The regime in Ethiopia, killing hundreds. Sweden must act. (Google translation)
By Anders Österberg (S), Member of Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs
Sweden (Folkbladet) — Not all crises that become front-page news. In the shadow of war in Syria and the attempted coup in Turkey, the situation in Ethiopia developed the verge of civil war.
Foreign Ministry advises against Swedes from now to go to several places in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian parliament adopted in January 2016 a law that makes it illegal to work for human rights.
It is not only members of political organizations that can severely punished. Even members of the NGO faces up to fifteen years in prison. Membership may be enough to be sentenced to ten years in prison.
Organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are prohibited.
Those who govern in Ethiopia have long used the tactic of “divide and rule”. The regime spreads hatred with thousands of people to flee. Minorities against each other.
Oromo against Ogadenians, Ogadenians against Amhara, Amhara against Oromo and so on. In Gambela region alone, 400 people were killed and tens of thousands displaced from their homes. In Oromia region, one of the causes of the ongoing uprising is that the regime wanted to seize Oromo farmland. Many have been killed.
In the Amhara region, hundreds killed and thousands jailed in recent months. Ogadenians have been incited to war against Oromo and we do not know how many hundreds dead in recent weeks.
It may be that the government makes a deal with Ogadenians and Oromo to punish Amhara. If it becomes punitive expeditions against Amhara or any other ethnicity must highlight Sweden.
Olof Palme held a famous speech of Christmas 1972. He listed the atrocities in modern history such as: Guernica, Oradour, Babi Yar, Katyn, Lidice, Sharpeville, Treblinka. After the world they have fallen hard on those who carried the responsibility for the killings.
To the list of names added even an Ethiopian. The massacre in Ireecha, 2016, where hundreds of people were killed.
The guilty must be brought to justice. Sweden and the international community should require. Sweden is a small nation with a big heart. Therefore, we must tell the truth to our friends even when it hurts.
In Ethiopia, there is a progressive constitution that among other things, guarantees freedom of expression. However, there is a difference between Sweden and Ethiopia’s freedom of expression. In Sweden, you are free after you have spoken to you.
For the Ethiopian regime that we know takes note of this number, I would say the following: release Professor Merara Gudina leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress, after his visit to the European Parliament he was held. This political prisoner gets in this century represent all the other thousands and thousands imprisoned.
Show courage that you dare to follow your own constitution. If you are so popular as you say in the propaganda, to show it by meeting your people at the ballot box and not face them with tanks.
At the beginning of the article I wrote that not all deaths are headlines. The Ethiopian runner and silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa crossed his arms after his finish in the Olympics.
His crossing of the arms became front-page news. One arm of democracy and the other arm of human rights. Likewise doing right now millions of people worldwide. Let these arms raised and hopes not be in vain.
Anders Österberg (S)
Member of Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs