A Statement by Seb-Hidri Civil Society Tigray on the illegal, dangerous Anti-Terrorism Bill Proposed by Ethiopian Council of Ministers
It is sad to learn that the “Ethiopian Council of Ministers” issued a proposal to designate TPLF and “Shane” as “terrorist organizations”. This proclamation is to be based on the draconian Proc. 1176/20 that the PM promised so much he will “to tear it apart” during the first weeks of his tenure. The prime minister continues to break his promises and chooses the path to an absolute dictatorship, by totally closing the door for a possible peaceful political resolution, leading the country downhill to a bloody disintegration.
It is to be remembered that the tenure of the government ended on October 05, 2020. That means both the Council of Ministers and the Parliament have no mandate to legally govern the country let alone to declare draconian proclamations and implement them. Ethiopia is already in constitutional and political crisis, and this proclamation is hence illegal, and will only add fuel to the fire.
The timing of this proclamation is even more important; Ethiopia says “is ready to conduct election” one month from now. Declaring such a devastating proclamation at this point in time tells that the government is hellbent to stay in power using all repressive mechanisms available, and that there will never be a “free, fair” election at all. Furthermore, declaring this anti- terrorism law by such an unmandated and unelected body is a clear sign that the ruling group will intensify the wars, conflicts, the repression, and human rights abuses. This on its own will significantly escalate the explosive political and humanitarian crisis in the country.
It is also to be remembered that Tigray’s government conducted a legal regional election on Sep 9, 2020 whereby 2.7 million People elected their leaders. A TPLF-led government was legally elected; that means TPLF was elected by millions in Tigray, and has wide social base. An illegal government designating a party legally elected by millions in Tigray, and having wide social base “terrorist” is simply meaningless.
There is one more important point; Ethiopian “government” has declared war on TPLF and the people Tigray. Arrest warrant is issued to TPLF leaders. Designating a party you declared war up on, and whom you issued arrest warrants “a terrorist” is also meaningless. It only shows that the target is not the party (already at war) but the civilian population who is considered to be the social base.
Moreover, there exists no organization which identifies itself as “Shane” or labeled legally as such. Designation of a non-existent “Shane” as a “terrorist organization” is likely intended to use it to target the Oromo, and crash any dissent in Oromia.
The government must have been joking when it asks the parties to be designated “terrorist organizations” to come in person and present their opposition to the proposed bill. No one expects TPLF and the non-existent “Shene” to present their motion “in person”.
This dangerous proposed bill even makes “intent” to be a punishable crime. There is this phrase which says “Organizations and individuals, who collaborate, have links with or relate to the ideas and actions of…”.”Intent” is not measurable, verifiable, and intent can’t be a crime. This proclamation is ‘blanket provision to literally target Tigrayans and the Oromo as a whole.
Declaring this draconian anti-terrorism bill as law might have been intended to justify the already prevalent atrocities and political repression in the country; but, it will only take the country down the hill in to a bloody disintegration.
Seb-Hidri Civil Society Tigray doesn’t expect the government to reverse its position; Seb-Hidri also knows that this statement may not have any impact on the motion; but Seb-hidri sees it important to warn the unelected government and its leaders hellbent to continue an obvious path of dictatorship that this madness is only quickening the bloody disintegration of the country.
Seb-Hidri Civil Society Tigray demands the illegal government in Ethiopia to reverse its dangerous bill and a dangerous course and come to the drawing board for a political negotiation.
Seb-Hidri civil Society Tigray demands the international community, especially the USA, AU, UN Security Council, EU, and all concerned parties to denounce this dangerous bill that is intended to totally shatter peaceful political dialogue. We also demand international actors to put maximum pressure on the ruling group to reverse this madness, end the military campaigns this group is undergoing in Tigray, Oromia. We especially demand the international community to put a maximal pressure on the ruling group to stop the campaign of Genocide in Tigray. We demand that the international community stops the impending further bloodbath the ruling group is planning for.
We call upon the Ethiopian people and the international community to take urgent actions to stop this madness before the country collapses altogether.
Seb-Hidri Civil Society Tigray
May 5, 2021