TJRC Commissioner Dinka dies of cancer

The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation (TJRC) Commissioners Berhanu Dinka (left) and Mr Ahmed Farah at a past function. Photo/FILE

The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation (TJRC) Commissioner Ambassador Berhanu Dinka has died in New York after a brave battle with cancer.

“We have received sad information of the passing on of our brother Commissioner Amb Berhanu Dinka. The body will be flown from the United States of America to Ethiopia for burial. We will keep you informed on the burial arrangements. Let us all keep his family in prayers,” said TJRC Chairperson, Amb Bethwel Kiplagat in a statement.

“He chaired our report-writing committee, and returned to Kenya – while convalescing – to guide the process to the very end. He gave the TJRC process his very best,” fellow Commissioners recalled.

A diplomat with 27 years in the Ethiopian Foreign Service and an illustrious career with the United Nations and international peace-keeping, the late Amb Dinka undertook special assignments following his retirement.

He assisted in the Abuja talks on the conflict in Darfur when requested by the African Union, chairing the Power-Sharing Commission until the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was concluded in Abuja in March 2006.

He served in Ethiopian embassies in Monrovia, Cairo and Washington, D.C., becoming an ambassador in 1975 and heading the Department of Africa and Middle East Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He was the first Ethiopian ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti (1980-84) and then Permanent Representative to the UN in New York with concurrent accreditation to Canada.

In 1992, he moved to the UN and served in Cambodia, South Africa and Somalia.

He was the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Sierra Leone 1995-1997; Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa 1997-2002 and SRSG for Burundi 2002-2004.

Having attained the rank of Under Secretary-General at the UN, the late Amb Dinka represented the Secretary General in the Arusha negotiations on Burundi and the Lusaka talks aimed at resolving conflict in DR Congo.