BY SIRAK BAHLBI
April 13 is a very poignant date in the Eritrean calendar for the last 15 years due the enormous impact it has on the security and stability of the people of Eritrea and the Horn of Africa in general and a sad reminder of the international community`s dereliction of responsibility.
It is a symbolic date for injustice and betrayal of the Eritrean people with gross implications for the people of the whole region in the Horn of Africa. Famine, Migration, Occupation, Mass Protest, War, Ethnic Strife, ….are some of what characterises the current sad reality of the Horn of Africa.
The Eritrean and Ethiopian Border Commission (EEBC) established as part of the Court of Arbitration in Den Hague delivered its Final and Binding Decision on the 13th of April 2002 by giving its deliberation on the final border between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Even though the Eritrean-Ethiopian border decision which was reached after two years of extensive court proceedings and providing historical evidences by lawyers from both sides based on pertinent international laws, the continuing refusal to implement the decision by the Ethiopian government at the behest of US government and diplomatic support of western nations has been the main source of migration, instability and miserable failure of development in the region.
Before the two years it took for the court arbitration to deliberate, a two years of devastating and all consuming war took place between 1998 and 2000 where more than 100,000 people dying and over a million of the population internally displaced. At the end of the war, a peace agreement was signed by both government with the AU, EU and US as a guarantors of the peace process.
During the last 15 years, since the border decision in the Den Hague was reached on the 13th April 2002, the international community, led by the misguided policy of the US in the Horn of Africa, has being propping the lawless and belligerent stance of Ethiopian government, and perplexingly, has been accusing Eritrea with long list of charges ranging from Human Rights abuse, terrorism, bad governance….and much more which varies every year.
The US has also single-handedly used its influence in the UNSC to put Economic and Military sanctions in 2009 and 2011 to weaken the Eritrean government and bolster the Ethiopian government to continue its bellicose nature, which has been the single source of insecurity, famine and migration in the region.
13th of April is a reminder of failure of international law in Africa and a bad precedent for any future decision reached by court of arbitration. The betrayal of Eritrean people with impunity for the last 15 years by failing to implement the EEBC decision is another sorry treatment by the international bodies and governments which runs for more than a century against the peace loving, law abiding and hard working people of Eritrea.
The Eritrean people and government have been fighting against injustice and facing the consequence of long and unrelenting chain of abuse of its right, and April 13th is another reminder of this miscarriage of justice and abuse.
Looking at the media coverage of Eritrea over a long period of time, it has successfully and wrongly managed to create an image of Eritrea that is an aggressor and in a wrong side of every political issues, while the truth has been sadly ignored wantonly.
Anyone who is willing to reach beyond the media conjured images of Eritrea, a nation with a small population and a modest ambition has managed to create a stable genuine economic and political progress that is unmatched in the region and continent, and if the huge obstacles of war, diplomatic and political attack such as the non implementation of EEBC and military occupation of Eritrea’s sovereignty was not the progress could have been more impactful on the lives of its people.
It is time for the international community to stop betraying the nation of Eritrea for centuries and redress the injustice by implementing the EEBC decision, if it really cares for the human rights, democratic values and good governance of African nations as it constantly claims to do.