Key Takeaways from the very informative press conference at Club suisse de la presse (the Geneva Press Club)

(07-01-2021 published)
The Geneva Press Club and the Network of Ethiopians in Geneva for Action Taskforce (#NEGAT) in collaboration with the Ethiopian permanent mission in #Geneva have organized a press conference today (January 06). Ambassador Zenebe Kebede said the conference aimed at putting Developments in Ethiopia in the right perspective and correcting the misinformation circulating in social and mainstream media outlets regarding the law enforcement operation in the Tigray regional state.
At the panel Moderated by H.E. Ambassador Minelik Alemu and in the presence of Mr. Kitaw Yayeh Yirad representing the Network of Ethiopians in Geneva, Ethiopia’s Attorney General Dr. Gedion Timothewos, Chief Commissioner of Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, Dr. Daniel Bekele, and Berhanu Nega (Prof) from Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (Ezema) have reflected on several issues surrounding the measure taken against the TPLF clique. Here are the key takeaways:
Dr. Gedion Timothewos
• The TPLF clique dominating the security and military apparatus was adamant to undermine the reforms initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
• The decisive measure against the TPLF has saved Ethiopia from the chaos and disintegration that the TPLF wanted to inflict upon Ethiopians.
• The existential threat posed by the group has been neutralized.
Dr. Daniel Bekelle
• We are yet to do a full assessment of the civilian implication of the overall military operation, but based on the information we have so far, it is comforting to learn that the military operation did not result in as severe consequences as it was originally feared to be. There was a much-hyped bloodbath, civilian casualties, breaking up of the country …. that did not happen at least to the extent that it was anticipated to be. But that does not in any way imply that there was no civilian causality here but it was not at the scale and extent it was feared to be.
#Humanitarianassistance has considerably improved. Over the last few weeks, there has been considerable improvement in terms of resumption of basic social services including, power, water supply, telecommunication, transport, and so on.
• As part of our human Rights investigation, we have traveled to #Mikadra, to look into what exactly has happened and we have investigated, documented and gathered evidence about serious human rights violation which may amount to #crimesagainsthumanity or even #warcrimes in which the perpetrators killed hundreds of people with full intent, plan and preparation to commit such atrocities and it was conducted and committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack directed against civilian populations that were identified on the basis of ethnic identity. It was perpetrated by an informal youth group called Samri which was aided and abated by the security structure that was in place at the time.
• The institution that I lead is an #independent one and works without any undue interference from the government
Berhanu Nega (Prof)
• Who started the conflict is not a question of interpretation and the government has proved that it had given the TPLF clique enough opportunity to resolve differences peacefully.
• Whatever was deriving the TPLF, its reasons for triggering the conflict was not motivated by democratic causes.
• It was quite interesting to see how careful the government was in ensuring that there was no collateral damage whether it is in terms of civilian deaths and injuries, but also in terms of infrastructure.
• The measure against the TPLF has taken us a step closer to a meaningful and democratic political order
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