The Rt Hon. Jens Stoltenberg,

Prime Minister of Norway

Dear Prime Minister:

Re: The high level conference on financing access to energy for the poor

 We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely send our heartfelt condolence to the Norwegian people and the families of the victims of the recent shocking massacre and bombings in your country few months ago.

October 10th 2011, Norway will be hosting a very important conference on financing access to energy for the poor in the developing countries. This is a welcome development and I am sure Norway has good intentions. However, I am concerned some of the invited partners like dictator Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and with his Human Rights records.

We are originally from the Ogaden region of Ethiopia and we are writing to you today as concerned fellow European Citizens and citizens of the Ogaden region in Ethiopia. The Ogaden people are oppressed because they demand something you and us take for granted here in Europe. As you may be aware, the Ogaden people have been seeking self-determination from Ethiopia for many years now and every time they dare ask this question, dictator Zenawi answers them with brutal force including arrests, torture, and sometimes summary executions. Thousands of innocent Ogadeni people and others are in Ethiopia jails indefinitely.

All of the above transgresses their basic Human Rights as clearly defined in the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which Norway played a significant role in its adoption at the UN in 1948. The charter was “generally agreed to be the foundation of international human rights law. Adopted almost 63 years ago, the UDHR has inspired a rich body of legally binding international human rights treaties and human rights development worldwide. It continues to be an inspiration to us all whether in addressing injustices, in times of conflicts, in societies suffering repression, and in our efforts towards achieving universal enjoyment of human rights. It represents the universal recognition that basic rights and fundamental freedoms are inherent to all human beings, inalienable and equally applicable to everyone, and that every one of us is born free and equal in dignity and rights. Whatever our nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status, the international community on December 10 1948 made a commitment to upholding dignity and justice for all of us”. In its article 3, the UDHR clearly says “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”  Dictator Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia has denied the Ogadeni people and many others these basic Human Rights principles and we cannot comprehend how Norway would enter an agreement/partnership with such a person with an appalling Human Rights records given your stand on this important subject of Human  Rights.

http://www.norway-geneva.org/unitednations/humanrights/60udhr/

We understand that Norway was among the first countries to adopt and vote for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in New York 63 years ago, and we believe as a founding member, Norway has an obligation to uphold the principles of this charter and not give dictator Zenawi the platform, opportunity and the resources to continue to oppress the defenceless Ogaden people in Ethiopia. We have no doubt Norway respects and observes Human Rights laws, values and protects human lives and will continue to do so. But to welcome dictator Zenawi to Norway and armed him with cash will undermine the efforts, values and your desirable record in protecting Human Rights around the world

We believe this is an opportunity for Norway and its people to stand in solidarity with the Ogaden people and indicate to Zenawi in the clearest possible term, your stand on the subject of Human Rights and the values of the Norwegian people.

In your recent celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Norway Pointed to more than 1 billion people living in extreme poverty as the greatest human rights challenge of our time.” You also declared that you would “increase your official development assistance to 1% of your Gross National Income (GNI).  This is unprecedented and it demonstrates the level of your commitment in helping the poorBut what is really unique about this is that you had the vision to realize that; The realization of the Millennium Development Goals at country level will not be possible without making the human rights instruments an integral part of your efforts” and this is what we would like you to implement by holding Zenawi to account, this is the chance, please don’t let him get away with it again, please don’t let down the millions of the Ogaden people suffering under dictator Zenawi.

The Ethiopian regime has gone to great lengths to try to conceal the heinous crimes it commits against the people of Ogadenia and others in Ethiopia on daily basis, so that the International Community will remain oblivious to what is going on inside the country. But fortunately, there are some brave journalists and reporters who risk their lives to try and find out what Meles is up to. An example of this is are the two Swedish journalists (Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson) still in detention in an Addis Ababa prison charged with terrorism crimes which we know are false because they were just doing their jobs and the regime’s objective in this is to send as a deterrent to the rest of journalist out there who may be thinking of going to Ethiopia to investigate these crimes.

http://en.rsf.org/ethiopia-swedish-photographers-arrested-in-05-07-2011,40582.html

Some EU countries including Norway and unfortunately our own country (UK) give Ethiopia billions of Euros in aid money every year and in turn Zenawi uses this money as a weapon of oppression. Recently a joint undercover investigation by the BBC’s Newsnight and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has uncovered evidence that the Ethiopian government is using billions of Euros of development aid as a tool for political oppression.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9556288.stm

 

While these heinous crimes are taking place in the Ogaden and elsewhere in Ethiopia, the EU countries (including Norway) and USA continue to give money and ignore warnings from the Human Rights organisations and the media and  in some cases increased aid to the regime, despite the widespread Human Rights abuses going on in Ethiopia.

 

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/06/revealed-britain-and-eu-increaseaid-to-ethiopia-despite-serious-human-rights-abuses/

 

“In October 2010 The Human Rights Watch compiled a 105-page report which documented the ways in which the Ethiopian regime uses donor-supported resources and aid as a tool to consolidate the power of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).”

 

http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/09/29/ethiopia-letter-regarding-uk-development-assistance

 

We are writing today to ask the people and the government of Norway to stand shoulder to shoulder with the oppressed and defenceless people of Ogaden and stop Zenawi’s effort to secure more of the European tax payers money and money from rich oil companies so that he cannot use it as a weapon of terror and oppression. Mr Zenawi will lie to you that he wants to enter a business partnership with Norwegian oil companies to explore the vast oil and gas reserves in the Ogaden region to improve the quality of lives for the people  of Ethiopia. This is far from the truth; in fact on the contrary, he will use it to suppress them. Furthermore, these resources belong to the oppressed people of Ogadenia, and he will do anything to get his hands on it at the detriment of the millions of the Ogaden people whom he already isolated and are dying of hunger and diseases because he refused the international aid agencies to go to Ethiopia to deliver food and medicine.

 

In a recent speech by Norway Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre at the 16th session of the Human Rights Council said;  “Norway is committed to use its membership of the Human Rights Council to ensure that every individual is better protected against discrimination and abuse. Our aim is to give meaning to the words of the Secretary-General: human rights are equally valid to all people, in all countries, at all times”And three years ago, the Norwegian people “have celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declarations of Human Rights ……..with an enhanced focus on human rights in the Norwegian Parliament, public debates, media, universities and schools. This is a clear testament that respect for human rights is one of the fundamental values underpinning Norwegian society

We hope when you meet dictator Meles Zenawi, you will remember these values and remember the oppressed and forgotten people of the Ogaden

Yours sincerely,

Concerned EU and Ogaden Citizens

Cc:

Ban-Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy

Maria van der Hoeven, IEA Executive Director

 

 

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