Ethiopians are Bleeding and Civil War Seems Inevitable. Let's Save Ethiopia!
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Ethiopia is going through a tumultuous period of political and security volatility for the past few months. As the latest Amnesty international human rights report highlights, federal government and security officials are the primary instigators. According to a 50 page report by Amnesty International https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/AFR2523582020ENGLISH.PDF published on Friday May 29, 2020, Ethiopia’s military and police in Amhara and Oromia regions arbitrarily detained more than 10,000 people, summarily evicted whole families from their homes – some of which were burnt and destroyed – and in some cases were complicit in inter-communal violence targeting minorities. This report, which covers the period from December 2018 to December 2019, is only a tip of the iceberg. There is ample evidence from almost all regions of Ethiopia that suggest horrific human rights violations including extrajudicial killings and arrest are continuing at a much larger scale.
The Tigray region by far has been the most peaceful and stable region of Ethiopia, where there has not been any instance of violence or gruesome killing unlike the rest of the country. Recently, however, officials of the federal government and leaders within Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party, have been engaged in fabricating and disseminating fake news and propaganda to instigate violence in Tigray. Unless urgent corrective measures are taken, there is enough to be concerned that these kinds of actions might lead to a breakout of catastrophic civil war in Ethiopia.
For example, in a Facebook post of May 24, 2020, Ato Awelu Abdi Abdo, top official in Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party, used images that shows riots that occurred in different places and time as if they were current events in Tigray (https://www.facebook.com/AweluAbdo/posts/168899311292598 Screenshot of his posts are kept for record. Reckless yet calculated propaganda like Ato Awelu’s have far greater devastating consequences for the country and the wider region by igniting civil war.
The post by Ato Abdu is also troubling from a legal point of view and separation of power. The Ethiopian constitution clearly states that each region is sovereign, and the federal government can only interfere when invited by regions. Therefore, Ato Awelu by urging the federal army to intervene in Tigray region is in direct violation of the constitution hence source for major conflict, including armed one, in the country. Even if we do not see any justifiable reason for the invasion of Tigray by the federal army as Ato Awelo demanded, the mere fact it was suggested by one of the closest advisors of the Prime Minister is troubling. This is wrong and dangerous for many reasons. We also understand the prime motives behind the desire to invade Tigray. As experience from the actions of this government in Somali and other regions show, invasions are a pretext to remove ‘uncooperating’ individuals or groups of individuals from power and install a puppet regime. Under Ethiopian law the federal government can't interfere or occupy a state's territory unless the state council by ⅔ majority vote invites the federal government. States invite the federal government only when there is a threat of war and extremely out of control force majeure that state militia cannot control. But Abiy violates the constitution, invades any state, and demands submission.
According to the Ethiopian Constitution Article 51 (14): "the federal government shall deploy, at the request of a state administration, Federal defense forces to arrest a deteriorating security situation within the requesting State when its authorities are unable to control it." Tigray region let alone needing federal intervention, it's the only stable and peaceful region in the entire region. Even when legitimate civil discontent is present in a state, based on the Constitution, the federal government can't interfere in state matters unless formally invited by a state needing federal intervention. Tigray state never invited the federal government.
Furthermore, Article 50 (8) reaffirms the above that "the States shall respect the powers of the Federal Government. The Federal Government shall likewise respect the powers of the States." The Ethiopia's administration's desire is simple: solidifying political hegemony by any means necessary, even that means unconstitutional.
Article 23 of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance forbids unconstitutional change of government. Similarly, OAU Charter and the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights make changing governments (whether sovereign nations of regional states within a nation) without free and fair election illegal.
The ongoing killing spree by Abiy Ahmed's administration and recent agitation to instigate violence in the country are reasons that are troubling. That is why we are asking the international community to investigate and prosecute high profile leaders of the Prosperity Party for crimes against humanity before they cause major damage to the country and the wider region.
Similar instigation of violence is also happening using media the federal government controls. Walta TV, Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation and Fana Broadcasting Corporate are also engaged in transmitting a one-sided and often fake documentaries targeting Tigray and Tigreans. This is happening on the backdrop of extrajudicial killing and arrest of thousands mainly in Oromia and Amhara regions make this recent agitation by Prosperity Party officials gravely worrisome.
Therefore, we urge the international community to stand with the Ethiopian people on the following request:
· Put maximum pressure on the federal government and its institution to refrain from fabricating and disseminating fake news and one-sided propaganda, which have a potential to cause a civil war and massacre in Ethiopia,
· Bring to justice politicians such as Ato Awelu Abdi Abdo and those in state media behind fabricating and disseminating dangerous propaganda and fake documentaries,
· For the Nobel Prize Committee to reconsider its decision of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to PM Abiy Ahmed. He is unworthy of the value and principle the Nobel Prize stands for. In fact, under his watch Ethiopia has experienced unprecedented internal displacement of more than 3 million people, extrajudicial arrests and killings. We are aware that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to him on the promise and hope PM Abiy will help create a better Ethiopia. However, since the award Ethiopia’s peace and security conditions are getting worse and worse. Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to a known human rights abuser is an assault on human decency and its not too late for the Committee to reconsider its ill- conceived measure. As such we urge the Nobel Prize Committee to use its leverage to force PM Abiy do the right thing in the country,
· Put maximum pressure on the current administration to prepare the ground for a peaceful political transition that includes all political players in the country. With the legal term limit in office of the current executive and parliament expiring in few months on one hand and without any preparation for election in the country on the other hand, Ethiopia is heading to major political uncertainty with the possibility of breaking up. Therefore, we urge the international community to interfere in Ethiopia before it becomes too late,
· The U.N. Human Rights Council, the African Human Rights Commission and all other stakeholders, should probe and conduct an independent investigation and prosecute the federal government and its media and security apparatus to the full extent of the law under pertinent international, regional and domestic laws.
Ethiopia is in a political turmoil, very unstable and on the brink of collapse.
Save Ethiopia; save its people!
Global Coalition of Concerned Ethiopians
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