The Brief 14.04.23
The Implementation of the Agreement for Lasting Peace through Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR)
It is to be recalled that the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) in Pretoria, South Africa on November 02, 2022, with the view to ending the two-year-old conflict in the country’s northern region. Thereupon the federal government and TPLF signed the declaration of the senior commanders on the modalities for the implementation of the agreement for lasting peace through a permanent cessation of hostilities on November 12, 2022, in Nairobi, Kenya.
As per the provisions of the peace agreement, the National Rehabilitation Commission (NRC) is developing a significant DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration) program involving not just TPLF ex-Combatants but also all parts of the country. It is apparent that peace has returned to the Northern region of Ethiopia with the start of the public consultation on Disarmament, Demobilization, and Integration (DDR) on March 11, 2023, in Mekele, Tigray which was followed by similar discussions in Bahirdar and Assossa in April. The continuation of these debates on further solidifying the DDR is a milestone towards achieving sustainable peace in Ethiopia. Accordingly, the handing over of heavy weapons was completed while the transfer of light weapons will resume in accordance with the arrangements of the African Union Monitoring, Verification and compliance Mechanism (MVCM).
The Government, with the help of the African Union and partners, reaffirm its dedication to promoting peace and fostering international confidence by closely monitoring and assisting the DDR’s implementation. The Chairperson of the NRC, Ambassador Teshome Toga, reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the full implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, in particular the DDR, during a meeting with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahat, on March 29, 2023. The Chairperson also assured Ambassador Teshome of AU’s continued support to the endeavour. Ethiopia demonstrated that African problems can indeed have African solutions through tenacious effort on the side of the Ethiopian government and in collaboration with regional and continental partners. The support of the international community in this regard should not be taken for granted, as it has always been the firm position of the Government and should continuously be leveraged in a manner that it ensures not only peace and stability but also development and prosperity in Ethiopia and the region.
The Government of Ethiopia is fully committed to support the implementation of the agreement and sees the progress as promising. As Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed succinctly put it during his address to parliamentarians at the 11th Regular Session of the House of Peoples’ Representatives “Peace entails everyone standing at the forefront in pursuing peace”. In this regard. the global polity needs to buttress, in every way it can, the collective and incessant efforts of the People and Government of Ethiopia to sustain peace toward the achievement of development and prosperity, a step towards shared growth in the region.
On the other hand, in order to attain lasting peace and protect the nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the government deems fit to create one strong defence force. Hence it has asked members of the regional special forces, based on their preference and interest, to join either the National Defence force, Federal police or regional police forces. Accordingly, it has begun implementing practical activities that will allow the region’s special forces to be transferred to various security structures. Security Sector Reform (SSR) is the process by which the government of Ethiopia formulates or re-orients national security policies, structures, and capacities of institutions to forge a more effective, efficient, and responsive security sector, ensuring peace, security, and development.
Another step closer to lasting peace has been made with the installation of an interim government in Tigray and H.E. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointing Mr. Getachew Reda as the head of the interim administration. Following that, the interim administration held consultations with federal and regional governments. Fruitful discussion and visit were made with various entities and organs of the federal and regional governments. In relation, the Minister of Finance has also announced that the Federal Government would soon start releasing the budget subsidy allocated to the Tigray region every month, as of mid of April 2023.
National Transitional Justice Policy and Accountability
Ensuring accountability for the crimes committed in the course of the conflict remains to be one of the basic elements in the Pretoria peace agreement. The Government is thus committed to ensuring accountability and justice through the Transitional Justice Policy. In this regard, the Government of Ethiopia has requested the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) to deploy joint human rights monitors to conflict-affected areas. The two entities have already accepted the request and have been working with the government to ensure that the nationwide consultations on options for the transitional justice policy to meet international standards.
Over the week, the FDRE Ministry of Justice has announced that charges against the Civil and military leaders of the TPLF, who were accused of crimes have been withdrawn. The Withdrawal of charges was required because accountability needed to be addressed in the transitional justice framework. Additionally, it is done with consideration for the international experience of similar cases in which crimes associated to a particular conflict should be handled under a separate framework, in this case transitional justice. in this connection. It is sensible to note that the Government of Ethiopia has been and will always be committed to ensure accountability, as the signing of the Peace Agreement and its implementation has paved the way for peace in the country. The country is now turning its attention toward the rehabilitation and construction of conflict-affected areas.
On the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)
02 April 2023 marks the 12th anniversary of the laying of the foundation for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). To Commemorate the anniversary, the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) held a consultative forum. The Chair of the National Council, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, announced that construction of the GERD has reached 91%. Indeed, this has been made possible by the united efforts of the Ethiopian people as they have contributed more than 18 billion Birr to support the GERD project. The public has also been engaged in environmental conservation and rehabilitation activities worth 120 billion Ethiopian birr to maintain the health of the Nile River, which will contribute to extend the service life of the dam by nearly hundred years. The Public Participation Coordination Council expressed satisfaction at having made it thus far and expressed confidence that support will persist until the project is fully completed. In fact, the completion of the Dam is all about realizing the dreams of past, present, and future generations.
In all this, the public showed full commitment as the construction of the dam is necessitated by the immense need to lift millions of Ethiopians out of abject poverty and meet their basic needs. Constructing a dam is not a luxury for Ethiopia but rather a necessity. Access to electricity in Ethiopia is one of the lowest in Africa, with nearly 65 million people living in darkness. That is why utilizing the waters of the Nile is a matter of life and death for Ethiopia. The completion of the GERD and expansion of transmission lines across the country is, thus, critical. This is the basic reason that Ethiopia is resiliently progressing towards the completion of the construction of the GERD without causing significant harm to downstream countries. In such score, Ethiopia remains committed to continuing the tripartite talks under the auspice of the African Union to reach a negotiated outcome.
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