The Eritrean Political Forces, which on 24 June 2020 issued a joint declaration pledging to coordinate their efforts to bring democratic change in Eritrea, have initiated their joint work on a number of important areas, including diplomacy, media, and mass mobilization activities. The political forces are Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change, Eritrean National Front, Eritrean People’s Democratic Party, and Unity for Democratic Change and United Eritreans for Justice. The guiding principles bringing the political forces together are: (1) Protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Eritrea; (2) Removing the autocratic regime with the unified power of the people; (3) Successfully transitioning Eritrea to a multiparty system of democratic governance; and (4) Submitting to rule-of-law and guaranteeing basic liberties and rights to the Eritrean people.
On July 9, 2020, in implementing the joint declaration, the Eritrean Political Forces established an eleven-person Coordination Committee. This committee is responsible for the development and implementation of a joint action plan to affect democratic changes in Eritrea. The members of this committee are፡ Dr. Mohammed Beshir (Chairperson), Adiam Tefera (Vice-Chair), Bluts Iyassu (co-Secretary), Idris Humed (co-Secretary), Abraham Iyassu, Haj Abdelnur Haj, Mahmud Mohammed Ali, Menghesteab Asmerom, Suleiman Sediq, Teclesenbet Teclai, and Yoseif Asghedom.
Effective on August 22, 2020, the Coordination Committeehas initiated its work with the establishment of the following three task forces:
Diplomacy: –The task force is responsible for conducting a joint diplomatic mission for the Eritrean political forces. Headed by Hailemariam Tesfai, and Abel Haile as a secretary, the task force consists of representatives globally covering five regional offices: Africa headed by Mr. Berhane Debesu; Europe headed by Woldeyesus Ammar, and Tsighehans Kidane; Middle East/Asia headed by Hassen al-Assad;North America headed by Dr. Teshome Berhanemeskel, and Kidane Tesfagebriel; and Australia/New Zealand headed by Teare Haile, and Yassin Abrahim.This task force is charged with: (1) advocating for the human right causes of our people, (2) garnering international community’s support for our pro democracy movement, and (3) advancing our goal of bring a democratic change in Eritrea.
Media: –This task force isresponsible for coordinating and conducting joint media activities of the Eritrean political forces. Headed by Hanan Mohammed Salih and Teclu (Toma) Ghebreyessus as a secretary, the members of the task force includeAbdulla Omar, Debessai Beyene, Dirrar Mantai, Habtom Berhane, Kewani Gebreslasie Syum, Mohamed Salih Hagos, Mohammed Berhan Blata, and Woldu Negasi. Across all media platforms, the task force will be coordinating and facilitating the Eritrean political forces, as well as other opposition and international media, to cooperatively work to: (1)expose the illegal, immoral, and unjust actions of the Eritrean regime;(2) spotlight the suffering of the Eritrean people inside and outside the country that it is due to the social, economic, and political failures of the regime in Eritrea;and (3) promote the opposition forces’ struggle to defeat the dictatorial regime in Eritrea.
Mass Mobilization: – This task force is responsible for organizing and coordinating the mass mobilization activities of the Eritrean political forces. Headed by Berhane Ghebrekristos, and Germay Tekie as a secretary, the members of the task force include Abraham Tesfagergiss, Asgedet Tesfayouhaness, Bahta Hailemariam, Desbele Ghebrehiwet, Eyob Yemane Weldegebriel, Gebrehiwet Melles, Hyelom Danial, and Tiebe Tekie. It is the goal of the task force to: (1) mobilize Eritrean masses (inside and outsidethe country) to stand together in opposition to the Eritrean regime, (2) organize political actions to (directly or indirectly) affect democratic changes in Eritrea, and (3) coordinate a sustained political and social activities to safeguard Eritrean sovereignty and unity of its people.
The Coordination Committee will continue with the establishment of more task forces in the areas of intelligence, financial affairs, and strategic planning to further strengthen the coordinated efforts of the political forces.The Coordination Committee, which operates under the oversight responsibility of the Chairpersons of Eritrean Political Forces, is very grateful to the Chairpersons for their continuous guidance and support.
Dr. Mohammed Beshir
Eritrean Political Forces Coordination Committee
Umkulu camp, located some 10 kilometres from the Red Sea port town of Massawa, is Eritrea’s only refugee camp.
Umkulu camp, located some 10 kilometres from the Red Sea port town of Massawa, is Eritrea’s only refugee camp. As of mid-June, the camp hosted more than 2,100 Somali refugees. Of these, 1,300 people have now arrived in northern Ethiopia.
“We call on the Eritrean authorities to continue to work with us on securing protection and solutions for refugees who remain in the country,” said Raouf Mazou, Director of UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Africa.
“Closing a camp which has hosted Somali refugees for close to twenty years without offering alternatives raises serious concerns,” UNHCR’s Mazou added.
UNHCR is coordinating with the Ethiopian authorities to relocate the 1,300 refugees who arrived in Ethiopia away from the border and to transfer them to Melkadida in the Southern part of the country. The first relocations are expected to start on Wednesday, 3 July 2019.
Ethiopia is host to some 257,000 Somali refugees.
There are plenty who celebrates the lifting of arms-embargo, asset freeze and targeted sanctions on Asmara and the Eritrean Government, that is happening as the second triparte meeting happened over the weekend. The Peace Agreement with Addis Ababa and Mogadishu is a giant step in peaceful interaction and a better Horn of Africa. However, the Eritrean government is still the same one as before.
It is not like the Eritrean government has stopped their long military subscriptions, using military to do slave labor for the generals and so on. The Presidency of Isias Afwerki is still more of the same. Not like there are openness and trust in the good values. Not like there are any coming elections or any sort of civic enterprise coming to the homes of Eritreans. Therefore, lifting sanctions only gives the Afwerki Administration more leeway and more fiscal funding for their embezzling ways.
The Eritrean military is known for indefinite conscription of their military personnel. That why many has fled and even done what they could to seek refuge elsewhere. On the African Continent, the Eritrean government is the one with the highest amount of political prisoners.
There is most likely no change in the structures of Asmara or the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), which is a one-party state. A state where Afwerki has his fiefdom. With the 15-0 United Nations Security Council voting on the 14th November 2018 to end the sanctions. Will most likely give him more power to continue his rule. The leverage and the bargain chips the UNSC had over Eritrea is now lost. These was put because of interference with Djibouti and Somalia. The arms trading to terrorist groups there. Therefore, the peaceful transition of the latest month has been positive.
Still, the reality in Asmara is more of the same. Not like the PFDJ will be transparent, hold elections or even care for a free press. Not like the Afwerki regime will stop the enslavement, torture, imprisonment and enforced disappearance of political adversaries, these acts will continue. We know that elections will not happen, as the latest one was happening in May 2004. If it was held, it would most likely be a one-party charade to facilitate an official second term for the President and nothing else. As he has been the President without question since independence in 1994.
So, the legitimacy and the recognition from the world has come the way of Eritrea. They are not a piraya or a dangerous dictatorship anymore. They are just a dictatorship with an iron-fist. Who doesn’t deserve sanctions anymore, because of their diplomatic relationship with Somalia and Ethiopia. The peace has served them well. Clearly the Asmara has gotten well off with this.
They are not changing or even testing the leadership, but letting the external relationship help the internal problems vanish. However, the same structures, the same military and sole dictatorship is still there. Not like that has changed over the last few months. No, it is more of the same. Therefore, the ones who voted for this, should consider the ramification and the elites earning on the sanctions. As they will benefit from this.
Afwerki might have waited long, but he is off the hook. Even if he still makes his suffer and take away their freedom. The International Community isn’t hurting the state anymore, not in the way it used too. Let see what the consequences of this is, but certainly it will only do the administration good. Not the public, as they are the same one used by PFDJ, when they need it. Peace.
While the Government Spokesman of Ethiopia Getachew Reda have claimed that the first shot on the border came from Eritrean forces and claimed they we’re at fault for the military operations on the 12th June 2016. This happens while the Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs claim it was the TLPF that was attacking the Eritrean border forces around the Tsorona Front.
With this in mind, it is not easy when these are sending conflicting information and also using all tactics to address each other internal misgivings. Just like the recent Human Rights Violation in the United Nations Reports from the Group of Experts in June 2016. While the Eritrean are claiming the internal oppression of the Omoro people and the killing of demonstrators; also silencing of media; the issue is that both nations have their blames and violations. The Ethiopian ruling party has total control and military control of the nation, the media is controlled and bloggers are detained for questioning the government, the Omoro demonstrations are hunted down and shut down with military forces. So the Ethiopian Government is far from innocent in their internal bravery.
But the Eritrean are nicknamed the “African North Korea” for a reason, all control is in the hands of the President Isias Afewerki, as the UN reports claim is that there is unlimited subscription to the army, slavery, rape and misuse of the citizens from the government officials, as the centralized power is all in the name of the president as he has control of the economy as the national budget is never released and the control of the money running of Eritrea as all under control of Afeweki. UN Report 2016 Eritrea this blog or article explains the matters of how I see on the report on the Human Rights Violations.
With all of this in mind, with the knowledge of the current affairs, and the escalation and worry of new conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, as the fellow nations has been in war before. Eritreans are the ones really blasting Ethiopia in international media and defending their ways of government, as they are blaming Ethiopia even for making the accusations that are made by the experts in the recent report. That proves the level of animosity from Eritrean government towards Addis Ababa, as they might feel left alone in Asmara.
While the Ethiopian in the 12 June military operations claimed the aggression was directed from the Eritreans. After that the Eritreans claimed it was the Ethiopians… so there are a limbo and uncertainty, especially since none of these governments are really open to the media or having press freedom in either nation; while the assurance of the reality on the ground and the intelligence is unsure as they both are secretive from the beginning.
None of these nations are perfect, no nation in this world is, but both nations have scruples and has issues with tampering with human rights violations of different levels, they both have different supporters and allies that need the armies or alliances to mend on other issues either on the African Horn, like the Ethiopian who has soldiers in the AMISOM and other Peacekeeping missions and are an ally of the United States and their AFCON, surely as they pulled more armies from Africa after the failed “Black Hawk Down” in Mogadishu and with that in mind then President Bill Clinton pulled the army of around 1100 soldiers in 1993 from the Horn of Africa. And have been for long a steady military ally against terrorism in the region and also a place where the Americans have had military bases, as recently closed the United States Air Force base at Arba Minch in January 2016.
The certainty and clarity is not here in this matter, as there are many undisclosed reports, as the battlefield are kept for the armies and the media are not free in neither Ethiopia or Eritrea, as the stages are set for propaganda from both parties, as the ones who are speaking free on their blogs in for instance in Ethiopia ends behind bars. While the Eritrean are the best news from diaspora who have trusted messengers through online forums, as the silence and fear of detaining or slavery work for questioning the regime, therefore the amount of people going into exile from Eritrea.
So with this knowledge the battle of 12th June 2016 can only be discussed and knowingly gain the needed intelligence when the men on the ground can speak freely and address thoroughly. If not they are realizing footage or pictures of the activity, while also proving the validity of the battlefield. As there will always from a warzone and skirmishes even be false statements, even wrong estimates and the reality will come closer, if not juked to fix the stages for either Eritrea or Ethiopia, as both need a straight face towards their citizens and their international allies and community. As there reports of UAE and Yemen supporting the Eritrea, while Western nations as United States and others are supporting Ethiopia; but that is in general and their obligations world-wide and in military operations, as IGAD and others.
Therefore I cannot say who did what, as the implications of who did what is not certain. The Eritreans are the ones that beating the drum the most in international media, as they want to silence the UN report on Human Rights Violations. While the Ethiopian is easily getting the world to forget the violations against the Omoro demonstrations and Omoro Liberation Front (OLF); with these in mind, these skirmish or military operations just happen when the Eritreans wanted the world to forget the slavery and other accusations and the same with the killings of demonstrators from the Ethiopian regime. What we will not certainly know as these are actions and activity, kept behind sound minds in the central governments in authoritarian regimes who are militarized and not democratic. So the knowledge we will get is indications, but not the actual facts, as the numbers will be spoilt to make Ethiopia or Eritrea bad, the rhetoric will clearly defacing the other by all means. Though the response have been the clearest from Eritrea and accusations the loudest, that does not make it true, if it was so, then the screaming Donald Trump would be wisest politician ever; Ethiopia have another approach and more subtle, though countering the Eritrean, as they also claimed was the reason for the 12th June 2016 skirmishes.
That there been rumors of a plot of taking down President Isias Afeweki of Eritrea, nothing is yet certain about that either, as the “rumored plot” have come in the waters from a unnamed source inside the military intelligence of the Ethiopian hierarchy, and for the moment it is hearsay, but the Eritrean are paranoid; so they do what they can to sell it to the world and those stories are better to sell then slavery and unlimited military subscription of their youth and citizens.
So what I said with many words, nothing is clear, there aren’t enough transparency or accountability to take a true stance, the only thing certain, is that there are taken some shots and that the armies did attack each other, too what extent is not easy to say; as the spokesmen and ambassadors are not talking about that, I am sure that is confidential at both parties. What is surely the fact is that there are fallen men and reported men taken by both armies. That Eritrea has taken Ethiopian men’s life and Ethiopian has taken Eritrean men’s life. Peace.
“We fought for Eritrean independence from the colonial rule of Ethiopia. TPLF has paid a sacrifice for Eritrea greater than the combined sacrifice of the two Eritrean organizations – ELF and EPLF. Even if today Eritrea is attacked, EPRDF will jump into Eritrea, join the Eritrean people and engage the enemy.” – Sebhat Nega on Radio Woyane (May 28, 2007).
Just as the news and confirmed skirmishes on the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia, both nations have not only traded bullet, but also blame for the current aggression. The Eritrean takes their whole Liberation history and blames every bullet ever shot on their soil on Ethiopia, while Ethiopia say the recent ones was the last straw; also they did answer to new shots of guns and artillery from the Eritrean side. As they have not only sent bullet towards the Ethiopian Government, but also sent spies and others to try do create terrorism in Ethiopia.
As the Eritrean Ministry of Information wrote on 14th July 2016:
“The Government of Eritrea will issue detailed statement on the purpose, scope and implications of the latest act of military aggression by the TPLF regime. It is nonetheless clear that mounting opposition from popular movements of the Ethiopian people, endemic corruption and associated economic crisis, as well as the desire to stem promising progress in Eritrea are indeed some of the factors prompting the TPLF regime to indulge in reckless military adventures.” (Shabait.com, 14.06.2016).
“Ethiopia’s military was provoked into launching this week’s attack on Eritrean forces in a disputed border area” (…) ” “major military engagement” (…) “I hope this time around they won’t make that stupid mistake of inviting us to wage a full-scale war” – Government spokesperson Reda.
When you have this kind of strained relationship and also “non” friendship or even diplomacy, no matter what occurs the aggression is seen as a signal of war and cut off the cease-fire. This with the recent worrying reports:
“The Sunday attack of June 12, 2016, launched through the TPLF regime on the Tsorona Front was quashed on Monday (13 June) morning entailing heavy losses to its troops” (…) ” In this reckless attack whose ultimate aim is difficult to comprehend, more than 200 TPLF troops have been killed and more than 300 wounded. These are conservative estimates” (…) ”Why did this callous bloodshed happen? And, for what purpose?” (…) “Those who have instigated this reckless act have attempted to provide the TPLF with political, media and diplomatic smoke-screen, both before and after the attack. They have also deceitfully tried to apportion equal blame to the aggressor and the victim. The Government of Eritrea will address these dimensions of the attack in subsequent statements” (…) “Ministry of Information, Asmara, 16 June 2016 – Eritrean Government”.
While this is worrying enough and by all means the Eritreans wants the numbers as bad as possible for them, as they want to be violated and hurt, the killings would make Ethiopian Government bad, as they have not released any numbers of killings from the Eritrean Army towards them. Not that the numbers game are important, but the propaganda and winning the media war, is as important as the initial battle; Eritrea want to look decent, as the UN Report are addressing the harassment and torture of citizens. So the skirmishes are making people and states forgetting the human rights violations.
Therefore this have been floated and rumoured that the Ethiopian Government have answered towards the Eritrean counterparts:
“Sources familiar with the issue told Aigaforum the government has floated the idea to key western nations as a comprehensive plan for the horn of africa region. The Ethiopian government has informed many western nations that if Isaias Afewroki is not removed from power there will be war and Ethiopia will defend vigorously” (…) ”The issue of Isaias Afewroki’s removal from power gained momentum over the last few weeks with Al- Shabaab deadly attempt to overrun Ethiopia’s AMISOM military camp in Somalia. However, our sources told us the recent clash between Eritrea and Ethiopia in Tserona Northern Tigrai region may have given the proposal more ammunition” (…) ”Many in the government of Ethiopia are convinced the Eritrean army may rebel against Isaias Afeworki and if they are convinced about Ethiopia’s disinterest of overrunning Eritrea then they may reform and establish a government of their own that is willing to live in peace with its neighbors” (Aigaforum, 15.06.2016).
If this is so the Eritrean should worry about a full-fledged war against them as they would even get support from the United Nations Security Council, the donor-countries and the ones that are funding the Ethiopian Peacekeepers around on the African Continent; these are the ones that are offering training and educating the army of Ethiopia.
Not confirmed reports are that Gen. Deriba Mokonene of Tserona Front, have deflected from the Ethiopian side to the Eritrean, but that might just be hearsay. As non-official report, while the Ethiopian officials have also addressed the claim of 200 dead soldiers from their side:
“they are entitled to delude themselves” Ethiopia’s senior military official sarcastically responded to Awramba Times without giving further explanation, on conditions of anonymity” (Awramba Times, 16.06.2016).
This here will not be silent for a while as the aggression and military activity continues, while the relentless differing allegations and reports will not be able to verify, just as it took two days before the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments answered the claims of military actions in Tserona Front and around the border of the countries.
Every single person losing their lives on both sides is a sad loss of life, as this is both in the names of arrogance and leadership from above high, as the President of Eritrea and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia are both responsible for the loss of life. This is can be start of a new prolonged conflict between the nations and the brothers. This can be fuelled by the few allies of Eritrea, or even the allies of Ethiopia, as they both have something to earn. Both none of the parties will really win, as they both will lose citizens and lose peaceful development through diplomacy and mutual understanding. Instead there is a continued bloodshed in the name of the leadership and the legacy of the Eritrean state and also the Ethiopian leadership. Peace.