Rewarding tyranny in the name of development (AFD)
October 2006: A year after the minority Ethiopian regime unleashed a reign of terror against its own citizens in broad daylight, leading to the death and injury of hundreds, the World Bank lavished millions of dollars in aid on it. Although the purported goal of the aid is to meet basic societal needs, the real effect is to free the regime from meeting these needs so that it can concentrate its resources on building and sustaining a vast and growing security force that can continue to repress the demands of Ethiopia’s people for freedom and democracy.
Two weeks after the Inquiry Commission, established partly under pressure from the European Union, concluded that excessive force was used by the security forces in containing the civil unrest in the aftermath of last year’s elections, the same European Union rewarded the regime with 150 million Euros. To make matters worse, the United Nations has reportedly donated 700 million dollars to a regime that continues to flagrantly violate human rights on a daily basis. Persuaded by the same disingenuous assurances by the regime, assurances that have been proven to be nothing more than empty promises, the international community have chosen to sacrifice its principles for realpolitik.
It is difficult to understand why donors are continuing to appease and reward a government that has become a menace not only to its own people but to the people of the Horn region through its ill-advised military adventures. This action is especially troubling since the minority-based regime has little to show for the billions in aid it has received since 1991.
Instead of promoting democracy and development, it has created a tyranny. What is even more shocking is the failure of donors to condition aid on respect for human rights and commitment to the national dialogue that is urgently needed if Ethiopia is not to descend into chaos.
The Alliance for Freedom and Democracy would like to once again remind the World Bank, the European Union and the United Nations that their actions do not and can not serve the cause of development as long as a lasting solution is not found for the country’s deteriorating political crisis. To the contrary, they will only exacerbate an already unstable and explosive political climate. Unconditional aid emboldens the regime to dismiss the calls made by the Alliance and the people to commence dialogue and begin the good-faith negotiations needed to prevent spreading civil unrest and instability. A regime that has alienated the vast majority of the population, and prevented political parties representing millions from participating in the political process, and failed to build a democratic order conducive for sustainable development despite 15 years of generous assistance by the international community, cannot be expected to survive for long, let alone lead the country on the road to freedom, democracy and development.
We protest the continuation of the present policy of appeasing dictatorship by a minority party and ask the international community to stop underwriting a regime that is committing gross violations of human rights, and is fast becoming a major source of regional instability. While calling upon all our people to vigorously protest this mockery of justice, we remind the international community that, while it can pump millions and billions into the purse of a dying regime, it cannot restore the internal legitimacy which that regime has forever lost through its repressive policies and actions.
Alliance for Freedom and Democracy