Ethiopian Scholars warn U.N. Chief Border ruling is "null and void"
First Published on April 12, 2002
June 11, 2018
Secretary-General of the United Nations
1 United Nations Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10017
We are fully cognizant of the procedural barrier in place against us at the United Nations and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). We have no voice or standing as individuals and/or groups at either of these two institutions. But, this fact is more a reflection on the inadequacies of the United Nations and the ICJ systems more than a question on the legitimacy of our cause.
We all know that the United Nations and the ICJ as Organizations deal with States through their governments irrespective of whether those governments have the moral authority to represent the States which are primarily constituted by the general population.
The voice of Ethiopia (with a population of over sixty-five million people) is not being heard by the United Nations and the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission because we are not represented by a democratic government. The current Ethiopian government is a violent anti-democratic dictatorship, which fact has been stated by international human rights organizations and by official governmental reports of some of the members of the United Nations itself.
Numerous complaints have been posted to the United Nations Human Rights
Our message of protest and proper notice was brought to the United Nations and its Members on 25 March 2002 by an orderly demonstration (in front of the United Nations Headquarters) of over five thousand Ethiopians from all over the United States and Canada. Over two hundred thousand Ethiopians have signed a petition that was addressed to the United Nations. Several thousand Ethiopians from all walks of life, political affiliations, and religious background have been meeting and passing resolutions on issues surrounding the implication, appropriateness, legality of the Algiers Agreement, the Ethiopia/Eritrea Boundary Commission, and the role of the United Nations.
Those resolutions were properly mailed to the United Nations Secretariat. Ethiopia is the founding member of the United Nations. Since 1945, successive Ethiopian governments have upheld the work of the United Nations, including putting Ethiopian military men in the service of the United Nations during the Korean, Congo, and the Rwandan crises. It is ironic that the very organization we created, and faithfully supported is now an instrument of our dismemberment and destruction. We have attached herewith a document entitled "DECLARATION ON THE SOVEREIGNTY RIGHTS AND TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF ETHIOPIA AND VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS", which addresses the details of the facts underlying the present controversy between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
We are bringing to your attention, with this letter, a fair notice to the Members of the United Nations and the Peoples of the World at large of the gravity of the problem that would result from the decision of the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission seated at The Hague. The Commission was given improper mandate. We have presented to the United Nations through you our concern, frustrations, warning, and hope.
Furthermore, We declare unequivocally the following:
I. We fully support the expressed will of the people of Ethiopia as represented by resolutions, demonstrations, and letters on the illegality of the secession of Eritrea and the border demarcation.
II. We declare the Algiers Agreement of 12 December 2000 to be null and void. The Algiers Agreement was signed by a "leadership" that is blatantly pro-Eritrea and has constantly worked against the interest of Ethiopia. The Algiers Agreement is a result of collusion full of deceit and fraud. Thus, does not have any validity as an agreement between the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Therefore, the Algiers Agreement has no legal or moral authority.
III. We find all references in the Algiers Agreement to "colonial treaties" particularly the 1902 annex and the 1908 convention offensive and illegal in light of the fact that Italy had attacked Ethiopia in 193/5-41 and occupied Ethiopian territories breaching or abrogating the sanctity of international agreements and that of the League of Nations. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians had died defending our freedom, and the independence of our country. Moreover, in 1947 when Italy signed the Peace Treaty rescinding all claims and interest it had in Eritrea (the renouncement specifically refers to Eritrea), all rights of Sovereignty ought to have been conferred back on to Ethiopia by the operation of the terms of the treaty of 1884 /1896 and customary international law.
IV. The United Nations should never lend its name or its organization in a scheme that ultimately will violate the human (civil, political, and economic) rights of the Ethiopian people , and the human (civil, political, economic, cultural, and social) rights of the people of Afar, Bure, Irob, Kunama (Adiabo), Zaleambesa, and the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. The Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission arbitration process underway at the present time at The Hague for the demarcation of borders between Ethiopia and Eritrea is such a deceitful and fraudulent scheme. We want that process stopped; if decision is entered, we demand that such decision be set aside. We do not accept or recognize any demarcation of borders between Ethiopia and Eritrea by the Ethiopia/Eritrea Boundary Commission.
V. We warn the United Nations and the World Community that the unjust and illegal process forced on Ethiopia is a dangerous precedent to all peace loving nations of the World. This may be a political game to some members of the Security Council of the United Nations, but it may end up becoming the reason for prolonged hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea expanding into a major civil war in the Horn countries. The controversy between Ethiopia and Eritrea is not a simple question of border demarcation. In fact, it involves matters of complex issues in international law and custom such as "peremptory norm of general international law," principles of Jus Cogens (sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights, citizenship et cetera).
VI. Eritrea attacked Ethiopia in 1998, and the people of Ethiopia only defended themselves. Now once again Ethiopia's National survival is at stake, and its freedom and independence is being challenged; thus, the Ethiopian people reserve the right of self-defense under international law and the Charter of the United Nations to protect their freedom, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity. Furthermore, the people of Ethiopia reserve the right to defend and keep safe their fellow Ethiopians of Afar, Bure, Irob, Kunama (Adiabo), and Zaleambesa, whose Ethiopian citizenship is forcibly taken away from them.
We the undersigned are professionals (professors, teachers, lawyers, writers, physicians et cetera) privileged in pursuing higher education and engaged in the service of our fellow man. Our primary purpose in writing this letter is to underscore the extremely compelling need for the attainment of durable peace and stability -- with justice -- in Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa.
We appreciate the high responsibility placed upon you and your associates by the World community. In no way do we address this letter or the attached declaration as a personal admonishment to you or your Associates.
Please, accept our sincere cooperation.
The Coordinating Committee
H.E. General Colin Powell
H.E. Mr. Amara Essy
H.E. Mr. Romano Prodi,
The five Permanent Members of the Security Council of the United Nations
Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, CBE QC, President
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