Ogaden Voice for Peace: Washington Trip
SATURDAY, 05 FEBRUARY 2011
On the week of January 24-28th 2011, a delegation of Ogaden Voice for Peace network members took an advocacy trip to Washington DC. This trip focused on meetings with Senior Administration officials, members of congress, Foreign and Defense Policy experts and other influential sources with regards to US Policy towards the Horn of Africa.
It was an occasion to frankly exchange views and develop a collaborative relationship in order to address the some of the enormous challenges that are present in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. While it's important to keep sources and agenda items confidential, the trip was extremely successful. There was also a general agreement that continuation of the status quo poses not only a threat to peace and stability in the Ogaden but also to the entire Horn of Africa.
The meetings at Capitol Hill took place with members of the Senate and their staff whom the delegation provided briefings with regards to recent developments in the Ogaden region. The delegation also met with Senior Policy advisors in the areas of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Aid and Defense Policy whose positions are of enormous importance in finding a lasting solutions that are worthy of highest aspirations of the Somali people.
The delegation finally met with The United States State Department who are responsible in implementing the administration's policy towards the Horn of Africa. Some of the issues discussed including conflict resolution, humanitarian assistance and greater focus on development. It was also an opportunity to discuss the recent developments in the region and to dispel the notion that peace agreements have produced peace on the ground.
The delegation also discussed the need to have a comprehensive investigation into the numerous reports coming out of credible sources that security forces continue to engage in a wide range of human rights abuses and to bring all of those responsible parties to justice. There has not been any tangible evidence to suggest security forces have ever been held accountable for their abuses in the past. The region is still closed to all international Human Rights organizations and international media.
To learn more about The Ogaden Voice for Peace please visit www.ogadenvoice.org
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