ONLF High Level Delegation Concludes North America Tour
EDMONTON, Canada (Ogaden News Agency) – The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) high level delegation touring North America concluded its working visit on Tuesday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The delegation, consisting of the ONLF’s foreign affairs secretary, Abdirahman Mahdi, and information secretary, Hassan Moalin, toured United States and Canada on behalf of the movement and in support of their national struggle.
The high-ranking delegates met United States officials, congressional members – both in U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as officials from various think-tanks, including Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and National Endowment for Democracy, where the political state of affairs of Ogaden and Ethiopia in general were discussed.
ONLF is a founding member of the PAFD, a political alliance that represents more than 70% of Ethiopia’s population comprising Somali, Oromo, Sidama, Gambella and Benishangul nations.
The ONLF presented its positions and policy regarding the current crisis in Ethiopia precipitated by the desperate measures of the current failing regime in Ethiopia and its proposed solutions for a democratic, peaceful and stable Horn of Africa.
The delegation’s working tour was launched off on January 18, 2017, during which the officials also met the Ogadeni diaspora communities in San Jose, Minneapolis and Edmonton, where civil society organizations and groups received the high level dignitaries. Meetings were also convened with local chapters of Peoples’ Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD) in Minneapolis and Edmonton, as well as other liberation fronts and Ethiopian opposition groups in Washington, DC.
Equally important were also non-governmental human rights organizations and other international peace and security institutes that the ONLF representatives sat down with and briefed them on the Ogaden question.
Media interest of the delegation was significant, but only a selected few were afforded interview privileges because of time constraints. The Voice of America – Somali and Amharic services, Ilays Television, Hiber Radio, Oromo News Network a few amongst them.
After leaving the United States, the delegation visited Canada – in particular Edmonton, Alberta, where they participated in the 2nd Annual Social Justice Forum collaboratively hosted by the Ogaden Somali Community of Alberta Residents (OSCAR) and Concordia University of Edmonton in Canada. The theme of the academic symposium was Unpacking Institutional Racism: Decisions, Practices, Procedures, and Policies. A series of panels addressed fundamental issues surrounding institutional racism, ranging from topics such as education and public institutions to indigenous and immigrant perspectives.
The forum brought together diverse group of participants: elected officials, minority rights organisations, professors, local civil servants, students, refugees, public policy experts, and members of the Ogaden community abroad. The head of the delegation, Mr. Mahdi delivered a keynote speech entitled Horn of Africa Geo-Politics on the final day of the forum. This was in addition to the Black history celebration held yearly by the OSCAR in collaboration with the City of Edmonton.
An important part of the celebration this year was the raising ceremony and hosting of the Ogaden National Flag at the Edmonton City Hall for one month; a symbolic gesture in solidarity with the people of Ogaden for their just and noble cause for self-determination, freedom, and cessation of oppression from Ethiopia.
Mr. Mahdi, a co-founder of the ONLF in 1984, and Mr. Moalin, a former member of the one and only elected parliament of Ogaden in 1992, flew from Edmonton International Airport to their next scheduled work destinations.
The ONLF is a political and social movement that represents and vanguard aspirations and interests of the people of Ogaden. It wages a principled national liberation struggle against the TPLF regime in Ethiopia and fights for the inalienable right of the Somali people of Ogaden to national self-determination.
The movement is a founding member of the PAFD, a political alliance that represents more than 70% of Ethiopia’s population comprising Somali, Oromo, Sidama, Gambella and Benishangul nations. The ONLF has a positive relation with all nations in Ethiopia and believes in engaging all forces in Ethiopia that are struggling to bring genuine democratic change in Ethiopia.