The Elders welcome Ethiopia’s political reforms

31 May 2019

A delegation of Elders, led by Mary Robinson, Chair and former President of Ireland, visited Ethiopia in May for their annual bi-annual board meeting where they held meetings with government officials including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde.

The Elders with Prime Minister Abiy

Founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007, The Elders is a UK-based international non-governmental organisation of global leaders working together for peace and human rights.

In a statement following their visit, the Elders said they “welcomed the wide-ranging reforms in Ethiopia introduced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and called on all leaders in the country to uphold the rule of law, foster a sense of national unity and defend the rights of refugees and displaced people.”

They also praised Ethiopia for its progress on promoting women’s leadership, including the appointment of women to half of all Cabinet posts, including the Minister of Peace, and the important role played by President Sahle-Work Zewde.

The Elders also recognised the critical role Ethiopia can play in helping to resolve regional conflicts and tensions, including in neighbouring Sudan and South Sudan, as well as how best the country can deal with its high population of refugees and internally displaced people.

Elders Chair Mary Robinson said:

“It has been a privilege to visit Ethiopia at this time of remarkable change.”

“We have greatly valued our conversations with Prime Minister Abiy and President Zewde, and admire their vision of drawing on Ethiopia’s rich history to guide its united future. We urge all political stakeholders to work together to develop a national settlement that respects the rights of all communities.”

As part of their visit, some Elders travelled to a refugee camp in Gambella in western Ethiopia to meet refugees from South Sudan. They commended Ethiopia’s new Refugee Law which offers more opportunities for work and integration.

Other Elders visited a health centre in Addis Ababa to meet community health workers and welcomed the Ethiopian Government’s commitment to delivering free primary healthcare services.

Graça Machel and Ricardo Lagos, with Nane Annan and Health Extension Workers at Feres Meda health centre, Addis Ababa

The Elders also held talks with senior representatives of the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on conflicts driving mass displacement across the Horn of Africa. They supported the notion of “African solutions to African problems” and highlighted the risks to peace and stability posed by outside powers using African countries as venues for proxy wars.

Lakhdar Brahimi, Elder and former Algerian Foreign Minister, said:

“These are dramatic times for Ethiopia and the region, which could herald a truly progressive transformation. Young people who have taken to the streets to demand their rights must be heard by leaders. We as Elders stand in solidarity with all who seek a peaceful, inclusive future for their countries and will do what we can to support their vision.”

Latest News

Browse all
The Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors-Exporters Association, in collaboration with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Ministry of Trade and Industry, is hosting the 9th International Conference on Pulses and Oilseeds at Sheraton Addis Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 29 and 30, 2019. For further information, visit the conference website.
16 Sep 2019
International Conference on Pulses and Oilseeds in Ethiopia
Ethiopians, at home and abroad, will celebrate the beginning of the new year - Enkutatash - on September 12. On the occassion, Ambassador Fesseha and staff at the Embassy wish all Ethiopians celebrating the new year a joyous, peaceful and productive 2012! Melkam Addis Amet!     
11 Sep 2019
Ethiopian New Year Message from the Ambassador
Ethiopia is heading for a historic National Election in May 2020, expected to be the freest, fairest and most inclusive ever held in the country. With preparations afoot across the political spectrum, this election holds the promise of embedding a truly inclusive and participatory democracy for the long haul.
30 Aug 2019
Historic 2020 Elections Represent Hope on the Horizon
The Embassy will host a solo exhibition - I Appreciate You - by London-based artist, Catherine Chambers, for two weeks from 20 September. The majority of works that will be exhibited will be oil portraits of friends in Lalibela, a place that has strongly influenced her work.
29 Aug 2019
“I Appreciate You” – solo exhibition by Catherine Chambers
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been announced as this year’s recipient of the Hessian Peace Price in recognition of his indispensable role in achieving a historic peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea following a 20-year state of “no war no peace”.
28 Aug 2019
Prime Minister Abiy to receive Hessian Peace Prize
UK’s new International Development Secretary, The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, made his debut trip to Ethiopia in August, where he met with various Government officials and British investors to discuss the opportunities and challenges of working in Ethiopia. While meeting Prime Minister Abiy, the two discussed issues of mutual interest including Ethiopia's political and economic situation, its role in…
27 Aug 2019
New International Development Secretary in debut visit to Ethiopia
In a courtesy visit to the Embassy on 16th August, the President of the World Tourism Forum, Bulut Bağcı announced that the World Tourism Forum board has chosen the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Dr Abiy Ahmed, as the recipient of the 2019 World Tourism Award for"Leader in Tourism". PM Abiy is recognised for his outstanding efforts to advance the tourism…
16 Aug 2019
Prime Minister Abiy awarded “Leader in Tourism”
Ambassador Fesseha met with the President of the World Tourism Forum, Bulut Bağcı, following his recent trip to Ethiopia where he held meetings with various stakeholders. Briefing the Ambassador about his visit, Mr Bağcı said that the 2020 World Tourism Forum will be held in Addis Ababa.
16 Aug 2019
Ethiopia to host World Tourism Forum
The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are among Rough Guides 100 Best Places on Earth to visit. An enigmatic and utterly beguiling country, Ethiopia has endless intrigue. From its unique cuisine to its ancient language, there’s very little that’s familiar about this place, and your trip will be all the better for it.
13 Aug 2019
Lalibela churches among Rough Guides’ 100 Best Places on Earth
Ambassador Fesseha is among speakers at an upcoming event at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) entitled Financing the future of the Belt and Road in Africa. The event will take place on 20 September and will focus on China's investment in Africa and explore the future of Sino–African development relations.
9 Aug 2019
Ambassador Fesseha to speak at ODI event
In an unparalleled move to go greener, Ethiopia made history by planting 353,633,660 million trees in the space of just 12 hours, on 29th June, setting a new world record. This ambitious tree-planting drive is part of PM Abiy’s #GreenLegacy Initiative which aims to plant 4 billion trees by the end of October.
2 Aug 2019
Ethiopia unites in record-breaking tree-planting campaign