Anders Österberg : a single advocacy voice for Ethiopia from Swedish Parliament

borkena, Ethiopian News
February 17,2017

 Anders Österberg ,Swedish MP, showing protest sign.  source:  www. esmsweden.org
Anders Österberg ,Swedish MP, showing protest sign.
source: www. esmsweden.org

Of the 349 members of Swedish parliament, Riksdag, a single voice is bothered by the level of atrocities in Ethiopia.

Anders Österberg, member of Social Democratic Party whose constituency is in Stockholm, spoke out against gross human rights violations.

Ethiopian Satellite Television reported that Andres called on the government of Sweden and the lawmakers at Riksdag to put pressure on the regime in Ethiopia to respect human rights.
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He seems to have, based on ESAT report, a good grasp of the very nature of the ruling TPLF government in Ethiopia in that he noted the regime is “using the tactics of divide and rule and pitting one ethnic group against another to hang onto power.”

Highlighting the long-standing relation between Sweden and Ethiopia, Andres reportedly said “we must also tell the truth to our friends even when it hurts.”

Government killings in Gambella where 400 Ethiopians were killed a few years ago and the more recent massacre during Ireecha festival in Debrezeit (Bishoftu) are cited by Andres to demonstrate the gruesome level of human rights violations in Ethiopia.

As well, he noted that that reputable human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are banned in Ethiopia in addition to restrictions on other non-governmental organizations working on human rights issues.

Meanwhile, state media in Ethiopia reported this same week that Ethiopia and Sweden reached consensus to “enhance their relations and reinforce bilateral cooperation.” The report cited a meeting between Hirut Zemene, Foreign Affairs State Minister, and Ambassador Anna Karin Enestrom, Swidish Director-General for political affairs, on February 14,2017, apparently in Addis Ababa.

Ambassador Anna Karin is cited by the state media, EBC, as saying that Sweden “fully recognizes Ethiopia’s commitment and significant contribution toward ensuring peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region and beyond.”

Given Swedish political values and commitment to human rights, some Ethiopian political analysts are skeptical if Ambassador Anna Karin did really say what the state media reported, and if so, if she said what she means.

Whatever the case is, Ethiopians in the opposition quarter seem to appreciate Anders Österberg that he captured very well the situation in Ethiopia and added voice against repression. Remains to be seen if his words would strike Swedish parliamentarians not just to call a “call a spade a spade” but also make some necessary policy changes as it relates to Ethiopia in a way that reflect Sweden’s history and commitment to social justice and democracy.

Writer could be reached no twitter: @dimetros

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