Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Stop Rewarding Repression​, Shengo Statement

የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ የጋራ ትግል ሸንጎ (ሸንጎ)
Ethiopian People's Congress for United Struggle (Shengo) March 12, 2013

The Ethiopian People's Congress for United Struggle (SHENGO) has learned that the ruling EPRDF has invited about 15 political parties from different countries to attend its upcoming congress. Media reports also indicate that the invited parties will hold a one day discussion with the ruling party officials on issues of governance and other related matters.
According to news reports, the invited parties include the ANC, SPLM, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM; Revolutionary Party) of Tanzania; the Norwegian Labor Party, the Brazilian Labor Party, the German Social Democratic Party, the Indian National Congress, the Communist Party of China, etc.
As everyone knows, for the last 21 years, the ruling TPLF/EPRDF in Ethiopia has been ruling the country with brutality.
Simply put, after 21 years of promises, today Ethiopia is ruled under the complete dictatorship of one party TPLF/EPRDF. In fact, TPLF/EPRDF has now abandoned all pretentions of a multi-party system, democracy...etc. and implemented what it calls “developmental state policy”. As per TPLF/EPRDF “developmental state policy” democracy, political pluralism, human rights, freedom of the press... etc. are luxuries that Ethiopians do not deserve now.
By any standard, this is unacceptable. The result of such continued repression is resistance including resistance through armed struggle. As reported by the International Crisis Group (ICG) in 2010, armed resistance against the ruling party was documented in five of the nine regions. Despite the government’s denial, today, there is armed resistance in the east, south, south west, north and northwest of the country including in the ruling groups “strong hold” of Tigray.
Obviously, this escalation will have immense effect both on Ethiopia and the neighbouring countries. To get out of the perpetual food aid and development assistance, at a minimum, Ethiopians should have peace and stability. This could be achieved only if political differences are accommodated; rule of law and the basic human and political rights of the people of Ethiopia are fully respected. Anything less will lead to the continued vicious cycle of violence, instability, poverty and dependence on handout from donor nations.
In our opinion, attending the congress of the most repressive regimes in Africa sends a very wrong message to the ruling group, the Ethiopian people and democratic forces in Ethiopia and peace loving people of the international community. Hence, we have sent letter to the invited guests urging them to decline the invitation to participate in the upcoming congress of EPRDF.
Should they decide to accept the invitation and travel to Ethiopia, we have urged the invited guests to be a voice for the voiceless and demand the immediate release of political prisoners, the full respect of human and democratic rights, the immediate halt to the harassment of political opposition and human rights advocates. We have also urged the invited to take the time to meet with members of the opposition in Ethiopia so that you could listen first-hand information from those on the ground.
We ask all Ethiopians and those concerned for the basic dignity of human beings to contact the invited parties and make your voices heard.
The Ethiopian People's Congress for United Struggle (SHENGO) believes that the international community has to put pressure on the ruling TPLF/EPRDF to stop the brutality on the people of Ethiopia. At a minimum, the international community should stop strengthening dictatorship and repression in Ethiopia.
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