Somalilandsun – The Ethiopian Consulate General office in Somaliland on Friday (24 January 2014) convened a meeting with members of Ethiopian Oromo communities residing in Somaliland’s capital city of Hargeisa and its surroundings. About a hundred representatives attended the session. The meeting was held as a preparatory session aimed at encouraging them to forward any issue they need to be discussed in an upcoming broader forum to be organized by the Consulate General office in the earliest possible time. Discussions also focused on the need to organize themselves in regional association which would be a strong integral part of the bigger Ethiopian Communities Association in Somaliland and establishing regular and broad working relationship with the Consulate General office. The Consulate General office also briefed participants on the overall development and security situation in Ethiopia where millions of people are graduating from poverty.
During the discussion, Head of the Ethiopian Consulate General office in Somaliland, Brigadier General Berhe Tesfay, noted the the Ethiopian government’s success in ensuring sustainable growth where by all segments of societies are benefiting from it. This he said is providing its citizens all over the country better options of job opportunities and encouraged participants to consider the beneficial option of returning home and engage themselves in one of the broader work opportunities being created by the Government’s successful developmental path and lead a decent way of life.
In case anyone prefers staying in Somaliland, he said, the Ethiopian mission in collaboration with the association and the Somaliland competent authorities will remain devoted to ensure that their rights would be fully respected as far as they respect their duties. The biggest stake rests on them as they have to organize themselves in a regional association and create close, regular and sustainable relationships among themselves and with the Consulate General office. This will pave the way for broader and effective approach of providing planned support.
General Berhe also appreciated the Somaliland government institutions constructive role in addressing any challenges faced by any decent members of Ethiopian communities including through the amicable resolution of inter-community and intra-community misunderstandings.
Participants on their part expressed their pleasure on the initiative taken by the office to provide any possible support and encourage them to establish their own association helpful to put in place more effective and broader self-support packages among themselves. They applauded the Government’s readiness to provide facilitations to any interested returnees. Other issues they raised include the misinformation which misguided them to leave home for Somaliland seeking a refugee status at the UNHCR office in Somaliland claiming political asylum while it was in pursuit of opportunities to go abroad for better living. But they said the move was far from reality and expressed their growing desire going back home.
Explaining this and other related queries of the participants, General Berhe noted his office’s awareness on the kind of pressure the weakening self appointed group calling itself the so called Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) is trying to impose its narrowest and indecent ideology on few people. The group’s influence is now minimized only to misguiding some vulnerable people to leave their country by advocating the benefit that could be obtained by seeking refugee status in anywhere possible. OLF’s idea was to use any possible migration as a tool to pursue on its propaganda of convincing few people to join its satanic activities. This, as the participants said, was far from reality as they themselves witnessed very tragic experiences after leaving home.
The General who noted the EPRDF’s constitutional provisions including the right to secession based on the constitutional procedures also pointed out that the Constitution has addressed the fundamental desires of the Ethiopian people which were related to the right for equality of identity, religion, language, culture as well as the right for self determination and shared resources and any opportunities. OLF is now a several years old fighter but couldn’t fulfill its desires as the agenda it carries on does not reflect the desires of the people it claimed.
He said any one who pursue the group’s terrorist agenda will be kept accountable and face proportional measures. This does not mean that this includes anyone having ideological differences. Having an ideological difference is a constitutional right as far as the means to pursue it does not involve any form of force.
He further assured participants that the office will provide support to them and all Ethiopian communities in Somaliland and that some rumors that those who have a refugee status would be taken into custody if they return home or to the Consulate General office were total lies. The office in collaboration with stakeholders and partners is ready to facilitate resettlement schemes for those interested to return home and lead peaceful life. The office can also ensure the full respect of their rights for those who prefer to stay here and communities should organize themselves and have a close relation with his office. The meeting was concludes with plans to convene broader discussion session earlier than March this year. A similar session was held with members of Ethiopian Somali communities last month.