As reported by Amnesty International East Africa, Merera Gudina was arrested in Ethiopia yesterday, upon returning home from a trip to Brussels, Germany where he met with regional diplomatic leaders to discuss human rights abuses of the Ethiopian people – at the hands of the Ethiopian Government.
More specifically, the use of repeated and deadly force by national police forces against Ethiopian populations.
In response to the arrest, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, Michelle Kagari said “The arrest of Merera Gudina is an outrageous assault on the right to freedom of expression and should sound alarm bells for anyone with an interest in ending the deadly protests that have rocked Ethiopia over the past year.”
Adding that the move will only “exacerbate, rather than ease, the underlying tensions currently simmering in the country. Instead of resorting to further repression and clamp-downs, the Ethiopian government must urgently and meaningfully address the human rights grievances that are fueling unrest.”
If you are unaware of the about the current state of social affairs in Ethiopia, which have exploded over the course of the last year, here is quick summary to help get you caught up to speed.
The video above was made in 2013, discussing problems from 2012 and before. While I can not write an encyclopedia on the entire history of Ethiopia, for the purposed of this article, I want to cover several key events from Ethiopia’s recent history which have led to the news of today.
The situation in Ethiopia is made worse by the fact this country shares borders with the following three countries: South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia. Every one of those countries is involved in their own version of a legitimate “War” – struggle for leadership – and before you understand more about Ethiopia, you have to understand more about these three countries first.
At the present moment, South Sudan is on the verge of another civil war and the United Nations has stationed 15,000 “International Peacekeeping Troops” to try and maintain the peace, but are not necessarily succeeding doing so.
Read More: Brief History of The Conflict in South Sudan
In May 2016, the Kenyan Government announced it would close Dadaab, the countries largest refugee camp, home to hundreds of thousands of people by November 30th, 2016. Though the country will miss this deadline, the deportations have begun – much to the outcry of international human rights organizations.
In September 2016, though they were incredibly behind schedule, the Kenyan Government reaffirmed with intentions to close Dadaab Refugee Camp, literally THE largest refugee camp in the entire world – home to hundreds of thousands of people/”refugees” as of just last month.
Somalia is in the midst of a War of their own, not necessarily a “Civil War” like some of the others, but a War none the less. Somalia’s struggle is primarily against the invasion of the Islamic State with is assuming more control over some of the territories of the country the last several years.
As for what led to this, it may or may not be fair to say that Somalia was thought of as the pirate capitol of the world in more modern times – as in real pirates in modern day by the classical definition. It just so happens that two of Somalia’s main imports these days happen to be ISIS soldiers and international weapons shipments.
Subsequently, War has since broken out and as referenced in some of the information above, over 250,000 refugees have fled from Somalia into Kenya alone – hundreds of thousands more are scattered elsewhere, including Ethiopia.
Learn More: Recent Events Inside Somalia
Tying back in with the news from Ethiopia today, dating back to fall 2015, Ethiopia played witness to several large demonstrations against austerity, forced evictions and racism of the Government of Ethiopia – against the inhabitants living inside the country. Unfortunately, many of these events have only made international headlines because it involved Ethiopian “police” killing dozens to hundreds of “protestors” – on several different/separate occasions.
11/12/2015 – 2/23/2016 | According to Human Right Watch, over 1,500 people were seriously injured at least 200 were killed and +5,000 more were arrested and being held without charges
8/06/2016 | According to reports by AfricanArguments.org, hundreds of thousands of people are believe to have participated in planned protests throughout 50 cities across Ethiopia. Conservative estimates put the death toll at 92 – with hundreds arrested. Conflicting reports say that well over 100 people were killed and over 1,200 people were detained – including children.
10/03/2016 | As reported by BBC News, “Fifty-two people were killed and many more injured in Ethiopia’s Oromia region during a protest at a religious festival, the government says. Some died in a stampede after police employed tear gas, rubber bullets and baton charges, witnesses said.”
As you can clearly see, the situation in Ethiopia remains tense and there has been tragedy on all sides for years. This is also why Merera Gudina flew to Germany to educate world leaders about the state of affairs inside Ethiopia and raise awareness to hopefully bring help/support from foreign governments – this is also why the Ethiopian Government which opposes his politics arrested him as soon as he returned from this same trip.
Read More: Germany Proposes To Limit Refugee Crisis in Europ, by Investing in Infrastructure Development in African Nations – November, 2016
As the situation updates itself in real time, I will try to keep you all up to date as well.
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