Conference on Transition and Transformation in the Horn of Africa:  Ethiopia and the Ogaden Region

Hyatt Regency Hotel
Denver, Colorado

Conference Press Release

July 6, 2019

The Somali and East African communities of North America organized an inclusive three-day conference between July 4 and July 6, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The conference objectives included assessment of ONLF and Ethiopia peace agreement and the current democratization process and its impact in the Horn of Africa. Over 1,200 members of the Somali and East African community in North America, which included academics, researchers, cultural artists, activists and at large members of the community participated the event. The Secretary General of ONLF was also present. After discussing and deliberating the democratic transition as well as the challenges faced in the region and particularly in Ethiopia, participants agreed upon the following resolutions:

1. The participants of the conference supported the peaceful transition of Ethiopia into a multi-party system and the reformation of the State both at the local and federal level to address prevalent issues such as division of power between the federal government and the states representing nations, nationalities, and peoples of Ethiopia.

2. The participants of the conference supported without any condition the maintenance, implementation, protection of the right for self-determination, and advancement of federalism as this system of governance better ensures and realizes than any other approach the social, economic, political and human rights of all nations, nationalities, and peoples in Ethiopia.

3. The entire conference participants supported ONLF both materially and morally and showed willingness to assist it in its transition to a political party in its quest to ensure the rights of the Somali people in the Ogaden region.

4. The conference called for an equitable economic development in the region and in Ethiopia. In addition, the participants, after a long deliberation, felt the need for full participation of the Somali people in the decision-making process and formulation of all government policies including license granting, exploration, and wealth-sharing of oil, gas and other natural resources. In relation to the issue of oil and gas extraction, the conference emphasized:

a. Importance of the protection and preservation of the environment.
b. Importance of conducting an independent environmental assessment and the need for developing mitigation programs for the environment and for the livelihood of the people who live in the region.
c. Acquisition and understanding of the oil and gas baseline data that has been already created, and agreements thus far entered into.
d. Studying and research into the potential impact of the extraction and utilization of critical natural resources such as oil and gas and other extractive minerals.

5. The conference encouraged development and modernization of independent mass media to disseminate information in the region and to strengthen integration of the region’s different zones and to help in forging unity among the Somali people.

6. The conference expressed the need for establishing a research-based intellectual group that advises ONLF as well as the Somali State government on issues such as crafts for state-building, democratization, corruption eradication, and citizen participation in the political process.

7. The conference finally condemned those involved in the recent failed coup d’etat and have categorically rejected the use of force or any other type of manipulation intended to reverse the current process to democratize the political space, deepen the federation and strengthen exercise of self-determination of all nations, nationalities, and peoples in Ethiopia.

For more information, please contact:
Conference Organizing Committee
Muhyaddin S. Abdi Hukun
Phone: (720) 421-5908

Omer Sowje
Phone: 720-495-1564




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