Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Israel flying emissaries out of Gondar amid ethnic violence - Diaspora - Jerusalem Post

Israelis of Ethiopian descent take part in a protest in Jerusalem calling on gov't to bring the rema

Israelis of Ethiopian descent take part in a protest in Jerusalem calling on gov't to bring the remaining members of their community living in Ethiopia, known as Falash Mura to settle in Israel, March 20, 2016. . (photo credit:REUTERS)
The Foreign Ministry and Jewish Agency moved a group of 23 Israeli youth volunteering in Gondar to the local airport on Wednesday, awaiting a decision whether the volatile ethnic tension there merited flying the group out of the region.

Violence between the Amhara and Tigray ethnic groups there led to 10 deaths on Tuesday, and – as a result – the group was moved to a secure building in the city, and from there to the airport.

Some 6,000 Jews waiting to immigrate to Israel live in Gondar. Foreign spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said that at this time there was no decision to move them out as well. He said that the Jews there were not in immediate danger, nor the focus of the tension
In addition there are an undetermined number of Israeli tourists believed to be in the region, but – as the situation on Wednesday started to calm down – there was no decision taken to attempt to locate or evacuate them

Ethnic fighting recently broke out between the Amhara and Tigray groups when armed forces from the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) entered Gondar, a city with a majority Amhara population, early Tuesday morning.

The forces have since arrested prominent local political lobbyists and have been accused of committing massacres, increasing violence.

Regarding the 23 volunteers, Nachshon said they were moved to the airport “to be on the safe side.” Afterward, he said, there will be a reassessment.

The volunteers are part of a Jewish Agency program called Project Ten, in which Israelis and young Jewish adults  from the Diaspora work in a number of countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Mexico, and South Africa and Israel – in various agricultural, educational and health projects.

The Jews in Gondar have been stuck in limbo in Ethiopia. Their situation is compounded by the fact that living conditions in the city are harsh. Not only is there abject poverty and extremely high unemployment, but, because these people are identified as Falash Mura, they are also largely ostracized from mainstream community life.

The group has also been troubled by issues with immigrating to Israel. Around 9,000 people have been waiting in Addis Ababa and Gondar transit camps for the past several years in the hopes of making their way to the Jewish state. However, Jerusalem closed its doors in 2013 following a ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport at which officials declared the “end” of Ethiopian aliya.

The fate of the prospective immigrants has been a matter of some debate, with Ethiopian- Israeli activists protesting what they portray as the breaking up of families.

According to a cabinet decision, any Ethiopian who moved to Gondar or Addis Ababa after January 2013, is willing to convert to Judaism, and has relatives here who can apply for his acceptance, will be eligible to move.

Netanyahu's administration has been accused of "looking for an excuse" not to bring the rest of the Jews of Ethiopia to Israel.

Latest reports reflect that the Jewish Agency emissaries are safe and sound in the Gondar airport, waiting for flight out.

ICC refers Uganda, Djibouti to UN Security Council for failure to arrest Sudan’s al-Bashir - Daily Sabah

Published12 hours ago
The International Criminal Court on Tuesday said it is referring Uganda and Djibouti to the UN Security Council after the two east African countries' failed to arrest wanted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
The Hague-based ICC's judges said in a statement "the Republics of Uganda and Djibouti had failed to comply with the request for arrest and surrender of Omar al-Bashir to the ICC".
The world's top criminal court added that it has referred the matter to the UN Security Council as well as the body that oversees its work, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) which represents the nations that have ratified the court, "to take the measures they deem necessary regarding this matter".
In June, the court's chief prosecutor criticized the Security Council for failing to act against countries that do not arrest al-Bashir, saying it emboldens other states to invite the president.
Bashir travelled to Kampala and Djibouti in May to attend the swearing in ceremonies of long-time Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his counterpart in Djibouti, President Ismail Omar Guelleh.
Both Uganda and Djibouti are members of the ASP and are obliged to execute the court's arrest warrants, issued in 2009 and 2010, to detain Bashir and hand him over for trial in The Hague.
African leaders however, has become increasingly resentful of the ICC's authority and accuse the court of targeting only countries on the continent.
Controversy erupted last year when the South African government did not arrest Bashir when he attended an African Union summit in Johannesburg.
Bashir in May also applied for a US visa to attend the next UN General Assembly in September, with his Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Kamal Ismail saying it was Khartoum's right to send a delegation to the UN meeting.
The Sudanese leader faces genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity charges allegedly committed in the Darfur region of western Sudan between 2003 and 2008.
Bashir was indicted by the ICC in 2009 and denies the charges.
Darfur has been gripped by conflict since 2003, when ethnic minority rebels rose up against Bashir, complaining that his Arab-dominated government was marginalizing the region.
Bashir launched a brutal counter-insurgency, in which at least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million forced to flee their homes, according to figures released by the United Nations.
Bashir's forces have been accused of widespread atrocities against civilians.