Marking the First Anniversary of Ethiopia's Brutal Occupation in Somalia
By Abdulkadir Abdirahman
It was this time last year when the Ethiopian invading troops marched into Somalia particularly the Capital, Mogadishu, with its 2.5 million populations in state of peace, but today the population has drastically dwindled to less than one million because of the mass killing, indiscriminate bombardments, prevalent rape and the massive displacements. In that backdrop, Somali Cause, the largest union of Somali organizations in North America, has called to mark on the mourning of the first sad anniversary of Ethiopia's occupation of Somalia to be held across the U.S. and Canada on December 28th, 2007. The events marking this anniversary include indoor public meetings, demonstrations, and media outreach and lectures to put an emphasis on the occupation and the plight of the Somali people.
According to the U.N., the number of Internally Displaced People is over 1.5 million forced from their homes as the humanitarian situation deteriorates from bad to the worst. The acuteness of the crisis is coupled with the absence of assistance and international scrutiny as the efforts of the Humanitarian organizations on the ground to reach out to the I.D.P. are prevented by the Ethiopian troops and the forces of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).
By infringing on Somalia's sovereignty, Ethiopia has taken a unilateral decision to violate the U.N. charter by invading Somalia under the false pretext of defending the TFG. It also defied the UN Resolutions that were in place to prevent the violation of the arms embargo on Somalia and the involvement of frontline states in Somali affairs.
The lack of commotion on the part of the International Community and the U.N. towards the full-scale atrocities against the civilian population in Somalia is not only seen as sign of guilt, but also an indication of to the breakdown of international law. As Noam Chomsky stated in his recent Op-Ed, "the tragedy of Darfur can be blamed on someone else, in fact an official enemy, while responsibility for the current catastrophe in Somalia, like others that preceded it, lies substantially in our own hands."
The number of cases compiled by Somali Cause during the ongoing, year long, occupation of Somalia is sufficient to proceed with a trial for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.
On a December 12th , 2007 letter to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates, Human Rights Watch describes the brutality of Ethiopia's war against the civilians in Mogadishu as, "indiscriminate attacks on civilians, summary executions and repeated targeting of hospitals." But while Mogadishu is burning, the U.S. Department of Defense, according the Washington Post, is working on a clandestine policy to further undermine the unity and territorial integrity of Somalia by recognizing the secessionist region in the north as an independent state. It further proves the systemic disregard of Somalia's sovereignty by the U.S. and to subdue it to Ethiopia's long-held ambition for the partitioning of Somalia.
Despite the difficult situation in Somalia, Somali Cause is determined to work with the International Community in ending the Ethiopian occupation of Somalia, safeguarding the unity and territorial integrity of Somalia, facilitating an all inclusive political settlement and bringing to justice everyone who committed war crimes against the civilian population in Somalia.
Call to Action
In marking the first anniversary of this brutal occupation, Somali Cause condemns the continued UN Security Council complicity that made it possible for Ethiopia to invade in the first place and the lack of action and outrage from the larger international community that helps it continue. Somali Cause calls upon the international community, including the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, the Africa Union, and the United States to:
* Intervene immediately to stop the bloodshed, the displacement of civilians, and further destruction of Somalia
* Put pressure on the Ethiopian government to immediately withdraw all its forces from Somalia without precondition or delay and replace them with non-frontline states preferably Muslim and Arab countries.
* Facilitate all inclusive dialogue among all Somalis and the formation of unity government followed by free and fair elections
* Bring to justice those who ordered or implemented the massacre and forced displacement of civilians
* Respect the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia
Abdulkadir Abdirahman is the chairman of Somali Cause
- Asian Tribune -