In 2004, memorial ceremonies for the victims of the Rwandan genocide caused the world to begin to awaken to the slaughter of innocent civilians in Darfur. “Never again,” became the rallying cry for a movement to save Darfur.
Tragically, today, even as the world community unites to end the killing in Darfur, policymakers are ignoring a new Darfur, a spreading conflict in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia that could become the spark that enflames all of Ethiopia.
The Alliance for Democracy and Freedom (AFD), therefore, calls on the international community to act now to halt human rights abuses in the Ogaden --and before it is too late to prevent the next Darfur.
In recent weeks, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRS), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Human Rights Watch and the New York Times have all reported that Ethiopian government soldiers have forced thousands of civilians in the Ogaden to abandon their homes. Whole villages and food stocks have been torched by government soldiers. Civilians refusing to leave their homes and villages have been tortured, raped and killed. In direct violation of international humanitarian law, the Ethiopian government has used food as a weapon in its military campaign against the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). The government has blocked humanitarian agencies from providing food, medicine and other assistance to civilians in the region. And it has arrested and expelled the few journalists who have tried to report on the human toll of the Ethiopian government’s desperate efforts to crush democratic opposition in the region.
The AFD urges the people of Ethiopia to stop this madness. It is urgent that we rise in solidarity to support our suffering brothers and sisters in the Ogaden. We must unite in declaring that injustice against any person or group in any part of the country is an injustice committed against all of us.
RAISE YOUR VOICES!
DEMAND THAT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY PRESSURE THE ETHIOPIAN GOVERNMENT TO STOP THE ATROCITY AND TO ALLOW HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS AND JOURNALISTS IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO THE OGADEN.
AFD believes that the military action, no matter how brutal, cannot quash the people’s desire for democracy and freedom. The problem in the Ogaden is a political problem -- and it will only be solved by a comprehensive political solution that addresses not just the crisis in the Ogaden, but also the wider political problems in the country. It is for this reason that AFD is calling for an all-inclusive process of dialogue.
The Struggle for Freedom and Democracy shall prevail!
Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD)
September 6, 2007
The Alliance for Democracy and Freedom includes opposition groups representing the vast majority of the 77 million people living in Ethiopia