• En Ethiopie, la France partagée entre business et défense des droits humains

    Pillages, possibles crimes de #guerre, destructions de sites historiques : les témoignages en provenance du #Tigré, province en guerre depuis le 4 novembre, sont très inquiétants. La France reste pourtant discrète, et espère préserver ses chances sur un marché prometteur.

    L’ambassadeur a un échange « constructif » avec le ministre de l’éducation, l’ambassadeur a un échange « productif » avec le conseiller spécial du premier ministre sur les questions économiques, l’ambassadeur est « très honoré » de recevoir le ministre de l’énergie pour évoquer la participation française à plusieurs grands projets… Sur les réseaux sociaux de l’ambassade de France à Addis-Abeba, c’est #business_as_usual.

    Pour qui suit au quotidien le calvaire des habitants du Tigré – région où l’armée éthiopienne et ses alliés sont en guerre depuis le 4 novembre –, les photos de ces rencontres policées dans la capitale, où l’on discute #qaffaires, lovés dans de confortables canapés, semblent prises dans un monde parallèle.

    Loin, très loin, d’un Tigré littéralement à feu et à sang, où plus de deux millions de personnes ont dû fuir leur habitation, où l’on manque d’eau, d’électricité, de nourriture et de médicaments, où il est probable que la famine soit utilisée comme arme de guerre par les belligérants et où les humanitaires peinent toujours à accéder alors que 2,3 millions de personnes auraient besoin d’aide, selon les évaluations des ONG.

    Les affrontements y opposent le Front de libération du peuple du Tigré (TPLF) à l’armée fédérale éthiopienne, soutenue par des milices nationalistes amhara et des troupes érythréennes.

    « Nous recevons des rapports concordants à propos de violences ciblant certains groupes ethniques, d’assassinats, de pillages massifs, de viols, de retours forcés de réfugiés et de possibles crimes de guerre », a indiqué le 15 janvier le haut représentant de l’Union européenne pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité Josep Borrell, qui a annoncé par la même occasion la suspension de 88 millions d’euros d’aide destinée au gouvernement éthiopien.

    Dès le 13 novembre, la haute-commissaire de l’ONU aux droits de l’homme Michelle Bachelet évoquait elle aussi de possibles crimes de guerre et appelait à la mise en place d’une commission d’enquête indépendante pour le vérifier. À la veille de sa prise de fonction, le nouveau secrétaire d’État américain Antony Blinken s’est lui aussi inquiété publiquement de la situation.

    Une voix manque cependant à ce concert d’alertes : celle de la France. Le Quai d’Orsay n’a produit qu’un seul communiqué concernant le Tigré, le 23 novembre 2020. Il tient en quatre phrases convenues sur la dégradation de la situation humanitaire et la condamnation des « violences à caractère ethnique ». Exploit diplomatique, le mot « guerre » n’y apparaît pas ; celui de « crimes de guerre » encore moins. Il ne comporte ni interpellation des belligérants – qui ne sont d’ailleurs même pas cités –, ni appel à une enquête indépendante sur d’éventuelles violations des droits humains. Les mêmes éléments de langage étaient repris trois jours plus tard à l’occasion de la visite en France du ministre des affaires étrangères éthiopien Demeke Mekonnen.

    « Gênant, au minimum »

    Cette étrange pudeur française commence à interroger, voire à agacer certains alliés européens ainsi que nombre de chercheurs spécialisés sur l’Éthiopie – qui s’emploient, depuis deux mois et demi, à récolter les bribes d’informations qui parviennent du Tigré malgré la coupure des communications par les autorités.

    « J’ai des échanges réguliers avec l’#ambassade_de_France à Addis-Abeba depuis novembre. Je les ai questionnés sur leur position vis-à-vis du gouvernement éthiopien, et je les ai sentis très embarrassés », raconte le chercheur indépendant René Lefort, pour qui la #complaisance française vis-à-vis du gouvernement d’Abiy Ahmed Ali est incompréhensible : « Je crois qu’ils ne comprennent pas ce qu’est ce pays et ce qui s’y passe. »

    Au-delà des questions morales posées par le fait d’apporter un soutien tacite à un gouvernement qui a couvert ou laissé faire des violations des droits humains au Tigré, le soutien à #Abiy_Ahmed est une erreur d’analyse politique selon René Lefort : « Les Français parient tout sur lui, alors que son autorité personnelle est faible et que sa ligne politique n’est soutenue que par une minorité d’Éthiopiens. »

    La réserve française est en tout cas interprétée par l’armée fédérale éthiopienne et ses alliés comme un soutien de Paris. Le sociologue Mehdi Labzae était au Tigré, dans la région d’Humera, jusqu’à la mi-décembre : « Dans les zones conquises par les nationalistes amhara, se présenter comme Français facilite les relations avec les combattants, qui considèrent le gouvernement français comme un allié. Les déclarations françaises, ou leur absence, laissent penser que la réciproque est vraie », relève le chercheur, post-doctorant à la Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH). « Avec un ambassadeur à Addis qui fait comme si de rien n’était… Je trouve cela gênant, au minimum. »

    Selon une source diplomatique étrangère, la France ne se contente pas de rester discrète sur la situation au Tigré ; elle freine également les velléités des membres de l’Union européenne qui voudraient dénoncer plus ouvertement l’attitude des autorités éthiopiennes et de leurs alliés érythréens. Une attitude « parfois frustrante », déplore cette source.

    Interrogée par Mediapart sur cette « frustration » de certains alliés européens, l’ambassade de France à Addis-Abeba nous a renvoyé vers le Quai d’Orsay, qui n’a pas répondu sur ce point (voir boîte noire).

    Refus de répondre sur la création d’une commission d’enquête

    À ses partenaires européens, mais aussi aux chercheurs et humanitaires avec qui ils échangent, les services diplomatiques français expliquent que les accusations d’exactions visant l’armée éthiopienne et ses alliés ne « sont pas confirmées ». Il en va de même concernant la présence de troupes érythréennes sur place – cette présence a pourtant été confirmée à la fois par les autorités de transition du Tigré et par un général de l’armée éthiopienne.

    Une position difficilement tenable. D’abord parce que le gouvernement éthiopien empêche, en bloquant les communications avec le Tigré et en limitant l’accès des humanitaires, la récolte de telles preuves. Ensuite parce que, malgré ce blocus, les faisceaux d’indices s’accumulent : « Nous avons des informations qui nous viennent des ONG, d’équipes des Nations unies qui parlent off the record, de citoyens européens qui se trouvent toujours au Tigré ; nous avons aussi des listes de victimes, et de plus en plus de photos et vidéos », autant d’informations auxquelles l’ambassade de France a eu accès, explique un diplomate en poste à Addis-Abeba.

    La position française est difficilement tenable, enfin, parce que si elle tenait tant aux faits, la France ne se contenterait pas de refuser de condamner les crimes tant qu’ils ne sont pas « confirmés » : elle plaiderait pour la création d’une commission d’enquête indépendante qui permettrait, enfin, de les établir et de pointer les responsabilités respectives du TPLF, de l’armée éthiopienne et de ses alliés.

    Paris est dans une position idéale pour le faire, puisque la France vient d’être élue pour siéger au Conseil des droits de l’homme des Nations unies durant trois ans. Elle pourrait donc, aux côtés d’autres États membres, demander une session extraordinaire du Conseil sur l’Éthiopie (l’accord d’un tiers des 47 États qui composent le Conseil est nécessaire) qui déciderait de la création d’une commission d’enquête sur le Tigré.

    Or, interrogé par Mediapart sur son soutien à la création d’une telle commission, le Quai d’Orsay n’a pas souhaité répondre (voir boîte noire). Il assure avoir « appelé à plusieurs reprises les autorités éthiopiennes à faire la lumière sur les allégations de crimes et autres violations des droits de l’homme », sans toutefois préciser par quel canal.

    Hypothétique médiation

    Lors d’entrevues en privé, des diplomates de l’ambassade et du Quai d’Orsay assurent que cette absence de #dénonciation publique est volontaire et stratégique. Elle viserait à ne pas froisser le gouvernement éthiopien publiquement afin de « maintenir un canal de communication » pour mieux le convaincre en privé et, éventuellement, jouer un rôle de médiateur pour trouver une issue au conflit.

    « Des diplomates français m’ont dit, en résumé : “On reste discrets parce que si un jour il y a une #médiation à faire, le gouvernement pourrait se tourner vers nous” », indique René Lefort. Une analyse « totalement erronée », selon le chercheur : « Non seulement [le premier ministre] Abiy Ahmed Ali ne veut absolument pas d’une médiation, mais surtout, même s’il en acceptait le principe, je ne vois pas pourquoi il irait chercher la France plutôt que les États-Unis, l’Union européenne ou encore l’ONU. » Accessoirement, même si le gouvernement éthiopien souhaitait que la France soit médiatrice, il n’est pas dit que son principal adversaire, le TPLF, accepte le principe d’une médiation par un État qui a passé les derniers mois à multiplier les signes d’amitié envers Addis-Abeba et pourrait donc difficilement prétendre à la neutralité.

    Un (quasi-) #silence public pour mieux faire avancer les dossiers en privé : l’hypothèse est également avancée par l’ancien ambassadeur français en Éthiopie Stéphane Gompertz. « Il est possible que nous privilégions l’action en coulisses, qui peut être parfois plus efficace que de grandes déclarations. C’est d’ailleurs généralement l’option privilégiée par la #diplomatie française. » À l’appui de cette idée, l’ancien ambassadeur – qui fut aussi directeur Afrique au Quai d’Orsay – évoque des tractations discrètes mais couronnées de succès menées en 2005 afin de faire libérer des figures d’opposition.

    Si telle est la stratégie française actuellement, ses résultats sont pour l’instant peu concrets. Le quasi-silence français semble en réalité avoir d’autres explications : ne pas gâcher l’#amitié entre Emmanuel Macron et le premier ministre éthiopien Abiy Ahmed Ali et, surtout, ne pas compromettre les #intérêts_commerciaux français dans un pays vu comme économiquement prometteur et politiquement stratégique.

    Lune de miel

    Lors de sa nomination en 2018, le premier ministre éthiopien Abiy Ahmed Ali fait figure d’homme de paix et de chantre de la démocratie. Ses efforts de réconciliation avec l’Érythrée voisine lui valent le prix Nobel de la paix ; ses réformes sur la liberté de la presse ou la libération de prisonniers politiques lui attirent l’estime de nombreux chefs d’État étrangers.

    Est-ce une affaire de style ? Le fait qu’ils soient tous les deux jeunes, étiquetés comme libéraux, revendiquant une certaine manière de casser les codes ? Emmanuel Macron et Abiy Ahmed semblent en tout cas particulièrement s’apprécier. L’anecdote veut que lors d’une visite de #Macron à Addis-Abeba en 2019, Abiy Ahmed ait tenu à conduire lui-même la voiture amenant le président français à un dîner officiel.

    Lorsque le premier ministre éthiopien a pris ses fonctions, « les Allemands, les Français, l’UE, tout le monde a mis le paquet sur les aides, tout le monde s’est aligné sur lui. Sauf que, le temps passant, le malaise a grandi et la lune de miel a tourné au vinaigre, analyse une source dans les milieux économiques à Addis-Abeba. Les autres États ont rapidement déchanté. Pas les Français, pour qui la lune de miel a continué. »

    De fait, la transformation du Prix Nobel en chef de guerre ne semble pas avoir altéré sa belle entente avec le président français. Deux semaines après le début des hostilités au Tigré, et alors qu’Abiy Ahmed s’apprêtait à lancer un assaut « sans pitié » sur la ville de Mekele et ses 400 000 habitants, #Emmanuel_Macron qualifiait le premier ministre éthiopien de « role model ». Quelques semaines plus tard, toujours engagé dans ce conflit, Abiy Ahmed Ali trouvait le temps de souhaiter un prompt rétablissement à son « bon ami » Macron, atteint du Covid.

    Pour cette source, le facteur économique et commercial est essentiel : « Les Français sont restés très positifs parce qu’ils se positionnent clairement sur le secteur économique en Éthiopie : ils n’ont pas d’intérêt politique fort, ça n’est pas leur zone d’influence. Mais les #intérêts_économiques, eux, sont importants et sont grandissants. C’est potentiellement un #marché énorme. »

    Marché jugé prometteur

    Pour le conquérir, Paris a employé les grands moyens. En mars 2019, Emmanuel Macron s’est rendu en Éthiopie avec le ministère des affaires étrangères #Jean-Yves_le_Drian et sept patrons français pour y signer une flopée d’#accords visant à « promouvoir l’#attractivité de l’Éthiopie auprès des #investisseurs_français ».

    Les entreprises françaises intéressées par ce marché en voie de #libéralisation ne sont pas des moindres : #Orange (qui compte bien profiter de la privatisation de la compagnie nationale #Ethio_Telecom), le groupe #Castel (qui à travers sa filiale #BGI détient déjà 55 % des parts du marché de la #bière), #Bollore_Logistics ou encore #Canal+, qui compte développer une offre de #télévision locale.

    Les #intérêts_commerciaux français sont nombreux et variés. La #modernisation du #réseau_électrique éthiopien ? #Alstom (36 millions d’euros en 2011). La fabrication des #turbines de l’immense #barrage_hydroélectrique de la Renaissance ? Alstom encore (250 millions d’euros en 2013), qui désormais lorgne sur des projets ferroviaires. Le #bus « à haut niveau de service » qui desservira la capitale éthiopienne ? Les Français de #Razel-Bec (la filiale travaux publics du groupe #Fayat), qui ont remporté le marché en 2020.

    Peu après sa prise de poste, en octobre, l’ambassadeur français #Rémi_Maréchaux se félicitait : « Le nombre d’#entreprises_françaises en Éthiopie a doublé en cinq ans. Nous sommes prêts à travailler ensemble pour davantage d’investissements français. »

    #Contrats_militaires

    Dernier domaine stratégique pour les Français : la #coopération_militaire et les ventes d’#armes. Le dossier était en haut de la pile lors de la visite d’Emmanuel Macron en 2019. La ministre #Florence_Parly, qui était également du voyage, a signé un #accord_de_défense avec son homologue éthiopienne ainsi qu’une lettre d’intention « pour la mise en place d’une composante navale éthiopienne avec l’accompagnement de la France ».

    Une aubaine pour les fabricants d’armes et d’#équipements_militaires français, qui n’ont pas tardé, selon la presse spécialisée, à se manifester pour décrocher des contrats. Parmi eux, #Airbus, qui aimerait vendre des #hélicoptères de combat à l’Éthiopie. Le groupe a pu compter pour défendre ses intérêts sur l’attaché de défense de l’ambassade française à Addis-Abeba (jusque septembre 2020) #Stéphane_Richou, lui-même ancien commandant d’un régiment d’hélicoptères de combat.

    L’#armée de l’air éthiopienne a validé l’offre d’Airbus pour l’acquisition de 18 #hélicoptères_militaires et deux avions-cargos en octobre 2020, mais cherchait toujours des financements. Le déclenchement de la guerre au Tigré – où ces hélicoptères pourraient être utilisés – a-t-il conduit Airbus ainsi que le ministère des armées à reporter, voire annuler cette vente ?

    Ni Airbus ni le ministère n’ont souhaité nous répondre à ce sujet.

    Les affaires se poursuivent en tout cas entre la filiale civile d’Airbus et le gouvernement éthiopien : le 9 novembre, #Ethiopian_Airlines réceptionnait deux Airbus A350-900 pour sa flotte. Le 20 novembre encore, l’ambassadeur français à Addis-Abeba se félicitait d’une rencontre avec le PDG de la compagnie aérienne éthiopienne et ajoutait « Airbus » en hashtag.

    https://twitter.com/RemiMarechaux/status/1329829800031252481

    Quant à la coopération militaire France-Éthiopie, elle semble se poursuivre normalement si l’on en juge cette offre d’emploi de professeur de français à destination de militaires et policiers éthiopiens émise en décembre par la Direction de la coopération de sécurité et de défense du Quai d’Orsay (un contrat d’un an à pourvoir au 1er octobre 2021).

    Interrogé le 19 janvier sur le projet de création d’une #marine_éthiopienne, sur d’éventuelles livraisons d’armes récentes à l’Éthiopie et, plus généralement, sur la coopération militaire avec l’Éthiopie et le fait de savoir si l’évolution de la situation au Tigré était susceptible de la remettre en question, le ministère des armées a fait savoir 48 heures plus tard qu’il ne pourrait pas répondre « étant donné [les] délais ». Mediapart a proposé au ministère de lui accorder un délai supplémentaire pour fournir ses réponses. Le ministère n’a plus donné suite.

    Trop tard ?

    Le ministère des affaires étrangères, lui, n’a répondu à aucune des cinq questions précises que lui avait soumises Mediapart sur la présence de troupes érythréennes, les possibles crimes de guerres commis au Tigré et la coopération militaire avec l’Éthiopie notamment (voir boîte noire).

    Sa réponse condamne toutefois en des termes plus précis que par le passé les exactions commises au Tigré. La France est « profondément préoccupée » par la situation humanitaire sur place, « ainsi que par les allégations de violations des droits de l’homme », indique le Quai d’Orsay, avant d’appeler à la cessation des hostilités et au respect du droit international humanitaire par « toutes les parties au conflit ». Mais est-ce suffisant, et surtout n’est-ce pas trop tard ?

    Les dernières informations en provenance du Tigré évoquent des massacres qui auraient fait plusieurs centaines de morts. Plusieurs vidéos portent sur de possibles tueries dans la ville et l’église d’Aksoum, de la fin novembre à début décembre. Selon l’organisation belge Europe External Programme with Africa (EEPA) ainsi qu’un témoin interrogé par Le Monde, les troupes érythréennes y auraient tué plus de 750 personnes. Dans une interview mise en ligne le 17 janvier, une femme qui se dit témoin direct de ces tueries explique en amharique que « la ville entière, du dépôt de bus au parc, était recouverte de corps ».

    Les attaques et destructions concernent également des sites historiques inestimables ou jugés sacrés. La mosquée de Negash (site d’établissement des premiers musulmans éthiopiens, du temps du prophète Mahomet), datant du VIIe siècle, a été partiellement détruite et pillée. Le plus vieux monastère d’Éthiopie, le monastère orthodoxe de Debre Damo (VIe siècle), a également été attaqué.

    Enfin, Mediapart a pu consulter un témoignage de première main concernant un massacre commis dans l’église Maryam Dengelat – creusée dans la roche entre le VIe et le XIVe siècle par les premiers chrétiens d’Éthiopie –, qui estime que 80 personnes ont été tuées par l’armée érythréenne, parmi lesquelles des prêtres, des personnes âgées et des enfants. Ce témoignage fournit une liste comportant les noms de 35 victimes.

    « Si ces informations étaient confirmées, cela commencerait à ressembler à une stratégie d’anéantissement, non seulement du TPLF, mais du Tigré en tant qu’identité historique et territoriale », commente le chercheur Éloi Ficquet, de l’EHESS.

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/210121/en-ethiopie-la-france-partagee-entre-business-et-defense-des-droits-humain
    #Ethiopie #France #armement #commerce_d'armes #vente_d'armes

  • Au #Tigré_éthiopien, la #guerre « sans pitié » du prix Nobel de la paix

    Le premier ministre éthiopien #Abyi_Ahmed oppose une fin de non-recevoir aux offres de médiation de ses pairs africains, alors que les combats entre l’armée fédérale et les forces de la province du Tigré ne cessent de prendre de l’ampleur.

    Le gouvernement d’Addis Abéba continue de parler d’une simple opération de police contre une province récalcitrante ; mais c’est une véritable guerre, avec blindés, aviation, et des dizaines de milliers de combattants, qui oppose l’armée fédérale éthiopienne aux forces de la province du Tigré, dans le nord du pays.

    Trois semaines de combats ont déjà provoqué l’afflux de 30 000 #réfugiés au #Soudan voisin, et ce nombre pourrait rapidement grimper après l’ultimatum lancé hier soir par le gouvernement aux rebelles : 72 heures pour se rendre. L’#armée demande aussi à la population de la capitale tigréenne, #Makelle, de se « libérer » des dirigeants du #Front_de_libération_du_peuple_du_Tigré, au pouvoir dans la province ; en cas contraire, a-t-elle prévenu, « il n’y aura aucune pitié ».

    Cette escalade rapide et, en effet, sans pitié, s’accompagne d’une position inflexible du premier ministre éthiopien, Abyi Ahmed, vis-à-vis de toute médiation, y compris celle de ses pairs africains. Addis Abéba a opposé une fin de non-recevoir aux tentatives de médiation, celle des voisins de l’Éthiopie, ou celle du Président en exercice de l’Union africaine, le sud-africain Cyril Ramaphosa. Ils seront poliment reçus à Addis Abéba, mais pas question de les laisser aller au Tigré ou de rencontrer les leaders du #TPLF, le front tigréen considéré comme des « bandits ».

    Pourquoi cette position inflexible ? La réponse se trouve à la fois dans l’histoire particulièrement violente de l’Éthiopie depuis des décennies, et dans la personnalité ambivalente d’Abyi Ahmed, le chef du gouvernement et, ne l’oublions pas, prix Nobel de la paix l’an dernier.

    L’histoire nous donne des clés. Le Tigré ne représente que 6% des 100 millions d’habitants de l’Éthiopie, mais il a joué un rôle historique déterminant. C’est du Tigré qu’est partie la résistance à la sanglante dictature de Mengistu Haile Mariam, qui avait renversé l’empire d’Haile Selassie en 1974. Victorieux en 1991, le TPLF a été au pouvoir pendant 17 ans, avec à sa tête un homme fort, Meles Zenawi, réformateur d’une main de fer, qui introduira notamment le fédéralisme en Éthiopie. Sa mort subite en 2012 a marqué le début des problèmes pour les Tigréens, marginalisés après l’élection d’Abyi Ahmed en 2018, et qui l’ont très mal vécu.

    La personnalité d’Abyi Ahmed est aussi au cœur de la crise actuelle. Encensé pour ses mesures libérales, le premier ministre éthiopien est également un ancien militaire inflexible, déterminé à s’opposer aux forces centrifuges qui menacent l’unité de l’ex-empire.

    Ce contexte laisse envisager un #conflit prolongé, car le pouvoir fédéral ne renoncera pas à son offensive jusqu’à ce qu’il ait, au minimum, repris Mekelle, la capitale du Tigré. Or cette ville est à 2500 mètres d’altitude, dans une région montagneuse où les avancées d’une armée régulière sont difficiles.

    Quant au front tigréen, il a vraisemblablement envisagé une position de repli dans la guerrilla, avec des forces aguerries, dans une région qui lui est acquise.

    Reste l’attitude des pays de la région, qui risquent d’être entrainés dans cette #guerre_civile, à commencer par l’Érythrée voisine, déjà touchée par les hostilités.

    C’est une tragédie pour l’Éthiopie, mais aussi pour l’Afrique, car c’est le deuxième pays le plus peuplé du continent, siège de l’Union africaine, l’une des locomotives d’une introuvable renaissance africaine. L’Afrique doit tout faire pour mettre fin à cette guerre fratricide, aux conséquences dévastatrices.

    https://www.franceinter.fr/emissions/geopolitique/geopolitique-23-novembre-2020

    #Ethiopie #Tigré #Corne_de_l'Afrique #Tigray

    • Conflict between Tigray and Eritrea – the long standing faultline in Ethiopian politics

      The missile attack by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on Eritrea in mid-November transformed an internal Ethiopian crisis into a transnational one. In the midst of escalating internal conflict between Ethiopia’s northernmost province, Tigray, and the federal government, it was a stark reminder of a historical rivalry that continues to shape and reshape Ethiopia.

      The rivalry between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the movement which has governed Eritrea in all but name for the past 30 years – the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front – goes back several decades.

      The histories of Eritrea and Ethiopia have long been closely intertwined. This is especially true of Tigray and central Eritrea. These territories occupy the central massif of the Horn of Africa. Tigrinya-speakers are the predominant ethnic group in both Tigray and in the adjacent Eritrean highlands.

      The enmity between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front dates to the mid-1970s, when the Tigrayan front was founded in the midst of political turmoil in Ethiopia. The authoritarian Marxist regime – known as the Derg (Amharic for ‘committee’) – inflicted violence upon millions of its own citizens. It was soon confronted with a range of armed insurgencies and socio-political movements. These included Tigray and Eritrea, where the resistance was most ferocious.

      The Tigrayan front was at first close to the Eritrean front, which had been founded in 1970 to fight for independence from Ethiopia. Indeed, the Eritreans helped train some of the first Tigrayan recruits in 1975-6, in their shared struggle against Ethiopian government forces for social revolution and the right to self-determination.

      But in the midst of the war against the Derg regime, the relationship quickly soured over ethnic and national identity. There were also differences over the demarcation of borders, military tactics and ideology. The Tigrayan front eventually recognised the Eritreans’ right to self-determination, if grudgingly, and resolved to fight for the liberation of all Ethiopian peoples from the tyranny of the Derg regime.

      Each achieved seminal victories in the late 1980s. Together the Tigrayan-led Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and the Eritrean front overthrew the Derg in May 1991. The Tigrayan-led front formed government in Addis Ababa while the Eritrean front liberated Eritrea which became an independent state.

      But this was just the start of a new phase of a deep-rooted rivalry. This continued between the governments until the recent entry of prime minister Abiy Ahmed.

      If there’s any lesson to be learnt from years of military and political manoeuvrings, it is that conflict in Tigray is unavoidably a matter of intense interest to the Eritrean leadership. And Abiy would do well to remember that conflict between Eritrea and Tigray has long represented a destabilising fault line for Ethiopia as well as for the wider region.
      Reconciliation and new beginnings

      In the early 1990s, there was much talk of reconciliation and new beginnings between Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Isaias Afeworki of Eritrea. The two governments signed a range of agreements on economic cooperation, defence and citizenship. It seemed as though the enmity of the liberation war was behind them.

      Meles declared as much at the 1993 Eritrean independence celebrations, at which he was a notable guest.

      But deep-rooted tensions soon resurfaced. In the course of 1997, unresolved border disputes were exacerbated by Eritrea’s introduction of a new currency. This had been anticipated in a 1993 economic agreement. But in the event Tigrayan traders often refused to recognise it, and it caused a collapse in commerce.

      Full-scale war erupted over the contested border hamlet of Badme in May 1998. The fighting swiftly spread to other stretches of the shared, 1,000 km long frontier. Air strikes were launched on both sides.

      It was quickly clear, too, that this was only superficially about borders. It was more substantively about regional power and long standing antagonisms that ran along ethnic lines.

      The Eritrean government’s indignant anti-Tigray front rhetoric had its echo in the popular contempt for so-called Agame, the term Eritreans used for Tigrayan migrant labourers.

      For the Tigray front, the Eritrean front was the clearest expression of perceived Eritrean arrogance.

      As for Isaias himself, regarded as a crazed warlord who had led Eritrea down a path which defied economic and political logic, it was hubris personified.

      Ethiopia deported tens of thousands of Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean descent.

      Ethiopia’s decisive final offensive in May 2000 forced the Eritrean army to fall back deep into their own territory. Although the Ethiopians were halted, and a ceasefire put in place after bitter fighting on a number of fronts, Eritrea had been devastated by the conflict.

      The Algiers Agreement of December 2000 was followed by years of standoff, occasional skirmishes, and the periodic exchange of insults.

      During this period Ethiopia consolidated its position as a dominant power in the region. And Meles as one of the continent’s representatives on the global stage.

      For its part Eritrea retreated into a militaristic, authoritarian solipsism. Its domestic policy centred on open-ended national service for the young. Its foreign policy was largely concerned with undermining the Ethiopian government across the region. This was most obvious in Somalia, where its alleged support for al-Shabaab led to the imposition of sanctions on Asmara.

      The ‘no war-no peace’ scenario continued even after Meles’s sudden death in 2012. The situation only began to shift with the resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn against a backdrop of mounting protest across Ethiopia, especially among the Oromo and the Amhara, and the rise to power of Abiy.

      What followed was the effective overthrow of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front which had been the dominant force in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition since 1991.

      This provided Isaias with a clear incentive to respond to Abiy’s overtures.
      Tigray’s loss, Eritrea’s gain

      A peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, was signed in July 2018 by Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki. It formally ended their 1998-2000 war. It also sealed the marginalisation of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Many in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front were unenthusiastic about allowing Isaias in from the cold.

      Since the 1998-2000 war, in large part thanks to the astute manoeuvres of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Eritrea had been exactly where the Tigray People’s Liberation Front wanted it: an isolated pariah state with little diplomatic clout. Indeed, it is unlikely that Isaias would have been as receptive to the deal had it not involved the further sidelining of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, something which Abiy presumably understood.

      Isaias had eschewed the possibility of talks with Abiy’s predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn. But Abiy was a different matter. A political reformer, and a member of the largest but long-subjugated ethnic group in Ethiopia, the Oromo, he was determined to end the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s domination of Ethiopian politics.

      This was effectively achieved in December 2019 when he abolished the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and replaced it with the Prosperity Party.

      The Tigray People’s Liberation Front declined to join with the visible results of the current conflict.

      À lire aussi : Residual anger driven by the politics of power has boiled over into conflict in Ethiopia

      Every effort to engage with the Tigrayan leadership – including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front – in pursuit of a peaceful resolution must also mean keeping Eritrea out of the conflict.

      Unless Isaias is willing to play a constructive role – he does not have a good track record anywhere in the region in this regard – he must be kept at arm’s length, not least to protect the 2018 peace agreement itself.

      https://theconversation.com/conflict-between-tigray-and-eritrea-the-long-standing-faultline-in-

      #Derg #histoire #frontières #démarcation_des_frontières #monnaie #Badme #Agame #travailleurs_étrangers #Oromo #Ethiopian_People’s_Revolutionary_Democratic_Front #Prosperity_Party

      –—

      #Agame , the term Eritreans used for Tigrayan migrant labourers.

      –-> #terminologie #vocabulaire #mots
      ping @sinehebdo

    • Satellite Images Show Ethiopia Carnage as Conflict Continues
      – United Nations facility, school, clinic and homes burned down
      – UN refugee agency has had no access to the two camps

      Satellite images show the destruction of United Nations’ facilities, a health-care unit, a high school and houses at two camps sheltering Eritrean refugees in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, belying government claims that the conflict in the dissident region is largely over.

      The eight Planet Labs Inc images are of Hitsats and the Shimelba camps. The camps hosted about 25,000 and 8,000 refugees respectively before a conflict broke out in the region two months ago, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

      “Recent satellite imagery indicates that structures in both camps are being intentionally targeted,” said Isaac Baker, an analyst at DX Open Network, a U.K. based human security research and analysis non-profit. “The systematic and widespread fires are consistent with an intentional campaign to deny the use of the camp.”

      DX Open Network has been following the conflict and analyzing satellite image data since Nov. 7, three days after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared war against a dissident group in the Tigray region, which dominated Ethiopian politics before Abiy came to power.

      Ethiopia’s government announced victory against the dissidents on Nov. 28 after federal forces captured the regional capital of Mekelle. Abiy spoke of the need to rebuild and return normalcy to Tigray at the time.

      Calls and messages to Redwan Hussein, spokesman for the government’s emergency task force on Tigray and the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Spokeswoman Billene Seyoum were not answered.

      In #Shimelba, images show scorched earth from apparent attacks in January. A World Food Programme storage facility and a secondary school run by the Development and Inter-Aid Church Commission have also been burned down, according to DX Open Network’s analysis. In addition, a health facility run by the Ethiopian Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs situated next to the WFP compound was also attacked between Jan. 5 and Jan. 8.

      In #Hitsats camp, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) away, there were at least 14 actively burning structures and 55 others were damaged or destroyed by Jan. 5. There were new fires by Jan. 8, according to DX Open Network’s analysis.

      The UN refugee agency has not had access to the camps since fighting started in early November, according to Chris Melzer, a communications officer for the agency. UNHCR has been able to reach its two other camps, Mai-Aini and Adi Harush, which are to the south, he said.

      “We also have no reliable, first-hand information about the situation in the camps or the wellbeing of the refugees,” Melzer said in reference to Hitsats and Shimelba.

      Eritrean troops have also been involved in the fighting and are accused of looting businesses and abducting refugees, according to aid workers and diplomats briefed on the situation. The governments of both Ethiopia and Eritrea have denied that Eritrean troops are involved in the conflict.

      The UN says fighting is still going on in several Tigray areas and 2.2 million people have been displaced in the past two months. Access to the region for journalists and independent analysts remains constrained, making it difficult to verify events.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-09/satellite-images-show-destruction-of-refugee-camps-in-ethiopia?srnd=premi

      #images_satellitaires #camps_de_réfugiés #réfugiés

    • Ethiopia’s government appears to be wielding hunger as a weapon

      A rebel region is being starved into submission

      ETHIOPIA HAS suffered famines in the past. Many foreigners know this; in 1985 about one-third of the world’s population watched a pop concert to raise money for starving Ethiopians. What is less well understood is that poor harvests lead to famine only when malign rulers allow it. It was not the weather that killed perhaps 1m people in 1983-85. It was the policies of a Marxist dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam, who forced peasants at gunpoint onto collective farms. Mengistu also tried to crush an insurgency in the northern region of Tigray by burning crops, destroying grain stores and slaughtering livestock. When the head of his own government’s humanitarian agency begged him for cash to feed the starving, he dismissed him with a memorably callous phrase: “Don’t let these petty human problems...consume you.”

      https://www.economist.com/leaders/2021/01/23/ethiopias-government-appears-to-be-wielding-hunger-as-a-weapon

      #famine #faim
      #paywall

    • Amnesty International accuses Eritrean troops of killing hundreds of civilians in the holy city of #Axum

      Amnesty International has released a comprehensive, compelling report detailing the killing of hundreds of civilians in the Tigrayan city of Axum.

      This story has been carried several times by Eritrea Hub, most recently on 20th February. On 12 January this year the Axum massacre was raised in the British Parliament, by Lord David Alton.

      Gradually the picture emerging has been clarified and is now unambiguous.

      The Amnesty report makes grim reading: the details are horrifying.

      Human Rights Watch are finalising their own report, which will be published next week. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is also publishing a report on the Axum massacre.

      The Ethiopian government appointed interim administration of Tigray is attempting to distance itself from the actions of Eritrean troops. Alula Habteab, who heads the interim administration’s construction, road and transport department, appeared to openly criticise soldiers from Eritrea, as well as the neighbouring Amhara region, for their actions during the conflict.

      “There were armies from a neighbouring country and a neighbouring region who wanted to take advantage of the war’s objective of law enforcement,” he told state media. “These forces have inflicted more damage than the war itself.”

      The full report can be found here: The Massacre in Axum – AFR 25.3730.2021. Below is the summary (https://eritreahub.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/The-Massacre-in-Axum-AFR-25.3730.2021.pdf)

      https://eritreahub.org/amnesty-international-accuses-eritrean-troops-of-killing-hundreds-of-civ

      #rapport #massacre

    • Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: How a massacre in the sacred city of #Aksum unfolded

      Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray killed hundreds of people in Aksum mainly over two days in November, witnesses say.

      The mass killings on 28 and 29 November may amount to a crime against humanity, Amnesty International says in a report.

      An eyewitness told the BBC how bodies remained unburied on the streets for days, with many being eaten by hyenas.

      Ethiopia and Eritrea, which both officially deny Eritrean soldiers are in Tigray, have not commented.

      The Ethiopian Human Rights commission says it is investigating the allegations.

      The conflict erupted on 4 November 2020 when Ethiopia’s government launched an offensive to oust the region’s ruling TPLF party after its fighters captured federal military bases in Tigray.

      Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, told parliament on 30 November that “not a single civilian was killed” during the operation.

      But witnesses have recounted how on that day they began burying some of the bodies of unarmed civilians killed by Eritrean soldiers - many of them boys and men shot on the streets or during house-to-house raids.

      Amnesty’s report has high-resolution satellite imagery from 13 December showing disturbed earth consistent with recent graves at two churches in Aksum, an ancient city considered sacred by Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians.

      A communications blackout and restricted access to Tigray has meant reports of what has gone on in the conflict have been slow to emerge.

      In Aksum, electricity and phone networks reportedly stopped working on the first day of the conflict.
      How was Aksum captured?

      Shelling by Ethiopian and Eritrea forces to the west of Aksum began on Thursday 19 November, according to people in the city.

      “This attack continued for five hours, and was non-stop. People who were at churches, cafes, hotels and their residence died. There was no retaliation from any armed force in the city - it literally targeted civilians,” a civil servant in Aksum told the BBC.
      1px transparent line

      Amnesty has gathered similar and multiple testimonies describing the continuous shelling that evening of civilians.

      Once in control of the city, soldiers, generally identified as Eritrean, searched for TPLF soldiers and militias or “anyone with a gun”, Amnesty said.

      “There were a lot of... house-to-house killings,” one woman told the rights group.

      There is compelling evidence that Ethiopian and Eritrean troops carried out “multiple war crimes in their offensive to take control of Aksum”, Amnesty’s Deprose Muchena says.
      What sparked the killings?

      For the next week, the testimonies say Ethiopia troops were mainly in Aksum - the Eritreans had pushed on east to the town of Adwa.

      A witness told the BBC how the Ethiopian military looted banks in the city in that time.

      he Eritrean forces reportedly returned a week later. The fighting on Sunday 28 November was triggered by an assault of poorly armed pro-TPLF fighters, according to Amnesty’s report.

      Between 50 and 80 men from Aksum targeted an Eritrean position on a hill overlooking the city in the morning.

      A 26-year-old man who participated in the attack told Amnesty: “We wanted to protect our city so we attempted to defend it especially from Eritrean soldiers... They knew how to shoot and they had radios, communications... I didn’t have a gun, just a stick.”
      How did Eritrean troops react?

      It is unclear how long the fighting lasted, but that afternoon Eritrean trucks and tanks drove into Aksum, Amnesty reports.

      Witnesses say Eritrean soldiers went on a rampage, shooting at unarmed civilian men and boys who were out on the streets - continuing until the evening.

      A man in his 20s told Amnesty about the killings on the city’s main street: “I was on the second floor of a building and I watched, through the window, the Eritreans killing the youth on the street.”

      The soldiers, identified as Eritrean not just because of their uniform and vehicle number plates but because of the languages they spoke (Arabic and an Eritrean dialect of Tigrinya), started house-to-house searches.

      “I would say it was in retaliation,” a young man told the BBC. “They killed every man they found. If you opened your door and they found a man they killed him, if you didn’t open, they shoot your gate by force.”

      He was hiding in a nightclub and witnessed a man who was found and killed by Eritrean soldiers begging for his life: “He was telling them: ’I am a civilian, I am a banker.’”

      Another man told Amnesty that he saw six men killed, execution-style, outside his house near the Abnet Hotel the following day on 29 November.

      “They lined them up and shot them in the back from behind. Two of them I knew. They’re from my neighbourhood… They asked: ’Where is your gun’ and they answered: ’We have no guns, we are civilians.’”
      How many people were killed?

      Witnesses say at first the Eritrean soldiers would not let anyone approach the bodies on the streets - and would shoot anyone who did so.

      One woman, whose nephews aged 29 and 14 had been killed, said the roads “were full of dead bodies”.

      Amnesty says after the intervention of elders and Ethiopian soldiers, burials began over several days, with most funerals taking place on 30 November after people brought the bodies to the churches - often 10 at a time loaded on horse- or donkey-drawn carts.

      At Abnet Hotel, the civil servant who spoke to the BBC said some bodies were not removed for four days.

      "The bodies that were lying around Abnet Hotel and Seattle Cinema were eaten by hyenas. We found only bones. We buried bones.

      “I can say around 800 civilians were killed in Aksum.”

      This account is echoed by a church deacon who told the Associated Press that many bodies had been fed on by hyenas.

      He gathered victims’ identity cards and assisted with burials in mass graves and also believes about 800 people were killed that weekend.

      The 41 survivors and witnesses Amnesty interviewed provided the names of more than 200 people they knew who were killed.
      What happened after the burials?

      Witnesses say the Eritrean soldiers participated in looting, which after the massacre and as many people fled the city, became widespread and systematic.

      The university, private houses, hotels, hospitals, grain stores, garages, banks, DIY stores, supermarkets, bakeries and other shops were reportedly targeted.

      One man told Amnesty how Ethiopian soldiers failed to stop Eritreans looting his brother’s house.

      “They took the TV, a jeep, the fridge, six mattresses, all the groceries and cooking oil, butter, teff flour [Ethiopia’s staple food], the kitchen cabinets, clothes, the beers in the fridge, the water pump, and the laptop.”

      The young man who spoke to the BBC said he knew of 15 vehicles that had been stolen belonging to businessmen in the city.

      This has had a devastating impact on those left in Aksum, leaving them with little food and medicine to survive, Amnesty says.

      Witnesses say the theft of water pumps left residents having to drink from the river.
      Why is Aksum sacred?

      It is said to be the birthplace of the biblical Queen of Sheba, who travelled to Jerusalem to visit King Solomon.

      They had a son - Menelik I - who is said to have brought to Aksum the Ark of the Covenant, believed to contain the 10 commandments handed down to Moses by God.

      It is constantly under guard at the city’s Our Lady Mary of Zion Church and no-one is allowed to see it.

      A major religious celebration is usually held at the church on 30 November, drawing pilgrims from across Ethiopia and around the world, but it was cancelled last year amid the conflict.

      The civil servant interviewed by the BBC said that Eritrean troops came to the church on 3 December “terrorising the priests and forcing them to give them the gold and silver cross”.

      But he said the deacons and other young people went to protect the ark.

      “It was a huge riot. Every man and woman fought them. They fired guns and killed some, but we are happy as we did not fail to protect our treasures.”

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56198469

  • UK Deportations 2020: how BA, #Easyjet and other airlines collaborate with the border regime

    The Home Office’s deportation machine has slowed during the corona crisis, with hundreds of people released from detention. But a recent charter flight to Poland shows the motor is still ticking over. Will things just go “back to normal” as the lockdown lifts, or can anti-deportation campaigners push for a more radical shift? This report gives an updated overview of the UK deportation system and focuses in on the role of scheduled flights run by major airlines including: #BA, Easyjet, #Kenya_Airways, #Qatar_Airways, #Turkish_Airlines, #Ethiopian_Airlines, #Air_France, #Royal_Jordanian, and #Virgin.

    On 30 April, with UK airports largely deserted during the Covid-19 lockdown, a Titan Airways charter plane took off from Stansted airport deporting 35 people to Poland. This was just a few days after reports of charter flights in the other direction, as UK farmers hired planes to bring in Eastern European fruit-pickers.

    The Home Office’s deportation machine has slowed during the corona crisis. Hundreds of people have been released from detention centres, with detainee numbers dropping by 900 over the first four months of 2020. But the Poland flight signals that the Home Office motor is still ticking over. As in other areas, perhaps the big question now is whether things will simply go “back to normal” as the lockdown lifts. Or can anti-deportation campaigners use this window to push for a more radical shift?
    An overview of the UK’s deportation machine

    Last year, the UK Home Office deported over seven thousand people. While the numbers of people “removed” have been falling for several years, deportation remains at the heart of the government’s strategy (if that is the term) for “tackling illegal immigration”. It is the ultimate threat behind workplace and dawn raids, rough-sleeper round-ups, “right to rent” checks, reporting centre queues, and other repressive architecture of the UK Border Regime.

    This report gives an overview of the current state of UK deportations, focusing on scheduled flights run by major airlines. Our previous reports on UK deportations have mainly looked at charter flights: where the Home Office aims to fill up chartered planes to particular destinations, under heavy guard and typically at night from undisclosed locations. These have been a key focus for anti-deportation campaigners for a number of reasons including their obvious brutality, and their use as a weapon to stifle legal and direct resistance. However, the majority of deportations are on scheduled flights. Deportees are sitting – at the back handcuffed to private security “escorts” – amongst business or holiday travellers.

    These deportations cannot take place without extensive collaboration from businesses. The security guards are provided by outsourcing company Mitie. The tickets are booked by business travel multinational Carlson Wagonlit. The airlines themselves are household names, from British Airways to Easyjet. This report explains how the Home Office and its private sector collaborators work together as a “deportation machine” held together by a range of contractual relationships.

    Some acknowledgements

    Many individuals and campaign groups helped with information used in this report. In particular, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants shared their valuable research and legal advice, discussed below.

    We have produced this report in collaboration with the Air Deportation Project led by William Walters at the University of Carleton in Canada, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Corporate Watch received funding from this project as a contribution for our work on this report.

    Names, numbers

    First a quick snapshot of deportation numbers, types and destinations. We also need to clear up some terminology.

    We will use the term “deportations” to refer to all cases where the Home Office moves someone out of the country under direct force (for scheduled flights, this usually means handcuffed to a security “escort”). In the Home Office’s own jargon, these are called “enforced returns”, and the word “deportation” is reserved for people ejected on “public policy” rather than “immigration” grounds – mostly Foreign National Offenders who have been convicted by criminal courts. The Home Office refers to deportations carried out under immigration law euphemistically, calling them “removals” or “returns”.i

    As well as “enforced returns”, there are also so-called “voluntary returns”. This means that there is no direct use of force – no guard, no leg or arm restraints. But the term “voluntary” is stretched. Many of these take place under threat of force: e.g., people are pressured to sign “voluntary return” agreements to avoid being forcibly deported, or as the only chance of being released from detention. In other cases, people may agree to “voluntary return” as the only escape route from a limbo of reporting controls, lack of rights to work or rent legally, or destitution threatened by “no recourse to public funds”.

    In 2019, the Home Office reported a total of 18,782 returns: 7,361 “enforced” and 11,421 “voluntary”.ii
    These figures include 5,110 “Foreign National Offenders” (27%). (The Home Office says the majority of these were enforced returns, although no precise figure is provided.)
    There is a notable trend of declining removals, both enforced and “voluntary”. For example, in 2015 there were 41,789 returns altogether, 13,690 enforced and 28,189 “voluntary”. Both enforced and voluntary figures have decreased every year since then.
    Another notable trend concerns the nationalities of deportees. Europeans make up an increasing proportion of enforced deportations. 3,498, or 48%, of all enforced returns in 2019 were EU citizens – and this does not include other heavily targeted non-EU European nationalities such as Albanians. In 2015, there were 3,848 EU enforced returns – a higher absolute figure, but only 28% of a much higher overall total. In contrast, EU nationals still make up a very small percentage of “voluntary” returns – there were only 107 EU “voluntary returns” in 2019.
    The top nationalities for enforced returns in 2019 were: Romania (18%), Albania (12%), Poland (9%), Brazil (8%) and Lithuania (6%). For voluntary returns they were: India (16%), China (9%), Pakistan (9%).

    We won’t present any analysis of these figures and trends here. The latest figures show continuing evidence of patterns we looked at in our book The UK Border Regime.iii One key point we made there was that, as the resources and physical force of the detention and deportation system are further diminished, the Border Regime is more than ever just a “spectacle” of immigration enforcement – a pose for media and key voter audiences, rather than a realistic attempt to control migration flows. We also looked at how the scapegoat groups targeted by this spectacle have shifted over recent decades – including, most recently, a new focus on European migration accompanying, or in fact anticipating, the Brexit debate.

    Deportation destinations

    Home Office Immigration Statistics also provide more detailed dataiv on the destinations people are “returned” to, which will be important when we come to look at routes and airline involvement. Note that, while there is a big overlap between destinations and nationalities, they are of course not the same thing. For example, many of those deported to France and other western European countries are “third country” removals of refugees under the Dublin agreement – in which governments can deport an asylum seeker where they have already been identified in another EU country.

    Here are the top 20 destinations for deportations in 2019 – by which, to repeat, we mean all enforced returns:

    It is worth comparing these figures with a similar table of top 20 deportation destinations in the last 10 years – between 2010 and 2019. This comparison shows very strongly the recent shift to targeting Europeans.

    The Home Office: who is targeted and how

    As we will see, the actual physical business of deporting people is outsourced to private companies. The state’s role remains giving the orders about who is targeted for arrest and detention, who is then released, and who is forced onto a plane. Here we’ll just take a very quick look at the decision-making structures at work on the government side. This is based on the much more detailed account in The UK Border Regime.

    The main state body responsible for immigration control in the UK is the Home Office, the equivalent of other countries’ Interior Ministries. In its current set-up, the Home Office has three divisions: Homeland Security, which runs security and intelligence services; Public Safety, which oversees the police and some other institutions; and Borders, Immigration and Citizenship. The last of these is further divided into three “directorates”: UK Visas and Immigration, which determines visa and asylum applications; Border Force, responsible for control at the frontiers; Immigration Enforcement, responsible for control within the national territory – including detention and deportations. Immigration Enforcement itself has an array of further departments and units. Regular restructuring and reshuffling of all these structures is known to bewilder immigration officers themselves, contributing to the Home Office’s notoriously low morale.v

    At the top of the tree is the Home Secretary (interior minister), supported by a more junior Immigration Minister. Along with the most senior civil servants and advisors, these ministers will be directly involved in setting top-level policies on deportations.

    For example, an enquiry led by then prisons and probation ombudsman Stephen Shaw into the Yarl’s Wood detention centre revolt in 2002 has given us some valuable insight into the development of modern Home Office deportation policy under the last Labour government. Then Home Secretary Jack Straw, working with civil servants including the Home Office permanent secretary Sir David Omand, introduced the first deportation targets we are aware of, in 2000. They agreed a plan to deport 12,000 people in 2000-1, rising to 30,000 people the next year, and eventually reaching 57,000 in 2003-4.vi

    Nearly two decades later, Home Secretary Amber Rudd was pushed to resign after a leak confirmed that the Home Office continued to operate a deportation targets policy, something of which she had denied knowledge.vii The 2017-18 target, revealed in a leaked letter to Rudd from Immigration Enforcement’s director general Hugh Ind, was for 12,800 enforced returns.viii

    As the figures discussed above show, recent austerity era Conservative governments are more modest than the last Labour government in their overall deportation targets, and have moved to target different groups. Jack Straw’s deportation programme was almost entirely focused on asylum seekers whose claims had been refused. This policy derived from what the Blair government saw as an urgent need to respond to media campaigns demonising asylum seekers. Twenty years on, asylum seekers now make up a minority of deportees, and have been overtaken by new media bogeymen including European migrants.

    In addition, recent Home Office policy has put more effort into promoting “voluntary” returns – largely for cost reasons, as security guards and detention are expensive. This was the official rationale behind Theresa May’s infamous “racist van” initiative, where advertising vans drove round migrant neighbourhoods parading “Go Home” slogans and a voluntary return hotline number.

    How do Home Office political targets translate into operations on the ground? We don’t know all the links, but can trace some main mechanisms. Enforced returns begin with arrests. One of the easiest ways to find potential deportees is to grab people as they walk in to sign at an Immigration Reporting Centre. 80,000 migrants in the UK are “subject to reporting requirements”, and all Reporting Centres include short-term holding cells.ix Other deportees are picked up during immigration raids – such as daytime and evening raids on workplaces, or dawn raids to catch “immigration offenders” in their beds.x

    Both reporting centre caseworkers and Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE) raid squads are issued with targets and incentives to gather deportees. An Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) report from 2017 explains how reporting centre staff work specifically to deportation targets. The inspector also tells us how:

    Staff at the London Reporting Centres worked on the basis that to meet their removal targets they needed to detain twice the number of individuals, as around half of those detained would later raise a barrier to removal and be released from detention.

    ICE raid teams are set monthly priorities by national and regional commanders, which may include targeting specific nationalities for deportation. For example, the Home Office has repeatedly denied that it sets nationality targets in order to fill up charter flights to particular destinations – but this practice was explicitly confirmed by an internal document from 2014 (an audit report from the director of Harmondsworth detention centre) obtained by Corporate Watch following a Freedom of Information legal battle.xi

    Day-to-day deportation and detention decisions are overseen by a central unit called the National Removals Command (NRC). For example, after ICE raid officers make arrests they must call NRC to authorise individuals’ detention. This decision is made on the basis of any specific current targets, and otherwise on general “removability”.

    “Removability” means the chance of successfully getting their “subject” onto a plane without being blocked by lack of travel documents, legal challenges and appeals, or other obstacles. For example, nationals of countries with whom the UK has a formal deportation agreement are, all other things being equal, highly removable. This includes the countries with which the UK has set up regular charter flight routes – including Albania, Pakistan, Nigeria and Ghana, and more recently Jamaica and a number of EU countries. On the other extreme, some nationalities such as Iranians present a problem as their governments refuse to accept deportees.

    The Home Office: “arranging removal” procedure

    A Home Office document called “Arranging Removal” sets out the steps Immigration Enforcement caseworkers need to take to steer their “subject” from arrest to flight.xii

    On the one hand, they are under pressure from penny-pinching bosses keen to get the job done as quick and cheap as possible. On the other, they have to be careful not to make any mistakes deportees’ lawyers could use to get flights cancelled. Immigration Officers have the legal power to order deportations without the need for any court decision – however, many deportations are blocked on appeal to courts.

    Here are some of the main steps involved:

    Removability assessment. The caseworker needs to assess that: there are no “casework barriers” – e.g., an ongoing asylum claim or appeal that would lead to the deportation being stopped by a court; the detainee is medically “fit to fly”; any family separation is authorised correctly; the detainee has a valid travel document.
    Travel Document. If there is no valid travel document, the caseworker can try to obtain an “emergency travel document” through various routes.
    Executive approval. If all these criteria are met, the caseworker gets authorisation from a senior office to issue Removal Directions (RD) paperwork.
    Risk Assessment. Once the deportation is agreed, the caseworker needs to assess risks that might present themselves on the day of the flight – such as medical conditions, the likelihood of detainee resistance and of public protest. At this point escorts and/or medics are requested. A version of this risk assessment is sent to the airline – but without case details or medical history.xiii
    Flight booking. The caseworker must first contact the Airline Ticketing Team who grant access to an online portal called the Electronic Removal Form (ERF). This portal is run by the Home Office’s flight booking contractor Carlson Wagonlit (see below). Tickets are booked for escorts and any medics as well as the deportee. There are different options including “lowest cost” non-refundable fares, or “fully refundable” – the caseworker here should assess how likely the deportation is to be cancelled. One of the options allows the caseworker to choose a specific airline.
    Notice of removal. Finally, the deportee must be served with a Removal Directions (RD) document that includes notification of the deportation destination and date. This usually also includes the flight number. The deportee must be given sufficient notice: for people already in detention this is standardly 72 hours, including two working days, although longer periods apply in some situations.

    In 2015 the Home Office brought in a new policy of issuing only “removal window” notification in many cases – this didn’t specify the date but only a wide timeframe. The window policy was successfully challenged in the courts in March 2019 and is currently suspended.

    #Carlson_Wagonlit

    The electronic booking system is run by a private company, #Carlson_Wagonlit_Travel (#CWT). CWT is also in charge of contracting charter flights.

    Carlson Wagonlit has been the Home Office’s deportation travel agent since 2004, with the contract renewed twice since then. Its current seven year contract, worth £5.7 million, began in November 2017 and will last until October 2024 (assuming the two year extension period is taken up after an initial five years). The Home Office estimated in the contract announcement that it will spend £200 million on deportation tickets and charters over that seven year period.xiv

    Carlson is a global #business travel services company, i.e., a large scale travel agent and booker for companies and government agencies. Its official head office is in France, but it is 100% owned by US conglomerate #Carlson_Companies Inc. It claims to be active in more than 150 countries.

    A report on “outsourced contracts” by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration gives us some information on CWT’s previous (2010-17) contract.xv This is unlikely to be substantially changed in the new version, although deportation numbers have reduced since then. The contract involved:

    management of charter flights and ticketing provision for scheduled flights for migrants subject to enforced removal and escorts, where required, and the management of relationships with carriers to maintain and expand available routes. […] Annually, CWT processed approximately 21,000 booking requests from Home Office caseworkers for tickets for enforced removals. Some booking requests were for multiple travellers and/or more than one flight and might involve several transactions. CWT also managed flight rescheduling, cancellations and refunds. The volume of transactions processed varied from 5,000 to 8,000 per month.

    The inspection report notes the value of CWT’s service to the Home Office through using its worldwide contacts to facilitate deportations:

    Both Home Office and CWT managers noted that CWT’s position as a major travel operator had enabled it to negotiate favourable deals with airlines and, over the life of the contract to increase the range of routes available for enforced removals. (Para 5.10).

    The airlines: regular deportation collaborators

    We saw above that Home Office caseworkers book flight tickets through an online portal set up and managed by Carlson Wagonlit Travel. We also saw how CWT is praised by Home Office managers for its strong relationships with airlines, and ability to negotiate favourable deals.

    For charter flight deportations, we know that CWT has developed a particular relationship with one charter company called Titan Airways. We have looked at Titan in our previous reports on charter flight deportations.

    Does the Home Office also have specific preferred airline partners for scheduled flights? Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy question to answer. Under government procurement rules, the Home Office is required to provide information on contracts it signs – thus, for example, we have at least a redacted version of the contract with CWT. But as all its airline bookings go through the intermediary of CWT, there are no such contracts available. Claiming “commercial confidentiality”, the Home Office has repeatedly information requests on its airline deals. (We will look in a bit more depth at this issue in the annex.)

    As a result, we have no centrally-gathered aggregate data on airline involvement. Our information comes from individual witnesses: deportees themselves; their lawyers and supporters; fellow passengers, and plane crew. Lawyers and support groups involved in deportation casework are a particularly helpful reference, as they may know about multiple deportation cases.

    For this report, we spoke to more than a dozen immigration lawyers and caseworkers to ask which airlines their clients had been booked on. We also spoke to anti-deportation campaign groups including Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, who have run recent campaigns calling on airlines to refuse to fly deportees; and to the trade union Unite, who represent flight crew workers. We also looked at media reports of deportation flights that identify airlines.

    These sources name a large number of airlines, and some names come up repeatedly. British Airways is top of the list. We list a few more prominent collaborators below: Easyjet, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Royal Jordanian. Virgin Airlines is the only company to have publicly announced it has stopped carrying deportees from the UK – although there have been some questions over whether it is keeping this promise.

    However, the information we have does not allow us to determine the exact nature of the relationship with these airlines. How many airlines appear in the CWT booking system – what determines which ones are included? Does CWT have a preferential arrangement with BA or other frequent deportation airlines? Does the Home Office itself have any direct interaction with these airlines’ management? How many airlines are not included in the CWT booking system because they have refused to carry deportees?

    For now, we have to leave these as open questions.

    British Airways

    We have numerous reports of British Airways flying deportees to destinations worldwide – including African and Caribbean destinations, amongst others. Cabin crew representatives in Unite the Union identify British Airways as the main airline they say is involved in deportation flights.

    The airline has long been a key Home Office collaborator. Back in 2003, at the height of the Labour government’s push to escalate deportations, the “escort” security contractor was a company called Loss Prevention International. In evidence to a report by the House of Commons home affairs committee, its chief executive Tom Davies complained that many airlines at this point were refusing to fly deportees. But he singled out BA as the notable exception, saying: “if it were not for […] the support we get from British Airways, the number of scheduled flight removals that we would achieve out of this country would be virtually nil”.xvi

    In 2010, British Airways’ role was highlighted when Jimmy Mubenga was killed by G4S “escorts” on BA flight 77 from Heathrow to Angola.

    Since 2018, there has been an active calling on BA to stop its collaboration. The profile of this issue was raised after BA sponsored Brighton Pride in May 2018 – whilst being involved in deportations of lesbian and gay migrants to African countries where their lives were in danger. After winning a promise from Virgin Airways to cease involvement in deportations (see below), the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM) have made BA the main target for their anti-deportation campaigning.

    The campaign has also now been supported by BA cabin crew organised in the union Unite. In December 2019 Unite cabin crew branches passed a motion against airline scheduled flight deportations.xvii

    Kenya Airways

    We have numerous reports from caseworkers and campaigners of Kenya Airways flying deportees to destinations in Africa.

    The typical route is a flight from Heathrow to Nairobi, followed by a second onward flight. People deported using this route have included refugees from Sudan and Somalia.

    Easyjet

    We have numerous reports of Easyjet flying deportees to European destinations. Easyjet appears to be a favoured airline for deportations to Eastern European countries, and also for “third country” returns to countries including Italy and Germany. While most UK scheduled deportations are carried out from Heathrow and Gatwick, we have also seen accounts of Easyjet deportations from Luton.

    Qatar Airways

    We have numerous reports of Qatar Airways carrying deportees to destinations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Qatar Airways has carried deportees to Iraq, according to the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR), and also to Sudan. (In March 2019 the airline suspended its Sudan route, but this appears to have been restarted – the company website currently advertises flights to Khartoum in April 2020.xviii) Other destinations include Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Thailand, the Philippines, and Uganda. The typical route is from Heathrow via Doha.

    Turkish Airlines

    We have numerous reports of Turkish Airlines carrying deportees. The typical route is Heathrow or Gatwick to Istanbul, then an onward flight to further destinations including Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR), Turkish Airlines has been one of the main companies involved in deportations to Iraq. A media report from June 2019 also mentions Turkish Airlines carrying someone being deported to Somalia via Istanbul.xix In August 2017, a Turkish Airlines pilot notably refused to fly an Afghani refugee from Heathrow to Istanbul, en route to Kabul, after being approached by campaigners – but this does not reflect general company policy.xx

    Ethiopian Airlines

    We have reports of this airline deporting people to Ethiopia and other African countries, including Sudan. Flights are from Heathrow to Addis Ababa. In April 2018, high-profile Yarl’s Wood hunger striker Opelo Kgari was booked on an Ethiopian flight to Addis Ababa en route to Botswana.

    Air France

    Air France are well-known for carrying deportees from France, and have been a major target for campaigning by anti-deportation activists there. We also have several reports of them carrying deportees from the UK, on flights from Heathrow via Paris.

    Royal Jordanian

    According to IFIR, Royal Jordanian has been involved in deportations to Iraq.

    Virgin Airlines

    In June 2018, Virgin announced that it had ceased taking bookings for deportation flights. Virgin had previously been a regular carrier for deportations to Jamaica and to Nigeria. (NB: Nigeria is often used as a deportation transit hub from where people are subsequently removed to other African countries.) The announcement came after the Windrush scandal led to the Home Office apparently suspending deportations to the Caribbean, and following campaigning by Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM) – although Virgin claimed it had made the decision before being contacted by the campaign. A Virgin statement said:

    we made the decision to end all involuntary deportations on our network, and have already informed the Home Office. We believe this decision is in the best interest of our customers and people, and is in keeping with our values as a company.xxi

    But there are doubts over just how much Virgin’s promise is worth. According to a report by The Independent:

    The airline had agreed to deport a man to Nigeria […] a day after announcing the decision. The only reason he wasn’t removed was because the Home Office agreed to consider new representations following legal intervention.xxii

    Do airlines have a choice?

    In response to its critics, British Airways has consistently given the same reply: it has no choice but to cooperate with the Home Office. According to an August 2018 article in The Guardian, BA says that it has “a legal duty under the Immigration Act 1971 to remove individuals when asked to do so by the Home Office.” A company spokesperson is quoted saying:

    Not fulfilling this obligation amounts to breaking the law. We are not given any personal information about the individual being deported, including their sexuality or why they are being deported. The process we follow is a full risk assessment with the Home Office, which considers the safety of the individual, our customers and crew on the flight.xxiii

    The last parts of this answer fit the process we looked at above. When booking the flight, the Home Office caseworker sends the airline a form called an Airline Risk Report (ARA) which alerts it to risk issues, and specifies why escorts or medics are needed – including an assessment of the likelihood of resistance. But no information should be shared on the deportee’s medical issues or immigration case and reasons for deportation.

    But is it true that an airline would be breaking the law if it refused a booking? Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants have shared with us a legal opinion they received from law firm Duncan Lewis on this issue. We summarise the main points here.

    The law in question is the Immigration Act 1971, Section 27(1)(b)(iii). This states that, when issued the correct legal order by the Home Office, the “owner or agent of a ship or aircraft” must “make arrangements for or in connection with the removal of a person from the United Kingdom when required to do so [by appropriate Removal Directions]”. It is an offence to fail to do so “without reasonable excuse”.

    The offence is punishable by a fine, and potentially a prison sentence of up to six months. As a minor “summary only” offence, any case would be heard by a magistrates’ court rather than a jury.

    In fact many airline captains have refused to carry deportees – as we will see in the next section. But there are no recorded cases of anyone ever being prosecuted for refusing. As with many areas of UK immigration law, there is simply no “case law” on this question.

    If a case ever does come to court, it might turn on that clause about a “reasonable excuse”. The legal opinion explains that the airline might argue they refused to carry a deportee because doing so would present a risk to the aircraft or passengers, for example if there is resistance or protest. A court might well conclude this was “reasonable”.

    On the other hand, the “reasonable excuse” defence could be harder to apply for an airline that took a principled stand to refuse all deportations as a general rule, whether or not there is disruption.

    Again, though, all this is hypothetical as the Home Office has never actually prosecuted anyone. Virgin Airlines, the first company to have publicly stated that it will not fly deportees from the UK, so far has not faced any legal comeback. As reported in the press, a Virgin spokesperson explained the company’s position like this:

    We’ve made the decision to end all involuntary deportations on our network, and have informed the Home Office. We always comply with the law and would continue to comply with legislation; however, we have ended our contractual agreement to carry involuntary deportees.xxiv

    Due to our lack of information on Home Office agreements with airlines, it’s hard to assess exactly what this means. Possibly, Virgin previously had an outstanding deal with the Home Office and Carlson Wagonlit where their tickets came up on the CWT booking portal and were available for caseworkers, and this has now ended. If the Home Office insisted on contacting them and booking a ticket regardless, they might then be pushed to “comply with the law”.

    Above we saw that, according to evidence referred to in a report of the House of Commons home affairs select committee, in 2003 the majority of airlines actually refused to carry deportees, leaving the Home Office to depend almost exclusively on British Airways. Even in this context there were no prosecutions of airlines.

    This is not an uncommon situation across UK immigration law: much of it has never come to court. For example, as we have discussed in reports on immigration raids, there have been no legal cases testing many of the powers of ICE raid squads. To give another example, on numerous occasions campaigners have obstructed buses taking detainees to charter flights without any prosecution – the Stansted 15 trial of protestors blocking a plane inside the airport was the first high-profile legal case following an anti-deportation action.

    Even if the government has a legal case for prosecuting airlines, this could be a highly controversial move politically. The Home Office generally prefers not to expose the violence of its immigration enforcement activities to the challenge of a public legal hearing.

    Resistance

    We want to conclude this report on an upbeat note. Deportations, and scheduled airline flights in particular, are a major site of struggle. Resistance is not just possible but widespread and often victorious. Thousands of people have managed to successfully stop their “removals” through various means, including the following:

    Legal challenges: a large number of flights are stopped because of court appeals and injunctions.
    Public campaigning: there is a strong tradition of anti-deportation campaigning in the UK, usually supporting individuals with media-focused and political activity. Common tactics include: media articles highlighting the individual’s case; enlisting MPs and appealing to ministers; petitions, letters of support; mass phone calls, emails, etc., to airlines; demos or leafletting at the airport targeting air crew and passengers.
    Solidarity action by passengers: in some high-profile cases, passengers have refused to take their seats until deportees are removed. This creates a safety situation for the airline which may often lead to the pilot ordering escorts to remove their prisoner.
    Direct action by detainees: many detainees have been able to get off flights by putting up a struggle. This may involve, for example: physically resisting escorts; taking off clothes; shouting and appealing to passengers and air crew for help. Unless the deportee is extremely strong physically, the balance of force is with the escorts – and sometimes this can be lethal, as in the case of Jimmy Mubenga. However, pilots may often order deportees off their plane in the case of disruption.

    There are many reports of successful resistance using one or more of these tactics. And we can also get some glimpses of their overall power from a few pieces of aggregate information.

    In a 2016 report, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration revealed one telling figure. Looking at the figures for six months over 2014-15, he found that “on average 2.5 tickets were issued for each individual successfully removed.”xxv Some of this can be put down to the notorious inefficiency of Home Office systems: the Inspection report looks at several kinds of coordination failures between Home Office caseworkers, the escort contractor (at that point a subsidiary of Capita), and Carlson Wagonlit.

    But this is not the biggest factor. In fact, the same report breaks down the reasons for cancellation for a sample of 136 tickets. 51% of the sampled cancellations were the result of legal challenges. 18% were because of “disruptive or non-compliant behaviour”. 2% (i.e., three cases) were ascribed to “airline refusal to carry”.

    Where there is resistance, there is also reaction. As we have discussed in previous reports, one of the main reasons prompting the development of charter flights was to counter resistance by isolating deportees from passengers and supporters. This was very clearly put in 2009 by David Wood, then strategic director of the UK Border Agency (Home Office), who explained that the charter flight programme is:

    “a response to the fact that some of those being deported realised that if they made a big enough fuss at the airport – if they took off their clothes, for instance, or started biting and spitting – they could delay the process. We found that pilots would then refuse to take the person on the grounds that other passengers would object.”xxvi

    For both deportees and supporters, charter flights are much harder to resist. But they are also very expensive; require specific diplomatic agreements with destination countries; and in some cases (Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka) have been blocked by legal and political means.xxvii The Home Office cannot avoid the use of scheduled flights for the majority of deportations, and it will continue to face resistance.

    –—
    Annex: issues with accessing airline information

    We will expand a bit here on the issues around obtaining information on the Home Office’s relationships with airlines.

    Under UK and EU public sector procurement rules, central government departments are obliged to publish announcements of all contracts valued over £10,000, including on the contractsfinder website. However, there is no publicly available information on any contracts between the Home Office and specific airlines. This is legally justifiable if the Home Office has no direct contractual agreements with airlines. It has a signed contract with Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), which is published in a redacted form; and CWT then makes arrangements with airlines on a per-ticket basis.

    The Home Office certainly has knowledge of all the tickets booked on its behalf by CWT – indeed, they are booked by its own employees through the CWT maintained portal. And so it certainly knows all the airlines working for it. But it has refused all requests for this information, using the excuse of “commercial confidentiality”.

    There have been numerous attempts to request information on deportation airlines using the Freedom of Information Act.xxviii All have been refused on similar grounds. To give one standard example, in December 2018 A. Liberadzki requested statistics for numbers of removals carried out by British Airways and other scheduled airlines. The response confirmed “that the Home Office holds the information that you have requested.” However, it argued that:

    “we have decided that the information is exempt from disclosure under sections 31(1)e and 43(2) of the FOIA. These provide that information can be withheld if its disclosure would have a detrimental effect on the Home Office and its ability to operate effective immigration controls by carrying out removals or would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any persons (including the public authority holding it).”

    In April 2019 Kate Osamor MP put similar questions to the Home Secretary in parliament.xxix She received the same reply to all her questions:

    “The Home Office does not disclose the details or values of its commercial contracts. Doing so could discourage companies from dealing with the Home Office.”

    Of course this answer is blatantly false – as we just saw, the Home Office is legally obliged to disclose values of commercial contracts over £10,000.

    https://corporatewatch.org/uk-deportations-2020-how-ba-easyjet-and-other-airlines-collaborate-w

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    Six years ago, as a young, inquisitive and idealistic undergraduate, I traveled to my country of birth, Ethiopia, on a quest to answer one of the toughest questions in political science: how does democracy develop in a poor country with a long-standing history of authoritarian rule? At the time Ethiopia had recently passed through a […]

    #Abdel_Wabela #Asmamaw_Hailegeorgis #Atnaf_Berahane #Befekadu_Hailu #Edom_Kassaye #Mahlet_Fantahun #Natnael_Feleke #Tesfalem_Weldeyes #Zelalem_Kibret

  • #HistoryClass : #Nigeria’s #Super_Eagles
    http://africasacountry.com/a-brief-history-of-nigerias-super-eagles

    Our British colonial masters brought us a lot of good stuff. Stuff such as education, Christianity and corruption, among others. But probably the best thing the Brits brought to us was football. Today, in homage to the coming #World_Cup, we take a quick tour of the early years of the #NFF and our national […]

    #Football_is_a_Country #General #HISTORY #SPORT #Sports #Christian_Chukwu #Emmanuel_Okala #Ethiopia #Muda_Lawal #Peter_Anieke #Segun_Odegbami #Teslim_Balogun

  • The legalization of political repression in #Ethiopia
    http://africasacountry.com/the-legalization-of-political-repression-in-ethiopia

    It has been one month since the latest round of repression against government critics in Ethiopia began. Last weekend, the Zone9 bloggers and three journalists who were arrested in late April appeared in court. To date, very little information has been given about the crimes the bloggers and journalists are accused of committing or the […]

    #JOURNALISM #MEDIA #POLITICS #media_freedom #Zone_9_Bloggers

  • Why Blogging is a Threat to the Ethiopian Government
    http://africasacountry.com/why-blogging-is-a-threat-to-the-ethiopian-government

    As I write this, I am eerily reminded that in #Ethiopia, expressing your views can get you a first class ticket to prison. From April 25 to 26, 2014, nine Ethiopian #bloggers and journalists were arrested. As we celebrated World Press Freedom Day on Saturday, they were being detained in Addis Ababa’s notorious central investigation […]

    #MEDIA #POLITICS #Anti-Terrorism #Committee_to_Protect_Journalists