Justice for Shewaye Molla Campaign

Shewaye Molla, 30-year-old, left her native Ethiopia for Libya about a year ago in a desperate attempt to secure a better financial future for herself and her poor family in Ethiopia. She began working as a nanny to the children of Hannibal Gadhafi and his spouse Aline Skaf in Tripoli. During her employment at the ‘luxury house of horror’ in Mr. Hannibal Gadhafi’s compound, she, along with many other house servants were never paid their salaries and forced to work in the most inhumane conditions.
When Miss Molla refused to beat Aline’s crying daughter, she was brutally tortured by Aline. Miss Molla said to Dan Rivers, a CNN correspondent based in Tripoli, “She took me to a bathroom. She tied my hands behind my back, and tied my feet. She taped my mouth, and she started pouring the boiling water on my head.” Shewaye was burned like this twice during her stay at the compound. In her last ordeal she was left outside the house in the cold with no sleep and no food for three days. She was never allowed to seek medical attention or could even leave Mr. Hannibal Gadhafi’s compound. Any co-workers who tried to help her was threatened with the same fate. As the CNN reporter explained, her burns were so horrific that even after three months she was still in much pain and at first glance he thought that she was wearing a hat and something on her face. Her chest, torso and legs were all mottled with scars — some old, some still red, raw and weeping. At one point she had maggots coming out of an open wound on her head because she was kept hidden by Aline. Other workers at the compound were also regularly beaten and abused. Her horrendous story has been covered by a number of news agencies.

Here is the link to a few: 

Other workers at the compound were also regularly beaten and abused. Recently, a Sudanese servant at the Gadhafi compound also came forward with credible allegations that Aline Skaf had ordered guards to pour boiling water on his body for accidentally ruining a piece of her clothing.  http://www.alquds.com/news/article/view/id/274688

Justice needs to be served for the brutal crimes committed against Shewaye Molla and others by the Gadhafi family. She did not secure her financial woos that she left her country for, but also lost her entire future as she is now defined by the brutal tortures that she was subject to during her time abroad. 

What is even more alarming is that she is only the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of Ethiopians, especially young women, leave the unbearable living conditions in Ethiopia in order to find jobs in the Middle East and neighboring countries. The initial migration decision is made by their own free will; however, they are often misinformed regarding the positions available and circumstances waiting for them in the host country. Upon arrival, many of them have their passports taken away so that they may not return back to their country, and are often subject to physical and sexual abuse. Once in the host country, the Ethiopian embassies there do nothing to help them; Ethiopian diplomats do not educate these young girls and women about their rights and give shelter and support to them when needed. They become fully dependent on their employer and as a result, fully vulnerable.

Trafficking of women and children in Ethiopia from rural communities in to urban ones is also becoming a serious problem. Children are trafficked to work as domestic workers, in cottage industries such as weaving, or into prostitution. Both boys (aged 8 to 14) and girls (aged 8 to 24) are trafficked, but the number of girls trafficked is substantially larger than boys. Internationally, numbers of trafficked women are estimated to be as large as 130,000 Ethiopian women and children in the Gulf States. From 1999-2005 the Quarantine Office of the Addis Ababa International Airport reported 129 female bodies returned from Jeddah, Dubai, and Beirut. In all cases the cause of death was determined to be suicide. This is a figure given by the Ethiopian government. The actual numbers are estimated to be much larger. The study on returnees from the Middle East to Ethiopia arose due to the observations of the number of return migrants seeking professional psychiatric help. This is just the tip of the iceberg of mental disorders experienced by female migrants, and it is an area of concern.

Another major problem that is affecting thousands of Ethiopian children and their families is adoption. The regime and its cadres are taking it as a booming business. From a well-regulated humanitarian effort dedicated to children’s welfare to a business that is taking children away from their families in order to gain profits from Western adoption fees. In Ethiopia, the numbers of children sent in adoption climbed from a total of 262 in 2002 to more than 3,887 in 2008, with numbers still higher in 2009.  

Some adopting parents suspect or discover the new child they’ve taken in is not an orphan as they’d been assured. The child may also have a litany of health problems that has been covered up by corrupt officials. Also many ‘relinquishing’ Ethiopian parents or carers may have been duped into giving up their children through a heartless process called ‘harvesting’ and can’t hope to re-establish contact with them. A group of grieving mothers who have given up their children for international adoption gather at an orphanage to tell their stories. All claim they were told by adoption agencies they would receive regular information about the whereabouts and well being of their children, but have heard nothing. 

The dark side of adoption has come to light when adopted Washington teen died of hypothermia in backyard in August 2011. Hana Grace Williams was adopted from Ethiopia in 2008. She was outside most of the night in the rain on the day she died. There are reports of her significant weight loss. The prosecutions office Skagit County Prosecutor: Rich Weyrich email: prosecutor@co.skagit.wa.us and the Skaggit County police department (360) 336 -9450.

Why do so many Ethiopians leave their country to fall prey to such conditions in other countries where the fate awaiting them are bleak similar to that of Shewaye Molla? Why do they take such a risks? The root causes are: Lack of political freedom, lack of equity in economic opportunities and education, and widespread dysfunctional corrupt administration.

There is currently an unemployment rate of 48% in urban areas in Ethiopia. Even those educated are faced with little to no prospects of having a decent future upon graduation. Drought and forced eviction from ancestral and agricultural lands has left most of the rural population destitute, hungry and homeless.

The current Meles Zenawi regime in Ethiopia is one of the most corrupt and ruthless dictators in Africa.

After 20 years of maintaining power by fraudulent elections and political repression, there are numerous reliable reports of the regime using food as a political weapon. While Ethiopia is one of the largest recipients of foreign aid, most of this aid never reaches Ethiopians in emergency need. Food aid is given to those who vote for the ruling party and withheld from those who are not supportive of the regime. Meles Zenawi is starving all those who are not in favor of him to death.

Furthermore, according to newly leaked information from Wikileaks, there have been many attempts of political indoctrination and coerced recruitment of students, farmers and teachers in many regions in Ethiopia. Beginning in June, high school students in Oromiya region have been sent to military camps for political indoctrination on the policies of ideology of the ruling regime. After that training at the military camp, they are coerced in to joining a branch of the ruling EPRDF party – the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO). Punishments for refusing to join include withholding microfinance loans, sabotaging efforts to get into preferred universities, arbitrarily arresting people for days or weeks, threatening family members, and defaming a person’s name so they can no longer find employment and are forced to relocate.

For twenty years, the west has turned a blind eye on Meles Zenawi, their ally, whose corrupt and dictatorial rule has withered Ethiopia. In the 2010 elections, the Zenawi regime apparently won 99.6% of all parliamentary seats despite clear evidence of the undemocratic nature of the election. Each election for the past twenty years has been characterized by a lack of transparency, voting irregularities, protests and ensuing massacres of unarmed civilians. Amnesty International has expressed concerns that a recent anti-terrorism law has been and will continue to be used to suppress freedom of expression and warrant the arrest of much of the opposition.

In the past few months alone as many as 200 people in the opposition have been arrested. On August 31st, 2011, two Ethiopian opposition leaders, who had met with an Amnesty International delegation were arrested and accused of vague terror-related offenses. On the same day the Amnesty International delegation was called to a government meeting, where they were summarily ordered to leave the country immediately. This is yet another example of the extents that the regime would go to eliminate any threats and cover-up their atrocious operations.

Violations of human rights have been frequent and quite rampant in Ethiopia. In the most recent 2010 U.S State Department Report on Human Rights in Ethiopia there have been reports of mass killings of many villagers in southern Ethiopia by the Ethiopian Security forces, not to mention the arrest, torture and unfair trails of many civilians wrongly accused of terrorism.

Taking into account all the major issues that they face, it is no wonder then that every year thousands of desperate Ethiopians, in particular girls and young women, leave the country in hopes of finding a better future elsewhere, and to support their families back in Ethiopia. Human rights violations, poverty, corruption and conflict will continue to drive migration flows. Any successful and long-term solution must delve into the roots of the problems. And the root causes of most of these problems originate from is the current tyranny, which is the government. The Ethiopian government most definitely had an indirect role in the brutal fate of Shewaye and other defenseless Ethiopians, both inside and outside of the country. The current regime has simply no regards for either its people or the country.

Seeking justice for the tragic fate of Miss Shewaye Molla is only the start. We must prevent future Shewaye Mollas as well. A revolution is looming in Ethiopia. The pro-democracy hurricane that has swept the Middle East and North Africa will not miss Ethiopia too. We need to shed light on the atrocities which are committed by the Ethiopian regime and the unbearable living conditions imposed on the people. The Ethiopian community and in particular, we, the Ethiopian youth, are asking you to promote us in gaining the attention and support of the world and major players. 

We are the Ethiopian Youth National Movement. We are an independent and global network of young activists dedicated to bringing justice, peace, freedom and democracy in Ethiopia through non-violent action.

Below is the link to our Movement’s official webpage, Facebook campaigns and some of the press releases.

We need to put pressure on major players such as: the Algerian government, the African Union, the European Union, US State Department, UK, the Arab League and the United Nations. First of all, Aline Skaf needs to be brought to justice for the brutal crimes that she has committed against Miss Shewaye Molla and other foreign staff at the Gadhafi compound. Aline Skaf is currently living in Algeria. Secondly, all the major players need to recognize the crimes committed by the Meles Zenawi regime. They must realize that the foreign aid they have given to the Ethiopian regime does little to help the people in need and in fact fuels the regime’s corrupt and dictatorial rule. We ask for a fair international investigation on the crimes, corruption and violation of human rights that take place in Ethiopia. 

We would greatly appreciate your attention to this campaign. Facebook campaign page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/ShweygaMullahs/

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