Ethiopiawinnet Deplores the Plight of Ethiopians in Africa and the Middle East

May 1, 2015

PRESS RELEASE, Ethiopiawinnet: Council for the Defense of Citizen Rights
April 24, 2015

We are outraged by the savagery of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) extremists in the cold-blooded murder or mass displacement of Christians and non-Sunni Muslims to achieve the delusionary project a global Caliphate. On the heel of the massacre of Coptic Christians, 30 Europe-bound transit migrants were shot or beheaded this week for being “members of the enemy Ethiopian Church.” We are outraged by the murder, in the beaches and UN shelters in Yemen, of dozens of Ethiopian survivors of the perilous Red Sea voyage in rickety boats, by vigilantes, handlers, and indiscriminate Saudi bombings. We are saddened by the recurring news of Ethiopians being burned alive and robbed blind by degenerate thugs in the cities of South Africa. We have been made helpless with endless news of Ethiopian, Eritrean, and West African migrants who have drowned in large numbers in the Mediterranean Sea, or murdered in the middle of the Sahara and Gaza so that their organs can be harvested. These are only the more dramatic cases of the abuse of young Ethiopians which include mass expulsions from Saudi Arabia, a disturbing number of sexual abuses and desperate suicides in Beirut and other Middle Eastern cities, and expropriations of their compensation and property by lawless employers.

We must note here that the genesis of the problem lies in Ethiopia itself. Until the Red Terror of the late 1970s, Ethiopians were known for having one of the lowest emigration rates and the highest return rates in the world. However, the past 35 years have witnessed unremitting oppression of the youth whose aspirations for gainful employment and respect for their human rights have now dissipated. The despondent youth of Ethiopia and Eritrea, egged on by their economically distressed families as well as by the two parasitic governments dependent on remittances, have desperately braved booby-trapped desert passages and dangerous sea voyages even with knowledge of the high risks involved.

We are further saddened by the predictably cynical reaction of the Ethiopian Government and its embassies to these realities. No self-respecting government would dither in the face of unlawful and egregious abuse of its citizens by idle talk of illegals in Saudi Arabia, need to verify the identity of victims in Libya and South Africa, mounting

existing good job prospects at home, and cynical politicization of the public mourning of the victims. Terrified by the unprecedented solidarity of Christian as well as Muslim youth in defense of human and Ethiopian dignity, the regime has once again betrayed its paranoia by lashing out at any shadow of dissent. It has just arrested over 500 young people on the wake of the large anti-ISIS demonstrations in Addis Ababa this week by concocting tiresome allegations of intent to incite violence on behalf of the leading opposition party—Semayawi Party.

We, therefore, call upon:

  • The Ethiopian Government to stop being too clever in abdicating its responsibility and to come to the aid of all Ethiopians regardless of affiliation.
  • The Ethiopian Government to release the thousands of political prisoners in its jails and to desist from suppressing legitimate political expression and peaceful political engagement.
  • The governments of Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Libya, and Yemen to honor international conventions on refugees and migrants, and to compensate the migrants and their families for the loss of life and property.
  • The European Community and the United States to accept their responsibility for the upsurge in distress migrants and refugees by their wanton destabilization of fragile states (of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen) without due consideration of the ramifications as well as by their myopic underwriting of repressive client regimes. It is high time for the big powers to address the problem of state failure at its roots, and to treat its innocent victims humanely rather than resorting to futile containment.
  • The UNHCR to provide the full measure of protection of Ethiopian refugees in Yemen and Libya, or transfer them to a safer location without delay.

Ultimately, it is the duty of Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia to intensify their commendable solidarity with victims of political abuse and provide all forms of assistance—publicity, financial, and diplomatic.

Thank you.