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Nov 14, 2012

Spying on the Ethiopian Diaspora .

Dear Editor
After reading the news on Ethiomedia on the arrest of a Sudanese Refugee Spy in Norway, I am sharing with you my personal experience
   I know the TPLF regime uses all available means to follow the activities of the Ethiopian Diasporas, especially those who are considered thorny for the political establishment in Addis Ababa. The very reason why the Ethiopian security chiefs have used a Sudanese immigrant in Norway as their spy is because they have closed their Scandinavian embassy in Stockholm two or three years ago. Otherwise, where they have Ethiopian embassies or consular representation, the main job description of TPLF diplomats is to spy on what they call "unruly opposition in Diasporas".
    
As a refugee in Nairobi (Kenya) and elsewhere in East Africa, I was systematically spied on, harassed on a daily basis and received death threats on a number of occasions by the Ethiopian diplomats based in Nairobi. My stay in Nairobi was painful, grim and precarious. I had nowhere to go either for work or for social events. When I moved to Uganda, survival became difficult and a serious matter. Worst of all, my parents and relatives back home were imprisoned, tortured and systematically discriminated. My educated siblings were nowhere to find government jobs. In their own country, they were treated as third-class citizens. I brought such dreadful acts of the regime in Addis Ababa and their foreign based spies to the attention of many human rights organizations and the UN regional representation offices such as the UNHCR.
To my dismay, I have been informed that the UNHCR office in Geneva has recently recruited one of the ex-staff members of the Ethiopian Embassy. While I have no problem with Ethiopians being hired to higher offices in international organizations, the offer of jobs to government spies is simply mind boggling. It is not known if the staff member is paid by the Ethiopian government from aid money or from the UNHCR budget allocated for Ethiopian projects. The name of the Ethiopian diplomat who was [allegedly] a spy for the government in Addis Ababa is Mr. Alehon Abebe. As soon as I got the information, I brought my concerns to the attention of the UNHCR regional offices and to the senior management of the organization in Geneva. Despite my protest, the guy was taken on board and apparently now he is a staff member of the UNHCR. It is incumbent upon all Ethiopians residing anywhere and everywhere to put a pressure on UNCHR to halt the practice of hiring diplomats, their spouses and children so long as they are the bearers of government positions. This may even be viewed as UNHCR buying favor from the Ethiopian government, which sends the wrong signal to tax payers who would like their money be put where it is needed - on the refugees and not on declared spies of the Government! Mind you, all Ethiopian diplomats are spies for the duration of their posting abroad or while serving in the Ministry of foreign Affairs, irrespective of their position and ethnic identities. However, the sad reality, which they do not realize, is that they themselves are potential refugees who will become number one refugees instantly. I meet most of them driving taxis, bussing tables, or working as guards or at gas-station clerks in various cities in North America and Europe.
14,Novemeber 2012
Ethio Media.

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