Ottawa can start by reversing its near total silence about the recent Ethiopian repression, which included dozens of demonstrators shot dead recently.

By Yves Engler (Dissident Voice) |

Last Tuesday members of the Ethiopian community in Winnipeg called on Canada to sanction the North East African country. The protesters are angry about the regime’s violent crackdown in the Oromia and Amhara regions of northern Ethiopia. Hundreds of peaceful protesters have been killed and many more jailed since unrest began over a land dispute 10 months ago.

As protesters called for sanctions in Winnipeg, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development Katrina Gould was in Addis Ababa. During a meeting with the Foreign Minister she was quoted saying, “Ethiopia has managed to be a sea of stability in a hostile region.”

Gould’s trip follows on the heels of Harjit Sajjan’s visit last month. According to an Ethiopian News Agency summary, the defense minister told Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn:  “Canada values Ethiopia’s contribution in trying to bring stability to Somalia and the South Sudan.”

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In 2006, 50,000 Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia, which saw about 6,000 civilians killed and 300,000 flee the country. Washington prodded Addis Ababa into intervening and the US literally fueled the invasion, providing gasoline, arms and strategic guidance as well as launching air attacks.

The invasion/occupation led to the growth of al-Shabab. Since the Ethiopia/US invasion the group has waged a violent campaign against the foreign forces in the country and Somalia’s transitional government. During this period al-Shabab has grown from being the relatively small youth wing of the Islamic Courts Union to the leading oppositional force in the country. It has also radicalized and has turned from being a national organization towards increasing ties to Al Qaeda.

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