Land that Rightly Belongs to Ethiopia Must Remain Ethiopian sign now



Land that Rightly Belongs to Ethiopia
Must Remain Ethiopian:

Humera, Wolkait, Tselemt, and Tsegede, whose soil has been fertilized by
the blood of countless generations of Ethiopian patriots, have been an
integral part of Ethiopia since the reign of King Ezana, who conquered
Meroe in what is now the Sudan in 3A.D. Their status as historic Ethiopian
provinces has also been subsequently affirmed by the Emperors Fasiledes,
Eyassu the Great, Tewodros, Yohannes, Menelik and Haile Selassie. They
produce such cash crops as cotton, oil seeds, sorghum, sesame and pulses,
valued in millions of dollars, and provide employment opportunities for
hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians.

Ever since Humera, Wolkait, Tselemt and Tsegede, which have never been
part of Tigrai, were illegally and forcefully annexed and incorporated to
Tigrai by the authorities of the TPLF, the native inhabitants have been
subjected to excruciating experiences, ranging from arbitrary arrests
to summary executions, and mass eviction from their ancestral lands, for the
specific purpose of settling Tigrean soldiers and farmers. Those who
resisted have been killed in hundreds. Many have been tortured, maimed and
crippled. Others still languish in noxious and abominable caves turned into
prisons. Some have gone into armed struggle. Others roam the streets of
Gondar, Dessie, Bahir Dar and Addis Ababa as beggars, and many have either
become refugees overseas, or have temporarily settled down elsewhere
marking their time. The language of instruction in schools has also been
changed from Amharic to Tigrigna. All this is being done in order to change
the demographic composition of these provinces and to Tigriyanize them.
Repeated appeals made to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to bring an end to the
carnage and to the anguish of the people have only dropped on deaf ears.

As if that was not enough, there is also a border dispute with the Sudan
regarding Humera - a dispute which goes back to the 1960s and 1970s, when
Humera became a bone of contention between Ethiopia and the Sudan. As far as
Ethiopia is concerned, internationally recognized Ethiopian scholars and
academicians, including Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam, have examined all
available historical documents - both internal and external- and have
uniformly found no merit to the Sudanese claim. To the contrary, the
scholars and academicians have irrefutably established that Humera belongs
to Ethiopia. Thus, when Khartoum raised its territorial claim to Addis
Ababa in the 1970s, the Dergue categorically rejected the claim, insisting
that the Sudan should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of
Ethiopia.

Suspicions abound that the TPLF government is presently engaged in talks with the government of the Sudan concerning the legal status of certain lands in the Humera region. Fuelling these suspicions is the report of the Arabic News of 7/3/2003, according to which it was agreed in the Ethio-Sudan Joint Ministerial Committee meeting held in Addis Ababa, that some border areas were to be transferred to the Sudan. The same newspaper states that this meeting was also followed by another meeting which took place at al-Qalibat. The latter was attended by the Interior Ministers of both
countries, the Sudanese Minister of Investment, and the Administrator of the so-called Amhara Region of Ethiopia.

We have not been able yet to independently ascertain whether these meetings did in fact take place, or whether the newspaper was simply engaged in wild speculation. Nor do we know for certain whether Ethiopian lands have indeed changed sovereignty as a result of the so-called agreements that the newspaper has reported. Nonetheless, given the history of relations between the two countries pertaining to the Humera region, it is not unreasonable to suspect that the government of the Sudan still continues to harbour its territorial ambitions centered on Humera. At the same time, it is also not unreasonable to fear that a harried and irresponsible group, like the ones at the helm of leadership in Addis Ababa at the present time, might be tempted to succumb to Sudanese pressure so as to maintain the cooperation of the Sudan in their common stand against Eritrea. We should be forgiven for ascribing such motives to the TPLF. But given its stark record and demonstrated willingness to submit to international arbitration claims over the sovereignty of unquestionably Ethiopian lands, we have no other choice. Need we offer more in the way of proof than the future fate of the territories that still remain in legal limbo in the wake of the international arbitration that took place at The Hague on the basis of spurious treaties long since dead?

Ethiopia's sovereignty over lands in the Humera region or elsewhere
in the country is sacrosanct and cannot be the subject of negotiation. Humera has always been part of Ethiopia and will always be. The Sudanese should know that fact. They should understand that there is no merit to their claim. If they think that they can exploit Ethiopia's current difficulties in order to gain an unfair advantage, they are making a big mistake. They should recognize that this cannot be done behind the back of the Ethiopian people. Whatever agreement they may reach with the TPLF, will not be honored by the vast majority of the Ethiopian people. The TPLF should also know by now that any such agreement that it may make, is bound to backfire, as did the agreement it reached at Algiers with the Eritrean government. It may be that the news coming from the Sudan, as reported by the Arabic newspaper, has no merit to it. Nevertheless, it behooves the Ethiopian government to assuage our concerns by forthrightly and openly declaring the truth about the matter. If the story has any merit to it, and the government remains silent in the face of such reports, we want to register in the strongest and most vehement terms our opposition to any alleged border agreements reached that have the purpose or effect of transferring Ethiopian lands to the Sudan.

We, the undersigned, therefore, demand from and urge the government
to come forward with a satisfactory explanation about the so-called agreement, and on what has been leaked out to the press by the Sudanese authorities regarding the question of Humera's status. We also call upon all patriotic Ethiopians, civic organizations, and political parties to take an active interest in the matter, and to bring it to the attention of the people of Ethiopia at large.


Signatures:

1. Dr Fassil Gebre Mariam
2. Dr Mesmaku Asrat
3. Melake Selam Sisay Ayele
4. Dejazmatch Bezabih Ademe
5. Colonel Imru Wonde
6. Dr Berhanu Mengistu
7. Professor Alem Ante Gebre Selassie
8. Dr Wale Engedayehu
9. Eng. Melke Tesga
10. Fantahun Engedayehu
11. Meron Agonafer
12. Dr Seleshi Ayalew
13. Colonel Getnet Liben
14. Colonel Asnake Engeda
15. Seleshi Zemene
16. Dr Feseha Abebe
17. Dr Fekade Mola
18. Dr Daniel Kendie
19. Dr Imru Assefa
20. Dagne Tshai
21. Chakla Kum Negere
22. Abay Mengistu
23. Shiferaw Enquobahrie
24. Wondayehu Kassa
25. Meharie Belaie
26. Dr Ambatchew Woretta
27. Alemu Yaynie
28. Lakew Heruie
29. Dr Andualem Mulaw
30. Feleke Abraha
31. Kinfe Tesfaye
32. Aklog Negga
33. Mulu Haile
34. Teferrie Abtew
35. Dr Worku Zewdu


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Information

Eve YangBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Ethiopians and Friends of Ethiopia

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