August 16, 2023
Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support (ECNAS) expresses its profound dismay by the Ethiopian government’s ongoing military campaign in the Amhara region and the just declared state of emergency. While recognizing the importance of a strong and united national army, ECNAS is disheartened by the federal government’s impulsive and imprudent decision to dissolve regional security forces through an ill-timed and flawed process. Ensuring peace and law and order throughout the country and building trust in the federal government should have been prerequisites prior to dismantling regional security forces.
There are credible reports that the dissolution of regional special forces particularly targeted the Amhara region while the policy remains to be implemented in other regions of the country. Most importantly, nine months after the Pretoria agreement, the disarmament and demobilization of the TPLF forces has not taken place to this day. These are major sources of legitimate anger and deep concern for the Amhara people both for historical reasons and more so the recent untold atrocities and colossal destruction perpetrated by TPLF forces in the region.
ECNAS is deeply troubled by the federal government’s undue failure to learn from the war with the TPLF that took hundreds of thousands of lives, disrupted economic activities and destroyed critical infrastructure, public institutions, and private property worth tens of billions of dollars in the Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions. The war that the government has now waged in the Amhara region has NO purpose other than aggravating an already bad situation further causing a humanitarian crisis in a region that massively suffered from the two-year war with the TPLF.
At this point, it is clear that the government’s claim to be fighting Amhara extremist forces is a ploy to quash the legitimate aspiration of the Amhara people to live in their own country without being subjected to ethnically-motivated killings, persecutions and evictions. The Fano, which the government is bent on destroying, are the same Amhara militia forces that were called and relied upon to fight back the TPLF aggression not long ago.
Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support (ECNAS)
The federal government’s inability to address the legitimate political and security concerns of the Amhara people and its rush to resort to force has inevitably forced the Fano, a vanguard of grassroot Amhara movement, to turn into a resistance army. The Fano movement has in a short time galvanized many in the Amhara region and beyond, taking numerous parts of the region under its control, including the major cities.
It is not hard to predict the consequences of this development if the government continues to quash the legitimate protest and aspiration of the Amhara people by force. It will lead to unimaginable loss of human lives and destruction of economic, cultural and historical assets, as evidenced by the recent indiscriminate use of drones and heavy artillery by government forces on civilian targets, as reported by the international media. Already, the government has further engaged in the arrest, torture and killings of the Amhara youth, journalists and activists— including members of parliament—in the region and beyond, on trumped up charges.
However, it is also important to underscore that a military action of impunity, far from ensuring a lasting peace in the region, will cause more insecurity and invite more popular uprising that could have grave consequences beyond the region—which is already suffering from multiple political and humanitarian crisis.
Considering the dire situation facing the Amhara population and the potential repercussions of the government’s actions on the nation’s long-term political stability and national unity, ECNAS demands that the Ethiopian government promptly:
1. Withdraw the military from the Amhara region;
2. Lift the state of emergency;
3. Release all political prisoners, including Amhara activists, professors, journalists, and bloggers;
4. Halt the harassment of Amhara citizens nationwide, particularly in Addis Ababa and beyond;
5. Stop its discriminatory actions against the Amhara;
6. Start negotiation with all stakeholders in the Amhara region for the establishment of a transitional government in the Amhara region; and
7. Pursue a peaceful and sustainable resolution to the ongoing crisis in the Amhara region and throughout the country.
Peace, Unity, and Love for Ethiopia!
Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support
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