EU to suspend aid to Ethiopia

This measure is foreseen under article 96 of the Cotonou agreement, which is an essential element of EU cooperation with Ethiopia. Speaking at a joint press conference yesterday, Margrete Auken, Danish MEP for the Socialistisk Folkeparti and member of the EU's election observation mission to Ethiopia, said:

"The May election mobilised more than 90% of the Ethiopian population who, in voting, demonstrated their faith in democracy. But the problems started just after information on the poor result of the ruling party at the polls began to emerge. This provoked a massive crackdown by the authorities in an attempt to turn the situation around and keep power at any cost. In November, the government arrested the entire leadership and the elected members of the main opposition CUD party. Peaceful demonstrators were shot in the street of Addis Ababa, and other major cities. The government security forces are conducting house-to-house searches and arresting thousands of people suspected of sympathising with the opposition. Journalists from the independent press, leaders of civil society organisations and human rights activists are also being arrested. In addition, hundreds have gone in hiding."

"The scale of the repression is beyond imagination. I heard poignant stories of atrocities; a wife of an elected member of the Addis Ababa city administration who was shot dead for crying when her husband was brutally arrested is just only one example among many. How can the EU leaders tolerate such blatant violation of basic human rights?"

Ral Romeva, member of the Parliament's human rights committee, added: "It is disgraceful that member states have so far failed to publicly condemn the atrocities in Ethiopia. Instead of isolating the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Europe's leaders are sending counter productive messages. Tony Blair invited him to Gleneagles in July and the German President invited him to Bonn last week, for example. This is tantamount to offering him impunity."

"EU taxpayer's money should not be used to support repression in Ethiopia. I believe that an international committee of inquiry should be set up to investigate the ongoing atrocities and bring to justice those responsible for these crimes."

For more information contact :
Damian Connon
Press Officer
The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament
Tel: Brussels +32 2 2841667 / Strasburg +33 3 88174375
Mobile phone: +32-472 21 57 95
Fax: 0032 2 2844944

(Source: Greens/EFA of EU