One of the hottest news of the past week reminds me of an African proverb that says: the chicken is always guilty in the fox’s court. Whichever side it sits in the ‘court’ of UN officials and western powers, be it on the plaintiff or the defendant side, Ethiopia would always be the culprit. Starting from the days before the UN came into being, at the League of Nations, Ethiopia has been denied justice several times by the concerted conspiracy of western powers.
Had UN Chief been the man who says he is, a man with no political motives but a humanitarian mission, he would have swiftly assigned new officers in place of the expelled ones and commissioned an independent investigation into the matter without any preconditions. But sadly, the reaction of the UN chief and his associates to the expulsion of his criminal staff was totally the opposite of what should have happened. It was unbecoming to a leader of the world body to do anything so crass as making accusations without having conclusive evidence.
The UN chief does not have to get intelligence information from the Ethiopian authorities to believe its claims. His staff members based in the UN-Ethiopia office can tell him the disgraceful acts of the expelled senior staff, which amount to meddling in the internal affairs of the host nation. After all, few would believe him when he says he has no idea the politicals plots his colleague like the WHO Director are masterminding in Tigray in the name of humanitarian aid. He is still guilty, even if he has no idea what his colleagues are doing in Ethiopia. Because it means he is not a competent leader worthy of the office holds.
After hearing Ethiopia’s detailed account of the criminal acts of the expelled senior UN staff, instead of apologizing to Ethiopia for the harm done to its national security, the UN chief has defended the unlawful act of his expelled staff members and even accused Ethiopia of obstructing the humanitarian aid delivery process. UN owes the Ethiopian government an apology. But, the UN officials have continued to level accusations against Ethiopia on the groundless allegation.
The UN chief has reacted immediately to the news of Ethiopia’s government decision on the expulsion of the seven UN personnel, and he described it as shocking. Earlier the UNOCHA chief described the humanitarian crisis in Tigray as a stain in his mind, putting the blame squarely on the Ethiopian government. The UN top officials were not shocked when they heard the plight of civilians massacred by TPLF in Maikadra, Glicoma, Agamsa, Kobo, Chena. They don’t talk about the alleged famine-like situation in North Wello, invaded by the terrorist rebels.
It doesn’t stain their consciousness to hear the news about the cruelty of TPLF that diverts over 400 aid trucks to provide logistics in its war against Ethiopia. They are covering the fact that TPLF is working intently to starve millions of Tigray people to prompt world powers for major interventions that would provide an opportunity for its survival as political power. One of the shared goals of the few corrupted UN staff and TPLF is to create a Darfur-like situation in the Tigray region. And so maliciously incriminate Ethiopian authorities as war criminals.
The OCHA chief has recently made a statement crafted to sound Ethiopia has decided to bring humanitarian activities to grind to a halt. The reality is the delivery of humanitarian aid to Tigray is still continuing despite the expulsion. The government expelled only seven criminal officials out of several hundreds of UN staff actively working in various areas of Tigray. The Ethiopian government has also requested a quick assignment of new personnel in place of the expelled ones. “We will work with the Secretariat, the Resident, and Humanitarian Coordinators to facilitate the early deployment of the new personnel.” said senior Ethiopian diplomat.
One can mention several instances to explain the unhealthy and unacceptable approach of the top UN officials to the incident of the expulsion of UN staffs. In their statement, they deliberately avoided making any comments on the details released by the Ethiopian government on the criminal activities of the expelled senior UN staffs. The UN Chief and its associates never dare to categorically deny the five major unlawful activities the expelled UN officials involved in. Similar voices of denouncement heard from the US, EU, UK and Germany could not react to the clearly stated criminal acts of the expelled UN staff, which are nothing less than infringement of Ethiopia’s sovereignty and a threat against its national security.
The synchronized reactions of the UN top officials and the aforementioned western powers would imply their belief that UN staff can do whatever they wish to do in developing countries without accountability, so far as they can provide food and money. Soon after the government declared the UN staff persona non grata, The UN Chief has made a bold and ignorant statement saying Ethiopia cannot expel the UN staff. And last week after the expulsion order took effect, the Americans has warned the Ethiopian government demanding an immediate reversal of Ethiopia’s decision and the return of the expelled staff back to Ethiopia.
Interestingly enough, the stance of the UN high officials and the Americans runs against the Appeal Court of the UN itself. The United Nations Court of Tribunal[UNAT] conviction, which is cited in a document[ UNAT-1068] of its ruling for a specific case last year. The document says: “If a staff member is declared [persona non grata] by a host country, the Organization[UN] has no alternative but to remove that staff member because such declaration falls within the sovereign prerogative of the host country.”
The thinking behind all the bullying has its basis on the contempt of Ethiopia’s sovereignty and a blatant and deliberate disregard to the protocols stated in the Vienna convention [Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations.], which requires expatriates working for foreign states or international organization to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State, and not to interfere in its internal affairs.
The expulsion of the UN staff has sparked a diplomatic row that would not die out in the coming few days. Of course, the western powers have tried their best to inflate and exaggerate the situation beyond proportions. They even used the incident as an excuse to bring the Ethiopian situation as an agenda at the UNSC twice in less than a week in the hope of passing a resolution against Ethiopia. Unlike the situation in the UN secretariat and its agencies, the other arm of the UN, the UN Security Council is not a place where the western powers can get things easily done as they wish. To US and EU despair the Security Council did not make any resolution in the last two sessions it had recently regarding Ethiopia.
Taking sides with the western powers, and before having a conclusive investigation on the matter, the UN Chief has publicly accused the Ethiopian government of breach international law and blatantly rejected Ethiopia’s rights as a sovereign state. in doing so he trespassed the UN values of impartiality, neutrality, and independence. With that speech, he has proven himself to be under the spell of the US and EU, “Ethiopia has no rights to expel the seven UN staffs”, he told a last week’s UNSC session.
But the UN chief did not make similar undiplomatic remarks when Sudan waved the ‘red card ‘to a UNISFA officer in 2017. There was no such commotion in the White House or Brussels, when Somalia expelled the Special Representative of UN Chief for Somalia in 2019, calling him a shame to the conduct of the UN and violated the sovereignty and independence of Somalia. Similarly when Burundi declared four seniors who officials persona non grata last year, neither the UN chief’s office nor the US states department rushed to the media to denounce Burundi’s decision, as they did in Ethiopia’s case.
Last week’s incident has proved two points for Ethiopians. First, the western powers are politicizing the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia to achieve a political agenda diplomatically or even militarily. They are in a desperate struggle to lay grounds for violating Ethiopia’s sovereignty .they are eager to repeat the blunder they have made in Libya- a military action made in the name of humanitarian intervention but actually aimed at toppling the then Libyan government.
Second, the UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations are the convenient tools the US and EU use to achieve political objectives of advancing their national interest in the Horn. And the professional integrity of some officials at higher echelons of the UN is compromised and tainted by improper motives, so much so they cannot uphold and be faithful to the UN values of impartiality, neutrality, and independence. These UN officials abuse their status and exceed their missions to serve other political missions of their interests. A few senior UN officials in New York, Geneva, and Rome is misled or misleading others into a wrong impression of the situation in Ethiopia.
It is time for the UN secretariat and its agencies to prove itself relevant in the world today by protecting the interest of nations equally and liberating itself from being the tool of influence for the powerful western powers. Russia and China are jointly spearheading a global movement that pushes for the reform of the UN that is a truly neutral, impartial, and equally leveled forum for all member nation-states. A few months ago the Russian Foreign Minister, with his Chinese counterpart standing beside him told reporters “we noted the destructive nature of US interventions, relying on military and political alliances of the Cold War era and creating new closed alliances in the same spirit, to undermine the UN-centered international legal architecture.
The joint effort of Russia and China to preserve the modern system of international law is becoming more and more relevant.”. Nevertheless, the hope of seeing a UN free from the influence of the Americans would remain in the distant future. Till then, the UN would continue to be too deficient to live up to its values. It is not neutral, not impartial, and not independent as well
Third, it is now crystal clear that western powers are backing TPLF in a systemic well-coordinated clandestine manner. The leaking information trickling in as days go by confirms that TPLF sympathizers have infested the UN agencies to a degree far more than we thought. Under such situations in the UN, whatever constructive efforts made by the Ethiopian government in Tigray would never get fair and reasonable recognition by the UN.
BY SOLOMON WASSIHUN
THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD OCTOBER 19/2021