Honorable Dr. Tagesse Chafo
Speaker of the House of Peoples Representatives Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Re: Prevention of genocide and crimes against humanity
Dear Honorable Speaker of the House,
On behalf of the Board of Vision Ethiopia, an independent and nonpartisan network of Ethiopian academics and professionals, allow me to register our deep sadness about the sectarian attacks and gruesome killings of unarmed civilians by a misguided segment of the youth network that operates primarily in the Oromia region. Concerned by the nature of the most recent attacks, we are writing this open letter to Your Excellency and through you to the House of the Peoples Representatives, and the administration.
As indicated in our October 11, 2019 letter to H.E. the Prime Minister, the events that are unfolding in Ethiopia are deeply worrying. The intensity and scale of the killings and internal human displacement have become more acute, frequent, systematic and organized. It did not spare politicians. The activities and propaganda of the youth network are similar to the most extreme forms of radicalism witnessed in other parts of the world. The network seems to have
backers, including those who hold high public offices in the federal and regional administrations. Paradoxically, many branches of the administration and the security establishment appear to be willfully negligent of, and insensitive to, the predicaments of those who are killed, wounded, displaced and uprooted. Some officials are even trying to conceal the crimes under the carpet and away from the attention of the international community.
The characterization of the horrendous crimes as an isolated and localized “conflict”, resolvable under conventional peace process, appears to be naïve, and certainly one that defies reality and reason. The Government of Ethiopia had been warned of the imminent threat of genocide and crime against humanity as far back as a decade ago. The Government, under the cover of political liberalization, allowed sectarian movements and media outlets, which mirror the images of the notorious RTLM of Rwanda — to disseminate the flames of hate, and encouraged lawlessness and vigilantism. The mistake has resulted in the undermining of the authority and legitimacy of the Government by non-State actors.
An administration “system” that allows its airwaves to be used for the promotion of sectarianism and irredentism, and roads to its capital city blocked, cannot sustain itself as a legitimate government. We also believe that allowing the perpetrators of the crimes to get away with murder, and involving them in an election, will be a fatal mistake. It will almost certainly increase the size, shape and complexity of the crime. Experience shows that negotiating with those who are determined to abort the reform and break up the country will only encourage them to pursue what
they are doing now. We, therefore, urge the House of Peoples Representatives to immediately condemn the attacks, establish an independent and credible judicial commission of inquiry, and ask the Government of Dr. Abiy Ahmed to follow the due legal process to bring the perpetrators to justice in order to prevent the further escalation of such horrendous crimes. We are appealing to you as both the political parties and the administration have conflict of interest, and hence cannot establish the truth.
Getachew Begashaw, PhD