WHO WE ARE
Irob Advocacy Association hereafter, IAA, is a non-for profit, non-political and non-religious autonomous organization initiated by concerned Irobs in 2018, in Meqele city, Tigray.
IAA obtained its legal status as a civil organization on July 23, 2019, per "Proclamation No.1113/2019 of Organizations of Civil Societies of Ethiopia", with the Registry Number 4304, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. IAA publicly declared its founding on November 13, 2019 in Meqele, Tigray.
IAA has been established to advocate for Irob minority ethnic group facing complex problems threatening continuity of its very existence.
Irob Advocacy Association's vision is to see an economically empowered vibrant united Irob, where all rights are fully upheld. IAA envisions Irob society fully aware of its rights, history, culture, and social values. Hence, it strives to preserve Irob’s social values and its group identity. IAA’s aspiration is to see all democratic, political, economic, and human rights are upheld in Irobland and to all Irobs, wherever they might be.
Irob Advocacy Association's mission is to empower Irob people through research and advocacy to ensure the vision is realized. IAA shall work so that safety and security of Irobs are guaranteed and shall monitor that all rights are upheld. IAA promotes the “concept of unity in diversity” in Ethiopia and peaceful co-existence with all neighboring peoples.
IAA strives for emergence and flourishing of united Irob community with strong socioeconomic and democratic foundations. Hence, IAA will work to preserve the right of Irob minority’s indivisibility which is a matter of survival as a cohesive community.
IAA uses the following four common tools of advocacy mechanisms to achieve its mission: organizing, lobbying, educating and court litigation.
WHAT WE DO
IAA's main objectives are:
- Monitor, research, and evaluate the state of civil, democratic, and economic rights of Irob people and when there are serious violations, make it known to the public, the government, and the international institutions to help resolve those problems.
- Support and work for the realization of civil, democratic, and economic rights of the Irob people.
- Advocate for justice and equality of the Irob people and bring any violations to the attention of the relevant authorities so that any wrongdoing is addressed.
- Encourage and support Irob minority to preserve and promote its language, culture, identity, heritage, history, and social values.
- Conduct studies to identify and prioritize key socioeconomic problems Irob youth and other social groups are facing and make them known to the authorities and international community to address them.
IAA will encourage Irobs to partake in cooperative commitment to safeguard their group identity, language, and culture.
All performances of IAA shall be impartial regarding gender, religion, age group, disability, etc.
The IAA’s operational activity is federal and regional with a special focus on the Irob district. Its pursuit is world-wide as well.
All activities of IAA shall be transparent and accountable to its members and pertinent authority.
THE NEED FOR ADVOCACY
In a nutshell, the needs prompted the formation of the Irob Advocacy Association are the overwhelming crisis that Irobs are facing as a minority ethnic group. The predicaments can be listed as the deteriorating economic, social, historical, language, identity, cultural values, and educational quality. Severe land degradation and chronic droughts have resulted in extreme poverty and destitute livelihoods. Lack of democracy and good governance, human rights suppression, absence of basic infrastructure and public service, have worsened the already bad situation. We are also witnessing both natural and systemic assimilations taking place at an alarming rate.
To make matters worse, this already ailing community was invaded by the Eritrean armed forces in 1998 and Irobland remained under the occupation for two long years. During those years, the Eritrean army obliterated whatever was left of Irob, both economic and social capital. In short, the entire social fabric collapsed resulting in enormous socio-economic crisis, postwar trauma, and mass migration of Irob youth. The latter was aggravated by dangerous human trafficking and the absence of concerted efforts by government to mitigate it.
Another appalling outcome of this conflict was the Algiers Agreement, by Eritrea and Ethiopia signed on December 12, 2000, and consequently brought to the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) in The Hague, The Netherlands for deliberation. This agreement, as it stands now, divides the Irob minority and its land between the two countries, and hence, an existential threat to Irob. On the other hand, neither the Irob people nor any part of their land has ever been under Eritrean administration. Besides, the UN 1992 minority rights resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992 supports the Irob minorities claim and argument to remain undivided. Hence, IAA shall work hard and is determined to make sure all articles of this declaration are meticulously enforced when relevant. During the occupation, the Eritrean armed forces abducted over 93 Irob civilians whose whereabouts is not known up till now. IAA shall fight for the safe return of those abductees as well.
Therefore, IAA is here with a mission and vision to support Irob people uplift themselves form the yoke of those compounded problems described above, working with those responsible, able, and willing to help.