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HRW “Following the Usual Suspect”

HRW “Following the Usual Suspect”

Amen Teferi  04-04-17

I strongly believe Human Right Watch (HRW)  will simply continue to accuse the Ethiopian government whenever it gets chance to do so, whether or not we furnish it with solid facts that would be difficult to refute. For it would be a futile attempt to dissuade HRW, I do not want to grapple with the all allegations in the weedy statement it has published on March 23, 2017. Rather, I will simply try point out some issues that would reveal the true nature HRW and draw a larger picture that would contextualize its allegations. This could serve as a backdrop to the persistent smearing venture of the HRW against the Ethiopian government.

A fortnight ago, HRW has come with yet another edition of unscrupulous allegation on the Ethiopian government. In a letter addressed to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs/Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, the HRW make many outrageous claims. Following the appearance of the public statement of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the HRW expressed its “deep disappointment” claiming that the statement issued by the commission is “one-sided.”

Referring to the EU public statement published on March 17, 2017, HRW criticize the public statement as “one-sided” for it “focus only on the important European Union partnerships with Ethiopia on humanitarian assistance, migration, refugees, and economic growth, and reiterate your support for the dialogue with the political opposition currently underway.”

Hence, HRW is unhappy with the public statement published after the EU delegation concluded its visit to Ethiopia a couple of weeks ago. HRW’s letter advised EU to be strict or harsh on Ethiopia. Being soft with Ethiopia does not serve EU’s interest as it would not be “conducive to Ethiopia’s long-term stability or the EU’s ability to partner with Ethiopia on areas of mutual interest.”


Thus, in a letter it wrote to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs/Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, HRW shows no compromise in demonizing the Ethiopian government. Here I cannot be exhaustive in listing the galaxy of accusations the HRW made against Ethiopia. HRW, among other things, has alleged: 

·         Over 20,000 in “rehabilitation camps” since the state of emergency (wait a minute, are they still in detention or not?);

·         With state of emergency law the widespread and long-standing restrictions on media and civil society groups continue to be enforced;

·         Opposition leaders still remain in detention on politically motivated charges and the government continue to harass political opposition members and supporters through criminal charges arbitrary detention;

·         Members of the opposition parties have difficulty in accessing the benefits of development and humanitarian assistance, including that provided by the EU and its member states. We may keep on listing, but that serve no purpose.

All these allegations are sheer lies. In fact, our development partners are flagged with these long-standing allegations HRW is making. For instance, four or five years ago, there was a similar allegation that the Ethiopian government is manipulating humanitarian assistance for ends and thus members or supporters of “opposition parties have difficulty accessing the benefits of development and humanitarian assistance.” This wild allegation rose deep frustration among our development partners, who immediately decided to send a team that would investigate and verify those claims. The fact-finding team pays a brief visit to the areas concerned to validate the allegation. Then, the team had publicly disclosed that the allegations were nothing but hot air.

Now, HRW has brought similar allegations and advised the EU to sever its relationships with Ethiopia and urged the Commission to postpone the EU-Ethiopia Business Forum “until the abusive provisions of the state of emergency are lifted.”

I assume that the EU has clearly understood these talking shop allegations. Therefore, the EU banished the allegations made by HRW and goes on partnering with the Ethiopian government. That is why the EU-Ethiopia Business Forum was conducted in Addis Ababa as scheduled. Disregarding the charges and appeals of the HRW, Norway has hailed Ethiopia’s generosity towards refugees and expressed its earnest interest to extend support to bolster Ethiopia effort in this regard.  

The HRW also instructed that the Ethiopian “government should make progress on implementing reforms that are crucial for a rights-respecting business environment, such as the repeal or substantial amendment of the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP).” I know the CSP is a devouring monster to all rights groups who wish to meddle in our internal affairs. They do not want to see home-grown civil society organizations that have the freedom and independence to act to promote the agendas and interests of their own constituency. We want civil society organizations that are free from the financial and political rein of the Western Empire. That is why HRW denounce “restrictions on financing.” Sure, we know that the Charities and Societies Proclamation is demise to international agencies like HRW who wanted to implement regime change project in third world countries like Ethiopia.

Moreover, HRW expose its colonial master spirit when it says “…this should have been stressed privately and publicly to the prime minister.” Here it failed to take note of an important lesson from the Ethiopian history. As Ethiopian history would tell us repeatedly, Ethiopian leaders are always vigilantly on guard against any encroachment on the sovereignty of their country. And EPRDF has never been willing to be subservient to the dictate of any international bureaucrats or government.       

Against all odds EPRDF has independently charted a developmental path and keep on moving unperturbed. Thus, in the eyes some of neo-liberal agencies like the HRW, it is considered as “bad apple.” These agencies are unpleasant about the posture Ethiopia has taken, for it is likely to “corrupt” those around it and they felt that this must be urgently corrected.

In fact, the Western Empire is doing remarkably well, if we measure success by the ability to control the world, to condition the brains of human beings on all continents, and to crush almost all dissent, at home and abroad.

In my view, HRW and its likes are not successful in ensuring human rights at home and abroad, but they do well in caging the whole humanity in a “Human Zoo” where the respect for human rights a means to an end and not an end in itself. Although they are very much complacent about the human rights situation in their own home towns, the fact on the ground declare a state of fiasco.

We see despicable human rights situation in their home town. What almost entirely disappeared from the life in the Western Empire is human joy. Paradoxically enough, in the very centers of these powers, most people seem to be living anxious, unfulfilled, almost frightened lives. Wait a minute; shouldn’t citizens of the conquering part of the world, of the victorious regime, be at least confident and optimistic? But they are not..

Many critics of the west have already outlined in details (in colorful language) the main causes of these depression and dissatisfaction with life, which are literally devouring alive those hundreds of millions of European and North American citizens. And the situation is mostly analyzed from socioeconomic angle.

However, I think that the most important causes for the present state of things are much simpler: the West and its colonies almost entirely destroyed the most essential human instincts: people’s ability to dream, to feel passionate about things, to rebel and to ‘get involved’ in what they see right.

Therefore, as Ethiopia tries to move along the developmental path of its choice, these agencies are uncomfortable and that has become to be sufficient reason for these neo-liberal agents to persistently disparage Ethiopia and its government.

The HRW usually doesn’t want to understand anything in depth, or to be truly critical in its monitoring and evaluation of the situation in Ethiopia. Quite the contrary, they simply wake up and run to publish their slanderous and ignominious reports.

They are not after truth. Rather, they are trying to distort facts by giving false colors that suits their interest. They are all out to murder truth that does not serve their vested interest. Amazingly they have effectively murder people’s ability to consider totally new concepts, and especially to rebel against the intellectual clichés and stereotypes. Therefore, it is no wonder that the middle class Europeans and North Americans are among the most conformist people on earth.

These people are so damaged that they cannot fight for anything, anymore (though, sometimes, they may fight for their own personal and selfish interests); they cannot take sides, and cannot even identify their own goals and desires. They constantly try (and fail) to ‘find something meaningful’ and ‘fulfilling’ they could do in life. It is always about them finding something, not about joining meaningful struggles or inventing something thoroughly new for the sake of humanity!

People were actually robbed of life, robbed of natural human feelings, of warmth, of passion, even of love itself (what they call ‘love’ is often surrogate, and nothing more). The success of the Empire to produce obedient, scared and unimaginative beings is now complete!

Big corporations are thriving; elites are collecting enormous booty, while great majority of people in the West is gradually losing its ability to dream and to feel. Without those preconditions, no rebellion is possible. Lack of imagination, accompanied by emotional numbness, is the most effective formula for stagnation, even regression. That is why the West is finished. HRW is following the usual suspect.

For many decades, countries that are dubbed by the west as “under developed or developing” were flocked on a development paths that are not only irrelevant but also misguided. Every time a certain expert at the Breton Woods comes up with a weird and politically embedded economic ideas the so called developing countries would always be forced to take up a different road that further complicate the lives of the people.

As annuls of history could clearly testify, no significant change was ever achieved by following the prescriptions of these agencies. Countries in the third world could definitely achieve a lot, if they are left alone to be the author of their destiny.

Thanks to our visionary leaders, who have the knack for economic principles and the courage to stand alone and the commitment to translate ideas into practice, we are registering admirable economic progress. These revolutionary leaders are symbolizing the true meaning of leadership by fully committing themselves and dedicated their lives to something important to their people and made heroic struggles that can make difference. In my view, trying to build better world, fighting for better world, even dying for it is the most glorious thing that a human beings should achieve in their lifetime.

In the West, such approach is dead, thoroughly destroyed. There, cynicism reigns. You have to challenge everything, trust nothing, and commit to nothing. You are expected to mistrust any government. You should ridicule everyone who believes in something, especially if that something is pure and noble. You simply have to drag through filth any grandiose attempt to improve the world, whether it is happening in Ethiopia, Ecuador, Philippines, China, Russia or South Africa.

To see a leadership that show strong feeling for developmental path that is alien for an expert or leader in the west, then that political party or the government that is still capable of some fire and passion, is met with mocking sarcasm.


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