Formation of Alliance for Freedom and Democracy

May 22nd, 2006

Press Statement

Statement announcing the formation of the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy

May 22, 2006
A historic meeting convened, by the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP), the Ethiopian People's Patriotic Front (EPPF), the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Sidama Liberation Front (SLF) and the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), at Utrecht in Netherlands, from 19 to 22 of May 2006 has successfully completed by forming the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) and elected its officers. The UEDF supports the formation of the alliance and its objectives and has requested a month to consult its member organizations. The formation of the Alliance is an outcome of a series of bilateral and multilateral discussions conducted in the past several months. The Founding Agreement has been unanimously accepted and ratified by all members of the Alliance. The formation of this Alliance reflects the aspirations and best wishes of all people in Ethiopia whose life has been blighted by political repression, marginalization and exclusion.

The ultimate aim of the Alliance is to establish a just, representative and a genuine democratic process through the convening of an all-inclusive conference where the country’s problems will be discussed and resolved.

We are confident that the formation of this Alliance will be a vehicle to eliminate mistrust and suspicion between political groups and communities so that all will work together in the spirit of mutual understanding and to the benefit and well-being of all. We believe the collective effort behind the Alliance will put an end to the existing destructive mentality of winner takes all and the habitual indifference towards the excluded. The Alliance aspires to purposefully cultivate the values of compromise, tolerance, inclusion, reconciliation and mutual understanding. That is the only way to end the underlying causes of repression, bloodshed, insecurity, political instability and exclusion in Ethiopia and the region, which are inflicting severe hardships and suffering on all people, and seriously hampers the prospects for development and the attainment of equality, justice and prosperity.

Time and time again the people in Ethiopia have risen up and paid unimaginable sacrifice to satisfy their yearning for freedom, justice, liberty and democracy. The struggle and the sacrifice that is being paid in relation to the May 15 2006 election is a recent addition to the series of quashed aspirations.

Our people have demonstrated their readiness and ability that a just and democratic political order is feasible in Ethiopia. What stands between the aspiration for freedom and democracy and its realization is the unwillingness of the incumbent EPRDF regime to submit to the expressed will of the people and its flagrant violations of human rights and civil liberties and failure to even respect and abide by its very own constitution.

The Alliance will therefore struggle to pressure the ruling party to stop frustrating the realization of the yearning for freedom and democracy. The Alliance would use its generous spirit of inclusiveness in convening the conference that would facilitate a way towards the establishment of a democratic and representative order.

We call upon all the people of Ethiopia, both at home and abroad, to rise up in unison to support the cause of the Alliance and struggle to make the convening of the conference, which paves the way for a democratic transition, a reality. The struggle should continue to challenge the current spate of repression in the country, halt the futile and destructive military campaigns, security crackdowns and end the farcical political trial of elected members of parliament and others and to free all political prisoners, including those detained in the small towns and villages.

We also call upon the international community to realize that dialogue and good-faith negotiation offers the only way to achieve a lasting solution and back the alliance's call for this all-inclusive conference to break the current impasse. We hope the international community will realize that peace and stability, sustainable development and good governance can be a reality in Ethiopia only when the disfranchisement of the many by the few is stopped and by bringing all the stakeholders together to chart a genuinely democratic course.

Ethiopian's problems are immense and grossly complicated. Convening an all-inclusive conference to address them is well over due. We do not underestimate the obstacles and challenges facing us. However, with patience and perseverance we are certain that we will succeed.

The Alliance would hold a Press Conference to lay out its vision and work programs in detail.

Freedom and Democracy for all!

Washington Update - Contact your congressional representative

May 20th, 2006

Washington Update

May 19, 2006

Rep. Chris Smith continues to push for enactment of HR 4423, the Ethiopian Freedom, Human Rights and Democracy Act and will held meetings with members of the International Relations Committee to gain consensus on the legislation soon. Smith has lined up 18 cosponsors for HR 4423:

Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] - 3/7/2006

Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10] - 3/7/2006

Rep Royce, Edward R. [CA-40] - 3/7/2006

Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46] - 3/7/2006

Rep Tancredo, Thomas G. [CO-6] - 3/7/2006

Rep Sabo, Martin Olav [MN-5] - 3/7/2006

Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] - 3/7/2006

Rep Boyd, Allen [FL-2] - 3/7/2006

Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] - 3/14/2006

Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] - 3/14/2006

Rep McKinney, Cynthia A. [GA-4] - 3/14/2006

Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] - 3/30/2006

Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] - 3/30/2006

Rep Watson, Diane E. [CA-33] - 4/4/2006

Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] - 5/3/2006

Rep Moore, Dennis [KS-3] - 5/3/2006

Rep Kennedy, Mark R. [MN-6] - 5/3/2006

Rep Scott, Robert C. [VA-3] - 5/3/2006

If your member of Congress is not on this list, it is important that you contact him or her to express your strong support for the legislation and to urge them to co-sponsor and vote for HR 4423. If your member of Congress is on the list of co-sponsors, call and express your thanks. It is essential for the Ethiopian community to mobilize to tell Congress that human rights and democracy in Ethiopia are important to them. You cannot expect members of Congress to act on this unless they hear from their constituents. Rep. Smith has gone well beyond what could be expected, especially in regard to an issue that is not on the front pages of American newspapers. Politicians will not be passionate about Ethiopian human rights and democracy unless they learn that Ethiopians in America are passionate about these issues. Now is the time to focus intensely on getting Congress to act, meet your member of Congress when he or she comes home or holds town hall meetings. It is especially important to contact members of the International Relations Committee (see for a list of members). Lets focus on the big picture. Ethiopian people are suffering, they are doing their part, we in the Diaspora must do our part. Channel your activity in positive directions. Contact Congress, contact your local newspaper.

In contacting members of Congress and the media, mention the recent statements by UN officials who denounced the human rights situation in Ethiopia. You can mention that the Washington Post recently listed Meles as one of the world’s worst dictators. Mention that the European Union Parliament has condemned the Meles regime’s human rights record. Emphasize that this is about human rights and democracy, about freeing elected political leaders who have been arrested on ridiculous charges of genocide and treason, are being held in despicable conditions and face the death penalty.


May 20th, 2006

Hi All,
We need immediate action to respond to this intimidation. EPRDF is lobbying harder to get money from the world bank and they are succeeding and most probably the money will be approved by May 25. As you all know they block all the weblogs and some web sites. Now they are trying to block VOA and Deutsche Welle radios. Call your congressional representative and senator and tell them what the government is trying to do. Let them know that the only free media in the country is VOA and Deutsche Welle radios.

Sat, May 20, 2006 Edition.
Ethiopia delivers petition against VOA, Deutsche radios
Saturday 20 May 2006.
May 19, 2006 (ADDIS ABABA) — In a bid to manifest disapprobation of the unfavourable press reports aired by the VOA and the Deutsche Welle, Ethiopian government will transmit protest petitions collected by the parliament to the US and German legislatures.
Documents of petition collected in opposition to “unbalanced and destructive” reports on Ethiopia by the Amharic services of the Deutsche Welle and Voice of America (VOA) services were handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for delivery to the legislatures of the countries hosting the two media organizations, the Ethiopian radio reported.
Ethiopia had charged five VOA Ethiopian journalists of treason, genocide, conspiracy, causing armed uprising and trying to overthrow the constitution. But authorities under external pressures dropped these charges against VOA staff.
In a press release issued on 22 March, CPJ said US diplomatic pressure may have played a part. VOA, which is funded by the US government, broadcasts into Ethiopia in the local language, Amharic.
The foreign defence and security office, as well as the culture and information office standing committees of the House of People’s Representatives documented the petitions collected and appended their resolutions with the documents.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will ensure the delivery of the petition documents to the countries in question through their embassies here.
Chairman of the culture, information office standing committee, Dawit Tefera said at the handover of the documents that the Amharic service of Deutsche Welle and VOA have been disseminating reports aimed at smearing the image of Ethiopia and marring the ongoing democratization process.
Dawit said the petitions had been collected by various sections of the society across the nation and submitted to the House, which in turn assigned the task of formalizing the petitions to the two standing committees.
He said the petitions strongly oppose the propaganda being broadcast by the state media organizations. He also said the two committees investigated the issue and proved that the stated radio services have operated in violation of their own charters.
The government cracked down on the private press after opposition demonstrations in November 2005 against alleged poll rigging in May elections that returned Meles to power.
At least 46 people were killed in the November clashes with security forces, international news agencies reported. In similar protests in June, at least 42 people died.
Dawit said the documents urged the governments of the respective countries to inquire into the matter and keep the services from being vehicles to further individual and political party whims and to produce unbiased and balanced reports.
Adviser with the American and European affairs directorate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Kasa Gebreyohanes said, after receiving the documents, that the mentioned radio services have been engaging in activities aimed at pulling back the democratization process in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia expelled Anthony Mitchell, a British journalist working for the US news agency Associated Press, for allegedly "tarnishing the image of the nation" in his reports from the Horn of Africa nation.
The crackdown has sparked international concern about the state of democracy in Ethiopia and several leading donors have withheld millions of dollars in direct aid to the government, reprogramming it to humanitarian relief.

Attention U.S. Tax Payer!

May 15th, 2006

Your money is being used to reward a brutal regime
The World Bank is giving a quasi-blank check to the Ethiopian government,
supposedly to help the country’s poor population.
Here are just some of the Ethiopian government’s accomplishments in the
past 14 years:
• Committed genocide against a small and marginal ethnic group, the Anuak of Ethiopia, by raping Anuak women, and torturing and killing educated Anuak men in front of their family
• Massacred over 200 innocent civilians for conducting peaceful demonstration in Awasa
• Gunned down in broad daylight over 100 innocent civilians in June and
November of 2005, for peacefully demonstrating against election irregularities
• Shot a mother and wife in front of her husband and daughter for crying and pleading with a soldier not to arrest her husband, an elected government official
• Threw over 40,000 innocent civilians into military camps in remote parts of Ethiopia heavily invested with malaria. Shaved detainees heads using single razor blades, thus subjecting them to the risk of HIV/AIDS
• $21 BILLION dollars of your and other Western country citizens’ tax dollars given in foreign aid over in the last 14 years, and Ethiopia is still one of the poorest countries in the world.
Sadly, the World Bank has a history of financially supporting governments run by ruthless dictators. Not only disregarding the lives of the poor but also that of their own staff: “In late 1970’s a Zairian army unit attacked uncooperative resident representative of the IMF and World Bank. The soldiers beat him up and raped his wife and daughters with strong sign of complicity. The two institutions nevertheless kept lending.”
-William Easterly, The White Man’s Burden, p. 149
The World Bank, which provided $18.5 billion in aid in 2003, should withhold money from governments that are antidemocratic, or that violate their people's human rights. To lend money to tyrants is to strengthen them and to become complicit when they stamp on their people's rights, especially the rights of their impoverished citizens. To lend money to one-party states is to lock in their hegemony, and to ridicule the dignity of people outside the party. To lend money to well-kept dictators.
is to enslave their citizenry, who even after the dictator is gone must repay principal and interest — to the bank.
-Shirin Ebadi, a law professor at the University of Tehran, won the Nobel Peace Prize
for 2003.
-Amir Attaran is a professor of law and population health at the University of Ottawa
- New York times June 16, 2004
What Can I do? There is a LOT you can do to avoid your tax money being used to coddle the Ethiopian dictator!!!
1. Call World Bank representatives listed below and demand that all your tax dollar money for Ethiopia should be spent directly on investment projects only rather than budgetary support which is basically a blank check to the Ethiopian Government.
The World Bank is now distributing the money through regional government offices indirectly to the government budgetary accounts.

•Lead Economist
Trina Haque
Tel: (202) 458-5775
Fax: (202) 473-8107

•Country Programme Coordinator
Jill Armstrong
Tel: (202) 473-8471
Fax: (202) 473-5453

•Country Director
Ishac Diwan

For more information E-mail:

Ethiopian Democracy Day...Vancouver

May 12th, 2006


Ethiopian Democracy Day
Vancouver Kinijit Support Group is celebrating May 15th, 2005, as a
"Democracy Day" for Ethiopians. It is the day on which Ethiopians of
all denominations voted for Kinijit in the presence of international observes.

Yes we celebrate May 15th because it is the day of victory for Ethiopians
and the day of defeat to the tyrant regime of EPRDF or Meles.

Kinijit Support Group is organizing a special event to celebrate the
Victory and Democracy day, on May 13th, 2006.

DATE & TIME : Saturday, May 13, 2006 , 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm

PLACE : Chilean Community Center
3390 School Avenue, Vancouver
(School Ave & Tyne by Safeway on Kingsway

FORMAT : Get together and dialogue.

All those who would like to share the Victory and Democracy Day are
cordially invited to join and celebrate the day with us.

Ethiopia will prevail
Vancouver Kinijit Support Group