Author’s Note: In this commentary, I argue that Ethiopia’s vote not to expel Russia from the UN Human Rights Council is principled and consistent with its history of unrivalled service in the cause of global peace. In my June 2017 op ed in The Hill, I fully supported US withdrawal from the Council which the Trump administration described as a “cesspool of political bias.” Ethiopia stands and has always stood on the right side of history: PEACE.
To be or not to be in a “cesspool of political bias”
The old African saying teaches, “When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”
When two elephants fight, they are trying to establish the principle, “Might makes right.”
But a lion has no dog in a fight between elephants fighting in a “cesspool of political bias.”
That is to say, Ethiopia has no axe to grind in the fight between Russia and America over Ukraine, and takes no sides.
Last week, Russia and America duked it out in the UN General Assembly over expulsion of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council (“Council”).
The little nations of the world (the grass in the fight) were forced to take sides.
The vote tally was 93 votes in favor of expelling (“suspension”), 24 votes against and 58 abstentions.
Ethiopia voted against expulsion for sound reasons discussed below.
I have always opposed US participation in the UN Human Rights Council.
In my June 9 2017 op-ed piece in The Hill, “US should drop out of UN Human Rights Council”, I expressed my complete agreement with the Trump Administration’s criticism of the Council.
The Trump administration decided to dump the Council in 2018 because it did not want the US to “remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights and has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.”
The Biden administration rejoined this “cesspool” in 2021.
The question before the UN General Assembly on April 7 was to kick out or not to kick out Russia out of this “cesspool”.
BTW, Russia would have “retired” from the Council in 2023 anyway.
History will show expulsion of Russia from the Council was a Pyrrhic victory for the U.S.
Following the 9/11 attacks, George Bush said there is no room for neutrality: “Over time it’s going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity. You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.”
Biden’s message today is exactly the same. “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against Russia. The price for neutrality or voting to keep Russia in the “cesspool” is US SANCTIONS the likes of which the world has never seen!”
That is to say, 42 percent of the countries in the world (the 24 that voted not to expel Russia and 58 countries that abstained) will be case in the hellfire of sanctions in one form or another for not voting to expel Russia.
Does this indicate a new geopolitical reality that pits the West against the rest?
Is the world standing up to sanctions-bullying and becoming indifferent to US “sanction-omania?”
Ethiopia’s position in the fight between the two elephants
Ethiopia has chosen neutrality in the U.S.-Russia-via-Ukraine conflict for several principled reasons.
Ethiopia does not have a dog in the elephantine battle between the US and Russia.
Ethiopia stands on the right side of history, which is peace among all nations and peoples.
Ethiopia has urged and championed the cause of peace, restraint in the use of force and diplomacy to resolve disputes between the parties in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Ethiopia has walked the talk of peace.
Ethiopia has demonstrated its commitment to peace and restraint time and again, not just in history but today.
After Ethiopia was attacked by the terrorist TPLF, the Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew its forces from the Tigray region to give peace a chance.
But the terrorist TPLF, supported by Western intelligence and covert material and tactical support, took advantage of the ceasefire to attack Amhara and Afar regions and unleash genocidal destruction.
Recently, Ethiopia declared an indefinite humanitarian truce despite ongoing terrorist attacks by the terrorist TPLF.
Ethiopians and their government abhor war.
They have learned firsthand the evil consequences of war, particularly terrorist war by the TPLF which has caused untold deaths and destruction in Ethiopia.
In his March 3, 2022, statement, PM Abiy Ahmed made his country’s position on the Ukraine crises crystal clear.
PM Abiy cautioned that in an “interdependent global community, no nation is an island” and all must work together in the cause of peace.
Indeed, as Dr. Martin Lither King, Jr. taught, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
PM Abiy pleaded for “restraint,” “not to exacerbate the situation,” and to avoid “escalating rhetoric” that adds fuel to the fire of war.
He begged the parties to seek “multiple pathways to reach an understanding” and avoid “zero sum outcomes.”
He called for “heightened diplomacy” and warned that the “failure of diplomacy will result in the uprooting of millions and deaths of untold numbers of innocent people.”
The indisputable fact is Ethiopia’s commitment to global peace is second to none!
The UN has his is how the chronicled Ethiopia’s role in global peace for nearly three-quarters of century:
From the early days of UN peacekeeping to some of today’s most vital operations, Ethiopian men and women have played an important role in the Organization’s efforts to advance peace in the world’s hot spots. The country’s participation in UN-authorised operations dates back to 1951, as part of the UN multinational force in the Korean War. Ethiopia was also among the countries that sent contingents after the Security Council authorized a UN military presence to help restore order and calm in the Republic of the Congo. Ethiopia is the largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping with over 8,300 uniformed personnel, the vast majority of them serving in Darfur (UNAMID), Abyei (UNISFA) and South Sudan (UNMISS). (Emphasis added.)
No nation has the moral authority to lecture Ethiopia on peace.
The fact is Ethiopia has always been on the side of peace among all nations.
Peace on the battlefront. Peace in the halls of the United Nations.
That is because Ethiopians are a peaceful people. Peace is in their DNA.
When America declared independence in 1776, Edward Gibbon, the great historian of Western civilization, wrote of the need to defend the Ethiopians, then called “Abyssinians, an unwarlike people from the Barbarians who ravaged the inland country and the Turks and Arabs who advanced from the sea-coast in more formidable array.”
Gibbon wrote the Abyssinians were interested in a “rational project of importing the arts and ingenuity of Europe; and their ambassadors at Rome and Lisbon were instructed to solicit a colony of smiths, carpenters, tilers, masons, printers, surgeons, and physicians, for the use of their country.”
In 1896, Rome did not send a “colony of smiths”. Rome sent a colonial army to subjugate Ethiopia. That colonial army suffered ignominious defeat at the Battle of Adwa.
Italy returned in 1936 to wage war and subjugate the Ethiopian people. The outcome was the same as in 1896.
Gibbon was right. Ethiopians have always been about three things: PEACE, PROSPERITY and PROGRESS!
Will voting to expel Russia from the Council result in peace, prosperity and progress not only for those locking horns on the battlefield but also the “interdependent global community”?
Will is result in a zero-sum game or win-win situation that can come only through heightened diplomacy?
There are many who argue Ethiopia rightly decided in not voting to expel Russia because Russia (former Soviet Union) has always been a friend of Ethiopia.
They argue that when the U.S. using Ireland to bark sanctions against Ethiopia at the UN Security Council, Russia blocked the resolution.
Some accuse the US of monumental hypocrisy. When the Security Council debated sanctions against the racist apartheid regime (apartheid is a crime against humanity) in South Africa time and again, the U.S. vetoed the resolution. Russia supported sanctioning the racist white minority regime and African liberation movements.
Others argue the U.S. has supported and propped up the most vicious dictators with a mile-long record of human rights violations in the name of fighting communism.
Many argue human rights is the ideological weapon used by the US to discredit countries it does not like and turn a blind eye to those dictators who carry out its orders.
Still others chafe at the fact that the U.S. uses so-called rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others as tools to coordinate propaganda and disinformation campaigns against its ideological foes and disfavored governments.
Understanding the UN Human Rights Council and why the US and Ethiopia should not touch this “cesspool” with a 10-foot pole wearing leather gloves
The Bush administration declined to join the Council doubtful of its “effectiveness” in promoting human rights.
In 2006, Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) introduced S. Res. 418 opposing U.S. participation in the Council.
In May 2017, the Senate Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development held hearings on whether the U.S. should remain in the Council. There was clear consensus in the expert testimony that the Council needs to be a “credible, multilateral institution capable of supporting countries attempting to reform and of responding decisively to violations of human rights”.
The Council was purportedly established to strengthen and promote global human rights protections and make remedial recommendations.
The fact of the matter is that the Council has indeed become a “haven for dictators” and a den of gross human-rights violators.
The Trump administration correctly argued the “presence of multiple human rights-violating countries on the Human Rights Council has damaged both the reputation of the council and the cause of human rights: a human dignity is discredited.” It is ludicrous to expect the foxes to safeguard the henhouse.
The Trump administration at the time singled out various countries notorious for human rights violations serving on the Council, but omitted Ethiopia, at the time one of the most egregious violators of human rights in Africa that was serving a second term on the council.
At the time the U.S. dumped the Council, the terrorist TPLF regime was in power, and Ethiopia was the poster child for human rights violations.
In its 2014 Universal Periodic Review, the Council reported that in Ethiopia, “Freedom of expression continued to thrive,” and that, “Ethiopia had zero tolerance for torture and inhuman, degrading or other cruel treatment.”
However, Human Rights Watch (HRW) in 2014 reported the existence of “severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression” in Ethiopia and the occurrence of “torture and abuse” in its prisons. The 2014 U.S. human rights report singled out Ethiopia for “stifling free and open media and the development of civil society” and “routine use of torture”.
In its 2009 Universal Periodic Review, the Council reported Ethiopia had made “significant progress in freedom of expression” and “peaceful assembly and demonstration occurred without any barrier.” HRW and other reports sharply disagreed.
It is extraordinary that the Council ignored the findings of its own Special Rapporteur on human rights and findings in its periodic reviews on Ethiopia.
In November 2016, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued a resolution “condemning the deteriorating human rights situation” in Ethiopia and singled out “undue restrictions on fundamental human rights and freedoms resulting from the state of emergency.”
The Council has neither suspended nor sanctioned Ethiopia under the regime of the terrorist TPLF.
To add insult to injury, for over a decade as members of the terrorist TPLF regime represented Ethiopia on the Council, the regime had refused entry to all of the Council’s special rapporteurs with impunity.
In August 2016, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged an independent investigation into the use of excessive force in certain regions of Ethiopia, which was ignored by the terrorist TPLF regime.
Al-Hussein lamented “the extremely large number of arrests, over 26,000” in Ethiopia, but did not seek Ethiopia’s suspension from the Council.
All the Council has been able to do in Ethiopia is make more recommendations to replace recommendations already made.
U.S. proposals to reform the Council by denying membership to the worst human rights abusers; even-handed criticism of all violators; use of competitive voting instead of assignment by regional blocs; and increased accountability are steps in the right direction, have ultimately proved futile as they have with the discredited U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
I have always argued continued U.S. membership in the Council merely legitimizes the Council’s global human rights grandstanding and window-dressing in promoting and defending human rights.
The Council is broken beyond repair.
President Obama talked about the U.S. being on the right side of history on human rights.
In my view, for any country to continue membership in the Council is being on the wrong side of history.
President Jimmy Carter said, “America did not invent human rights. Human rights invented America.”
America can try to reinvent the Council by orchestrating the expulsion of Russia, but neither the U.N nor the U.S. can put the Humpty Dumpty UN Human Rights Council together.
Will the U.S. punish Ethiopia for voting to keep Russia in the Council?
Paraphrasing an “obscure” 19th century economist, “A specter is haunting the world—the specter of American sanctions. All the Powers of old Europe and America have entered into an unholy alliance to impose this specter: Presidents, prime ministers, Western press-titutes and inhuman wrongs organizations…”
Regardless of Ethiopia’s vote on keeping Russia in the Council, the Biden administration is hellbent on punishing Ethiopia with crippling sanctions.
Senator Chris Coons recently tweeted his sanctions bill in the Senate was intended to “punish the parties who continue to fuel the conflict”. Of course, Coon sis hard core terrorist TPLF supporter professing liberal bleeding heart concern for Ethiopia’s wretched of the earth.
The fact of the matter is that there is only one party to punish and that is Ethiopia. The TPLF terrorist thugs are beyond any sanctions regime.
Let me make it crystal clear.
As I previously argued, the Biden administration believes by creating extre economic harship in Ethiopia, he people will rise up and overthrow their elected governemnt.
That has always been the ultimate and final plan of the Princess of Darkness, Susan Rice, to restore the terrorist TPLF to power.
There is no question about the Biden administration’s absolute resolve to destroy Ethiopia and restore the terrorist TPLF to power.
NO QUESTION WHATSOEVER!
Only damned fools and morons believe the Biden administration will deal with Ethiopia in good faith.
Nor has it dealt in good faith with Ukraine.
If push comes to shove in Ukraine, Biden said he will let Ukraine hang out to dry: “If Mr. Zelensky does not have the weapons with which to evict Russian forces, he will have to give up territory.”
So much for US good faith dealing with Ukraine.
For those who view my opinions as unreasonable or extreme, I direct them to read my series of prophetic commentaries on the Biden administration’s long game to totally destroy Ethiopia.
All of my predictions on the five pillars of the Biden administration policy to destroy Ethiopia have come to pass! (Doubters are challenged read my analysis at the links listed in he endnotes.)
To me, the Biden administration is the government equivalent of the of Shakespearean villain who smiles as it murders and murders as it smiles.
For the Biden administration, Russia will be the litmus test and prism through which the friends and foes will be determined.
The Biden administration has put the crosshairs on Ethiopia’s back as one of its top five enemies in the world.
No doubt about it!
Biden said that “the free world is coming together” to stand up to Mr. Putin.
And against Ethiopia too!
But Biden will fail because ETHIOPIA INVCTUS!
Vote democRATs and the democraTICK party outta Congress on November 8, 2022, and outta the White House on November 5, 2024!