Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee
December 30, 2015
H.E Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
United Nations Secretary General
1st Avenue, 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
Subject: Petition on the ceding of Ethiopian lands to the Sudan by the Ethiopian government
December 14, 2015
We the undersigned Ethiopian religious, political, civic and media organizations have appealed to you several times concerning the decision by the Ethiopian government to cede vast tracts of Ethiopian lands without the knowledge of the Ethiopian People and without consultation with the millions of people who depend on these lands for their livelihoods.
To shed light on the historical background the current treacherous border deal; Ethiopia and the Great Britain, the then colonial administrator of the Sudan, signed a border agreement called the Anglo-Ethiopian Border Treaty in 1902 to demarcate the common borders of Ethiopia and the Sudan. However, contrary to both the spirit and letter of the provisions of the treaty, Great Britain unilaterally and arbitrarily demarcated the boundary without the knowledge and the participation of Ethiopian boundary commissioners by deflecting the line towards Ethiopia, ranging from 20 – 60 km, that it took a great deal of land from Ethiopia.
No previous Ethiopian government has ever accepted this ill-conceived border deal. On the contrary, all these governments have consistently and categorically rejected it out of hand as null and void.
Mr. Secretary General,
This large Ethiopian territory spanning 1600 kilo meters in length and 20 to 60 kilo meters in depth consisting of huge swathes of our ancestral lands with most fertile lands and dotted by rivers, streams, wildlife, and forests will be ceded to the Sudan. And this will have disastrous consequences on Ethiopia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and long term development.
Neither the current generation of Ethiopians nor those of future generations will allow the deal to stand for it constitutes a serious violation of the treaty regime set up at the turn of the century and holds for naught the sacrifices of past generations of Ethiopians to preserve the territorial integrity of their country. We wish to add that thousands of Ethiopian people will be forced to lose their homes, farms and investments if the border demarcation is implemented without their participation and consent.
The latest decision by the Ethiopian government to cede these territories is the ticking bomb of tomorrow. Since it has neither support in law nor received the consent of the Ethiopian people, it will fester as a major source of friction and tension between the brotherly peoples of Ethiopia and the Sudan.
Mr. Secretary General,
We want to bring to your immediate attention that opposing the planned border demarcation; thousands of our people on the border areas have taken up arms to defend their ancestral lands by fighting to the last drop of their blood.
We want to go on record asserting our right to territorial sovereignty as defined by treaty – and not any other agreement that is reached behind the back of the Ethiopian people. We reserve the right to not honor any boundary that results from the agreement of an unelected and unrepresentative government that is devoid of any support or legitimacy among its own people.
We, therefore, urge the United Nations under your leadership to avert the ceding of Ethiopian territory to the Sudan. It is also to advise you formally that the current ethnic-minority regime in power does not have the right to cede Ethiopian lands without the participation and consent of the Ethiopian people. This transfer will never be binding on successive governments of Ethiopia and on future generations.
We, on our part, vehemently and absolutely oppose this illegal border demarcation and unconditionally declare it null and void.
Thank you very much and we hope that you will give the outmost attention to this grave and serious case.
*2 organizations using the same name, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), endorsed this petition.