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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), in cooperation with Julie Ward MEP (S&D), Soraya Post MEP (S&D), Ana Gomes MEP (S&D), Jordi Sebastià MEP (G/EFA), Bodil Ceballos MEP (G/EFA) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), will be convening a high-level conference entitled ‘Cartoon Democracy – Authoritarian Rule and Elections in Ethiopia’ at the European Parliament in Brussels on 23 April 2015 from 09:00 to 12:30. Taking place ahead of the Ethiopian National Election on 24 May 2015, this timely conference will analyse the current political climate in Ethiopia and the deeper structural issues shaping it. Bringing together Ethiopian minority and opposition leaders as well as international experts and politicians, it aims to offer a platform for dialogue where existing challenges can be openly addressed and possible opportunities for democratic change explored.
In May 2010, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won a landslide victory in the Parliamentary elections, taking 99.6% of the votes and all but two of the 547 seats. The European Union Election Observer Mission to Ethiopia (EU EOM) later noted that there had been a distinct lack of transparency during the electoral process and that the political parties had not been afforded a level playing field during their electoral campaigns. On 24 May 2015, the country will be called to vote again to renew its Parliament, but at this point a different outcome seems highly unlikely.
The 2015 election comes at a time when the Ethiopian economy has made great strides: with near double-digit GDP growth over the past decade and large-scale infrastructural development, it is one of Africa’s fastest-growing. However, the country’s human rights record remains appalling. While the Ethiopian Constitution provides for many civil and political rights for its people, including the process of open and genuinely democratic elections, in practice the central government keeps a grip on political and social freedoms using the argument of protecting national security as a pretext to impose severe restrictions on the media and NGOs. Moreover, the Ogaden and Oromo people, among other ethnic minority groups in Ethiopia, are targeted with extra-judicial killings, torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances.
Particularly alarming are accounts claiming that the Ethiopian government is funding its ethnic persecution with foreign aid designated for development projects. Ethiopia represents the fourth largest recipient of EU aid finance in the world and the EU is currently the country’s single largest trade partner. Consequently, the EU has significant leverage over the regime, which in turn represents an opportunity and responsibility to encourage the Government to be more accountable, promote freedom of speech, develop democratic institutions and respect human rights and the rule of law.
Confirmed speakers include:
Panel I: Where Ethnicity Meets Politics: The Political Climate in the Run-up to the 2015 Election

  •  Mr Abdirahman Mahdi, Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)
  •  Dr Shigut Geleta, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)
  •  Mr Abebe Bogale, Ginbot 7
  •  Mr Betana Hamano, Sidama Liberation Front

Panel II: Futile Democracy, Human Rights and the Pretext of Protecting ‘National Security’

  • Mr Martin Schibbye, Swedish Journalist (video statement)
  • Dr Alemayehu Kumsa, The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)
  • Mr Dan Dolan, Reprieve
  • Mr Graham Peebles, the Create Trust
  • Dr Trevor Trueman,Oromia Support Group

Panel III: Ways Forward for Ethiopia Post-2015: Status Quo or an Opportunity for Change?

  • Dr Getachew Jigi Demekssa, Former Member of the Ethiopian Federal Parliament
  • Mr Abdullahi Mohammed, African Rights Monitor
  • Dr Baro Keno Deressa, Oromo activist
  • Mr Antony Otieno Ong’ayo, PhD candidate, University of Utrecht

+ Screening of “Rape as a Weapon of War”, video clip by freelance journalist

For further information about the event please contact the UNPO Secretariat in Brussels at j.demeulder@unpo.org or +32 25 13 14 59.
Registration for the event has now closed.

For media enquiries please contact:
Johanna Green
+32 251 31459 • j.green@unpo.org
More than 20,500 up-to-date textbooks and recent scholarly journals – that’s over 33,000 pounds of materials packed into 641 boxes – are on their way to Hawassa University in Ethiopia, thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and a generous commitment from Colorado State University.
CSU and Hawassa signed a memorandum of understanding to develop collaborative relationships between the two universities’ colleges of agriculture and natural resources in 2012.
When CSU President Tony Frank visited the natural resources college at Hawassa University three years ago, he said, “I came away from our visit to Ethiopia feeling very enthusiastic about the possibilities, large and small. So much of the credit for our strong ties in the country and with Hawassa University lies with (Natural Resource Ecology Lab research scientist) Paul Evangelista, whose personal passion and research interests have laid the groundwork for an enduring partnership around areas of real strength at CSU: wildlife management, sustainability, water resources, and more.”
However, Frank and Evangelista both noted during that visit that while Hawassa had a new library facility, it lacked sufficient library materials to fill its shelves and fully support the needs of the academic community. So Frank and Evangelista turned to CSU’s “boots on the ground” in Ethiopia to rectify the situation.
At the time, Peace Corps Volunteers Bob and Nancy Sturtevant were posted at Wondo Genet College of Forestry, a campus of Hawassa University north of the town of Shashemene (home of the Rastafarians). Although Bob had already retired from CSU, and their Peace Corps tour of service ended in December 2012, they put their two decades of experience collecting books for disadvantaged schools around the globe toward stocking the Hawassa library.

Filling a semi-trailer

Bob and Nancy Sturtevant (front row left), Ecology Ph.D. student Matt Luizza, and NREL research scientist Paul Evangelista take a break with volunteers from Alpha Phi Omega before they finish filling the shipping container with books for Hawassa University.
Bob and Nancy Sturtevant (front row left), Ecology Ph.D. student Matt Luizza, and NREL research scientist Paul Evangelista take a break with volunteers from Alpha Phi Omega before they finish filling the shipping container with books for Hawassa University.
Since 2013, the Sturtevants have gathered excess academic books and journals and other materials from CSU students, faculty, staff, and community members as well as from other universities around the nation and prepared them to send to Ethiopia.
On April 16, they finally packed the massive collection, which includes texts on subjects from health and psychology to computer science and statistics as well as natural resources and agriculture, into a semi-trailer container for shipment, which is expected to take from three to six months, depending on how long the boxes take to clear Ethiopian customs. Total cost of the effort is about $11,000, funded by the CSU President’s office.
“Bob and Nancy Sturtevant have a remarkable history, during their years at CSU, of conducting book drives — and they were able to use that knowledge and experience to build a collection that will really be transformative for Hawassa University,” Frank said. “I cannot say enough how grateful we are to the Sturtevants for their tireless work to make this happen in a way that will really serve the international academic community. Their leadership on this project has been exceptional.”
The Sturtevants were aided in this massive undertaking by Evangelista and a group of dedicated volunteers – both graduate students who study with Evangelista and the other NREL faculty who teach at Hawassa and members of the on-campus service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. For three years, this group has collected, sorted, stored, and prepared books for the Ethiopia shipment, using vacant space in the old Centers for Disease Control Building on the Foothills Campus.
“Countless people across our community donated their scholarly resources to make this shipment possible,” Frank said. “This has been an important project for CSU as well as for our academic partners in Ethiopia, and it’s a wonderful demonstration of the strong bond between our institutions and the people of Hawassa and CSU. Thanks to all who have made it possible.”

It was in 1939, during Ethiopia's brief occupation by Italy that the first garment factory was established. Since then, the sector has come a long way and 130 medium and large scale textile factories have opened, of which 37 are owned by foreign investors.
Hawassa Textile S.C. is one of the oldest companies, which was established in 1989 under state ownership but as of 2011, the ownership was transferred to Dukem Textile Plc at a cost of 37 million Br. The company produces bed sheets and foam mattress covers, school uniforms, workers uniforms and thread. Of all its products, only thread has made it to the international market, said Eyasu Atnafu, general manager of Hawassa Textile S.C.
According to Amanuel Girma, branch manager of Almeda Textile, just like Hawassa Textile S.C., his company also exports only 20pc of its total production, the rest being sold in the local market. Almeda Textile Plc, established in February 1996, by the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), with a capital of 594 million dollars, employs 2,500 people. It has a yearly production capacity of 7,020tn of yarn, 16,751,100tn of grey fabric, 15,387,000tn of processed fabric, and about one million pieces of basic shirt equivalent garments.
East African Bottling S.C (EABSC) started the construction of a 420-million Br plant two weeks ago in Bahir Dar, in the Amhara Regional State.
The plant, constructed on a 30ha plot, is a part of a 500 million-dollar investment, which the company launched in April 2012. The plan includes three new plants, including one in Hawassa and another one in western Ethiopia and implementation will be completed by 2020.
EABSC produces and bottles beverages including those from the Fanta group, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Schweppes, Coke Light and Dasani bottled water.
አዲስ አበባ፣ ሚያዝያ 13፣ 2007(ኤፍ.ቢ.ሲ) አይ ኤስ በሊቢያ በሚኖሩ ኢትዮጵያዊያን ላይ የፈፀመውን አሰቃቂ ግድያ በማውገዝ የአዲስ አበባ ነዋሪዎች ነገ ሰልፍ ያካሂዳሉ።
በደቡብ አፍሪካ በወገኖቻችንና ሌሎች አፍሪካ ሃገራት ስደተኞች ላይ የተፈፀመውን ግፍና በሊቢያ አይ ኤስ አይ ኤስ የተባለው አሸባሪ ቡድን በኢትዮጵያውያን ስደተኞች ላይ የፈፀመውን የጅምላ ግድያ የሚያወግዝ ታላቅ ሃገራዊ የተቋውሞ ሰልፍ ነው ብሏል ሰልፉን ያስተባበረዉ የአዲስ አበባ ወጣቶች ፌዴሬሽን።
የአዲስ አበባ ከተማ አስተደደርም ድርጊቱ በሰው ልጅ ላይ የተፈጸመ አስነዋሪና አረመኔያዊ ድርጊት በመሆኑ መላው የከተማችን ነዋሪ በተደራጀ መልኩ ነገ ከጠዋቱ 3 ሰአት በመስቀል አደባባይ በመገኘት ድርጊቱን አምርረን እናውግዝ በማለት ጥሪ አስተላልፏል።
በሰልፉ ላይ መንግስትና የከተማው ነዋሪ በተደራጀ መልኩ አስቀድሞ የጀመረውን የፀረ ሽብር ትግል አጠናክሮ እንደሚቀጥልበት ለሁሉም አሸባሪዎች፣ አክራረዎች እና ከዚህ ከሽብር የጥፋት ተልዕኮ ፖለቲካዊ ትርፍ እናገኛለን ብለው ለሚያልሙ ሃይሎች ጭምር ግልፅ መልእክት ይተላለፋል ተብሎም ይጠበቃል።
በሰልፉ ላይም እስከ ግማሽ ሚሊዮን የሚደርሱ የከተማዋ ነዋሪዎች እንደሚገኙ ይጠበቃል።
አይ ኤስ በኢትዮጵያዊያኑ ላይ ያደረሰው ዘግናኝ ግድያ ከአለማቀፉ ማህበረሰብ መወገዙን የቀጠለ ሲሆን፥ በርካታ ሀገራት እና አለማቀፍ ተቋማትም በአሸባሪ ቡድኑ ለተሰው ቤተሰቦችና በአጠቃላይ ለኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ መፅናናትን እየተመኙ ነው።
ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ሀይለማርያም ደሳለኝም ኢትዮጵያውያን ሽብርተኝነት የሀይማኖት ጭምብል ለብሶ መምጣቱ ሳያዘናጋቸው ሀይማኖት ሳይለዩ በአንድ ልብ እና ሃሳብ ቆመው ሊዋጉት እንደሚገባ ገልፀዋል።
የሃይማኖት መሪዎችም ሆኑ ሰፊው ህዝብ በአሸባሪ ቡድኑ የደረሰው አሰቃቂ ግፍ ምንም አይነት ሃይማኖታዊ መሰረት የሌለው መሆኑንም እየገለጹ ይገኛሉ።
ጉዳዩን አስመልክቶም የህዝብ ተወካዮች ምክር ቤት የሶስት ቀናት ብሄራዊ የሀዘን ቀን እንደሚያውጅ እየተጠበቀ ነው። መንግስትም በአሸባሪ ድርጅቱ ላይ ከአለማቀፉ ማህበረሰብ ጋር የተቀናጀ እርምጃ ለመውሰድ መዘጋጀቱን አስታውቋል።
ከዚህም በተጨማሪ ወደ ሊቢያ፣ የመንና ወደ ሌለች በውጥረት ውስጥ ወደሚገኙ ሀገራት በመጓዝ ላይ የሚገኙ ኢትዮጵያዊያኖች በአቅራቢያቸው ወደሚገኝ ኢምባሲ በማቅናት ወደ ሀገራችው እንዲመለሱ አሳስቧል።
በደቡብ አፍሪካ በተለይም በደርባን ከተማ በውጭ ሀገር ዜጎች ላይ በተቃጣው ጥቃት እስካሁን ሰባት ሰዎችተገድለዋል።
ከእነዚህም ውስጥ አንዱ ኢትዮጵያዊ ሲሆን በበርካቶች ላይ ደግሞ በአካል ጉዳትና በንብረት ላይ ጉዳት ደርሷል።
በየመን ቀውስም ኢትዮጵያዊያንን ከጉዳት ለማትረፍ መንግስት የተለያዩ ተግባራትም እያከናወነ ይገኛል።
በአጠቃላይ መንግስት በደቡብ አፍሪካ፣ ሊቢያና የመን የሚገኙና ወደ ሀገር ቤት ለመመለስ ፍቃደኛ የሆኑ ዜጎችን ለመመለስ መዘጋጀቱንና ለዚህም የሚረዱ ስልክ ቁጥሮችን ይፋ አድርጓል