Twelve Ethiopian Organizations wrote a letter to the European Parliament expressing objection to draft resolution (2021/2206 INI).
They are opposing proposed amendment in Foreign Affairs and security in the Horn of Africa which impacts Ethiopia.
Letter they wrote is featured below :
To: Honourable David McALLISTER, Chair, Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET)
Subject: Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on Horn of Africa Resolution (2021/2206 (INI)).
We, the undersigned organizations world wide, with members including Ethiopians and citizens of European and North American countries are writing you to express our objection to the proposed amendments concerning Ethiopia in the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the Horn of Africa draft resolution (2021/2206 (INI)). While the proposed amendments cover wide ranging issues of concern to us, we are particularly distressed by amendments 108, 109 and 171. Amendment 109 calls for “an urgent deployment of an AU-led international peacekeeping force with a robust civilian protection mandate to Western Tigray, ….”
To begin with, amendment 109 uses the term “Western Tigray” whereas the inhabitants of the area call their land Wolqait-Tsegede. Western Tigray is a term stealthily inserted into the lexicon of the conflict in Tigray by the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) to enhance its claim that the area is an integral part of Tigray. In fact, Wolqait-Tsegede was made part of Tigray through illegal incorporation soon after the TPLF took power in 1991, without the consent of the residents who happen to be Amharic speaking. Shortly thereafter, it initially resettled about 70,000 of its demobilized combatants in the area and tens of thousands more during its 27-year control of the country while at the same time evicting Amharic speaking people who call the region their ancestral homeland.
This arbitrary and unlawful measure of the TPLF did not go unchallenged. For 29 years, the people of Wolqait-Tsegede had been peacefully protesting the decision by petitioning the EPRDF government to undo the illegal incorporation into the regional administration of Tigray. It is, therefore, incredulous that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch would step into this highly contested issue and echo the TPLF narrative and refer to the area as “Western Tigray,” knowing fully well that there existed no such administrative entity before 1991.
The use of the term Western Tigray and the call for sending in a so-called peacekeeping force by MEP sponsors of the amendment prima facie is inappropriate in our view, to say the least. First, it amounts to endorsing the politically motivated rebranding of “Wolqait-Tsegede” as “Western Tigray.” The rebranding of the name of the territory is an important first step in the strategy of TPLF and its lobbyists in their desperate effort to implant their false narrative in the international fora.
Secondly, the call by members of the European Parliament for international intervention in the internal affairs of Ethiopia based on a controversial report, every bit of which bears the hallmarks of TPLF propaganda, seriously compromises the objectivity of the entire debate.
What is more, the EU is still reluctant to endorse and support the implementation of a joint investigation report covering the same war-torn areas of northern Ethiopia by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) of 3rd of November 2021. Yet, Amendment 171 calls for a new international commission of inquiry focusing on what it calls “alleged crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing” by Amhara forces against Tigrayans.
The bias of the sponsors of the amendments is obvious. They all appear to endorse the recent Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports which employed a much more questionable methodology in its investigations than the report by EHRC and OHCHR. The 27 years of brutal TPLF dictatorship, mass detention, extra judicial killings, human rights violations, and rampant corruption of the TPLF regime are mentioned nowhere in these amendments, let alone sanctioned.
The Ethiopian Constitution has a legal provision to address internal border disputes and identity issues. The House of Federation, in accordance with Article 48 of the Constitution, is mandated to resolve matters of internal border disputes and identity questions in different parts of the country. It is a common practice for internal border disputes such as the case of Wolqait-Tsegede and Humera and other disputed areas to be taken care of through existing internal administrative/legal mechanisms. Other similar cases in the country have been handled accordingly.
And finally, it is worth noting that as a backdrop to these resolutions and amendments and calls for intervention in Ethiopia, Ethiopians have begun engaging in an all-inclusive peaceful process they call “national dialogue” to try and reconcile their differences, and usher in an era of peace, development, and national unity. Permanent solution can only be drawn through such domestic legal/traditional means and not by prescribing for a buffer through deploying international peacekeeping force. It is such measures that should be encouraged and supported and not foreign intervention that will exacerbate the situation.
Considering all the above, dear sir, we request that the honorable members of the European Parliament reconsider the amendments they have tabled on the issue of Wolqait-Tsegede in general and refrain from endorsing the decidedly partisan and interventionist view reflected in the joint report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Please accept, Mr. Chairman, the assurances of our highest consideration. For further correspondence, kindly contact Defend Ethiopia Task Force in Belgium at Defeth.firstname.lastname@example.org
CC: Members, Foreign Affairs Committee, The European Parliament, The European Council
- Defend Ethiopia Task Force in Belgium (DETF-BE)
- Defend Ethiopia Task Force in Europe (DEFT-EU) organized in Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom
- American-Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC)
- Ethio-American Development Council (EADC)
- Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support (ECNAS)
- Ethiopian Community in Spain (ECSP)
- Ethio-Czech Community z.s. (ECC)
- Ethiopian Diaspora Associations in Belgium (EDAB)
- Ethio-France Association for Development of Ethiopia (EFADE)
- Ethiopian Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation in Germany (EFDCG)
- Global Ethiopian Advocacy Network (GLEAN)
- GETFACTet (GETFACTet)
- Network of Ethiopians in Geneva for Action Task Force (NEGAT)
- United Ethiopian Community Association in South Africa (UECASA)
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