Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Where is Temesgen?

Journalist Temesgen Desalegn has been out of sight for some time in Ethiopia. Disappearance is not unusual in dictatorship. What makes Temesgen’s disappearance special is the fact that he is in the custody of the regime only for exercising his democratic rights; yet they not willing to tell his family of his whereabouts. People like Temesgen have big place in developed world as they hold the state and the market to account. Unfortunately, in countries like Ethiopia being a journalist or a human rights activist in a risky business.

Calling on the government of Ethiopia to come forward and tell us the whereabouts of Temesgen. Where is he? Where is Temesgen?

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Act Now For Refugee Children

In the past couple of years Citizens UK has been working hard along with others to welcome refugees. Following its court victory on Dublin III regulation earlier this year and the campaign for Dubs amendment, more than 300 children were brought to safety in October 2016. 

The children that were brought to safety were accorded huge welcome by community leaders gathered from across Britain. The following video was taken on their arrival.


video




Now that the demolition of Calais is over and those children stranded in Calais camp are dispersed to different camps across France, the transfer is halted. 

That is why Citizens UK is calling the Home Secretary to honor her promise and restart the transfer. 

On 13th December from 6-7pm, Citizens will gather in Westminster to demand the Home Secretary to restart the transfer and bring in 1000 refugees by Christmas. Candles will be lighted and Christmas Carols sung. Join us!






Saturday, 20 August 2016

Nonviolent Civil Resistance in Ethiopia

Ethiopians have been under tyranny for the past 25 years; the repressions have continued and things have gone from bad to worse in the past one year. Since November 2015, 100s of nonviolent protesters have been killed by the regime in power. Despite the violence by the regime, the campaign for Freedom, democracy and social justice has not stopped. It has gone from strength to strength in an organised and unified way. 

Why resist non-violently? 

Many people may know that Ethiopia is effectively a one party system dominated by the Tigrean People's Liberation Front (TPLF). The party conducted another sham election in 2015 and claimed to have won 100% of the seats in parliament. This is outrageous and can never happen in a true democracy. The only other county where elections can be won 100% and possibly with a 100% turnout is North Korea. 

Despite having a clear picture about this sham election, the president of the United States called this election democratic during his visit to Ethiopia. That was an insult to democracy and hence Ethiopians and human rights activists from across the world went on to social media to condemn the statement. The regime in Ethiopia used this statement as an endorsement. This sham election has changed the way Ethiopians think about elections. Many Ethiopians think elections will not work as things stand and the regime is not ready for proper and honest negotiations and democratisation of the country.  

Nonviolent activism in Oromia region of Ethiopia (photo credit social media)
Hence the only way out is to resist in a nonviolent way. Ethiopians in Oromia, Amhara, and many other regions have been organising demonstrations in the past one year. The response from the regime has always been violent crackdown. As the regime’s violence continues, equally the nonviolent civil resistance has continued and has spread across Ethiopia. Language, ethnicity, religion, gender, age or any other factor is not an issue here. All the Ethiopians are calling for is FREEDOM. The freedom for all Ethiopians. We all say no to tyranny and resist non-violently to free ourselves and our beloved country once and forever. That is how we can break the cycle of violence and live in harmony and prosperity. 

Ethiopians say enough to 25 years of killing, maiming, imprisoning, instigating fears and dividing folks. Time for change and for freedom. It is now or never! 

Friday, 15 July 2016

Our days at Fletcher

“You may not see change in your generation, but you must make sure you sow the seeds of change so that the next generation or the generation after may benefit from.” Rev Dr. James Lawson

This powerful message from one of the architects of Civil Rights movement in America has lots of meanings for me and many others who assembled in Boston, Massachusetts from 19 – 24 June 2016 for the 2016 Fletcher Summer Institute.

The journey to the 2016 summer institute was not that simple. As always there were applications, emails, interviews, acceptance and finally amazing days together with folks from around the world. It was simply incredible. It all happened under the watchful eyes of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, which has the courage and determination to reach out to those nonviolent civil resisters scattered around the world.

At the opening of the 6 days session Rev Dr. James Lawson made a key note speech advising attendees to stick to nonviolence despite the many challenges they may face. He was actually joined by Mary King and other giants of civil rights movements who were never tired to share their amazing stories and enthusiasm to the next generation.


                                              Rev Dr. James Lawson

Professor Mary King

The summer institute is really special,

The fact that the summer institute was capable of bringing folks from 35 countries was by itself a big deal. But there are lots of things that are worth mentioning. Many people had roles of teaching or engaging in some form or another, some amazing stories in terms of ignite talks or contributions in breakout sessions, opportunity to network and of course the wonderful Boston cruise which we relished to bits. Some were busy updating the wider public in terms of tweets whilst others preferred Facebook to share what was happening at the Fletcher. These will last in our memories for long.  The sessions were not simply dull as there were opportunities to engage; opportunities to engage with one another and of course time for laughter thanks to the many talented people that gathered from around the world. I still remember the massage session of the fabulous Alfonso from Mexico: 



I also remember the amazingly talented Maji from Kaduna, Nigeria who kept everyone at ease through out our days at the Fletcher. Yes the two were among the many pillars and will be remembered for many years to come. 

Our days at Fletcher seemed short but the memories will undoubtedly last long. This was only a reality thanks to the dedicated team at ICNC that went extra mile to make our time worthwhile. Kudos to all the wonderful folks that make this a reality. Kudos to all who devote their time and resource on nonviolent civil resistance. The world is a better place because of you. 

Saturday, 2 April 2016

The Fight to Reunite Children in Calais with Families in UK

On 29 January 2016 the UK Courts gave detailed judgement that four Syrian refugees who were the week before granted permission to have their asylum claims assessed in the UK. They were legally allowed to travel to the UK under European rules. This definitive judgement makes plain that the four refugees have a lawful right to be with their families in the UK whilst their asylum claims are considered. The January 29 ruling will have implications for other unaccompanied minors in Calais, Dunkirk and more widely across Europe.


The legal challenge was organised by Citizens UK home of community organising in the United Kingdom. Please find the Full Judgement Here .  

Sunday, 6 March 2016

You are who you are

Minutes after seconds
Hours after minutes
Days after hours
Months after days
And years after months
They keep coming
And of course going
We notice them or otherwise
They do their routines
As we do ours
Those seconds or minutes
Or the big ones
Make you who you are
As you are who you are
The person you are
And the person others know
To be whom you are
The product of those seconds
And the minutes
The months and years

The National Training - 10 years ago and 10 years after

About 10 years ago, I was at Citizens UK's National Training as one of the trainees. 10 years after I was back to observe how the trai...