The peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia has raised hopes that improving human rights will be front and centre on Eritrea’s path forward, according to a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Tuesday.
DAKAR, Senegal, September 19, 2018 -On 9 July, leaders of both countries signed a Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship, raising expectations that the end of the “no war, no peace” stalemate between them, would positively impact Eritrea’s internal human rights situation.
The thaw in relations between the neighbouring countries, who fought a bloody, unresolved war in the late 1990s, began earnestly in June, when Ethiopia’s newly-elected leader, Abiy Ahmed, made peace overtures to his counterpart.
Eritrean authorities must urgently embrace and implement bold measures to strengthen protection of and respect for human rights, justice and accountability – UN Rapporteur
Yet, repression reportedly continues within Eritrea.
“During the past 17 years, the Government of Eritrea has maintained tight control over the country, stifling any form of public debate and participation,” said Sheila B. Keetharuth, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea.
Eleven government officials who had criticised the President in an open letter, along with 10 independent journalists, were arrested in 2001 – silencing public political discourse an
“I have received reports that the former Minister of Finance,” Ms. Keetharuth continued, “who recently wrote two books on the current state of affairs in the country, including the rule of law, has been arrested in Asmara during the morning of 17 September.”
If confirmed, the arrest, on the eve of the 2001 clampdown anniversary, would question the will for genuine reform, “especially regarding respect for fundamental rights and freedoms,” the expert asserted.
According to Ms. Keetharuth, while comprehensive domestic reforms would be required for a free, fair, democratic society with all human rights entitlements, the Government can take immediate action towards that end in three concrete, urgent areas.
Firstly, the families of prisoners who have disappeared in Eritrean jails should be informed about the fate of their loved ones. Secondly, implementing the 1997 Constitution would provide a natural basis for a national legal framework and a society governed by the rule of law. And thirdly, the Government could inform new military conscripts that they would not have to serve beyond the 18 months stipulated by Eritrean law.
“The achievement of peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia must be duly celebrated,” stated Ms. Keetharuth. “However, Eritrean authorities must urgently embrace and implement bold measures to strengthen protection of and respect for human rights, justice and accountability,” she concluded.
Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The unpaid positions are honorary, and independent from any government or organization.
NEW YORK, USA, September 17, 2018 – There is a powerful wind of hope blowing across the Horn of Africa region, said UN chief António Guterres on Sunday, in Saudi Arabia to witness the signing of a peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, ending decades of simmering conflict.
Saudi Arabia facilitated the agreement, and in a message on Twitter, the Foreign Ministry said that the accord, signed in Jeddah “is a historic milestone for the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and will contribute to strengthening security and stability in the region at large”.
“The signature of the peace agreement between the President of Eritrea and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia is indeed a historic event,” said the Secretary-General, speaking at a press conference following the signing in Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city, on the Red Sea coast, with Foreign Minister Adel Aljubeir.
“We have seen a conflict that has lasted for decades, ending, and that has a very important meaning in a world where we see, unfortunately, so many conflicts multiplying, and lasting forever,” added Mr. Guterres.
He expressed his “deep appreciation” for the role played by Saudi Arabia, before paying tribute “on one hand to the courage, the vision, the wisdom of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia – who has had the capacity to overcome enormous resistance from the past and open a new chapter in the history of his country – and also the way the President of Eritrea has promptly responded to his peace initiatives.”
The thaw in relations between the neighbouring countries, who fought a bloody, unresolved war in the late 1990s, began in earnest in June, when Ethiopia’s newly-elected leader, Abiy Ahmed, made peace overtures to his counterpart, which have now come to fruition.
Seizing on the implications for the whole region, Mr. Guterres said that the agreement meant that “there is a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa. It is not only the peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea – it is the fact that tomorrow and the day after tomorrow we will have, here in Saudi Arabia, the President of Djibouti and the President of Eritrea – two countries that have also been at odds with each other.”
According to news reports, Eritrea and Djibouti announced on Friday that they would also normalize diplomatic relations with each other following a falling out on the border, in 2008, which left several dead and resulted in prisoners being taken on both sides.
The UN chief also noted the peace agreement between the President and his former Vice President in South Sudan, that was signed on Thursday – in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa – as another indicator of real diplomatic movement across the Horn of Africa and its borders.
“I want to say that this window of hope is enormously important in a world where, unfortunately, hope has been very scarce,” added the Secretary-General.
Despite remarkable achievements in Somalia in the recent past, structural challenges remain and continue to undermine the country’s security and political stability, the United Nations envoy for the country has warned.
DAKAR, Senegal, September 14, 2018 – Briefing the Security Council for the last time in his capacity as UN Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating called on all Somalis to draw strength from the positive transformations going on inside the country and work collectively for the common good.
“The future of Somalia is in the hands of the Somalis,” he declared.
In particular, Mr. Keating – who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) – urged unity among political leaders.
“The more [they] show unity, the greater the opportunity, and the responsibility, of international partners to invest in all parts of the country and its leadership,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr. Keating highlighted four key concerns the country’s leaders need to address, and issues that the international community should keep focusing on.
These include the threat posed by the Al Shabaab and other extremist groups; the risk of political differences overshadowing progress in legislative, reform and security areas; fragmentation within the international community; and the danger of a humanitarian “catastrophe”, especially with most of the population already living in precarious circumstances due to climate change and other vulnerabilities.
“Future crises will result from the combination of climate related shocks; armed conflict provoked by Al Shabaab and unresolved grievances; competition over natural resources; and systemic marginalization of certain groups,” warned Mr. Keating. He underscored the need to reduce the vulnerability faced by ordinary Somalis, through job creation and smart investments that safeguard natural resources and help unlock the enormous economic potential of the country.
Besides political will, Mr. Keating underscored, success will depend on leaders from the political, business and traditional spheres “working together for the common good, leveraging the country’s potential wealth to transform prospects for people – especially the young.”
On 1 October, Nicholas Haysom will replace Mr. Keating as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and the head of UNSOM. Mr. Keating was appointed the top UN official in the Horn of Africa nation in November 2015.
Women have brought ‘important voices’ to Somali politics
Alongside Mr. Keating, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of the UN gender equality and empowerment agency for women and girls (UN Women) highlighted the “once-in-a-generation opportunity” that Somalia currently has to establish lasting peace, and gender equality.
She commended the nation for improving representation of women in public office, illustrated by the “jump” in women’s representation in parliamentary elections from 14 to nearly 25 per cent of seats in the most recent elections.
This progress, she underscored, has brought many “important voices” to Somali politics.
She said it had brought to the centre “the fight to end child marriage, end female genital mutilation (FGM), and change laws that discriminate against women,” noting that the participation of women will be further boosted if more leaders, especially clan leaders, embrace gender equality and support women.
She also called on the international community and the Security Council to support Somalia’s federal and provincial authorities, advance gender equality, act strongly against sexual and gender-based violence, advocate for meaningful participation and recognition of women in all sectors, and support women’s groups in the country.
“Women’s organizations in Somalia are organized. They are dedicated to their country: they are activists, advocates, entrepreneurs, professionals, and patriots,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, noting that as the country prepares to confront the challenges in the days ahead, “women will make the difference.”
The Federal Government ordered its military Force in Jigjiga to attack and take over the Somali regional Administration. This unilateral act resulted in Loss of Life and has endangered the law and order of the Ogaden, creating chaos and uncertainty at a time the Somali people were expecting to get peace and their rights.
ONLF believes that any transitional change in the Somali region shall come through a peaceful negotiated process where all relevant stakeholders including ONLF, the Federal government, and all other relevant stakeholders. Any entity that take unilateral act, that could jeopardise the situation will be responsible for consequences such an act produces.
ONLF calls upon the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia to halt immediately any military activities and initiate a peaceful process, including direction negotiations with ONLF, which would lead to a national conference where a peaceful road map for change in the Somali region is charted and the future course of the Somali people’s cause is decided.
ONLF calls upon the Somali people in Ogaden to stand up for their rights and never allow external forces to decide their fate. However, religious shrines and the properties of civilians shall be protected against opportunist individuals.
ONLF also laments the continuing fighting alone the borders of the Somali Oromo borders. This will further exacerbate the future relations between these neighbourly communities.
All ONLF members in the Ogaden shall endeavour to stabilise the situation and call for calm and peaceful engagement with all authorities and educate the people to respect the lives of minority communities, state and private property and Religious institutions.
Issued by ONLF.
The Federal Government of Ethiopia, have ordered the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) to ceased the regional parliament building in Jigjiga, while also taking over others buildings too. This is happening while the market of the city has been put on fire and shops has closed. The ethnic tensions between the Oromo and Somali, which have been brewing for a long while and also seen in the rise of killings of Somali in the recent months. By the Quuerro and the Aghazi Squad, which has turned on these, instead of building a stronger community together.
The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) and Prime Minister Dr. Abyi Ahmed have not stopped or ceased the violence in the Ogaden Region. Neither done much, other than trying to conceal the growing violence. Today’s action only happen after the Somali’s have tried to stop the oil-flow going from the region and blocking that.
Abdi Illey have formed a youth group called Heego, which has caused extended havoc and looting, after the seizures of the banks, government buildings and the other important places of Jigjiga. The group has burned down churches as the anarchy contines.
There are two conflicting reports, one is that the PM sent the armed forces to protect the oil and gas production in the area. The other report is that this is an answer of a rebellion, where the authorities of the region planned to announce their independence from Ethiopia. Third report is that of the 5% the Somali Region get of the Oil Revenue, the leader Illey asked for 75% and that is reason for why the army came to take it over. They cannot afford or have the hassle to cough of more money for the resources there.
Which would mean a Ogaden State in itself. To this point, it is hard to verify, but both can be plausible, especially when there is money and Chinese investment involved in the oil-and-gas fields. The are unconfirmed reports that Abdi Mohamud Omar, the President of the Somali Region is under house, but nothing of that is certain yet. While Regional Parlaiment Speaker Mohamed Rashid Isaq have called on the public to defend Jigjiga from the army. Therefore, the growing tensions is escalating and the nerves are already touched.
The total death toll per now is 18. Which is a lot, as the army sent thousands of soldiers, as the Heego group have vandalized the city, as well as the soldiers have done a lot of harm to the public too. As the Federal Government is currently occupying this city with this force. This is not a good sign for the Addis Ababa leadership, nor a sign of goodwill from the Somali. Hopefully, all parties can come to their sense and use common sense. As the hopelessness and destruction will not benefit either party.
What is currently stated is that the machinery and army from EPRDF and the TPLF are in control, the PM and the regime there wants to takeover. That they have done, as the insecurity and the vandalization will cease. However, the scars and the issues there, will be as hurtful as the months of destruction and killings in Amhara and Oromia. Not like the state should forget that, now they are just targeting another group, because it is fitting to control and also the Oil Revenue.
Illey shouldn’t order his youth group and create the mass destruction, but neither should the possible government bleed the region down, because of the finding and the extraction of oil from the region. That just doesn’t make sense, unless the government want to continue to oppress and secure wealth on their behalf. Peace.
Collaborating with the Naval Units of European Union Operation Atalanta (NAVFOR) Somalia and other Djibouti based MPRA’s (operating with CTF151) provides stability and security to the ships that pass through the zone
NORTHWOOD, United Kingdom, July 26, 2018 – Deterrence, repression and prevention of piracy begins with the identification of the threat. EU NAVFOR has been making use of Spanish Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) for nearly 10 years with 1000 missions and more than 10,000 hours flown to keep a watch from the skies.
The Spanish MPRA Detachment in Djibouti has recently reached the major milestone of 1000 missions during their commitment to Operation Atalanta since December 2008.
The highly capable Orion P-3C can operate either alone or in coordination with other assets including EU NAVFOR’s helicopters and warships. It can use its inherent flexibility, speed, reach, and response time, to assist maritime vessels under pirate attack. Both Spain and Germany have deployed MPRAs to the Somali coast since the start of Operation Atalanta. The expertise gained by their respective crews is a key factor contributing to the success of the EU NAVFOR Operation.
Since the beginning of the operation, MPRA’s have been key elements in the fight against piracy in the waters of the Indian Ocean. Collaborating with the Naval Units of EU NAVFOR Somalia and other Djibouti based MPRA’s (operating with CTF151) provides stability and security to the ships that pass through the zone.