Monday, May 13, 2013

Our opposition to the Development Fund`s cooperation with the dictatorial ethnic regime in Ethiopia

OSLO, 13 May 2013
The task force of Ethiopian for democracy and human rights in Ethiopia

The Development Fund is aware of our position regarding its growing cooperation with the ethnic dictatorship misruling Ethiopia. We are part of the Diaspora struggling for democracy, justice, freedom and the rule of law in Ethiopia. We have made our position clear to the Development Fund and the Norwegian authorities stating that the regime in power is not the right partner for development and combating poverty. It is one of the world`s worst violators of human rights and repressors of freedom of expression and association. As an ethnic regime, it does not represent the diverse communities in the country and embroiled in rampant corruption. The growth figures it issues are false, exaggerated and mainly meant to secure continued and increased aid from foreign donors. There are no independent institutions in the country to confirm or refute the claims (double digit growth figures) the regime reports. The regime has closed all the channels of free information and media. Thus these growth figures are not reliable and credible. They also contradict the reality on the ground in the country where poverty and inequality have been growing at an alarming rate. 

The economic policies and politics of the regime are exclusive and geared towards enriching the handful of ethnic elites associated with the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF). That is why we have been urging the Development Fund and other Norwegian development organizations to exercise maximum caution in the consumption of these growth figures in their aid decision makings and policies. In fact the regime will not be able to cling to power without the massive western aid it has been receiving. 

We would like to bring the following flaws or shortcomings in the programs of the Development Fund to your attention.

1. The Aid has primarily focused on the region of Tigray which is in line with the preferential treatment, development policies and priorities of the TPLF.

2. The engagement of the Development Fund in Ethiopia has failed to consider and address the fundamental issues of human rights which are indispensable for development. The egregious crimes of the TPLF regime like ethnic cleaning targeting the Amhara communities living in the southern and western parts of the country should concern all donors and cooperators of the regime.

3. The rampant corruption in the regime is not considered in the disbursement and administration of aid money.

4. The draconian and prohibitive laws determining the operation of Non-governmental Organizations in the country forbid free NGOs and involvement in human rights, good governance and democracy in the country. These issues are of vital importance to the NGOs.

5. The partners and cooperators of the Development Fund based in Norway are the members, supporters and beneficiaries of the TPLF regime. These groups are mainly preoccupied with gaining financial benefits and promoting the image of the TPLF regime in Norway. They do not represent the wider Ethiopian Diaspora who have run away from the persecution of the TPLF regime. In fact some of these persons have come to Norway as asylum seekers claiming to flee from persecution by the same regime they are supporting and working for. They are not concerned about development and basic human rights. Engaging and working with these persons or groups is not in the interest of Ethiopians.

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