Promising initiatives to achieve stability in Ethiopia

Conflict is unavoidable yet inevitable, what matters then is the way it is resolved. Conflicts and violence have been unfolding in some regions of Ethiopia. And, these problems have brought big human causality and property damage. Resolving these incidents requires wise conflict resolutions and smart interventions. In this regard, the Ethiopian government has initiated a multitude of measures to halt conflicts in different parts of the country and enforce the rule of law.

The country has been preparing to conduct national dialogue, transitional justice and rehabilitation to stop global crises and redress backlogs of polarised political views on major national issues. These initiatives are expected to address past human rights abuses and promote reconciliation among its diverse population.

In what could be said as a promise to resolve conflicts, the incumbent sealed a peace initiative with the TPLF. The devastating conflict in northern Ethiopia, which lasted for two years, was brought to an end through the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) on November 2, 2022, in Pretoria, South Africa. The CoHA serves as a peace treaty between the two warring parties and establishes Transitional Justice to hold those responsible for war crimes accountable and provide compensation to the victims.

And, to tackle long lingering problems, the country has been working on national dialogue. In so doing, the National Dialogue Commission has been conducting a series of activities aimed at bringing together different ethnic groups and political factions to discuss key issues facing the country.

The Ministry of Justice recently announced that the expert group has successfully concluded its responsibilities within the allotted time. The policy draft will now be sent to the Ministry of Council for ratification.

The country is actively engaged in the transitional justice process, consulting with victims and the community. The Expert Group has adopted a victim-focused approach as a guiding principle, with the aim of healing past grievances between communities.

These big undertakings have not been without challenges. The country continues to face on-going conflicts. However, the government remains committed to addressing these challenges through dialogue and reconciliation. At least that is what the Security Council reaffirmed last week.

In a statement, the council stated that the National Dialogue Commission is working in different parts of the country to foster national consensus. Recently, the Ethiopian National Security Council issued a statement emphasizing the need to address deep-rooted divisions within the nation through a comprehensive strategy.

According to the statement, the government has appointed neutral and senior specialists to aid in the peacekeeping efforts. The Council has proposed three key instruments for dealing with current and emerging political difficulties.

To begin, the National Dialogue initiative will launch at the regional level, with 12,294 participants chosen from 679 Woredas. This inclusive discourse seeks to foster unity and understanding among various populations, laying the groundwork for long-term peace.

Second, the Transitional Justice (TJ) process, which is critical for resolving grievances and building reconciliation, gives hope to individuals who have been victims of previous injustices. Ethiopia can pave the road for a fairer future by facing historical injustices head-on.

The statement emphasizes that the TJ legal framework includes players with international expertise to secure long-term peace, reconciliation, justice, and the development of a dynamic democratic culture across the country.

According to the statement, throughout the preliminary TJ process, roughly 60 regional and 20 national agenda collection forums were held. It also argues that TJ is the only method to address the serious challenges at hand and that the organization is founded on international norms and procedures. The government is dedicated to putting in place all of the policy framework’s recommendations.

Finally, the National Rehabilitation Commission is working diligently to reintegrate ex-combatants into society using the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) method. This demonstrates the government’s determination to repair the wounds of battle.

Furthermore, efforts are being made to repatriate displaced citizens, particularly from conflict-ridden areas such as the northern region, Oromia, and Amhara. The commendable efforts of regional leadership in facilitating the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes signify a step towards restoring stability and rebuilding shattered communities.

The statement acknowledges the sincere determination of the government to implement the Pretoria Agreement of Cessation of Hostilities (CoHA), highlighting its significance for future generations. It states that the leadership has successfully averted potential conflicts and bloodshed.

According to the statement, rehabilitation and reconciliation activities are underway in Amhara, Afar, and Tigray states. Since the signing of the Pretoria accord, the government has been fulfilling its responsibilities by taking legal measures to uphold the agreement and consistently providing humanitarian support to the Tigray region.

Moreover, the government has made substantial investments in infrastructure reconstruction, development, and services while expediting financial and economic activities.

The statement urges armed groups to align their actions with the Pretoria agreement, emphasizing the critical need to address past national problems and strengthen peaceful political endeavours to overcome current conflicts and challenges.

It is worth recalling that during the launch of the TJ program, the Ministry of Justice emphasized four key reasons why its implementation is critical nationally. The first reason given was that there had been widespread violations of human rights in the country, resulting in instability, turmoil, and civil war. This has exposed people to a variety of harms, including physical injury, death, and relocation from their homes. Second, it was emphasized that effective international justice is critical to the development of the state. Previous sins can be remedied through the program and measures put in place to build reconciliation, promote strong interpersonal relationships, maintain accountability, and carry out other vital duties aimed at creating a stable environment.

The implementation of transactional justice is a necessary step towards achieving a society where human rights are respected and people can coexist peacefully without fear of harm or displacement. The third justification is that there cannot be a democratic transition or enduring peace in the absence of a successful transitional justice process. The last compelling reason is that transitional justice is critical to upholding human rights.

Overall, Ethiopia’s efforts towards transitional justice and national dialogue represent an important step towards healing past wounds and building a more inclusive society. Also, the establishment of the National Rehabilitation Commission justifies how the country is committed to the path to prosperity.

It is recalled that the commission was established in November 2022 and is responsible for a DDR program that seeks to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate an estimated 370,000 ex-combatants in different parts of the country with the participation of relevant stakeholders.

With continued commitment from all stakeholders, Ethiopia can continue on its path towards peace and stability. The current ongoing megaprojects as well as the corridor development project show the country is developing, and the time for dispute seems to be over.


The Ethiopian Herald may 1/2024


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