22 June 2018
Open letter to Honorable Dr. Abiy Ahmed,
Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
First of all, please kindly allow us to express our appreciation for the constant efforts of your government, the EPRDF and the National Assembly which we recognize as an effort geared at ensuring peace and stability both within Ethiopian borders and around the Horn of Africa.
We take cognizance of your government’s latest moves with regard to the Algiers Peace Agreement – an agreement which was reached to end a senseless bloody border war between two brotherly people of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Indeed, this issue has been outrageously lingering in the course of the past 20 years, producing nothing but more pain and agony within and between the Eritrean and Ethiopian people. We noted today, with utmost interest and delight, your government’s decision to unconditionally implement the final and binding decision of the Border Commission ruling dated April 13, 2002. We believe this particular decision was taken as part of the ongoing efforts of your government which is aimed at promoting and forging the cause of peace between all neighboring countries in the Horn of Africa. Indeed, your decision is truly symbolic and Eritreans living inside and outside of the country are following the matter with great interest and hope for a better future.
Similarly, we also take note of a reciprocating and positive response on the part of the government of Eritrea to your government's call for peace. In particular, we mention the remarks of President Isaias Afewerki made on June 20, 2018 on the occasion of Eritrea’s Martyr's day. He unequivocally indicated his acceptance of your invitation and that his government is sending a delegation to Addis Ababa for ‘constructive engagement’ in regard to this matter.
In light of these positive developments, please kindly allow us to draw your attention to some issues and concerns that we have as your government embarks in talks with the delegates of Eritrean government. We present them below and we do so out of sheer desire to see that peace and prosperity reign over the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia. In particular, we strongly believe that any engagement with the Eritrean delegates or any decision thereof has to put the interests of the peoples of both Eritrea and Ethiopia at the forefront.
- We would like to highlight that, your government is well aware of the fundamental fact Eritrea has neither a constitution, parliament or rule of law- it is ruled by one party under the total control of one man. Ever since its existence as an independent state in 1993, Eritrea has never carried out any national election. This creates a great concern in regards to any talks carried out with Eritrean delegates and as such we plead that it receives the necessary attention in the process.
- We wholeheartedly understand that the people of Ethiopia cannot enjoy peace, democracy and prosperity in the absence of such ingredients within the neighboring countries. Ethiopia cannot be an island of peace where the neighborhood remains flooded with insecurities to the human person. In its 27 years of independence, Eritrea is identified as a place where the rights and securities of the human person are simply disregarded and violated on daily bases. By building a network of more than 350 incarceration sites, shipping metal containers and concentration camps countrywide, Eritrea has earned the title of ‘a prison state’. Thousands of prisoners of conscience remain languishing in such prison camps with no communication to the outside world, even to their families. Torture and executions are rampant, and Eritreans’ rights are violated in every possible way. A situation like this continues to cause a lot of pain to the Eritrean people and has become a tremendous destabilizing cause in the neighboring countries.
- Finally, we would like to draw your kind attention to the first years of Eritrean independence and the good relations developed with Ethiopia at the time. Sadly, such good government-to-government relations of the time had created an opportune moment for the government of Eritrea to hunt down its Eritrean opponents who were leading a peaceful life in Ethiopia. It is on record that the Eritrean government security agents and operatives had a kind of ‘safe houses’ in which kidnapped Eritreans were kept, tortured, executed and buried. Many Eritreans disappeared in such cruel operations carried out on Ethiopian soil.
Today, many Eritreans continue to flee their country precisely due to such an oppressive and terrorizing culture of governance in Eritrea. Thousands of Eritrean refugees, human rights defenders and political activists and groups are currently living in Ethiopia. Notwithstanding to the talks with the Eritrean government, we plead with your government to continue providing the necessary legal and security protection they need. Please do not let the sad history repeat itself.
We thank you for your time and kind considerations.
With sincere regards,
Human Rights Concern-Eritrea