Your Excellency Dr. Abiy Ahmed
Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
cc: The Honorable Ambassador Dr. Hailemichael Aberra Afework
London, United Kingdom
23 November 2018
Dear Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed,
Re: The peace process and relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea
Firstly, please allow us to extend our greetings to you, your family and the neighbourly people of Ethiopia.
We are compelled to write this letter to appeal to you and your government in the hope that you will take measures that will place the process of normalization of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea on the right track.
In June 2018, when you bravely extended the olive branch and announced that Ethiopia will accept the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) and implement it fully and without precondition, we welcomed the news with great hope and delight.
Unfortunately, in the five months since your announcement, what has transpired does not give us any reason to be hopeful; on the contrary, we now have real concerns that the peace process may prove to be unsustainable.
The following are highlights of our concerns:
As you are well aware, Eritrea has no parliament, nor any kind of people’s assembly, nor a leader that has the consent of the people. As such, any deals or agreements conducted without transparency could end up harming the long-term relations of the two countries for years to come.
While we firmly believe that Eritrean political problems should be solved by Eritreans themselves, publicly praising the Eritrean dictator while ignoring the gross abuse of human rights and the crimes against humanity committed against the Eritrean people can only amount to condoning his behavior and endorsing his repressive policy.
Thanks to the generosity of the Ethiopian people, for years now, Eritreans have been flocking to Ethiopia to seek refuge until the situation in their homeland improves. Ethiopia as a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol, and is duty-bound to protect them. Now, as agents of the repressive regime in Eritrea roam freely in Ethiopia, we are very concerned that their security and safety is now in jeopardy.
Over 20 years ago, an unresolved border issue ignited into a full-fledged war that claimed over 100 thousand lives and displaced millions more from both sides. Now, months after the signing of the peace agreement, the border demarcation is not being given the priority it deserves.
In the past few months, while some Ethiopians continue to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Eritrea, we have witnessed dangerous expressions by some Ethiopian senior public figures and demonstration organizers that blatantly ignores Eritrea’s independence. Unless some clear message is conveyed by you, Dr. Abiy, we believe that this growing sentiment will result in resentment and trigger a conflict that will compromise the peace process.
Once again, while we welcome the good relations that are being established between Eritrea and Ethiopia, we do not see any real attempts to acknowledge the egregious human rights situation in Eritrea. Lasting peace and reconciliation between our sisterly countries can only be built on a foundation of truth, trust and transparency.
We sincerely ask you to make public announcements that your government does not endorse tyranny and human rights abuses in Eritrea; that you fully intend to demarcate the border according to the ruling of the EEBC; that you will continue to protect Eritrean refugees and political activists; and last but not least, that you will ask Ethiopians to respect and not undermine the wishes and territorial integrity of Eritrea.
Eritreans, peaceful protest participants of the November 23, 2018 London Demonstration, outside the Ethiopian Embassy, London, United Kingdom