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Open letter to United Nations General Assembly on Climate Change, COVID, Humanitarian Aid & Democracy

United Nations General Assembly _ Ethiopia

September 21, 2021 

Dear Members of the United Nations General Assembly, 

This message is sent to you as we collectively voice our concern for the heart of  humankind and the birthplace of humankind – Ethiopia, known as the cradle of  Dinknesh, or as you know her, ‘Lucy’. We think it’s important for us to speak out  strongly now when Humanity is so close to destroying its environment, and when  disease threatens to cull the populations of nations.  

We write as leaders of “People to People,” an organization dedicated to building  bridges across institutions and all levels of Ethiopian society. In building these  bridges, we reach out to you: to offer advice, help, suggest, warn, and plead. Let’s  not forget that life, as we know it on earth, began in Africa and that Ethiopia has  been at the epicenter of the world – and, for it to continue flourishing, please heed  us now as we express the need for cooperation to address vaccine access, to invest  in sustainable economic development, and to ensure human rights and  democracy are upheld. 

On issues regarding the global effort to address Covid-19, we remain concerned  with the pressing need for more focused global cooperation around access to  vaccines. We also remain alarmed by the lack of efforts to protect older  generations, a generation which plays critical leadership roles in our societies. The  significant delays in vaccine roll-outs in developing countries, combined with the  lack of a strategic approach to synchronized vaccination, means that the world  remains highly vulnerable to mutated variants of SARS-COV-2. Consequently, the  delays become costly vaccination programs which will address obsolete threats.  

We hope that your discussion on climate change will comprehensively and  transparently address issues related to equity and development. The American  ‘Build Back Better’ strategies and the economic transition of the developed world  cannot be done without developing world partners as we have a common earth.  It is imperative not to disregard African countries and countries in other regions  that have both the resources and the human capital to immensely contribute. This  global project of making countries ‘safe’, ensuring that democracy prevails, and  executing sustainable economic development projects will be unattainable  without the developing countries and cannot be undertaken at a cost to the  development gains achieved through the generous contributions of developing  nations over the past 50 years. These gains include agricultural, industrial and  export trade opportunities which gave the Ethiopian population the wherewithal  to fund the development of its own national water project in order to give the  country access to 85% of Nile waters it hosts. 

Lastly, on human rights and democracy, nations reserve the right to deal without  interference with rebel insurrectionists which threaten the territorial integrity of 

their nations. The recent post-election violence on America’s Capitol Hill resulted  in the calling in by duly elected American authorities of the National Guard and  arrest of 642 people. This approach remains in line with the well-accepted NATO  standard practice of ‘Military Aid to the Civil Authorities’ and with the UN Charter’s  Article 2 on the rights of states, which includes several sub-sections in 2.7 relating  to the right to internal law and order operations. This practice appears not to have  been acceptable for a developing country which faced an armed insurrectionist  force that murdered thousands of federal troops and whose strategy was to  overthrow the government by way of an armed coup. It is important to note that  human rights arguments have been used selectively to undermine this issue for  years. We would urge the General Assembly to initiate a new discussion on a  formulation that provides a balanced analysis and approach on these issues.  Current practice is seen as a double standard as developed countries have full  authority to use force in order to maintain law and order though developing  countries are criticized for upholding the same of authority as we see now in  Ethiopia. While countries like the US, the UK and their allies face no limitations in  employing these policies regularly, it is a sign of global injustice to marginalize  Ethiopia and its leadership for acting in a similar, more than justified, manner. 

We, the leadership of this non-partisan global “People to People” network, extend  this message to the United Nations member states as we speak as citizens of the  world and echo the sentiment of nations in the developing world. We have often  relied on this collective body for various conflicts and common global challenges.  We have often heard from this global assembly eloquence and bluntness, but 

seldom harmony and productivity. It is our sentiment that the world craves  progress and not just renewed resolve.  

With this letter, we hope you will understand our concerns and that perhaps you  will be able to shift perspectives that can genuinely lead you to answers to uplift  nations around the world, desperate for relief and hope. 

Endorsed, People to People Board of Directors

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