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Ausnahmsweise übernehmen wir mal einen Kommentar aus einer großen deutschen Zeitung, weil zutreffend und dringlich
26.07.2018 Einsame Revolutionäre. Bernd Dörries, Süddeutsche Zeitung
Durch den Frieden zwischen Eritrea und Äthiopien eröffnet sich die einmalige Gelegenheit zur Veränderung. Auch für Europa und seine Flüchtlingskrise. Deutschland muss jetzt aktiv werden.
Als in Äthiopien im Herbst 2016 der Ausnahmezustand herrschte, als Oppositionelle erschossen oder eingesperrt wurden, reiste Angela Merkel trotzdem dorthin. Die Bundeskanzlerin mahnte Reformen an, die damals kaum jemand für möglich hielt. Jetzt werden die Reformen plötzlich angegangen, befindet sich Äthiopien in einer atemberaubenden Revolution. Es schließt mit Eritrea einen historischen Frieden und entlässt die politischen Gefangenen. Es geschieht all das, was in Deutschland schon lange gefordert wird. Und was machen Angela Merkel und die Bundesregierung? Nichts. Sie ignorieren den epochalen Wandel, tun so, als wäre nichts passiert, nicht einmal ein Telefonat von Merkel mit dem neuen äthiopischen Regierungschef Abiy Ahmed war bisher möglich: Terminschwierigkeiten, heißt es im Auswärtigen Amt.
Seit zwei Jahren sprechen die Staatengruppe G 20 und Deutschland von einem neuen Ansatz in Afrika, produzieren sie Initiativen und Programme, einen "Marshallplan für Afrika" und eine "Compact with Africa"-Initiative, bei der auch Äthiopien ein Partner ist. Das klang nach Aufbruch, von Investitionen war die Rede, von Arbeitsplätzen, die Fluchtursachen beseitigen sollen. Man sieht nun im Fall von Äthiopien und Eritrea, was von solchen Initiativen zu halten ist. Wenn es drauf ankommt, leider nur sehr wenig. Man lässt die Partner im Stich.
Aus Eritrea kommen im Verhältnis zur Bevölkerungszahl so viele Flüchtlinge nach Deutschland wie aus keinem anderen afrikanischen Land. Durch den Frieden mit Äthiopien eröffnet sich die einmalige Gelegenheit zur Veränderung. Im Auswärtigen Amt scheint man das nicht so zu sehen, man will ausgerechnet jetzt einen neuen Botschafter nach Asmara schicken, weil die Zeit des amtierenden abgelaufen ist. Andere Länder wären froh, dort in diesen Zeiten einen Mann mit guten Kontakten sitzen zu haben, Deutschland nicht.
Es gibt in Berlin offenbar keinerlei Plan dafür, wie man reagiert, wenn Veränderungen, die man jahrzehntelang gefordert hat, plötzlich eintreten. So verspielt Deutschland womöglich eine Chance, für die das Adjektiv historisch angemessen ist. Denn die Reformen in Äthiopien und vielleicht auch in Eritrea werden nur gelingen, wenn sie die versprochenen Veränderungen bringen, wenn sie im Leben der Menschen spürbar sind. Es geht um Arbeitsplätze und Perspektiven für die Zukunft - die in Äthiopien deutlich besser wirken als in vielen anderen afrikanischen Ländern.
Die neue Regierung hat die staatlichen Konzerne für Investoren geöffnet. Warum beteiligt sich Deutschland nicht? Die deutsche Privatwirtschaft traute sich bisher kaum, in Afrika zu investieren. Warum also gibt die Bundesregierung nicht jenen Konzernen, an denen sie beteiligt ist, einen Schubs? Warum verzettelt sich die Deutsche Bahn mit der Paketzustellung in Lappland statt eine Strecke in Äthiopien zu betreiben? Warum investiert die Telekom nicht in ein Land mit 100 Millionen Einwohnern, einen Zukunftsmarkt? Einer muss den Anfang machen, zeigen, dass sich in Afrika auch Geld verdienen lässt.
Der jüngste Gedanke der Bundesregierung zu Afrika war es, einen EU-Kommissar für den Kontinent zu schaffen, obwohl es nicht an Ministerien und Sonderbeauftragten mangelt, die Pläne und Initiativen für Afrika entwickeln. Aber warum fährt in diesen historischen Tagen niemand hin? Oder greift zumindest zum Telefon?
Große Emotionen beim Staatsbesuch des eritreischen Präsidenten
„Die Mauer aus Stein ist gefallen!“ Premierminister Abiy Ahmed am 14.07.2018
Bei der Begegnung gestern zwischen Präsident Isaias und PM Abiy waren so viele Emotionen im Spiel, dass die beiden Männer sich "grosser Bruder" und "junger Bruder" nannten. "Du bist der Visionär und Du hast es eingeleitet, und kann ich Dir nur mit Rat und Tat beiseite stehen", sagte Isaias. Und der jüngere sagte "Ja, grosser Bruder, ich höre zu und folge gern Deinem Rat". Präsident Isaias fügte in seiner Rede beim Emfang in Hawassa hinzu: "Wer fortan von zwei verschiedenen Völkern aus zwei unterschiedlichen Ländern redet, ist naiv". PM Abiy sagte auch "zwei Länder, ein Volk".
Major Dawit Kiros, ehemaliger Gouverneur von Eritrea zu Dergs Zeit und erznationalistischer äthiopischer Aktivist, sagte gestern aus Namibia zu VoA Amharisch: „Als ich das sah und hörte, bekam ich Tränen in die Augen". So ging es wahrscheinlich vielen Äthiopiern und Eritreern rund um die Welt. Eine Dame, die dem Präsidenten Isaias aus „Dankbarkeit und Liebe zu Eritreern“ einen goldenen Ring schenkte und auf einem ETV Video vom Menelik Palast zwischen Isaias und Abiy zu sehen ist, konnte ihre Emotionen nicht mehr verbergen und weinte ergiebig. Sie drückte es für tausende Andere aus.
PM Abbiy nutzte auch die Gelegenheit und richtete erstmals in seiner Amtszeit ein paar Worte an die „Störenfriede": "Seht euch an, was Liebe und Frieden bewirken kann; hört auf mit dem, was ihr da treibt und macht mit. Wenn nicht, wir sind auch nur Menschen und werden handeln müssen". Dies dürfte insbesondere an Hardliner in der TPLF und einige Gefolgsleute in EPRDF und Sicherheitskräften gerichtet gewesen sein, die ethnische Konflikte schüren: Wahrscheinlich auch an eine Splittergruppe der OLF, die vor einigen Tagen in Wollega kämpfend und mit vielen Opfern in Erscheinung getreten war, wogegen die „offizielle“ OLF einen „einseitigen Waffenstillstand“ erklärte. .
28.07.2018 Tigray Committed to Rapprochement b/n Ethiopia, Eritrea. ENA
The people of Tigray are ready and committed to steadfastly realize the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Deputy Chief Administrator of the region Debretsion Gebremichael said. While addressing the rally held today in Mekele in support of the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Debretsion said the region supports the ongoing normalization process. “We have long been waiting for the attained peace agreement and we are ready and committed to tangibly bring the reached agreement of peace among the people that have plenty common history,” Debretsion said. The Deputy Chief Administrator appreciated the bold initiative of leaders of both countries to restore peace and forge economic ties. “Government can be replaced by another but as people are lasting and cannot be replaced,” he said adding “people-to-people relation is crucial to ensure a prudent and lasting peace among both people and we are committed to do so.”
Some of the participants of the rally whom ENA has talked to expressed their strong support to the growing rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Mulu Hadush, who joined the rally on his wheelchair, said “nothing is beyond peace among the people of the two countries and I am here to support for further strengthening it”. Gebresilassie Hayelom, another participant of the rally, expressed delight with the recent development between Ethiopia and Eritrea. “I am happy to see that,” he said. “There will never be any conducive environment for work and development at national level unless there is peace and this must expand to people-to-people,” he added. Residents of the city gathered at Mekele stadium to display their support to the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, request the safeguard of the constitution and condemning ethnic centered attacks.
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30.6.2018 ONLF Repeats Pledge to Disrupt Ethiopian Oil Production. Ethiopia Observer
The rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front repeated its pledge to interrupt oil and gas extraction in Ethiopia’s Somali region after the Government announced plans to test crude deposits. “As long as the Somali region people don’t get autonomy and the long-standing dispute between the Somali people and the Ethiopian government is not resolved, the oil extraction is like exploitation of the people’s resource,” ONLF spokesperson Abdulkadir Hassan Adani told BBC Somali.
China’s POLY-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Ltd was set to start oil tests on June 28 and gas reserves are estimated to be 6 to 8 trillion cubic feet. There is a $4-billion plan to build a pipeline to a liquefaction plant in Djibouti. The Ogaden has been disputed for decades. In 2007, ONLF attacked a Chinese-run oilfield in the area, killing 71 Chinese and Ethiopians workers. ONLF was established in August 1984 with its headquarters in Kuwait.
The latest round of talks between Ethiopian officials and ONLF leaders were held as recently as February. ONLF welcomes Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s call for inclusive dialogue, the spokesperson said. Rebel commander Abdikarim Muse Qalbi Dhagah, arrested by the Government in August, was freed last week as part of a general amnesty for political prisoners. The Government is preparing a law to end the designation of the OLF and other groups as terrorist organizations, according to Fana Broadcasting Corporation.
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25.5.2018 Ethiopia requires US$280.4 million for prioritized life-saving interventions. Addis Standard
The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners have released updated immediate humanitarian funding priorities, highlighting the most critical gaps in the Ethiopia Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP). The priorities have been established through a consultative review with Government Line Ministries, key UN and NGO partners; US$280.4 million urgently required to ensure response for the coming six months, according to a statement released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
“Through this exercise we have particularly focused on the need to further scale up response to over I million people displaced as result of conflict in the last 12 months. The Government of Ethiopia has shown commendable leadership in seeking durable solutions for this group, including already relocating several thousand people, however the need for an expanded response in current places of displacement remains high.’ Says the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie.
The prioritized interventions include support to Government to deliver emergency health and nutrition services, expand water and sanitation facilities, improve access to education, and ensure improvements in basic living conditions. `We are counting on continued donor generosity to meet the urgent humanitarian challenges facing IDPs and millions of Ethiopians yet to recover from two years of back to back drought,’ says Ms. Eziakonwa-Onochie.
Overall, the Ethiopia Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP) for 2018 seeks US$1.66 billion to address the residual effects of two years of back-to-back drought, as well as to address flooding and conflict-related displacements. The HDRP targets 7.88 million people with emergency food/cash and non-food assistance, and is currently 34 per cent funded, including $182 million from Government, $165 million of confirmed funding from donors, with further indicative pledges of $189 million.
The HDRP is presented around a three-pillared framework primarily highlighting immediate humanitarian plans and requirements, along with actions that will enable the current response, and reduce humanitarian requirements over the course of 2018 and for years to come.
“The Government of Ethiopia is now taking concrete steps to implement a disaster risk management (DRM) approach to address recurrent humanitarian needs across the country. While we strive to move in that direction, today, we still need the support of our international partners to reach millions of drought-affected people, and those recently displaced by conflict and flooding,” said Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC).
Zum Monatsende ein ausgewogener aber hoffnungsfroher Beitrag über Premier Abiy Ahmeds ersten Monat im Amt (unsere Hervorhebungen):
27.4.2018 Ethiopia’s new leader, Abiy Ahmed, draws red lines on graft and calls for term limits. OPride
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been in power for 25 days. In that time, he has visited five of Ethiopia’s nine ethnic-based states. Call it charm offensive or a victory lap. In nearly all of his outings, Abiy met with locals, listened to their grievances and responded to at times angry questions from the audience. He also gave a wide-ranging speech in the capital, Addis Ababa to an audience of 25,000 people. He hosted dinner with leaders of opposition parties, including those who were released from prison only a month earlier.
He conferred with business leaders and urged them not only to boost their contributions to the economy but also aid his government’s fight against organized corruption by refusing to pay bribes for services and rights they are entitled to by law. He addressed a high-level African security forum. This week he hosted Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In short, Prime Minister Abiy has given a lot of campaign-style stump speeches. In a way, it seems as though he is campaigning for what is ahead. He is the commander-in-chief but real power remains concentrated in the hands of hardliners in the military-security establishment. It makes sense then that the new leader is seeking popular support to strengthen his hands as he sets out to reform this deeply entrenched system.
That is not all. As laid out in his inaugural speech, national unity and peace are central to all of his speeches. There is a reason for that. Abiy took over a country riven by ethnic and political divisions and tensions. Nearly three decades of dominance by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, hailing from a community making up merely 6 percent of the country’s population, has resulted in growing resentment, which has given way to ethnic discord and an ethnicized nationalist fervor. Abiy is not calling his compatriots to shed their ethnic heritage but to transcend it to forge national unity so as to promote their common good.
More than anything else though, the new premier offered the people of Ethiopia hope – something that’s been in short supply under the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which ruled the country with a top-down and iron-fisted approach since 1991. He even defended his speechmaking in Obama-esque “not just words” style, saying words do matter and one cannot govern without ideas and a political vision.
Inevitably for the young leader, who inherited a herculean task of political transformation at only 41, the high stakes public engagement also mean some inevitable gaffes. He has angered ethnic Amharas by comments he made in Tigray; and his own Oromo constituency by comments he made in the Amhara state. On April 24, he gave the nation’s highest civilian medal of honor and a diploma to his predecessor at an emotional honoring at his office.
The unprecedented recognition angered many who felt that Hailemariam Desalegn, who oversaw nearly six years of violent security crackdown and the internal displacement of 1.3 million people, should face justice and be held accountable for his role as well as complicity.
The vocal diaspora, including those who opposed Abiy’s ascent from the beginning, have seized on these comments. He’s been accused of many things, including suggestions that he’s a crowd pleaser, who is willing to say anything to appease an audience; he is inexperienced; he is not Oromo or Oromo nationalist enough; he is superficial; he is just another puppet of the establishment; a breeze of fresh air, inspirational, etcetera.
To be clear, his gaffes in Tigray and Amhara were unwarranted and avoidable. But, justified or not, the avalanche of the ensuing controversy means a lot of important comments have been lost— some in translation, others in the muddied backlash.
First, Prime Minister Abiy has distinguished himself in one very important way: His style. He comes off as intentional, patient, personable and not too wedded to generic party-speak. Most importantly, he listens and is attentive to public opinion, directly clarifying even his gaffes.
When he went to Gondar and Bahir Dar, for example, he faced residents angered by comments he made in Tigray which appeared to downplay the issue of Welkait-Tegede region—a bone of contention between the two northern states. Instead of playing defensive or doubling down, as EPRDF leaders before him did so often, he acknowledged that his comments, as they were released to public by the media, lacked the proper context in which they were uttered. And he gently told the audience—clearly aware of the online backlash—even if he made a grave mistake, per the Ethiopian culture, the people of Gondar and local elders should offer wisdom and advice before resorting to criticism. He allowed himself to be vulnerable—a rarity for an EPRDF leader and for that matter unheard of from previous Ethiopian leaders.
Again, on April 26 in Hawasa, the capital of the vast Southern region noted for its huge diversity of culture represented under one roof, he defended the decision to honor his predecessor, a subject of ongoing rancor. In so doing, he offered his thoughts on an issue that continues to bedevil many African nations: Term limits.
“The main goal of recognizing the former prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was to send a teaching message to those who still consider leaving power a question of life and death that such an honor awaits them should they decide to voluntarily step down,” he told a cheering audience.
“We are hearing that the recognition has upset those whose loved ones were killed during his tenure. Both as a party and as a government we have apologized for what happened. We apologize again. We are ready to do all that is necessary and all that we can to help those who were adversely affected by the conflict.
As a person though, let alone ordering the killings of individuals, Mr. Hailemariam is a kindhearted person who sat and wept with us when people were killed, be it in Oromia or other states.
At a time when so many prefer to die than leave office way past their retirement age, his decision to resign was a great lesson.
Even though this is not yet written into our constitution, from now on, a prime minister should not be in office for more than two terms. We will make sure this is part of the constitution as well.”
At least half a dozen African leaders have evaded term limits since 2012 by amending their country’s constitutions. Such maneuvers have led to episodes of unrest in Senegal, DRC, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda. Currently, 18 African nations don’t have term limits and a third of them “are facing armed conflict,” according to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. The Horn of Africa is notorious for lacking term limits. This is why it is remarkable to hear Africa’s youngest leader calling for constitutional term limits in a parliamentary system, which as Ethiopia’s ambassador to Egypt, Taye Atske-Selassie, pointed out on Twitter is “unique and probably unheard of.”
Ethiopia is due for a national election in two years. Abiy has already pledged to step aside should his party lose at the ballot box in 2020. Granted that much work remains to be done to reform the electoral law, to make the electoral board free from the influence of the incumbent party and to ensure that there is a level playing field for the opposition, Abiy is hitting all the right notes. As with all his other promises, if he follows through, the young premier is poised to transform Ethiopia, which had its first peaceful transfer of power in 2018 in all of its history.
In his speeches, Abiy has identified key priority areas. These include addressing mounting public grievances, fighting corruption, and preventing wastage of resources. Toward that end, the new leader has drawn red lines for all public servants. “The public is fed up with graft and maladministration,” he told parliament earlier this month. “This is a red line that…will not be tolerated.” He has also vowed to crackdown on the lucrative black market for foreign currency exchange. This was reinforced by the appointment of a close ally at the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority, one of the most corrupt and inefficient agencies in the country.
He has also called for judicial independence and promised to make the national army accountable to the constitution, not the governing party.
“We will do everything necessary to ensure the justice system – which have been a source of our people’s disillusionment—would work in such a way that their independence and professional capacity are assured,” he told Addis Ababa residents on April 16.
In the same speech, Abiy also hinted at possible plans to amend the country’s repressive laws, saying: “We will work hard to stop discrimination and injustice being perpetrated under the guise of law and order. Legislations that have been the cause of human rights violations and injustice will be assessed and amended based on public input.”
In another stunning comment on April 26, Prime Minister Abiy told Hawasa residents, “there are U.S.-based media owners who speak about, shout, advocate for and worry about Ethiopia’s democratization. I want to make this clear in front of you all: We want these individuals to have their headquarters in Addis Ababa.”
For a country that was only a month earlier talked of as if on the brink of chaos, the growing sense of hope, of a national renewal is a remarkable turnaround. Abiy has his critics, mostly from the vocal diaspora, who question his decision to prioritize public rallies and speeches rather than walling himself in his office and “governing.” The fact is he needs public support to face his nemesis, the entrenched establishing accused of overseeing the organized corruption and violations of human rights. After all, it is protests by the public that brought him to power.
One fact is indisputable: Ethiopia is undergoing a significant transformation. Abiy’s young government has inspired tremendous hope. He faces outsized expectations and near insurmountable challenges to reconcile between EPRDF’s developmental state model and public demands for real, democratic reforms. Transitions seldom follow straight lines. But, so far, beyond his critics singular focus on a few gaffes, Abiy is saying all the right things.
He is expected to wrap up the first phase of his national tour with a stop in Bale in southern Ethiopia in the coming days. By now, he has heard enough public grievances. He should soon turn his attention to cleaning up the bureaucracy and pushing his party to embrace change.
He will need some time and a continued public support and goodwill to deliver on these and other promises.
22.4.2018 Ethiopia Building Resilient Economy to Suppress Adverse Effect of Climate Change: Deputy PM Demeke. ENA
Ethiopia is taking measures to suppress the adverse effect of climate change and build resiliency at community and national level, and end up emergency drought response, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen said.
The Deputy PM has briefed UN member states in New York yesterday on the current humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and approaches that are underway to end emergency drought response and build resilient economy.
Ethiopia has been registering a double digit economic growth over the last 15 consecutive years and is among the few African countries believed to take the lead in political, economic and social transformation of their respective sub-regions, Demeke stated.
This is a clear indication that Ethiopia is on the right track to achieve the vision of reaching a middle income country by 2025, he elaborated.
“Despite an impressive economic growth over the decade, Ethiopia because of its geographic location and adverse agro-ecology remains vulnerable to a range of natural and human induced hazards, related risks and disasters,” the Deputy PM pointed out.
Demeke added that humanitarian assistance could save the life of drought affected people; however, it could not be sustainable solution as climate change aggravates the situation.
Noting that climate change induced hazards and related disasters are expected to rise in the years to come and in the future, he stated that government and partners have agreed the new way of working in which short-term humanitarian assistance and medium to long-term development oriented programs.
“As a result Ethiopia has been making a paradigm shift from crisis management to disaster risk management, mainly focusing on disaster risk reduction development programs,” Demeke pointed out.
Ethiopia disaster risk management has shown a strong political will to address and tackle the adverse climate change effects, he added.
Recalling that Ethiopia has developed an effective national policy and strategy on disaster risk management in 2013, he said “this strategy aims to reduce and eventually prevent and mitigate disaster risk by building a process of mainstreaming disaster risk management policy.”
According to him, livestock development and large scale commercial farms to create job opportunities are among the development programs that are playing critical role in reducing risks in the lowlands, where recurrent drought occurs.
National Disaster Risk Management Commissioner, Mitiku Kassa said Ethiopia with its development partners have designed the largest Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) in Sub-Saharan Africa to meet the needs of 7.9 million people.
The PSNP aims at preventing household as depletion and building community assets through public works focusing on soil and water conservation, Mitiku added.
These development programs are few examples of existing development interventions implemented throughout drought affected areas to build resiliency, the commissioner said, and stressed “they should be strengthened and supported with multi-year financing from partners and the government.”
UN Resident Coordinator, Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie said Ethiopia is one of the humanitarian assistance recipient countries, where you see the government taking the lion’s share of the contribution.
Noting that 1.6 billion USD is required in which most of it is for relief, the Resident Coordinator said “the largest contributor to the appeal so far is the government with 182 million USD committed.”
“The Ethiopian government has stepped out and made a significant financial contribution. This is unique and it is quite unusual in our humanitarian world,” she4 appreciated.
Ganz aktuell am 31.3.2018: Oppositionsparteien und Zivilgesellschaft zur Amtseinführung des neuen Präsidenten Dr. Abiy Ahmed (OPDO) am 2. Mai eingeladen
Näheres unter Politics, Justice, Human Rights
20.3.2018 Mutual benefits of Ethiopia’s refugee policy. Tsion Tadesse Abebe, ISS Today
Investing in refugees means investing in Ethiopians – and this is setting a global example.
Ethiopia is the second largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. It is also fast becoming the most progressive on the continent in responding to forced displacement. If properly implemented, Ethiopia’s version of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework – which combines development and humanitarian aid – will benefit both refugees and host communities.
Ethiopia hosts over 900 000 refugees, 75% of them originating from South Sudan and Somalia. The rest come from Eritrea, Sudan and 15 other countries. In 2017, 110 000 new arrivals were registered. If the current trend continues, the refugee population will cross the 1 million mark in 2018.
Drivers of forced displacement range from conflict in South Sudan to ongoing economic deprivation and open-ended military service in Eritrea as well as conflict and conflict-induced food insecurity in Somalia.
Donors and politicians are praising Ethiopia’s resolve to transform its refugee protection policy
Ethiopia’s commitment to protect refugees is further strengthened by its nine pledges made at the Summit on Refugees and Migrants hosted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016. The summit’s New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants is considered a milestone for global solidarity on refugees’ protection. It sets out key elements of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and lays the groundwork for the Global Compact on Refugees. (...)
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Zur Zeit ändert sich die Nachrichtenlage in Äthiopien so schnell, dass wir mit dem Auswählen und Verarbeiten der Meldungen für unsere Homepage kaum folgen können. An dieser Stelle werden wir die Nachrichten weiterhin alle 2 - 3 Tage aktualisieren. Der täglichen Lawine der politischen Nachrichten und Kommentare können wir hier allerdings nicht gerecht werden. Aktuell haben wir seit dem 20.2.2018 hier keine Meldungen zur Politik mehr eingestellt. Wer fortlaufende Updates zu diesem Bereich sucht, findet aktuelle Meldungen, Analysen und Blogs auf unserer facebook Seite: https://www.facebook.com/deutschaethiopischerverein
27.2.2018 46 Ethiopians to return after illegally entering Zambia. Xinhua
The Ethiopian government on Monday said 46 Ethiopians that had been imprisoned in Zambia for illegal entry will arrive in Ethiopia on Tuesday morning. Speaking exclusively to Xinhua, Meles Alem, Spokesperson of Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the 46 Ethiopians were en-route to South Africa under the arrangement of traffickers before they were detained. The 46 will be repatriated with the help of Ethiopian embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe which also covers Zambia where Ethiopia doesn't have an embassy.
"Ethiopia has formed a national steering committee to combat human trafficking chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen," Alem said, adding the committee comprises of religious figures, NGOs and regional governments to educate the community on the dangers of human trafficking. He said Ethiopian migrants pay up to 5,000 US dollars to human traffickers to reach South Africa.
Despite a growing economy and public awareness campaigns on the dangers of human trafficking by the Ethiopian government, it is estimated that thousands of Ethiopians are trafficked to South Africa annually where they are mainly engaged in the informal economy.
29.1.2018 UN Chief warns world hunger on the rise. Addis Standard
United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has warned that hunger is on the rise the world over with Africa registering the highest rates. He was speaking during an event organized on the margins of the African Union Summit under the theme “Renewed Partnership to End Hunger in African by 2025 – Five Years Later: Taking Stock of Progress and Lessons in Light of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The Secretary General said agricultural and livestock productivity in Africa was under threat largely due to conflict and climate change. He added, “climatic shocks, environmental degradation, crop and livestock price collapse and conflict are all interlinked”. Against this backdrop, Mr. Guterres urged governments to adopt national agricultural policies and investment plans that focus not only on agricultural sector development but on poverty, hunger, and resilience to climate change.
“Climate change adaptation should be promoted as an integral part of conflict prevention, with special attention to sustainable agriculture and pastoralist and semi-pastoralist livelihoods. It is important to highlight that the majority of undernourished people in Africa live in countries affected by conflict,” he said. The UN Chief stated that sustainable and inclusive agricultural growth was vital to achieve both SDG1 on poverty and SDG2 on hunger and that it also influences many other goals.
In the same light, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said, “Hunger-fighting initiatives in Africa need to be deepened and broadened to put the continent back on track to eliminating the scourge of undernutrition.” “Achieving zero hunger in our lifetime is still possible,” he added, noting however that this will require a redoubling of current efforts and a push for political commitment and timely concrete actions.
In his remarks, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, said his government has made significant progress in fighting hunger. “In recent years we have managed to overcome food security challenges by increasing our domestic purchasing power” and that their use of “indigenous approaches” will continue until goal of zero hunger is achieved.
The event was jointly organized by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture and the African Union Commission, with support from FAO and the ECA. Other participants included President Alpha Condé of Guinea; former heads of state; African Ministers of Agriculture; leaders of civil society organizations and the private sector. ECA
29.12.2017 Number of drought hit People in need of aid to decrease - Commission. Waltainfo
The National Disaster Prevention Commission indicated that number of people in drought hit areas in need of food aid is expected to decrease since January. Public Relation Director of the Commission, Abebe Zewde, told Walta that it is possible to know the number of people in need of food aid since coming January as the data for the main harvest season is accomplished. The outcome from the meher, the main farming season in Ethiopia, harvest is encouraging and shall contribute to significantly decrease the number of people in need of food aid.
There are about 8.5 million people in need of food aid at present but this number is expected to decrease in the coming months, he noted. Abebe indicated that the aid supply for people dwelling in drought hit areas is well underway since last July. About 15 kilograms of grain, nutritious food, edible oil and other basic supports are being provided in about 8 rounds so far, he underscored. This aid supply scheme included those displaced due to the conflict around the border between Oromia and Somali Regional states, he added. The aid supply is being in collaboration with all stakeholders including the Ministry of Health and Education. The aid scheme shall be strengthened to the level of rehabilitating people displaced from the two regional states.
28.11.2017 Ethiopia strengthens initiatives to accommodate refugees. Xinhua
The Ethiopian government on Tuesday launched a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), which aims to transform the socio-economic condition of refugees presently relocated in the country. The newly introduced CRRF, together with the recently launched civil registration program that was launched by the east African country, is expected to benefit some of the 890,000 refugees that were relocated to Ethiopia mainly from its neighboring countries such as South Sudan, Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia in 26 refugee camps across the country. The CRRF, which was launched in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa with representatives of UN agencies and other non-governmental organizations, is said to be part of the Ethiopian government's plan that envisages to improve the socio-economic conditions of refugees through the provision of education, trainings and employment opportunities.
Fitsum Arega, Commissioner of Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), said during the launching that one among the initiatives incorporated through the newly introduced framework is the creation of employment opportunities through Ethiopia's industrial parks development projects. According to Arega, the constructions of three industrial parks are currently underway in different parts of Ethiopia, with particular emphasis given to helping significant number of refugees through job creation. (…)
Prior to the CRRF, the east African country had also launched a civil registration package for refugees, which includes registration of refugees' vital life events, including birth, death, marriage and divorce, directly with national authorities. Civil registration offices were also established in each of the 26 refugee camps, as well as in the seven locations with a high concentration of refugees in the country, so as to accommodate the civil registration package. According to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), civil registration package for refugees is a "historic first and a ground-breaking development for refugee protection in Ethiopia, not previously realized over decades."
More than 70,000 refugee children born in Ethiopia over the last decade have not had their births registered and will soon be issued with birth certificates, according to UNHCR. Accordingly, children born before the new law came into force can also obtain a birth certificate retroactively, it was noted. According to UNHCR, the civil registration package for refugees is one of the nine pledges made at the Leaders' Summit held in New York in September 2016.
Other commitments included to grant work permits to refugees, strengthen access to education, to allow a significant number of refugees to reside outside of refugee camps and to locally integrate long-staying refugees, the statement indicated. The framework, among other things, aims to enhance refugee self-reliance and inclusion, provide refugees with better possibilities for solutions to their plights, and ease pressure on host countries.
As the Ethiopian government is presently scrutinizing a draft proclamation which allows refugees to live out of camps, the country has received 103,263 new refugees in the first ten months of 2017, pushing the total number of refugees living in the country to 889,071, according to UNHCR. According to Kisut Gebreegziabher, Assistant Communication Officer at UNHCR, the newly arrived refugees are mainly from South Sudan, Eritreans and Somalia, respectively. The draft proclamation is expected to be presented to the Ethiopian House of People's Representatives for approval in the coming months.
19.10.2017 Why can’t booming Ethiopia handle this year’s drought? James Jeffrey, IRIN
Ethiopia can’t seem to escape the blight of drought, no matter how hard it tries. Despite impressive economic growth and decades of capacity building, it faces another humanitarian crisis as one of the worst droughts in living memory scorches the Horn of Africa.At the beginning of the year, 5.6 million Ethiopians were in need of food aid, primarily in the south and southeast of the country. That number recently jumped to 8.5 million. An additional headache is that this year’s response by the government and international partners is proving less decisive than last year’s effort. In 2016, more than 10 million people were reached, food aid poured in, and the government spent hundreds of millions of its own money averting a major humanitarian catastrophe.
Why are the numbers in need increasing?
The January estimate of 5.6 million came from the government’s Humanitarian Requirements Document, an annual assessment in collaboration with international partners detailing Ethiopia’s humanitarian needs. The revised figure followed spring rains in April that petered out too soon, taking any hopes of revival with them. “The situation is unprecedented,” said Sam Wood, Save the Children’s humanitarian director in Ethiopia. “That was the third failed rainy season in a row, so it’s a cumulative effect of failed rains hitting vulnerable communities. “Ethiopia has made lots of progress, but when you have a problem of this sort of scale, duration and scope, any system is going to be overwhelmed.”
Adding to concerns is the chance the Hagaya/Deyr short rains (October to December), accounting for up to 35 percent of annual rainfall in the southeast, could prove a dud too due to the continuing El Niño effect. The current humanitarian bill is $1.26 billion. So far only $334 million has been received.
Why the cash shortfall?
At the beginning of the year, the UN warned that 20 million people were at risk of starvation in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and northeast Nigeria. “Aid budgets from donor countries have already committed most of their funding responding to other conflicts or disasters for this year, and this resulted in less funding for drought-affected people in Ethiopia,” said Geno Teofilo with the Norwegian Refugee Council. “There is also donor fatigue regarding droughts in East Africa,” he added. Others note how droughts don’t seize the public imagination to the same extent as disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, meaning there’s less motivation to delve into one’s pockets.
This year, the Ethiopian government has committed $147 million compared to last year’s unprecedented $700 million. “The government has many development demands,” Mitiku Kassa, Ethiopia’s state minister of agriculture and commissioner for its National Disaster Risk Management Commission, told IRIN. “If we divert too many funds to humanitarian needs, it will be difficult to continue growth, so we have to request support from the international community.’’
What are the consequences on the ground?
Pastoralists in Ethiopia’s Somali Region, bearing the brunt of this drought, have lost hundreds of thousands of sheep, goats, and camels. Often whole flocks have died, representing a family’s entire livelihood, leaving people no choice but to retreat to makeshift settlements, surviving on aid from the government and international agencies.A survey conducted by the International Organization for Migration between May and June 2017 identified 264 of these sites containing around 577,711 internally displaced persons, or IDPs.
Overwhelmed by numbers and additionally challenged by diminishing funds, aid agencies began cutting food rations and faced running out of money entirely this July, until last minute donations from Britain, the EU, and the United States guaranteed food shipments through to the end of the year.
At the same time, the World Food Programme was able to increase its humanitarian support from 1.7 million people to 3.3 million in the Somali region. For now, deaths on a large scale have been limited to animals, though infant malnutrition rates are increasing to dangerous levels, accompanied by reports of cholera outbreaks.
How is the Ethiopian government handling the situation?
The government has faced accusations it played down the severity of the crisis to keep the country from looking bad internationally. It was too conscious, critics say, of protecting the narrative of Ethiopia’s remarkable economic renaissance over the last decade – one that has enticed foreign investors. “Since 2015, we have been working with international aid agencies, making assessments together and disclosing the numbers of beneficiaries,” Kassa, the agriculture minister, hit back. “So, nothing can be hidden. The government has recognised how serious the situation is.”
Some aid workers in the Somali Region, however, have spoken about animosity between the federal government in Addis Ababa and the semi-autonomous regional government, resulting in a disconnect that has increased the risks faced by the vulnerable. But even if national and regional governments were in perfect harmony, the logistical challenges would remain huge. The Somali Region is hot and arid, with few good roads and infrastructure, and has a significant nomadic population. That makes it harder for local and international aid agencies to conduct accurate assessments to ensure effective action.
What else is having an impact on the response?
Earlier this year, inter-community conflict broke out between ethnic Somali and Oromo in the Somali Region, resulting in dozens of deaths and more than 50,000 people displaced. It became unsafe for smaller aid agencies to move around. On top of all this, Ethiopia hosts more than 838,000 refugees from Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea and other crisis-ridden countries.
Meanwhile, although the Ethiopian government felt confident enough to end a state of emergency earlier this year, following more than a year of political protests and bloodshed, discontent hasn’t disappeared. Grievances over land reallocation and ethnic federalism – both factors during recent clashes in the Somali Region – as well as government corruption, the lack of jobs, freedom of expression, and political transparency, all heave beneath the surface.
While both the United States and Britain – two of the biggest donors – have continued supporting Ethiopia’s humanitarian needs so far, both their governments face continuing pressure to reduce overseas aid. US President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint promises to slash American contributions to international aid institutions, including the WFP.
Is climate change the real bogeyman?
Pastoralists in their seventies and eighties who have lived with frequent droughts say this one is the worst in their lifetimes – and they aren’t the only ones to notice.
“While working in Central America, East Africa, and the Middle East, I’ve always talked to elder people, especially those in agriculture, and the message from them is consistent,” Wood said. “Weather patterns are becoming less predictable and when rain comes it is too much or too little.” When natural disasters strike, the situation of vulnerable populations can quickly deteriorate into a food and nutrition crisis.
What needs to be done?
The people leading the main aid organisations say the public must be kept aware of the drought, to try to keep money rolling in. “A humanitarian need is a humanitarian need even if it is not as dramatic as other disasters,” said Wood. “If we don’t scale up and sustain the response, then everything that came before comes to naught.”
Yet even if resources can be found to cover this drought and its fallout, building capacity and livelihood security for the future is another matter entirely. It can take pastoralists who have lost more than 40 percent of their animals more than seven years to rebuild flocks. As a result, international agencies and the government face having to restock flocks or provide pastoralists with new livelihoods – further stretching budgets.
Due to the increasing frequency of droughts, both the Ethiopian government and UN agencies are increasingly focusing on investing in strengthening people’s resilience. In Ethiopia’s northern drought-prone Tigray Region, irrigation schemes, fruit nurseries, and health centres are boosting productivity, increasing incomes and improving nutrition so that rural people can better withstand natural disasters. “The government’s goal is to create climate resilience within the context of sustainable development,” said Kassa. “Then, one day, we will be able to deal with drought without any appeals.”
Development and Humanitarian Issues
29.9.2017 Floods Leave Thousands Homeless in Ethiopia. Adane Bikila, allAfrica.com
Extensive flooding has displaced more than 93 000 people in crisis-torn Ethiopia. The Ambeira zone in Afar region, special zones surrounding the capital Addis Ababa , Jima, South-east Shewa and South-west Shewa in the Oromia region have been worst affected by the incessant rains. It is estimated that a total of 18 628 households have been affected in the East African country.
In the background of the recent floods, civil unrest along the Oromo and Somali border, which stretches more than 1 000km, has complicated the situation. Ethnic clashes have led to the displacement of more than 45 000 households (225 000 people) from Oromia and Somali regions, including into the neighboring Hareri region. "The flood situation is happening in different areas than the conflict. The capacity of the response is being outstretched due to the simultaneity of the two disasters," said a spokesperson of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society.
The organisation has deployed teams to conduct emergency needs assessments and distributions of emergency shelter in flood-affected areas. It has also begun distribution of relief to communities displaced by conflict. Ambulances have been provided to evacuate and offer first aid services to those wounded. Ehiopia, Africa's second biggest country by population (102 million), is also enduring food shortages and an outbreak of cholera that has killed 800 people in 2017.
Development and Humanitarian Issues
31.8.2017 Ethiopia reaffirms its open-door refugee policy. Xinhua
Ethiopia's Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday reaffirmed the country's open-door policy for refugees that are flocking into Ethiopia mainly from its unsettled neighboring countries. Presently hosting more than 850,000 refugees from 21 countries with South Sudanese, Somalis, Eritreans, and Sudanese making up the majority, Hirut Zemene, Ethiopian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, affirmed the open-door policy. Zemene, during her discussion with Rosemary McCarney, UNHCR'S Executive Committee member and Canadian Ambassador to the UN, on joint efforts underway to address the refugee crisis in the region, indicated that Ethiopia has managed to sustain national development together with addressing issues of refugee.
The East African country has registered an additional 54,107 refugees in just the first five months of 2017, according to recent figure by the Ethiopian Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA). Zemene has also outlined her country's commitment to effectively implement the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) in collaboration with UNHCR to bring lasting solution to the refugee crisis in the region.
Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, during his recent visit to Ethiopia, also praised efforts made by the Ethiopian government in handling the refugee crisis. Grandi, who attended the World Refugee Day commemorative ceremony held in Ethiopia's Gameblla regional state, which hosts majority of the South Sudanese refugees, said "Ethiopia is a very good model of how a country with limited resources and a great challenge of its own keeps its doors open."
Development and Humanitarian Issues
25.7.2017 Ethiopia Food Security Outlook, June 2017 to January 2018. ReliefWeb.int
Emergency outcomes likely to persist in southeastern pastoral areas
- The greatest areas of concern in Ethiopia are in Dollo and Korahe zones in Somali Region where poor households are expected to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through January 2018. Food assistance delivery by both WFP and the Somali Regional Government has been interrupted since mid-May, and if it does not resume by the end of July, some of the worst-affected households are expected to move into Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) and levels of acute malnutrition and mortality may rise further.
Following the below-average performance of the Gu/Genna rainy season after the failed previous season, other southeastern pastoral areas are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through at least November due to the poor regeneration of pasture and water resources that have negatively impacted livestock productivity and household income. The forecasted above-average 2017 Deyr rainy season is expected to lead to gradual improvements in livestock body conditions and productivity, improving household food and income access.
- The 2017 Belg harvests are estimated to be below average in most Belg-producing areas of the country, which will lead to a significant reduction in household food access. Late planting, particularly in lowland areas of SNNPR, has led to a two-month delay in the harvest. Poor households in portions of SNNPR, eastern Oromia, and northeastern Amhara are likely to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through the lean period through the end of September.
- Pledged and available resources for PSNP and humanitarian assistance, associated with the Ethiopia Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD), is only expected through the end of June. Although additional funding has been committed to WFP and JEOP, specific funding levels, timing of deliveries, and the number of beneficiaries that will be able to be reached are currently unclear. In Somali Region, where the needs are the highest, the numbers exceed the planned beneficiary amounts, and emergency assistance will be required through at least early 2018. In JEOP operational areas of Oromia, Amhara, Tigray, and SNNPR, the needs for emergency food assistance are expected to decline in October with the Meher harvest.
Full report of Famine Early Warning Network: http://www.fews.net/east-africa/ethiopia/food-security-outlook/june-2017
- Development and Humanitarian Issues -
22.6.2017 Somalia: Schwelle zum humanitären Notfall überschritten. Aktion gegen den Hunger
Die Situation in Somalia hat sich dramatisch verschlechtert. Die Schwelle zum humanitären Notfall sei längst überschritten, warnte die internationale humanitäre Organisation Aktion gegen den Hunger am Donnerstag. "Immer mehr Kinder unter fünf Jahren werden in unsere Ernährungsprogramme überwiesen. Die Aufnahmerate hat sich gegenüber dem Jahresbeginn mehr als verdoppelt", sagte Aurélie Férial, Leiterin der regionalen Programme in Ost- und Westafrika.
"Die Familien, die in unseren Behandlungszentren ankommen, haben absolut gar nichts mehr." In der Region Bakool an der Grenze zu Äthiopien ist die Situation besonders kritisch: 22 Prozent sind mangelernährt, mehr als fünf Prozent gelten als schwer akut mangelernährt. Diese gravierendste Form der Mangelernährung kann tödliche Folgen haben. In einigen Regierungsbezirken sind die Zahlen sogar noch höher: Dort betragen sie bis zu 30 Prozent bei der allgemeinen Mangelernährung und acht Prozent bei der schwer akuten Mangelernährung. "Die Weltgesundheitsorganisation spricht von einem humanitären Notfall, wenn 15 Prozent mangelernährt sind. Zwei bis drei Prozent bei schwerer akuter Mangelernährung gelten als alarmierend. Diese Werte werden in Teilen Somalias deutlich überschritten", so Aurélie Férial.
Vier Jahr Dürre, Armut und Unsicherheit haben über 1,8 Millionen Menschen in die Flucht getrieben. Jeder sechste in Somalia hat kein Heim mehr. Viele sind vollkommen mittellos. Trotzdem fließt die internationale Hilfe nur zögerlich. Von den benötigten Geldern wurden bislang 37 Prozent bereitgestellt. "Wie viele unserer Partner müssen auch wir Leistungen reduzieren, obwohl der Bedarf riesig ist und nicht von alleine verschwinden wird", kritisierte Férial. "Vor der akuten Hungerkrise starb eines von sieben Kindern vor dem fünften Lebensjahr. Wenn nicht schnell gehandelt wird, wird es noch viel mehr Todesfälle geben.“ Aktion gegen den Hunger ruft Staaten und Geldgeber dazu auf, endlich entschlossen zu handeln.
- Development and Humanitarian Issues -
26.5.2017 GfbV kritisiert Ablehnung von Asylbegehren verfolgter Oromo. entwicklungspolitik online, epo.de, Redaktion
Die Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV) hat kritisiert, dass immer mehr Asylbegehren von Äthiopiern trotz Folter und unmenschlicher Behandlung von politischen Gefangenen in ihrem Heimatland abgelehnt werden. "Während Inhaftierte misshandelt, gefoltert und oft einer Gehirnwäsche unterzogen werden, wird in Ablehnungsbescheiden des Bundesamtes für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF) fälschlich der Eindruck erweckt, Äthiopien sei ein Rechtsstaat", sagte GfbV-Afrikaexperte Ulrich Delius am Freitag in Göttingen.
"Es ist beschämend, wie wenig die Verfolgung der Oromo von deutscher Politik wahrgenommen wird", so Delius. "Wir protestieren entschieden dagegen, dass schon bald viele Oromo aus Deutschland abgeschoben werden sollen, obwohl sie in Äthiopien allein aufgrund ihrer ethnischen Abstammung als Terroristen angesehen werden und sie Gefahr für Leib und Leben ausgesetzt sind."
In Ablehnungsbescheiden werfe das BAMF den Oromo oft vor, ihre Verfolgung und Flucht nicht glaubwürdig mit Dokumenten zu belegen. Das sei den Oromo jedoch nur in den seltensten Fällen möglich, berichtete Delius. Denn sehr oft würden Verhaftete an geheime Orte gebracht, ihre Identität nicht preisgegeben. Ihre Angehörigen würden oft monatelang nicht informiert, wo die Verschleppten sind und was ihnen widerfährt. "Da sind wir auf Augenzeugenberichte angewiesen, offizielle Papiere gibt es einfach nicht." Drakonische Strafbestimmungen und Zensur im Rahmen des im Oktober 2016 verhängten Ausnahmezustandes in Äthiopien sorgten dafür, dass nur selten Nachrichten über massive Menschenrechtsverletzungen nach außen dringen, so die GfbV.
Schon Meinungsbeiträge oder Kritik an der Regierungspolitik im Internet zu veröffentlichen ist in Äthiopien nach GfbV-Angaben mit großen Risiken verbunden. So sei der frühere Oppositionspolitiker Yonatan Tesfaye am vergangenen Mittwoch zu sechseinhalb Jahren Haft verurteilt worden, nur weil er auf Facebook die blutige Niederschlagung der Proteste von Oromo kritisiert hatte. Auch der Journalist Getachew Shiferaw sei am Mittwoch der Unterstützung des "Terrorismus" für schuldig befunden worden. Am Freitag soll das Strafmaß verhängt werden. Ihm drohen bis zu zehn Jahre Haft.
Der Redakteur eines Online-Dienstes hatte nur allgemein zugängliche Informationen weiterverbreitet. Auch dem führenden Oppositionspolitiker und Vorsitzenden des Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) Merera Gudina droht laut GfbV langjährige Haft. Sein Prozess werde am 2. Juni fortgeführt. Er war im Oktober 2016 mit Bundeskanzlerin Merkel zusammengetroffen und wurde am 30. November 2016 verhaftet, nachdem er an einer Veranstaltung im Europaparlament in Brüssel teilgenommen hatte.
Mehr als 6.000 Oromo seien seit November 2015 nach Deutschland geflohen, berichtete die GfbV. Bis zu 50.000 seien seit Beginn der Proteste der Oromo gegen eine umstrittene Gebietsreform aus politischen Gründen festgenommen worden. Rund 25.000 dieser Inhaftierten seien nach Verhören, Folter und "politischer Umerziehung" wieder freigelassen worden.
- Development and Humanitarian Issues -
25.4.2017 The number of drought affected people reaches 7.6 mln: Commission, Waltainfo
The National Disaster Risk Management Commission says the number of drought affected people has reached 7.6 million during this month of the budget year. Public relations director with the commission, Debebe Zewdu, told WMC that the number of drought affected people in the country has increased by 2,068,319 during the current month of April.
According to Debebe, the number of drought victims is rising due to failure of rainfall during the current “ belg ” season and crops are heated by frost incident in the last “meher ” season in Oromiya , Amhara and SNNP regions, he underscored. The Commission needs additional 432, 515 metrics tons of crops ,nutritional foods , pulses and edible oil for 2,068,315 extra drought victims found in different regions, he stated . The food aid is ready for distribution from the contingency food reserve of the government, he, indicated. Debebe noted that most of the drought hit areas are low lands inhabited by pastoralist communities. (…)
- Development and Humanitarian Issues -
18.3.2017 Gov’t Prioritizes Resettling Landslide Victims: Minister, ENA
The government of Ethiopia is working to sustainably rehabilitate victims of rubbish dump landslide that costs the lives of 113 people. In a press briefing he gave here today to journalists, Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office, Dr Negeri Lencho said the government has given priority to resettling survivors of the incident and families residing in the vicinity. “The government has planned and set committee to resettle these people permanently, because they have lost their property, homes and the government is responsible for resettling these people and help them to live their own life in the future” he said. According to Dr Negeri, investigation to know the cause for the landslide will be conducted. “We don’t blame anyone for the causes, because we haven’t yet known the cause of this accident. But the government decided to investigate.” Two institutions, the Addis Ababa University and Texas University, have been selected to conduct the investigation, he added. Fifty-five million Birr has so far collected to rehabilitate the victims, Negeri said.
Regarding to the impact of drought in the country that affected 5.6 million people, the minister noted that the Ministers assured that there is no risk of famine in the country. “I can assure you that there is no risk of famine because Ethiopia has enough store to respond”. Even if the country has facing challenges including drought, the government has long and short term plans that will allow to overcome challenges and sustain the ongoing development, he added. So far, the efforts in minimizing the impact of drought are successful and it will continue strengthened, the Minister said. Saying that there are some health related problems in some parts drought affected areas, the Ministry of Health has sent a team to study the problems and handle the situation.
Responding to questions raised regarding the recent attack by the Murle Tribe that killed 18 peoples and kidnapped many, the Minister said the attackers don’t represent the position of the Sudanese government. "The two counties leaders identified the areas that they have to work on together.We share very vast area and we have to secure the border areas together", he said. He added that this problem cannot be continued in the future as the government has set plan to build infrastructures between the two countries to further enhance cooperation.
Negeri said “Such kinds of crisis including the drought or any such incident cannot stop the development programs that are already launched.”
- Development and Humanitarian Issues -
27.2.2017 EU urged to end cooperation with Sudan after refugees whipped and deported. The Guardian
MEP calls for inquiry as Ethiopian and Eritrean asylum seekers receive 40 lashes and $800 fines, while activists warn EU migration aid is emboldening Sudan
The EU is facing calls to rethink its cooperation with Sudan on migration flows after scores of refugees were whipped, fined, jailed and deported from Khartoum last weekend following a peaceful protest over a huge rise in visa processing fees.
About 65 asylum seekers – the majority from Ethiopia and some from Eritrea – were lashed 40 times on their backs and the back of their legs with leather whips, lawyers told the Guardian.
The detainees were also handed fines of more than $800 (£645), and 40 were deported immediately, after being arrested in what witnesses say was a violent police attack on a peaceful protest.
The incident raises concerns about the strength of human rights conditions attached to more than $100m of migration-related aid earmarked for Sudan by the European commission.
The MEP Barbara Lochbihler, vice-chair of the European parliament’s sub-committee on human rights, said the EU should launch an inquiry. “The EU must voice clear criticism on the recent incidents, conduct a thorough investigation, try and help the people concerned, and draw the necessary conclusion: if projects such as Better Migration Management carry the risk for the EU to become complicit in human rights abuses, which I believe to be true, we should pull out immediately.”
Judith Sargentini, an MEP on the European parliament’s development committee, said she would be asking a question about the issue in parliament this week.
“Honestly, when we see Ethiopian refugees being harassed, lashed and thrown out of the country, we have to wonder whether we are not legitimising the Sudanese behaviour with our funding,” she said.
“The [EU] training for immigration and border management does not seem to be working very effectively yet,” she added. “I can imagine that [Sudan’s president Omar] al-Bashir thinks he has more manoeuvring space because the EU money is coming.”
A human rights worker in Sudan, who asked not to be identified for security reasons, said the regime’s brutality towards refugees had worsened in the last year as EU cooperation had increased.
“The crackdown on migrants and refugees has escalated,” the activist said. “The government feels empowered to do whatever they want. They think they can get away with human rights violations like this. They see them as goodwill gestures to the EU to show they are controlling the flow of migrants.”
The commission has pledged nearly €2bn to countries taking steps to curb migration to the EU in an emergency trust fund for Africa. Sudan separately received €100m of funds last year to improve border security and address causes of forced displacement.
Sudan is also benefiting from €40m (£34m) set aside under the Khartoum Process’s Better Migration Management scheme to help restrict refugee flows in central and east Africa.
These revenues could be used to pay for military and police border management posts, surveillance systems, transport vehicles, communications, protective police gear, IT systems, infrastructure and power supplies.
EU officials deny that any revenues will go to government forces such as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), border guards on Sudan’s Libyan frontier linked to the notorious Janjaweed militia.
The RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan, known as Hemedity, last year demanded that the EU replace vehicles and weapons lost while his force rounded up 20,000 migrants.
“We are hard at work to aid Europe in containing the flow of migrants, and if our valuable efforts are not well appreciated, we will open the desert to migrants,” Hemedity said.
But it was a Khartoum court’s police that whipped and deported the asylum seekers, not the RSF. Most of those arrested were Oromo people fleeing ethnic and political repression. The court case that followed also fell short of international standards, according to local lawyers.
“It was not a fair trial,” claimed Montasir Mohammed, a lawyer for two of the arrestees. “No legal representatives were allowed to attend the court, and the men were not given a chance to appeal. The flogging was administered immediately after the court hearing. No doctors have been allowed to see them.”
The asylum seekers had been arrested last Friday when police dispersed a sit-down protest by 300-500 people outside the Ethiopian embassy in Khartoum. Eyewitnesses say officers attacked protesters with long wooden batons and tear gas canisters, provoking a dangerous stampede.
One witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “People were quietly sitting down on the pavement when suddenly the police came with big sticks and started to beat people. Then the military police arrived and fired teargas.
“People started to run but there was no way to escape except by jumping over a cemetery wall. Then it collapsed because so many people were jumping and pushing on it. All the people trying to escape were badly beaten as they ran, even me. It was painful.”
Use of overseas aid for this kind of political repression is “explicitly excluded” under criteria agreed by the OECD’s Development Assistant Committee last year.
The EU says it has not yet given any funds to the Sudanese government and that monies have been directed through international agencies.
However, a parliamentary delegation to Sudan in December said while EU stocks might not yet have arrived, it was clear that its funding projects “will be providing equipment to national police across the region for border control”.
Sudan is considered a key transit country for migrants to Europe. An estimated 30,000 people travelled through it on the way to Italy (pdf) in the first 11 months of 2016.
Around 500,000 refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia are currently thought to be in the country.
Last week, a British parliamentary inquiry warned that in Sudan, “the European Union’s long-held reputation as a human rights standard-bearer is in danger of being sacrificed at the altar of migration”.
- Development and Humanitarian Issues -
29.1.2017 UN Humanitarian Chief calls for urgent funding for Ethiopia’s drought to avert loss of lives and livelihood. reliefweb
United Nations Under-Secretary- General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG/ERC), Mr. Stephen O’Brien has just concluded a three-day visit to Ethiopia to see first-hand the impact of failed rains in the southern parts of the county.
“I have just returned from Warder zone in Ethiopia’s Somali Region, where I saw the immense impact this drought is having on people’s lives and livelihoods. I also witnessed the hard work of the Ethiopian Government and its UN and NGO partners to ensure that water-trucking, animal health and emergency nutrition support are provided to all those in need,” said USG O’Brien.
Below average rains in south and southeastern parts of the country caused by the negative Indian Ocean Dipole have led to a new “lowland” drought. Among the most affected areas are parts of Somali and Afar regions and a number of lowland areas of Oromia and SNNP regions. The new drought has led to severe shortages of water and pasture in the pastoral and agro-pastoral communities. Deteriorating livestock body condition and loss of livestock are also being reported as well as high levels of acute and moderate malnutrition.
“We need to act now before it is too late. This is why I am calling on international partners to join the Ethiopian Government in funding the 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document, which seeks US$948 million to assist 5.6 million people, whose lives, livelihoods and well-being depend on our support,” said the USG.
Speaking at a High-Level event on the Humanitarian Situation in Ethiopia on Sunday 29 January the Humanitarian Chief commended the Government and Humanitarian partners on the 2016 response to the El Nino drought that left 10.2 million people in need of food assistance.
“On recently reviewing lessons from the drought response the humanitarian community has concluded that the Government and partners helped save countless people’s lives and averted a major humanitarian catastrophe in Ethiopia, all while also supporting one of the largest refugee populations in the world,” said O’Brien. “As effective as the humanitarian response to the El Niño drought has been, Ethiopian farmers and herders in affected areas are still living on the brink, unable to build back their livestock herds, or reinvigorate their small farms, and struggling to sustain themselves and their families.”
“We have no time to lose. Livestock are already dying; pastoralists and farmers are already fleeing their homes in search of water and pasture; children – more often girls – are dropping out of school to support with household chores, and hunger and malnutrition levels will rise soon if assistance does not arrive on time, particularly among women who are more likely to suffer from health problems and malnutrition during droughts,”’ said O’Brien.
- Development and Humanitarian Issues -
21.12.2016 Horn of Africa braces for another hunger season. FAO
Rome. Countries in the Horn of Africa are likely to see a rise in hunger and further decline of local livelihoods in the coming months, as farming families struggle with the knock-on effects of multiple droughts that hit the region this year, FAO warned. Growing numbers of refugees in East Africa, meanwhile, are expected to place even more burden on already strained food and nutrition security. Currently, close to 12 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are in need of food assistance, as families in the region face limited access to food and income, together with rising debt, low cereal and seed stocks, and low milk and meat production. Terms of trade are particularly bad for livestock farmers, as food prices are increasing at the same time that market prices for livestock are low. (…) In the affected counties, the terms of trade have become increasingly unfavourable for livestock keepers, as prices of staple foods are rising, while a flood of weakened sheep, goats and cows onto local markets has brought down livestock prices.
Farming families in Ethiopia, meanwhile, are extremely vulnerable as they have not been able to recover from the 2015 El Nino-induced drought. Some 5.6 million people remain food insecure, while millions more depend on livestock herds that need to be protected and treated to improve milk and meat production. Here, too, better access to feed and water is critical. The crop situation is relatively stable after the country completed the most widespread emergency seed distribution in Ethiopia's history. FAO and more than 25 NGOs and agencies reached 1.5 million households with drought-resistant seeds. As a result of enabling farming families to grow their own food, the government and humanitarian community saved close to $1 billion in emergency aid, underlining that investing in farmers is not only the right thing to do but also the most cost-efficient. (…)
16.12.2016 Reality of resilience: perspectives of the 2015–16 drought in Ethiopia. PreventionWeb
This report highlights lessons from the 2015–16 drought in Ethiopia, including how and why different communities were impacted, effective approaches to resilience building and challenges faced. The timing and spatial distribution of rainfall, beyond total deficits, impacted 9.7 million Ethiopians and particularly affected livelihood activities such as agriculture and pastoralism.
Recommendations from the report include the following:
- Mechanisms that trigger early funding based on pre-agreed indicators are critical to overcoming some of the political, institutional and media effects that have kept the humanitarian system in a state of crisis response.
- Flexible funding and adaptive programming are needed for humanitarian and development organisations implementing projects. This will pivot funds, depending on need, and help stimulate more timely action.
- There is increasing evidence that financial services such as index-based insurance are an important part of building resilience. These services need to be accessible to the most vulnerable.
http://www.preventionweb.net/publications/view/51332 Download full report: http://www.preventionweb.net/files/51332_resilienceintelethiopiapaperweb.pdf
- Development and Humanitarian Issues -
22.11.2016 GIEWS Country Brief, FAO
Food Security Snapshot
• Favourable prospects for 2016 main “meher” season crops.
• Below average pasture conditions in southern and southeastern pastoral areas.
• Given the starting of the main harvest, cereal prices stabilized or declined though at high levels.
• General food security conditions improving with newly harvested “meher” crops available for consumption.
• High levels of food insecurity persist in pastoral areas affected by 2015 El Niño induced drought as pastoral recovery takes much longer time than a couple of good seasons.
- Humanitarian Situation -
13 October 2016 Gov't Allotted Over 380 Million USD to Withstand El-Nino Induced Drought, Says Minister. ENA
Ethiopia has registered success in reducing disaster induced mortalities, according to Ministry of Livestock and Fishery. Livestock and Fishery Minister Sileshi Getahun made the above remark while opening the International Day for Disaster Reduction held today under the motto “Live to tell.” Sileshi said Ethiopia's rapid economic growth, coupled with success gained in environmental and societal development, enabled the country to withstand the worst drought in its recent history. He indicated that the results obtained in lifting the society out of poverty and the land and water conservation activities carried out nationwide have also contributed to containing the 2015/2016 El-Nino induced drought without loss of human life. The government has allocated over 380 million USD to withstand the impacts of the El-Nino induced drought. The ever-increasing internal capacity of managing disaster was a key factor to save the lives of many citizens in the face of a generally-sluggish response from international donor groups, according to Sileshi. UNDP Resident Coordinators Office Head, Termo Heikkila stated that his organization is still providing support for National Disaster Risk Management (NDRMC) efforts to reduce disaster induced deaths in Ethiopia. (…)
- Humanitarian Situation -
19 September 2016 WFP Ethiopia: Drought Emergency Situation Report #11.
• The national food pipeline, based on information shared by all operators and adjusted to the revised Humanitarian Requirements Document, show cereal and pulses breaks in September.
• Dispatches from the Government’s hub in Nazreth continues to be delayed due to lack of adequate staff at hub and woreda level, in addition to the ongoing situation in Amhara and Oromia.
The latest revision of the national pipeline, based on official information provided by all operators and adjusted to the revised Humanitarian Requirements Document target, show cereal and pulses breaks in September. The total shortfall until December 2016 is US$131 million, 56 percent of the total. requirement.
Derzeit ist es sehr spannend, die aktuellen Nachrichten zu verfolgen. Insbesondere im August wurde sehr viel über die Unruhen in Bundesstaat Oromia und Teilen von Amhara berichtet. Die verschiedenen Reaktionen der Staatsmacht werden vielfach kritisch gesehen. Von Regierungsseite haben wir nur wenige Stellungnahmen dazu gefunden. Oft erfolgen solche Reaktionen erst Tage nach dem jeweiligen Ereignis, über das andere Quellen ziemlich unmittelbar berichtet hatten.
Mit der Reaktion auf den Protest des Silbermedaillengewinners von Rio im Marathon, Feyisa Lilesa, hat sich die Regierung allerdings beeilt. Bereits kurz nach dem Lauf am Sonntag dem 21. August waren weltweit sehr viele Meldungen über Lilesas Protest erschienen. Die erste Meldung, nach der Lilesa zu Hause als Held empfangen und selbstverständlich nicht verfolgt würde, erschien am nächsten Morgen http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2016-08-22/ethiopia-says-protesting-marathoner-to-be-welcomed-as-hero. Seine Geste der gekreuzten Handgelenke soll im Staatsfernsehen nur ein einziges Mal zu sehen gewesen sein. Das Original-Interview nach dem Lauf findet sich hier: http://www.letsrun.com/news/2016/08/bravest-olympian-rio-ethiopias-feyisa-lilesa-speaks-killings-oromo-protesters-ethiopia-earning-olympic-silver-marathon/
Politics, Justice, Human Rights
26 July 2016 Ex-Armeechef und TPLF Leader fordert politischen Wandel. Highlights from an article written in Amharic by Lt. General Tsadkan G. Tensay, former Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Armed Forces
Lt. General Tsadkan Gebre Tensay, bis 2001 hochrangiges Mitglied der TPLF-Führung (als er nach der internen Spaltung der TPLF von Meles Zenawi entmachtet wurde) und ehemaliger Generalstabschef der äthiopischen Streitkräfte (Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Armed Forces) hat einen ausführlichen Artikel auf Amharisch in Horn Affairs verfasst: http://hornaffairs.com/am/2016/07/24/ethiopia-current-political-challenges-recommendations/. Darin fordert er grundsätzlichen politischen Wandel, um das Land vor schweren Unruhen zu bewahren. Auf http://www.ethiomedia.com/1012pieces/5853.html findet sich die folgende, von uns leicht gekürzte Zusammenfassung seiner Hauptpunkte. Autor: Publius aethiopicus.
Lt. General Tsadkan G. Tensay, former Chief of Staff has written a bold article calling for the regime to undertake fundamental political changes to spare the country from implosion and turmoil. Here are some of the highlights from the rather lengthy, albeit, bold proposition (…):
Politics, Justice, Human Rights
10 June 2016 Agency Set to Tighten Illegal Charities, Societies Control. By Desta Gebrehiowt, Ethioipian Herald
The Ethiopian Charities and Societies Agency said that it has finalized the preparation of a new draft directive to take administrative measures against charities and societies that fail to comply with Proclamation No. 621/2008 and other rules and regulations. The Agency also announced that 108 charities and societies have been closed down this fiscal year for various reasons. The Agency opened a two-day discussion forum with public wing on the provision of services and assess its nine-month performance report here yesterday.
Proclamation No. 621/2001 gives the Agency the power to develop new directives. In this regard, the newly prepared draft directive is developed on the basis of the Proclamation, said Agency Legal Affairs Directorate Director Harenet Yohannes. The draft directive aims to make charities and societies to operate legally and serve the people they stand for properly. The directive is needed to tighten control on charities and societies whether they are operating in line with legal sphere or not, Harenet added. Besides administrative actions against charities and societies that do not comply with the rule and regulations, the Agency will take to courts individuals and organizations that commit crimes in the name of charities and societies.
At 6:30 am in the morning, with polls open for only half an hour, lines had already formed outside polling stations in Addis Ababa. Over 35 million, or 80% of the eligible electorate, have registered to vote in an election many have dismissed as a formality to extend the 24-year reign of the ruling EPRDF, which currently controls all but one spot in Ethiopia's 547-seat national parliament (AllAfrica.co (WIC, May 22).m., May 25).
Two hundred suspected human smugglers have been detained as part of the Ethiopian government's efforts to stem the number of citizens trying to illegally migrate to Europe, a senior official said. The government is looking for 80 other alleged smugglers who are conducting overseas operations, Ethiopian Federal Affairs Minister Shiferaw Teklemariam told. Molla Abo, the mayor of the city of Hosaena in southern Ethiopia, said many suspected human smugglers from the region have been arrested in the past few weeks. Along with neighbor Eritrea, Ethiopia is the source of many of the migrants making the perilous journey by sea to Europe, often via Sudan and then Libya. Ethiopia is drafting a new law to stiffen punishments for human trafficking in an attempt to stem a wave of dangerous migrations to Europe, the Ministry of Justice said. Ethiopia's current laws stipulate prison terms ranging from five to 20 years for crimes related to human smuggling and a maximum fine of $2,500 (AP, May 18).
Ethiopian Airlines plans on the transshipment of around 600,000 t of fresh and dry goods per year at the Addis Ababa airport in Ethiopia. Unitechnik was commissioned with planning the necessary air cargo terminal as well as implementation of the intralogistics. The new air cargo facility is comparable in size to five soccer fields and includes a refrigerated and dry storage area. A later expansion of the terminal for the handling of 1.2 million t per year is already part of the concept. The investment volume for the logistics facility is 32m $.The new air cargo terminal at the airport in Addis Ababa will be the largest transshipment terminal in Africa. From there dry and fresh goods such as meat, flowers, and salads are shipped around the world. As planner and general contractor, Unitechnik is building a facility that will meet the needs of the future. It has sufficient capacity for the transshipment of goods in a refrigerated zone with temperature ranges from 2 to 10°C as well as an unchilled dry zone. The combination of automatic and manual systems ensures a high throughput with maximum availability (WIC, May 9).
The properties of Holland Car Plc., which is under liquidation following a court’s decision, are up for auction with a floor price of 83 million birr. The liquidity supervision commission that was assigned by the court has invited interested bidders to buy assets of the pioneer automobile assembler that is based in Mojo, 75 km South-east of Addis. Shareholders of the car assembler, that declared bankruptcy about two years ago, had submitted a proposal to the liquidity supervision commission in March 2015 in a bid to save the company from being liquidated but their plea did not bear fruit. According to a notice that was released by the liquidity body, Holland Car’s property that is worth 83 million birr is up for tender. Assembled automobiles and vehicle parts worth 51.7m birr are the major items in the auction. Different factory, warehouse, and office buildings constructed on a plot of 20,000 m² in Mojo estimated to be worth 22.3m birr are also included in the auction. Other properties like machineries and equipments, raw materials and office furniture are also part of the auction. - The shareholders had acknowledged that the company has an outstanding debt of 97m birr that includes 10m birr tax, 31 million birr bank loan, and 22m birr customers’ advance payments. The total asset value of Holland Carat the time of inspection by the Liquidity Commission is close to 160m birr. During the ten years it was active in business, Holland Car had made a name for its Abay, Tekeze, Naomi and Awash automobile brands (Capital Ethiopia, May 4).
Tens of thousands of people attended a governmentorganized protest in Addis Ababa three days after the Islamic State in Libya issued a video purporting to show the murder of about 30 migrants from the Horn of Africa nation. People at Wednesday’s demonstration, which was marked by clashes between youths and police, took part to express concern over their compatriots’ killings and ask the authorities to “take action,” according to Mayor Diriba Kuma (Bloomberg, April 22).
A video purportedly made by Islamic State and posted on social media sites on April 19 appeared to show militants shooting and beheading about 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Reuters was not able to verify the authenticity of the video but the killings resemble past violence carried out by Islamic State, which has expanded its reach from strongholds in Iraq and Syria to a conflict-ridden Libya. The video showed about 15 men being beheaded on a beach and another group of the same size shot in their heads in Libya's southern desert interior. Both groups of men are referred to in a subtitle as "worshipers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian church". Libyan officials were not immediately available for comment (Reuters, April 19).- The government of Ethiopia strongly condemns the atrocious massacre committed by is terrorist group on migrants in Libya. The terrorist group released a video showing atrocious and ruthless killings of migrants in that country. Government communications affairs office minister Redwan Hussein recalled that from the very beginning, the people of Ethiopia and the government have been fighting against religious extremism and terrorism. Such efforts help the country to ensure suitable peace, stability and development, he stated (state media, April 19).
Water ministers in Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan selected two international consultancy firms to conduct studies determining the impact of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, which has caused tensions over regional Nile river water shares. The announcement came after a two-day series of meetings in Addis Ababa between the ministers and members of a tripartite committee of experts from the three states, through which the river runs, to choose a firm to investigate the hydraulic, financial and social effects of the hydropower dam on the largest tributary of the Nile. According to a joint statement , the officials agreed on hiring "two European consultancies" for the mission without specifying the names of the firms. However, a source inside the Egyptian irrigation ministry said that both the French Artelia group and a Dutch company, might be signed. Egyptian Irrigation Minister Hossam Al-Moghazi toldthat the studies will be conducted in a time frame of 11 months. The signing with the selected firms will take place in Addis Ababa early in May after they give a final approval to their selection, Al-Moghazi added (Ahram Online, April 9).
Medrek party has said it would be forced to seek alternative solutions if the ruling party does not stop harassing and intimidating its election candidates. Medrek’s president Professor Beyene Petros said the harassment has become intense especially in the southern regions where, he said, party members are being arrested, beaten and tortured. What EPRDF authorities say at the official level and what their cadres do in the regions are strikingly different, he added. Medrek will be forced to make a decision shortly on the matter even considering withdrawal (Kurat, April 4).
Three African leaders have signed an initial deal to end a long-running dispute over the sharing of Nile waters and the building of Africa's biggest hydroelectric dam, in Ethiopia. The leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed the agreement in Sudan's capital, Khartoum. Egypt has opposed the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, saying it would worsen its water shortages. Ethiopia says the dam will give it a fairer share of Nile waters. In 2013, Ethiopia's parliament ratified a controversial treaty to replace colonial-era agreements that gave Egypt and Sudan the biggest share of the Nile's water. Egypt's then-President Mohamed Morsi said he did not want war but he would not allow Egypt's water supply to be endangered by the dam. Mr. Morsi's successor, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi signed the deal with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (BBC, March 23).
Officials from Ethiopia, the UN, and the US inaugurated a new refugee camp in the Gambella region on March 15, with the US announcing nearly $1m in new funding for a nutrition program for South Sudanese refugees that will also benefit Ethiopian host communities in the Gambella region. When fully constructed, the Jewi camp will serve up to 50,000 South Sudanese refugees. It became necessary after refugees in Gambella had to vacate other settlements following heavy flooding in 2014. The nutrition program will help identify and treat malnourished children as well as provide child nutrition in refugee reception centers, camps, and local communities. The new contribution brings total US humanitarian assistance for refugees in Ethiopia in the 2015 fiscal year to $42.3m. Last year, the United States provided $118.8m specifically for refugee assistance across Ethiopia (WIC, March 18).
The Ethiopian government appears again to be using Internet spying tools to attempt to eavesdrop on journalists based in suburban Washington, said security researchers who call such high-tech intrusions a serious threat to human rights and press freedoms worldwide. The journalists, who work for Ethiopian Satellite Television in Alexandria, Va., provide one of the few independent news sources to their homeland through regular television and radio feeds - to the irritation of the government there, which has accused journalists of "terrorism" and repeatedly jammed the signals of foreign broadcasters (Washington Post, March 9).
Over 34.2 million of the 35 million eligible voters have so far registered for the upcoming 5th general elections, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) said. Of the total voters who received their cards, over 16.4 million are women. The total number of the registered people is 95.4 percent of the eligible voters expected to get voter IDs for the elections. The 52-day deadline set by the Board for voter registration will end on 19 February (ENA, Feb. 11).
Ethiopia will deploy 600 additional peacekeeping troops to Somalia, South Sudan and the disputed Abyei region on the border between Sudan and South Sudan next month, according to the Ethiopian International Peace-keeping Training Center. The additional peacekeepers will be deployed around Kismayo in Somalia while three helicopter gunships will be sent to South Sudan. Preparations have also been finalized to deploy half of the 1,069 troops to be assigned to Abyei under the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) (ENA, Feb. 4.)
reported Police brutally attacked and dispersed peaceful demonstrators in the capital Addis Ababa on Jan. 25 as they try to protest against the ongoing government repression on opposition political parties and dissents in run-up to the country’s general elections. Political activists say Sunday’s attack against the peaceful demonstrators is further evidence of the authorities’ determination to clamp down the activities of opposition political parties ahead of the elections. According to reports, demonstrators were brutally beaten with batons, sticks and iron rods. Reports show the victims were taken to hospital right away, and some of them are still receiving medical treatment. Among the seriously injured was Sileshi Hagose, member of the general assembly of the party and editor in chief of a newspaper. Recently released photographs show that he was wounded in the face and head, and his hands were seriously broken (Abugida, Jan. 27). -
Ewnetu Belata, State Minister of Ethiopia's Government Communications Affairs Office stated , "Turkey leads the group of industrialized countries in terms of foreign direct investment in Ethiopia." The official noted, "There are more than 350 Turkish companies operating in Ethiopia to date, and they have created jobs for more than 50,000 Ethiopians. Turkish investments are also bringing technology and knowledge transfer [to Ethiopia]," he said. Turkish investment in Ethiopia stands at $3bln, according to Turkey’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Osman Riza Yavuzalp (Anadolu Agency, Jan. 21).
An Ethiopian court sentenced three British citizens to prison after finding them guilty of trying to establish Islamic rule in the country through acts of “terrorism,” according to a Justice Ministry official. Ali Adorus was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in Ethiopian prison, while Somalia-born Mohammed Ahmed and Ahmed Elmi were each given jail terms of four years and eight months, Fekadu Tsega, coordinator of the federal center of prosecution, said by phone (Bloomberg News, Jan. 15). The UK Foreign Office has confirmed the detention of two British nationals. The three men, who received terms ranging from four to seven years, were alleged to have had links with local jihadists. Ethiopia has extremely strict anti-terror laws. It has long waged a campaign against Islamist militancy in East Africa - and has been involved in fighting against al-Qaeda linked militants in neighboring Somalia (BBC, Jan. 16). The Ethiopian intelligence agencies said it found the group while they were recruiting, taking part in military training and conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks in Ethiopia to establish ISIS style group in Oromia, Somali zone, Afar zone and in Eritrea. The British Foreign Office has confirmed the detention and is providing assistance (Geeska Afrika Online, Jan. 16).
Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch Mathias I landed in Cairo early Saturday on his first visit to Egypt. Mathias I, whose visit will last six days, came to Egypt upon invitation from Pope Tawadros II of Egypt. The Egyptian and Ethiopian churches have played a role in smoothing negotiations between the two countries regarding the Grand Renaissance Dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile (Ahram Online, Jan. 10).
A British man who claims he was tortured in an Ethiopian prison is facing the death penalty after being found guilty of ter rorism offences. Ali Adorus, a security guard from east London, was subjected to electrocution, hooding and beatings during his 18- month imprisonment in the East African country, according to allegations made against Ethiopia and Britain to the United Nations High Commission. Before leaving Britain to visit family in Ethiopia in 2012, Mr. Adorus had com plained that he had been targeted by MI5 and the Metropolitan Police over alleged links to Islamic extremism. His lawyers also allege that some information contained in a false confession – which he claims was beaten out of him in an Ethiopian prison – could have been provided only by “British intelligence” (The Independent, Dec. 30).
The Ethiopian air force pilot has defected to Eritrea, flying a helicopter across the border with his co-pilot and a technician, Ethiopian state-run media said on Dec.23. The three men had been missing since Dec. 19 soon after leaving their base on a routine training session, Ethiopian Television reported. "The military helicopter landed in Eritrea, flown by a traitor pilot who forced both his co-pilot and a technician while they took part in a training exercise," the report said, citing a defense ministry statement. It did not give further details. No official from either side was available for comment, but reports from pro-Eritrean government outlets and those of opposition groups said the helicopter was an MI-35 gunship ( Reuters, Dec. 23).
Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has told Ethiopian officials that his country remains open to formal talks for further cooperation over sharing the Nile waters. As he received a delegation from Addis Ababa headed by the President of the Ethiopian Parliament, President Sisi said Egypt will not be involved in undermining cooperation between countries sharing the River Nile, including Ethiopia. He reassured the Ethiopians that under him Egypt was opening a new chapter of relations with its neighbors in the region and Africa as a whole (APA, Dec. 18).
Ethiopian authorities released on bail about 80 activists, including the head of an opposition group, arrested while protesting for fair campaigning in 2015 elections, a Blue Party spokesman said. Security forces made arrests on Dec. 5 when members of the Blue Party and eight other opposition groups took to the streets of the capital, Addis Ababa, to call for greater freedom to hold meetings and rallies, Yonatan Tesfaye Regassa, the party’s head of public relations, said. Organization leader Yilkal Getnet was among those freed, while four other opposition members are still detained, possibly because they refused to co-operate with investigators, according to Yonatan. Investigations into the activists continue, he said (Bloomberg News, Dec. 11).
Ethiopia said it had completed raising $1bio with its debut Eurobond with a term of 10 years and coupon of 6.625%, adding that the offer had been oversubscribed. Investors have been eying Africa's sturdy growth rates and Ethiopia's economy is now expanding by about 9% a year. "Ethiopia attracted high quality investor interest despite a challenging market environment," the Finance Ministry said in a statement, adding the 10-year maturity aimed to create a benchmark and proceeds would be invested in infrastructure (Reuters, Dec. 5).
The spokesperson of ONLF, Abdikadir Hassan Hirmooge "Addaani" detailed the struggle of OLNF and their operations in that region. The spokesperson of OLNF spoke to Dalsan on the line to Perth, Australia where he lives and said OLNF has been fighting for freedom from Ethiopia since it was established in 1994. He said in the last three days OLNF attacked parts of Qorraxeey and Doolo. He said OLNF also forced the foreign oil exploration companies in Ogadenia to stop their work there and to leave. The spokesperson of ONLF added that one such Chinese firm stopped work last week. He said the Chinese firm was working at Jeexdin. Also, Africa Oil stopped work at Af-dheer and Liibaan after ONLF carried out attacks in those areas (Dalsan Radio, Nov. 11).
A formal court case has been established against the leaders of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) (Andinet) and Arena Tigray parties who are charged with involvement in terrorism. The leaders of two parties, were detained recently suspected of terrorism (Reporter, Nov. 2).
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the sentencing of Ethiopian journalist Temesgen Desalegn on Oct. 27, 2014 to three years' imprisonment on charges of defamation and incitement that date back to 2012. A court in Addis Ababa convicted Temesgen on Oct. 13 in connection with opinion pieces published in the now-defunct Feteh news magazine, according to news reports. He was arrested the same day. Authorities have routinely targeted Temesgen for his writing. Temesgen's lawyer said he plans to appeal the ruling, according to local journalists (Statement, Oct. 27) .
Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, Ethiopia's Minister of Health, announced that Ethiopia has established a modern laboratory centre to intensify the national Ebola prevention efforts. The modern laboratory, Biosafety Level 3 and 4 began operations on Oc. 13 for screening and testing purposes. It is staffed by well-trained Ethiopian professionals, he said. The Minister noted the country had also launched a new screening machine, a Thermo Scan Thermo Meter, with the capacity to test up to a thousand individuals per hour. The new machine and two other thermo-screening machines are presently operating at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport to test passengers (EBC, Oct. 15).
The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working in collaboration with American law enforcement agencies to identify and hold accountable individuals involved in the mayhem at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. on Sep 29, Ambassador Dina Mufti, the Ministry’s Spokesperson disclosed. Mufti said the few individuals who committed these illegal acts do not represent Ethiopians and the Ethiopian Diaspora, adding the Diaspora has intensified its involvement in Ethiopia’s development (state media, Oct. 11).
A gunman opened fire during a protest on the Ethiopian Embassy grounds on Sep 29, according to a video of the incident, but no injuries were reported. A spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service said it had detained a possible shooter after a report at about 12:15 p.m. EDT that shots were fired near the embassy in northwest Washington, D.C. Witnesses said the gunfire took place inside the embassy compound during a protest against the Horn of Africa nation's government (Irish Independent, Sep. 29). No one was injured, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said (NBCNEWS, Sep. 29).
Water ministers of Egypt and Sudan have confirmed that the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project is progressing well. The Ministers of the three countries together visited the GERD project on Sep. 21. Egypt's Water and Irrigation Minister, Hossam Moghazi, said the dam should not be a source of argument or quarrel; it should rather be a means of collaboration. He expressed admiration for the Ethiopian Government for being open and letting him visit the project (WIC, Sep. 21).
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia announced that it is going to recruit electoral officers for the upcoming election to be held in 2015. The recruitment will mainly focus on youth and women. The plan is to have one in every three electoral offices at each constituency, he said. The recruitment will be carried out with extreme care to get impartial people (WIC, Sep. 16).
Egypt’s irrigation minister, Hossam Moghazi, said that he will pay a visit to Ethiopia next week for the opening of the first meeting of a national committee which includes 12 water experts from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. This National committee has been appointed to make studies on the Ethiopian Renaissance dam that is being constructed in Ethiopia. Moghazi will be accompanied by the Sudanese and the Ethiopian irrigation ministers during his three-day visit next week (MENA, Sep. 14).
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was in Addis Ababa for further talks on Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam. The Minister met his counterpart, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, to discuss the construction and progress of the dam which has been at the centre of a crisis between Cairo and Addis Ababa for months. A breakthrough in talks between both countries seemed to have been reached when Egypt's Irrigation Minister Hossam El-Moghazi said last week that 85% of the issues concerning Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam had been resolved. Top officials from Egypt and Ethiopia were engaged in tripartite talks in Khartoum in late August. Ethiopia maintains that Egypt's water share will not be negatively affected by the successful completion of the project, set to be Africa's largest hydroelectric dam (state media, Sep. 2). - Egypt’s foreign minister returned from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa confident that the two countries would work together to protect Egypt’s water rights as the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam goes ahead. Sameh Shoukry said his Ethiopian counterpart showed understanding towards Egypt’s concerns about the massive project. “The basis of our talks was built upon the recognition of Egypt’s water rights and needs; those needs cannot be touched because they are related to the Egyptian people’s life,” said Shoukry, as quoted by Egypt’s state news agency (Zegabi, Sep. 6).
Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have agreed to establish a committee to conduct additional studies regarding the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The agreement came following a two-day meeting of water ministers of the three countries in Khartoum, Sudan. The proposed Tripartite National Committee (TNC) comprises four experts from each country which will be tasked to conduct two further studies on the GERD. In May last year, an International Panel of Experts (IPoE) which assessed the impacts and benefits of the 6000MW hydroelectric dam on the Nile River recommended further studies (WIC, Aug. 28). - Egypt’s Irrigation Minister Hossam Mokhazi said Egypt is well aware of the importance of the time factor in the tripartite negotiations on Ethiopia's controversial Renaissance Dam. He told that a timetable was set to put into effect items agreed upon by Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia at the end of the fourth round of talks that was concluded lately. Within two weeks, the three countries will decide on the international consultancy office that will conduct necessary studies called for by the international expert committee formed over the dam, the minister said. Also, the three countries will form a national committee to aid the international consultants, he said, adding that each country will be represented by four experts in the national committee. The consultancy office is supposed to finish within six months studies on the impact of an Ethiopian hydropower dam. He said Egypt is keen that all differences on the dam will be settled in 2 or 3 months from the day the studies are prepared. He noted that the first stage of the $4.2 bio Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, scheduled to be finalized in Dec of 2015, does not harm Egypt or Sudan either in terms of water quotas or social and economic effects (MENA, Aug. 28).
The second year memorial service for the late Meles Zenawi is being marked with various events taking place across the country. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, along with several other high ranking government officials took part in a tree planting ceremony held at the Meles Zenawi Foundation Park at Entoto (ERTA, Aug. 20). Speakers emphasized that the late Prime Minister was the champion of the country’s green growth economic strategy and that he struggled hard for the dignity and equality of nations, nationalities and peoples as well as for socio-economic progress and political equality in Ethiopia and more widely (Geeska Afrika Online, Aug. 21).
Court summons have been issued for the manager of Lomi magazine, Gizaw Taye, and the publisher, Dadimos Entertainment. According to sources, the two were accused of printing an article headlined “the Ethiopian government has totally forgotten human rights.” The accused are scheduled to appear at the Lideta branch of the Federal High Court (Sendek, Aug. 13).- Meanwhile, theowner and publisher of Lomi magazine has been released from prison on bail of 50,000 Birr. Ato Gzaw Taye was arrested along with the editors and owners of five other publications. The Ministry of Justice established the lawsuit against the media organizations accusing them of disseminating news and information that mislead the public and set people against the government. The court trial for all the publications is in progress (Addis Adams, Aug. 16).
Six publishers and media organizations have been charged with defamation of public leaders and institutions as well as incessant violation of the country’s constitution, the Ministry of Justice announced. The Ministry of Justice said that the five magazines, Fact, Jano, Lomi, Addis Guday, Enquand Afro-Times Newspaper have been charged for their irresponsibility, instigating enmity and endless violation of the constitution. The government has also designed various regulations to realize the complete implementation of expression of opinion and freedom of the press guaranteed by the Ethiopian constitution to the media (WIC, Aug. 4).
A plan by the Ethiopian government to expand the capital's administrative control into neighboring states has sparked months of student protests. Security forces have been accused of cracking down on demonstrators in the region of Oromia. The government says 17 people died in the violence, but human rights groups say that number is much higher (BBC, July 28).
Freedom Now joined 40 other human rights and civil society organizations in a letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn expressing grave concern at the continued targeting of journalists and bloggers on terrorism charges. The letter, also joined by organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the PEN American Center, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, highlighted the recent terror charges laid against seven bloggers associated with the Zone 9 website (one in absentia) and three independent journalists in Ethiopia (media release, July 24).
A group of Ethiopian bloggers and journalists detained for nearly three months have been charged with terrorism for having links to an outlawed group and for planning attacks, a judge stated. The seven members of the blogging collective Zone Nine and three journalists were arrested in April, prompting an outcry from rights groups who said the case was an assault on press freedom. The group is accused of planning attacks in Ethiopia and working in collusion with the US-based opposition group Ginbot 7, labeled by Ethiopian authorities as a terrorist organization. "They took training in how to make explosives and planned to train others," Judge Tareke Alemayehu told the court. - The Zone Nine website, proclaiming "we blog because we care," features mostly social and political commentary, often critical of the government. The judge said their work was a cover for "clandestine" activities and accused them of plotting "to destabilize the nation" (AFP, July 19).
The Ethiopian authorities must halt their continuing onslaught on dissent, Amnesty International said, after the arrest of four more opposition party members this week, who are believed to be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. All four were arrested on 8 July in Addis Ababa and the northern city of Mekele on “terror” accusations. Those arrested are: Abraha Desta of the Arena Tigray party, who is also a lecturer at Mekele University; Habtamu Ayalew and Daniel Shebeshi, both members of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party and Yeshewas Asefa of the Blue Party. Those arrested on 8 July are: Abraha Desta of the Arena Tigray party, who is also a lecturer at Mekele University; Habtamu Ayalew and Daniel Shebeshi, both members of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party and Yeshewas Asefa of the Blue Party. Blue Party and UDJ members say they tried to visit the men in Maikelawi on 9 July but were not permitted access and were told they could not have contact until the police investigation was concluded. It is commonplace for detainees in Maikelawi to be denied access to legal representatives and family members in the initial stages of detention. This incommunicado detention significantly increases the risk of detainees being subjected to torture. Political detainees in Maikelawi are frequently subjected to torture during interrogation (Amnesty international USA, July 10).
Andargachew Tsige, an exiled Ethiopian opposition leader with British nationality, while transiting in Yemen during a journey from Dubai to Eritrea, Andargachew mysteriously ended up on a plane to Ethiopia. It is believed that he was detained by Yemeni officials and handed over to members of Ethiopia's security apparatus. Andargachew was charged by the Ethiopian authorities with terrorism and sentenced, in absentia, to death, at two separate trials between 2009 and 2012. Following postelection protests in 2005 he had fled the country and been granted asylum in Britain, where he created Ginbot 7 - a leading opposition movement (The Economist, July 9).
An engine factory being constructed in Mekele Town of Ethiopia with 300m birr will be operational in the coming year, the Ethiopian Power Engineering Industry said. Industry General Manager Major Asefa Yohanes said that the factory will manufacture engines for light and heavy vehicles. It will also produce engines for water pumps. The factory will get input from the Akaki Metal Products Factory and Hibret Manufacturing Industry under the Metals Engineering Corporation. Since the automotive industry is booming, manufacturing engines locally will help to save expenses for engines importation, the Manager said (ENA, July).
Ethiopia has received an official letter from Egypt suggesting the resumption of negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Renaissance Dam, a senior Ethiopian official has said. The director of the Ethiopian department of trans-border rivers, Fakahmed Negash, as saying that the Egyptian irrigation ministry had suggested trilateral negotiations between Cairo, Khartoum and Addis-Ababa to discuss the construction of Ethiopia's multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam on the upper reaches of the Nile (Anadolu, July 2).
Ethiopia’s counter terrorism task force has announced that it has neutralized two al-Shabaab terror cells operating in Ethiopia. The Joint Counter Terrorism Unit of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and the Federal Police said the terror cells consisted of 25 individuals recruited and trained by al-Shabaab. The statement said the groups were assigned to promote an extremist Islamic sect of Khawarij which opposes tax payments, observance of traffic rules and modern education, among others.- The first terrorist cell was under the direct command of an extremist group in South Africa, and was captured preparing for attacks in the western Ethiopian city of Jimma after crossing the border from Kenya. The second terrorist cell had been in contact and received direct guidance and leadership from the Khawarij extremist movements in Sudan, Yemen and United Kingdom, the statement added (state media, June 4).
The Ethiopian government has arrested six independent bloggers and a journalist in what human rights group Amnesty International has called a "suffocating grip on freedom of expression". Six members of independent blogger and activist group ‘Zone 9’ and a prominent Ethiopian journalist were arrested on April 25 in Addis Ababa. All six bloggers were arrested at night by armed security forces and taken from their homes to the Federal Police Crime Investigation Sector ‘Maikelawi’, where political prisoners are alleged to be held in pre-trial, and sometimes arbitrary detention. The Zone 9 group who are said to be very critical of government policy and have a strong following on social media had temporarily suspended their activities earlier this year after accusing the government of harassing their members. Journalist Tesfalem Woldeyes who writes independent commentary on political issues for an Ethiopian newspaper was also arrested. According to Ethiopian journalist Simegnish Yekoye, Woldeyes is being denied visitation by friends and family and it's unclear what prompted his arrest and what charges he is being held under. Simegnish Yekoye told she was unaware of why the government had clamped down on journalists and that there was growing fear on the future of a free press (Al Jazeera, April 26).
Gunmen ambushed a bus carrying dozens of people in western Ethiopia near the Sudanese border, killing nine and wounding six others. There was no claim of responsibility and no group was blamed for the attack, but Ethiopia says it has thwarted several plots in recent years by Ethiopian insurgents as well as Somali al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab Islamist militants. A handful of rebel groups are waging low-level separatist insurgencies in Ethiopia, while Ethiopian troops are part of an offensive against al Shabaab in neighboring Somalia. The bus ambush – near the $4bio Grand Renaissance Dam - was the second attack on public transportation in the Benishangul Gumuz region in five months. Four people were killed by a bomb on a minibus in November (Reuters, April 16). - The attack took place at dawn on Tuesday at a place called Teiba in Sherkole Woreda, some 100 km south of Assosa, seat of the Benishangul-Gumuz regional state (WIC, April 16).
Egypt has offered to co-fund the Renaissance Dam on the condition that it co-administers or designs the dam, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign affairs Badr Abdel Atty told. Egypt also offered to “encourage Arab countries and funding organizations” to co-fund the dam, provided that Egypt participates in its management to prevent adverse “influence over any party,” Atty said. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy met with his Ethiopian counterpart Tedros Adhanom on the sidelines of the E.U.-African in Brussels. Fahmy openly explained that the matter impacts Egyptian national security and that Egypt would not “stand idly by” if the situation remains as is, according to Abdel Atty. There is a package of political, technical and legal measures that Egypt would use to pressure towards serious negotiations to transcend existing disputes, Fahmy told his Ethiopian counterpart (Al-Nahar TV, April 2).
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has promised to open prompt and thorough investigations into allegations of mistreatment in Ethiopian prisons. The allegations were brought by awardwinning, jailed journalist Woubshet Taye, who was denied treatment despite a health condition doctors have described as “severe.” Ambassador Tiruneh Zena, EHRC Commissioner said that EHRC is aware of the issue and investigations are underway to fix the problem. Woubshet Taye, former deputy editor of Awramba Times was sentenced to 14 years in prison along with Eskinder Nega and Re’eyot Alemu under Ethiopia’s trumpedup anti-terrorism law (Awramba Times, March 29).
The United States’ State Department annual report this year has toughened its tone in condemning Ethiopia’s record on rights, even Secretary of State John Kerry, grouped the country with Cuba, Belarus and China. This, former diplomats and experts say, is an indication that Washington will be testing the new leadership in Addis Ababa to see if it’s willing to embrace political reforms ahead of 2015 national polls. Successfully staging the country’s first ever peaceful power transfer, the ruling party has consolidated its control. There is however no sign that the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is heeding Washington’s calls for major reform A spokesperson for the PM earlier this week said any legislative or political reforms have to be “organic” and initiated by the government’s own assessments. The State Department report says Ethiopia restricts freedom of expression and association. Ethiopian security forces reportedly arrest, detain, harass, intimidate and put people on politically motivated trials to stifle dissidence. The report said its sources are convinced that police investigators often used physical abuse to extract confessions in Maekelawi, the central police investigation headquarters in Addis Ababa. Some prisons are described as “harsh” and “life threatening”. According to the report, opposition politicians and journalists are the main target of the government’s crackdown (Capital newspaper (March 18).
Israeli Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir has voiced Israel`s readiness to assist Egypt and Ethiopia reach agreement over the latter`s construction of a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam on the Nile River. Shamir made the remarks at a meeting in Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. The agency did not specify how Israel intends to assist both countries in ironing out their differences over the dam. The controversial project raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world`s most populous country, which fears a reduction of its traditional share of Nile water. Addis Ababa insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Sudan and Egypt, both of which will be invited to purchase electricity thus generated (Anadolu Agency, March 7).
Egypt has begun a diplomatic offensive aimed at stopping Ethiopia from building a huge hydroelectric dam on the Nile River that Cairo says will be a disaster for the Arab world's most populous nation. The military backed administration began its effort to internationalize the thorny issue in hopes of gathering support for its case against Ethiopia, where the Blue Nile rises in the northwestern highlands, after bilateral negotiations deadlocked in January. Gamal Bayouni, secretary-general of the Egyptian-European partnership at the Ministry of International Cooperation in Cairo, said Egypt now seeks to "target all countries that provide technical assistance for designing and building the Renaissance Dam through private contractors and also the states likely to fund to construction of the dam." On Feb. 6, Egypt's minister of water resources and irrigation, Mohamed Abdul Muttalib, visited Italy, considered to be Ethiopia's main technical supporter in building the dam. Italy's Salini Construction Corp. is building the 6,000 MW facility on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the Nile that flows northward through nine African states to the Mediterranean (UPI, Feb. 27).
It seemed like a routine overnight flight until the Ethiopian Airlines jetliner went into a dive andoxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. Only then did the terrified passengers - bound for Italy from Addis Ababa - realize something was terribly wrong. The co-pilot had locked his captain from the cockpit, commandeered the plane, and headed for Geneva, where he used a rope to lower himself out of a window, then asked for political asylum. Authorities say a prison cell is more likely. One passenger said the hijacker threatened to crash the plane if the pilot didn't stop pounding on the locked door. Another said he was terrified "for hours" on Feb- 17 as the plane careened across the sky (AP, Feb. 17) .
At a press briefing on Feb. 10, Prime Minister Hailemariam noted that Ethiopia had witnessed robust economic development over the last decade producing double digit growth. This, he pointed out had helped the country to rank among the fastest growing economies in the world. He also noted that the economy was expected to continue to grow at the same level this year, an average of 10 or 11%. This growth, he said, could be maintained as a result of the rapid and unprecedented growth in the agriculture sector. He indicated that the current rapid growth and investment inflow for the industry sector would help the country's economic transformation continue to accelerate. In addition, the expansion of the service sector would make an enormous contribution to translate this year's economic plan into a reality and help reduce the number of people suffering from poverty (ERTA, Feb. 12).
Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdul Muttalib will head a delegation to Addis Ababa on Feb.. 10 to continue talks regarding the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Muttalib accepted an invitation from his Ethiopian counterpart Alemayehu Tegenu to discuss the “sticking points” regarding the construction of the GERD, which Egypt fears could have a detrimental impact upon its water supply. Sudan, which is also an interested party in these talks, will not be represented at the meeting in the Ethiopian capital. Spokesman for the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Khaled Wassif told that this “is usual” because there are issues for Ethiopia and Egypt to discuss bilaterally. He stressed the importance of “direct contact” at this time (Daily News Egypt, Feb. 9).
Kenyan police are investigating alleged abduction of two topofficials of Ethiopia’s Ogaden National LiberationFront (ONLF) from outside a popular restaurant in Upper Hill, Nairobi. The two who were identified as Mr. Sulub Ahmed and Ali Hussein were members of the ONLF negotiation team that was in Nairobi for a proposed third round of talks. ONLF officials who asked not to be named claimed security agencies from Ethiopia and Kenya were involved in the kidnapping. They had been invited for a lunch date at a restaurant near TSC headquarters on Sunday afternoon when they were abducted by men who were in three waiting cars. The ONLF officials who spoke in Nairobi said the two officials were invited by the Kenyan government for peace negotiations. “We do not know the fate of our officials but we know they were taken to Ethiopia,” said an official who asked not to be named. He asked Kenya, which took the responsibility to be a neutral venue, and as a facilitator to investigate fully the incident and request the Ethiopian government to return the abductees (Standard Digitial, Jan. 29).
The Egyptian Minister for Irrigation and Water Resources Muhammad al Din Allam has revealed that in light of the inability to traverse the disagreement with Ethiopia, Egypt has decided to call for the intervention of international bodies to settle their winding dispute. On Jan. 4, 2014, water ministers and experts from Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt met in Khartoum in an attempt to find a solution to the longstanding dispute over the construction of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on the Nile. Although officials had expressed optimism that a solution, which satisfied all the parties involved in the dispute, was in sight shortly after the meeting, hopes of a quick resolution to the impasse were dashed when Egyptian authorities revealed that they are not planning to attend the next meeting between ministers from the three nations in Khartoum next month. - The Egyptian Irrigation and Water Resources Minister has disclosed that Egypt is set to embark on an international protest against the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. He further noted that Egypt will officially lodge a complaint with the United Nations Security Council and other relevant international authorities over the GERD. Ethiopian and Egyptian authorities have been at loggerheads over the dam since its constructors began diverting water from the Blue Nile as part of the dam’s construction in 2011 Besides concerns over the dam’s impact on the water supply of Egypt, Egyptian officials have also raised alarm that studies into the impact of the dam on the environment have been insufficient, given its size. Meanwhile, the three nations have not been able to agree on the composition of a committee to effect the recommendations of a panel of international experts assigned to study the dam last year. While the dam has been a source of distrust between Egyptian and Ethiopian officials, several Ethiopians have hailed the initiative, which is set to provide electricity for a country where over 50% of the population lack reliable power supply (Zegabi, Jan. 21).
Ethiopia’s use of sweeping anti-terrorism law to imprison journalists and other legislative restrictions are hindering the development of free and independent media in Africa’s second largest country, according to a report. Dozens of journalists and political activists have been arrested or sentenced under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009, including five journalists who are serving prison sentences and who at times have been denied access to visitors and legal counsel. The report, “Press Freedom in Ethiopia”, is based on a mission to the country carried out in November by IPI and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) (International Press Institute (IPI), Jan. 13).
Ethiopia rejected a proposal that would guarantee Egypt the rights to most of the Nile River’s water, as disagreements cast doubt over future talks about Africa’s biggest hydro power project. The 6,000 MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile River, set to be completed in 2017, has raised concern in Cairo that it will reduce the flow of the Nile, which provides almost all of Egypt’s water. The Blue Nile is the main tributary of the Nile. The $4.2bio dam 30 km from Sudan’s border will benefit agricultural and power interests in the region and not cause water losses downstream, Ethiopia says. Sudan supports the hydropower project designed to produce electricity for much of East Africa (Bloomberg News, Jan. 7).
A large number of Ethiopians living in the war-torn South Sudanese territory of Unity State are caught in the conflict between the warring parties of South Sudan. Some Ethiopians told newsmen that they are forced to take refuge with their construction machinery. About six of the Ethiopians who are working for a construction project there said two of their fellow workers have been killed while three others sustained serious injuries. It is not yet clear how many Ethiopians have died in the country so far but VOA reported this week that as many as thirty Ethiopians lost their lives since the outbreak of the war (Yegna Press, Dec. 31).
Fighting persisted in parts of South Sudan's oil producing region as African leaders tried to advance peace talks between the country's president and the political rivals he accuses of attempting a coup that the government insists sparked violence threatening to destroy the world's newest country. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn met with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. A senior government official warned that Riek Machar, the former vice president who now allegedly commands renegade forces in the states of Unity and Upper Nile, had to renounce rebellion before the government could negotiate with him. Michael Makuei Leuth, South Sudan's information minister, said the government has not yet established formal contact with Machar. It was not possible toreach Machar, as his known phone numbers were switched off (AP, Dec. 26).
A delegation of the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) led by Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs and current Chairman of IGAD, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, traveled to South Sudan. The visit is aimed at seeking ways of ending days of fighting in South Sudan (WIC, Dec. 20).
The second round of tripartite negotiations on the Grand Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia began on Dec.8, 2013 in Khartoum. Representatives from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia met in the Sudanese capital to continue discussing the potential impacts of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on downstream countries. Sunday's negotiations come after a meeting on Dec. 5 between Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, in which the Sudanese President announced his support for the dam's construction. The two sides signed 14 new agreements dealing with security, a free trade zone, investment and electricity (WIC, Dec. 10).
Several Ethiopians escaped their shelter in Madinah recently by jumping over the walls and then breaking into the adjoining Taibah University campus, according to the city’s police department. Brig. Fahd bin Amer Al-Ghanam, spokesman of the police, said 15 Ethiopians broke into the campus, but security officers managed to control the situation and took them back to the shelter. Several other Ethiopians, who had gathered outside the shelter, were also told to return. The university campus and buildings were searched thoroughly afterwards to make sure that no one was hiding there. The Ethiopians said they wanted the Saudi authorities to speed up the deportation process (Arab News, Nov. 27).
Less than 48 hours after the Riyadh clashes in which three people were killed and 68 injured, two groups of illegals were involved in a brutal brawl in Jeddah’s Al-Aziziya neighborhood early on Nov 11. Police rushed to the scene and broke up the brawl between Ethiopians and Chadians and arrested 57 people. The brawl left residents panicky as those involved in fighting started damaging private property. More than 14 cars were damaged during the violence. The Head of Jeddah Police Gen. Abdullah Al-Qahtani sent a large police contingent to the neighborhood to arrest the violators and maintain peace (Saudi Gazette,Nov. 11).
4 Ethiopians were killed in a bomb blast on a bus near the Sudanese border, the information minister said, as security forces remain on high alert following attack warnings. The blast occurred in Ethiopia's remote Benishangul region, about 400 km northwest of Addis Ababa, bordering Sudan. Ethiopia has put its police and security forces on heightened alert after receiving strong evidence that Somalia's Islamist al Shabaab group is planning attacks in the country, officials said (AFP, Nov. 7)-. Al-Shabaab has vowed to exact revenge on Ethiopia for sending troops to Somalia to fight the al Qaeda linked militants, alongside African Union forces from Uganda, Burundi and Kenya. "There is strong evidence that indicates Al Shabaab and terrorist groups backed by Eritrea are preparing to carry out attacks in Addis Ababa and other areas of the country soon," the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and the federal police said in a joint statement (Reuters, Nov. 5).
A meeting of the irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will be held on Nov.4, 2013 in Khartoum, said Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Moteleb. Tthe minister said that the meeting will be the start of several other meetings to follow in an attempt to reach an agreement among all parties concerned regarding the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. He also said that Egypt does not have any bad intentions towards the Ethiopian people. The meeting aims to hammer out an agreement on a joint vision regarding the setting up of projects on the Nile in a way that does not affect the water share of the two downstream Nile countries, namely Egypt and Sudan, he added (WIC, Oct, 31).
Ethiopia has signed a preliminary agreement with a U.S.-Icelandic firm for a $4bilo private sector investment intended to tap its vast geothermal power resources and help it become a major exporter of energy for East Africa. Reykjavik Geothermal, whose Icelandic geothermal expertise is backed by U.S. investors, signed a deal with Ethiopia on to construct a 1,000 MW geothermal power plant, Africa's largest, in the volcanically active Rift Valley.When complete, the project will be Ethiopia's biggest foreign direct investment, run by its first privately owned utility. In an economy traditionally dominated by state spending, the government has suggested that the nascent sector could be a model for increased private investment. Experts put its hydropower potential at around 45,000 MW and its geothermal potential at 5,000 MW from where only 7.3 MW power is currently being produced at a pilot plant, according to data from the Ministry of Mines.But Reykjavik says the accessible geothermal resources could be nearer 15,000 MW."For 50 years (Reuters, Oct 24).
Two Somali nationals died when a bomb they were making detonated in their home in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, as thousands gathered to watch a football match, officials said on Oct. 14. The ones who died were of Somali origin ccording Ethiopia's Minister of Information Redwan Hussein. The two deceased were in Ethiopia illegally and had rented a house in a Somali neighborhood near the airport where the bomb exploded. It is unclear whether the men were plotting to target the crowds in Addis Ababa watching a World Cup qualifier match, Redwan said that investigations are underway (AFP, Oct. 15).
The joint session of the two houses of parliament on Oct. 7 elected Ambassador Mulatu Teshome (PhD) as president of the Republic of Ethiopia. Mulatu, 55, served the nation in various diplomatic missions and until recently was Ethiopia’s ambassador to Turkey. Many of his diplomatic missions were in Asian countries including China, Japan and Thailand. The new president replaces Girma Woldegiorgis after two six year terms (state media, Oct. 7).
Ethiopians have taken to the streets of the capital, Addis Ababa, to protest against an anti-terrorism law. The demonstration on Sep. 29 was organized and led by the opposition. Protesters also demanded political reforms and equality as well as the release of political prisoners. Leader of the opposition Unity for Democratic Justice (UDJ), Negaso Gidada, called for the government to abrogate the law and “release all political and prisoners of conscience immediately.” (Press TV, Sep. 30) - Reporters Without Borders said an estimated 80,000 people took part in a street demonstration against Ethiopia's antiterrorism law on 29 Sep. in response to a call from Unity for Democratic Justice, an opposition group that spent more than three months rallying support for the protest. Adopted in 2009, the much criticized anti-terrorism law enables the government to justify arbitrary arrests of journalists, members of the opposition and human rights defenders (Press Release).
One of the opposition parties that have been named as terrorist organizations by the Ethiopian government, Ginbot 7 Movement, has admitted that it has been receiving military support from Eritrea. In a statement to VOA, two leaders of Ginbot 7, Dr. Berhanu Nega and Ato Andargachew Tsigie, said they have been receiving armed support from the Asmara government. Ato Andargachew said he recently held talks with Eritrea’s President Issayas Afeworki, and that he has received assurances from the president that Eritrea would continue to assist them in providing arms and weapons (Addis Admas, Sep. 28).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged lower riparian countries to accept the assessment report presented by the Tripartite Panel of Experts on the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The Spokesperson of the Ministry, Ambassador Dina Mufti, told journalists that Ethiopia accepts the report and stressed the need for Egypt and Sudan to do so. The construction of the dam is underway taking into consideration the benefits of lower riparian countries, Ambassador Dina said, adding, so far, 28% of the construction has been completed. He said the reporting of some Egyptian media and government officials linking the dam construction to the safety and security of Egypt is inappropriate.- The final report of the Panel in general made it clear that the on-going GERD project is being undertaken in line with international design criteria and standards. It also specified that the project would not result in any significant adverse impact on the two downstream countries. The dam will also solve the problem of siltation in dams in lower riparian countries, a problem that costs millions of dollars in rectification annually, and produce a more constant water flow. The experts were also unanimous in saying that the GERD would solve the problem of the frequent flooding to which the Sudan has been prone. In general, GERD was identified by the Panel as producing major benefits to the three countries, not least the provision of clean energy for the countries and the region as a whole (state media, Sep. 17).
Some 100 members of Ethiopia’s opposition Semayawi (Blue) party were arrested and some badly beaten over the weekend, the party says. Party chairman Yilikal Getnet said equipment such as sound systems were confiscated ahead of the rally on Sunday Sep. 1 which was banned. Communication Minister Shimeles Kemal denied there had been a crackdown. The government said the venue had already been booked by a pro-government group condemning religious extremism. The governing EPRDF maintains strict control over public life in Ethiopia (Awramba Times, September 3).
Millions of residents of Addis Ababa city on Sep. 1, 2013 staged a rally at Meskel Square to say “no to religious extremism.” People from all walks of life attended the rally organized by the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia (IRCE), an independent body established to promote and systematize interfaith learning, collaboration and synergy to address issues of common concern such as peace building and conflict transformation. IRCE has six member religious institutions, namely, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC), the Ethiopian Catholic Church (ECC), the Ethiopian Adventist Church (EAC), Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Evangelical Churches Fellowship of Ethiopia (ECFE). Waving the Ethiopian flag and chanting slogans denouncing religious extremism, the demonstrators pledged to defend the Constitution and fight against extremists operating under the guise of religion (State media, Sep. 1).
Addis Ababa observed the first year Meles Zenawi memorial in Gulele at the Meles Zenawi Library and Park earlier known as Gulele Plantation Center. The Presidents of Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia as well as the Vice President of Uganda and senior officials from Rwanda, Kenya and South Sudan attended the event. Azeb Mesfin, wife of the late Meles Zenawi, remembered him as a committed leader who did the best he could offer to transform Ethiopia to a growing democratic country (ERTA, Aug. 20).
The Ethiopian federal police said on Friday that they have uncovered explosive devices planted inside Addis Ababa Bole International Airport averting a major tragedy. Two explosives were found around the departure terminal of the country’s largest airport targeting the hundreds of passengers waiting to fly. The incident created panic among passengers and caused a delay in flights until bomb disposal experts were able to dismantle the devices, which are believed to have been home made, and cleared the rest of the area for other explosive devices. It is not clear how the attackers managed to pass the number of security check points at the airport. A police official told that the nature of the attack is under investigation and it is yet to be determined if the attempt was a terrorist attack (Sudan Tribune, Aug. 16)
Muslims in Ethiopia protested in the capital Addis Ababa during Eid al-Fitr prayers on Thursday, part of a two-year-old campaign against what they say is government interference in their religious affairs. A heavy police presence around the city's stadium the venue for morning prayers marked a tense run-up to the Muslim holiday after clashes between Muslims and police killed up to five people last week (Reuters, Aug. 8. - Hundreds were arrested, beaten, and tear gassed Thursday morning following nationwide Eid day protests, Muslim rights activists said. Police began rounding up peaceful protesters returning home near the Ministry of Justice in Addis Ababa shortly after the Eid prayers concluded at the national stadium, according to eyewitness reports on Twitter. Those detained were ordered to sit on the ground inside the Ministry's compound, the reports said (OPride, Aug. 8. )- In similar protests, police in the northern city of Dessie fired machine guns and tear gas, indiscriminately beating the protesters, according to a Facebook post by activist group, Dimtsachin Yisema. - Hundreds of Muslim protesters during the weekend clashed with police in Ethiopia’s Oroma region ahead of the upcoming holiday of the end of Ramadan, or Eid al-Fitr. The incident occurred in West Arsi Zone after regional police arrived at the scene to intervene the situation. Regional Police told that the violence led to death and injuries following fire exchange with what it alleged were some armed protesters. "Three were killed and seven policemen sustained injures after armed protesters opened fire on security forces," police said in an email exchange. It added the situation is now under control and those responsible for the violence were taken to custody without elaborating on the number of arrested protesters (Sudan Tribune, Aug. 5).
A protest rally was held on Friday at the Tewfik mosque in Addis Ababa by followers of the Muslim faith who accuse the government of grossly interfering in their religious affairs. The Muslim youth who were shouting antigovernment slogans have been put under arrest. A large number of the Muslims flocked to the mosque in response to the call on the internet for a rally. Yet another internet call was disseminated requesting Muslims to hold a grand protest rally on the day of Ramadan feast (Addis Admas, Aug. 3).
In a new show of discontent over what they allege is the government’s meddling towards religious affairs, thousands of Ethiopian Muslims staged protest rallies in Addis Ababa’s two mosques. Following Friday prayers, protesters turned out in large numbers at the Grand Anwar mosque condemning the arrest of their fellow Muslims and calling for a stop to government interference in religious affairs (Sudan Tribune, July 26).- When police later arrived to the scene, protesters were seen throwing stones, causing damage to public and government properties. A police source confirmed that some protesters were arrested, but declined to give an exact figure (SudanTribune).
Ethiopian police detained 40 opposition supporters distributing leaflets calling for the repeal of an anti-terrorism law they say has been used to stifle dissent, the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party said.The arrests in four districts of the capital, Addis Ababa, occurred on July 15 as UDJ members distributed pamphlets asking people to sign a petition that also demands the release of jailed opposition members, religious leaders and journalists, the party said in an e-mailed statement (Bloomberg, July 16).
Ethiopia's economy is expected to maintain a growth rate of 11% in 2013/14 with plans to upgrade infrastructure given prominence in its annual budget Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said. The Horn of Africa nation has in recent years embarked on ambitious infrastructure projects to improve its economic competitiveness Hailemariam told parliament. The IMF said in a statement it expected Ethiopia's economy to grow 7% in 2012/13 (Reuters, July 4).
Egypt and Ethiopia are taking steps to defuse tension over Ethiopia's diversion of the Nile River to construct a massive hydroelectric dam. The ministers of foreign affairs from both countries held talks in Addis Ababa on June 17 and 18. Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom told reporters that both nations have agreed to implement recommendations made by an international panel of experts and to hold further talks. “Both ministers, in a spirit of brotherly relations and mutual understanding, agreed to embark on consultations at the technical and political levels," Adhanom said, "with the participation of the Republic of Sudan, to implement in a speedy manner the International Panel of Experts' recommendations”. The diplomatic language is a far cry from the heated exchanges over the $55bio dam, which Egypt fears will threaten its vital water supply (VOA, June 18).
President Mohammed Morsi has said "all options are open" to deal with any threat to his country's water supply posed by an Ethiopian dam. Mr. Morsi said he was not "calling for war", but that he would not allow Egypt's water supply to be endangered. Egypt was apparently caught by surprise when Ethiopia started diverting the Blue Nile last month, amid works to construct a hydroelectric dam. It says the Blue Nile will be slightly diverted but will then be able to follow its natural course.
A peaceful protest rally in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, has sparked speculation the government may be relaxing its tight restrictions on political demonstrations, reports. The large turnout at the rally has also raised the profile of a little-known opposition party that seems to be attracting a large following among Ethiopia’s disaffected youth. Sunday’s demonstration drew thousands to the streets of Addis. But estimates of how many thousands varied widely. State-run television reported it was 2,000, while organizers said it was more like 15,000 to 20,000 (VOA, June 3).
The diversion of the course of the Abay (Blue Nile) River was successfully undertaken to make way for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD The river has been successfully done to utilize the resource for national interests. The benefit of the GERD which is the fruit of the May 28 Victory is not only for the nation but also for neighboring countries, he said. He also called on the public to continue the support it has extended to the construction of the dam since inception until the end (State media, May 29).- The move, which wascalled "historic" by Ethiopian government spokesperson Bereket Simon, will outrage Egypt and Sudan, which are downstream, because it will negatively affect their water quotas. The Renaissance Dam is one of four dams that could be built along the Blue Nile, one of the two branches of the Nile River, which provides Egypt with round 60% of its annual 55 billion cub.m of Nile water (Ahramonline, May 28).
The court has ordered the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission to establish firm charges against the persons arrested recently on charges of corruption. A large number of government officials and businessmen, including the Director-General of the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority with the rank of Minister, have been arrested on charges of corruption. Some of them have complained that the prison administration has denied them the right to meet their lawyers. The court has, however, ordered the prison administration to allow the prisoners to meet and consult with their lawyers (Addis Admas, May 18).
Ethiopian police detained twelve individuals on May 10, according to a press statement from the Federal Anti-Corruption Commission. Melaku Fenta, Director General of the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority with the rank of minister is among the detainees. His deputy, Gebrewahed Woldegiorgis, has also been put in custody. Melaku Fenta was elected to the out-going Council of Addis Ababa City Administration in 2008 as a candidate of ANDM/EPRDF (Daily Ethiopia, May 11).
The Ethiopian government reiterated its readiness to hold peace talks with Eritrea to resolve their decades-long border dispute. During his meeting with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York, the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom accused the Eritrean government of refusing to engage in peace talks. Adhanom said his country is ready to sit down for direct negotiations with Eritrea without any preconditions regarding to level, time or venue (Sudan Tribune, April 30).
Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn has warned some public officials against corrupt and unbecoming behavior. In a report he gave to the House of People’s Representatives, the Prime Minister gave details of his government’s performance in the past eight months of his coming to power. Following his report, the MPs raised various questions even outside the scope of his report and he provided explanations. The Prime Minister was especially asked to comment on the recent eviction of Amhara nationals from Benishangul-Gumuz State and on the recent fratricidal conflict that erupted among the Shinile tribe of Somali region. On the bloody conflict in Somalia State, the Prime Minster said this problem is caused not by the people but by terrorist groups who still continue to infiltrate the people causing animosity and disturbances. He bluntly blamed the OLF and ONLF as well as their sympathizers for the problem. He explained that the federal government has intervened in both instances without infringing on the rights of the regional state. On the case of the eviction of citizens from Benishangul-Gumuz, the Prime Minster said it is not only Amhara nationals but also Oromo nationals who were evicted. He said appropriate action has been taken on regional state officials who authorized the eviction (Reporter, April 24).
Voters in Addis Ababa City cast their votes in the election of members of woreda councils beginning from 6:00 a.m. local time Sunday. They voted at 1,524 polling stations set up in 116 woredas of the city. The voting process was launched in the presence of election executives and observers including representatives of civic societies, the public and political parties. Over 1.6 million voters, out of whom more than 523,000 are women, were expected to cast their votes in the election. Close to 60% the total 1.6 million eligible voters registered to cast votes in the election of woreda council members in Addis Ababa City cast their votes until 2:00 p.m., the city branch office of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia said. The head of the office, Getahun Gebremedhin, said the election process is underway without any problem. Polling stations stay open until 6:00 p.m., he said (WIC , April 21).
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) said the local and city administration council elections have been completed successfully across the country and vote counting has begun. NEBE Board Chairperson, Prof. Merga Bekana told the media that over 85% of the registered electorate voted until 6:00 pm, excluding voters in some areas where voting has not been completed at the stated time due to the large number of voters. Prof. Merga said the election was held in a peaceful manner across the country (State media, April 14).
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found the Government of Ethiopia’s continued detention of independent Ethiopian journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega a violation of international law. reported the panel of five independent experts from four continents held that the government violated Mr. Nega’s rights to free expression and due process. The UN Working Group called for his immediate release. Mr. Nega is serving an 18-year prison sentence on terror and treason charges in response to his online articles and public speeches about the Arab Spring and the possible impact of such movements on the political situation in Ethiopia. (Bikyanews.com, April 1).
The website of Qatar-based news organization Al Jazeera has been blocked in Ethiopia, raising questions over the country's commitment to press freedom, under the new leadership of prime minister. According to reports and the website's users in Ethiopia, the English and Arabic websites of Al Jazeera have been inaccessible during the last six months. An investigation by Al Jazeera indicated that traffic from Ethiopia to their English-language website plummeted from 50,000 hits in July 2012 to just 114 in September. The sharp decline in Al Jazeera's traffic data began in early August (Sudan Tribune, March 18).
Ethiopian security forces have arrested four members of the Al-Qaeda allied Somalian Islamist extremist group, al-Shabaab. According to the National Security and Intelligence Agency, the militants were arrested on Friday in Moyale town near the border with Somalia. The suspects are accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Ethiopia's Somali region under the assignment of al-Shabaab. An Ethiopian police source told that the suspects were planning to attack and kidnap foreign aid workers from a camp for Somali refugees (Sudan Tribune, March 16).
Ethiopia registered real GDP growth of 11.6% and 8.5 % during the past two Ethiopian fiscal years 2010/2011 and 2011/2012, respectively, aigaforum. The share of industry in total GDP increased from 10.8% at base year to 15% in 2010 / 2011 (WIC, March 5).
A senior Saudi Arabian official unleashed a barrage of attack against Ethiopia saying that the Horn of Africa nation is posing a threat to the Nile water rights of Egypt and Sudan. "The [Grand] Renaissance dam has its capacity of flood waters reaching more than 70 billion mü of water, and is located at an altitude of 700 m and if it collapsed then Khartoum will drown completely and the impact will even reach the Aswan Dam," the Saudi deputy defense minister Khalid Bin Sultan said at the meeting of the Arab Water Council in Cairo. "Egypt is the most affected party from the Ethiopian Renaissance dam because they have no alternative water source compared to other Nile Basin countries and the establishment of the dam 12 km from the Sudanese border is for political plotting rather than for economic gain and constitutes a threat to Egyptian and Sudanese national security," the Saudi official said (Sudan Tribune, Feb. 26).
Regulators at the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) have issued a directive this week cutting down the reserve requirement of commercial banks to 5%, from 10%. This is the second decrease in the reserve requirement in two years, from the constant 15% three years ago. Banks have also been given a two year grace period within which they are to restructure their loan portfolios, so that 40% of loan advances comprise of short-term loans, which are due within one year. The move by the central bank is believed to be in response to the liquidity crunch that is being experienced by banks that rely on medium (one to five year) and long-term loans (Fortune (Feb. 21).
Ethiopian Muslims last Friday staged a public rally in protest against a recent broadcast by ETV of a documentary film entitled "Jihadic Harekat". The rally was conducted in the presence of a large number of Muslims drawn from all over the country. The documentary film focuses alleged terrorist activities of some Muslims who have been put in custody accused of involvement in terrorism. Protest rallies were also held in other towns in the county (Yegna Press, Feb. 12).
Reporters Without Borders said it strongly condemns a decision by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA), which regulates all the media, to withdraw the publication license of the Addis Times, an opposition bimonthly magazine created after the authorities closed the outspoken weekly Feteh last August"The grounds given by the EBA are not of the kind that justify such a severe measure as closure under Ethiopian law. This sanction must be lifted at once. We call on the authorities to put a stop to this harassment of the Addis Times and its journalists." - In a letter, the EBA accused the Addis Times of failing to report a change of owner and change of address, failing to send the two obligatory copies of each issue to the National Archives, and a lack of transparency in its funding. No evidence was provided to support these claims or the punishment imposed. The magazine's director-general disputes the allegations and regards the punishment as illegal and unconstitutional. Ethiopian law provides for a fine of up to 15,000 birr for contravention of this kind but not for closure or withdrawal of a license. The constitution meanwhile guarantees freedom of expression and media freedom. The Addis Times was published for only four months before this sanction, while its predecessor, Feteh, was subjected to an avalanche of legal proceedings before being closed for good by the authorities last August (Reporters Without Borders, statement, Feb, 8).
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) revealed Ethiopian security forces have detained for two weeks without charge the editor of a newsmagazine and accused him of incitement to terrorism, according to local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to release Solomon Kebede immediately and halt their harassment of journalists affiliated with the weekly Ye Muslimoch Guday. Police in Addis Ababa, on Jan. 17 arrested Kebede, managing editor of the now-defunct paper Ye Muslimoch Guday ("Muslim Affairs"), and took him to the Maekelawi federal detention center. Solomon's health is in poor condition and he has been held without access to a lawyer, the journalists said. A court date has been set for February 13 (Release of the CPJ, Feb. 2.)
Dissident Eritrean soldiers with tanks took over the information ministry on Jan- 21 and forced state media to call for political prisoners to be freed, a senior intelligence official said. The renegade soldiers have not gone as far as to demand the overthrow of the government of one of Africa's most secretive states, long at odds with the United States and accused of human rights abuses. Eritrea has been led by Isaias Afewerki, 66, for some two decades since it broke from bigger neighbour Ethiopia. The fledging gold producer on the Red Sea coast has become increasingly isolated, resisting foreign pressure to open up. Soldiers forced the director general of state television to say the Eritrean government should release all political prisoners, the Eritrean intelligence source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. There was no immediate statement from the Asmara government. The mutineers were low- to mid-ranking soldiers who sought a change in the constitution rather than a coup, said one regional expert with close connections in Asmara. About 200 soldiers with two tanks were involved and they had also surrounded the ministry, diplomats in the region said. It was unclear whether loyalist troops were moving against them. On a strategic strip of mountainous land, Eritrea is a tightly controlled one-party state. It has more soldiers per person than any country except North Korea (Reuters, Jan. 21).
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is slated to take over as the chairperson of the African Union this month, replacing Benin's President Boni Yayi as the head of the pan-African bloc, officials said on Wednesday. Hailemariam must be officially voted in by member states at the opening of this month's African Union heads of state summit, which runs from 27 to 28 January. A new chairperson is elected every January at the annual summit and is awarded on a regional basis. - Before current chairperson Boni Yayi took on the role, the chairmanship has been successively occupied by northern, southern and central Africa. The last time East Africa chaired the AU was in 2008 when Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete served as head of the bloc. Ethiopian Foreign Affairs spokesman Dina Mufti said the appointment is especially important for Ethiopia, which hosts the headquarters of the AU and is a founding member nation of the AU's predecessor, the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) (AFP, Jan. 16).
The Ethiopian Government and the Department for International Development (DFID) in UK signed an agreement providing for 510m € grant to support the third phase of the Protection of Basic Services (PBS-III) project. Launched in 2006, the project aims at expanding and improving the quality of basic services such as education, health, clean water and road, by funding block grants to regional governments. It also supports activities to enhance the capacity, transparency, accountability and financial management of regional governments and local authorities (state media, Jan. 8).
Ethiopia and Sudan are in negotiations to balance the revenues earned from Ethiopia's sale of electric power to Sudan with the equivalent expenditure of oil imported from Sudan to Ethiopia, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis Ababa. After the completion of the Ethiopia-Sudan transmission line in Feb. Ethiopia has, in a test run, started exporting 100 MW of hydro-power generated electricity to Sudan. Sudan will initially be provided with 100 MW but this is expected to increase over time. Ethiopia imports most of its fuel from Sudan, spending over 50% of the 4.4bio USD made from the country's total 2012 export earnings to meet nation's fuel demand. Ethiopia sells electricity at a price of 0.6 Ethiopian Birr per kWh. This is equivalent to 0.07 USD for kWh. Sudan was already a large importer of Ethiopian agricultural products before the electricity deal. Ethiopia also supplies 80% of Djibouti's electric power (Sudan Tribune, Dec. 31).
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) is finalizing preparations to hold the election of the country's next Patriarch. Serious controversy has arisen between the local and exiled synods of EOC following the death of the 5th patriarch, Abune Paulos. Efforts were made in the past few weeks to resolve the dispute through peaceful negotiations and to reinstate the exiled Ethiopian Patriarch to power. But the local Holy Synod has now decided to go ahead and conduct the election unilaterally (Ethio-Mihidar, Dec. 25). The Ethiopian government has said it has no objection to the return home of the exiled 4th Ethiopian Patriarch, Abune Merkorios. In a statement, the Ministry of Federal Affairs said the constitution stipulates that the government should not interfere in religious affairs (Sendek, Dec. 26).
A faction of a separatist rebel group said on Sunday it was seeking peace talks with the Ethiopian government, a development that could help stabilize a region with potential reserves of oil and gas. The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has fought since the mid-1980s for independence for the mainly ethnic Somali province of Ogaden in southeast Ethiopia, bordering lawless Somalia. Abdinur Abdulaye Farah, the group's representative in east Africa, said his faction was in the Ethiopian capital hoping to have talks with the government. There was no immediate comment from the authorities. The initiative pointed to weakened secessionist activity in Ogaden, where rebels have not mounted a major attack since 2007. Several companies, including Chinese firms, are exploring for oil and gas in the area (Reuters, Dec. 23).
Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia's prime minister, has said that he is willing to hold talks with neighboring Eritrea, with whom Addis Ababa fought a border war that ended in 2000. If Desalegn follows through with Wednesday's statement, it will be the first time a leader in Addis Ababa has held talks with Isaias Afeworki, the Eritrean president, since the end of the conflict which left at least 70,000 people dead. "If you ask me, 'Do you want to go to Asmara and sit down and negotiate with Isaias Afeworki?' Then, I will say yes'," Hailemariam said in an interview with Al Jazeera which was to be broadcast on December 8 (Al Jazeera, Dec. 5).
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn appointed two new deputy premiers to share the leadership of the government between the four ethnic-based parties of the Horn of Africa nation's ruling coalition. The second and third deputies are Muktar Kedir, a former adviser to the prime minister and leading member of the Oromo People's Democratic Organization, and Information Technology Minister Debretsion Gebremichael, who is also deputy chairman of the Tigray People's Liberation Front, Hailemariam told lawmakers today in the capital, Addis Ababa. Demeke Mekonnen, the education minister and leader of the Amhara National Democratic Movement, was appointed as a deputy prime minister in September (Bloomberg, Nov. 29).
Kenya and Ethiopia reaffirmed their commitment to work closely in tackling terrorism, piracy, human trafficking and other organized crimes that continue to pose a challenge to security and peace in the region. In a communiqué issued after holding bilateral talks with visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Nairobi, President Mwai Kibaki said the two governments are also working together to eradicate any form of threats to stability of the region and the Horn of Africa. The two leaders reiterated their commitment to safeguarding security, common values and other fundamental interests of the region and reaffirmed their resolve to jointly address the other challenges to peace and stability in the region, including drought and climate change, terrorism, piracy, human and drug trafficking, as well as other organized crimes. The Ethiopian PM arrived in Nairobi for a 2-day visit aimed at boosting ties between the two countries (WIC, Nov. 22).
Ahead of the UN Human Rights Council elections, a group of non governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world have jointly urged Ethiopia, a standing candidate, to demonstrate its commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights. Ethiopia's candidature has received some criticism from international rights group. Human Rights Watch published letter addressed to Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, is signed by Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP), Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), and Human Rights Watch (HRW) (Sudan Tribune, Nov. 13).
Climate change could severely reduce the areas suitable for wild Arabica coffee before the end of the century. That is the conclusion of work by a UK-Ethiopian team published in the academic journal Plos One. It supports predictions that a changing climate could damage global production of coffee - the world's second most traded commodity after oil. Wild Arabica is important for the sustainability of the coffee industry because of its genetic diversity. The Arabica crops grown in the world's coffee plantations are from very limited genetic stock and are thought to lack the flexibility to cope with climate change and other threats such as pests and diseases (BBC, Nov. 8).- The wild plants have a genetic diversity that breeders rely on to improve the cultivated crop, which does not have the flexibility to respond to climate change (VOA, Nov. 7).
Four people were killed in eastern Ethiopia when a group of armed demonstrators raided a police station following protests over alleged government interference in Muslim affairs, an official said on Oct. 22. Thousands of people have staged weekly street protests and mosque sit-ins in the Horn of Africa country's capital for nearly a year, arguing that the government is promoting an "alien" branch of Islam - the Al Ahbash sect - which is avowedly apolitical and has numerous adherents in the United States. The protesters say the government controls Ethiopia's highest Muslim body, the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs, and has prevented long-overdue elections that could bring alternative views onto the Council. - The incident late on October 21 occurred after postponed elections were held in the town of Gerba in the Amhara region, and sparked by the arrest of a protester who attempted to disrupt the vote, government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said (Reuters, Oct. 22).
Ethiopia's economy is expected to maintain a growth rate of 11% in 2012/2013, newly-appointed premier Hailemariam Desalegn said, predicting a slump in crippling inflation rates that have plagued the country in recent years. The International Monetary Fund in June raised its economic growth forecast for Ethiopia to 7 percent from 5.5 percent owing to slowing inflation. Official estimates have tended to be generally higher than the Washington-based body's growth projections. The inflation rate slowed to 19% last month from 20.2% in August, helped by a slowdown in the rate of food price rises. The IMF has said tight monetary and fiscal policies have contributed to declining inflation, through the termination of central bank financing of the budget and significant sales of foreign exchange (Reuters, Oct. 16).
Ethiopia said it has released 68 Eritrean prisoners of War (PoW), but seven of them have sought asylum in the country that once held them prisoner. The Eritreans were caught during a March raid on Eritrean military bases, which Ethiopia claims were used for "hit-and-run" attacks by subversive groups operating in the remote region. Monday's amnesty, according to the Ethiopian government, is to promote cordial relations between the two countries. The 68 PoW were freed under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (The Africa Report, Oct. 8).
The Muslim community in Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz and Gambella states on Sunday went to polling stations established in kebeles to elect Islamic Council members. Muslims elect 20 members in every kebele to be part of the council. In Afar State, Muslims elected council members in a peaceful and democratic manner, the State Ulema Council said. According to the state's Islamic Affairs Council chairperson, Hajj Keral Halifa, the majority of Muslims are going to the kebeles to take part in the election (ENA, Oct. 6). - According to reporters, in woreda 1 and 2 in Arada Sub-city in Addis Ababa, members of the Muslim community elected 20 people out of the 25 candidates. Five out of the 20 will become members of the council's executive committee. Mimi Dino Jemal of Woreda 10 said the election was transparent, fair and peaceful. The elected members will serve for five years. Out of the 1,420 registered voters in the two woredas, 1,120 cast their votes (ENA, Oct. 7).
An Egyptian official has emphatically denied the veracity of allegations that his country had reached an agreement with neighboring Sudan to use its territories as a launchpad for potential attacks on Ethiopian damming facilities over the dispute of Nile water-sharing. The allegations last month citing a 2010 internal e-mail leaked by the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, which suggested that Sudan president Omer Al-Bashir had agreed to build an Egyptian airbase in his country's western region of Darfur to be used for assaults on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) should diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over Nile water-sharing (Sudan Tribune ,Sep. 24).
Hailemariam Desalegn and Demeke Mekonnen were on Sep. 21 sworn-in as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, respectively. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Chairman of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), told parliamentarians that the appointment was made based on the EPRDF's succession plan. Hailemariam has a first second degree in Water Engineering and a second degree in Management Science, Demeke said, adding that he had also served as vice president and president of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Regional State. Following his swearing-in as Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn pledged to work hard to make the vision of the late PM Meles Zenawi a reality, adding the legacy of the late PM Meles would continue without any fragmentation (WIC, Sep. 21).
The meeting of the Council of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) ended on Saturday after electing the chairperson and vice chairperson for the Front. Council Executive Committee Member, Bereket Simon, told journalists that the Council elected the Deputy PM and Foreign Affairs Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as Chairperson and named Education Minister Demeke Mekonnen as Vice Chairperson of the Front. Bereket, who is also Government Communication Affairs Office Minister, said the council held a democratic election based on the principle of succession and unanimously elected the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson for the Front. The appointees will be sworn in at the inaugural ceremony of the parliament to serve as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of the country (State media, Sep. 15).
Ethiopia's ruling party, the Ethiopian People's Democratic Front (EPRDF) has delayed the appointment of a new party chief and prime minister. EPRDF executive council members in their closed-door meeting disagreed on the election procedures for the appointment of a new leader. The delay posed unexpected internal political tension and power squabbling among the ruling elite. On August 21, in its meeting the Ministers' Council (Cabinet) endorsed Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn as an acting prime minister but in Tuesday's meeting, the ruling party contradicted the earlier decision of the Cabinet. The Cabinet has already announced Mr. Hailemariam as an acting "prime minister" and he should be sworn by parliament. - Further delay of naming Mr. Hailemariam party chief exposed the growing internal power struggle among the four ethnic based members of the ruling party coalition: Amhara, Tigray, Oromo and Southern people. The oldest and most powerful member of the coalition and core party of the late Meles, the Tigrean People's Liberation Front (TPLF) is in a defensive position to maintain its 21 years security and economic dominance. Mr. Hailemariam, from the small Wolayta ethnic group, represents the southern part of the country and was promoted in 2010 by the late Meles. Oromo and Amhara parties of the ruling party demand the end of Tigreans' 21 years dominance in politics. After the EPRDF endorses its candidate for premiership, parliament will install the new leader (Daily Nation, Sep. 6).
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was laid to rest on Sunday at the Holly Trinity Cathedral Church in Addis Ababa. The funeral service of the late premier was attended by various African leaders, heads of state, delegations and prominent international figures. Prime Minister Meles died at the age of 57. Thousands of mourners gathered at Meskel Square to pay their final respects to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The flag-draped coffin arrived at Meskel Square and later proceeded to the Holy Trinity Cathedral Church where he was buried (WIC, Sep. 2).
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi passed away late on August 20, 2012. Prime Minister Meles died after being treated abroad for the last few weeks, the Council of Ministers announced. The Council said the Prime Minster was a visionary leader for Ethiopia and steadfastly worked for the renaissance of Africa. He has been representing his country and Africa at international forums to consolidate peace and stability. The Council decided that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hailemariam Desalegn become Acting Prime Minister of the country (State media (August 21). - Ethiopia's Prime Minister H.E. Meles Zenawi died at midnight on August 20. Ethiopians lost their dedicated leader who has contributed to the transformation of the country from absolute dictatorial military rule and poverty to a democratic and developmental one. The Premier was one of the most remarkable transformational leaders in Africa and the rest of the world (WIC, August 21).
His Holiness Abune Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), has passed away, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Patriarch Private Secretariat said. The Patriarch, who is also President of the World Council of Churches, died on Wednesday after medical treatment in the country. His Holiness Abune Paulos, who is also World Peace Ambassador, was 76 years old. The fifth Patriarch of EOC was born Gebremedhin Woldeyohannes on 3 November 1935 in Adwa, Tigray. He has been Patriarch of EOC since 1992 (State media, August 16).
The health condition of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi continues to be a subject of controversy in the media. Both local and international news sources have been reporting different stories on the Prime Minister's health. Quoting the International Crisis Group (ICY), EAST Radio had earlier reported that the Prime Minister had died. The Economist magazine, which is regularly read by the Prime Minister himself, said the government's power is now concentrated in the hands of people close to the Prime Minister. In its report, The Economist described the prime minister as dynamic and the voice of Africa. It said the prime minister, following his treatment at a Belgian Hospital, is now resting in his country. The Economist also reported that the official duties of the Prime Minister are now being performed by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. According to the magazine, official state duties are handled by Ato Hailemariam Desalegn but that the real power is exercised from behind by Ato Miles's close officials including Army chief of Staff General Samara Yunus (Yang Press, August 7).
Prime Minister Meles is reportedly recovering from his illness and has started performing his official duty from his home in the palace. A senior government official said on condition of anonymity that the Prime Minister is doing his work by talking only with four of his officials. It was explained that doctors have advised him to talk less. The prime minister reportedly returned home from abroad last week after weeks of medical treatment. News sources had earlier reported that the prime minister would give a brief public statement concerning his health but this has now been cancelled (Addis Admas, Aug. 4).
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been treated for an illness and is "in good condition", a government spokesman said, amid rising speculation about the health of a man in power for two decades in a poor, violent corner of Africa. Rumors that he is seriously ill have been rife since the former guerrilla leader, in power since ousting Mengistu Haile Mariam's military junta in 1991, failed to attend an African Union summit in Addis Ababa over the weekend (Reuters, July 18).
Twenty Ethiopians, including a prominent blogger and opposition figures were jailed for between eight years to life on charges of conspiring with rebels to topple the government. Ethiopia has said it is fighting separatist rebel movements and armed groups backed by its arch-foe Eritrea. But rights groups say the Horn of Africa country, sandwiched between volatile Somalia and Sudan, is using broad anti-terrorism legislation to crack down on dissent and media freedoms. Addis Ababa denies the charge. - Blogger and journalist Eskinder Nega, who was arrested last year and accused of trying to incite violence with a series of online articles, was jailed for 18 years. Five other exiled journalists and a blogger were sentenced in absentia to between 15 years to life. - Opposition official Andualem Arage was jailed for life. Two other prominent opposition figures Berhanu Nega and Andargachew Tsige, who are out of the country, also received life sentences. "The court has given due considerations to the charges and the sentences are appropriate," Judge Endeshaw Adane said during the proceedings in Addis Ababa. - The 20 were charged last year, most of them in absentia, with six counts including conspiracy to dismantle the constitutional order, recruitment and training for terror acts and aiding Eritrea and a rebel group to disrupt security. They were also accused of belonging to Ginbot 7, a group branded a "terrorist" organization by the Ethiopian government. Another four people charged alongside them were not sentenced on Friday and were being treated as a separate case, said court officials. Exiled opposition leader Berhanu Nega, was also jailed for life on charges of treason in the aftermath of 2005's disputed parliamentary election, but was later pardoned (Reuters, July 13).
The Third Criminal Bench of the Federal High Court passed a guilty verdict on 20 people in the case of Andualem Aragie et al who were accused of inciting terrorism. In an interview in connection with the verdict, the Prosecution and Investigation Director in the Ministry of Justice, Michael Tekilo, told that the court had produced 35 evidences including prosecutor witnesses and more than 500 written pages and five CDs. The director said the defendants failed to defend the six charges filed against them. The court adjourned to give final decision on July 13, 2012. The court passed the verdict on eight of the defendants who appeared before court while the rest were pronounced guilty in absentia (State media, June 27).
Campaigners have warned of fresh efforts by the Ethiopian government to clamp down on certain types of internet use in the country. Al Jazeera recently reported that Ethiopia passed a law on 24 May criminalizing the use of VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calls. It said the maximum sentence was 15 years in jail. Other local reports have said that individuals providing such services face sentences of up to eight years, and users could also be imprisoned for using banned social media sites. The BBC could not independently confirm the details. While criminalizing such acts may be new, Ethiopia has long restricted internet use. Reporters Without Borders said it was concerned the latest effort to block access to Tor might be the first step towards creating a system that would allow the authorities to intercept any email, social network post or VoIP call made in the country. We've had in the past certain cases of blocking websites of independent and opposition parties, so censorship isn't new - but now it's a new stage, and what Reporters Without Borders is worried about, is that [by criminalizing] communications by Skype, the government is implementing a system to have a general policy of internet control (BBC, June 15).
Sources have indicated that clashes have broken out north of Badme, the flash point town of the 1998 Ethio-Eritrean war. The clashes which lasted one day and one night started on May 25, 2012, and border guards have been injured. The sources added that the Fifth Mechanized Regiment stationed around Gonder and Bahr Dar was dispatched to the area. The injured members of the Ethiopian army were flown by helicopter to the army hospital in Adi Kokeb and Mekele. Several members of the Sha'abiya army were captured. There were no further clashes after May 26, 2012, according to the sources (Negadras, June 2).
Ethiopian Muslim activists are reporting torture and abuses by security forces over growing opposition to an alleged government campaign to indoctrinate the community with Ahbashism campaign. "An Ethiopian activist died after being tortured by electric shock and inhumane acts by government security forces," villager Ibrahim Nuseyra told. He said a female activist, Firdaws, died last week after being tortured by security forces after attending a meeting called for by the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (Majlis). The meeting, led by Federal Affairs Minister Dr Shiferaw Tekelemariam, was attended by only three members, including Firdaws. Ibrahim said the female activist left the meeting after the Ethiopian minister insulted the Muslim Provincial Committee and branding its members as "terrorists" (Onislam, May 24).
The International Experts’ Panel set up by Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt to carry out assessment on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project officially launched its activities. The Panel is expected to conduct detailed study on the project and submit a report in nine months. Sudan’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Gen. Abdulrahman Sirelkhatim, said the Panel is expected to make official the study on the dam’s due schedule. The Panel comprises competent experts, the ambassador said, and urged the peoples of the three countries to trust the experts. The Panel comprises ten members four of whom are drawn from Britain, France, South Africa and Germany and the rest are from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan (State media, May 15).
On the outskirts of Addis Ababa, a muezzin leads a solemn sermon at a mosque before thousands of worshippers stamp their feet to protest against what they say is the Ethiopian government's interference in religious affairs. Protests are uncommon in tightly-controlled Ethiopia, and the unrest has caused concern in the predominantly Christian nation that takes pride in centuries of coexistence. The government fears hard-line Islam is taking root in the Horn of Africa country, which has long been seen by the West as a bulwark against militant Islam in neighboring Somalia (Reuters, May 10).
The Ethiopian government has activated a highly restrictive directive that authorizes printers to censor the content of newspapers and other publications that roll off their presses. The new legal directive forces printers to take responsibility over the contents of anything that they publish. The rule directly authorizes the printing house to institute pre-publishing censoring and must remove any content which may be defined as "illegal" by the government. - State-owned Berhanena Selam Printing Enterprise (BSPE) is the only printing house in Ethiopia equipped with the technological capacity to publish newspapers and has already circulated the new agreement for its customers to sign. Its general manager declined to comment on the issue. However, a group of newspaper owners have strongly opposed the move and established an ad-hoc committee to co-ordinate the protest. According to the new agreement, the printing house has a right to refuse to publish any sensitive content they find that would entail legal or any other responsibilities (African Review, May 1).
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said income inequality has been recognized as a major threat to global macroeconomic and social stability. Speaking at the opening of the 13th World Congress on Public Health here on April 23, Meles said inequality in incomes results in massive inequality in access to health services and health outcomes. He said one of the most debilitating outcomes of increased income inequality could, therefore, be an even higher level of inequality in health. Ethiopia tried to tackle the problem from both the income and health services end. For the past eight years, Ethiopia has achieved an average growth rate of a little more than 11% per annum. Interestingly, Meles said, the benefit of the growth in GDP has been broadly shared. The latest UNDP report suggested that Ethiopia has the most equitable distribution of income in Africa and is one of the ten countries in the world with the most equitable distribution in income. Meles said all development efforts in the health sector have concentrated on providing free primary health care services to all Ethiopians, particularly those in the rural areas, and on prevention through health extension program. As a result of the efforts and the remarkable support of partners, 90% of Ethiopians have now access to primary health care services (State media, April 23).
Thirty-nine fighter jet pilots and 201 technicians graduated in Ethiopia, the biggest number ever to graduate in one go, as the country works on strengthening its air force. Handing awards to the 39 pilots and 201 technicians at an air force base in Debre Zeit, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, vowed to strengthen the country's air force. Meles said missions geared towards the defense of the nation from anti-peace forces have been successfully accomplished. Ethiopia's defense budget has been on the rise in the past few years, reaching US$350m from the country's US$7bio budget (News Dire, April 20).
There are plans to group 200,000 families in villages in developing states within three years, in addition to the resettlement program in Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and the Southern Region unless there is shortage of land. The resettlement program will be carried out only within the regions and not from one region to the other. Ato Mitiku Kassa, State Minister of Agriculture, said since the residents of Gambella, Benishangul Gumz, Afar and Somali states live in scattered areas, it has been difficult to put in place basic infrastructure. Therefore, he added, it has been found necessary to group people in villages. - Ato Mitiku disclosed that 1.3 million people have been resettled in Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and the Southern Region starting from 1996 (E.C.). He added that 99% of the resettled people have ensured food security. Preparations are underway to resettle over 69,000 people in 2004 (E.C.), and the program will continue in 2005 (E.C.), Ato Mitiku affirmed. - The villagization program was started last year in Benishangul Gumz State. The plan is to group 454,000 people in villages within three years. The president of Gambella State, Ato Umod Ubong, said the aim is to settle 15,000 people a year. According to Ato Mitiku, the resettlement programs would resolve the problems of food security. The Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency under the Ministry of Agriculture has a stock of 206,000 MT of grain and the Grain Reserve Agency has 180,000 MT of grain in its stock. Ato Shiferaw Shigute, president of the Southern Nations Nationalities and People’s State (SNNPS), affirmed that people from the Amhara State who had come to Gura Ferda Woreda, Bench Maji Zone in SNNPS after Sep. 2006 were not people who were evicted but who were seen off with honor based on a directive by the regional state (Sendek, April 11).
Transitional Federal Government forces and Ethiopian troops seized two districts in Bay region in Southwestern Somalia. Al-Shabaab militants ceded Burhakaba and Qansah-dhere towns, about 200 and 180 km southwest of Mogadishu, the TFG reported. The advancing troops came from Baidoa town, 240 km southwest of Mogadishu, which Al-Shabaab lost in February. „We took over Burhakaba and Qansah-dhere without resistance,“ remarked Hon. Afarale (WIC, April 7).
The sit-in strikes of teachers of some schools in Addis Ababa have continued and classes are still discontinued. According to sources, some teachers have been fired from their work for refusing to heed the government’s order to go back to work. The Ethiopian Teachers’ Association has called on teachers to continue protesting while teaching. The Ministry of Education said it is deeply concerned about the teachers’ strikes (Sendek, March 27).
Ethiopian and Somali troops seized a town in Somalia controlled by al-Shabaab militants who fled after battles with troops, residents said. Hundreds of residents and rebel fighters fled Hudur, 420 km southwest of Mogadishu, as troops moved into town. Hudur is the administrative headquarters of Bakool region. The town has served as a training base for the militant group al-Shabaab. The fall of Hudur is a big blow to the al-Qaida-linked group's control of southern Somalia. Al-Shabaab confirmed the withdrawal, saying its forces made a tactical retreat as part of the plan to disable the enemy in guerrilla warfare (AP, March 22).
Destroyed three camps, defense official says
According to state media (March 15), the Ethiopian Defense Force announced Thursday that it has destroyed Eritrea’s three mercenary camps. The Head of the Indoctrination and Public Relations Center in the Ministry of Defense, Col. Gebrekidan Gebremariam, told journalists on Thursday that the Ethiopian defense force successfully annihilated the destructive forces of the Eritrean government based in Ramid, Gelahben and Gembe areas which are close to the Ethiopian border. Col. Gebrekidan said the Ethiopian defense force would continue to take such measures until the Eritrean government and its mercenaries refrain from their subversive activities. He said detailed information concerning the issue would be made official soon.
Col. Gebrekidan said that the Eritrean government is engaged in an activity bent on destabilizing the peace and security of Ethiopia. He also recalled that Eritrea's mercenaries had killed foreign tourists who were visiting Afar State. Ethiopia has been examining the situation and has now taken an appropriate counter attack to stop the Eritrean government from such destructive acts. The U.N. Security Council, the African Union and other international organizations have condemned Eritrea for its subversive activities bent on destabilizing the East Africa region.
Islamist militant group al-Shabaab has ambushed an Ethiopian base in Somalia, with dozens of casualties, reports say. They attacked the base, near Yurkut village in the central region of Geddo, from two directions at dawn. Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed 73 Ethiopians, while the Somali government said it in turn killed 48 members of the militant group. It is the most intense fighting since Ethiopian troops entered Somalia last November. The fighting lasted for more than three hours, but correspondents say it will be difficult to verify the exact number of dead. The attack took place between the border with Ethiopia and Baidoa, a town Ethiopian forces took last month from al-Shabaab rebels (BBC, March 10).
Kenya and Ethiopia signed an agreement for the construction of a standard gauge railway line from Lamu in Kenya to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The deal was sealed ahead of the much hyped launch of a major infrastructure project (Capital FM News, March 1).
Witnesses say Ethiopian and Somali government troops have clashed with al-Shabaab militants in southwestern Somalia. The sides battled Tuesday in a village between the towns of Luq and Bardale. Bardale is located 60 km west of Baidoa, an al-Shabaab stronghold that was once the seat of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government. Somalia's deputy prime minister said the allied government and Ethiopian forces are headed toward Baidoa and will take the area within days. Mohamed Mahmud Ibrahim said the regions will be liberated within this week, and that people will say their Friday prayers in freedom (VOA, Feb. 21).
About three hours south of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa lies a sprawling, 120,000-ha field planted with hundreds of thousands of grape vines in tightly packed rows. Workers in blue coveralls cultivate the vines, looking for pesky diseases, while men stand atop ladders with slingshots in tow to fend off hungry birds. The vineyard is owned by French beverage company Castel, which plans to export half of its 750,000-thousand bottle production this year, making it Ethiopia’s first major wine exporter (The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 15).
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Ethiopia is expected to show an over 11% economic growth this year. According to Meles, the agriculture sector is expected to show an 8.5% growth while the industry and service sectors are expected to grow by 17.9 and 11.5%, respectively (state media, Feb. 8).
Some 17.000 Sudanese refugees returned recently to their homeland in the Blue Nile, announced Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Fighting broke out between the Sudanese army and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N) in the Blue Nile on the first day of September 2011 as direct result for the clashes with Khartoum in the south Kordofan state since June of last year Hailemariam said his country received some 35,000 Sudanese refugees who fled the violence that took place last September in the neighboring Blue Nile. He however said that 17,000 Sudanese have now voluntarily returned to their homeland, stressing that Ethiopia is pursuing a policy of receiving immigrants that are coming to its land and providing care until their problem is resolved (Sudan Tribune, Jan. 30).
The African Union has inaugurated its newly built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The entire $200m project was funded by China as a gift to the AU, as Beijing continues to strengthen its influence in Africa. In front of African leaders a huge golden key was handed over and the 100m high building was officially opened. The tower overlooks a vast conference centre where African heads of state are expected to meet for years to come. Their first AU summit in the building will take place on Jan. 29 (BBC, Jan. 28).
The Ethiopian government said gunmen armed by the Eritrean regime killed five European tourists and kidnapped others on January 16 while they were visiting the Erta Ale volcano in Afar region of Ethiopia. Two Germans, two Hungarians, and an Austrian were among those killed. Two other German nationals and two Ethiopians were kidnapped after the attack which left an Italian and a Belgian national wounded. The wounded victims were taken to hospital by Ethiopian military forces, and the bodies of the tourists killed in the attack were expected to arrive in the capital Addis Ababa Wednesday. The tourists were visiting the famed Erta Ale volcanic site in the Afar region near the Ethiopia-Eritrea border. The government said the attack had been carried out by terrorist groups trained and armed by the Eritrean government who crossed the border and attacked the tourists (WIC, Jan.18).
Eritrea’s government accused neighboring Ethiopia of jamming its satellite broadcasts and threatened to take legal action, the Information Ministry said. Ethiopia has been warned by the Arab Satellite Communications Organization that the interference is illegal, the Asmara-based ministry said in a statement on its website. Ethiopian government spokesmen Bereket Simon and Shimeles Kemal didn’t answer calls to their mobile phones seeking comment (Bloomberg, Jan. 11).
The United Nations has praised Ethiopia’s tremendous efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ensure peace and stability in Africa and to build a green economy. Eugene Owusu, UN Resident Coordinator, said that Ethiopia has been implementing its five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) to meet the MDGs. Recognizing the country’s endeavors for poverty alleviation and sustainable economic development, the United Nations in Ethiopia has planned its development programs in line with the GTP, Mr. Owusu said. The UN system is working with greater harmony and integration at country level in order to meaningfully back the GTP, he said, adding that the UN‘s development partnership would be through its 2012- 2015 United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), a joint framework incorporating about 24 UN agencies in Ethiopia (WIC, Dec. 23).
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said a couple of weeks ago, newspaper editor Dawit Kebede, an International Press Freedom award winner, fled Ethiopia. Sadly, Dawit's Awramba Times is the latest in a long list of Amharic-language private publications to vanish from the market following the incarceration or flight into exile of their editors. Dawit was imprisoned in 2005 on trumped-up charges of genocide and treason after Ethiopia's disputed 2005 general election. At the time, he was the publisher of Hadar, an Amharic weekly, which was banned after his arrest. After his release in August 2007, he launched a more mature paper, Awramba Times, with a promising team of writers and commentators. Awramba Times's bold coverage drew an orchestrated smear campaign, waged by ruling party papers and their affiliates. Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA) accused Awramba Times of trying to incite an Arab Spring-style rebellion in the country. With the meager resources that publishers had, it was impossible to hire correspondents and columnists. That led most private newspapers to be a one-man or one-woman show. The incarceration or flight into exile of the editor usually led the title to disappear from the market. For instance, in 1993, Ethiopis, one of the first newspapers to emerge after the fall of the Marxist regime, ceased to exist following the detention of its publisher (the indefatigable Eskinder Nega, who at the moment is languishing in prison on terrorism charges). More recently, exactly two years ago, the popular Amharic weekly Addis Neger took the same path. When the editors fled the country, the paper folded. Fortunately, they still had the energy to continue the publication online. Awramba Times can and may do the same thing (Press release).
Ethiopia launched a National Accelerated Plan for Scaling up Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) Services. Health Minister Dr. Tewodros Adhanom said the plan helps to step up ongoing efforts to reach many more millions of mothers and babies with PMTCT services in the coming four years to ensure an HIV-free generation in the country. Ethiopia is one of 22 sub-Saharan African countries that succeeded in reducing their national rate of new HIV infections by 25% between 2001 and 2009. According to a study conducted in 2010, nearly 1.2 million people were living with HIV in Ethiopia including about 90,000 expectant women. Despite progress in the national HIV response, only 9.3% of pregnant women are currently receiving HIV counseling and testing services. The national accelerated emergency plan includes three targeted objectives including reaching 90% of pregnant women with access to antenatal care services, ensuring that all pregnant women have access to delivery by a skilled attendant and providing antiretroviral prophylaxis to at least 80% of HIV-positive pregnant women (WIC, Dec. 3).
Several hundred Ethiopian troops crossed on Nov. 19 into southern and central Somalia, local elders said, but Addis Ababa dismissed the reports as "absolutely not true." "There are several hundred Ethiopian troops here in lorries and some armored vehicles too," said elder Abdi Ibrahim Warsame, speaking by telephone from Gurel town, in Somalia's central Galgudud region. Ethiopian forces were also reported in the Hiran region at the town of Beletweyne, some 30 km into Somalia, an area contested by Islamist Shabaab rebels and pro-government militia. But Ethiopia dismissed the reports outright. If confirmed, it would be Addis Ababa's first large scale incursion since it invaded Somalia in 2006 with US backing (Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), Nov. 19).
The Federal High Court on Friday sentenced two members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) to 17 years in jail. Judge, Shemsu Sirgaga, said the duo had been given minimal sentences after pleading with the court for leniency. The two terrorists could not defend the charges against them (State media, Nov. 4). The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed that Ethiopia has given permission to the US Air Force to use a landing strip in the town of Arba Minch in the Southern Region to fly unmanned drones for its anti-terror campaign in East Africa. The ministry’s Spokesperson, Ambassador Dina Mufti, told that based on Ethiopia’s bilateral antiterror relations with the United States, it has allowed the American government’s drone jets to use the Arba Minch airport as a base to fly from (Sendek, Nov. 2).