11 November 2020 – It has been one year since the Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy won the Nobel Peace Prize for his peace efforts with Eritrea and reconciliation in Ethiopia. However, the outbreak of conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region threatens to tarnish this accomplishment. On the Dutch radio programme Bureau Buitenland, Mirjam van Reisen, Professor in the Universities of Leiden and Tilburg and Secretary-General of EEPA, calls for urgent de-escalation and inclusion of all parties in diplomatic efforts.
On June 29th prominent Oromo singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa was murdered by gunmen in the capital of Ethiopia. Hachalu Hundessa’s life, death and the events following his death are deeply tied to the path Ethiopia is taking as a nation. The remnants of the former dictatorial regime, ethnic tensions, in/out group politics, regional versus national power and the power and abuse of state actors delineate the character and struggle of politics in Africa’s second most populous country. When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali was elected in 2018 he opened up the political system towards more inclusion for ethnic groups and regional authorities. Powerful political opponents counter these new narratives of inclusiveness with their own narratives of ethnic/regional autonomy and self-rule. The response of Abiy Ahmed’s government after Hachalu Hundessa’s death are illustrative of botched responses that undermine Ahmed’s path towards an inclusive government.
In this week’s news highlights: Eritrean organisations urge UNHCR and authorities to address roundups in Sudan; US sanctions South Sudan officials; PM Abiy Ahmed wants to work on peace with Eritrean President; Protection for human rights defenders in Ethiopia; Missing ministers in Eritrea; First Global Refugee Forum launced to improve conditions for refugees; Greece urges EU to “share the burden”; Children suicidal in Moria refugee camp, Greece; Teenagers accused of terrorism after interception at sea; Red cross argues EU should adress needs refugees and host communities instead of keeping them out; Turkey to support UN-backed government in Libya; Libyan coast guard and Europe critized by Ocean Viking coordinator; Personal experiences of conditions in Libya; And World Bank recalculates refugee data is needed.