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Results: 1 - 15 of 37442
Thomas Carrique
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Thomas Carrique
2022-06-21 19:30
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am joined here today by OPP deputy commissioner of field operations Chris Harkins and the chief superintendent, Carson Pardy, who was assigned to the integrated planning process.
Under the Ontario Police Services Act, the OPP has a unique dual mandate, providing frontline policing services to 328 municipalities across the province, as well as providing assistance and/or specialized support to municipal police services upon request.
As it relates to the “freedom convoy” and the associated illegal blockades in the city of Ottawa, the OPP's provincial operations intelligence bureau commenced reporting to our policing partners on January 13, 2022. As of January 22, daily intelligence reports focused on the convoy headed to Ottawa and the anticipated protest movements across the province. The intelligence reporting was shared with more than 35 Canadian law enforcement and security agencies.
As the convoy crossed the Manitoba-Ontario border and travelled across the province until it arrived in Ottawa on January 28, OPP officers professionally fulfilled their duties without incident. In support of the Ottawa Police Service, throughout the occupation, an increasing number of OPP officers and specialized resources from various services became engaged, ultimately contributing to an integrated plan and the establishment of a unified command.
Simultaneously, our members responded to many other convoys and demonstrations that consistently and repeatedly emerged in communities across Ontario, including but not limited to the critical blockade of the Ambassador Bridge, the blockade of Highway 402, and multiple other attempts to block Canada-U.S. land border crossings and demonstrations that posed a risk to the area of the Ontario legislature. In addition, from day one, when the convoy entered Ontario, we were responsive to requests for assistance from other municipal police services.
This was a provincial and national emergency that garnered international attention. In response, the OPP and more than 20 other police services from across the country—
Kidane Gebremariam
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Kidane Gebremariam
2022-06-21 18:47
First of all, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you.
The forces of Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Amhara region, coupled with those drawn from the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Iran, are committing unprecedented atrocities, crimes against humanity, war crimes, mass rape, ethnic cleansing and genocide, including blockades inflicted on the people of Tigray for almost two years, or 19 months to be specific.
The vicious and deliberate immolation or burning of a person of Tigrayan dissent that we recently witnessed is not an isolated incident. It is merely a continuation of the ongoing Ethiopian government-sponsored war of extermination.
This is a manifestation of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his advisers inspiring a widespread and persistent campaign of vilifying Tigrayans. Tigrayans have been made the focal point of public anger and have been hit with references to them in such inflammatory terms as daytime hyena, looters, junta, wimps, cancer, terrorists, enemy of the Ethiopian people, etc. As you may recall, Tutsis in Rwanda were called “cockroaches” and Jews were called “rats”. As a European Union envoy said, Ethiopia's leaders told him in closed-door talks early last year that they are going to wipe out the Tigrayans for a hundred years.
Another example is that Daniel Kibret, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, made several hate speeches against Tigrayans, telling his audience that we must be sure to eradicate them not only from the face of the earth but also from our minds and from our conscience.
Professor Jan Nyssen of Ghent University reported that in the last 17 months about 500,000 civilians including children have died due to lack of food and health care as Tigray is under a complete siege blockade. As Dr. Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, puts it, nowhere in the world are things anything like they are in Tigray. It is against international law to deliberately and systematically block life-saving humanitarian aid, which includes medicine, food, banks, water, electricity, fuel or gas, and telephone, Internet, land and air communication.
We demand that the Canadian Government together with the international community take concrete action to end the siege on the Tigray region of Ethiopia. It has been reported by the UN that there is a severe shortage of food and humanitarian supplies as the result of the war and blockade, with more than 90% of the population in urgent need of assistance.
We have the following demands that we are submitting to you all.
First, stop funding the Ethiopian government as aid money is being used to commit genocide against the people of Tigray.
Second, support the independent investigation initiated by the United Nations Human Rights Commission team for the crimes against humanity, war crimes, gender-based violence, genocide and ethnic cleansing committed against the people of Tigray.
Third, call the war on Tigray what it is, and that is genocide.
Fourth, call for the immediate lift of the blockade and end of the siege on Tigray.
Fifth, support our immigration proposal and provide immigration access to Tigrayans who are suffering in refugee camps and are currently stateless around the world. Specifically in the Sudan, there are more than 60,000 who are really in that kind of situation.
Sixth, pressure the Ethiopian government to release Tigrayans living outside of the Tigray region who are suffering and dying in detention centres and concentration camps.
Finally, we request meetings with the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly and the Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Thank you.
Feben Embaye-Dessta
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Feben Embaye-Dessta
2022-06-21 18:54
Hi. My name is Feben. Thank you for having us here. I will be talking about the gender-based violence that's happening in Tigray.
It's been almost 600 days of Tigray genocide, and rape is still being used as a weapon of war against the women and children of Tigray to demoralize and also traumatize these women. More than 128,000 girls and women have been raped in Tigray. This number is extremely under-reported due to stigma and also due to limited access in Tigray.
Sexual violence is a very systematic way of ethnic cleansing. These abusers have told their victims that their goal is to cleanse them and to prevent them from having future generations of Tigrayans. Women are experiencing barbaric acts of sexual torture with the intent of forced sterilization, which is to mean that these women will physically be unable to have future children. There are many reports of it. For example, a surgeon in Adigrat, a city in Tigray, removed, out of the vagina of these women, rocks and nails that were inserted by Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers. These acts are to ensure that these injuries will result in permanent damage and these women will no longer be able to have children.
Many of our women are also being drugged and abducted by soldiers and forced into sexual slavery or brought to alternative locations. There is a story in the Telegraph of one woman, named Selam, and 17 other women who were abducted by Eritrean soldiers. They took them to a forest where 100 soldiers waited for them. They tied them to trees by their hands and their legs. They proceeded to rape them for three days.
There are many stories like this. Women are also being sexually assaulted by soldiers who have HIV. The intent is to infect these women so that they pass this along to their children, and future generations will be infected with HIV.
These sick acts of sexual violence are meant to destroy them not only physically but also psychologically. Many, many soldiers are forcing family members, at gunpoint, to rape other family members. When they refuse, they are shot and killed. There's a story of a grandfather who was ordered to rape his granddaughter. When he refused, soldiers sexually abused the granddaughter and then shot her in the arms and legs.
All of this is to say that sexual violence is a very systematic way of ethnic cleansing and a way to psychologically and physically torture these women. I just wanted to make it very clear that this is still going on more than a year and a half later. We're approaching almost our two-year mark.
That is all. Thank you so much.
Gugsa Wekneh
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Gugsa Wekneh
2022-06-21 18:57
Thank you so much for having me and giving me a chance to talk to you about the siege in Tigray.
Just before I go to the situation in Tigray, I want to note that this was done by the Government of Ethiopia intentionally and deliberately in a very planned way. In the very first place, about 19 months ago, five different actors planned to destroy the infrastructure of Tigray and there is a 360-degree siege all over. This was by the Ethiopian government, by the Amhara militia, by the Eritrean government, by the Somalian government, by the United Arab Emirates and by Turkey. All these acted the same in order to destroy all the infrastructure in Tigray—no communication, no banking, no electricity, no water and no transportation. Can you imagine if that happened here how long we could survive here in Canada with no communication and no telephone for your loved ones?
The siege in Tigray is completely boycotting. In the very first place, they destroyed everything: hospitals, schools and electricity. What happened? After that what they did was block all banks, so there was no money, no transactions in Tigray, no fuel and no electricity. Here, we have not heard about our families, and whether they are alive or not, for 19 months. My friends say that with all the assaults, whether they exist and they live after that, we don't know. Nobody knows.
Can you bring this into your home, into Canada?
As it stands, because all the hospitals are destroyed, there is no medication. People are dying—diabetics because there is no medicine and cancer is not treated. After all the sexual abuse, over 2,000 women have been sexually abused. Some of them are pregnant with an unwanted pregnancy.
Let me put into perspective, for example, the banks. It's not only in Tigray. Any Tigrayans out of Tigray, even if in they're in Ethiopia, their account is blocked and they can't send money to the others. In the very first place, there is no way to send the money and, second, all those outside Tigray don't have access to their accounts. We are not talking about only the poor who are suffering. If you think about it, those who are middle income, who have a car, who have a house, who have at least a decent living, at this time they are begging. Even if he is begging, his neighbour is also begging. There is no aid. There is no humanitarian aid whatsoever.
I wish I could show you and send you one of the pictures in my phone of how the kids are affected because of this siege. These are the kids with all kinds of diseases. Some of them are serious diseases and some are very easy but they can't get any help.
Doctors are dying. Doctors are begging on the streets just for a living, so we are not talking about those who are in the marginalized area. We are talking about those people who are even in a higher income, because they don't have access to their account.
There is no fuel. If you see, for example, if you follow the news of the day, the EU representative of the UN to Tigray said that it is horrifying. It is unthinkable. Living in the 21st century, I don't think human beings or humans as a society have experienced what Tigray is experiencing now.
Thank you so much.
Alemash Tekie Berhane
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Alemash Tekie Berhane
2022-06-21 19:02
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My name is Alemash. I want to thank you for the opportunity of speaking to you about the situation in Tigray.
My colleagues touched on almost everything. For my part, I'm going to talk about the children of Tigray, the ones who are still alive, who have not died. They haven't had a chance to go to school for almost two years. It's really sad.
Children have been denied the right to go to school in Tigray.
I also want to talk a bit about the Tigrayans in Ethiopia. Because they are Tigrayans, those who live in the capital, Addis Ababa, have no access to banks. They cannot work. Some have lost their homes, their jobs and their lives. The situation is not only due to the closures in Tigray. Indeed, there are some elsewhere as well.
This is especially in western Tigray.
The atrocities continue, as these places are occupied by the Eritrean military. The Eritreans are still there. Their presence goes back to November 2020. We don't know why Canada is ignoring this situation. We are happy to see what Canada is doing for Ukraine, but why is it not also doing it for Tigray, for Africa? The lives of Africans are just as important. This is in line with Canada's values.
Many Tigrayans are displaced, forced to move by the Eritrean army and Amhara militias. The Fanos who did not die, in Sudan or in the camps, are losing their lives and their homes.
Also, we call on Canada to open its doors to immigration.
Thank you.
Kidane Gebremariam
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Kidane Gebremariam
2022-06-21 19:07
Thank you for the question.
In fact, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia declared a humanitarian truce, but that is not fact. You know, on one hand, he declared a humanitarian truce. On the other, he creates obstacles so that aid to Tigray, to the Tigray region, would not be transported. For instance, on one hand he allows a small number of trucks, but there is no fuel to transport across the region.
It's like giving a little bit with the right hand, showing you that he is going to give you something, but he's denying altogether because of the fuel. If there is no fuel and there is no electricity, you cannot do anything. I think the government is used to manipulating to deceive the international community. That's what he has been doing. Like he said at the very beginning, he denied that Eritrean armed forces were in Tigray. He denied completely, even to the extent that he told the director-general of the United Nations that there were no Eritrean forces, but later on he admitted it.
It is very difficult. The Tigray people are not receiving the food that the food program is trying to deliver.
Kidane Gebremariam
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Kidane Gebremariam
2022-06-21 19:10
What we're asking the international community, including the Canadian government, is to pressure Abiy Ahmed, to sanction Abiy Ahmed. I think the international community is being used, deceived. I'm really sorry to say that, but sanctions are the only way to listen, open everything and not hinder the delivery of humanitarian aid. For instance, for Canada, Ethiopia is one of the largest recipients of bilateral aid. I think that must be stopped.
Thank you.
Gugsa Wekneh
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Gugsa Wekneh
2022-06-21 19:11
I just want to make it clear, in the first place, that the Government of Ethiopia has absolutely said in the Parliament.... He said that in 1985 we helped the people of Tigray and we lost to the power of the central government. Because of that, he said that we will never send any aid to Tigray. This is to the Parliament, unequivocally he said that we are not going to send any food aid. At this time, because of international pressure, particularly by the United States and the EU, he tries to come into the negotiations because of some pressures, but he's making a lot of excuses.
Feben Embaye-Dessta
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Feben Embaye-Dessta
2022-06-21 19:13
I think the Canadian government needs to apply pressure on Abiy Ahmed to fulfill what he's saying he is going to do.
For us, the major thing we're concerned about is the humanitarian aid. There is no peace if the people are all dead. He needs to apply pressure on Abiy Ahmed, whether that's financially or whatever it is, to allow for the aid to enter into Tigray so that the people of Tigray can get their medication, the food, the water, the treatments....
I'll pass it along to my friend Gugsa.
Gugsa Wekneh
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Gugsa Wekneh
2022-06-21 19:13
Like she said, the international community has to speak in one voice. In particular, Canada is way on the sidelines compared to the rest of them. As long as I've understood it, the value of Canada is in being on the front seat or the driver's side. In this case, it's totally on the sidelines.
The international community has to speak in one voice, with one word. Enough is enough. It is too late, as even at this time people are dying by the minute.
Thank you.
Kidane Gebremariam
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Kidane Gebremariam
2022-06-21 19:14
Just to add to that, I think I understand your question. The question is, what solution is there? Is there any opportunity for a solution?
I think the government of Tigray is ready for peace, but Abiy Ahmed is not ready, because Abiy Ahmed is talking about this, but the Government of Eritrea is on second, so there would be no peace. I think there are two, one where of course the bottom line is that there must be a resolution to it, and then a peaceful resolution. The government of Tigray is ready for peace. Abiy Ahmed is talking peace but is doing something else. He is buying armaments. Whatever funding is given from the Government of Canada, he's using it to buy armaments. That's the dynamic. That's the fact that the international community needs to understand.
The Government of Ethiopia is not ready for peace, but I think the final resolution would be through peace, through a round table. I understand that there is an initiative going on, but I don't think he's ready for peace. That's the problem. I think that in order to be ready for peace there must be pressure from the international community, including Canada.
Thank you.
Alemash Tekie Berhane
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Alemash Tekie Berhane
2022-06-21 19:16
The only thing I want to add is that Eritrean troops are still occupying part of Tigray, and they have to leave Tigray. The international community should put pressure there. They know that they are there.
They have to leave because they are still continue committing atrocities on Tigrayans.
Thank you.
Gugsa Wekneh
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Gugsa Wekneh
2022-06-21 19:16
Can I at this point give you one simple question to take home? Did you know that at this time the Prime Minister of Ethiopia is building a palace for $49 billion? At this time, with his budget of $49 billion, he is building a new palace.
Kidane Gebremariam
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Kidane Gebremariam
2022-06-21 19:17
The food is going through Afar, from Addis Ababa to the Afar Region. The president of the Afar Region is a good friend of Abiy Ahmed. They collaborate with each other not to pass on the food. It's a kind of deliberate attempt not to feed the people.
They tried through bullets. They tried through war, but they couldn't make it. Now they are using food as a weapon of war. They are using starvation as a weapon of war.
It's going from Afar's Semera city to Mekelle. Even through whatever amount of difficulty, through a lot of checking at Mekelle, the food cannot be transported to the people who are really in need of food because of the lack of fuel.
Thank you.
Feben Embaye-Dessta
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Feben Embaye-Dessta
2022-06-21 19:20
The situation in the refugee camps is not much better. It's very dire there as well. They are extremely overcrowded.
The number of refugees in Sudan is anywhere between 60,000 and 80,000, including children who have been separated from their families escaping war. There is very little medication, even in Sudan. There's always flooding. The UNHCR tents have been swept away with the mud. There is little food. They get, maybe, one litre of oil and no protein. I think it's some type of a powder they are given. It's very minimal food.
The situation in Sudan is also very terrible. People there are also dying from medical conditions that are easily treated in the west, like asthma and diabetes. They don't have access to blood pressure medication and things like that in Sudan either. The situation is terrible in Sudan. It's not much better.
That's why we've also been saying that we're pushing for Canada to allow Tigrayan refugees from Sudan and elsewhere to come to Canada. It would be the same as they have done for the Ukrainians and Syrians.
I can pass it to some of my colleagues.
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