The Washington Post Editorial Board – Ethiopia’s regime has killed hundreds. Why is the West still giving it aid?

Protesters demonstrate over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in Ethi­o­pia at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Aug. 6. (Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

Protesters demonstrate over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in Ethi­o­pia at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Aug. 6. (Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

By Editorial Board August 9 at 7:35 PM

OVER THE weekend, Ethiopia reminded the world of how it treats those who dare demonstrate against the government. At least 90 protesters were shot and killed by Ethiopian security forces in the regions of Oromia and Amhara. As demonstrations unusually reached into the capital of Addis Ababa, the regime censored social media posts and blocked Internet access.

This fresh outburst of repression follows months of unrest in the Oromia region over government plans to expand the Addis Ababa capital territory into the lands of the Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group.According to Human Rights Watch, Ethiopian security officers have killed more than 400 people in clashes over the Oromia land dispute since protests broke out in November. Tens of thousands more have been detained. The clashes represent the worst ethnic violence that Ethiopia has seen in years. That the unrest is spreading to regions beyond Oromia underscores the depth of anger against the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front party.

The weekend’s bloodshed should prompt the West to reconsider its aid to the regime. Ethiopia has been hailed as a model of economic development and touts its progress on global anti-poverty indicators as proof that its “developmental democratic” style is working. But the repeated use of force to silence dissent threatens development by sowing seeds of future unrest.

The United States has long relied on Ethiopia as a partner in the fight against al-Shabab’s terrorism in Somalia and sends the country tens of millions of dollars in development assistance, tiptoeing around Ethiopia’s human rights abuses and resistance to democratic reforms. On Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa remarked that it was “deeply concerned” and expressed its “deep condolences to those who suffered as a result” but stopped short of explicitly urging the Ethiopian government to refrain from using excessive force against its citizens. The Obama administration should encourage a credible investigation into the killings and publicly make clear that Ethiopia’s continued crackdowns are unacceptable.

Europe is on the verge of helping to provide Ethiopia with even more aid. Ethiopia is one of the key countriesto which the European Union is offering “cash for cooperation,” meaning aid and trade incentives in exchange for helping to keep refugees and migrants from reaching Europe. Now Ethiopia is providing a litmus test of the stated E.U. commitment to human rights. If Ethiopia continues its pattern of abusing its citizens and stifling dissent, and if it fails to credibly investigate the recent killings, the European Union should make clear to the regime that it risks being dropped from the migrant agreements.

Ethio­pian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in response to criticism of the regime’s human rights record that “building democratic culture will take some time. But we are on the right track. It’s improving.” That’s hard to square with the continued killing and jailing of protesters.

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Posted by on August 10, 2016. Filed under NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

5 Responses to The Washington Post Editorial Board – Ethiopia’s regime has killed hundreds. Why is the West still giving it aid?

  1. Jony

    August 10, 2016 at 1:45 PM

    Unspeakable suffering fully back by the international community particularly by the Brits and US

  2. Belete Asfaw

    August 11, 2016 at 2:19 PM

    this unspeakebale killing had been carried out in the broad light also secretly. so many innocent people have lost thier life because theY demanded this killer, crul and dictator regim to step down. the ethiopian people have been suffer for the past 25 years under this thugs and dectatorship. the insight divition among different ethnics, specially they divided the two larg ethnic group which is Amhara and Oromos. they knew if these two ethnics come together? thier days is will be over soon, so they have to make sure they do every thing so these two ethnic has to remained divided. the Oromo people have no access to learn the national language which is Amaharic, if they dont speak the national language they couldnt be able to communicate with the rest of people that included the Amhara ethnic as well. this regim is a falier.

    please, please west doners especialy great Brtain and the united states of America—- cut your aid!! inoccent people are dying, suffering and lost hope. we dont have to have oil inorder to get help please please stop your AID ASAP!! i am crying as i wrot this to you guys. i sow the vidio and pictures of the victims. they are dying in dispeakable way, old, young, womans mans and even young kids under age 10. this so so sad. please pleas STOP YOUR AID SENDING TO THIS CRUL REGIM. THANK YOU!!

  3. Concerned

    August 13, 2016 at 3:34 PM

    We must remember that any donor is only interested in it’s own interest. Whether it be the West of the Chinese. The sad things is when a Government chooses to retaliate by killing the very people it is meant to protect and serve for opposing it’s policies. Unfortunately, after 21 years the leaders believe that they hold absolute power and do nothing wrong.


  4. Belete Asfaw

    August 15, 2016 at 10:17 AM

    i don’t disagree more. the donors are out of touch. they have to think more. they should know the Ethiopian dictator regime by now. it is a regime insight division among thinks so he could stay in power. look what they have done in one of the country province which called benshangule, 25 thousand people have been displaced from this specific area because of their AMHARA,S ethnicity and were told to whatever, who did this the TPLF surrogates who are serving this cruel the matter of fact they have killed 59 of the people during this displacement. as I said before and now. I am asking the united nations to send investigators to carried of investigation regards all the killing, torching and impressment. and the regime has to stop targeting the AMAHARAS AND OROMOS PROTESTER, the protesters are dying indescribable way in barbaric way. USA AND WESTOR DONORS CAN NOT IGNNOR THIS FACT AND SUPPOR THIS DICTORES AND FRGIL GEVERNEMENT.

  5. Belete Asfaw

    August 15, 2016 at 10:20 AM

    I am so sorry for the typo