Letter from the Ethiopian community in Europe
Ethiopian community in Europe | March 31, 2007
We have learnt that the European Liberal Parties Summit will be held in Dakar from 1 to 3 April. Prominent EU leaders such as Commissioner Louis Michel and the French presidential candidate FranÃ§ois Bayrou will be guest speakers along side many African leaders, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. (more…)
Ethiopian community in Europe | March 31, 2007
We have learnt that the European Liberal Parties Summit will be held in Dakar from 1 to 3 April. Prominent EU leaders such as Commissioner Louis Michel and the French presidential candidate FranÃ§ois Bayrou will be guest speakers along side many African leaders, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
In their international relations, the EU liberal parties advocate promoting human rights throughout the world regardless of nationality as one of their top priorities. It is difficult to understand how the Liberals can reconcile their professed principles, with their practice inviting African leaders who are known for their dismal human records.
You may, by now, be familiar with the repression and serious human rights violation in Ethiopia that has intensified since the May 2005 Elections. If the magnitude and brutality of the human rights violations committed by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia were to be compared with that of Robert Mugabe , the latter would be a champion of human rights. While we believe human rights violations are just that and shall be condemned whether they are committed in Ethiopia or in Zimbabwe, it has been very frustrating to see that leading members of the international community, including the EU, have chosen to tolerate the abuses of Ethiopian regime while taking a series of measures against the regime in Harare .
To its credit, the European Parliament had passed several resolutions since the May 2005, calling, among others, for a just and fair resolution of the electoral dispute, the investigation and prosecution of the atrocities committed in June and November 2005 and the release of all political prisoners without any preconditions.
(See for example, European Parliament Resolution of 15 December 2005). The Parliament had also urged the Commission to take appropriate measures, including targeted sanctions against officials suspected of atrocities, in order to ensure that the Ethiopian government complies with the Parliament’s demands.
The European Commission, however, has persistently failed to follow up on the parliament’s recommendations. In fact, although the Commission had initially suspended the direct budgetary aid it used to provide to the Ethiopian government, it has found ways for diverting about half of the said aid and funnel it to a government that has shown no sign of improvement in its human rights records.
It is particularly disconcerting that the European Commissioner for Development Cooperation, Mr. Louis Michel, has failed to live up to the pro-human rights and pro-democracy rhetoric he has so forcefully and frequently expressed when he was Foreign Minister of Belgium. To cite few examples, Commissioner Michel has:
-Never issued official statements condemning the human rights abuses in Ethiopia and demanding that those responsible for the brutal killing of close two hundred innocent civilians be brought to justice. The only official condemnation issued by him over the past year was concerning the expulsion of two EU diplomats in October 2006 by the Ethiopian government.
-Honored Prime Minister Meles Zenawi with an invitation to speak, of all things, about “Good Governance” at the EU-Africa Development Days in Brussels , despite strong protests from the European Parliament and Ethiopians from around the world.
(See the Resolution of November 15, 2006).
-Authorized a 155 million euros grant to the Ethiopian government, ostensibly, for
road sector development.
-Opposed to make public a report prepared by an EU appointed legal expert who has observed the fake trials involving opposition leaders, MPs, human rights and civic activists and journalist, who have been unjustly detained for over a year and declared prisoners of conscience by AI .
In light of the above, we hope that you would help us promote the human rights cause in Ethiopia by asking your members and contacts to write to the Liberal parties in Europe, to the Commissioner Michel and to FranÃ§ois Bayrou asking them to make their position clear and to stop employing double standards on human rights.
Concerned Ethiopians in Europe
To protest Prime Minister Meles’s Invitation to the Summit, click here, find the MEP you wish to contact — write or call