Response to References made about Ginbot 7 in the Report of the Monitoring Group of Somalia and Eritrea (here after SEMG), Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2111 (2013).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TO: The United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee
FROM: Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy.
DATE: October 27, 2014
SUBJECT: Response to References made about Ginbot 7 in the Report of the Monitoring Group of Somalia and Eritrea (here after SEMG), Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2111 (2013).
Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy expresses its high regards to The United Nations Security Council, and would like to use this opportunity and bring to the attention its reservations regarding some references made about it in SEMG report of October 13, 2014.
1. The SEMG report states that “Ginbot 7 is a banned opposition group”. We would like to call the attention of the International Community to the infamous “Anti-Terrorism Proclamation” promulgated by the TPLF/EPRDF regime of Ethiopia with the aim of stifling political dissent. The dictatorial regime has used this proclamation as an instrument to label and criminalize Ginbot 7, as well as other political opposition organizations, human rights advocacy groups, civil society, journalists and bloggers inside and outside of Ethiopia.
2. Let alone the claim in the report that Ginbot 7 was established in 2005, which is categorically false, even the so-called Anti-Terrorism Proclamation was not promulgated until 2009.
Ginbot 7 was formed in 2008 after few members among its leadership spent almost two years in prison in the aftermath of the ill-fated election of May 15, 2005. As well known by the International community, the regime overturned the election results that clearly showed the opposition party Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) has won the majority throughout the country. This is a fact corroborated by international election observes such as the European Union’s Election Monitoring Group that was present in Ethiopia to observe the election in 2005. Those who formed Ginbot7, then leaders of the CUD, were among the leaders thrown in prison on trumped up charges.
Ginbot 7 was formed as a political movement in order to advance justice, freedom, and liberal democracy in Ethiopia. Ginbot 7 believes that no meaningful and genuinely competitive elections can take place in the country due to the prevailing and ever worsening egregious human rights violations, the closing of political space, the harassment and persecution of members of the legal and peaceful political opposition. Furthermore, an entrenched minority ethnocratic dictatorship in Ethiopia has determined to perpetuate its hold on power by all and any means necessary.
3. SEMG’s claim in the report that Ginbot 7 was established by “Amhara elites” is grossly erroneous given the ethno-religious mix of its leadership and membership. The report’s characterization of Ginbot 7 as an organization established by “Amhara elites” is not only factually inaccurate, but a clear indication of the bias of the report. It seems like SEMG has bought lock, stock and barrel the dictatorial regime’s fabricated story of Ethiopian politics as an entirely ethnic based phenomena.
The SEMG could have easily established the facts by taking a cursory look at Ginbot 7′s website rather than unquestioningly accepting the regime’s characterization with regard to Ginbot 7′s multi ethnic membership and leadership, its organizational principle and its well established position on ethnic based politics in Ethiopia. No effort seems to have been made by the SEMG to balance its report by counterchecking its claims from Ginbot 7 or other sources instead of recycling the minority regime’s long standing targeting and demonization of the Amharas, the second largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.
4. The SEMG, despite its familiarity with political conditions in the Horn of Africa, fails to realize what is very obvious to all regarding the TPLF/EPRDF regime’s agitation, use of threat, torture and at times bribery when presenting helpless prisoners under its custody to echo unfounded guilt they are coerced to rehearse for interviews and media presentations. Hence, presenting forced confessions and unreliable information from such prisoners as evidence is beyond comprehension.
5. The SEMG’s claim to have retrieved information from an alleged Ginbot 7 fighter captured in Gonder is no different from what is explained above.
6. SEMG’s reference in its report to weapons’ serial numbers to suggest the source of certain weapons as being from Eritrea, clearly neglects the fact that numerous prisoners of war, weapons and ammunitions have exchanged hands between Ethiopian and Eritrean forces during their numerous wars.
7. Needless to say that the SEMG has been manipulated to construe that Ginbot 7 needs to extend its recruitment to the southern tip of Africa, while what Ginbot 7 objectively faces is the capacity to accommodate the tens of thousands forcing their ways into its fold from amongst the millions who support it. These are Ethiopians from very diverse backgrounds seeking a genuinely liberal democratic and just order, freedom and equality which have been denied to them by the brutal dictatorial regime of the TPLF/EPRDF.
8. It is unfortunate to note that the SEMG has been misguided to misrepresent Ginbot 7’s prevailing organizational reality that clearly demarcates boundary between its own political bodies from that of other organizations that may have opted to attain their objectives by any other means they deem appropriate.
9. Ginbot 7 found the claim in the report regarding persons SEMG suggests were received by Andargachew Tsege upon their arrival in Asmara and who have “joined a group of 30 to 60 Ginbot 7 fighters at Harena Military Camp” comical, simply because the arithmetic percentile between 30 and 60 is 100% and hence too large a difference for any wrong guessing.
10. The SEMG clearly states in its report that it was unable to verify the claims of the alleged Ginbot 7 fighters, which begs the question, then, as to why the SEMG had to dwell in its defamatory claims and tarnish the image of Ginbot 7.
11. The same can be said about SEMG’s statement in its report regarding its inability to assess the extent of this unsubstantiated support as compared with Asmara’s support of Ginbot 7 in the past.
12. The SEMG seems to be deliberately overlooking or otherwise incognizant of TPLF/EPRDF regime’s well recorded expertise in passport, travel document, and other forms of forgeries going back to its days as a guerrilla force. Had this not been the case, understanding the nature of documents presented to it by the regime’s security officials, should not have been beyond the comprehension of the SEMG.
The allegations by SEMG may be well calculated and deliberate distortions aimed at upholding the sanctions imposed on Eritrea. However, we fail to comprehend why Ginbot 7, or the Ethiopian people for whose rights our organization is struggling for, is interjected in these maneuvers.
Ginbot 7, however, would like to use this opportunity to assure all concerned, including the United Nation’s Security Council, that it is ready to give freely and candidly tangible explanations related to its mission and the achievements in the process of registering its just struggle.
Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy would like to respectfully conclude its MEMORANDUM by strongly affirming that it stands ready and willing to cooperate with the International Community, in good faith, and contribute everything within its capacity for sustainable regional peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.
We look forward to your timely reply.