WASHINGTON, DC – Ethiopians from around the world on Saturday expressed shock and disbelief that Norway was deporting over 1000 Ethiopians with children who were born and raised in that country.
In an Open Letter to Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the Ethiopians appealed that the government to reverse its decision as many of those to be deported have been active in the opposition camp and their return would certainly entail political persecution.
“Most of these Ethiopians have played a vital role in exposing the crimes and misdeeds of the current tyrannical regime in Ethiopia; they will definitely face imprisonment, torture or being killed should they return to Ethiopia,” according to the letter sent to Prime Minister Stoltenberg.
Asylum applicants were never interviewed in person, nor their issue examined on an individual basis. The decision for the forced repatriation was made collectively.
“Norway is not only a signatory to the Geneva Convention but also home to Nobel Peace Prize,” signifying that the country is committed to rewarding those who promote peace in any part of the world, the Open Letter read.
As peace and freedom-loving Ethiopians, we are troubled that your Government has rejected unjustly and unfairly applications for political asylum of over 1,000 individuals, the letter said, citing the following injustices as shocking to have come from the country known for the respect of human rights and generally human dignity:
- Application for political asylum of Ethiopians is treated unjustly, unfairly and collectively, rather than treating on an individual basis, i.e on a case by case basis.
- Those, whose application being rejected are law abiding Ethiopians political refugees lived, worked and paid taxes for long time.
- Included in the rejection process, are those children born in Norway, the country they only know and belong to.
- The reasoning given by your government for the rejection is as such–that the raising economic boom, freedom and justice in Ethiopia, and hence genuine political asylum seekers being considered as an economic refugee.
“Most of these Ethiopians have played a vital role in exposing the crimes and misdeeds of the current tyrannical regime in Ethiopia; they will definitely face imprisonment, torture or being killed should they return to Ethiopia. The Ethiopian dictatorial regime led by Mr. Meles Zenawi, as described by Helen Epstein in her article Cruel Ethiopia published on The New York Review Books dated April 21, 2010 noted that “there are two Prime Minister Meles Zenawi; One a Clubbable, charming African who gives moving speeches at elite forums about terrorism and poverty, and the other is a dictator whose totalitarianism dates back to the cold war days”.
“The State Department of the USA on its 2010 report also noted “…that the Meles government is engaged in killings, tortures, arbitrary arrest, and restriction of freedom of movement, assembly and mistreatment of detainees. The Human Rights Watch on its December 17, 2010 issue stated “….the government of Ethiopia uses development aid for state repression by way of routinely discriminating against people viewed as political opposition supporters”. The aid your government provides the Meles regime as such being used to suppress political dissent by conditioning access to essential services on support for the ruling party led Mr. Meles Zenawi.
“Therefore, we all Ethiopians together re-appeal to your government, to stop deportation and review and correct the unjust and unfair asylum granting policy towards Ethiopians. We kindly ask for assistance from you to allow them to have access to a fair asylum process. If these Ethiopians deported to Ethiopia we can assure you that they end up in being tortured, imprisonment and death. If your government declines Ethiopian asylum seekers be part of the Norwegian society and contribute their best to Norway therefore, Your Honorable Prime Minister must provide them protection and a work permit until the United Nation Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)arranges a third country to move to.”