May 2, 2013 at 8:25 am · Gadaa.com
The following is an invitation for a noble cause from the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA), which, this month, marks its sixth year of fighting for human rights in the Horn of Africa.
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May 2013 – a Fundraising Month for HRLHA on its Sixth Anniversary
It has already been six years since the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) was re-launched from Diaspora. It has really been a long journey for HRLHA, mainly because it has been full of challenges, lack of adequate human and financial resources being the major ones. These problems have continued to be unresolved. However, they have never prevented HRLHA from pursuing its passion of defending fundamental human freedoms and dignities. This could be ascribed to the strong commitment of its limited volunteering staff and supporters who have allowed the Agency to continue fighting against the perpetrators of human rights abuses in the Horn of Africa. As a result, HRLHA has become the strongest human rights organization in the region in fighting on behalf of the defenseless and the voiceless – a continuous effort that has won the Agency a Consultative Status from the United Nations.
It has been the hope of the peoples in the Horn, the international community, civic organizations and other NGOs that the bad human rights records of the dictatorial regimes in the region would improve. Particularly, much was expected in Ethiopia in the past twenty years, and recently, following the replacement of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi by a new head of government. To the contrary, the human rights situation in the country has been worsening from time to time. A very recent case in point is the severe attack against Muslim worshipers who were extra-judicially killed, jailed in hundreds and tortured simply because they demanded the independence of the leadership of the Islamic Affairs Council. It is also recalled Oromo students in different universities in the country, in the Addis Ababa University in particular, were dismissed and/or suspended from their academic studies for opposing to racist slurs against the Oromo people, and demanding equality of nations and nationalities. The constitutionally guaranteed free press and political oppositions have become illegal. Journalists are being punished with up to life-time imprisonments, and hundreds of thousands of supporters, members and leaders of opposition political organizations have been incarcerated just for attempting to hold peaceful political activities.
Evictions and displacements of farmers from their livelihoods in the name of development in different parts of the regional states of Oromia, Gambela, Benishangule, Afar, and others without consents and/or compensations are pushing hundreds of thousands of family members into the worst kind of destitution in the form of homelessness and joblessness. Those of the farmers, who attempted to protest the evictions and displacements, have been met with harshest actions, (by armed government forces), that have results in the death of hundreds of innocent civilians. For example, more than 200 members of the Suri Tribe in Gambella Regional State were brutally murdered while thousands of others were forced to leave their ancestral land and taken to unknown destination by the Ethiopian armed force in December 2012.
We have been witnessing that the condensed outcome of such injustices and brutalities have been the fleeing of hundreds of thousands of peoples into the neighboring countries in the Horn, and across the waters to some Middle East countries, such as Yemen. For example, among the 100,000 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa arrived in the south Yemen around the Arabian Sea and Red Sea coasts in 2012, it was estimated that at least 70,000 of these new arrivals were from Ethiopia. Unfortunately, those roads into exile have never been safe and smooth. Most of them have become easy prays of different illegal activities, such as human trafficking by different lawless groups that are pursuing different types of group interests. It is such realities of causes and effects that have made HRLHA’s presence and operations in the Horn very vital, and very challenging. What is more, limitations in its human and financial resources have made the whole job of speaking on behalf of the voiceless more challenging for HRLHA.
However, with a strong commitment of its staff and volunteers, the HRLHA has so far been able to help a lot of those defenseless and helpless people escape or avoid arrests, detentions and deportations, released from prisons when detained, granted relative security and protection from what they are entitled to as citizens in their home lands, and as refugees when they flee their countries. It is very important to mention again and again the great jobs done with the scarifies of HRLHA’s staff and volunteers in the Horn of Africa to convince the potential supporters and members. Going beyond the legal and political boundaries presumed to be existing in the region, HRLHA has been able even to challenge outlaw groups and secure the freedom of very young children who were kidnapped for the purpose of human trafficking after being orphaned by their kidnappers.
As hinted at above, from our past experience, the human rights situation in the Horn of Africa in general, and in Ethiopia in particular, is getting worse and worse. There is no sign so far – which indicates the improvement of the human tragedy in the Horn countries. Although it is not unfair to be optimistic, it is hard to speculate as to when and how soon such human miseries in the Horn could come to an end. So, HRLHA’s presence and operation in the Horn of Africa remains inevitable as long as both the legitimate and the illegitimate groups continued their perpetration of human rights against innocent people.
Summary of Activities:
- Gathering, composing and disseminating information on human rights abuses in the Horn in general, and in Ethiopia in particular; and bringing those issues to the attentions of local, regional, and international human rights and diplomatic agencies as well as local governments through various forms of media and correspondence;
- Compiling annual reports on human rights situations in the Horn of African countries in general, and in Ethiopia in particular, and distributing them through media to the general public and directly to all stakeholders so that pressures could be exerted on perpetrators of human rights violations;
- Conducting researches on human rights violations in the Horn of Africa;
- Field trips and investigations.
Summary of Achievements:
- The release of detained refugees (from prisons in Sudan, Yemen and Somaliland);
- The delay and eventual cancellations of the deportations of asylum-seeking refugees (in Sudan, Yemen and Somaliland) to their countries of origin;
- In recognition of the credible outcomes of its activities of monitoring and reporting on human rights issues as well as its contributions into the field, HRLHA was granted a Special Consultative Status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the six major organs of the UN, as of July 2011. This enables HRLHA, among other things, to actively engage with the ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies as well as the United Nations Secretariat programs to present any kind of human rights violations in the Horn to the member states and to UN human rights commission without limitation to challenge the human rights abusers.
HRLHA’s biggest challenge has been financial resource, as it has not been able to secure any fund from any donor organization in those six years. The main reason for being unable to secure fund from donor agencies is that the financial support HRLHA managed to collect in the past years from its supporters (which is usually deemed a prerequisite by those donors) was very minimal. However, with almost all in all volunteer resources, except for the very small amount of money collected from its members, it did not stop performing its job of monitoring, detecting, investigating and reporting on human rights violations in Ethiopia and in the Horn. It has managed to execute most of its plans of action and meet its objectives for the past six years through the extraordinary commitment of its tireless and dedicated volunteer staff. This dedication elevated the status of our organization to the highest level one cannot even imagine. Today, HRLHA can represent the voiceless with confidence and speak loudly on international stages about the hidden human rights abuses in Ethiopia and other Horn of African countries.
In addition to what HRLHA has laid down as its long and short-term plans in the Horn, the Special Consultative Status that HRLHA has been awarded by UN comes with multiple direct and indirect responsibilities that require us to double and triple our efforts in order to meet the expectations. To this end, the financial help from human rights supporters is very crucial in order to ease the financial challenge that HRLHA has faced. Therefore, your prompt action to strengthen HRLHA financially is extremely significant at this point.
To solve the financial problems that HRLHA has encountered, worldwide campaigns of raising funds and recruiting supporters are underway as of April 1, 2013. Besides the big fundraising event scheduled to be held on May 18th, 2013, the other ideal way of supporting HRLHA is making regular monthly contributions directly to HRLHA’s bank account. To ensure the continuity of HRLHA’s commitment to representing the voiceless and the defenseless, setting up a minimum monthly contribution of $20 from HRLHA’s supporters would be inevitable. Those of us who are able to do can go above the minimum contribution requested, and do contribute as much as we can.
Through our current fundraising campaign, we are aiming to raise $100,000; and recruit up to 500 permanent supporters who are willing to make the monthly contribution of $20 each, so that HRLHA can raise another $10,000 a month. By so doing, we could go beyond ensuring HRLHA’s existence, and enable it to operate in its full capacity. We request you to start your support as SOON AS POSSIBLE, and do YOUR part.
To setup and start a monthly financially support for HRLHA, use the following Options
- Name of the Bank, TD Canada Trust
- Customer Name: The Human Rights League
- TDCT Account NO.
- Transit No.: 11442
- Inst No.:004
- Account No.: 05165213128
- SWIFT Code: TDOMCATTTOR (all are letters),
- Routing # 026009593
- Bank Address: Canada Trust, 2440 Bloor Street West & Jane Street, Toronto, Ontario M6S 1P9, Canada
- Or go to HRLHA web site, HumanRightsLeague.com and use Paypal Payment Method
(For convenience, here’s the link to the PayPal donations for HRLHA)