Ethiopian Canadians for Human Rights and Justice: Voices for the Voiceless – Unity for Human Rights & Democracy
|On May 26, 2009, Canadians of Ethiopian origin staged a protest rally in front of the federal parliament building in Ottawa. This rally was the extension of the May 15 International movement for human rights and freedom staged around major cities around the world by Ethiopians in Diaspora, which conveyed loud and clear messages for governments of major nations to intervene for the immediate release of Birtukan Mideksaa and all political prisoners.|
|The participants were residents of Ottawa and Torontonians who traveled 400 plus Kms by bus arranged by the organizing committee, and group of individuals who have also used their own automobiles to travel to Ottawa to express their determination to carry on their struggle until the ruling party of Meles Zenawi submits to the will of the people.|
The rally was organized by Unity for human rights and democracy Toronto, in collaboration with other civic groups. It was an effectively planned and funded rally as it involved quite many volunteers dedicated for this cause. The rally participants carried placards with strong messages in and voiced slogans denouncing the Meles regime for hours. This was to remind the Canadian government that; to review aid policy toward the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia. The rally was addressed by federal members of parliament, The Honorable Peter Julian, Honorable Paul Dewar, Mr. Ryan, the assistant of Honorable Maria Minna and Mr. Obang Metho, the leading campaigner for human rights, and justice, and Executive director of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia.
Honorable Peter Julian MP, NDP for Burnaby/Westminster who introduced a private members bill, which requests the unconditional release of Ms. Birtukan Midekssa reaffirmed his commitment to use the his parliamentarian privilege to advance the cause of human rights in Ethiopia. Most Importantly, Honorable Peter Julian advised the rally participants and all other Canadians who struggle to bring the plight of prisoners of conscience to the attention of the Canadian government to sign the special petition which is provided by the House of Commons and which is available by contacting his office in Ottawa, and through Unity for Human rights and Democracy, so that his private members bill gets priority and debated in the house commons.
|The other speaker at the rally was Honorable Mr. Paul Dewar, NDP Ottawa center and foreign policy critic who has always been at the side of the Ethiopians struggle for human rights and democracy, reiterated that the Canadian government must review its policy and immediately act to end the plight of Ethiopians under the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia. Moreover, he reaffirmed, once again, that he will continue to lobby alongside Ethiopian Canadians by voicing their concerns and worries in the House of Commons and thanked those for their determination. Also at the rally was Mr. Ryan representing Honorable Maria Mina;|
addressed the crowd relaying her clear message of solidarity to the crowd and her determination to continue her fight in the parliament for the realization of the dreams of Ethiopians; rule of law, democracy and human rights.
|As a participant of the rally himself, Mr. Obang Metho made a moving speech to the rally participants. He rekindled flame of patriotism among the many youngsters in the rally and called upon all concerned individuals from any corner of the country to get united both in common mission and action. All participants were delighted to be part of this rally where, this internationally renowned human rights activist took part and reaffirmed to continue the struggle for freedom of all Ethiopians|
The organizers also presented letters written by Unity for human rights and democracy and The Ethiopian association in Toronto and surrounding regions, and petitions signed by participant to the office of the Right Honorable Stephen Harper Prime minister of Canada. It was a mission well accomplished as every one felt satisfied for playing a part in such an historical call of becoming “VOICES FOR THE VOICELESS”