Previously persecuted regime critics return to their home country
Refugees need more help (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands more international support for the democratization process in Ethiopia. “If the European Union is trying to reduce flight and migration from Africa, there must be more active measures to support the democratization of Ethiopia. It is irritating that the enormous upheavals at the Horn of Africa hardly play a role in Europe’s politics. The democratization of Ethiopia would be a key to stabilizing a region that has been embattled for decades – which is why millions of people are on the run,” stated Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Sunday. At the same time, the STP welcomed the fact that more and more Ethiopian oppositionists are returning from exile to their home country in order to participate in the democratization process. Today, thousands of people will gather in the capital Addis Ababa to welcome the returning leaders of the Ginbot 7 Movement, who were persecuted for many years.
However, the human rights organization warned that the ongoing ethnic conflicts in the south and the east of the country are an acute threat to the democratization process. “Ethiopia urgently needs more support for the more than one million internally displaced persons who have fled from the attacks and the violence since April 2018,” Delius emphasized. For example, the more than 600,000 refugees from Sidama in the southwest of the country were reluctant to return home because they did not feel safe. There are still human rights violations going on – and those who are responsible are not being held accountable. “In many regions, the democratization process has not yet kicked in, although the country as a whole is making significant progress. Corruption and abuse of power are widespread, fueling human rights violations,” Delius warned.
“Today, Ethiopia can celebrate the return of the leaders of Ginbot 7. This was unimaginable a few months ago,” Delius said. Andargachev Tsige had been released from custody in Ethiopia only in May 2018. The Ethiopian human rights activist, who has a British passport, had been illegally arrested 2014 in Yemen in June 2014 – during a transit flight. He was extradited to Ethiopia, where he was threatened with the death sentence for allegedly supporting terrorism. Ginbot 7 activist Berhanu Nega, who is returning from exile today, was held in prison for political reasons too, for quite a long time. Thousands of supporters will attend a major event in the stadium of the Ethiopian capital to welcome the two democracy activists. They are planning to actively shape the democratization of the country in the future.