Mining Corruption in Ethiopia: A Reply to Clare Short

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Mining Corruption in Ethiopia: A Reply to Clare Short

Unread post by zeru » 09 Mar 2014 23:23

“As I look around the EITI implementing countries, I do not accept that the situation for civil society in Ethiopia is worse than a great many of them.” That was the didactic pronouncement of Ms. Claire Short, Chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in her “Open Letter” to Ali Idrissa, Faith Nwadishi and Jean-Claude Katende who are civil society representatives on the EITI Board and the Outreach and Candidature Committee. Short penned her bizzare “Open Letter” to announce her resolute conviction that EITI should give Ethiopia the green light because she “passionately believethat the entry bar to candidates should be clearly and simply whether there is enough space for civil society to work with EITI, and that compliance and validation should be a test whether civil society participation is free, fair and independent.”
Short’s “Open Letter” was stunning for its temerity, effrontery, insolence and sheer arrogance. Short went to extraordinary lengths to browbeat the civil society representatives and EITI’s “civil society partners” in her “passionate” appeal for the admission of Ethiopia. She made a thinly-veiled accusation that EITI’s civil society representatives have effectively become the patsy of the international human rights organizations allegedly opposed to Ethiopia’s admission to EITI. She accused them of being “unhelpfully influenced by strong voices from a special interest group with perfectly well-meaning intentions but who have too much of a ‘north telling the south what to do mindset’”. She intimated that they were in flagrant dereliction of their duties by falling under the spell of the civil society partners, and hectored them that the fate of EITI itself hangs in the balance on their decision to admit or reject Ethiopia’s application. Short enlightened the civil society representatives that “EITI is not a human rights standard. Our job is to ensure that there is enough space for civil society to work with and around the EITI and help drive reform in the extractive sector for the benefit of the people.” She apocalyptically warned that the decision on Ethiopia’s application shall determine whether “EITI is an international coalition with a Standard that serves all countries that seek reform in extractives, or an organization that is driven by campaigners.”
In an amazing display of chutzpah, Short enjoined the civil society representatives from being “tools of campaigners” and hatchet men for “strong voices from a special interest group.” She even tried to name and shame the representatives for their hypocrisy in not “raising a murmur” when “Occupy protesters from outside St Paul’s Cathedral [were removed] by force in my own country” and accused them of cowardly duplicity for their silence over the “existence of Guantanamo and use of torture… in relation to the US application.” She sermonized that the “approach” of the civil society representatives and “civil society partners” should be to “enable [EITI] entry and encouraging locally owned continuous reform.” She pontificated with a moral equivalence argument that “the situation for civil society in Ethiopia is no worse than a great many of them.” She sought to draw comparisons between Ethiopia and other countries that have poor human rights records to justify her view that it is morally acceptable to accept the regime in Ethiopia into the EITI fold despite its long record of gross human rights abuses and decimation of civil society organizations. She sanctimoniously reassured the civil society representatives. “I of course support the idea of making it clear to the Ethiopians, and indeed all new members, that the Board will expect them to deliver on their commitment on civil society space and that this will be monitored.” She sternly admonished, “We have to guard against efforts to use the EITI to serve other agendas, no matter how worthy.”
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