On Friday, January 3, 2014 representatives of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia (GAFRESA) handed over a check in the amount of $30,000 to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to assist Ethiopians abused and displaced from Saudi Arabia since early November 2013.
Tamagn Beyene, Chairman of the Alliance; Dr. Aklog Birara, Head of Foreign Relations; Ms. Hirut Lisanework, Head of Finance and Senior Advisor of the Alliance, Neamin Zeleke, met with Ms. Maria Moreno, IOM’s External Relations Head and Chief Administrator at U.S Association for International Migration in Washington D.C., to hand over the donation and discuss issues related to the support that would be provided to the victims of the displacement and future partnership with IOM on similar efforts.
Ms. Moreno thanked and appreciated the Ethiopian Diaspora for its effort to assist the victims and stated, “we are very close to the people and we operate directly with staff members that have direct knowledge about the crisis.” She further pointed out that children and women are IOM’s priority groups and the funds will also be directed to alleviate the suffering of such vulnerable groups as agreed between the two parties. She also disclosed that IOM faces over 13 million-dollars gap that needs to be filled in order to assist and rehabilitate the victims.
According to Ms. Hirut Lisanework, the funds that was donated to IOM were raised from fundraising efforts done by partners of the Alliance in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Charlotte, New York, Nuremberg, Germany, Norway, Buffalo, Rochester and individuals residing in various parts of the world. She added that other cities that have raised funds are expected to transfer funds into the Alliance’s account in the coming weeks.
Discussing the significance of the meeting with IOM, Tamagn said, “the goodwill gesture from the Ethiopian Diaspora all over the world signifies the beginning of the start of such a proactive initiative.” He underlined the urgent need to further get mobilized and organized in order to respond to the desperate call for help that is coming from thousands of Ethiopians that have been displaced and languishing in camps and prisons in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries. He pointed out that Ethiopians should do their best to help their compatriots being impacted by the unfolding humanitarian crisis. Tamagn also stated that this was the first phase of continuing donations that will be made to help alleviate the suffering of fellow Ethiopians via IOM.
Dr. Aklog Birara giving his assessment of the Alliance’s meeting with IOM noted “that Ethiopians are victims of the grim economic and political reality confronting Ethiopia.” He urged the Ethiopian Diaspora to continue supporting efforts to rehabilitate the victims of the humanitarian crisis. Dr. Aklog further stated, “There is no challenge we cannot overcome and there is no enemy we cannot defeat when we rise up in unison like our forefathers. With passion and conviction, we will extensively organize Ethiopians across the world so that this movement becomes a formidable force in the fight for freedom and dignity.”
GAFRESA was launched in November 2013 in response to the shocking news of the killings, gang rapes and mass displacement of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia.
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