An Open Letter to Mr. Louis Michel
Mr. Louis Michel
European Commissioner for
Development and Humanitarian Aid
BERLAYMONT 10 /165
1049 Brussels – Belgium
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
Martin Luther King
Protest against the invitation of the tyrant P/M Meles Zenawi to the EU.
The United Ethiopian Democratic Forces strongly condemns the presence of the tyrant Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in the European Union forum.
Today, Ethiopia is not only the illustration of a deep socio-economic and political crisis where millions cry for social justice, but also the scene of horrible massacres, mysterious disappearances, systematic and horrifying tortures and mass arrests without due process of law. Details of these violent acts against humanity and such ruthless repression against all people who yearn for freedom of expression, human and democratic rights are abundantly available in the archives of major human rights organizations including those of Amnesty International and the acclaimed institutions of the European Union and US Congress.
As you well know the latest crisis in our country came in the wake of the May 2005 elections declared unfair and not up to international standards according to the final report of the EU election observers mission. The EPRDF government, decisively defeated at the poles, decided not to respect the people’s voice and to remain in power by using its security forces put under the direct and personal command of the tyrant Meles Zenawi. In June and November 2005, these forces were unleashed against peaceful demonstrators in Addis Abeba and other cities in the country. The final report of the Inquiry Commission set up to investigate the unrest concluded that Meles Zenawi's security forces “massacred” 193 people, triple the official death toll. During these protests unarmed citizens were shot, beaten and strangled to death. Among those killed were 40 teenagers, including a boy and a girl, both 14. The two were fatally shot.
The Inquiry Commission approved the final report by an 8 to 2 majority. But Meles Zenawi threatened the Commission’s members and ordered a reversal of the findings. Three members, including the chairman and the vice-chairman fled the country after receiving threats. They did so after making sure that a draft of the inquiry team's original report was smuggled out of the country, Copies of this have been obtained by AP and other news agencies. The Meles government has intimidated the remaining members of the commission who came out with a “revised” version of the report which turned out to be more favourable to the dictatorship.
As you closely follow developments in Ethiopia and as we know your concern about good governance as the only path to development and justice, we are sure that you are aware of every thing that happened in Ethiopia under Meles – the rigged elections, the massacres, the mass arrests and this latest resort to Stalinist methods to suppress the findings of a team of courageous and honest Ethiopians who squarely put the blame for the atrocities committed against our people on the Meles dictatorship.
much as we are dismayed and disappointed by what we see as a double
standard applied by someone from whom so much was expected in the
field of freedom and democracy, we are encouraged to see the European
Parliament’s consistent and principled stand on the issues of human
rights, rule of law and good governance in our country. On the very
day the tyrant arrived in Brussels (November 16, 2006) at your
invitation to participate in the European Development Days and to
deliver a speech on good governance (sic!) the august body once again
passed a resolution condemning the serious human rights violations in
Ethiopia, demanding the publication of the original and unaltered
report of the Inquiry Commission and expressing regret that the tyrant
was unduly honoured by your invitation to participate in the Forum.
The man at the helm of these hideous atrocities against a nation and its people is none other than the leader of the ruling EPRDF, Meles Zenawi. After he seized power in May 1991 toppling the dictator Mengistu Hailemariam through violence, he continued to rule the country with the same means, the barrel of gun. With the gun as an instrument of maiming opposition, he stamped on democracy, rule of law and human rights only to enforce bizarre and destructive policies of ethnic politics against the will and wish of the overwhelming Ethiopian people. Knowing the magnitude of the opposition to his shortsighted policies, Meles designed the ethnic politics as a strategy of “divide and rule” and sadly enough we see the nation divided on ethnic and sub-ethnic polities and sliding to unmanageable conflicts never experienced before. Mr. Meles Zenawi is engaged in doing all he can to divide and suppress the people of Ethiopia in a futile attempt to cripple a unified opposition to his tyrannical misrule. For Meles Zenawi, what matters is sticking to power through sheer violence even at the cost of a civil war the consequences of which no one would like to contemplate.
The grim realities that transpired in the wake of the May 2005 election, the flagrant rigging of the election results, the incarceration of thousands who demanded free and fair election and the carnage that followed to terrorize the people not to attempt any peaceful protest are tangible cases in point signifying the pattern of tyrannical behavior of the regime under Meles Zenawi. The Ethiopian people have suffered under this rule for the last 15 long years and will remain so as long as this regime is in power.
To honor such a blatant human rights violator and an absolute dictator in the halls of democracy is simply to give a blind eye to gross human rights violations and to the prevailing abject realities in Ethiopia. It is a slap on the face of the Ethiopian people who are yearning to be free from this tyrant's grip and are struggling to bring democracy and hope for a better future.
The United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) urges the EU to dissociate itself from this tyrant and to support the Ethiopian people in their endeavors to replace dictatorship with democracy and rule of law.
United Ethiopian Democratic Forces
17, November 2006