Human Rights Concern-Eritrea underlines President Isaias’ responsibility for Eritrea’s continuing mass exodus

news-on-eritreaHuman Rights Concern-Eritrea (HRCE) has issued a press statement accusing President Isaias’ government in Eritrea of direct responsibility for the mass exodus of “60,000 people who escape their country every year, or the 47,000 Eritreans who sought asylum in Europe in 2015”.

It was commenting on the President’s statement on November 8 that migration and the movement of refugees had “become rampant globally” and his call for “the need for the underlying causes and driving factors to be fully and comprehensively addressed.”   Human Rights Concern-Eritrea said it was “most certainly relevant and urgent for the world to identify the causes of the mass exodus of refugees from particular countries”. It pointed out, however, that it was especially ironic that President Isaias should say this when he headed a regime which was “currently causing the most extraordinary and most numerous exodus of refugees in Africa” and “prime responsibility rests with the very government which he himself leads.”

The President had laid great emphasis on “human trafficking” and the traffickers as the unaddressed problem, but he never mentioned why the men and women of Eritrea were so vulnerable to such traffickers. Human Rights Concern–Eritrea said “it was essential that attention should be focused on the true cause of their vulnerability: their desperate need to escape the appalling dangers and repression in their own country stemming from the policies and actions of his own government.”

The UN Commission of Inquiry report earlier this year detailed the human rights violations, the lack of rule of law, and the effective policing of human rights which meant that Eritrea was a “country where there is no political or religious freedom, and people are routinely imprisoned and tortured, and may disappear or be executed extra-judicially.”

Human Rights Concern-Eritrea said anyone opposed to government policies was in extreme danger, but “above all other ‘driving factors’ forcing young Eritreans to flee the country and become refugees is the universal and indefinite National Service. Those entering such service can remain quasi slave-labor in the military, the agricultural sector, or mining industries, with no foreseeable end or hope of escaping.”

The 6th International Conference on Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices opens in Addis Ababa

The 6th International Conference on Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices kicked off in Addis Ababa today (November 17, 2016) under the theme: “Agri-commodity marketing for sustainable global trade.” Co-organized by the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Producers and Exporters Association (EPOSPEA)  the two day conference aims to strengthen and expand existing and new market linkages and outlets to diverse product varieties of the sector through consolidating the foundation that has been already laid-down; with the view to nurture a common concern of those major policy makers, international buyers, potential investors, research institutes, development partners and other actors in the value chain who have been engaged in tapping its full potentials.

Opening the conference, State Minister of the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade, Assad Zayed underlined that the basic rationale behind organizing such a global event was to enhance the comparative advantage of the sector by creating conducive platform for key industry players, whereby positive results have been in store with regard to enhancing the county’s image abroad and further boosting the sector’s export market linkages. The Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices sector in Ethiopia is one of potentially endowed sector with abundant resources in relative terms with other diverse components of agricultural sector, coupled with the potential to contribute immensely to the country’s overall development. Last Fiscal year, the Minister added, Ethiopia has earned 722.4 million USD from export of pulses, oilseeds and spices.

Ethiopia he said was paying utmost priority to enhancing production and productivity, exporting value-added items, widening and diversifying market destinations during the country’s Growth and Transformation plan period. He further said the progress made in the sub-sector and the market modernization at the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) on online trading and implementation of traceability has become a benchmark for many African countries.

Noting that the international price for agricultural commodities is being volatile, the State Minister however said the pulses, oil seeds and spices sub-sector has earned a total of 722.4 million USD during the first year of the Second GTP, which he said was the result of the integrated efforts pursued by a range of stakeholders. In all these the State Minister cautioned that stakeholders should further step up efforts to meet the targets of the Second Growth and Transformation Plan given the current performance falls short of the targeted 1.26 billon USD.

President of the Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Producers Exporters Association (EPOSPEA), Haile Berhe underscored that the event was instrumental in the sense that it would create enabling platforms for both existing and new clients to expand market and business linkages and thereby offer further opportunities to address the current challenges evident in the sector. He said, ”The market opportunity that both our exporters and importers will have at the end of the deliberations through business-to-business linkages and networking is the central milestone this conference intends to achieve.”

EPOSPEA’s President further noted that with respect to addressing the gaps in earnings, which he said was mainly ascribed to the price fluctuation witnessed in the international market, the association is working to raise the quantity of export produces, adding that efforts are also underway to diversify market linkages via arranging correspondences among business delegations and hosting various trade missions across the globe.

The 6th International Conference on Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices brought together international importers drawn from 20 countries, representatives of public enterprises and the private sector, under which stakeholders are expected to use the platform to network with peers, learn about the newest market trends, discuss the challenges and opportunities in the local and global market, and learn new ways of increasing quality, productivity and marketability.


Premier briefs Addis-based diplomats on current affairs

h-e-pm-hailemariam-desalegnPrime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn briefed diplomats today (November 17, 2016) on current situations in Ethiopia; particularly on major progresses witnessed during the State of Emergency period and of the reforms being pursued by the government to fulfill the pledges it has made for the public.

Given the appalling actions of the destructive forces on lives of people, hard-won investment projects and infrastructures, the Premier noted, the government was obliged to declare the State of Emergency.

He underscored, since the first day of the authorization of the State of Emergency the country has been able to restore law and order and is now back to normalcy. The recently lifted restrictions on diplomats travelling in the country without permission clearly affirm this fact, noted the Premier. He re-affirmed that regular business can be conducted as usual. The Premier noted, in the first ten days of the State of Emergency, seventy percent of those who were involved in the violence had willfully given their hands to security forces and pardoned after being given the necessary training which he said would help them integrate with their communities successfully.

Briefing on the key reform programs being carried out by the government, Hailemariam said, there are three major categories; shared and equitable economic growth, expansion of the democratic space and economic restructuring. Ethiopia has achieved seven of the eight Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations and witnessed a double digit growth. However, noted, the premier, significant number of the population, particularly the youth, has not been benefiting from the development as much as it should. He added, among those who were engaged in the violent activities, the youth accounted 99 percent; and the youth aged 15 to 30 is fifty percent of the population. Hence, the government is working aggressively to provide job opportunities more than ever by allocating fund worth billions of birr.

Regarding opening up the democratic space, Hailemariam noted the government thoroughly understood the importance of enhancing civic participation, strengthening democratic institutions particularly on pertinent organs like Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman, Office of the Federal Auditor General, Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, etc. Touching upon reforming the electoral system, the Premier said, “We felt that the coming parliament should also accommodate those who are not represented.”

Prime Minister Hailemariam also said the economy of the country is performing well even at the times the country witnessed the violence where it has observed an eight percent growth in the previous Ethiopian Calendar. Albeit El-Nino, said the premier, the country has managed to overcome its dreadful effects where the agricultural sector was only affected in a certain controllable way. He stressed, the good news is the country would have a bumper harvest where the pre-harvest estimate showed that the agriculture would come to normalcy; even score higher growth; 12 percent.

The Foreign Direct Investment is still one of the best in the continent and the government is working hard that the current situations would not hamper the flow, according to Hailemariam. He called on diplomats to encourage their nationals to continue investing in the country. Hailemariam said, the twelve industrial parks that will be built in the country are expected to create job opportunities for more than 1.2 million people. He underlined that no slowdown was witnessed regarding the ongoing mega projects in the country.


State Minister: Ethiopia will champion Africa’s issues at the UNSC

h-e-ambassador-taye-atskeselassieState Minister Ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie, in a meeting with Deputy Director for the UN, Mr. Jean-Marc,  underscored that Ethiopia would be at the United Nations Security Council for the next two years to champion Africa’s agenda. He noted, Ethiopia has represented Africa at the Security Council twice in the past, where both times she proved herself an advocate of the continent. He further noted, as a founding member and host country of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the African Union (AU), Ethiopia would continue to embody pan-African agendas.

Ambassador Taye also shared Ethiopia’s priorities at the UNSC as; enhancement of peacekeeping operations as well as advancement of cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub regional organizations, comprehensive reform of the United Nations, and of the Security Council in particular and combating violent extremism.

Ethiopia’s efforts in the region, particularly in Somalia and South Sudan are commendable and hoped that it would get replicated at the UN.

Ethiopia has the biggest number of female peacekeepers worldwide.


The Diplomatic community briefed on the declaration of the State of Emergency

 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Government Communication Affairs Office briefed the diplomatic community and representatives of international organizations in Addis on current political developments in the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Government Communication Affairs Office briefed the diplomatic community and representatives of international organizations in Addis on current political developments in the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Government Communication Affairs Office briefed the diplomatic community and representatives of international organizations in Addis on current political developments in the country and the reasons for the declaration of a State of Emergency on Wednesday (October 12).

State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie, and the Minister for Government Communication Affairs Office, Getachew Reda, detailed the current situation, the reasons behind the declaration of the State of Emergency and its scope, and highlighted planned political reforms to encourage restoration of peace and security and the creation of a positive climate for continued momentum for development.

Minister Getachew Reda emphasized that the State of Emergency had been put in place to allow full play for political engagement to address the protests, frustrations and concerns raised by the youth. It was not aimed at addressing people’s grievances through security measures; it had been put in place to address emerging, organized, mobile and coordinated security threats against peoples’ lives and the security of the country.

He also emphasized that the State of Emergency did not mean a blanket ban on all activities. It provided conditional controls on certain areas and activities as needed. In such score, the Minister once again stressed there is no blanket ban on communications, freedom of movement and imposition of curfew.

Ambassador Taye noted protests and disturbances over the last six months were unprecedented. These included legitimate grievances but regrettably in some cases the concerns of the people were hijacked by some extremist elements aiming to take control of the protests as a means towards taking unconstitutional control of state power.

It was in this context that the government examined the ongoing and future prospects of the security situation. It was resolved to bring peace and stability. This was needed to advance political reforms for the greater benefit of the people and to reverse the violence that had led to loss of life and destruction of property.

Ambassador Taye emphasized that the declaration of a State of Emergency should be seen in the light of the urgent need to protect the national life of the people and preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country in the face of increased insecurity.

The point had been reached when ordinary law-enforcement measures were insufficient when faced by the security threats posed by armed anti-peace elements financed and encouraged by external forces.

The State of Emergency was a strategic choice to bring back immediate peace and security as well as encourage the country onto a course of political reform in response to peoples’ grievances and questions.

In the question and answer session that followed, Ambassador Taye underlined that the purpose of the State of Emergency was first and foremost the protection of the safety and security of the people, and to reverse the course of the current of chaos, hatred, tension and insecurity in the country. He emphasized the six-month State of Emergency included respect for fundamental human rights; as well as for the diplomatic and consular rights enshrined in the Vienna Convention. The declaration did not in any way stifle the normal exchange of ideas and discourse. It would only affect information inciting violence and hatred. Referring to the proposed political reforms, Ambassador Taye explained that the Government was committed to create conditions for an inclusive nation-wide dialogue on a wide range of national issues in order to bring lasting peace and security, and encourage the country’s rapid economic growth.

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