Jul 11, 2018

European Parliament Conference: 2018 Ethiopia - Ways Toward Politically-Inclusive Democracy


11 July 2018 | 11.00 - 14.00 | Room A6G306

European Parliament, Brussels

On 11 July 2018 the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), in collaboration with the Peoples’ Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD) will organise a conference entitled “2018 Ethiopia - Ways Toward Politically-Inclusive Democracy”. This conference will be co-hosted by MEP Julie Ward and MEP Ana Gomes from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, as well as MEP Jordi Solé from the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance.

From 2015, following an eruption of suppressed anger at the government’s repressive form of governance with political, civic and media opposition figures being detained and freedom of expression being criminalised, Ethiopia has experienced great popular uplifting. Country-wide waves of protests, many of which were concentrated in the areas inhabited by the Oromo community, have been met with incredible violence by security forces and paramilitary groups with tens of thousands of protesters arrested and over 1,000 civilians killed in the last two years. Since the appointment of new prime minster Abiy Ahmed on 2 April 2018, thousands of political prisoners, whose releases Ethiopian officials had repeatedly denied in the last 26 years, were freed - but many remain in jail. Some organisations have also been removed from Ethiopia’s “terror list”, even thoughthe way forward is not set formally with substantive oppositions during negotiations.  

The instability Ethiopia currently faces is due partly to the unrepresentative and puppet democracy the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition maintains – the latter having gained total political control following rigged elections in 2005, 2010 and 2015. However, power dynamics have changed in the past months, with the appointment of an Oromo Prime Minister, which counterbalances the previous domination of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) over the EPRDF. Following this impulse, a new organised and all-inclusive political opposition platform is necessary to bring a democratic response to today’s regime. It is in this perspective that the PAFD was founded in October 2015.

The PAFD’s political alliance currently represents over 60% of the population in Ethiopia, including the peoples of Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, Ogaden, Oromia and Sidama. In the course of the summer of 2018 and as a follow-up to its all-inclusive conference held in London, United Kingdom on 24 and 25 February 2018, the PAFD, in collaboration with the UNPO, will be holding a wide dialogue to reach out more political forces of Ethiopia in order to discuss Ethiopia’s democratic prospects, featuring fellow opposition parties and held in the European Parliament. The PAFD and the participants of the London conference seek to rally and unite all opposition political organisations, in order to start a dialogue and discuss possible political solutions to bring peace and stability by averting the political, humanitarian and human rights crisis in the country. This conference will allow journalists, civil society representatives and politicians to discuss the Ethiopian opposition’s commitment to work together for peace, freedom, justice and democracy in the country. The international community and European institutions’ role in this exchange will be to complement and support this democratic effort to find solutions through cooperation, dialogue and peaceful initiatives.

Registration is now closed for this event.

For further information please send us a message with your name and organization to a.preeldumas@unpo.org.

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