Why the West Insists on “quiet diplomacy”

By Oromsis Adula*

At a conference organized in Nairobi, Kenya, the New York based Human Rights Watch released its much anticipated and timely report on Ethiopia. The 66-page document entitled “One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure” details a widespread abuse and repression in Ethiopia. As Ethiopians mutedly prepare for a pretentious election intended to crown the minority regime for the fourth consecutive time, HRW releases this document criticizing the west for it’s quite and behind the door diplomacy towards Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is the largest recipient of foreign aids from among other donors the United States and the UK. In recent months, a row between the UK based British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and a pop star, Bob Geldof, has raised many eye brows with many unanswered questions about the way aid is being utilized in Ethiopia.

To avoid the replay of the events in the aftermath of the contested 2005 election, Ethiopia has intensified the control of media. The independent press, with many journalists silenced with prison terms and hefty fines, is effectively muted. Others have chosen exile to save their lives. Meles Zenawi’s public declaration to jam the US State Department funded Voice of America radio, the only alternative and reputable source of news in the country of 70 million, has also sparked another diplomatic row between the two countries.

Excerpt from the HRW Press Release:

(Nairobi) – The Ethiopian government is waging a coordinated and sustained attack on political opponents, journalists, and rights activists ahead of the May 2010 elections, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. On May 23, 2010, Ethiopians will vote in the first parliamentary elections in Ethiopia since 2005, when the post-election period was marred by controversy and bloodshed.

HRW Press Release March 24, 2010 : Ethiopia: Repression Rising Ahead of May Elections


Human Rights Watch Report in PDF : Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia

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