Sweden must stand up for Ethiopia

Anders Österberg (S), Member of Parliament, Foreign Affairs Committee (L) Maria Willner Andersson (S), MP, Committee on Foreign Affairs (C) Ahmed Ali, a journalist and runs a radio station (R)

Sweden (Dagens Arena) — The situation in Ethiopia is getting worse and worse and the trend towards civil war, writes Anders Österberg (S), MP, Maria Willner Andersson (S), Member of Parliament, and Ahmed Ali, a journalist.

“Perhaps I will be killed, ‘said the Ethiopian runner and Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa when he raised and crossed arms.He made an act of solidarity and a gesture of support for those killed and detained after the protests against the Ethiopian regime.

He stands thus in the line of those people who risk their own lives to see what is happening in Ethiopia right now.

In the shadow of civil war in Syria and the coup with its disgusting purges in Turkey , the situation in Ethiopia developed and is on the verge of civil war. Those who govern in Ethiopia has long used the tactic of “divide and rule« to govern the country. The regime spread hate propaganda that gets thousands of people to flee their homes and constantly reminds its minorities of historical wrongs.

Ethiopia has long enjoyed good economic growth, but the unfair distribution.Respect for human rights has unfortunately not developed at the same pace as the economy.

It happens in Ethiopia begins to slowly come to our attention in the West. Since 2013, human rights organizations, including documented:

The regime’s ruling party EPRDF has been for two days in 2013 killed over 400 people in the region of Gambela . Tens of thousands of people driven from their homes. According to the report by Human Rights Watch, they have been displaced to villages where food, farmland, health care and other necessities are lacking. In some cases, land and cattle owners become totally destitute and suffering from starvation.

One of the causes of the ongoing insurgency in Oromoregionen is that the regime wanted to seize oromoböndernas land without compensation. Over 800 people have been killed.

Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands arrested in recent weeks popular uprising in the Amhara region . Among other things, the ruling elite seized territories and expelled hundreds of thousands of people from the area.Since the EPRDF took power in the Tigre region’s land area has increased by over 40 percent. These lands are annexed from the neighboring amharaområdena.

Forced displacement of people in the Omo Valley region. The military uses torture, rape and murder to force people to leave their villages and lands. There are images in which the regime’s soldiers are bruised and naked people of the Omo Valley with handcuffs and shackles without the ability to move neither hands and feet.

A law adopted in Parliament in January 2016 makes it illegal to work for human rights in Ethiopia. It is not only members of political organizations that can severely punished if they are working for human rights. Even members of NGOs may risk fifteen years in prison. The mere membership in an organization can be enough to be sentenced to ten years in prison. Organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are banned in Ethiopia.

Recently, both the people and the opposition gathered and shown that they are ready to work together to build a democratic and united Ethiopia. Sweden’s commitment to human rights and freedoms is well known by the people of Ethiopia. Sweden’s voice has a great impact among the Ethiopians, and even in opposition.

With Sweden’s help, the good forces in Ethiopia start as a seed that can grow strong and start reaping democracy also in Ethiopia. Do not let Feyisa Lilesus arms in protest in vain.