Against Military Intervention in Somali Region
On Saturday, 4th of August 2018, Ethiopian National Defence Forces and Federal Police entered the Somali Region of Ethiopia in the thousands, causing public anxiety and inciting violence. Although the Somali Region has been facing both multifaceted internal and external issues, forceful military entrance raises serious concerns, questions, etc. From a surface viewpoint, the intervention appears to be addressing former President Abdi M. Omar and not the betterment or protection of the regional community. On the other hand, from a perplexing viewpoint, it appears to be addressing many unresolved matters in the Somali Region.
Here are some legal and factual notions to reflect on:
- According to the Constitution of Ethiopia, the federal government “...shall deploy, at the request of a state administration, federal defence forces to arrest a deteriorating security situation within the requesting state/region when its authorities are unable to control it” (Article 51, Section 14).
- According to the Proclamation to Provide for a System for the Intervention of the Federal Government in the Regions of Ethiopia (No.359/2003), the Prime Minister “...shall deploy the federal police or defense force, or both to arrest the deteriorating security situations taking into consideration the gravity of the situation. The force to be deployed shall be under the command of the concerned federal organ...” (Article 5, Section 1).
- According to the Proclamation to Provide for a System for the Intervention of the Federal Government in the Regions of Ethiopia (No.359/2003), “The force to be deployed and the measures to be taken by same shall be proportionate to enable to arrest the deteriorating security situation and maintain law and order” (Article 5, Section 2).
- According to the Proclamation to Provide for a System for the Intervention of the Federal Government in the Regions of Ethiopia (No.359/2003), “The House of Peoples’ Representatives may send a team to the Region for investigation of a case when it receives information from the Human Rights Commission, representatives of such Region or from any other person on the violations and on the failure of the region to arrest the acts. The team shall consist of members from the House of Peoples’ Representatives....” (Article 8, Section 1).
- According to the United Nations (UN) Charter, “All members shall refrain in their [inter]national relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations (UN)”(Article 2, Section 4).
The list of legislations and policies to quote are endless, but these are a few questions to get the conversation going. The questions at hand are:
1. Was the military intervention on or in the Somali Region of Ethiopia legal? If yes, on what grounds did this intervention occur?
2. Why the significant and large number of federal forces and (forceful) widely unexpected entrance?
3. Was this intervention truly for the safeguarding and the human rights of people in the Somali Region affected by injustice / ethnic violence...? Or was this a direct mission to oust a political figure and the administration he leads?
The Somali Region is currently controlled by various federal armed forces and are “cooperating” with regional police to assure security/safety and the continuation of developmental initiatives, but public anxiety overrides all experiences and plans as community members seem violated and occupied. We request your support in signing this petition, to notify and urge Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, alongside influential foriegn governments, humanatarian agencies, local and national institutions and all establishments concerned,
1) Remove or decrease the number of federal military forces in the Somali Region
2) Authorize former President Abdi M. Omar space to address the people of the Somali Region — either as Head of the Ethiopian Somali People’s Democratic Party (ESPDP) or as a “free” former public figure — to dispel the ongoing dangerous and ethnic animosity-creating rumors
3) Overtly address/support the people affected by the ethnic violence incited by federal forces and the forceful military intervention into the Somali Region by facilitating emergency humanitarian assistance
4) Mobilize towards free and fair elections rather than immediate short-term adjustments
5) To consult the local Somali people regarding oil / natural resources’ plans and shares
By signing this petition, we are hopeful that we will or can convince concerning and relevant persons/entities to prioritize the wellbeing of the people in the Somali Region rather than risking the lives and livelihoods of people for the sake of dissembling one regional government structure or the ousting of one individual.
A concerned Ethiopian citizen