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Ethiopia Expels Crisis Group Senior Analyst
Ethiopia Expels Crisis Group Senior Analyst
Afghanistan's Peace Process
Afghanistan's Peace Process
Media Release / Africa

Ethiopia Expels Crisis Group Senior Analyst

The Ethiopian government on 21 November deported Crisis Group’s Ethiopia Senior Analyst William Davison. No formal reason was immediately given, but his expulsion doubtless relates to the serious conflict in Tigray and increasing sensitivity to non-official points of view.

On 20 November, immigration officials in Addis Ababa summoned Crisis Group’s Ethiopia Senior Analyst William Davison and informed him he would need to leave the country immediately. He flew to the UK in the early hours of 21 November. Ethiopian authorities have yet to offer a formal reason for the decision. In an earlier tweet, an official in the Prime Minister’s office said Mr. Davison’s work permit had been revoked, citing alleged labour law breaches.

Crisis Group has been transparent and truthful in all representations it has made regarding Mr. Davison’s employment. Ultimately, there is little doubt that the reason for his deportation relates to the current tense situation in the country and the authorities’ increasing sensitivity to points of view that do not hew to its line. It is noteworthy that around the time Mr. Davison was expelled, authorities also warned the news agency Reuters’ Ethiopia correspondent and the BBC and Deutsche Welle stations.

Mr. Davison’s expulsion comes at a difficult and painful moment for Ethiopia. On 4 November, Africa’s second most populous country plunged into a serious conflict between federal troops and security forces from the Tigray region, one of Ethiopia’s ten states. The conflict has already cost hundreds of lives and sent tens of thousands of refugees into neighbouring Sudan.

Crisis Group and its analysts do not take sides. Their responsibility is to present as faithfully as possible the viewpoints of the relevant parties; their mandate is to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts; their duty is to the civilians caught in their midst. Accordingly, and from the outset, Crisis Group has sought to explain the perspectives of the federal authorities and of the Tigrayan leadership, pressed for an end to hostilities and kept urging the parties to explore a negotiated solution and resolve their differences through political means. 

Since joining Crisis Group in April 2019, Mr. Davison has sought to follow this approach. He has been a respected and much sought-after commentator on Ethiopian affairs. He has contributed to 28 reports, briefings, statements and podcasts analysing Ethiopia’s contested transition. He has also contributed significantly to Crisis Group’s work on the Nile waters dispute.      

Crisis Group President & CEO Robert Malley said: “I deeply regret William’s deportation from Ethiopia, particularly at this time when we are working so hard to pursue an end to the current conflict. If Ethiopia is to make a success of its once-in-a-generation opportunity to transition into a more open and democratic society, it should welcome, rather than seek to stifle, independent voices analysing its politics”.

Crisis Group is an independent organisation that conducts field research, speaks to all parties, and seeks to offer impartial policy recommendations to help prevent and resolve deadly conflicts worldwide. Our Board of Trustees comprises prominent figures from the highest levels of government, business and philanthropic institutions from more than 30 countries, including former heads of state and foreign ministers from Algeria, Australia, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Israel, Japan, Liberia, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. 

We continue to seek information on Mr. Davison’s expulsion and will post updates as necessary.

Reporters can reach Crisis Group at media@crisisgroup.org. 

Podcast / Asia

Afghanistan's Peace Process

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Richard Atwood talk with Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director Laurel Miller about the U.S. plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and reflect on the expulsion of Crisis Group Senior Analyst Will Davison from Ethiopia.

Episode 13: Afghanistan's Peace Process

In this week’s episode of Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Richard Atwood unpack the state of talks among the U.S., and Afghan governments and the Taliban about a peace deal, along with Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director Laurel Miller, who served as acting U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. They also address the expulsion of Crisis Group Senior Analyst Will Davison from Ethiopia and reflect on how the organisation does its work in wartime.

Background readings by Crisis Group:

Afghanistan's Peace Process Will Be Long, Incremental and in Need of a Mediator

Ethiopia Expels Crisis Group Senior Analyst

Click here to listen on iTunes or Spotify.