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  • PM Abiy Ahmed’s Message to Ethiopian Youth and Children in the Diaspora

    Dear Ethiopian Youth and Children in the Diaspora,

    I am writing this letter to you as an eternal reminder that this country is your home and that you will always be a part of Ethiopia. On my various bilateral-centered travels around the world, I have seen the hope that you embrace for your country, and the type of humane society that you hope Ethiopians would live in. You understand ‘Medemer’ and always have sought ways to be unified as one. Your sensitivity to the needs of others and the immediate action you take to help is at the core of Ethiopia – the New Horizon of Hope. A place of mystical wonders, cultures, rich traditions with a colorful mosaic of people whose faiths are as strong as her people.

    Today, Ethiopia is experiencing a resurrection of hope. Hope that you have fought for from a distance. Hope that you and your parents, near and far, have prayed for. Hope that you held on to even when at times it seemed impossible. You held an enduring love and an unwavering faith in the possibilities of Ethiopia being a great nation. You never lost sight of light that leads to hope. As such, you dressed up and flaunted your Ethiopian identity at your school’s international day celebration; you hosted Ethiopian day and, proactively engaged in policies of your host nations that may concern the betterment of Ethiopia. You proudly held up Ethiopia’s flag wherever you could and defended your country’s glorious history. It is my wish you continue sharing in your various spheres of influence all that makes Ethiopia great.

    It is also my wish that you seize the current prevailing opportunities and good will to contribute to your country when it needs you most. Alongside our greatness, we also shoulder as a country, many challenges and responsibilities that requires our concerted efforts as Ethiopians. As you know the rainy season in Ethiopia is upon us and schools are closed. Similarly, where most of you reside, the summer break is also ahead of you. I hope during the period you will take time to think about your country and the ways in which you can act in its favor. Many of the pleasures and conveniences you enjoy in the respective countries you live in have all been built on solid foundation. The roads you drive on, the playgrounds and parks you play in, the libraries in which you study – those that came before you planted these seeds, watered them and nurtured them until they bloomed.

    As Ethiopian youth and children in the Diaspora, Ethiopia also belongs to you as the next caretaker generation. While my administration and I work tirelessly to build a democratic country, I welcome you to come home during the rainy season and to take part in the new experiences, be a part of the tangible and sustainable developments being made in every corner and direction, teach us to do things differently and better with your immeasurable knowledge, and to simply enjoy the various tourism attractions and destinations Ethiopia, your home country, has to offer.

    While the needs are plenty and the opportunities to contribute even greater, I call upon you to at least engage in the following five things during the Ethiopian rainy season and your respective summer breaks:

    1. Do not lose hope on your country. Focus your energy and drive on the seedlings of hope for they will soon flourish into reality with our collective efforts. Believe that we have the capacity to change; to act and to make history. Let not temporary obstacles be a defining factor.
    2. Be a vehicle for knowledge transfer to Ethiopia. Introduce novel ways of doing things. Collect books, computers, medical equipment and other technologies where you are so that you may change the lives of your brothers and sisters here that need you. Develop digital libraries and enable students in Ethiopia to have free access to resources. Come and volunteer to teach skills and courses in schools here.
    3. More importantly, you must organize yourselves to collect catalogues of books and other print materials in as many languages as possible for the newly announced library that is to be constructed in Addis Ababa as to ensure Ethiopia’s next-generation leaders, doctors, scientist, educators and interest of all fields do not leave Ethiopia to research any topic of interest whether it is for graduate, undergraduate, masters or PhD programs.
    4. Come and volunteer your time in various establishments throughout the country and share your knowledge and skills of modern and innovative service delivery. Ethiopia calls on the diaspora community to serve your home country through various types of volunteer activities such as the #EveryDayWeCleanEthiopia cleaning and cleansing initiative and the four billion tree planting project.
    5. Organize various youth discussion platforms in which you can share ideas on current challenges in the country and opportunities for overcoming them. Present study papers and discuss among yourselves; generate ideas and solutions and share them with us.

    I have paid and continue to pay keen attention to your economic abilities and contributions. We must work together to narrate the story of the present and set in stone the guiding principles for the future. With the rapid changes, Ethiopia’s societal needs are insurmountable and evident. The resources that are at the disposal of the diaspora community are immeasurable. Our collective efforts are paramount in stabilizing the paradigm shift and one of the key ways to do so is through philanthropic endeavors and volunteerism.

    Similarly, I want to remind us all about our the most important sector that the Ethiopian diaspora can make a meaningful contribution in which will have an almost immediate impact – the tourism sector. Ethiopia boasts a total of nine UNESCO Heritage sites with eight of the nine sites being cultural sites with one natural site. While tourism has lagged in the past, Ethiopia has introduced many reforms making tourism one of the key priority sectors for investment. It is no secret; tourism has compounded impact. Tourism contributes to local small and medium scale businesses, generates profits at every level of the sector, creates sustainable jobs. Ethiopia will benefit from the tax revenues generated and income across all regions will increase. Tourism, by far, creates the most direct effect within the sector specially in lodging, restaurants, transportation, museums and retail.

    Here is where the diaspora community support is important for tourism by being the ambassadors of all things Ethiopia, encouraging global destination management agencies to turn their face towards Ethiopia and even, chaperoning groups to visit Ethiopia. It goes without saying that the diaspora holds many of the pertinent keys that will accelerate the growth and sustainable development of this country.

    While Ethiopia was built to be a great nation, I write this letter to affirm that you are needed in strengthening the pillars of Ethiopia as part of the elaborate mosaic of diverse people that comprise it. Greatness is only achieved when Medemer is our collective cause; a strong, unified Ethiopia that is filled with endless possibilities for her children today, tomorrow and generations to come. Welcome home to Ethiopia.

    Abiy Ahmed Ali
    Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

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  • Eritrea celebrated its 28th anniversary of independence

    May 24, 2019

    Eritrea celebrated the 28th anniversary of its independence. Yemane Gebremeskel, Eritrea’s Minister for information, announced on his Twitter page that the theme for this year’s celebration is “Resilience for Higher Progress”

    The Eritrean president, Isayas Afeworki, reminded his people as to what underpins Eritrea’s resilience.

    “To highlight a few of the principal values that underpin our resilience: Not to succumb and yield to force and intimidation!…. Not to cede to illicit and duplicitous machinations! Not to compromise one’s dignity and values for cheap rewards and inducements! Not to be distressed under extreme duress! Not to be disheartened by overwhelming challenges! Not to tire with hard work! Not to spare one’s toil and blood, including one’s life!… Not to relent until objectives are achieved! ”

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has conveyed a message for the government and people of Eritrea. “I would like to convey my congratulations to the people and government of Eritrea on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of Independence Day,” Abiy Ahmed wrote.

    Eritrean president Isayas Afeworki made a speech to the crowd gathered to celebrate the independence day :

    “In this new era and without departing from the fundamental principles of nation-building, our cardinal objectives consist of creating and augmenting national wealth through hard work and efficient productivity, and, ensuring equitable distribution of resources and opportunities. Our principal aim is to transform the primordial subsistence economy to a modern and developed industrial economy to bring sustainable change in the quality of life to vast segments of the population; especially those deprived in the past. ”

    as published on Eritrea’s Ministry of Information website.

    This year’s celebration is unique from the past twenty years’ of celebration in the sense that Eritrea is celebrating it after closing a chapter of two decades of ‘no peace, no war’ relation with Ethiopia.

    Tiffany Hadish, an American-Eritrean actress and comedian, has joined the celebration in Eritrea.

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  • Foreign Minister Gedu Meets with Members of the Diplomatic Corps

    May 22, 2019

    Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Gedu Andargachew met with members of the diplomatic community-based in Addis Ababa at Skylight Hotel this afternoon (May 22).

    Minister Gedu expressed his pleasure to serve his country in his new capacity as Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister, at this historic juncture, in which he says, the country is undergoing transformation reform.

    The Minister said, “The Reform in Ethiopia has set a clear Agenda from the very outset,” noting that it began with, the releasing of political prisoners and opening up of the political space to opposition groups both in the country and those that have been exiled for decades. “This new approach was with the intention of widening the political space for an inclusive process of Democratic Reform, which touched on institutions, such as the Election Board and the Justice System,” he added.

    Foreign Minister Gedu also noted the reform in the economic frontiers, including efforts to give more space to the private sector and expedite creative schemes. He also mentioned the ongoing work of revising Ethiopia’s foreign policy.

    While noting that the reform is going in the right direction, Minister Gedu said there are still challenges in the process. In such score, he said, institutionalizing the reform has been crucial, thus calling on the diplomatic community to continue its support to Ethiopia’s reform agenda.

    Speaking of the multiplier effect of the reform on peace and security of the Horn of Africa region and economic integration, Foreign Minister Gedu took note of the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the positive winds of change in the South Sudan peace process, which he says; his country has led as the IGAD Chair together with member countries.

    Expressing his and that of the ministry’s commitment to closely work with members of the diplomatic community, Minister Gedu said, “I would like to honor your strong stance in considering Ethiopia as a close friend of your respective countries”.

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  • 53 Ethiopians charged in connection with deadly riots that left 16 people dead

    ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua) — The Ethiopia Federal Attorney General Office on Thursday charged 53 people in connection with deadly riots in June 2018 that left 16 people dead.

    The 53 suspects are accused of engaging in riots in the Benishangul Gumuz regional state, located in the western part of the country, in June that left 16 people dead, reported state media outlet Ethiopia News Agency.

    The suspects include the former mayor of Assosa, capital of Benishangul Gumuz regional state, as well as head of the region’s special police office.

    Over the past year, Benishangul Gumuz regional state has been experiencing intermittent violence, including deadly disputes among locals and other ethnic groups residing in the region.

    Benishangul Gumuz, located along the Ethiopia-Sudan border, hosts Ethiopia’s largest development project, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The dam is being built on the Blue Nile River.

    Ethiopia follows an ethnic federalism model, which has been credited with giving self-governance rights to more than 80 ethnic groups that make up the country’s estimated 105 million people.

    However, critics say the ethnic federalism model magnifies ethnic diversity at the expense of national unity, leading to occasional ethnic tension and clashes.

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  • Senior RI Advocate: Ethiopia’s Treatment of Its Own IDPs Making Crisis Worse

    Refugees International released the following statement in response to renewed efforts by the government of Ethiopia to forcibly return internally displaced people in the country’s south: 

    Last year, in southern Ethiopia, intercommunal violence caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. Refugees International (RI) is deeply alarmed by the Ethiopian government’s renewed effort to carry out forced returns of these internally displaced people (IDPs).

    “The government’s actions are making an ongoing humanitarian crisis even worse,” said RI Senior Advocate Mark Yarnell, who traveled to southern Ethiopia in September 2018. “I met displaced people who described horrific levels violence, including entire villages burned to the ground. The government pushing people to return to their home communities prematurely will only add to the ongoing suffering.”

    Refugees International’s September mission to the affected area showed that government officials were coercing premature returns by restricting the delivery of assistance in IDP camps and telling displaced people they would receive assistance only if they returned home, even though many home areas remained insecure and damaged by the violence. IDPs who did return often ended up living in crowded secondary displacement sites near their destroyed homes. Renewed violence in December forced some to again flee for their lives.

    However, last month, in an ostensibly positive development, the federal government presented a draft IDP Strategic Plan to ensure that any returns or relocations would be “voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable.” Furthermore, officials said they would learn from the problems of earlier return efforts.

    Unfortunately, recent reporting demonstrates that the government is again coercing people to return—this time by demolishing existing sites, specifically in Gedeo zone, and leaving IDPs with no other options.

    “This is in no way voluntary and a major breach of basic rights,” said Yarnell. “The irony is that the Ethiopian government has been receiving international praise—deservedly so—for its increasingly progressive policies toward refugees, including promoting their right to work and access national services. But the way it’s treating its own displaced citizens is not only shameful, it’s inhumane.”

    Refugees International urges the government to pause the current return effort until its Strategic Plan can be carried out in a manner that is truly voluntary, sustainable, and in collaboration with displaced people themselves.

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