December 12, 2009
Yvo de Boer
United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009
Host Country Secretariat
Prins Jørgens Gård 11
1218 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Dear Mr. Yvo de Boer:
I am writing this open letter on behalf of the Oromo Studies Association (OSA), a scholarly, multi-disciplinary, nonprofit organization, established to promote studies on and relevant to the Oromo people residing in East Africa, mainly in Ethiopia. The Executive Committee of OSA is following the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference at Copenhagen with a great deal of interest. We believe that this conference is an important milestone in curbing the threats of climate change of the earth, for all its habitats in general, and for human being in particular. However, we are very much disturbed that one of the world’s most despotic dictators, the self proclaimed “prime minister” Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, is taking the central stage in this important conference of this international scale, and reportedly representing African nations.
It is a well documented and established fact that Meles Zenawi has a record of grave human rights violations against all peoples of Ethiopia out side his narrow Tigrean ethnic group. Particularly the massive massacres, arbitrary killings, disappearances, arrests, torture, perpetrated against the Oromos, Anuaks, and Ogadenians is characterized by many humanitarian organizations at a level of genocide.
On environmental issue, Meles Zenawi is responsible for environmental degradation in Ethiopia, much far from being an advocate of climate change. He is part of the environmental problem; he is the last candidate to be part of the solution. To mention few documented cases:
* OSA has written an appeal letter about the pollution of Lake Koka of Oromia regional state, Ethiopia, urging the Ethiopian government to stop polluting the lake and the up stream Awash river, making copy to the UN Secretary General and several other governmental and non governmental organizations to intervene, on May 03, 2009.
* Since no action was taken by our first appeal letter, OSA has written a second follow-up letter on September 29, 2009 and no action was taken by the Meles Zenawi regime.
* Several other organizations such as Al Jazeera TV documentary series, February 2009, Action Professionals Association for the People (APAP), a non-profit, non-partisan nongovernmental organization, a professional research paper of 2003 (Hydrobiologia, Volume 492, Numbers 1-3, February 2003), Voice of America (VOA) Afan Oromo program, have all aired their grave concerns about the severe environmental degradation in Ethiopia in which the Meles Zenawi Regime is directly responsible.
* In 1999/2000 before Mr. Zenawi sent his army to the bloody border war with Eritrea, his security forces started fire to natural forest of Oromia at several places in one day. When the Oromo students get organized to fight the forest fire and made a peaceful demonstration several of them were killed by the Ethiopian security forces. The burning of the Oromian forest by the government was politically motivated since the intention of the regime was to “deny the Oromo Libration Army shelter and food”. Consequently, Oromian forest has been alarmingly destroyed and wild life severely diminished.
* Ethiopia is the poorest country in the world having the highest number of refugees in the world, despite of the abundant natural resources available in that country. Meles Zenawi is the main cause for the disasters in Ethiopia. Therefore, we urge the participants of the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to include good governance, social justice and regard for human rights as part of the solution to climate change and take extreme care in decision making to help the continent from further catastrophic destabilization of global climate change.
Dear Mr. Yvo de Boer:
Due to the above and other record of Meles Zenawi, we believe that his attendance at this very important and useful conference is already tarnishing the image of the UN, your image, and that of well respected world leaders. The positive results expected from the outcome of the conference will also be compromised. Therefore, we appeal that you and your organization take a note of this situation and take extra care before assigning any responsibility as a solution to this environmental threat and of appropriating any funds to dictator Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia or any of his affiliates in relation to this.
Haile Hirpa, Ph.D.