International affairs, peace
and human security
REGIONAL CONCERNS - ETHIOPIA
WCC 10 November 2005
If one member suffers, all suffer together… (I Cor. 12:26)
Dear friends in Christ,
Ethiopia is presently facing a major political upheaval following the contested election of 15 May 2005. Following his recent visit to Ethiopia, Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, has sent several letters to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia after the killings of innocent people of 8 June 2005. He also sent a letter to the Prime Minister following the recent killings and the detention of the political leaders of one of the opposition parties. The letter is attached for your information.
The ruling party, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Front, has a major responsibility to stop the current political violence. For this to happen, all individuals concerned, civil society groups, international organizations, the United Nations, the African Union, European and North American governments must use their diplomatic influence on the Ethiopian government.
In this regard, the position taken by the European Union and the US Ambassadors in Ethiopia is very encouraging. Their suggestions to resolve the current political crisis are as follows:
As regards the opposition, and without prejudice to their constitutional rights, we call upon them at this very sensitive time, to disassociate themselves from and to discourage all actions that could directly or indirectly incite violence, harm individuals or lead to the destruction of public and private property.
In a spirit of promoting reconciliation, the European Union and US Ambassadors have urged the re-opening of political dialogue designed to foster peace and to strengthen democracy based on a commitment to the rule of law and democratic principles.
The World Council of Churches has two Member Churches in Ethiopia – the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Ethiopian Evangelical Mekane Yesus Church.
Ethiopia never had the privilege of enjoying smooth and peaceful transfer of power from one leader to another, neither in the earlier days nor in recent times. Crisis if handled honestly brings challenges and opportunities. Ethiopia must be helped to turn these challenges, however difficult they may be, into opportunities for the future generations to come.
A call for action
We urge you to take the following actions:
Request your government to write to the His Excellency, Mr. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, urging him to:
Write a separate letter to the His Holiness Abune Paulos, the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and Rev. Iteffa Gobena, the President of the Ethiopian Evangelical Mekane Yesus Church, expressing concern and solidarity in this hour of crisis.
Please address the letters to:
His Excellency Mr. Meles Zenawi
His Holiness Abune Paulos
Rev. Iteffa Gobena
Kindly share with us the actions you are taking.