[dehai-news] Europarl.europa.eu: Situation in the Horn of Africa -

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Mar 09 2009 - 06:20:00 EST

tion in the Horn of Africa





European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2009 on the situation in the
Horn of Africa




-0033&language=EN> B6-0033/2009

The European Parliament ,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on the Horn of Africa

- having regard to the report of the mission to the Horn of Africa
approved by its Committee on Development on 8 December 2008,

- having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the unsolved border conflicts between Ethiopia and Eritrea and
between Eritrea and Djibouti are negatively affecting peace and security in
the Horn of Africa; whereas the situation in Somalia has deteriorated into
one of the world's worst humanitarian and security crises; whereas the
situation in Sudan is a major risk factor for security in the region,

B. whereas Ethiopia and Eritrea ended their war by signing the
internationally brokered 'Algiers Agreements' providing for a UN
peace-keeping operation mission (UNMEE) and the setting-up of the
Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission (EEBC), but there are still differences
between the two sides regarding the implementation of the agreements and of
the decision of the EEBC; whereas the mandate of the UNMEE had to be ended
on 31 July 2008 as Eritrea was obstructing the mission and Ethiopia had
refused to enforce the EEBC ruling in relation to the contested Badme area,

C. whereas in June 2008 violence escalated on the border between Eritrea
and Djibouti at Ras Doumeira, leaving 35 people dead and dozens wounded;
whereas on 12 June 2008 the UN Security Council called on both sides to
commit themselves to a ceasefire and to withdraw troops and restore the
status quo ante; whereas the current situation is calm, but given the
closeness of the troops there is a risk of escalation,

D. whereas on 29 October 2008 suicide bomb attacks targeted the Ethiopian
trade mission, a UN compound and the president's palace in Somaliland's
capital Hargeysa, simultaneously with attacks in Bossaso in the Somali
Region of Puntland, for which several individuals have been arrested,

E. whereas a new round of negotiations in Djibouti took place in November
2008 leading to the signing of a power-sharing deal between representatives
of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and the Alliance for
the Re-liberation of Somalia-Djibouti (ARS-D) opposition, with both parties
publicly announcing their support for a Commission of Inquiry to investigate
human rights violations in Somalia;

F. whereas the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), at a
conference held on 29 October 2008 in Nairobi with representatives of the
Transitional Federal Institutions and members of the Transitional Federal
Parliament, adopted a seven-point plan for supporting the peace process in
Somalia and established a mechanism for monitoring implementation,

G. whereas since November 2008 Ethiopia has been progressively withdrawing
its troops from Mogadishu and all other locations where they are still
present in Somalia; whereas the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM),
which has since March 2007 been essentially confined to Mogadishu, will now
find itself alone on the ground;

H. whereas the TFG of Somalia has failed over four years to create a
broad-based government; whereas as a result of President Abdullahi's recent
resignation there is a real danger that rival factions may start fighting

I. whereas piracy is another major security challenge for the Horn of
Africa region; whereas the fight against piracy cannot be won only by
military means, but depends mainly on success in promoting peace,
development and state-building in Somalia; whereas as a result of piracy the
World Food Programme (WFP) has had to suspend delivery of food aid to
Somalia, worsening an already precarious humanitarian situation,

J. whereas on 8 December 2008 the EU launched its maritime operation EU
NAVFOR Somalia (or Operation Atalanta), aimed at protecting maritime convoys
of the WFP and other merchant ships navigating in the waters off Somalia,

K. whereas the failure of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA) between the north and south of Sudan could lead to
secession, likely to be accompanied by military conflict over oil shares in
the border region; whereas such a secession would most likely lead to a
total break-up of the country, with Darfur and the eastern part seeking
independence and interethnic fighting, further fuelled by involvement of
neighbouring countries, including Eritrea,

L. whereas Djibouti continues to face enormous challenges and its
situation is becoming alarming in the wake of the world food crisis; whereas
the Ogaden, the Somali region of Ethiopia, is suffering from severe drought
and the government-controlled food aid intended for its inhabitants is
failing to reach them, despite the recent progress in the delivery of food
aid by the WFP in this region, given that delays are still being reported
due to the need for military authorisation to travel in the Somali region,

M. whereas the situation regarding human rights, the rule of law,
democracy and governance in all countries of the Horn of Africa has been of
great concern to the EU for many years; whereas there are credible reports
of arbitrary arrests, forced labour, torture and maltreatment of prisoners,
as well as persecution of journalists and political repression in the

N. whereas the violations of human rights in Somalia include the
kidnapping of two Italian Catholic nuns, Maria Teresa Olivero and Caterina

O. whereas the majority voting system, highly unfavourable to the
opposition parties, which was applied during the 2008 legislative elections,
is a matter of concern in Djibouti, where the opposition Movement for
Democratic Renewal (MRD) party was banned in July 2008 on the totally
unsubstantiated grounds of supporting an Eritrean attack on Djibouti, while
the leaders of the Union of Djibouti Workers/General Union of Djibouti
Workers (UDT/UGTD) trade union have still not been reinstated in their jobs
after being dismissed for reasons linked to their trade union activities,

P. whereas there is a climate of fear among non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) and opposition circles that government control has been increasing
and political freedom has been reduced by the recently adopted press law and
party registration law in Ethiopia; whereas the law on NGOs (the
Proclamation for the Registration and Regulation of Charities and Societies)
adopted by the Ethiopian government and ratified by the parliament could
seriously restrict the activities of the international and Ethiopian
associations which are working for equality, justice, human rights and
conflict resolution,

Regional security

1. Calls on the government of Ethiopia to formally endorse the EEBC's
demarcation by map coordinates between Eritrea and Ethiopia as final and
binding; calls on the Eritrean government to agree to a dialogue with
Ethiopia, which would address the process of disengagement of troops from
the border and physical demarcation in accordance with the EEBC's decision,
as well as the normalisation of relations between the two countries,
including reopening the border for trade; calls on the international
community and the EU to put pressure on both sides to overcome the current

2. Calls on the Council to nominate an EU Special Representative/Envoy to
the Horn of Africa region;

3. Calls on the Council and Commission to continue their efforts in the
framework of the regional political partnership for peace, security and
development in the Horn of Africa in order to identify projects of common
interest which could trigger functional cooperation between Eritrea and
Ethiopia, for instance in the areas of energy supply, cross-border trade and

4. Calls on the Eritrean government to reconsider its current suspension
of its membership of IGAD; calls on the African Union (AU) and IGAD
leadership to continue to involve Eritrea and encourage the government to
rejoin the regional and subregional cooperation efforts;

5. Calls on the Eritrean government to agree to invite, jointly with the
Djibouti government, an independent fact-finding mission to look into the
situation in Ras Doumeira; calls on both sides to rely on dialogue and
diplomatic means in order to restore relations between the two countries;

6. Calls on the Council and Commission to continue their support for
institution-building in Somalia, the implementation of the Djibouti peace
agreement and the IGAD's efforts in the peace process; urges the
reinforcement of AMISOM and the deployment of the UN stabilisation force in
a timely manner as soon as political and security conditions allow;

7. Condemns the ever more frequent attacks on humanitarian workers over
the last few months, which have gravely constrained aid operations and have
helped worsen the humanitarian situation in Somalia; calls on the UN
Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia to negotiate humanitarian access
separately from the Djibouti peace process, geographic area by geographic
area, speed up food supplies and alleviate the dire humanitarian situation;

8. Stresses that in the wake of participation by the European Union and
international community in achieving the north-south agreement in Sudan it
is now essential to continue all efforts with a view to its implementation
and to keep up the necessary pressure; calls on the Council and the
international community, therefore, to step up their support for
implementation of the north-south Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan and
to secure the full deployment of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID);

9. Calls on the Council and Commission to continue their support for IGAD
and its efforts to develop an integration plan for the region, and to
strengthen its institutions;

Food security and development

10. Calls on the Eritrean government to cooperate more closely with
international organisations in the assessment of the food security
situation, in order to allow for timely and targeted intervention;

11. Calls on the Eritrean government to allow the Commission unhindered
access to the Commission-funded projects and to enhance its openness to
technical assistance for jointly agreed projects and programmes; calls on it
also to adapt the NGO Proclamation with a view to easing the financial
requirements for NGOs willing to engage in development activities in

12. Calls on the Ethiopian government to grant full access for
humanitarian organisations to the Ogaden region of Somalia, and to provide
all necessary conditions to enable aid to reach its beneficiaries throughout
the region;

13. Calls on the Commission to continue to support regional responses to
cross-border challenges through the EU regional partnership for peace,
security and development, and in particular the regional management of water
resources as an essential element for food security;

14. Calls on the Commission to verify that none of its assistance
programmes, including 'cash for work', are being implemented by forced

Human rights, democracy and governance

15. Calls on the Eritrean government to make a public declaration as to
the whereabouts of prisoners and their state of health and to either charge
and immediately bring before a court of law all political detainees and
imprisoned journalists or to unconditionally release them forthwith;

16. Calls on the Eritrean government to fully respect human rights and
fundamental freedoms, including freedom of association, freedom of
expression, freedom of media and freedom of conscience;

17. Expresses its deep concern at the continuing imprisonment in Eritrea
of the Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak, held in jail since his
arrest in September 2001, without having been tried by a court of law, and
demands the immediate release of Dawit Isaak and other imprisoned

18. Calls on the EU to reconsider its approach to Eritrea if no progress
is made towards compliance with the essential elements of the Cotonou
Agreement (Article 9), in particular on core human rights issues (access for
the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to prisons, release of
the "G11" prisoners);

19. Calls on the Somali Transitional Federal Government to condemn the
kidnapping of the two Italian Catholic nuns and to take action to speed up
their release and prevent further kidnappings;

20. Calls on the Djibouti authorities to protect the political rights of
opposition parties and independent human rights organisations, including
full guarantees of press freedom, freedom of assembly and freedom of
expression; emphasises the need for a meaningful dialogue between government
and opposition, leading to an adaptation of the electoral law so as to allow
for a fairer representation of existing political parties in the parliament;
calls on the Djibouti authorities to allow the MRD opposition party to
resume activity and to reinstate all leaders of the UDT/UGTD trade union
dismissed for reasons linked to their work for the trade union;

21. Calls on the government of Djibouti to take steps to ensure better
protection in law and practice of the rights of trade unions in accordance
with the respective International Labour Organisation (ILO) core

22. Regrets that the Ethiopian parliament has ratified the Proclamation
for the Registration and Regulation of Charities and Societies; calls for
significant adaptations to be made to guarantee basic human rights
principles; calls for a non-restrictive implementation of this law, and
insists on close monitoring of its implementation by the Commission;

23. Urges the Ethiopian authorities to review the press law and party
registration law, as well as the composition of the Election Board, so as to
ensure that the political rights of opposition parties are guaranteed; urges
the Ethiopian authorities to investigate the allegations of harassment and
arbitrary arrests affecting the opposition and civil society organisations
and to bring those responsible to trial;

24. Is outraged at the imprisonment of Birtukan Midekssa, leader of the
opposition party Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), and demands her
immediate and unconditional release;

25. Calls on the Ethiopian authorities to swiftly handle the request for
registration by the Ethiopian National Teachers' Association (NTA), in
accordance with the respective laws and rules, and to stop persecuting
members of this association;

26. Calls on the governments of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti and the
Council, in accordance with Article 8 and Annex VII of the Revised Cotonou
Agreement, to jointly agree to deepen the political dialogue on human
rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, including the issues
mentioned above, with a view to defining benchmarks and attaining tangible
results and progress on the ground;

27. Recognises that elections are due to take place in Sudan in 2009, but
notes that the amendment of the laws which restrict freedom of expression
and organisation for individuals, political parties and the media, and which
contravene the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the Interim National
Constitution (INC), has not yet taken place, nor has a National Human Rights
Commission been formed; stresses that repealing these laws and replacing
them with legislation that is in line with the CPA and INC and the creation
of the National Human Rights Commission are necessary preconditions for an
environment in which free and fair elections can take place;

28. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the
Commission, the governments of the Member States, the Chair of the African
Union Commission, the Chair-in-Office of the African Union Assembly, the
General Secretary of the African Union, the Pan-African Parliament, the
Governments and Parliaments of the IGAD countries, and the Co-Chairs of the
ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly.



         ----[This List to be used for Eritrea Related News Only]----

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

© Copyright DEHAI-Eritrea OnLine, 1993-2009
All rights reserved