• 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

  • Hate Speech on Facebook Is Pushing Ethiopia Dangerously Close to a Genocide
    https://www.vice.com/en/article/xg897a/hate-speech-on-facebook-is-pushing-ethiopia-dangerously-close-to-a-genocide

    Ethnic violence set off by the assassination of a popular singer has been supercharged by hate speech and incitements shared widely on the platform. Throughout his life, Ethiopian singer Hachalu Hundessa sang about love, unity, and raising the marginalized voices of his Oromo ethnic group. He had always tried to keep his work and politics separate, saying, “Art should not be subject to political pressure.” But it became increasingly difficult for him to keep these two worlds apart, thanks (...)

    #Facebook #manipulation #racisme #violence #SocialNetwork

  • Ethiopia Cracks Down Following Popular Singer’s Killing

    Lift Internet Shutdown, Avoid Force at Protests, Free Unjustly Held Politicians

    Protests erupted in several towns across Ethiopia in response to the June 29 killing of #Hachalu_Hundessa, a popular #Oromo singer whose songs captured the struggles and frustrations of the Oromo people during the 2014-2018 anti-government protest movement. Unidentified gunmen shot Hundessa dead in Addis Ababa, the capital. Hundessa’s uncle was also reportedly killed in Ambo today.

    While police claim to have made arrests in connection with Hundessa’s killing, the government’s responses to the protesters risks enflaming long-simmering tensions. On Tuesday morning the government cut internet services across the country, which only amplified concerns that people are being silenced and that human rights abuses and communal violence, having rocked the country last year, are not being addressed.

    The internet shutdown has also made it impossible to access information on those killed and injured in the protests. One witness told us: “There is no network. We don’t have any information flow … the government only tells people [they] are investigating, and so everyone is hypothesizing based on current affairs.”

    Despite the blackout, credible reports of violence are emerging. A regional government spokesman said that three explosions shook the capital, Addis Ababa, the morning after Hundessa’s killing. Meanwhile, independent media reports suggest that more than 80 people have been killed in the Oromia region and a further 10 people were killed in Adama after a government building was set on fire.

    An activist in Nekemte, western Oromia, told Human Rights Watch that three protesters were killed after Oromia police opened fire. A doctor in the town of Dire Dawa said that the hospital had received eight people with gunshot injuries after reportedly being fired at by security forces, and that two soldiers had also been shot and injured.

    The government’s response took another worrying turn when authorities arrested political opposition leaders Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba of the Oromo Federalist Congress party, late Tuesday morning after a reported standoff with security forces over Hundessa’s funeral site. Jawar and Bekele were initially held incommunicado, but are now known to be held in Sostegna police station in Addis Ababa. While their families have now been allowed to bring them food and medicine, it is unclear if they have access to a lawyer. Bekele’s son and daughter were also arrested, and their whereabouts remain unknown.

    The media has also reported that another prominent political opposition leader, Eskinder Nega, has also been detained.

    Rather than restoring calm, the authorities’ internet shutdown, apparent excessive use of force, and arrest of political opposition figures could make a volatile situation even worse. The government should take prompt steps to reverse these actions or risk sliding deeper into crisis.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/01/ethiopia-cracks-down-following-popular-singers-killing
    #assassinat #musique #Ethiopie #musique_et_politique #décès #mort #meurtre

    ping @sinehebdo

  • Le meurtre d’un chanteur vedette, révélateur des tensions ethniques en #Ethiopie
    https://information.tv5monde.com/afrique/le-meurtre-d-un-chanteur-vedette-revelateur-des-tensions-ethni

    Comme chaque après-midi depuis plusieurs jours, Firaol Ajema et ses amis se sont réunis à Legetafo, près d’Addis Abeba, pour écouter ensemble les chansons de Hachalu Hundessa, chanteur vedette éthiopien récemment assassiné.

    Tous ont revêtus des t-shirts noirs ornés du portrait du chanteur et du slogan « Je suis aussi Hachalu », pour célébrer la mémoire de la vedette dont le meurtre, non élucidé, a provoqué une flambée de violence qui a fait plus de cent morts.

    Un nombre indéterminé de ces victimes ont été tuées par les forces de sécurité et d’autres dans des affrontements entre membres de diverses communautés.

    Des violences qui mettent en lumière les tensions ethniques grandissantes en Ethiopie et soulignent la fragilité de la transition démocratique mise en œuvre par le Premier ministre Abiy Ahmed, prix Nobel de la Paix 2019.

    Depuis son accession au pouvoir, il s’est efforcé de réformer un système jusque-là très autoritaire. Mais ce faisant, il a ouvert la porte aux violences intercommunautaires qui mettent à l’épreuve le système éthiopien de fédéralisme ethnique.

    « Nous n’avons pas pu porter le deuil comme nous l’aurions voulu », explique Firaol, un étudiant.

    « Le meurtre (d’Hachalu) nous a profondément attristés, mais la manière dont le gouverneement l’a géré a empiré les choses », approuve un de ses amis, Birhanu Gadis. « C’est totalement inacceptable ».

    Bien qu’apprécié d’Éthiopiens d’origines diverses, Hachalu Hundessa a surtout été le porte-voix des #Oromo, qui avaient dénoncé leur marginalisation économique et politique lors des manifestations antigouvernementales ayant débouché en 2018 sur l’arrivée au pouvoir du Premier ministre Abiy Ahmed, un membre de cette communauté.

    Ses textes très politiques exprimaient les frustrations de ce groupe ethnique, le plus important par le nombre, mais qui s’est longtemps estimé marginalisés économiquement et politiquement.

    Aujourd’hui, de nombreux nationalistes Oromo se sentent trahis par le Premier ministre, qu’ils accusent de ne pas faire suffisamment pour défendre les intérêts de sa communauté, et d’avoir laissé les forces de sécurité ouvrir le feu sur les manifestants, à Addis Abeba et en région Oromia, le plus large des États fédérés éthiopiens, qui enserre la capitale.

    Car Addis Abeba, que les Oromo appellent Finfinne, du nom du territoire de la ville avant sa création à la fin du XIXe siècle par l’empereur Menelik II, est bien au coeur de la crise actuelle : située en territoire oromo, elle dispose d’un statut spécial, et les Oromo estiment en avoir été déplacés au fil de l’Histoire.

    C’est d’ailleurs un plan du gouvernement fédéral prévoyant l’extension de la capitale vers l’Oromia qui avait déclenché en 2015 les manifestations antigouvernementales.

    Cette semaine, c’est le désir des nationalistes oromo de voir Hachalu être inhumé à Addis Abeba, et non dans sa ville natale d’Ambo, à 100 km à l’ouest de la capitale, qui a mis le feu aux poudres.

    « Hachalu devait être enterré à Addis Abeba. Finfinne appartient au peuple Oromo », martèle Firaol.

    – La statue de Menelik II -

    Selon les autorités fédérales, des nationalistes oromo comptant dans leurs rangs un populaire dirigeant d’opposition, Jawar Mohammed, ont intercepté mardi la dépouille d’Hachalu entre Addis Abeba, où le chanteur a été assassiné, et Ambo où il devait être inhumé, pour le ramener dans la capitale, provoquant un affrontement avec la police et l’arrestation de Jawar Mohammed, qui a encore aggravé les tensions.

    Et jeudi, lors des funérailles à Ambo, des soldats ont ouvert le feu sur un groupe vouant assister aux obsèques, faisant deux morts.

    Le mois dernier, Hachalu avait appelé au retrait de la statue proméminente de l’empereur Menelik II, dans le quartier de Piasa de la capitale, désormais sous protection policière.

    Si Menelik est respecté par beaucoup comme le fondateur de l’Ethiopie moderne, c’est de son règne que les nationalistes oromo datent le début de la marginalisation qu’ils dénoncent.

    Pour Firaol, la mort d’Hachalu d’un côté, la protection policière autour de la statue de Menelik de l’autre témoignent des priorités que se fixe le gouvernement.

    « Alors qu’ils auraient du protéger Hachalu, ils protégeaient une statue. Hachalu n’était pas qu’un individu, il était comme les yeux du peuple Oromo. Maintenant, ils nous ont aveuglés ».

  • Yémen : à marche forcée - ARTE Reportage | ARTE
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/090427-000-A/yemen-a-marche-forcee

    Chez eux, en #Éthiopie, les Oromos n’ont rien. Par centaines de milliers, ils migrent vers l’Arabie Saoudite, richissime contrée où ils s’imaginent un avenir.

    Mais la route est longue, périlleuse, impossible. Elle se pratique à pied, faute de pouvoir payer les passeurs et elle est semée d’embuches. Les montagnes de Galafi, à la frontière de #Djibouti, irradiées par un soleil brûlant, mettent à terre les plus vaillants, terrassés par la soif.

    A Obock, un petit port sans charme, les migrants sont convoyés de nuit vers des boutres surchargés qui affrontent les vagues de la #Mer_Rouge. Et, ultime danger : au #Yémen, l’industrie migratoire est infiltrée par les mafias locales. Là-bas, les #migrants #oromos deviennent des proies. Les plus pauvres sont les plus vulnérables. Déviés de la route, aux prises avec des #passeurs sans scrupules, ils sont torturés jusqu’à ce que leurs familles paient la rançon, parfois ruinées par la vente de toutes leurs terres pour tirer un fils ou une fille de l’enfer des maisons de torture.

    D’une rive à l’autre du Golfe d’Aden, Charles Emptaz et Olivier Jobard ont marché avec ces migrants éthiopiens, animés par une idée fixe et lancinante : gagner un jour son pain.

    Des bribes de cette odyssée, ils tentent de reconstituer le récit d’une traversée mortelle, dessinant en creux le portrait d’un peuple transfiguré par l’épreuve, les Oromos.

  • Ethiopians Abused on Gulf Migration Route

    Ethiopians undertaking the perilous journey by boat across the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden face exploitation and torture in Yemen by a network of trafficking groups, Human Rights Watch said today. They also encounter abusive prison conditions in Saudi Arabia before being summarily forcibly deported back to Addis Ababa. Authorities in Ethiopia, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia have taken few if any measures to curb the violence migrants face, to put in place asylum procedures, or to check abuses perpetrated by their own security forces.


    A combination of factors, including unemployment and other economic difficulties, drought, and human rights abuses have driven hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians to migrate over the past decade, traveling by boat over the Red Sea and then by land through Yemen to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and neighboring Gulf states are favored destinations because of the availability of employment. Most travel irregularly and do not have legal status once they reach Saudi Arabia.

    “Many Ethiopians who hoped for a better life in Saudi Arabia face unspeakable dangers along the journey, including death at sea, torture, and all manners of abuses,” said Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Ethiopian government, with the support of its international partners, should support people who arrive back in Ethiopia with nothing but the clothes on their back and nowhere to turn for help.”

    Human Rights Watch interviewed 12 Ethiopians in Addis Ababa who had been deported from Saudi Arabia between December 2018 and May 2019. Human Rights Watch also interviewed humanitarian workers and diplomats working on Ethiopia migration-related issues.

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates as many as 500,000 Ethiopians were in Saudi Arabia when the Saudi government began a deportation campaign in November 2017. The Saudi authorities have arrested, prosecuted, or deported foreigners who violate labor or residency laws or those who crossed the border irregularly. About 260,000 Ethiopians, an average of 10,000 per month, were deported from Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia between May 2017 and March 2019, according to the IOM, and deportations have continued.

    An August 2 Twitter update by Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said that police had arrested 3.6 million people, including 2.8 million for violations of residency rules, 557,000 for labor law violations, and 237,000 for border violations. In addition, authorities detained 61,125 people for crossing the border into Saudi Arabia illegally, 51 percent of them Ethiopians, and referred more than 895,000 people for deportation. Apart from illegal border crossing, these figures are not disaggregated by nationality.

    Eleven of the 12 people interviewed who had been deported had engaged with smuggling and trafficking networks that are regionally linked across Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland state, the self-declared autonomous state of Somaliland, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Traffickers outside of Ethiopia, particularly in Yemen, often used violence or threats to extort ransom money from migrants’ family members or contacts, those interviewed told Human Rights Watch. The 12th person was working in Saudi Arabia legally but was deported after trying to help his sister when she arrived illegally.

    Those interviewed described life-threatening journeys as long as 24 hours across the Gulf of Aden or the Red Sea to reach Yemen, in most cases in overcrowded boats, with no food or water, and prevented from moving around by armed smugglers.

    “There were 180 people on the boat, but 25 died,” one man said. “The boat was in trouble and the waves were hitting it. It was overloaded and about to sink so the dallalas [an adaptation of the Arabic word for “middleman” or “broker”] picked some out and threw them into the sea, around 25.”

    Interviewees said they were met and captured by traffickers upon arrival in Yemen. Five said the traffickers physically assaulted them to extort payments from family members or contacts in Ethiopia or Somalia. While camps where migrants were held capture were run by Yemenis, Ethiopians often carried out the abuse. In many cases, relatives said they sold assets such as homes or land to obtain the ransom money.

    After paying the traffickers or escaping, the migrants eventually made their way north to the Saudi-Yemen border, crossing in rural, mountainous areas. Interviewees said Saudi border guards fired at them, killing and injuring others crossing at the same time, and that they saw dead bodies along the crossing routes. Human Rights Watch has previously documented Saudi border guards shooting and killing migrants crossing the border.

    “At the border there are many bodies rotting, decomposing,” a 26-year-old man said: “It is like a graveyard.”

    Six interviewees said they were apprehended by Saudi border police, while five successfully crossed the border but were later arrested. They described abusive prison conditions in several facilities in southern Saudi Arabia, including inadequate food, toilet facilities, and medical care; lack of sanitation; overcrowding; and beatings by guards.

    Planes returning people deported from Saudi Arabia typically arrive in Addis Ababa either at the domestic terminal or the cargo terminal of Bole International Airport. Several humanitarian groups conduct an initial screening to identify the most vulnerable cases, with the rest left to their own devices. Aid workers in Ethiopia said that deportees often arrive with no belongings and no money for food, transportation, or shelter. Upon arrival, they are offered little assistance to help them deal with injuries or psychological trauma, or to support transportation to their home communities, in some cases hundreds of kilometers from Addis Ababa.

    Human Rights Watch learned that much of the migration funding from Ethiopia’s development partners is specifically earmarked to manage migration along the routes from the Horn of Africa to Europe and to assist Ethiopians being returned from Europe, with very little left to support returnees from Saudi Arabia.

    “Saudi Arabia has summarily returned hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians to Addis Ababa who have little to show for their journey except debts and trauma,” Horne said. “Saudi Arabia should protect migrants on its territory and under its control from traffickers, ensure there is no collusion between its agents and these criminals, and provide them with the opportunity to legally challenge their detention and deportation.”

    All interviews were conducted in Amharic, Tigrayan, or Afan Oromo with translation into English. The interviewees were from the four regions of SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region), Oromia, Amhara, and Tigray. These regions have historically produced the bulk of Ethiopians migrating abroad. To protect interviewees from possible reprisals, pseudonyms are being used in place of their real names. Human Rights Watch wrote to the Ethiopian and Saudi governments seeking comment on abuses described by Ethiopian migrants along the Gulf migration route, but at the time of writing neither had responded.

    Dangerous Boat Journey

    Most of the 11 people interviewed who entered Saudi Arabia without documents described life-threatening boat journeys across the Red Sea from Djibouti, Somaliland, or Puntland to Yemen. They described severely overcrowded boats, beatings, and inadequate food or water on journeys that ranged from 4 to 24 hours. These problems were compounded by dangerous weather conditions or encounters with Saudi/Emirati-led coalition naval vessels patrolling the Yemeni coast.

    “Berhanu” said that Somali smugglers beat people on his boat crossing from Puntland: “They have a setup they use where they place people in spots by weight to keep the boat balanced. If you moved, they beat you.” He said that his trip was lengthened when smugglers were forced to turn the boat around after spotting a light from a naval vessel along the Yemeni coast and wait several hours for it to pass.

    Since March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of countries in a military campaign against the Houthi armed group in Yemen. As part of its campaign the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition has imposed a naval blockade on Houthi-controlled Yemeni ports, purportedly to prevent Houthi rebels from importing weapons by sea, but which has also restricted the flow of food, fuel, and medicine to civilians in the country, and included attacks on civilians at sea. Human Rights Watch previously documented a helicopter attack in March 2017 by coalition forces on a boat carrying Somali migrants and refugees returning from Yemen, killing at least 32 of the 145 Somali migrants and refugees on board and one Yemeni civilian.

    Exploitation and Abuses in Yemen

    Once in war-torn Yemen, Ethiopian migrants said they faced kidnappings, beatings, and other abuses by traffickers trying to extort ransom money from them or their family members back home.

    This is not new. Human Rights Watch, in a 2014 report, documented abuses, including torture, of migrants in detention camps in Yemen run by traffickers attempting to extort payments. In 2018, Human Rights Watch documented how Yemeni guards tortured and raped Ethiopian and other Horn of Africa migrants at a detention center in Aden and worked in collaboration with smugglers to send them back to their countries of origin. Recent interviews by Human Rights Watch indicate that the war in Yemen has not significantly affected the abuses against Ethiopians migrating through Yemen to Saudi Arabia. If anything, the conflict, which escalated in 2015, has made the journey more dangerous for migrants who cross into an area of active fighting.

    Seven of the 11 irregular migrants interviewed said they faced detention and extortion by traffickers in Yemen. This occurred in many cases as soon as they reached shore, as smugglers on boats coordinated with the Yemeni traffickers. Migrants said that Yemeni smuggling and trafficking groups always included Ethiopians, often one from each of Oromo, Tigrayan, and Amhara ethnic groups, who generally were responsible for beating and torturing migrants to extort payments. Migrants were generally held in camps for days or weeks until they could provide ransom money, or escape. Ransom payments were usually made by bank transfers from relatives and contacts back in Ethiopia.

    “Abebe” described his experience:

    When we landed… [the traffickers] took us to a place off the road with a tent. Everyone there was armed with guns and they threw us around like garbage. The traffickers were one Yemeni and three Ethiopians – one Tigrayan, one Amhara, and one Oromo…. They started to beat us after we refused to pay, then we had to call our families…. My sister [in Ethiopia] has a house, and the traffickers called her, and they fired a bullet near me that she could hear. They sold the house and sent the money [40,000 Birr, US $1,396].

    “Tesfalem”, said that he was beaten by Yemenis and Ethiopians at a camp he believes was near the port city of Aden:

    They demanded money, but I said I don’t have any. They told me to make a call, but I said I don’t have relatives. They beat me and hung me on the wall by one hand while standing on a chair, then they kicked the chair away and I was swinging by my arm. They beat me on my head with a stick and it was swollen and bled.

    He escaped after three months, was detained in another camp for three months more, and finally escaped again.

    “Biniam” said the men would take turns beating the captured migrants: “The [Ethiopian] who speaks your language beats you, those doing the beating were all Ethiopians. We didn’t think of fighting back against them because we were so tired, and they would kill you if you tried.”

    Two people said that when they landed, the traffickers offered them the opportunity to pay immediately to travel by car to the Saudi border, thereby avoiding the detention camps. One of them, “Getachew,” said that he paid 1,500 Birr (US $52) for the car and escaped mistreatment.

    Others avoided capture when they landed, but then faced the difficult 500 kilometer journey on foot with few resources while trying to avoid capture.

    Dangers faced by Yemeni migrants traveling north were compounded for those who ran into areas of active fighting between Houthi forces and groups aligned with the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition. Two migrants said that their journey was delayed, one by a week, the other by two months, to avoid conflict areas.

    Migrants had no recourse to local authorities and did not report abuses or seek assistance from them. Forces aligned with the Yemeni government and the Houthis have also detained migrants in poor conditions, refused access to protection and asylum procedures, deported migrants en masse in dangerous conditions, and exposed them to abuse. In April 2018, Human Rights Watch reported that Yemeni government officials had tortured, raped, and executed migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa in a detention center in the southern port city of Aden. The detention center was later shut down.

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced in May that it had initiated a program of voluntary humanitarian returns for irregular Ethiopian migrants held by Yemeni authorities at detention sites in southern Yemen. IOM said that about 5,000 migrants at three sites were held in “unsustainable conditions,” and that the flights from Aden to Ethiopia had stalled because the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition had failed to provide the flights the necessary clearances. The coalition controls Yemen’s airspace.

    Crossing the Border; Abusive Detention inside Saudi Arabia

    Migrants faced new challenges attempting to cross the Saudi-Yemen border. The people interviewed said that the crossing points used by smugglers are in rural, mountainous areas where the border separates Yemen’s Saada Governorate and Saudi Arabia’s Jizan Province. Two said that smugglers separated Ethiopians by their ethnic group and assigned different groups to cross at different border points.

    Ethiopian migrants interviewed were not all able to identify the locations where they crossed. Most indicated points near the Yemeni mountain villages Souq al-Ragu and ‘Izlat Al Thabit, which they called Ragu and Al Thabit. Saudi-aligned media have regularly characterized Souq al-Ragu as a dangerous town from which drug smugglers and irregular migrants cross into Saudi Arabia.

    Migrants recounted pressures to pay for the crossing by smuggling drugs into Saudi Arabia. “Abdi” said he stayed in Souq al-Ragu for 15 days and finally agreed to carry across a 25 kilogram sack of khat in exchange for 500 Saudi Riyals (US$133). Khat is a mild stimulant grown in the Ethiopian highlands and Yemen; it is popular among Yemenis and Saudis, but illegal in Saudi Arabia.

    “Badessa” described Souq al-Ragu as “the crime city:”

    You don’t know who is a trafficker, who is a drug person, but everybody has an angle of some sort. Even Yemenis are afraid of the place, it is run by Ethiopians. It is also a burial place; bodies are gathered of people who had been shot along the border and then they’re buried there. There is no police presence.

    Four of the eleven migrants who crossed the border on foot said Saudi border guards shot at them during their crossings, sometimes after ordering them to stop and other times without warning. Some said they encountered dead bodies along the way. Six said they were apprehended by Saudi border guards or drug police at the border, while five were arrested later.

    “Abebe” said that Saudi border guards shot at his group as they crossed from Izlat Al Thabit:

    They fired bullets, and everyone scattered. People fleeing were shot, my friend was shot in the leg…. One person was shot in the chest and killed and [the Saudi border guards] made us carry him to a place where there was a big excavator. They didn’t let us bury him; the excavator dug a hole and they buried him.

    Berhanu described the scene in the border area: “There were many dead people at the border. You could walk on the corpses. No one comes to bury them.”

    Getachew added: “It is like a graveyard. There are no dogs or hyenas there to eat the bodies, just dead bodies everywhere.”

    Two of the five interviewees who crossed the border without being detained said that Saudi and Ethiopian smugglers and traffickers took them to informal detention camps in southern Saudi towns and held them for ransom. “Yonas” said they took him and 14 others to a camp in the Fayfa area of Jizan Province: “They beat me daily until I called my family. They wanted 10,000 Birr ($349). My father sold his farmland and sent the 10,000 Birr, but then they told me this isn’t enough, we need 20,000 ($698). I had nothing left and decided to escape or die.” He escaped.

    Following their capture, the migrants described abusive conditions in Saudi governmental detention centers and prisons, including overcrowding and inadequate food, water, and medical care. Migrants also described beatings by Saudi guards.

    Nine migrants who were captured while crossing the border illegally or living in Saudi Arabia without documentation spent up to five months in detention before authorities deported them back to Ethiopia. The three others were convicted of criminal offenses that included human trafficking and drug smuggling, resulting in longer periods in detention before being deported.

    The migrants identified about 10 prisons and detention centers where they were held for various periods. The most frequently cited were a center near the town of al-Dayer in Jizan Province along the border, Jizan Central Prison in Jizan city, and the Shmeisi Detention Center east of Jeddah, where migrants are processed for deportation.

    Al-Dayer had the worst conditions, they said, citing overcrowding, inadequate sanitation, food and water, and medical care. Yonas said:

    They tied our feet with chains and they beat us while chained, sometimes you can’t get to the food because you are chained. If you get chained by the toilet it will overflow and flow under you. If you are aggressive you get chained by the toilet. If you are good [behave well], they chain you to another person and you can move around.

    Abraham had a similar description:

    The people there beat us. Ethnic groups [from Ethiopia] fought with each other. The toilet was overflowing. It was like a graveyard and not a place to live. Urine was everywhere and people were defecating. The smell was terrible.

    Other migrants described similarly bad conditions in Jizan Central Prison. “Ibrahim” said that he was a legal migrant working in Saudi Arabia, but that he travelled to Jizan to help his sister, whom Saudi authorities had detained after she crossed from Yemen illegally. Once in Jizan, authorities suspected him of human trafficking and arrested him, put him on trial, and sentenced him to two years in prison, a sentenced he partially served in Jizan Central Prison:

    Jizan prison is so very tough…. You can be sleeping with [beside] someone who has tuberculosis, and if you ask an official to move you, they don’t care. They will beat you. You can’t change clothes, you have one set and that is it, sometimes the guards will illegally bring clothes and sell to you at night.

    He also complained of overcrowding: “When you want to sleep you tell people and they all jostle to make some room, then you sleep for a bit but you wake up because everyone is jostling against each other.”

    Most of the migrants said food was inadequate. Yonas described the situation in al-Dayer: “When they gave food 10 people would gather and fight over it. If you don’t have energy you won’t eat. The fight is over rice and bread.”

    Detainees also said medical care was inadequate and that detainees with symptoms of tuberculosis (such as cough, fever, night sweats, or weight loss) were not isolated from other prisoners. Human Rights Watch interviewed three former detainees who were being treated for tuberculosis after being deported, two of whom said they were held with other detainees despite having symptoms of active tuberculosis.

    Detainees described being beaten by Saudi prison guards when they requested medical care. Abdi said:

    I was beaten once with a stick in Jizan that was like a piece of rebar covered in plastic. I was sick in prison and I used to vomit. They said, ‘why do you do that when people are eating?’ and then they beat me harshly and I told him [the guard], ‘Please kill me.’ He eventually stopped.

    Ibrahim said he was also beaten when he requested medical care for tuberculosis:

    [Prison guards] have a rule that you aren’t supposed to knock on the door [and disturb the guards]. When I got sick in the first six months and asked to go to the clinic, they just beat me with electric wires on the bottom of my feet. I kept asking so they kept beating.

    Detainees said that the other primary impetus for beatings by guards was fighting between different ethnic groups of Ethiopians in detention, largely between ethnic Oromos, Amharas, and Tigrayans. Ethnic tensions are increasingly common back in Ethiopia.

    Detainees said that conditions generally improved once they were transferred to Shmeisi Detention Center, near Jeddah, where they stayed only a few days before receiving temporary travel documents from Ethiopian consular authorities and deported to Ethiopia. The migrants charged with and convicted of crimes had no opportunity to consult legal counsel.

    None of the migrants said they were given the opportunity to legally challenge their deportations, and Saudi Arabia has not established an asylum system under which migrants could apply for protection from deportation where there was a risk of persecution if they were sent back. Saudi Arabia is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

    Deportation and Future Prospects

    Humanitarian workers and diplomats told Human Rights Watch that since the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s deportation campaign, large numbers of Ethiopian deportees have been transported via special flights by Saudia Airlines to Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa and unloaded in a cargo area away from the main international terminal or at the domestic terminal. When Human Rights Watch visited in May, it appeared that the Saudi flights were suspended during the month of Ramadan, during which strict sunrise-to-sunset fasting is observed by Muslims. All interviewees who were deported in May said they had returned on regular Ethiopian Airlines commercial flights and disembarked at the main terminal with other passengers.

    All of those deported said that they returned to Ethiopia with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, and that Saudi authorities had confiscated their mobile phones and in some cases shoes and belts. “After staying in Jeddah … they had us make a line and take off our shoes,” Abraham said. “Anything that could tie like a belt we had to leave, they wouldn’t let us take it. We were barefoot when we went to the airport.”

    Deportees often have critical needs for assistance, including medical care, some for gunshot wounds. One returnee recovering from tuberculosis said that he did not have enough money to buy food and was going hungry. Abdi said that when he left for Saudi Arabia he weighed 64 kilograms but returned weighing only 47 or 48 kilograms.

    Aid workers and diplomats familiar with migration issues in Ethiopia said that very little international assistance is earmarked for helping deportees from Saudi Arabia for medical care and shelter or money to return and reintegrate in their home villages.

    Over 8 million people are in need of food assistance in Ethiopia, a country of over 100 million. It hosts over 920,000 refugees from neighboring countries and violence along ethnic lines produced over 2.4 internally displaced people in 2018, many of whom have now been returned.

    The IOM registers migrants upon arrival in Ethiopia and to facilitate their return from Saudi Arabia. Several hours after their arrival and once registered, they leave the airport and must fend for themselves. Some said they had never been to Addis before.

    In 2013 and 2014, Saudi Arabia conducted an expulsion campaign similar to the one that began in November 2017. The earlier campaign expelled about 163,000 Ethiopians, according to the IOM. A 2015 Human Rights Watch report found that migrants experienced serious abuses during detention and deportation, including attacks by security forces and private citizens in Saudi Arabia, and inadequate and abusive detention conditions. Human Rights Watch has also previously documented mistreatment of Ethiopian migrants by traffickers and government detention centers in Yemen.

    Aid workers and diplomats said that inadequate funding to assist returning migrants is as a result of several factors, including a focus of many of the European funders on stemming migration to and facilitating returns from Europe, along with competing priorities and the low visibility of the issue compared with migration to Europe.

    During previous mass returns from Saudi Arabia, there was more funding for reintegration and more international media attention in part because there was such a large influx in a short time, aid workers said.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/08/15/ethiopians-abused-gulf-migration-route
    #migrations #asile #violence #réfugiés #réfugiés_éthiopiens #Ethiopie #pays_du_Golfe #route_du_Golfe #mer_Rouge #Golfe_d'Aden #Yémen #Arabie_Saoudite #frontières #violent_borders #torture #trafic_d'êtres_humains #exploitation #routes_migratoires

    signalé par @isskein

    • Migrants endure sea crossing to Yemen and disembark in hell

      Zahra struggled in the blue waters of the Gulf of Aden, grasping for the hands of fellow migrants.

      Hundreds of men, women and teenagers clambered out of a boat and through the surf emerging, exhausted, on the shores of Yemen.

      The 20-year-old Ethiopian saw men armed with automatic rifles waiting for them on the beach and she clenched in terror. She had heard migrants’ stories of brutal traffickers, lurking like monsters in a nightmare. They are known by the Arabic nickname Abdul-Qawi — which means Worshipper of the Strong.

      “What will they do to us?” Zahra thought.

      She and 300 other Africans had just endured six hours crammed in a wooden smuggling boat to cross the narrow strait between the Red Sea and the gulf. When they landed, the traffickers loaded them into trucks and drove them to ramshackle compounds in the desert outside the coastal village of Ras al-Ara.

      There was Zahra’s answer. She was imprisoned for a month in a tin-roofed hut, broiling and hungry, ordered to call home each day to beseech her family to wire $2,000. She said she did not have family to ask for money and pleaded for her freedom.
      Instead, her captors raped her. And they raped the 20 other women with her — for weeks, different men all the time.

      “They used each of the girls,” she told The Associated Press. “Every night there was rape.”

      With its systematic torture, Ras al-Ara is a particular hell on the arduous, 900-mile (1,400 kilometer) journey from the Horn of Africa to oil-rich Saudi Arabia. Migrants leave home on sandaled feet with dreams of escaping poverty. They trek through mountains and deserts, sandstorms and 113-degree temperatures, surviving on crumbs of bread and salty water from ancient wells.

      In Djibouti, long lines of migrants descend single file down mountain slopes to the rocky coastal plain, where many lay eyes on the sea for first time and eventually board the boats. Some find their way safely across war-torn Yemen to Saudi Arabia, only to be caught and tossed back over the border. The lucky ones make it into the kingdom to earn their livings as a servant and laborers.


      But others are stranded in Yemen’s nightmare — in some measure because Europe has been shutting its doors, outsourcing migrants to other countries.

      The European Union began paying Libyan coast guards and militias to stop migrants there, blocking the other main route out of East Africa, through Libya and across the Mediterranean to Europe. The number of Mediterranean crossings plummeted — from 370,000 in 2016 to just over 56,000 so far this year.

      Meanwhile, more than 150,000 migrants landed in Yemen in 2018, a 50% increase from the year before, according to the International Organization for Migration.

      This year, more than 107,000 had arrived by the end of September, along with perhaps tens of thousands more the organization was unable to track — or who were buried in graves along the trail.

      And European policies may be making the Yemen route more dangerous. Funded by the EU, Ethiopia has cracked down on migrant smugglers and intensified border controls. Arrests of known brokers have prompted migrants to turn to unreliable traffickers, taking more dangerous paths and increasing the risk of abuses.

      Many of those migrants end up in Ras al-Ara.

      Nearly every migrant who lands here is imprisoned in hidden compounds while their families are shaken down for money. Like Zahra, they are subjected to daily torments ranging from beatings and rapes to starvation, their screams drowned out by the noise of generators or cars or simply lost in the desert.
      “Out of every thousand, 800 disappear in the lockups,” said a humanitarian worker monitoring the flow of migrants.

      Traffickers who torture are a mix of Yemenis and Ethiopians of different ethnic groups. So victims cannot appeal to tribal loyalties, they are tortured by men from other groups: If the migrants are Oromia, the torturers are Tigrinya.

      At the same time, because the three main ethnic groups don’t speak each others’ languages, Yemeni smugglers need translators to convey orders to the migrants and monitor their phone conversations with their families.

      The AP spoke to more than two dozen Ethiopians who survived torture at Ras al-Ara. Nearly all of them reported witnessing deaths, and one man died of starvation hours after the AP saw him.
      The imprisonment and torture are largely ignored by Yemeni authorities.

      The AP saw trucks full of migrants passing unhindered through military checkpoints as they went from the beaches to drop their human cargo at each desert compound, known in Arabic as a “hosh.”

      “The traffickers move freely, in public, giving bribes at the checkpoints,” said Mohammed Said, a former coast guard officer who now runs a gas station in the center of town.

      From Ras al-Ara, it’s nearly 50 miles in any direction to the next town. Around 8,000 families live in a collection of decaying, one-story stone houses beside dirt roads, a lone hotel and two eateries. The fish market is the center of activity when the daily catch is brought in.

      Nearly the entire population profits from the human trade. Some rent land to traffickers for the holding cells, or work as guards, drivers or translators. For others, traffickers flush with cash are a lucrative market for their food, fuel or the mildly stimulant leaves of qat, which Yemenis and Ethiopians chew daily.

      Locals can rattle off the traffickers’ names. One of them, a Yemeni named Mohammed al-Usili, runs more than 20 hosh. He’s famous for the red Nissan SUV he drives through town.

      Others belong to Sabaha, one of the biggest tribes in southern Yemen, some of whom are famous for their involvement in illicit businesses. Yemenis call the Sabaha “bandits” who have no political loyalties to any of the warring parties.
      Many traffickers speak openly of their activities, but deny they torture, blaming others.

      Yemeni smuggler Ali Hawash was a farmer who went into the human smuggling business a year ago. He disparaged smugglers who prey on poor migrants, torturing them and holding them hostage until relatives pay ransom.

      “I thought we need to have a different way,” he said, “I will help you go to Saudi, you just pay the transit and the transportation. Deal.”

      The flow of migrants to the beach is unending. On a single day, July 24, the AP witnessed seven boats pull into Ras al-Ara, one after the other, starting at 3 a.m., each carrying more than 100 people.

      The migrants climbed out of the boats into the turquoise water. One young man collapsed on the beach, his feet swollen. A woman stepped on something sharp in the water and fell screeching in pain. Others washed their clothes in the waves to get out the vomit, urine and feces from the rugged journey.

      The migrants were lined up and loaded onto trucks. They gripped the iron bars in the truck bed as they were driven along the highway. At each compound, the truck unloaded a group of migrants, like a school bus dropping off students. The migrants disappeared inside.

      From time to time, Ethiopians escape their imprisonment or are released and stagger out of the desert into town.
      Eman Idrees, 27, and her husband were held for eight months by an Ethiopian smuggler.

      She recalled the savage beatings they endured, which left a scar on her shoulder; the smuggler received $700 to take her to Saudi Arabia, but wouldn’t let her go, because “he wanted me.”

      Said, the gas station owner, is horrified by the evidence of torture he has seen, so he has made his station and a nearby mosque into a refuge for migrants. But locals say Said, too, profits from the trafficking, selling fuel for the smugglers’ boats and trucks. But that means the traffickers need him and leave him alone.

      On a day when the AP team was visiting, several young men just out of a compound arrived at the gas station. They showed deep gashes in their arms from ropes that had bound them. One who had bruises from being lashed with a cable said the women imprisoned with him were all raped and that three men had died.

      Another, Ibrahim Hassan, trembled as he showed how he was tied up in a ball, arms behind his back, knees bound against his chest. The 24-year-old said he was bound like that for 11 days and frequently beaten. His torturer, he said, was a fellow Ethiopian but from a rival ethnic group, Tigray, while he is Oromo.

      Hassan said he was freed after his father went door to door in their hometown to borrow money and gather the $2,600 that the smugglers demanded.
      “My family is extremely poor,” Hassan said, breaking down in tears. “My father is a farmer and I have five siblings.”

      Starvation is another punishment used by the traffickers to wear down their victims.

      At Ras al-Ara hospital, four men who looked like living skeletons sat on the floor, picking rice from a bowl with their thin fingers. Their bones protruded from their backs, their rib cages stood out sharply. With no fat on their bodies, they sat on rolled-up cloth because it was too painful to sit directly on bone. They had been imprisoned by traffickers for months, fed once a day with scraps of bread and a sip of water, they said.

      One of them, 23-year-old Abdu Yassin, said he had agreed with smugglers in Ethiopia to pay around $600 for the trip through Yemen to the Saudi border. But when he landed at Ras al-Ara, he was brought to a compound with 71 others, and the traffickers demanded $1,600.

      He cried as he described how he was held for five months and beaten constantly in different positions. He showed the marks from lashings on his back, the scars on his legs where they pressed hot steel into his skin. His finger was crooked after they smashed it with a rock, he said. One day, they tied his legs and dangled him upside down, “like a slaughtered sheep.”
      But the worst was starvation.

      “From hunger, my knees can’t carry my body,” he said. “I haven’t changed my clothes for six months. I haven’t washed. I have nothing.”

      Near the four men, another emaciated man lay on a gurney, his stomach concave, his eyes open but unseeing. Nurses gave him fluids but he died several hours later.

      The torment that leaves the young men and women physically and mentally shattered also leaves them stranded.

      Zahra said she traveled to Yemen “because I wanted to change my life.”

      She came from a broken home. She was a child when her parents divorced. Her mother disappeared, and her father — an engineer — remarried and wanted little to do with Zahra or her sisters. Zahra dropped out of school after the third grade. She worked for years in Djibouti as a servant, sending most of her earnings to her youngest sister back in Ethiopia.

      Unable to save any money, she decided to try her luck elsewhere.

      She spoke in a quiet voice as she described the torments she suffered at the compound.

      “I couldn’t sleep at all throughout these days,” as she suffered from headaches, she said.

      She and the other women were locked in three rooms of the hut, sleeping on the dirt floor, suffocating in the summer heat. They were constantly famished. Zahra suffered from rashes, diarrhea and vomiting.

      One group tried to flee when they were allowed to wash at a well outside. The traffickers used dogs to hunt them down, brought them back and beat them.
      “You can’t imagine,” Zahra said. “We could hear the screams.” After that, they could only wash at gunpoint.

      Finally, early one morning, their captors opened the gates and told Zahra and some of the other women to leave. Apparently, the traffickers gave up on getting money out of them and wanted to make room for others.

      Now Zahra lives in Basateen, a slum on the outskirts of southern Yemen’s main city, Aden, where she shares a room with three other women who also were tortured. .

      Among them is a 17-year-old who fidgets with her hands and avoiding eye contact. She said she had been raped more times than she can count.

      The first time was during the boat crossing from Djibouti, where she was packed in with more than 150 other migrants. Fearing the smugglers, no one dared raise a word of protest as the captain and his crew raped her and the other nine women on board during the eight-hour journey.
      “I am speechless about what happened in the boat,” the 17-year-old said.

      Upon landing, she and the others were taken to a compound, where again she was raped — every day for the next two weeks.

      “We lived 15 days in pain,” she said.

      Zahra said she’s worried she could be pregnant, and the 17-year old said she has pains in her abdomen and back she believes were caused by the rapes — but neither has money to go to a doctor.

      Nor do they have money to continue their travels.

      “I have nothing but the clothes on me,” the 17-year old said. She lost everything, including her only photos of her family.

      Now, she is too afraid to even leave her room in Basateen.
      “If we get out of here,” she said, “we don’t know what would happen to us.”

      Basateen is filled with migrants living in squalid shacks. Some work, trying to earn enough to continue their journey.

      Others, like Abdul-Rahman Taha, languish without hope.

      The son of a dirt-poor farmer, Taha had heard stories of Ethiopians returning from Saudi Arabia with enough money to buy a car or build a house. So he sneaked away from home and began walking. When he reached Djibouti, he called home asking for $400 for smugglers to arrange his trip across Yemen. His father was angry but sold a bull and some goats and sent the money.

      When Taha landed at Ras al-Ara, traffickers took him and 50 other migrants to a holding cell, lined them up and demanded phone numbers. Taha couldn’t ask his father for more money so he told them he didn’t have a number. Over the next days and weeks, he was beaten and left without food and water.

      One night, he gave them a wrong number. The traffickers flew into a rage. One, a beefy, bearded Yemeni, beat Taha’s right leg to a bloody pulp with a steel rod. Taha passed out.

      When he opened his eyes, he saw the sky. He was outdoors, lying on the ground. The traffickers had dumped him and three other migrants in the desert. Taha tried to jostle the others, but they didn’t move — they were dead.
      A passing driver took him to a hospital. There, his leg was amputated.

      Now 17, Taha is stranded. His father died in a car crash a few months ago, leaving Taha’s sister and four younger brothers to fend for themselves back home.

      Taha choked back tears. In one of their phone calls, he remembered, his father had asked him: “Why did you leave?”

      “Without work or money,” Taha told him, “life is unbearable.”

      And so it is still.

      https://apimagesblog.com/blog/migrants-endure-sea-crossing-to-yemen-and-disembark-in-hell
      #réfugiés_éthiopiens #famine #mourir_de_faim #Oromo

    • Sbarcare all’inferno. Per i migranti diretti in Europa la tappa in Yemen vuol dire stupro e tortura

      Il durissimo reportage fotografico di Associated Press in viaggio con i migranti etiopi lungo la rotta che dal Corno d’Africa porta verso la penisola arabica racconta l’orrore perpetrato negli ’#hosh' di #Ras al-Ara che la comunità internazionale non vuole vedere. Le terribili storie di Zahra, Ibrahim, Abdul e gli altri.


      http://www.rainews.it/dl/rainews/media/Sbarcare-all-inferno-Per-i-migranti-diretti-in-Europa-la-tappa-in-Yemen-vuol
      #viol #viols #torture #violences_sexuelles #photographie

  • Ethiopie : « On m’a battu jusqu’à ce que je signe une "confession" » - Libération
    http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2018/02/16/ethiopie-on-m-a-battu-jusqu-a-ce-que-je-signe-une-confession_1630387

    Au lendemain de la démission du Premier ministre, l’état d’urgence a de nouveau été décrété dans le pays, secoué par une contestation populaire et où la répression persiste malgré la libération de prisonniers politiques.

    « Tu te souviens d’avoir pleuré pendant ta détention ? » demande soudain Nathenael à son voisin de table. « Une seule fois, répond Befekadu, après une pause. Le jour où mes parents sont venus me voir en #prison. Je ne voulais rien leur montrer de mes souffrances. Mais quand ils ont quitté le parloir, je me suis effondré », confesse cet homme frêle de 38 ans. « Moi c’est le jour où l’on m’a emmené pour comparaître devant un juge, renchérit à son tour Nathenael. Je venais de passer dix jours en cellule, dans l’isolement le plus total. Dans le fourgon qui m’emmenait au palais de justice, je revoyais pour la première fois le monde extérieur : rien n’avait changé, tout continuait comme avant. Et soudain le monde m’a semblé si indifférent à mes souffrances. Les larmes me sont montées aux yeux », dit-il, en souriant.

    En #Ethiopie, il a longtemps suffi d’évoquer les atteintes aux droits de l’homme pour être emprisonné sans autre forme de procès. Les deux hommes qui échangeaient leurs souvenirs ce soir-là dans le jardin de l’hôtel Taitu, à Addis-Abeba, le savent bien : Befekadu Hailu et Nathenael Feleqe, tous deux membres d’un groupe de blogueurs baptisé Zone9, ont été détenus pendant dix-huit mois, entre avril 2014 et octobre 2015 dans la redoutable prison de Maekelawi, située à un jet de pierres de l’hôtel Taitu. « Quand je repasse devant, j’hésite encore à regarder cet endroit où j’ai été détenu si longtemps. Battu et interrogé tous les jours jusqu’à ce que je signe une "confession" qui ne correspondait en rien à la réalité », expliquait ce soir-là Befekadu Hailu, qui a aussi été emprisonné pendant un mois fin 2016.

    Colère populaire

    Désormais libres, et lavés de toutes les accusations contre eux, ils suivent avec la même perplexité que tous leurs compatriotes les derniers événements qui pourraient faire basculer le destin de leur pays. Vendredi, le gouvernement a décrété l’état d’urgence - que le pays a connu pendant dix mois jusqu’en août 2017 - au lendemain de l’annonce de la démission du Premier ministre et chef du gouvernement, Haïlemariam #Desalegn. Un coup de tonnerre dans un ciel qui n’a plus rien de serein dans l’un des plus anciens Etats d’Afrique. Voilà trois ans que l’Ethiopie est secouée par une contestation inédite qui s’étend dans plusieurs provinces du pays. Face à cette colère populaire, la coalition au pouvoir dominée par les rebelles du Tigré, ceux qui ont pris le pouvoir par les armes en 1991, a fini par lâcher du lest. Annonçant dès janvier la libération de prisonniers politiques, et la transformation de la prison de #Maekelawi en musée.

    En six semaines, plus de 6 000 prisonniers politiques ont ainsi été libérés, parmi lesquels des icônes de l’opposition comme les leaders oromo Merera Gudina et Bekere Nega. Ou encore le journaliste Eskinder Nega qui vient de passer sept ans derrière les barreaux. Tous ont été accueillis par des foules immenses à leur sortie de détention. Mais la pression populaire ne s’est pas relâchée pour autant. En début de semaine, dans la région oromo qui jouxte la capitale, blocages de routes et commerces fermés maintenaient intacte la flamme de la contestation. La démission surprise du Premier ministre jeudi, est-elle le signe d’une nouvelle étape ? Le plus étonnant, c’est que pendant quarante-huit heures au moins, personne n’a su comment interpréter cette annonce. S’agissait-il de permettre « la poursuite des réformes », comme l’a suggéré le Premier ministre lui-même en annonçant son départ ? Ou bien s’agit-il d’une reprise en main des durs du régime ? Dans l’étrange flottement qui a marqué cette fin de semaine à Addis-Abeba, tout le monde soulignait pourtant le calme qui prévalait dans la capitale, où la vie quotidienne suit le rythme des innombrables fêtes religieuses.

    Dieu est partout à Addis, et les appels du muezzin font écho aux chants des églises qui percent la nuit bien avant l’aube. Des processions de silhouettes voilées de blanc se glissent parfois au milieu des embouteillages qui bloquent régulièrement les grandes artères de la capitale. La force des traditions se télescope désormais avec les promesses de l’avenir. Partout, les grues et les immeubles en construction surgissent, renforçant l’impression d’un irrésistible boom économique, alors que l’Ethiopie affiche une croissance insolente. Mais Addis, avec ses cinq millions de citadins, donne-t-elle réellement la mesure d’un pays de 100 millions d’habitants, le deuxième le plus peuplé d’Afrique ? « Il y a une blague qui circule à Addis, rappelle le blogueur Befekadu Hailu. Un homme arrive dans la queue des taxis au centre-ville et réalise qu’une foule énorme attend avant lui. Il se poste alors d’emblée en tête de file et hurle :"Libérons le peuple !" Aussitôt, tout le monde court se cacher. Et notre homme peut tranquillement prendre son taxi. C’est une façon de souligner la timidité de la contestation dans la capitale, mais ça n’empêche pas les gens d’Addis de trouver d’autres moyens de se montrer critiques. Comme d’applaudir à ce genre de blagues. »

    Il y a d’autres signes d’une fronde discrète : dans les rues de la capitale, tout le monde écoute les tubes de Teddy Afro, le chanteur le plus populaire du moment. Longtemps interdit d’antenne et de concert, après une chanson, diffusée en 2005, Jah Yasteseryal, qui évoque la nostalgie du règne du dernier empereur et fut vite perçue comme un tube antigouvernemental. Mais Teddy Afro peut désormais organiser des concerts, comme ce fut le cas mi-janvier pour la première fois depuis six ans.

    Tigréens

    Reste qu’un autre monde se déploie à l’extérieur d’Addis-Abeba. Au-delà des frontières de cette ville en pleine expansion, se trouve ce pays réel, souvent privé d’Internet, qui à coups de manifestations parfois violentes a remis en cause l’ordre établi. Le premier foyer d’insurrection a surgi fin 2015 au cœur du pays oromo, tout proche de la capitale, puis s’est propagé à la région amhara. A elles seules, ces deux ethnies englobent plus de 60 % de la population. Elles revendiquent de plus en plus ouvertement leur volonté d’obtenir un partage plus équitable du pouvoir. L’Ethiopie, seul pays d’Afrique à ne jamais avoir été colonisé, doté d’une riche histoire millénaire, n’a jamais été une véritable démocratie.

    Au cœur de la capitale, le musée de la terreur rouge rappelle le règne meurtrier de la dictature communiste de Mengistu Haïlé Mariam, qui avait renversé le dernier empereur, Haïlé Selassié, en 1974, et sera à son tour balayé par les rebelles tigréens qui contrôlent le régime actuel. « Après 1991, l’Ethiopie a vu se créer un système qui n’existe nulle part ailleurs en Afrique. Chaque ethnie a désormais son Etat, dans un ensemble fédéral. C’est le deal qui a permis à la minorité tigréenne, 6 % de la population, de s’imposer au pouvoir », rappelle l’économiste de Guinée-Bissau Carlos Lopes, un temps en poste à la Communauté économique africaine des Nations unies, dont le siège est à Addis.

    Officiellement, le pouvoir est détenu par une coalition où cohabitent un parti tigréen, un parti #oromo, un autre pour les #Amhara et un dernier regroupant tous les autres, soit plus de 80 ethnies qui forment la nation éthiopienne. Mais en réalité, seuls les #Tigréens contrôlent réellement le pouvoir et notamment l’important secteur sécuritaire et militaire. Cet équilibre est aujourd’hui remis en cause par les manifestations qui enflamment les provinces et ont fait plusieurs centaines de victimes depuis trois ans. Mais c’est moins la pression populaire que son impact à l’intérieur de la coalition qui peut faire vaciller le pouvoir. Car, pour la première fois, les partis « officiels » oromo et amhara refusent de continuer à jouer les marionnettes pour justifier la main mise des Tigréens. Enhardis par la contestation, ils ont eux aussi tendance à élever la voix et à rejoindre les oppositions ethniques qui en province descendent dans la rue pour réclamer plus de liberté. Pour la première fois en 2016, Opdo, le parti oromo de la coalition au pouvoir a ainsi élu ses dirigeants, en refusant les « suggestions » venues de l’appareil central.

    Lemma Megersa, son nouveau jeune leader, est vite devenu très populaire. Bien plus que le Premier ministre sortant qui n’a jamais eu l’aura intellectuelle de son prédécesseur, Meles Zenawi, mort en 2012 et considéré comme l’inspirateur du « développementalisme » à l’éthiopienne. « Le pire danger pour un mauvais gouvernement, c’est le moment où il décide d’entamer des réformes », notait un internaute éthiopien sur Twitter, le jour où le Premier ministre a annoncé sa démission. En ouvrant les portes des prisons pour apaiser la contestation, le régime est-il en train de perdre la main ? A la veille du week-end, la plupart des commentateurs doutaient d’un changement de cap radical. D’autant que le régime, ou plutôt le système mis en place, peut encore se targuer d’une assise solide.

    Bras de fer

    « Le régime actuel a fait le pari du développement, avec un modèle original, souligne ainsi Carlos Lopes. On a libéralisé l’économie tout en protégeant certains secteurs clés, comme les services. Il n’y a toujours pas de banque étrangère en Ethiopie. Ce nationalisme économique a payé en mobilisant efficacement les ressources du pays, sans aucune pression extérieure, pour investir dans le social, la santé, l’éducation. L’un des plus grands projets actuels, le barrage de la Renaissance, censé assurer l’autonomie énergétique du pays, a été entièrement financé par l’appel à l’épargne populaire qui a permis de récolter plus de 400 millions de dollars ! » rappelle encore l’économiste. Mais les promesses du développement, ici comme ailleurs, engendrent de nouvelles attentes.

    Venu d’une famille pauvre du Nord, Betele n’est guère impressionné par l’université où il étudie l’histoire de l’Afrique. « Certes, beaucoup de jeunes ont désormais accès aux études, mais pour l’instant, c’est la quantité plus que la qualité qui prime. On se bat pour avoir une place assise à la bibliothèque ; il n’y a pas d’ordinateurs ; la vie coûte cher », se lamente le jeune homme, indifférent aux multiples constructions, souvent réalisées par les Chinois, qui découpent le paysage d’Addis-Abeba. « L’Ethiopie est la Chine de l’Afrique », faisait d’ailleurs remarquer le 9 janvier un éditorial du Financial Times. « Comme la Chine, son histoire remonte à des milliers d’années et comme la Chine, ce pays africain se considère comme un géant politique. Comme la Chine il y a trente ans, l’Ethiopie a mis en place un plan rigoureux de développement fondé sur l’amélioration des niveaux d’éducation et de santé, l’amélioration de la politique agricole et l’industrialisation », poursuit le journal, ajoutant : « Malheureusement, comme la Chine, ce pays a un gouvernement autoritaire qui réprime son peuple pour rester au pouvoir. Il y a cependant une différence essentielle : l’Ethiopie ne sera pas capable de combiner indéfiniment croissance économique et répression politique. »

    On pourrait croire que le Premier ministre sortant en était arrivé aux mêmes conclusions. Mais en attendant de savoir qui lui succédera, c’est plutôt un bras de fer silencieux qui se poursuit, comme un mouvement de balancier entre ouverture et crispation. « En Ethiopie, les gens sont souvent fatalistes, ça vient en partie de la religion. Mais il faut se méfier des gens passifs ou trop gentils, lorsqu’ils se réveillent », avertissait, début février, un jeune guide devant la tombe du dernier empereur, Haïlé Selassié.
    Maria Malagardis Envoyée spéciale à Addis-Abeba

    #opposants #torture

  • Ethiopia conflict displacement situation report 0.pdf
    https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/system/files/documents/files/ethiopia-_conflict_displacement_situation_report_0.pdf

    This document has been prepared jointly by OCHA and the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), in part

    nership with Cluster Coordinators, to provide an update on the situation of populations displaced due to conflict on the border
    between Oromia and Somali regions, and to inform efforts in mobilizing additional international funding and resources in support
    to the current response.
    I. Displacements O


    #Éthiopie #conflit #territoire #déplacements

  • The point of no return in #Ethiopia
    http://africasacountry.com/2016/10/the-point-of-no-return-in-ethiopia

    Hundreds of Ethiopians have been killed by their government this year. Hundreds. You might not have known because casualty numbers have been played down; “evil forces” and accidents are blamed rather than the soldiers that fired the bullets; we are even deprived of the ability to fully grasp the situation because journalists are not allowed […]

    #POLITICS #Irreechaa_Massacre #Oromo #protests #State_Violence

  • La Guerre et l’exil :

    Solan, exilé d’Ethiopie

    « Je viens d’Ethiopie
    mais je n’aime pas dire
    que je suis Éthiopien. –
    Je suis Oromo. –
    La région Oromia
    est l’une des plus grandes régions d’Ethiopie. –
    La capitale Addis-Abeba
    est au cœur de la région Oromia. –
    Le gouvernement éthiopien vole
    les terres de la population oromo. –
    Ici en Europe, personne n’en parle. –
    Nous sommes 45 millions d’Oromo. –
    C’est une des populations
    les plus importantes du continent africain. –
    Notre région est très fertile
    et le sol est riche en or. –
    C’est pour cela que tout le monde
    est venu en Ethiopie. –
    Européens. –
    Américains. – »

    La suite http://oeuvresouvertes.net/spip.php?article3504

  • Chi sono gli #oromo e perché protestano in Etiopia?

    Quando ha tagliato il traguardo della maratona alle Olimpiadi di Rio de Janeiro l’atleta etiope Feyisa Lilesa ha incrociato le mani sulla testa disegnando una X. La maggior parte di quelli che hanno visto il gesto in diretta non hanno capito quanto fosse pericoloso per Lilesa, che stava protestando contro l’uccisione di centinaia di persone di etnia oromo in Etiopia. Il più grande gruppo etnico del paese protesta da mesi contro il piano del governo di espropriare le sue terre. Ma queste proteste sono state represse nel sangue.


    http://www.internazionale.it/notizie/2016/08/23/oromo-etiopia-feyisa-lilesa
    #Ethiopie

  • Une répression (presque) ignorée en #Éthiopie
    http://www.farmlandgrab.org/post/view/26482-une-repression-presque-ignoree-en-ethiopie

    Depuis Novembre 2015, des manifestions en région #Oromo (Centre et Ouest du pays) et #Amhara (Nord du pays) se déroulent en Ethiopie. A l’origine de ces manifestions, une dénonciation de la domination de la minorité au pouvoir, les Tigréens. A ce jour, environ 700 personnes ont été tuées par le gouvernement de Haile Mariam Desalegn.

    Sans le geste héroïque du marathonien Feyisa Lilesa aux Jeux Olympiques de Rio, la sanglante répression des manifestants dans laquelle s’est engagée le gouvernement éthiopien serait passée inaperçue au sein de la communauté internationale. A l’origine de la colère du peuple Oromo, un #accaparement de leurs terres par l’état qui ensuite les revend à des multinationales, mais aussi l’explosion démographique de la capitale Addis Abeba, ce qui par conséquent amène la ville à grossir et donc spolier les terres Oromos entourant la capitale (en 10 ans, plus de 150000 agriculteurs Oromo ont été chassés de leurs #terres par l’état).

    #répression #meurtres

  • In Egypt, Oromo Asylum Seekers Desperate Enough to Self-Immolate

    Frustrations among Oromo refugees from Ethiopia stranded in Egypt over long waits for their claims to be processed by the U.N. refugee agency and the high rate of rejection have recently mounted to horrifying extremes.


    https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2016/09/12/in-egypt-oromo-asylum-seekers-desperate-enough-to-self-immolate
    #Egypte #réfugiés #asile #migrations #Oromo #réfugiés_oromo #Ethiopie #réfugiés_éthiopiens

  • Une répression (presque) ignorée en #Éthiopie | Le Club de Mediapart
    https://blogs.mediapart.fr/agnes-druel/blog/010916/une-repression-presque-ignoree-en-ethiopie

    Les habitants des régions de Gondar et Bahar Dar dans le nord de l’Éthiopie ont quant à eux rejoint le mouvement de lutte suite à une demande de la communauté de Welkait-Tegede de voir leur région administrée par les Amhara et non plus par les Tigréens. En effet, il y a 25 ans, lorsque le parti actuellement en place est arrivé au pouvoir ( Le Front Démocratique Révolutionnaire ), une loi fédérale sur le découpement des régions se basant sur le langage s’est vue appliquée. Les Welkait-Tegede, malgré leur évidente appartenance à la tribu #Amhara, se sont alors vus rejoindre l’administration Tigréenne malgré leur vive désapprobation.

    Le mouvement de protestation s’est alors amplifié début Août en Ethiopie. #Addis Abeba qui était alors épargnée par les événements est devenue le théâtre d’une sanglante répression policière le samedi 6 août suite à un rassemblement d’environ 500 manifestants #Oromos sur la place Meskel Square. Il y aura officiellement 6 morts ce jour-là dans la capitale éthiopienne. Suite à cet événement, le gouvernement prend la décision de couper internet pendant près d’une semaine. Le vendredi 12 août, internet est de nouveau disponible dans le pays, et des appels à manifester sont alors lancés .Suite à ces mobilisations sur les réseaux sociaux, des compagnies de bus annulent toutes les correspondances en direction d’Addis Abeba, l’armée est dépêchée dans les rues des différents villes, les bus et autres véhicules seront fouillés plusieurs fois sur un même trajet, ainsi que différents contrôles d’identités et de fouilles corporelles opérées toujours par l’armée éthiopienne.

    A Shashamane, ville située au Sud d’Addis Abeba, la situation est tendue ce week-end du 12 août. Ici, les intimidations du gouvernement ne font plus peur, et chacun est déterminé à faire valoir ses droits et à affirmer son opposition aux pratiques gouvernementales. Des français, habitant en Éthiopie depuis 12 ans, nous font part de leur étonnement. Selon eux, l’Éthiopie était un modèle de stabilité en Afrique, mais les récents événements leurs ont démontrés le contraire. En effet, les répressions de l’armée qui ont touchées Shashamane la semaine du 5 août les ont obligés à se confiner 3jours durant, vivant alors au son des échanges de tirs de kalachnikovs entre manifestants et représentant de l’état.

  • #Éthiopie. Des détenus frappés et forcés de comparaître devant un tribunal dans une tenue inadéquate | Amnesty International France
    http://www.amnesty.fr/Presse/Communiques-de-presse/Ethiopie-Des-detenus-frappes-et-forces-de-comparaitre-devant-un-tribunal-dan

    Les autorités éthiopiennes doivent immédiatement mettre fin aux mauvais traitements infligés à des membres de l’#opposition et à des défenseurs des droits humains, qui ont été frappés au cours de leur détention et forcés à comparaître devant un tribunal dans une tenue inadéquate, a déclaré Amnesty International le 3 juin 2016.

    Les 22 accusés, parmi lesquels se trouvaient les dirigeants d’opposition Gurmesa Ayano et Beqele Gerba, président adjoint du Congrès fédéraliste #oromo, ont été conduits le 3 juin devant un tribunal dans une tenue inadéquate. Selon la plainte déposée auprès du tribunal par Beqele Gerba, des accusés ont été frappés pendant leur détention, et des responsables de la prison ont confisqué les costumes noirs de tous les accusés, que ces derniers comptaient porter au tribunal. D’autres détenus leur ont pris leurs autres vêtements.

    « Les autorités pénitentiaires se sont de nouveau rendues responsables d’agissements scandaleux : les accusés ont non seulement été frappés mais ils ont aussi subi un #traitement_dégradant en étant forcés de comparaître devant le tribunal dans leurs sous-vêtements, a déclaré Michelle Kagari, directrice adjointe pour l’Afrique de l’Est et les Grands Lacs à Amnesty International.

    #répression

  • Etiopia, gli #oromo si rivoltano. Addis Abeba reagisce duramente

    Una manifestazione antigovernativa è stata duramente repressa in Etiopia. Secondo quanto riporta l’emittente al Jazeera, in queste settimane le forze di sicurezza di Addis Abeba avrebbero ucciso almeno 140 persone in un giro di vite contro le manifestazioni anti-governative. Le forze dell’ordine si sarebbero accanite in particolare nei confronti degli agricoltori di etnia oromo che protestavano contro i piani di ricollocazione imposti dal Governo nell’ambito dei progetti di sviluppo agricolo. Da parte sua, Addis Abeba ha ammesso che decine di persone sono state uccise e ha promesso indagini severe. Ma i familiari dei manifestanti uccisi e le associazioni per i diritti umani non credono nelle promesse dell’esecutivo e hanno più volte affermato che le inchieste si concluderanno con un nulla di fatto.


    http://www.africarivista.it/99032-2/99032/#sthash.THohdgKy.dpuf
    #Ethiopie #répression #révolte