May 22, 2006
A historic meeting convened, by the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP), the Ethiopian People's Patriotic Front (EPPF), the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Sidama Liberation Front (SLF) and the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), at Utrecht in Netherlands, from 19 to 22 of May 2006 has successfully completed by forming the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) and elected its officers. The UEDF supports the formation of the alliance and its objectives and has requested a month to consult its member organizations. The formation of the Alliance is an outcome of a series of bilateral and multilateral discussions conducted in the past several months. The Founding Agreement has been unanimously accepted and ratified by all members of the Alliance. The formation of this Alliance reflects the aspirations and best wishes of all people in Ethiopia whose life has been blighted by political repression, marginalization and exclusion.
The ultimate aim of the Alliance is to establish a just, representative and a genuine democratic process through the convening of an all-inclusive conference where the country’s problems will be discussed and resolved.
We are confident that the formation of this Alliance will be a vehicle to eliminate mistrust and suspicion between political groups and communities so that all will work together in the spirit of mutual understanding and to the benefit and well-being of all. We believe the collective effort behind the Alliance will put an end to the existing destructive mentality of winner takes all and the habitual indifference towards the excluded. The Alliance aspires to purposefully cultivate the values of compromise, tolerance, inclusion, reconciliation and mutual understanding. That is the only way to end the underlying causes of repression, bloodshed, insecurity, political instability and exclusion in Ethiopia and the region, which are inflicting severe hardships and suffering on all people, and seriously hampers the prospects for development and the attainment of equality, justice and prosperity.
Time and time again the people in Ethiopia have risen up and paid unimaginable sacrifice to satisfy their yearning for freedom, justice, liberty and democracy. The struggle and the sacrifice that is being paid in relation to the May 15 2005 election is a recent addition to the series of quashed aspirations.
Our people have demonstrated their readiness and ability that a just and democratic political order is feasible in Ethiopia. What stands between the aspiration for freedom and democracy and its realization is the unwillingness of the incumbent EPRDF regime to submit to the expressed will of the people and its flagrant violations of human rights and civil liberties and failure to even respect and abide by its very own constitution.
The Alliance will therefore struggle to pressure the ruling party to stop frustrating the realization of the yearning for freedom and democracy. The Alliance would use its generous spirit of inclusiveness in convening the conference that would facilitate a way towards the establishment of a democratic and representative order.
We call upon all the people in Ethiopia, both at home and abroad, to rise up in unison to support the cause of the Alliance and struggle to make the convening of the conference, which paves the way for a democratic transition, a reality. The struggle should continue to challenge the current spate of repression in the country, halt the futile and destructive military campaigns, security crackdowns and end the farcical political trial of elected members of parliament and others and to free all political prisoners, including those detained in the small towns and villages.
We also call upon the international community to realize that dialogue and good-faith negotiation offers the only way to achieve a lasting solution and back the alliance's call for this all-inclusive conference to break the current impasse. We hope the international community will realize that peace and stability, sustainable development and good governance can be a reality in Ethiopia only when the disfranchisement of the many by the few is stopped and by bringing all the stakeholders together to chart a genuinely democratic course.
Ethiopian's problems are immense and grossly complicated. Convening an all-inclusive conference to address them is well over due. We do not underestimate the obstacles and challenges facing us. However, with patience and perseverance we are certain that we will succeed.
The Alliance would hold a Press Conference to lay out its vision and work programs in detail.
Freedom and Democracy for all!