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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Zero tolerance for democracy: Policy of the Ethiopian government

Also in the news: Evidence of EPRDF’s failed policy, Ethiopia Ranked Among Worst Press Violators, Ethiopian officer captured after fierce battle, Ethiopia's "Lucy" to be exhibited in United States, From Vancouver Kinijit Support Groups, Ethiopia at war with ICU, Jonny Ragga Wins Music Award and more of today's top stories

Zero tolerance for democracy: Policy of the Ethiopian government
ETP - Six days ago Yalemzewd Bekele, a prominent Human rights activist (seen here); was arrested by the authorities in Ethiopia. The EPRDF led government of Ethiopia has been battling human rights activists and free press journalists ever since it ceased power in 1991; but since the 2005 general elections, in which the government found out its perceived popularity was entirely imaginary, it has doubled efforts in hunting down members of these two sectors.

Not only is the government of Ethiopia persecuting journalists and human rights activists, it is also trying to cover up massacres committed by its troops right after the 2005 elections. A recent report by an independent inquiry commission, assigned to investigate the violence following the 2005 elections, has held the government responsible for over 190 civilian deaths, 40 of which were teenagers gunned down indiscriminately by the elite “Agazi” unite, a trusted military wing of the government. Due to repeated attempts by the government to suppress the report of the independent inquiry commission; members of this commission were forced to flee the country and risk their life so that this report could see the light of day.

Also read:
-Inquiry Says Ethiopian Troops Killed 193 in Ballot Protests: New York Times
-Fear of Torture or ill-treatment [Yalemzewd Bekele]: Amnesty International
-Ethiopian protesters 'massacred': BBC

Ethiopia Ranked Among Worst Press Violators

(Audio) Listen to report

The global press watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, says Eritrea and Ethiopia are ranked among the worst violators of press freedom in the world, while Benin, Namibia, and Mauritius are among the best countries in Africa for press freedom. Reporters Without Borders has released its annual press-freedom report.

...Slightly behind Eritrea is its neighbor, Ethiopia, ranked 160th out of the 168 countries surveyed.

The organization says this is primarily because of last year's crackdown by the government against journalists, opposition supporters, activists, and others contesting the results of the May 2005 elections.

Dozens of journalists were arrested and charged with treason, including five VOA reporters charged in absentia. About 20 journalists still remain behind bars, possibly facing the death penalty because of their reporting.(More...)

Evidence of EPRDF’s failed policy

By the time the October rains arrived last week, five of the 13 heads of families in the village of Magado had hanged themselves, tormented by the loss of their cattle and livelihoods.

24 October 2006 - Magado, and the thousands of other Borena pastoralist settlements spread across southern Ethiopia, are part of the Horn of Africa's great cow economy. For more than two millennia, the Borena have learnt to eke an existence from the bleak landscape, shifting to seasonal feeding grounds and using communal wells set out according to a traditional co-operative system called gada. That way of life is now under threat.

......A decision by the Ethiopian government to redraw the district boundaries on land occupied by the Borena and their pastoralist neighbours, the Guji, has led to fierce armed clashes between the tribes. International critics described the move as the perpetuation of a long-held tactic by Addis Ababa to divide and rule pastoralist areas by handing control of resources to opposing tribes.(More...)

Ethiopian officer captured after fierce battle

KISMAYO, Somalia (AP) -- Somalia's Islamic radicals claimed Tuesday they had captured an Ethiopian officer after heavy fighting against pro-government militia in which 43 were killed.

The wounded soldier was seized after 26 hours of fighting between Islamic fighters and militia loyal to Somalia's defense minister, said Islamic movement spokesman Sheik Shukri Abraham.

Ethiopian officials were not immediately available for comment.

Ethiopia and Somalia's governments had initially denied the presence of Ethiopian troops in the country, but Ethiopia's prime minister recently acknowledged he had sent troops. He said there were only a few military trainers.

Tensions between Ethiopia, which backs Somalia's weak government, and the Islamic radical group that controls much of southern Somalia have been mounting in recent months.(More...)

From Vancouver Kinijit Support Groups

let us honour the victims of November 1, 2005 , the Addis Abeba massacres as well as the brave leaders of Kinijit and all political prisoners who have been thrown into jail since November 1 last year, on trumped up charges of treason and genocide.(see Flyer)

If you wish to make a difference here are a few thing you can do

1. Wednesday November 1 2006 @ 6 pm sharp
Protest rally & Candle light vigil front of
CBC Television British Columbia.( message CBC speak up )
700 Hamilton Street. ( Hamilton & Georgia ) Vancouver Rain or Shine
2. Send the attached post card to your MP (post card attached in PDF) Send it to the following address:
The Hon. ____________________________ (name of MP)
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Find your MP here
3. Distribute the post card in the community to your neighbours , your friends , coworkers , your classmates or any one you know . Churches. such as Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Anglican, and Baptist and so on Institutions trade, teachers, student and other unions to professional associations, journalists, and academic.etc....

The Ethiopian people shall triumph.
Vancouver Kinijit Support Groups

Jonny Ragga Wins East African Music Video Award

Ethiopian artist Jonny Ragga has been named Best East African artist for his Album Kulfun Sichign ('Give Me the Key') at 2006 Channel O Sprit of African Music Video Awards, held at a ceremony at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg on October 15.

Although Give me the key is his debut album for the artist, Jonny Ragga is no stranger to Ethiopian music lovers. His first appearance on the international scene took place back in 2002, as a part of a reggae concert doing covers of reggae and raga song.

In other categories, the Best Female Award went to the Mozambican lass Lizh James, while the masked Nigeria-Lagbaja took home the Best Male Video.(More..)

Today's Top Stories

-Ethiopia's "Lucy" to be exhibited in United States
-Ethiopia 'technically' at war with Somali ICU
-Iran could have nuclear bomb by 2015: Germany
-Palestinian militants kidnap AP journalist
-New Cabinet Appointment Tilts Israel to Right
-Hillary Clinton And Opponent Get "Ugly" In New York Race
-Statin drugs may protect smokers' lungs -study
-Cult leader headed to execution in Ohio