Updated on August 8,2022 5:47 P.M. Toronto time
The Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support on Monday wrote a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada expressing “extreme disappointment” over the way the Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Stephane Jobin, behaved in engaging with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The letter informs Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, about TPLF war crimes including recruiting child soldiers and the destruction it caused in the Amhara and Afar regions of Ethiopia.
“Canada has never supported an outlawed terrorist group abroad, nor should it start doing now, or any time in the future,” the Network said.
It is indicated that seven Ethiopian organizations in different parts of Canada have endorsed the message.
The Advocacy group said “Ethiopian community feels that Canada’s position on the conflict, and its communication with the government of Ethiopia, has reflected the democratic values, norms and principles which Canada stands for.”
The full letter to Canada’s Minister for Foreign Affairs is featured below :
August 8, 2022
The Honourable Mélanie Joly
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Global Affairs Canada
Dear Minister Joly,
We write to you on behalf of the Canada-wide Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support (ECNAS) and the ten provincial Canadian chapters which represent the large, and very proud, Ethiopian community of Canada.
We wish to communicate our extreme disappointment with Ambassador Stephane Jobin’s recent engagement with leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), an outlawed terrorist organization, under the guise of ‘Finding A Political Solution to the Conflict in Northern Ethiopia’. This group of TPLF terrorist leaders not only murdered thousands of soldiers across the federal armed forces’ northern command outposts – an incident which triggered the war in northern Ethiopia – but has also caused enormous levels of human and material destruction across the regional states of Tigray, Amhara, Afar and Oromia. Most concerning has been the empirical evidence emerging and corroborated across a number of credible and independent research reports confirming that the TPLF forcibly recruited, trained and deployed child solders into a rebel force – and arrested and imprisoned members of families who did not hand over their children for this purpose. In addition to this international war crime, the forcible recruitment of soldiers on leave from international peacekeeping missions into the rebel force is another war crime under the Geneva Conventions on Prisoners of War.
To date, the Ethiopian community feels that Canada’s position on the conflict, and its communication with the government of Ethiopia, has reflected the democratic values, norms and principles which Canada stands for. This, in our view, exudes its strength in the world as a country which promotes inclusive peace, fairness, decency, and rule of law.
Whereas we appreciated Canada’s support for peacebuilding in Ethiopia, we feel that Ambassador Jobin’s recent engagement with the TPLF leaders in Mekelle, which was exposed to the world on social media, was unfortunate and counterproductive. We also feel that Ambassador Jobin’s conduct in Mekelle compromised the reputation that Canada has maintained through its fair, decent and respectful position towards Ethiopia’s quest for sustained peace and stability.
Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support (ECNAS)
As a Canadian organization who work for democracy peace, equity, and justice in Ethiopia, it was deeply troubling for Ethiopians across the world to see Ambassador Jobin posing for a “selfie” with an outlawed terrorist organization and its leaders who committed war crimes, genocide, rape and massacres of innocent children and women in the Afar, Tigray, Amhara and Oromia regions.
Despite the government of Ethiopia being clear in its briefing to the Ambassadors and Envoys who visited Mekelle that peace talks would only be brokered by the African Union (AU), this undiplomatic display of diplomacy has unfortunately been interpreted – rightly or wrongly – as a cynical attempt to legitimize and embolden the illegitimate terrorist group while undermining Ethiopia’s sovereignty, and the AU.
Canada has never supported an outlawed terrorist group abroad, nor should it start doing now, or any time in the future.
It is our conviction that a lasting peace in Ethiopia can only be achieved by addressing the violent ethnic federalism structure implanted by the TPLF terrorist organization and by developing a culture of peace through true reconciliation, justice, and human-centred approach; characteristics which Canada has become globally renowned to represent.
As such, ECNAS requests an official apology from Ambassador Jobin, and Global Affairs Canada, to the Ethiopian Canadian public, the Ethiopian people and the many victims of the TPLF terrorist organization.
Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support (ECNAS)
Ethio-Canadian Community Association of London, Ontario
Ethiopian Association in Halifax
Ethiopian Association in Hamilton
Ethiopian Association in the Greater Toronto Area
Ethiopian Community Association of BC
Ethiopian Canadian Human Right Association of BC
Unity for Human Rights and Democracy
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Member of Parliament, and Prime Minister of Canada Stéphane Jobin, Ambassador of Canada to Ethiopia
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