SJTE CONCEPT PAPER
Security and justice for Tigrians in Ethiopia is a non-political and non-religious global movement established by concerned Tigrian-Ethiopians in the diaspora community. The creation of this initiative is stimulated by the dire situation the current Federal leadership of Ethiopia is posing in our country in general and Tigray in particular. The purpose of this initiative is thus to safeguard the security and justice of Tigray as well as the rights and interests of its people. This initiative uses peaceful means of struggle to achieve the aforementioned goals.
Over Two years ago, Ethiopians of all walks of life welcomed political and socioeconomic reforms initiated by the EPRDF’s leadership after admitting severe setbacks in the process of democratization and governance.
As the new leadership promised to bring transparency, rule of law, peace and tranquility, Ethiopians in general and Tigrians in particular warmly welcomed the newly elected administration and vowed to support the leadership. Yet the country has seen more secrecy, more violence, and more insecurity in the past two years, than it has seen in the past twenty-seven years collectively. Millions have been forced to flee their homes due to ethnic violence and institutionalized subjugation making the country home to the highest number of internally displaced people in the world. Many have been killed, or/and disappeared. The Federal government had deliberately attempted to instigate ethnic strife and lawlessness has become pervasive in most parts of the country. Consequently, a large part of the country is currently under an unofficially declared state of emergency governed by military command.
When the new administration assumed office on April 2, 2018, it promised to uphold the constitution and respect the sovereignty of all regions under the federal arrangement. However, it had inserted itself and, at times, abrogated the autonomy guaranteed under the constitution and the federal arrangement. Where it has met resistance as in the case of Tigray, guided by the police of “drying the sea to kill the fish,” it has publicly expressed intent to halt budget, terminate electricity, telecommunication, and aviation services. Should these threats take place, it is tantamount to a declaration of war against the people of Tigray.
The leadership promised to bring about justice, fairness, and due process. “No person will be detained without first establishing necessary probable cause, nor will there be a witch-hunt,” the head of the new government echoed time and again. In stark contrast to what was promised, however, thousands are languishing in prisons for no other reason than their ethnicity or political stand. Former government officials and ordinary citizens with Tigray origin are especially being targeted to meet the new administration’s wicked political agenda. Furthermore, in utter disregard for due process of law, most of these political prisoners have already been presumed guilty in the eyes of the public due to the orchestrated media and propaganda campaign that projected them as culpable.
The public was also made to believe that the new leadership will continue to boost the national economy, investment, equitable wealth distribution, employment opportunity, and safe learning environment. To its dismay, however, the leadership is preoccupied with belittling the economic and social achievements of the past 27 years. As a result, every economic parameter indicates that the Ethiopian economy has come to an abrupt halt. Export has dwindled, investment has technically seized or had substantially decreased. Despite continued bogus public assertions, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has become minimal, and in the case of Tigray, deliberately discouraged even at times halted. Except for those in Tigray, universities throughout the country have become a source of conflict and death. Normal social activities have been disrupted in many parts of the country.
Overall, the current leadership has exacerbated the crises in Ethiopia through its incompetence and inactions. It has undertaken callous policies that have brought the brink of civil war and the potential threat of disintegration.
In particular, the current leadership’s unfounded hatred against Tigray has been manifested in its worst forms. We have a federal government that is deliberately portraying Tigray with fabricated narratives of ill doings. The people of Tigray are labeled as traitors and solely responsible for every and all the ills of the country had faced and continue to face. Such baseless propaganda is intended to diminish their history, and their lions share of sacrifice to rebuild the country from the ashes of poverty and civil war. The intent is to them into submission or in the worst-case scenario is to provoke other Ethiopians to commit an act of retaliation and commit genocide against the people of Tigray. As Tigrians, our shared aspirations of living in a dignified peaceful, self-reliance, territorial integrity, democratic, and prosperous Ethiopian, for which the lives of 60,000 young women and men were sacrificed for, is being systematically destroyed.
The animosities orchestrated against Tigray that gave rise to the birth of our movement can be enunciated as follows:
- 1. The federal leadership has been orchestrating poisonous rhetoric that is intended to provoke other Ethiopians to commit genocide against Tigrians. The government broadcasted a series of fake documentaries through state and party-controlled media, which depicts Tigrigna speakers as the only sources of injustice under the previous leadership and subsequently jailed thousands of Tigrians without any legal due process merely because of their ethnicity and/or their political orientation.
- 2. The main highways connecting Tigray to the rest of Ethiopia have been blocked since over a year and innocent Tigreans were brutalized by a mob, but the Federal Government remains silent.
- 3. High ranking Tigrian members of the Military who had bravely served their country including the late General Seare Mekonen (former Chief of Staff) either were murdered or many civilian, military officials and experts forced to early retirement.
- 4. A price of about 33% lower than the market price was deliberately set on export-based cash crops produced in Tigrai, to discourage Tigrians farmers and impose economic pressure.
- 5. Foreign direct investment (FDI) and tourism had been obstructed directly or indirectly by discouraging investors and tourists from traveling to Tigray.
- 6. The Federal leadership has been terminating many civilian Tigrian professionals and civil servants from the federal government and Addis Ababa city posts without cause or severance.
- 7. The Federal leadership had implicitly and explicitly made threats of budget hold/cut, suspend air transportation and suspend electricity and telecommunications services, which is tantamount to a declaration of war.
- 8. The Federal leadership has deliberately paused or suspended several grand projects that have been in progress in Tigrai including railway work, industrial parks, road works, etc.
- 9. This leadership essentially banned Federal media coverage for any activities in Tigrai.
- 10. The Federal leadership has been conspiring to compromise the territorial integrity of Tigrai by forming an illegal border commission, in violation of the constitution statues, provisions and procedures regarding territorial disputes.
- 11. The Federal Government had openly expressed and demonstrated its intent to exclude the people and government of Tigray from the Ethio-Eritrean reconciliation and normalization process]
Alarmed by the developing events in our country and mainly by the hostilities against Tigray Tigrean-Ethiopians and Tigrian-Americans in the Washington DC metro area irrespective of gender, religion, age, and political persuasion and affiliation, have initiated a global movement in defense of the people of Tigray.
Security and justice for Tigrians in Ethiopia denounces and stands against any form of coercion and subversion of the rights, interests and aspirations of the Tigray people. We will stand against any pressure that compromises our right for justice, economic freedom, self-determination, as well as territorial integrity. We do so through the design and implementation of peaceful struggle.
The vision of Security and justice for Tigrians in Ethiopia, is to see a just, peaceful, prosperous Tigray that also plays its constructive role to bring about a democratic Ethiopia that embraces all its people. materialize its aspirations while also augmenting the democratization process of Ethiopia.
- Integrity and honesty
- Transparency and accountability
- Public service
- Inclusiveness, collaboration and empowerment
- Excellence, innovation and dedication
- Justice, fairness and equality
- Peace and security
Goals / Objectives
1. Advocate for the Interests and wellbeing of the people of Tigray in Ethiopia
2. Defend the rights of Tigrean political prisoners in Ethiopia detained by the Federal government as well as those terminated from their civil service employment and morally humiliated due to ethnicity and political affiliation
3. Alarm the international community of the potential for ethnic conflict and civil war, in Ethiopia and seek partnership in the struggle against the injustice, discrimination, and violation of Human Rights against the people of Ethiopia by the Ethiopian Federal Government.
4. Campaign against the socio-economic, political, and psychological injustice and violation of human rights committed against people of Tigray by the Ethiopian Federal government and its allies
5. Advocate justice and security for those Tigreans whose existence is threatened by the forced border demarcation, and seek the immediate release of those who were abducted Tigreans by the Eritrean forces.
The following strategic approaches will be utilized in order to achieve the goals stated above.
The following strategic approaches will be utilized in order to achieve the goals stated above.
I. Collaboration: Activities:
The leadership committee shall:
The leadership committee shall:
Contact all Tigrian organizations in the US, including TDA, UTNA, Tigrai Community, Tigrai Women Associations, Alumni Associations, Professional Associations, and others to engage in a united effort.
1. Contact and establish a working relationship with Ethiopian organizations and individuals who are amenable to the cause of justice in Ethiopia.
2. Build relationship and coalition with organizations in the US whose expressed mission is equality and Justice beyond their borders.
Assemble a group of individuals who can:
Assemble a group of individuals who can:
1. Organize demonstrations and/or marches when and if necessary
2. Initiate petitions and lobbies on a timely basis
Organize lawyers in Ethiopia and beyond who:
1. Study the possibilities of legal actions that can be taken both in Ethiopia and abroad.
2. Initiate a well-publicized court case that can draw public attention to the imprisonment of Tigrian without due process.
3. Raise the necessary fund to lodge class action lawsuit on behalf of all Tigrians prisoners.
IV. Public Education and Media
Organize a team of experts who will:
1. Generate informative literature and media productions to build public support and expose the intent of current Ethiopian leadership
2. Publicize the cause of our people to targeted groups by providing data, articles and alternative policies to groups and to the media
3. Organize public meetings, conferences, and dialogues.
Assemble a team of researchers that can:
1. Develop positions papers and proposals based on solid information.
2. Organize a team of experts
3. Challenge all negative propagandas lodged against our people that are intended to smear our history, achievements, and contributions.
VI. Persuasion (Lobby) /Diplomacy
Organize a team of prominent Tigreans across the US who will:
1. Lobby through a face-to-face meeting with policy and decision-makers to persuade them to support our cause or at the very least keep their hands off
2. Lobby through letter-writing, petitions other forms of persuasion
3. 2.1. Advocate for the Interests and wellbeing of the people of Tigray in Ethiopia
4. 2.2. Defend the rights of Tigrean political prisoners in Ethiopia detained by the Federal government as well as those terminated from their civil service employment and morally humiliated due to ethnicity and political affiliation
5. 2.3. Alarm the international community of the potential for ethnic conflict and civil war, in Ethiopia and seek partnership in the struggle against the injustice, discrimination, and violation of Human Rights against the people of Ethiopia by the Ethiopian Federal Government.
6. 2.4. Campaign against the socio-economic, political, and psychological injustice and violation of human rights Committed against people of Tigray by the Ethiopian Federal government and its allies
7. 2.5. Advocate justice and security for those Tigreans whose existence is threatened by the forced border demarcation, and seek the immediate release of those who were abducted Tigreans by the Eritrean forces.
The sources of funds for this initiative include:
1. Supporters’ contributions
2. Fundraise events
3. Preparing projects for acquiring funds from different relevant and potential sources/donors
Formally establish the Five committees and accordingly, each committee shall undertake the following actions:
A. Lobbying and Research Committee
A.1. Produce a detailed document that will be presented to international organizations, the US Government (Executive and legislative body, candidates Human rights groups think tanks, influential personalities.
This Document detail data on actual and potential threats that jeopardize the security of Tigray and its people as well as detail information of the court proceedings and due process, alleged charges, number of prisoners, etc.
A.2. Based on the research documents develop a template letter that can be sent to targeted groups by the Tigrean individuals and organizations throughout the US.
A.3. Start an online petition Drive
B. Community Engagement Committee
B.1. Contact all organization and prominent Tigreans to engage in activities
B.2. Establish a network of Tigreans and who can actively involve the campaign
B.3. Work towards establishing branches of SJTE in all possible areas
C. Global Outreach Committee
C.1. Contact all Tigreans organization and prominent personalities outside the US
C.2. Help Form similar organization in their respective countries
D. Fundraising Community
D.1. Develop a strategy for raising funds in the immediate and longterm period
E. Media and Communications Committees
E.1. Develop website, and all social network presence
E.2. Develop plans to utilize a media campaign (TMH, VOA, BBC, Tigray Online, Aiga Forum and all other outlets
E.3. Generate materials and pieces of literature that promote our goals
Key Performance Indicators
This movement’s performance will be measured by its consistent, proactive and reactive responses to the plights of the Tigray people through:
- Inclusiveness (quantity, quality and diversity of members and supporters)
- Number, quality and relevance of Meetings, seminars, and conferences
- Number, quality and relevance of Press releases
- Number, quality and relevance of Protests
- Number, quality and relevance of Lobbying
- Collaboration with other organization
- By the positive impact its effort may bring on the current dire situation of Tigray and Ethiopia
Stakeholders are identified in terms of their influence and interest on the caucuses of our initiative. They are categorized as follows based on how they should be managed.
Manage Closely (High Influence and High Interest):
· The people of Tigray
· The government of Tigray
· Tigrian political parties
· Other Tigrian organizations
Keep Satisfied (Low Influence and High Interest):
· International and domestic human right watchdogs
Keep Informed (High Influence and Low Interest):
· The US government
Monitor (Low Influence and Low Interest):
· Ethiopian Federal government
Assumptions and Risks
The success of this movement will be affected by several foreseeable and unforeseeable risks and assumptions. Some of the assumptions are:
· Leadership integrity and commitment
· Solidarity and unity of leaders
· In/effective communication
· In/effective conflict resolution strategies
· Trust among leadership and members
· In/tolerance for culture of prejudice, gossiping and divisiveness
· Using the initiative as a stage for promoting singular political agenda
· External pressure from different entities that have vested interest in the causes of the initiative