Cycling Tour for Truth, Peace and Justice at the end of Day 6
At the end of its 6th day of cycling from Göteborg, Sweden to Geneva, Switzerland, the Cycling Tour for Truth, Peace, Justice and Eritrea received a warm welcome at the closing ceremony of the 11th Annual Euro-YPFDJ Conference in Germany. Hundreds of Eritrean youth from all over Europe have been holding their 11th annual conference since 2 April 2015 . The cyclists arrived at the conference after cycling from Giessen where they had spent the night of April 4.
The cyclists are biking for hundreds of kilometers to bring attention to the world, but particularly the UN office in Geneva how peace is held hostage by the Ethiopian regime in the Horn of Africa.
Eritrea has been repeatedly victimized by the international community led by the United States. Eritrea was the only country out of 53 African countries that was denied its right to decolonization at the end of the second World War. In the infamous words of a former US Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, Eritrea was denied the right given to every African nation because US strategic interest was against it.
"From the point of view of justice, the opinions of the Eritrean people must receive consideration. Nevertheless the strategic interest of the United States in the Red Sea basin and the considerations of security and world peace make it necessary that the country has to be linked with our ally Ethiopia."
As a result of this miscarriage of justice the people of Eritrea were forced to fight for five decades for their independence against an Ethiopian government that was supported first by the US lead Capitalist West and later by a Communist Bloc lead by the former Soviet Union. Against all odds, and at the expense of 65,000 lives, Eritrea prevailed and the Ethiopian army of occupation was defeated and Eritrea was liberated on May 24, 1991. Two years later Eritrea held an internationally supervised referendum and 99.8 % of the Eritrean people voted for independence. On May 24, 1993 Eritrea became an internationally recognized sovereign nation.
However, Eritreans were not allowed to live in peace. While they were in the midst of reconstructing their nation, the very same powers that had enabled Ethiopia to occupy Eritrea for 50 years encouraged Ethiopia to reinvade Eritrea. As a result and under the pretext of a border war Eritrea was forced to defend its sovereignty paying 20,000 precious lives from May 1998 to June 2000. The war came to an end after the UN, EU, AU and Americans managed to broker an Agreement of Cessation of Hostilities that was signed on June 18, 2000. A comprehensive peace deal was signed on December 12, 2000 and the above mentioned powers signed as guarantors and witnesses.
The December 2000 comprehensive peace agreement is also known as the Algiers Agreement. Under the Algiers Agreement
4.2 The parties agree that a neutral Boundary Commission composed of five members shall be established with a mandate to delimit and demarcate the colonial treaty border based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902,and 1908) and applicable international law. The Commission shall not have the power to make decisions ex aequo et bono.
Furthermore, the two countries had agreed that
the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the Commission shall be final and binding. Each party shall respect the border so determined, as well as the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the other party.
However, to this day Ethiopia, encouraged by the USA and financed by western Europe, continues to refuse to abide by its treaty obligation and to implement the final and binding delimitation and demarcation decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC). The Commission, the only authority mandated to delimit and demarcate the common border, had already declared:
The line of the boundary was legally and finally determined by its Delimitation Decision of 13 April 2002. ... The boundary is finally demarcated, the Delimitation Decision of 13 April 2002 continues as the only valid legal description of the boundary. ... This line is binding upon both Parties. Conduct inconsistent with this boundary line is unlawful.
Ethiopia is illegally occupying sovereign Eritrean territories. Not only that, Ethiopia in violation of international law, had expelled Eritreans from the occupied territories and has been resettling Ethiopians. This is why the cycling tour is calling for an immediate end to Ethiopia's occupation.
The immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Ethiopia from sovereign Eritrean territories is the only path to peace. Ethiopia is holding peace hostage in the Horn of Africa and all peace loving people should combine their voices with these brave cyclists who are braving rain and cold to deliver a message of peace and a call for justice and truth.