News / The Diaspora

Youth group to address the ordeal of Ethiopian migrants

By STAFF WRITER    MAY 14, 2015

YEP forum

Abel Habte, president of The Black Lions: Young Ethiopians for Peace, giving a speech on one of his organization’s events. (Young Ethiopians for Peace)

A group of Ethiopian youngsters will gather this coming Friday in Dallas, Texas to discuss the ongoing tribulations of Ethiopian migrants in some parts of the world.

The Black Lions, the Ethiopian youth-group organizing the event, says it is deeply troubled with the inhumane treatment of Ethiopian migrants in South Africa, Israel, Saudi Arabia, as well as the recent killings in Libya.

“It’s time we address this issue as a community and pool our resources for our suffering brothers and sisters,” said Abel Habte, the president of The Black Lions. “Like it or not, we are the Ethiopian community. Our parents are getting old so, we must take a more active role.”

A month ago, xenophobic attacks in South Africa left at least one Ethiopian dead and many more injured. A week later, ISIS militants released a video online showing their barbaric acts in the slaughter of 28 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. It was also the same week a boat carrying migrants, some of whom were Ethiopians, capsized in the Mediterranean killing hundreds.

“If we’re truly concerned about these Ethiopian immigrants who are being killed, imprisoned and abused then,” said Habte, “We should take it a step further from just tweeting about it to discussing solutions as a community.”

Friday’s event plans to gather local youths who will provide a presentation on the issue to generate discussion and offer solutions, according to the event organizers. The group also hopes to collect donations for nonprofit organizations engaged in providing relief for migrants.

The Black Lions, otherwise known as Young Ethiopians for Peace, is a non-profit group based in Texas, USA, whose stated mission is to preserve and protect the human rights of Ethiopians across the globe.

Last year, the group campaigned against Ethiopia’s villagization program and the alleged spin-off cotton industry. The group launched an online petition to boycott the Swedish clothing company H&M, shortly before the company announced it will no longer be using cotton from Ethiopia due to mounting concerns about the cotton projects in the Omo Valley.

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