The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in its “A Week in the Horn” report raised the Ethio-Sudan political commitment decisions,
the need for concrete action on Somalia, Eritrea’s aiding and facilitating resources for Al-Shabab and and the bias of Human Rights Watch.
Setting the Record Straight on Ethio-Sudan political Committee Decisions
On Friday 18 September, 2009 the Sudan Tribune website run a piece entitled “Sudan, Ethiopia to implement border demarcation in October”. The announcement that the demarcation of the border between Sudan and Ethiopia will commence on the ninth of October this year allegedly made by Sudan’s Interior Affairs Minister is erroneous and contrary to the Decision of the Ethio-Sudan Political Committee in its 1st meeting held in Addis Ababa from 18-19th May, 2009.
According to the Decision “the Political Committee instructed the Joint Boundary Committee to prepare a timeline for the complete survey and reconnaissance for the entire boundary starting immediately from point zero southwards. The Political committee also agreed that no re-demarcation will start before the completion of the survey and reconnaissance of the entire boundary.”
Under the Joint Political Committee's Decision, the Joint Technical Boundary Committee agreed, at its special meeting held in Addis Ababa on the 20th of May, 2009, to undertake survey and reconnaissance of the entire boundary (no demarcation work) starting from 15th October 2009 up to May 2010. Accordingly, the Ethiopian Government through the Ethiopian Side of the Joint Technical Boundary Committee is currently conducting preparatory work necessary for the proper handling of the planned survey and reconnaissance work.
What was announced by the Sudanese Minister of Interior Affairs regarding border demarcation between the two countries next month is erroneous. We hope it is an honest mistake. What will start on October 2009 is a joint survey and reconnaissance in accordance with the Decision of the Ethio-Sudan Political Committee, and as per the same decision no re-demarcation will take place before the survey and reconnaissance work of the entire boundary is completed.
Ethiopia and the Sudan enjoy excellent fraternal and good neighborly relations and cooperate in all spheres of socio-economic development that would benefit the brotherly peoples of the two countries.
To this end, the two countries’ officials meet regularly and explore ways and means that would enhance mutual cooperation. If such a statement was indeed issued, it would entirely be contrary to agreements reached at the highest level and thus should be avoided at all times.
Somalia - The Need for Concrete Action by the International Community
Al Shabab released this week a video, supposedly filmed before the suicide car attacks on AMISOM Headquarters on 17 September 2009, whose title speaks for itself: "At your service Osama [Bin laden]". The attacks of 17 September 2009 were the deadliest ever committed against AMISOM since its deployment in March 2007 and were unanimously condemned by the international community. The tragic suicide car attacks of last week, which took the lives of 21 soldiers, including the Deputy Commander of the Mission, as well as this latest video by Al Shabab are yet another reminder of the need for the international community to act now in order to keep the prospect for peace in Somalia alive.
The way forward as outlined by the AU and the IGAD is very clear. There is no other option but to provide full and unequivocal support to the legitimate and internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, the result of a broad based and inclusive political process; to strengthen AMISOM and to take immediate action, including sanctions against the spoilers both within and outside Somalia, who are bent on wrecking havoc and mayhem in the country and throughout the region.
One concrete manifestation of the support of the international community to the TFG would be the immediate release of pledged funds. The pledges of more than $ 200 million made by the international community at the Brussels Donors Conference in April 2009 should be disbursed as soon as possible. The TFG on its part has taken important steps in ensuring accountability in the use of these funds by signing an MOU with Price Water House Coopers. There should be no stonewalling or resorting to pretexts that delay the release of these funds, which are required to strengthen the institutions of government and to enable the TFG provide basic services to the people.
This will surely go some way in consolidating domestic support for the TFG and winning the hearts and minds of the segments of Somali society that remain hesitant. The comparison is striking looking at the kind of financial support that Al Shabab enjoys from its backers in order to pursue its destructive aims and the persistent lack of adequate financial support to the TFG. The international community should expedite the release of the pledged funds.
On the security side, as per the Decision of the Special Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU held on 31 August 2009, the three remaining battalions authorized for AMISOM need to be deployed before the end of the year; member States should provide the TFG and AMISOM with funding, troops, logistics and equipment; an integrated approach should be followed by the AU Commission, member States and partners with regard to the training of Somali security forces and police; and lastly the AU Peace and Security Council is expected to extend the mandate of AMISOM and to expand its operations outside Mogadishu.
The continued commitment of Uganda and Burundi to AMISOM, who are not deterred by the terrorist acts of Al Shabab such as the suicide car attacks carried out last week, is praiseworthy and needs to be supported. In a true spirit of Pan-Africanism, the two countries have been steadfastly renewing their commitment to the peace and security of Somalia, the region and indeed the continent. Their efforts should be augmented by the international community with enhanced concrete support to AMISOM and the TFG.
Another concrete manifestation of support to the TFG and AMISOM by the international community would be for the UN Security Council to move steadfastly to impose sanctions against the spoilers both within and outside Somalia, the perpetrators and their backers. The time is not for indecision. To echo the call by the IGAD Facilitator on Somalia, the time to act is now. The perpetrators of heinous acts such as the suicide car attacks against AMISOM and their accomplices are well known. One needs only to listen to the call for more attacks made this week by Eritrea's man in Mogadishu, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. The time to act, no doubt, is now.
Unfortunately, despite the urgency of the situation and the irrefutable proof that Al Shabab is part and parcel of the worldwide web of terrorist network that is Al Qaeda, there still is no proactive engagement regarding Somalia by the international community. It is mind-boggling that the international community, which is mobilizing all its financial and military capability in the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, through massive financial and military support to the Government in Kabul and the deployment of tens of thousands of troops, continues to move slowly when it comes to Somalia.
The obvious double standard regarding two conflict situations, Afghanistan and Somalia, which are so inextricably linked as we were reminded yet again this week by the video of Al Shabab under the title "At your service Osama [Bin Laden]", defies all logic.
If not for the sake of the people of Somalia and the peace and security of that country, then for the interests of the international community at large no effort should be spared in order to avoid the possibility—indeed the likelihood—of Somalia becoming a safe haven for Al Qaeda. Those who were under the illusion that Al Shabab could be prodded into joining the peace and reconciliation efforts in the country have been reminded yet again how untenable their position is. Al Shabab’s agenda in fact goes well beyond Somalia and the sub region. That is the primary nature of the conflict taking place in Somalia and to which the international community must respond by providing strong tangible support to the TFG, Somalia's only chance for stability and send a clear and strong message to their backers and financiers. Eritrea: insular, secretive, aiding, financing and facilitating resources for Al-Shabaab
Eritrean protege, Sheikh Hassan Dahir 'Aweys', head of the extremist Hizbul Islam opposition coalition in Somalia, has called for more suicide attacks against AMISOM peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu. Speaking at the weekend, Sheikh 'Aweys' welcomed the deaths of 17 peacekeeping troops a few days earlier and said people should carry out more such attacks against AMISOM and “kill with anything possible.” Sheikh 'Aweys' returned to Mogadishu from Eritrea in April this year. A month later, following the arrival of two plane loads of arms from Asmara, Hizbul Islam, together with the terrorist group Al-Shabaab, launched the attempted coup against President Sheikh Sharif and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab, which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on AMISOM headquarters which killed 17 AMISOM peacekeepers last week, has already threatened further attacks. Al-Shabaab claimed the suicide attack on AMISOM was a response to the death of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan from a US helicopter strike. Saleh Ali Saleh, a member of Al Qaeda closely linked to Al-Shabaab was involved in a number of terrorist attacks in the last few years including the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and other more recent attacks. Over the weekend, Al-Shabaab released a video showing its members vowing support and allegiance to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. It has also warned the Government of Djibouti against sending any troops to join AMISOM. Djibouti announced earlier this month it was planning to respond to the African Union calls for further troops for AMISOM despite its continued concern over its border problems with Eritrea - Eritrean troops invaded Djibouti territory in June last year and seized Ras Doumeira. Eritrea has refused to withdraw ignoring UN Security Council demands and all attempts at mediation.
A senior official of IGAD said at the weekend that IGAD had “conclusive evidence” that Eritrea and Al Qaeda were supporting, abetting and financing terrorists in Somalia. Kipruto Arap Kirwa, IGAD's peace and reconciliation facilitator for Somalia, called on the international community to take immediate and effective action, to go beyond words and act against all spoilers in the region. IGAD's Council of Ministers have, he said, made strong recommendations that there must be sanctions against Eritrea, and against other entities, who are “aiding, financing and facilitating resources for the Shabaab and other negative entities”. The Kenyan-based East African media site has argued that Somalia's needs have now changed from peacekeeping to peace enforcement, that it is time for AMISOM to be properly funded and trained and given the right tools to fulfil its mission and the UN Security Council and the AU must change the rules of engagement to allow AMISOM to take initiatives. Eritrea, and other arms suppliers to the extremists, must be told to keep out of the conflict and the international community must take action against Eritrea.
Eritrea itself, blithely ignoring its own central role in the current situation, has continued to call for an end to all foreign interference in Somalia. Refusing to accept the reality of its own spoiling actions in supporting Hizbul Islam and Al-Shabaab, it claims external involvement only aggravates the situation in Somalia. It couples this with persistent, if unbelievable, denials of involvement, but while the international community fails to act, it can, however unconvincingly, distance itself from reality even to the point of claiming: “Eritrea's genuine and neutral support to the cause of national reconciliation in Somalia is one of the finest chapters in the history of the Horn region.” Eritrea, unlike the rest of the international community and African and regional states refuses to accept the legitimacy of the Somali Government, even questioning the role and authority of the United Nations Security Council, essentially arguing that Eritrea, and Eritrea alone, has the right to intervene in Somalia. Not surprisingly, its very obvious involvement and its persistent 'spoiling' tactics have, despite its denials, brought it the condemnation of IGAD, of the Arab League, of the African Union and of the United Nations Security Council.
Eritrea uses a similar technique when denying, or rather ignoring, other unwanted news. An editorial on the Ministry of Information website on Wednesday claimed that reports suggesting there was famine due to drought and insufficient rains in Eritrea were baseless and “a manifestation of fantasy entertained by discredited parties”. The editorial said there was no serious food shortage in Eritrea compared to other parts of the Horn region, and Eritrea had not only managed to overcome last year's threat of famine but also laid the necessary groundwork to avoid undue dependence upon rain-fed agriculture. Reports of a famine were no more than an extension of “continuing political smear campaign against Eritrea.” The BBC Arabic Service was particularly singled out for publicising “inaccurate and baseless” information. A couple of weeks earlier, the EU agreed to provide 122 million Euros to Eritrea of which half was to be “channelled towards achieving food security” and an extra 7.26 million Euros earmarked for emergency situations. This assistance did not, however, prevent the EU from issuing a communique earlier this week calling on the Government of Eritrea to release unconditionally all political prisoners, denouncing the detention of those arrested on September 19, 2001 and the journalists arrested a week later, and their continued detention without trial.
Despite all the evidence against it, Eritrea still appears to believe that continuous denials of its own role and repeated criticisms of others will give it some sort of credibility. Instead, its actions have brought almost universal opprobrium. An article in the Financial Times last weekend, by Barney Jopson who was recently in Eritrea where he interviewed President Issayas, classified Eritrea as “insular and secretive”. He noted that the autocratic regime's “secrecy, sealed borders and intolerance of dissent” had led it to be labelled a 'pariah state' like North Korea. He described the persuasive levels of fear and security that he encountered and the mixture of xenophobia and arrogance he found in Asmara. President Issayas, he wrote “has barricaded himself into a defensive bunker from which he surveys a world of conspiracy theories and 'special interests' plotting against hi,” claiming that it the CIA which funds Eritrean opposition groups in exile, fabricates charges that Eritrea supports insurgents linked to Al Qaeda in Somalia or invaded Djibouti in June 2008. It is the CIA, and others involved in human trafficking and organized crime, which led to over 43,000 Eritreans fleeing the country last year. Eritrea, 113th in a list of world populations, is now the second largest source of asylum seekers in the world. Many are trying to escape unending national conscription for all between 18 and 50. Mr. Jopson described an Eritrea suffering from shortages of everything from diesel and tea to batteries and flour, and identified its dependence upon remittances from the Diaspora as the only thing which kept the economy afloat, an obvious negation of the government's continued claims to self-sufficiency. Mr. Jopson described President Issayas' vision for Eritrea as rooted in adversity: tough, resilient and nobody's friend. Not surprisingly, he thinks most Eritreans want to move on, to take advantage of the world, not to continue to try to prove they have no need of others. Few would agree with the President 's egocentric view of the world which demands that it is the US which must improve its relations with Eritrea, that it is the US which must correct its wrongs, and then “we can make friends.”
Eight years ago in September 2001, President Issayas detained eleven of the most senior members of the central committee of the ruling PFDJ and hundreds of their supporters, closing down all non-government media, and putting an end to free expression in Eritrea. With other journalists from government media arrested since then, Eritrea now has at least thirty journalists and two media workers behind bars, and has become, according to Reporters Without Borders, the world's biggest prison: “The Eritrean Government has become a disgrace for Africa”. Many of these political prisoners are held in metal containers or underground cells in Adi Abieto military prison, or in Eiraeiro, specially built for the G15. Reporters Without Borders claims it has confirmed that four of the journalists arrested in September 2001 have died, and it is widely believed that several of the G15 have also died. These prisoners of conscience are not just victims of the cruelty of their jailers, says Reporters Without Borders. They are also the victims of the indifference and the tacit complicity of the international community which has failed these prisoners, still neither charged nor tried. One of the journalists arrested in 2001,and like all the others never charged or tried, was Dawit Issac, who holds dual Swedish and Eritrean nationality. In an interview with a Swedish journalists in May, President Issayas, underlining his contempt for international opinion, said he didn't care where Dawit was held, adding that Dawit would never be tried and the Government would never negotiate his release.
A political agenda and the bias of Human Rights Watch
We mentioned last week that the representative of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in the UK had sent a letter to the British Foreign Secretary expressing concern over the potential consequences of a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Ethiopia signed in December last year. This MoU provides assurances in respect to persons subject to deportation. HRW claims that such agreements do not work and that people returned to Ethiopia would face serious risk because of Ethiopia's human rights' record. Nine months after the MoU was signed, although HRW has found no such consequences, it has, once again, used the opportunity to make unsubstantiated allegations about human rights in Ethiopia.
As always, these allegations raise a number of serious problems arising from HRW's methodology and from its accuracy, both of which must be called into question. HRW does not deny it makes its claims in the absence of any first hand or direct knowledge of the situation in Ethiopia. It even admits that “it is practically impossible to ascertain whether a breach [of these assurances of the MoU] has occurred.” This doesn't prevent HRW from claiming that breaches will happen, in the future, on a wide scale. HRW bases this allegation on what it claims are “numerous credible reports documenting the regular torture and ill-treatment of detainees” including many who support political or armed opposition groups. The issue here is one of credibility as well as HRW's methodology. The reports HRW mentions are its own productions which are, to put it mildly, controversial. The political groups to which it refers include, for example, numerous political parties which in fact participated freely in the last national and federal elections in 2005 and the most recent local elections in 2008 and which will be taking part in the national and federal elections next year. All of these are multi-party elections. It should be noted that in 2005 and again in 2008, HRW issued a report shortly before the election raising allegations about the conduct of the electoral process in specific areas. In both cases, this appears to have been a deliberate attempt to influence voting in the Oromiya Regional State. In 2008, its report entitled “Repression has set the stage for non-competitive elections” uses the same terminology and makes the same comments as in its 2005 report, failing to notice the significant changes in decentralization that had taken place including the empowerment of Woreda administrators appointed by elected Woreda councils, and changes in the operations of the National Electoral Board.
Following allegations made by HRW last year about the activities of the security forces in the Somali Regional State, the Government commissioned an independent report to look into HRW's claims. The report found HRW had indulged in a series of exaggerations or worse, that it had failed to check the political affiliations of its sources, and it had allowed itself to replicate the propaganda of an armed terrorist organization, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), without any consideration for accuracy. HRW actually made no secret of the fact that it carried out all its research outside the region and had made no effort to organize investigations on the ground. HRW had accepted false claims of torture and even of killings of people found to be alive and well. It had reported the burning, by security forces, of villages which both visibly and according to local residents had never been damaged, or which in some cases had been burnt by the ONLF. In an extensive series of interviews inside the Somali Region, the report identified a series of actions and abuses committed by the Eritrea-backed ONLF but totally ignored by HRW. In its report on the Ogaden region of the Somali Regional State in 2008, HRW made no effort to investigate the situation on the ground, confining itself to talking to members of armed opposition groups and asylum seekers in Kenya and elsewhere. None of them could be classified as impartial and the majority had very specific reasons for the inventions, exaggerations and omissions identified in the report by independent sources.
HRW's technique is simple, using repetition to assert accuracy apparently hoping this will conceal the fact that its assertions lack credible evidence. It systematically misrepresents allegations as established facts. It then makes “sweeping contemptuous denials” of any and all criticisms. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence in these reports, as in many others, to demonstrate that HRW's claim to produce “objective, balanced and even-handed” reports is nonsense. Even its choice of words demonstrates a continuous partiality, demanding in a report on Somalia last year that Ethiopian troops cease all attacks on civilians while asking Al Shabaab terrorists to try and avoid attacking civilians to the extent possible. Similarly, HRW frequently attributes an intent to government agencies for which it has no evidence.
Ethiopia has frequently stated any allegations of violations of human rights or humanitarian law by military or police forces are immediately investigated. Torture is illegal in Ethiopia. Any identified cases of torture have been and are immediately investigated and punished. The rights of detainees are respected and, again, any proven cases of abuse will be dealt with according to the law. They are. There have been one or two cases in which judicial decisions have been, temporarily, ignored by over-zealous policemen. Again, action has been taken as soon as attention has been drawn to these cases. And, yes, regrettably, it has sometimes taken longer than it should for a response to work its way through the federal or regional state judicial systems, something not unknown elsewhere. Impunity is not a “persuasive problem” as HRW makes it out to be. There have been commissions of enquiry into specific problems, and a number of prosecutions have taken place, something of which HRW is apparently unaware, possibly because it consistently neglects to take account of official events inside Ethiopia. It also appears totally unaware of the training in human rights and humanitarian law which is part of the core curriculum in all military/police training establishments at all levels, and of the wide array of workshops, conferences and seminars regularly organized on the subjects.
Certainly, conditions in prisons, federal or regional are not always perfect. Indeed, we agree they have sometimes been less than reassuring. As in many other countries as HRW should be aware, in Europe and North America, there have been occasions of serious overcrowding and facilities are not always as good as they should be despite a good deal of effort to improve the situation. Similarly, as in many other countries, we accept that judicial processes are not always as speedy as they might be or as we would like them to be in an ideal world. One reason for this is the absence of sufficient forensic support for police work, and difficulties of collecting reliable information in remote areas. This is why the Government has made significant investment in state-of-the-art computer links for the judiciary, and in judicial and police training. Ethiopia is much indebted to its partners for assistance in this regard. Equally, this is why several years ago the Government set up a number of human rights organizations including the Office of the Ombudsman and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, both of which have been active in investigation of complaints against individual officials and various administrative and official bodies. It is depressing, if hardly surprising, to find HRW dismissing these efforts as window-dressing without bothering to make any effort to see any of the relevant reports and investigations.
HRW's standard mix of exaggeration, fact and fiction is clearly demonstrated in its references to the issue of rendition with reference to a number of terrorist suspects deported from Kenya to Somalia and then moved to Ethiopia in the first two or three months of 2007. HRW's account of this deliberately misrepresents known facts about numbers, treatment and the speed of judicial processes. The Government made public the numbers involved which were 41 not “over 90” as HRW implies; and HRW's claim that the whereabouts of another “22 rendered to Ethiopia is unknown” is equally false. They were certainly not sent to Ethiopia. Those moved to Addis Ababa from Mogadishu were sent because the Somali Government did not have the facilities (or the security) to deal with a total of 41 international suspects from 18 nationalities who had been caught at the Somali-Kenyan border. Detention facilities in Mogadishu at the time were hardly safe, and the security situation there was still fragile with the Somali Government barely in control. In Ethiopia, the suspects could be visited, and (despite HRW's allegations to the contrary) given access to consular officials. All the suspects were brought before a legal tribunal within a matter of weeks, and with two exceptions released by mid-year, rather than HRW's “several months”. There was no secret to any of this or to where the suspects were held, though it is certainly true that the Ethiopian Government made no effort to give HRW any access to the suspects. HRW had no standing in the matter, and its comments suggested an agenda that had little to do with either accuracy or reality. It might be added that, despite HRW allegations, none of the suspects originally claimed any physical abuse while under Ethiopian jurisdiction.
HRW even manages to sneak in one of its favourite current complaints into its letter – Ethiopia's recent legislation, notably recent proclamations on Charities and Societies and the recent Anti-Terrorist law. HRW has been particularly critical of the former because it controls and limits the role and activities that external advocacy organizations, like HRW, can have in Ethiopia. HRW complains Ethiopia is a particularly difficult country in which to monitor and investigate human rights because the Government restricts access and monitoring efforts. If, by this, HRW means that the Government restricts HRW's uncontrolled activities, then it is correct. HRW has made it quite clear it is not interested in accuracy, that it is not prepared to listen to Government officials, nor is it prepared to see where improvements and developments have been introduced. Ethiopia, with international assistance, has for example gone a long way towards the creation of an independent judiciary; HRW simply dismisses these efforts and the extensive training by international experts, out of hand as unworthy of comment, despite all evidence to the contrary.
In fact, the basis of HRW's accusations in its letter essentially comes back to one particular potential argument: that the provisions of the Anti-Terrorist Proclamation might be used to crack down on political dissent, including peaceful political demonstrations or public criticisms of the Government. Similarly, the Memorandum of Understanding might be used inappropriately. Equally, of course, HRW reports might be used by forces opposed to the democratization process in the country as a reason for launching armed struggle against the Government. In fact, research methodology should be grounded in empirical evidence, a point seemingly forgotten by HRW in its recent reports on Ethiopia. In this context, HRW specifically complains that the Anti-Terrorist proclamation provides for the use of hearsay and indirect evidence. It has of course repeatedly used both hearsay and indirect evidence in its reports on the Ogaden and other aspects of Ethiopia. It apparently sees no contradiction in these attitudes.
Perhaps the most worrying thing about the reports of HRW, and other international advocacy NGOs, is a complete inability, indeed a total and deliberate refusal, to realize that their own states may be as deeply involved in the same abuses of which they routinely accuse others. There is no need to itemize this in detail, but a spate of recent reports should certainly cast doubts on the “holier than thou” attitude which has so often permeated the patronising annual reports about various developing states around the world. This is not to say that everything in these reports may be wrong, but it does set what are largely automatic productions, all-too-often inadequately sourced, and based on serious technical flaws, in some perspective. It strongly suggests these organizations might start a little nearer home, trying to set their own houses in order and make some real effort to improve their own methodology. A whole series of recent studies have made it clear that the “principled” actors who attempt to hold states and international organizations to account, including advocacy organizations like HRW, are themselves selectively pragmatic. (See for example: The International Struggle for New Human Rights ed. Clifford Bob). Decisions on whether to take up issues are based on political, strategic, and even material/financial considerations. This is hardly surprising as both actors and institutions are the product of their environment and experience. A good start would be some admission of their own clear failings and failures. It would make a pleasant contrast to the more usual arrogant assumption of superiority, or worse, often summed up in the phrase “we said it, so it must be true”; everything HRW says must be accepted, irrespective of the source, simply because it carries HRW's imprimatur.
We should not have to remind HRW that Africa, of course, has its own extensive system of human rights controls, something of which HRW seems entirely unaware. It is a structure made up of a combination of international law and institutions including the African Charter, the African Commission on Human and People's Rights, the African Court of Human and People's Rights and the Protocol on the Rights of Women. To this must be added the various state-centric models of human rights in the various countries. The one thing that stands out in any consideration of this African approach is that there is little or no place for advocacy organizations like HRW, nor any need for them. Human rights norms are already seeping, if still slowly, into the activities of the courts, the executives, the legislatures and the judiciaries of African states. It is unfortunate HRW has yet to realize the progress being made.
All this underlines the most basic flaw in HRW's methodology – with comments that are out of date, its analyses and recommendations are based on situations that no longer exist, even if they ever did. Equally, in all its attempted analyses, it entirely fails to consider the Government and the security forces as factors in their own right with their own programmes, activities and strategies. This means it can never consider more than half the equation at best. In other words HRW never makes any effort to consider the actual reality of human rights in Ethiopia or see what the Government has tried to do or has done. No valid analysis is therefore possible. HRW, in fact, has broken the most fundamental principle of analytical theory, in failing to ensure that the data used relates to reality rather than merely to its own pre-determined theories. The result is irrelevant and unusable.