP figures for the last fiscal year. The Ethiopian Prime Minister also delivered a stark warning to anyone linked to terrorist groups hours after a group of Ethiopian bloggers and journalists detained for nearly three months were charged with terrorism. 'Anyone who is seen and acting within this terrorist network... will be eligible for the course of law,' Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters

Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ethiopian prime minister, is untroubled by criticism in the local press or any public opposition, for the simple reason that both are effectively banned Photo: Getty Images

Almost 30 years ago, Band Aid mobilised a generation of British teenagers behind the campaign to help Ethiopia recover from famine. Today, Ethiopia is the second-biggest beneficiary of British aid, receiving no less than £329 million last year. And yet the same government that is favoured by this largesse has also carried out appalling atrocities. This week, Amnesty International detailed how Ethiopia’s security forces are guilty of rape and torture as they struggle against separatist rebels. Meanwhile, Hailemariam Desalegn, the prime minister, is untroubled by criticism in the local press or any public opposition, for the simple reason that both are effectively banned. The Department for International Development’s plan for Ethiopia shamelessly notes the country’s “progress toward establishing a functioning democracy”, but adds: “There is still a long way to go”. Indeed. A very long way to go.

The question is whether such a government is a worthy recipient of British taxpayers’ money. Our aid does not go to Ethiopia’s security forces, of course, nor to the secret police who create such fear. Yet British funding for schools and hospitals could release resources for Mr Hailemariam to spend on repression. Foreign aid will always give recipient governments more discretion over what to do with their own money. DfID would say that British aid is, for example, helping almost two million Ethiopian children to go to school – and that is a fair point. But DfID’s budget jumped by 32 per cent between 2012 and 2013 – the biggest percentage increase ever enjoyed by any Whitehall department in peacetime history. DfID has failed to allay the suspicion that its officials are more concerned with spending this money than guarding against possible unintended consequences. Sadly, that risk is greater in Ethiopia than almost anywhere else.

A British Man Is on Death Row in Ethiopia

by Oscar Rickett (VICE NEWS)

Andargachew Tsege, known to his friends and family as Andy, is a British citizen from Ethiopia. He came to England as a political refugee in 1979. Now he’s back in Ethiopia, locked up and possibly enduring torture for being a political dissident, and the UK stands accused of not doing enough to help.Andargachew Tsege, known to his friends and family as Andy, is a British citizen from Ethiopia.

Tsege is the secretary general of Ginbot 7, an opposition group banned by the Ethiopian government. In 2009, he was sentenced to death at a trial held in Ethiopia in his absence for supposedly planning a coup. Then, in June this year he was seized in Yemen, which has a security arrangement with Ethiopia. For two weeks, it seemed as though he had disappeared off the face of the Earth. Then, he emerged on Ethiopian state TV broadcasts, where it was revealed that he was being held in a secret detention facility. While he’s unlikely to face a rarely imposed death sentence, he is currently on death row.

In the first video released, he appears for a short time and looks fairly healthy. But in the second, screaming can be heard in the background (just after the one-minute mark) and Tsege, looking thin and exhausted, is presented as if he is making a confession. A narrator says, in a haltingly edited piece of propaganda, that Tsege has been working with neighboring Eritrea—which has a longstanding feud with Ethiopia, that he has been disrupting the “peace and economic growth of Ethiopia,” and that he has been “training various people and sending ammunition through Eritrean borders.” His lawyers are concerned that evidence obtained through torture will be used to justify the sentence imposed on him.

Since his arrest, a UK Foreign Office (FCO) spokesperson told me, Tsege has only seen the British ambassador to Ethiopia once. That was back in August. “We are deeply concerned about his welfare,” the spokesperson said. “We want consular access and are pressing for further access to him.” David Cameron has written to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn “to request regular consular access and his assurance that the death penalty will not be imposed.”

Despite this diplomatic action, a British citizen is languishing on death row based on evidence that could have been gained through torture, and there has been no public condemnation of Ethiopia’s actions. His advocates say it’s not good enough. Human rights charity Reprieve has initiated legal proceedings against the Foreign Office (FCO) for its failure to treat Tsege’s abduction as a serious breach of international law.

Andy Tsege is raising three children with Yemi Hailemariam, his girlfriend of ten years. All three children have written to Cameron to ask what he is doing to get their father out of prison. Cameron, though, will be treading carefully. Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is a key ally to the West in the war on terror and has a close relationship with Britain. It is one of the main actors in the fight against Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Ethiopia’s use of its anti-terrorism legislation to crack down on dissent of any kind is troubling. According to a recent Human Rights Watch report, Ethiopia has become a surveillance state. Press freedom is deteriorating, particularly in the run-up to elections next May.

When I put this to a source in Ethiopia’s ministry of foreign affairs, he insisted that grounds for concern over terrorism in the region were legitimate. “I don’t think it is so much Ethiopia using its strategic importance to do what it wants. The government does genuinely feel it is in the frontline against terrorism—and in terms of terrorist activity it has some cause—Al-Shabaab is in Somalia and trying to make moves into Ethiopia as well as Kenya, Uganda, and so on.”

Ethiopia considers Ginbot 7 a terrorist group, and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn claims that “Andargachew Tsege is a Trojan horse for the Eritrean government to destabilize this country.” Eritrea is where the Ethiopian opposition groups meet, and any connection to Eritrea can be milked by the Ethiopian government. According to a recent report submitted to the UN’s Security Council by its Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, the Diplomatic missions and military officers of Eritrea are involved in the recruitment, training, and operational aspects of Ginbot 7.

But Ginbot 7 does not appear to be anything like Al-Shabaab. Its mission statement says that it is looking to establish a “national political system in which government power and political authority is assumed through peaceful and democratic process based on the free will and choice of citizens of the country.” Tsege’s family and lawyers insist that he is a peaceful man trying to stand up to an authoritarian regime.

My FCO spokesperson told me that more vocal lobbying is a “tool in our diplomatic arsenal,” to be used at the right moment. Old school diplomacy is still the order of the day, she said, and the British government’s public line may change depending on how the case goes. My Ethiopian foreign ministry source implies that this might be the right approach, citing the experience of Martin Schibbye and Johann Persson, two Swedish journalists who spent nearly a year in an Ethiopian prison on terror charges from 2011 to 2012. They “would have been released months earlier if the Swedish foreign ministry and Human Rights Watch hadn’t kept making loud public noises about ill treatment and human rights abuse,” he said.

Maybe that’s the cut and thrust of realpolitik, and the FCO is playing a savvy game. But a cynic might point out that there are grounds to believe that the British government’s approach is more about not showing up its ally than a desire to protect a British citizen.

Last year, internal documents from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) showed that millions of pounds of foreign aid money was set to fund the training of Ethiopian security forces in the Ogaden region, which has been accused of numerous human rights abuses and summary executions.

Then there’s a master’s program for Ethiopian security-sector officials, funded by DFID. A DFID document, still available online, reveals that places for Ethiopian officials on the “Executive Masters in Security Sector Management delivered to top and mid level military and civil servants in five cohorts” at Cranfield University, were set to be funded by the department up until 2017. The course has since been closed due to “concerns about risk and value for money.” I’m sure this is totally unrelated to any embarrassment that Tsege’s case might cause DFID. Despite the cancelation, the question remains: Can the British government be expected to stand up for Tsege while it is funding Ethiopia’s oppressive anti-terror operation?

Yemi Hailemariam, Andy’s long-term girlfriend, is worried that the father of her children will continue to suffer. “There needs to be clarity in the message the British government is sending to Ethiopia. They need to tell them, ‘This is our citizen. Please give him back,’” she said. Tsege’s lawyers, from the legal charity Reprieve, are just as concerned. Maya Foa, head of their death penalty team, said, “It beggars belief that the UK Government is not doing more to get him back.”

Tsege’s family are trying to hold themselves together. “I don’t feel at all confident about him coming back. I try not to think about it because when I do, I fall to pieces,” Yemi told me. Whatever happens, he “will be expected to ask for a pardon,” sources close to the case in Ethiopia tell me. If he does this, his death sentence will be replaced with a life sentence in prison, perhaps less. In a country that emphasizes security over human rights, and with the British intent on maintaining an important strategic and economic alliance, it may just be the best he can hope for.

Amnesty Says Ethiopia Detains 5,000 Oromos Illegally Since 2011

amnesty-international-logo-1

Ethiopia’s government illegally detained at least 5,000 members of the country’s most populous ethnic group, the Oromo, over the past four years as it seeks to crush political dissent, Amnesty International said.

Victims include politicians, students, singers and civil servants, sometimes only for wearing Oromo traditional dress, or for holding influential positions within the community, the London-based advocacy group said in a report today. Most people were detained without charge, some for years, with many tortured and dozens killed, it said.

“The Ethiopian government’s relentless crackdown on real or imagined dissent among the Oromo is sweeping in its scale and often shocking in its brutality,” Claire Beston, the group’s Ethiopia researcher, said in a statement. “This is apparently intended to warn, control or silence all signs of ‘political disobedience’ in the region.”

The Oromo make up 34 percent of Ethiopia’s 96.6 million population, according to the CIA World Factbook. Most of the ethnic group lives in the central Oromia Regional State, which surrounds Addis Ababa, the capital. Thousands of Oromo have been arrested at protests, including demonstrations this year against what was seen as a plan to annex Oromo land by expanding Addis Ababa’s city limits.

Muslims demonstrating about alleged government interference in religious affairs were also detained in 2012 and 2013, Amnesty said in the report, titled: ‘Because I am Oromo’ – Sweeping Repression in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia.

Government Denial

The state-run Oromia Justice Bureau said the findings were “far from the truth” in a reply to Amnesty included in the report. “No single individual has been and would not be subjected to any form of harassment, arrest or detention, torture for exercising the freedom of expression or opinion.”

The majority of detainees are accused of supporting the Oromo Liberation Front, which was formed in 1973 to fight for self-determination, according to Amnesty.

Senior Oromo politicians Bekele Gerba and Olbana Lelisa were jailed in 2012 for working with the group, which was classified as a terrorist organization by lawmakers in 2011.

“The accusation of OLF support has often been used as a pretext to silence individuals openly exercising dissenting behavior,” Amnesty said.

The bulk of Amnesty’s information came from interviews with 176 refugees in Kenya, Somalia and Ugandain July this year and July 2013. More than 40 telephone and e-mail conversations were also conducted with people in Ethiopia, it said.

Some interviewees said they fled the country because of conditions placed on them when released, such as being told to avoid activism, meeting in small groups, or associating with relatives who were political dissenters, the report said.

Amnesty has been banned from Ethiopia since 2011 when its staff was deported.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa at wdavison3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.netPaul Richardson, Karl Maier

  • የማለዳ ወግ…. የተመስገን ደሳለኝ እናት…

    የማለዳ ወግ … ይድረስ ለወዳጀ ወንድም ለወዳጀ ታሪኩ ደሳለኝ !

    ወንድሜ ሆይ ማምሻውን ” … አሁን የማወራው ስለ ብትቱው ጋዜጠኛ ተመስገን ደሳለኝ ሳይሆን ስለ ሆደ ባሻዋ እና ርህሩዋ እናታችን ነው! ” በማለት ስለ እናትህ ጭንቀት የጻፍከውን ሳነበው ፣ ስለ እናትህ ልቤ በሃዘን ተጎዳ ፣ ስለ ጀግኖች ሳይሆን ስለ ጀግና እናቶች መከራ አነባሁ ፣ እንደ ሰው በእልህ ሰውነቴ ጋለ ፣ ተናደድኩ …በቁጭት ግን አልቆዘምኩም …!
    yetemesgen enat
    ምን እንደምል አላውቅም … ለተጎዱት እናታችን አዝናለሁ ፣ ብቻ ሳይሆን ለመስዋዕትነት ለቀረቡት ለዚህች ቁርጥ ቀን ግንባራቸውን እንደ ተሜ ለሰጡት ብርቱ የሃገሬ ልጆች እናቶች በሙሉ አዝናለሁ “..ልጅሽ ወንድሜ ታስሯል! ” ለምትለው የመርዶ ነጋሪው ያንተ ጭንቀት ቢገባኝም ወጣት ነህና እንባህን ጠራርገህ ወንድምህ የሰጠንን ቃል አክብር ፣ ተከተልም! የጀግና ዘር አያለቅስም ! ተሜ አልነገረህም ? ወንድ ልጅ አደኮ አያነባም … በቃ እንዲያ ነው !!!!

    አንድ ወዳጀ ማምሻው ላይ ጋዜጠኛ ተመስገንን ታውቀዋለህ? አለኝ … እንዲህ መለስኩለት ወዳጀ Abdu ጋዜጠኛ ተመስገንን በአካል አውቀዋለሁ፣ ከሳውዲ ለእረፍት ሄጀ በአንድ መአድ ቁጭ ብለን ክፉ ደጉን አውርተናል። ከርሴን ልሞላ የተሰደድኩትና “በካሳደገኝ ላስተማረኝ ወገኔ አልለይም ፣ ከምወዳት ኢትዮጵያ ፣ አልሰደድም እንቢ ” ካለው ጋዜጠኛ ጋር የነበረን ቆይታችን ያማረ ነበር። ተሜ ከሃገር ውስጥ ፖለቲካ፣ ማህበራዊ ኑሮውና ከዚያም አልፎ በሳውዲ በምንኖር ኢትዮጵያውያን ጥልቅ ግንዛቤ ያለው ወንድም መሆኑን ባውቅም ያኔ ደግሜ አረጋግጫለሁ። በኢትዮጵያ ላይ የመጣው አበሳ እያዘነ እየተቆረቆረ እንደ ዜጋና እንደ ባለሙያ ራዕዩን ሲያንሸራሽር የደረሰበት እንግልት ግድ የማይሰጠው ጀግና ወጣት ጋዜጠኛ ነው። እንዲያው በአጠቃላይ እኔ ኢትዮጵያን እወዳታለሁ ማለት ይቀል ይሆናል ፣ ኢትዮጵያን እንደ ተሜ እወዳታለሁ ማለት አይቻልም። እሱን መሆን የእሳይ ወላፈኑን ፣ ረመጥ እሳቱን ጭምር እየተለበለቡ ኢትዮጵያን መውደድ ከቶ ማንስ ይቻለዋል። ለብዙዎቻችን በጣም በጣም ከባድ ነው ! በቆይታችንና ከተሜ ጋር ባለን ቀረቤታ የተረዳሁት ይህን እውነታ ነው! ስለ ኢትዮጵያና ስለህዝቧ ራዕዮን ስድብ ፣ግልምጫ ማግለሉ፣ ከመቶ ያለፈ ክሱ ፣ እስራት ፣ ፕሮፖጋንዳ ዘመቻው ምኑ ቅጡ ይህን ሁሉ ተጋፍጦ ጋዜጣ መጽሔቱን ሲዘጉበት እየከፈተ ” ትግሌ እስከቀራንዮ ነው ፣ አልሰደድም” ያለ እንደ ተሜ ብርቱ ጋዜጠኛ መች አለ ? ይህን ተሜ አውቀዋለሁ! የጀግና ቤቱ ወህኒ ነው እንዲሉ ፣ ተሜ ወደ ቤቱ ገብቷል ! በቃ ተሜ “ስለተገፋሁበት ምክንያት ስለኢትዮጵያ ትንሳኤ ትጉ እንጅ ስለእኔ እንዳታለቀረሱ ” ብሎኛል ተሜ …የማውቀው ብርቱው ወዳጀ ጋዜጠኛ ተመስገን …ብየ መለስኩ !

    እናም እውነቴን ነው የምልህ ፣ በተሜ ኩራት የደም ስጋ ፣ የአንድ ማህጸን የእማማ ልጅ ስለሆንክ ክብር ይሰማህ እንጅ ተሜ ” አታልቅሱ ” ብሏልና አታልቅስ …ጋዜጠኛ ተመስገን ወደ ቀራንዮ በግርማ በክብር እየሄደ ነው ፣ ሆዳችን አታባባው … ዳሩ ግና ምን የሚባባ ሆድ አለን ? …
    ብቻ ይሁን 😦

    ነቢዩ ሲራክ

    Temesgen Desalegn sentenced to three years in prison

    The former editor of Fitih weekly, Temesgen Desalegn, sentenced to three years in prison by the federal high court in Addis Ababa; FBC Writes. The court has also fined the publishing house behind Fitih, Mastewal publishing and advertising works, ten thousand birr. The federal high court’s 9th criminal bench has been seeing three charges filed by the federal prosecutors on Temesgen that accused him of provoking violence by his writings.

    After a lengthy court case, it was recently that the court found Mr. Temesgen as guilty of the charges.

    But since the court considered all the three charges as one, Mr. Temesgen has got three years.

    DireTube News

    ከኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ አርበኞች ግንባር ዘብ በወቅታዊ የሃገራችን ጉዳይ ላይ የተሠጠ የአአቋም መግለጫ

    ሃገራችን ኢትጵያን ላለፉት 23 አመታት በግፍና  በጭካኔ የሚመራትን የፋሽስት ወያኔ ስርአት ከንጹሃኑ የሃገራችን ህዝቦች ጫንቃ ላይ  ለአንዴና ለመጨረሻ ጊዜ ለመጣል ከሚታገሉት ጥቂት ጠንካራ ድርጅቶች አንዱ የሆነው የኢትጵያ ህዝብ አርበኞች ግንባር ዘብ አንዱ ነው

    EPPFG Stamp 2

    ድርጅቱ ባሉት ጠንካራ አመራሮች እና አባላቱ እንዲሁም ደጋፊዎቹ በመላው አለም ያላቁዋረጠ በዙ ትግሎችን እያካሄዱ እንደሆነ የታወቀ ሲሆን አሁን ደሞ ይህንኑ ትግሉን የሚያሳይ የአቁዋም መግለጫ  በትናንትናው እለት ጥቅምት 15 / 2007 አውጥቶዋል

    ድርጅቱ በመግለጫው ላይ እንደጠቀሰው የኢትዮጵያ የፖለቲካ፧የማህበራዊ እና ኢኮኖሚያዊ ችግሮች መፍትሄ የሚያገኙት ሁሉን አቀፍ እና አሳታፊ በሆነ ስር-ነቀል የሽግግር ሂደት መሆኑን በመገንዘብ ይህ አመለካከት ካላቸው ሃይሎች እና ይህን መድረክ እያመቻቹ ካሉ አካላት ጋር በቅርብ ለመስራት እንቅስቃሴ እንደጀመረ አሳውቆዋል።

    እንዲሁም ለመላው የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ እና ለተቃዋሚ ቡድኖች በሙሉ 5 ዓመት እየጠበቀ የሚመጣው የወያኔ የማጭበርበሪያ የምርጫ ግርግር 4 ግዜ ህዝብን አጭበርብሮ አልፏል ሥለዚህ የግንቦት 16-2007 ምርጫ በተባበረ ክንድ የወያኔ የመጨረሻ የዕድሜ ዘመኑ ሊሆን ይገባዋል!! በማለት አሳስቦዋል። ሙሉውን መግለጫ ከታች ያለውን PDF በመጫን እንድታነቡ በአክብሮት እንጋብዛለን።

    ከኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ አርበኞች ግንባር ዘብ በወቅታዊ የሃገራችን ጉዳይ ላይ የተሠጠ የአአቋም መግለጫ PDF

    ኢትዮጵያዊያን ያለ ቪዛ ሊገቡባቸው የሚችሉ 36 ሀገራት

    ethiopian

    ያለ ቪዛ ጉዞ – (አንሄድም!)

    • ኢትዮጵያዊያን ያለ ቪዛ ሊገቡባቸው የሚችሉ 36 ሀገራት / 36 Countries Ethiopian Citizens Can Travel to Without Visa

    ከአንድ ሀገር ወደ ሌላ ሀገር በሚደረግ ጉዞ ወቅት እንደ ሀገራቱ ስምምነት መሰረት ሰዎች የሚንቀሳቀሱበት የይለፍ ፍቃድ ወይም ቪዛ የሚያሰፍልጋቸውና የማይጠይቁ ሀገራት አሉ።
    የኢትዮጵያ ዜጎችም ወደ 36 የዓለም ሀገራት ያለ ምንም ቪዛ መግባት ይችላሉ።

    ethiopian

    እነዚህም፦
    ቦሊቪያ ለ3 ወራት፣
    ቡሩንዲ ለ1 ወር፣
    ካምቦዲያ፣ ኬፕ ቬርዴ፣ ኮሞሮስ፣ ጂቡቲ፣ ጊኒ ቢሳው ለ3 ወራት፣
    ላኦስ ለ1 ወር፣
    ማዳጋስካር ለ3 ወራት፣
    ሞልዲቭስ ለ1 ወር፣
    ማሊ፣ ሞሪታኒያ፣ ሞሪሽየስ ለ2 ወራት፣
    ሞዛምቢክ ለ1 ወር፣
    ኒካራጓ ለ3 ወራት፣
    ኦማን፣ ፓላው ለ1 ወር፣
    ሩዋንዳ፣ ሴንት ሉቺያ ለ6 ሳምንታት፣
    ሳሞዋ ለ2 ወራት፣
    ሲሼልስ ለ1 ወር፣
    ደቡብ ሱዳን፣ ሪፐብሊክ ኦፍ ታጃኪስታን ለ45 ቀናት፣
    ታይላንድ ለ15 ቀን፣
    ቲሞር ሌስት ለ1 ወር፣
    ቶጎ ለ1 ሳምንት፣
    ቱቫሉ ለ1 ወር እና ኡጋንዳ ናቸው።

    Source: Getu Temesgen – (ጌጡ ተመስገን) and BuzzKenya