Letter to Foreign Secretary

1 February 2021
The Rt Hon Dominic Raab, MP
Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and First Secretary
King Charles Street,
London SW1A 2AH
Dear Secretary of State,

Re: your recent visit to Ethiopia

Thank you, Honourable Dominic Raab, for your recent visit to Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Sudan.
As the world has become a global village, more and more data centric which have led to the expansion of
social media; misinformation and disinformation have become a threat and potential trigger of violence.
What is going on in Ethiopia is an excellent example.
The internet coverage in Ethiopia is one of the lowest in Africa. According to Internet World Stats of 2020,
about 18 percent of the population have access to the internet and about six million have a Facebook
account. Despite this low statistic, there is a consensus that social media is the major tool for the spread
of hate speech, mistrust, and division among different groups in the society.
One could challenge such a consensus. However, those of us who have access to the internet are aware
that social media platforms are flooded with fake news. The question is; Is there one or multiple hubs for
the misinformation? Is the epicentre in Ethiopia and/or abroad? In any case, social media and some
irresponsible media houses have played a prominent role in the spread of misinformation and
disinformation about the pre- and post-law enforcement operations in Tigray. The masterminds of these
fake news have used photos from other places of conflicts (outside Ethiopia) to make their stories
sensational and justifiable.

Whatever the sources of these hate speeches, misinformation, disinformation, blaming, cursing, fake
news, etc, they are spread and shared via social media. Unfortunately, social media has not been used
constructively, rather it has contributed to creating tension, and in some cases violence among different
ethnic groups. Overall, it has distracted from addressing the important and core issues but picked and
focused on less significant and sensational issues focussing on an agenda set and driven by some diaspora
activists who fabricate stories, use fake images from other war zones and employ phrases such as
“unconfirmed” or “anonymous” to justify their stories.
It was at this critical time, that The Rt Honourable Foreign Secretary visited Ethiopia, met government
officials, and visited World Food Program stores in northern Ethiopia (Gondar). We are confident that the
visit has given you an opportunity to clarify some of the misinformation and disinformation, witness the
efforts of the government in the distribution of humanitarian assistance, and the restoration of services
in the Tigray region. At the same time, we hope you were able to witness the determination and effort of
the people of Ethiopia from other regions in supporting their brothers and sisters in Tigray, in kind and
financial contributions.

As naturalised British citizens of Ethiopian origin, we feel the pain of our extended families in Ethiopia,
thus individually, and as a group we continue to support them. We are also engaged with the government
of Ethiopia and the Embassy in London, under the principle of constructive critical engagement; and have
supported and participated in raising funds for the COVID 19 Pandemic, humanitarian assistance, and

As taxpayers and law-abiding citizens, we have appealed to the UK Government on different occasions to
strengthen its bilateral relationship with the government of Ethiopia. We are incredibly grateful,
Honourable Foreign Secretary, for your recent visit to Ethiopia, the Sudan, and Kenya. Your commitment
to continuing the bilateral relationship, collaboration, and the allocation of £11.4 million for humanitarian
support besides the £94 million package for Ethiopia and its people are encouraging. Ethiopia needs
financial, technical, and political support to restore the disrupted services in Tigray, to provide
humanitarian assistance to the displaced, and to repatriate refugees from Sudan back to their homes.
Besides, we really appreciate the resources the UK Government has committed towards the upcoming
elections. We are confident that these resources will help the government and the National Electoral
Board of Ethiopia to organise a successful, fair, free, credible, and peaceful election; for such an election
is the foundation of building a sustainable democracy.

The recent border tension between Ethiopia and the Sudan has exacerbated the situation in northern
Ethiopia, as it has become an additional source of misinformation and disinformation; a tool the culprits
use to discredit the incumbent government. For example, to falsely demonstrate that the government
lacks the capacity to protect the integrity and the wellbeing of its citizens: overall eroding trust. We are
confident that the Honourable Foreign Secretary will use your good office so that the two countries will
honour agreements they signed before and follow the due processes. A peaceful resolution is the way

We the undersigned civic organizations form the UK would like to thank you personally and the UK
government for this positive engagement and the financial support towards the humanitarian assistance
(for displaced people), the restoration of services, and the upcoming elections in June 2021. Furthermore,
we appreciate your determination to travel to Ethiopia and the two neighbouring countries which we are
sure have contributed to shedding light and reducing the misinformation and disinformation which were
widely spread in the media about the situation in Tigray.
Honourable, Foreign Secretary, we will be more than happy to continue our engagement with your good
office, in our area of professional expertise in the support you plan to provide to the people of Ethiopia,
in the democratisation processes, humanitarian assistance and development.


Dr. Lulsegged Abebe, Chairperson, United Ethiopians for Peace and Reconciliation,
Dr. Tsehay Atlaw, Chairperson, Ethiopian History Society UK: ehs1896uk@gmail.com
Engineer Silieshi Tessema, Secretary Ethiopians for Ethiopians UK: eth4ethuk@gmail.com
Mr. Tesfaye Eshetu, Association of Ethiopianness Scotland: tesfaye.eshetu@ayrshire.ac.uk
Dr Nebiyou Gessese, Ethiopian Oromo Community in UK: nebiyou.gessese@gmail.com
Dr Tebabu Wubetu the Ethiopian Community in the Northeast of England, tebabuw@gmail.com
Ato Zelealem Tessema; Ethiopian Association in the UK, Ethiopianassossistionuk@gmail.com
Engineer Fisseha Combley, Ethiopian Community in Bristol: fissehagizaw@yahoo.co.uk
Dr. Belachew Tesfa, Ethiopian International Professional Support for Abay, belachew.tesfa3@gmail.com
Office of the Prime Minister
Mr. James Duddridge MP
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Minister for Africa

About The Author

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *