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Monday, May 14, 2007

UN to probe human rights breaches in Mogadishu fighting

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[EACA: letter to Richard K. Armey ] - [Ethiopia: Excessive Force, Arbitrary Arrests and Blocking of the Web] - [Environmental Groups Warn of Dangers Posed by Chinese-Funded Projects in Africa] - [Mogadishu blast kills 3 as top U.N. aid official visits] - [Somalia: a failing counter-terrorism strategy]

[China launches Nigerian satellite] - [Massive Search Continues For U.S. Troops] - [Cerberus to buy 80 percent of Chrysler] - [US Probe Could Boost Moore Movie] and more of today's top stories!


(2nd year anniversary) Remembering May 15, 2005: 90% of the 25 million registered voters crowed election polling stations. Voters line up in the pre-dawn chill before opening time at 6:00am. Some came from hospital wards on their wheelchairs with their life support hooked to their bodies. Others disrupted their wedding ceremonies (More...)

Young men supporting the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) at a huge opposition rally in Meskel Square, in the heart of Addis Ababa(Picture by Andrew Heavens)

A young gilr leads the chanting at a huge opposition rally in Meskel Square, in the heart of Addis Ababa.(Picture by Andrew Heavens)


IEWO radio: Reaction of Community members to the beheading of Ethiopian Khadija Moussa in Saudia Arabia

Ethiopian American Civic Advocacy (EACA): letter to Richard K. Armey

Date: May 14, 2007
Richard K. Armey,
DLP Piper
1200 Nineteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC, 20036-2412
United States

Re: Lobbying for the Ethiopian government

Dear Richard K. Armey,

On Thursday May 10, 2007 the Joint commission for Human Rights chaired by Honorable Congressman Bill Delahunt Chairman, Subcommittee of International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, had a hearing to discuss the deteriorating Human Rights condition, lack of democracy in Ethiopia and the relationship of the United States with the Ethiopia government.

During the hearing, one of the ranking Congressman suggested to invite your firm to a hearing in order to testify about “the blood money” paid by the Ethiopian government.

The political support of DLA Piper and its Advisors is resulting in the extension of the life of a brutal dictatorship; contributing to the pillage of Ethiopia and for the subjugation of millions of Ethiopians.

Your lobbying firm’s role is no less crucial than the role of the arm dealers in helping Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s regime to continue to brutalize and suppress its very own people.

We urge you to go over the documentation we provided with our previous letter to you, as well as conduct your independent research on this matter.

We also humbly request your firm again to reconsider your association with the Ethiopian Government immediately, and hope the good name of your firm will not continue to be associated with a regime that has blood on its hands and is responsible for the plight of millions of its citizens and instability in the Horn region.

Those that have interests with the present government of Ethiopia will by extension be perceived as being insensitive to the brutalization of innocent civilians.

We plan to voice our concern to the world community about those involved directly or indirectly by supporting the government of Ethiopia to conduct state-sponsored terrorism, mass killings, and brutalize its very own people.

We are very confident that after carefully weighing the evidences you will clearly cease from being associated with such a brutal Regime.


Dr. Kassa Ayalew (Acting Chair)
Ethiopian American Civic Advocacy (EACA)
Phone: +1 (703) 665-4042
PO.Box 1292
Lorton, Virginia 22199-1292

Also see:
-War on terror gets Ethiopia a pass on human rights:
(Nov/9/2006 ) "Mr. Armey, a Texas Republican, argued on Capitol Hill that Ethiopia's leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, is "on our side" in the war against terrorism and should not be punished with a reduction in aid or the withholding of visas from some of his key officials.

Both Mr. Armey and DLA Piper have registered with the Justice Department as lobbyists under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, listing Ethiopia as a client. Calls to DLA Piper requesting comment from Mr. Armey were not returned."

Somalia: a failing counter-terrorism strategy

...So why aren't Ethiopia's allies - the European Union, Britain and the United States, who provide Ethiopia with millions of dollars' worth of development assistance each year and who are also providing substantial support to the TFG - doing more to stop these violations?

The answer is as depressing as it is obvious. Ethiopia and its Somali proxies, including a large number of warlords with notorious records of abuse from earlier conflicts, are perceived by the EU and US government as key allies in the "war on terror" and are doing the west's dirty work against Somalia's Islamists. Behind the scenes the US is helping the Ethiopian military effort and interrogating suspects in Ethiopian detention.(More...)

UN to probe human rights breaches in Mogadishu fighting

NAIROBI (AFP) - The United Nations will probe human rights violations during recent fighting in the Somali capital Mogadishu in which hundreds of civilians died, a top UN evoy said Monday.

UN emergency humanitarian coordinator John Holmes said Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed had agreed to the UN probe into rights breaches during clashes between Ethiopia-backed Somali forces and Islamist-led insurgents that killed an estimated 1,400 people and forced tens of thousands to flee.

"I raised the claims that there have been massive abuses of international law ... because civilian areas were being used and targeted in different ways," Holmes told a news conference in Nairobi.(More...)

Also see:
-BBC: UN to probe Somali human rights
-Somali leader agrees to UN probe

Ethiopia: Excessive Force, Arbitrary Arrests and Blocking of the Web

...Testifying on Capitol Hill on Friday, Lynn Fredriksson, Amnesty International's Africa advocacy director, said the chairman and vice chairman of a Parliament-ordered inquiry into the violence fled Ethiopia last year after concluding that security forces had used excessive force. Their departure was prompted by threats to change the panel's findings, she said.

Fredriksson told the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on human rights and international organizations and its oversight subcommittee on Africa and global health that the prisoners arrested in late 2005 included members of parliament, law professors and former judges.

Among those arrested and charged with treason and genocide was the founder of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, Mesfin Wolde-Mariam, 76. Wolde-Mariam had said that torture and other crimes were being committed in the country despite the fact that Ethiopia was a signatory to several human rights treaties and national commitments.(More...)

Environmental Groups Warn of Dangers Posed by Chinese-Funded Projects in Africa

SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- Chinese-funded dams and other projects potentially threaten Africa's environment and local populations, an environmental group said Monday, urging Beijing to avoid similar mistakes made by Western donors.

Civic groups need to be engaged over projects such as the Merowe dam in Sudan, which is forcing 70,000 people from their homes in the Nile Valley into the Nubian desert, the U.S.-based International Rivers Network said in a statement.

The statement was issued during a visit to China by activists that coincides with Shanghai's hosting of the African Development Bank's annual meeting, a sign of China's growing engagement with the continent, where its companies have fanned out to build infrastructure and seek resources such as oil and gas.(More...)

Mogadishu blast kills 3 as top U.N. aid official visits

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - The United Nations' top aid official urged Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf to allow relief supplies to reach his people, during a visit to the Somali capital on Saturday that was disrupted by a deadly blast.

A Somali security source said an explosive device planted in car killed three people near the U.N. compound in Mogadishu shortly after U.N. emergency relief coordinator John Holmes landed, delaying his tour of the shell-shattered city.

The source said the attack targeted a senior intelligence official and not Holmes, the highest ranking U.N. official to visit Somalia since recent clashes killed at least 1,300 people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.(More...)

Also see:
-Somalia clan fighting kills at least 10

Today's Top International Stories

-China launches Nigerian satellite
-Rice: No New Cold War For U.S, Russia
-Massive Search Continues For U.S. Troops
-Taliban leader's death a big blow
-Authorities in Germany Detained 2 With al Qaeda Ties
-Pope Blames Marxism and Capitalism for Latin America's Problems
-Cerberus to buy 80 percent of Chrysler
-US Probe Could Boost Moore Movie