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Burkina Faso: The downfall of another tyrant in Africa is a ‘warning alarm’ to the rests of tyrants. #TPLF #Ethiopia November 14, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Burkina Faso, Corruption, Corruption in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Youth Unemployment.
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“President Compaoré, like many African Heads of State, was more interested in clinging to power than in the needs of his people.”


Burkina Faso: The downfall of another tyrant in Africa

Albert Mbiatem


The recent popular revolution in Burkina Faso and the resignation of President Blaise Compaoré has emerged as a ‘warning alarm’ to African tyrants who are bent on eternalising themselves in power. The political crisis in Burkina Faso could be seen as a ‘call for attention’ to the presidents of Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Rwanda who intend to amend their respective constitutions in order to become eligible for a third mandate.[1]

Presented by some Western states (France and the United States) as an effective mediator in resolving regional crises, Compaoré has just failed to prevent and resolve the political crisis in his own country. The Burkinabe people chose to oust Compaoré during the month of October, just as he ousted President Thomas Sankara in October, 27 years earlier. With the complicity of France, Compaoré took power in 1987 by eliminating a Sankara, a transformational leader. Sankara and thirteen collaborators were killed during the coup.[2] The result was that a committed head of state was replaced by a ruler responsive only to the interests of the former colonial power.

During his rule, Compaoré set up a political system largely unresponsive to people’s needs, wants and aspirations. For almost three decades, the Burkinabe people witnessed a high level of corruption, poverty, injustice, a high unemployment rate and a repressive political system. Civil rights and the freedom of the press were undermined. One of the most gruesome examples of this came on December 13th 1998, when the charred bodies of journalists Norbert Zongo and three of his friends were found in their vehicle 100km south of Ouagadougou.[3] The President’s brother, Francois Compaoré, was a prime suspect. Unequal resource distribution has also been one of the main causes of persistent popular disenchantment. According to World Bank statistics from 2012, 46% of the population still lives below the poverty line.[4]

President Compaoré, like many African Heads of State, was more interested in clinging to power than in the needs of his people. Modifying the constitution to stay in power became the ultimate goal for Compaoré. Article 37 of the constitution of Burkina Faso stipulates that ‘the president of Faso is elected for five years by direct universal suffrage in a secret ballot. He can only be re-elected once’. Elected in 2005 and again in 2010, Blaise Compaoré could not stand for re-election without amending this article. On October 21st 2014, Compaoré announced his intention to hold a referendum which, if it went his way, would give him the power to amend the constitution and stand for a fifth presidential term.[5] A wave of popular disapproval spread throughout the country, incorporating both the opposition party and large sections of civil society.

On 30th October, when the amendment of the constitution was due to be debated in parliament, the Burkinabe people stormed into the parliament building and destroyed it.

The weakening of the regime in Ouagadougou not only came from the discontent of civil society but also from perennial mutinies in the army. In 1999 soldiers protested about the payment of their bonuses. In 2011 there was another mutiny, coinciding with civil unrest. Despite the fact that Compaoré at that time added the role of Minister of Defense to his presidential portfolio, the regime continued to show signs of weakness.[6] The relatively low degree of retaliation by the armed forces with regard to the uprisings of 28-30th October show the persistent discontent within the ranks.

Another problem for Compaoré was his firm belief in protecting his ‘Western friends’ above all else – France and the USA. He thus gave little attention to the famous phrase vox populis, vox Dei (the voice of the people is the voice of God). The victories of popular revolutions over tyrannical regimes across the world provide enough evidence to argue that ultimate power lies in the hands of the people.

As we look towards the future, there are several questions to consider: What kind of political future will Burkina Faso have? Will the country undergo the kind of political controversies witnessed in Tunisia and Egypt after the respective downfalls of Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak? As the former second in command of Compaoré’s presidential guard, will Lieutenant Colonel Zida ensure a transparent transition? Does the military’s ascendance to the helm of the state undermine the intention of the revolution to free the people from tyranny? Is it not high time for the African Union to actively intervene in favour of a peaceful and consensual transition in Burkina Faso?

It is not easy to find specific answers to these questions since the situation on the ground is evolving all the time. But it is high time for the leaders in Burkina Faso to recognise leadership as a process of interaction between leaders and followers. Leaders must be aware and responsive to societal needs. The structure of the transition should be consensually determined by the Burkinabe people in such a way that all the strata of society are taken into account. In this context, a consensual civilian government would be the appropriate structure for an effective democratic transition. As the main political organisation on the continent, the African Union must effectively encourage a peaceful transition in ‘the land of incorruptible people’, as Sankara once called Burkina Faso, before he was deposed by the eminently corruptible Compaoré.

* Albert Mbiatem is a fellow of the African Leadership Centre, King’s College London. He is currently on attachment at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) in Addis Ababa. He is also a research assistant at the University of Buea in Cameroon. This article was first published on Strife blog.


Radio France Internationale, Revue de Presse. 31 October, 2014.
[1] Bonkoungou, M. (2007) “Burkina Faso Salutes “Africa’s Che” Thomas Sankara”. Reuters, 17 October 2007. And Radio France Internationale, October 27, 2008.
[2] International Crisis Group “Burkina Faso: With or Without Compaoré, Times of Uncertainty” Africa Report N°205, 22 July 2013.
[3] World Factbook and the World Bank. 2012.
[4] Le Figaro, “Au Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré Rêve Encore de Pouvoir”. 22 October 2014.
[5] Crisis Group Interview, International Military Official, Ouagadougou, September 2011.

Read more @ http://www.pambazuka.net/en/category/features/93350

A scaling law: Simple mathematical laws that govern the properties of cities, Physicist Geoffrey West at TEDTalks November 14, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in cross industry agglomeration (urbanization), The Mathematics of Cities.
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Our theory suggests we will face something mathematicians call a “finite time singularity.” Equations with superlinear behavior, rather than leveling out like the sublinear ones in biology, go to infinity in a finite time. But that’s impossible, because you’re going to run out of finite resources. The equations tell us that when you reach this point, the system stagnates and collapses.

Geoffrey West @ http://discovermagazine.com/2012/oct/21-geoffrey-west-finds-physical-laws-in-cities





http://www.ted.com Physicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities — that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city’s population. In this mind-bending talk from TEDGlobal he shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations.

“What we do is, as we grow and we approach the collapse, a major innovation takes place and we start over again, and we start over again as we approach the next one, and so on. So there’s this continuous cycle of innovation that is necessary in order to sustain growth and avoid collapse. The catch, however, to this is that you have to innovate faster and faster and faster. So the image is that we’re not only on a treadmill that’s going faster, but we have to change the treadmill faster and faster. We have to accelerate on a continuous basis. And the question is: Can we, as socio-economic beings, avoid a heart attack?”


A scaling law basically represents how various measurements in a system—say, the bodies of mammals—change proportionally as size changes. The first and most famous scaling law is something called Kleiber’s law, which describes how metabolic rate, the amount of energy you need per day to stay alive, is related to an organism’s size. It turns out that metabolic rate [r] is just the mass [M] of the organism raised to the three-quarters power [r ≈ M¾]. A whale, for instance, weighs about 100 million times more than a shrew. You might expect its metabolic rate to be 100 million times greater, too. But it’s only a million times bigger, because metabolic rate scales as mass to the three-quarters [100,000,000¾ is 1,000,000]. The pattern holds with very few exceptions across all organisms.

Cities are obvious metaphors for life. We call roads “arteries” and so forth. But more importantly, they are our unique creations. Santa Fe feels unique, New York City feels unique. They have their own culture, history, and geography. They have their own planners, politicians, and architects. Yet when my collaborators and I looked at tremendous amounts of data about cities, we found universal scaling laws again. Each city is not so unique after all. If you look at any infrastructural quantity—the number of gas stations, the surface area of the roads, the length of electric cables—it always scales as the population of the city raised to approximately the 0.85 power.
The bigger the city is, the less infrastructure you need per capita. That law seems to be the same in all of the data we can get at. It is a really interesting relationship, and it’s very reminiscent of scaling laws in biology. However, when we looked at socioeconomic quantities—quantities that have no analogue in biology, like wages, patents produced, crime, number of police, et cetera—we found that unlike everything we’d seen in biology, cities scale in a superlinear fashion: The exponent was bigger than 1, about 1.15. That means that when you double the size of the city, you get more than double the amount of both good and bad socioeconomic quantities—patents, aids cases, wages, crime, and so on.

I believe that part of what has made life on Earth so unbelievably resilient—able to evolve and survive across billions of years—is the fact that its growth is generally sublinear, with the exponents smaller than 1. Because of that, organisms evolve over generations rather than within their own lifetimes, and such gradual change is incredibly stable. But human population growth and our use of resources are both growing superlinearly, and that is potentially unstable.
Our theory suggests we will face something mathematicians call a “finite time singularity.” Equations with superlinear behavior, rather than leveling out like the sublinear ones in biology, go to infinity in a finite time. But that’s impossible, because you’re going to run out of finite resources. The equations tell us that when you reach this point, the system stagnates and collapses.

The growth equation was derived with certain conditions that are determined by the cultural innovation that dominates each historic period: iron, computers, whatever it is. An innovation that changes everything—like a new fuel—resets the clock, so you can avoid the singularity a bit longer. But the theory says that to avoid the singularity, these innovations have to keep coming faster and faster.
I think the biggest stresses are clearly going to be on energy, food, and clean water. A lot of people are going to be denied these basics across the globe. If there is a collapse—and I hope I’m wrong—it will almost certainly come from social unrest starting in the most deprived areas, which will spread to the developed world.
We need to seriously rethink our socioeconomic framework. It will be a huge social and political challenge, but we have to move to an economy based on no growth or limited growth. And we need to bring together economists, scientists, and politicians to devise a strategy for doing what has to be done. I think there is a way out of this, but I’m afraid we might not have time to find it.

Read more @ http://discovermagazine.com/2012/oct/21-geoffrey-west-finds-physical-laws-in-cities

Amnesty International’s Report: “Because I Am Oromo”: A Sweeping Repression in Oromia November 14, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Afar, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Groups at risk of arbitrary arrest in Oromia: Amnesty International Report, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, NO to the Evictions of Oromo Nationals from Finfinnee (Central Oromia), Ogaden, Oromia, Oromians Protests, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, The Mass Massacre & Imprisonment of ORA Orphans, Tyranny.
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“Because I am Oromo”: A Sweeping Repression in Oromia… full report @:http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR25/006/2014/en

“I was arrested for about eight months. Some school students had been arrested, so their  classmates had a demonstration to ask where they were and for them to be released. I was accused of organising the demonstration because the government said my father supported the OLF so I did too and therefore I must be the one who is  organising the students.”
Young man from Dodola Woreda, Bale Zone1

The anticipation and repression of dissent in Oromia manifests in many ways. The below are some of  the numerous and varied individual stories contained in this report:
A student told Amnesty International how he was detained and tortured in Maikelawi Federal Police detention centre because a business plan he had prepared for a competition was alleged to be underpinned by political motivations. A singer told how he had been detained, tortured and forced to agree to only sing in praise of the government in the future. A school girl told Amnesty International how she was detained because she refused to give false testimony against someone else. A former teacher showed Amnesty International where he had been stabbed and blinded in one eye with a bayonet during torture in detention because he had refused to ‘teach’ his students propaganda about the achievements of the ruling political party as he had been ordered
to do. A midwife was arrested for delivering the baby of a woman who was married to an alleged member of  the Oromo Liberation Front. A young girl told Amnesty International how she had successively lost both parents  and four brothers through death in detention, arrest or disappearance until, aged 16, she was left alone caring  for two young siblings. An agricultural expert employed by the government told how he was arrested on the  accusation he had incited a series of demonstrations staged by hundreds of farmers in his area, because his  job involved presenting the grievances of the farmers to the government.

In April and May 2014, protests broke out across Oromia against a proposed ‘Integrated Master Plan’ to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, into Oromia regional territory. The protests were led by students, though many other people participated. Security services, comprised of  federal police and the military special forces, responded to the protests with unnecessary and excessive force, firing live ammunition on peaceful protestors in a number of locations and  beating hundreds of peaceful protestors and bystanders, resulting in dozens of deaths and  scores of injuries. In the wake of the protests, thousands of people were arrested.
These incidents were far from being unprecedented in Oromia. They were the latest and  bloodiest in a long pattern of the suppression – sometimes pre-emptive and often brutal – of even suggestions of dissent in the region.  The Government of Ethiopia is hostile to dissent, wherever and however it manifests, and also shows hostility to influential individuals or groups not affiliated to the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) political party. The government has used arbitrary arrest and detention, often without charge, to suppress suggestions of dissent in many parts of the country. But this hostility, and the resulting acts of suppression, have  manifested often and at scale in Oromia.  A number of former detainees, as well as former officials, have observed that Oromos make up  a high proportion of the prison population in federal prisons and in the Federal Police Crime  Investigation and Forensic Sector, commonly known as Maikelawi, in Addis Ababa, where  prisoners of conscience and others subject to politically-motivated detention are often detained when first arrested. Oromos also constitute a high proportion of Ethiopian refugees.  According to a 2012 Inter-Censal Population Survey, the Oromo constituted 35.3% of  Ethiopia’s population. However, this numerical size alone does not account for the high  proportion of Oromos in the country’s prisons, or the proportion of Oromos among Ethiopians  fleeing the country. Oromia and the Oromo have long been subject to repression based on a widespread imputed opposition to the EPRDF which, in conjunction with the size of the  population, is taken as posing a potential political threat to the government. Between 2011 and 2014, at least 5,000 Oromos have been arrested as a result of their actual or suspected peaceful opposition to the government, based on their manifestation of  dissenting opinions, exercise of freedom of expression or their imputed political opinion. These included thousands of peaceful protestors and hundreds of political opposition members, but also hundreds of other individuals from all walks of life – students,  pharmacists, civil servants, singers, business people and people expressing their Oromo cultural heritage – arrested based on the expression of dissenting opinions or their suspected opposition to the government. Due to restrictions on human rights reporting, independent journalism and information exchange in Ethiopia, as well as a lack of transparency on detention practices, it is possible there are many additional cases that have not been reported or documented. In the cases known to Amnesty International, the majority of those arrested were detained without charge or trial for some or all of their detention, for weeks,
months or years – a system apparently intended to warn, punish punish or silence them, from which justice is often absent.
Openly dissenting individuals have been arrested in large numbers. Thousands of Oromos have been arrested for participating in peaceful protests on a range of issues. Large-scale arrests were seen during the protests against the ‘Master Plan’ in 2014 and during a series of  protests staged in 2012-13 by the Muslim community   in Oromia and other parts of the  country against alleged government interference in Islamic affairs. In addition, Oromos have  been arrested for participation in peaceful protests over job opportunities, forced evictions,  the price of fertilizer, students’ rights, the teaching of the Oromo language and the arrest or extra-judicial executions of farmers, students, children and others targeted for expressing  dissent, participation in peaceful protests or based on their imputed political opinion. Between 2011 and 2014, peaceful protests have witnessed several incidents of the alleged use of unnecessary and excessive force by security services against unarmed protestors. 
  Hundreds of members of legally-registered opposition political parties have also been arrested in large sweeps that took place in 2011 and in 2014, as well as in individual incidents. 

In addition to targeting openly dissenting groups, the government also anticipates dissent  amongst certain groups and individuals, and interprets certain actions as signs of dissent.  Students in Oromia report that there are high levels of surveillance for signs of dissent or political activity among the student body in schools and universities. Students have been  arrested based on their actual or suspected political opinion, for refusing to join the ruling party or their participation in student societies, which are treated with hostility on the  suspicion that they are underpinned by political motivations. Hundreds of students have also been arrested for participation in peaceful protests.

Expressions of Oromo culture and heritage have been interpreted as manifestations of  dissent, and the government has also shown signs of fearing cultural expression as a potential catalyst for opposition to the government. Oromo singers, writers and poets have been arrested for allegedly criticising the government and/or inciting people through their work. People wearing traditional Oromo clothing have been arrested on the accusation that this demonstrated a political agenda. Hundreds of people have been arrested at Oromo traditional festivals.

Members of these groups – opposition political parties, student groups, peaceful protestors, people promoting Oromo culture and people in positions the government believes could have influence on their communities – are treated with hostility not only due to their own actual or perceived dissenting behaviour, but also due to their perceived potential to act as a conduit  or catalyst for further dissent. A number of people arrested for actual or suspected dissent  told Amnesty International they were accused of the ‘incitement’ of others to oppose the government.

The majority of actual or suspected dissenters who had been arrested in Oromia interviewed  by Amnesty International were accused of supporting the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – the armed group that has fought a long-term low-level insurgency in the region, which was proscribed as a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian parliament in June 2011. The accusation of OLF support has often been used as a pretext to silence individuals openly  exercising dissenting behaviour such as membership of an opposition political party or  participation in a peaceful protest. However, in addition to targeting demonstrators, students, members of opposition political parties and people celebrating Oromo culture based on their  actual or imputed political opinion, the government frequently demonstrates that it  anticipates dissenting political opinion widely among the population of Oromia. People from all walks of life are regularly arrested based only on their suspected political opinion – on the  accusation they support the OLF. Amnesty International interviewed medical professionals, business owners, farmers, teachers, employees of international NGOs and many others who  had been arrested based on this accusation in recent years. These arrests were often based on suspicion alone, with little or no supporting evidence.

Certain behaviour arouses suspicion, such as refusal to join the ruling political party or  movement around or in and out of the region. Some people ‘inherit’ suspicion from their  parents or other family members. Expressions of dissenting opinions within the Oromo party  in the ruling coalition – the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) – have also been responded to with the accusation that the dissenter supports the OLF. Family members have also been arrested in lieu of somebody else wanted for actual or suspected dissenting behaviour, a form of collective punishment illegal under international law. 

In some of these cases too, the accusation of OLF support and arrest on that basis appears to be a pretext used to warn, control or punish signs of ‘political disobedience’ and people who have influence over others and are not members of the ruling political party. But the constant  repetition of the allegation suggests the government continues to anticipate a level of  sympathy for the OLF amongst the Oromo population writ large. Further, the government  appears to also believe that the OLF is behind many signs of peaceful dissent in the region.

However, in numerous cases, the accusation of supporting the OLF and the resulting arrest  do not ever translate into a criminal charge. The majority of all people interviewed by  Amnesty International who had been arrested for their actual or suspected dissenting behaviour or political opinion said that they were detained without being charged, tried or  going to court to review the legality of their detention, in some cases for months or years. Frequently, therefore, the alleged support for the OLF  remains unsubstantiated and unproven. Often, it is merely an informal allegation made during the course of interrogation. Further, questions asked of actual or suspected dissenters by interrogators in detention also suggest that the exercise of certain legal rights  –for example, participation in a peaceful protest – is taken as evidence of OLF support.  A number of people interviewed by Amnesty International had been subjected to repeated arrest on the  same allegation of  of being  anti-government or   of OLF support, without ever being charged. 

Amnesty International interviewed around 150 Oromos who were targeted for actual or  suspected dissent. Of those who were arrested on these bases, the majority said they were subjected to arbitrary detention without judicial review, charge or trial, for some or all of the period of their detention, for periods ranging from several days to several years. In the majority of those cases, the individual said they were arbitrarily detained for the entire duration of their detention. In fewer cases, though still reported by a notable number of interviewees, the detainee was held arbitrarily – without charge or being brought before a court – during an initial period that again ranged from a number of weeks to a number of  years, before the detainee was eventually brought before a court.

A high proportion of people interviewed by Amnesty International were also held  incommunicado – denied access to legal representation and family members and contact with the outside world – for some or all of their period of detention. In many of these cases, the detention amounted to enforced disappearance, such as where lack of access to legal counsel and family members and lack of information on the detainee’s fate or whereabouts placed a detainee outside the protection of the law. them again. The family continued to be ignorant of their fate and did not know whether they  were alive or dead.Many people reported to Amnesty International that, after their family members had been arrested, they had never heard from.

Arrests of actual or suspected dissenters in Oromia reported to Amnesty International were  made by local and federal police, the federal military and intelligence officers, often without  a warrant. Detainees were held in Kebele, Woreda and Zonal3 detention centres, police stations, regional and federal prisons. However, a large proportion of former detainees interviewed by Amnesty International were detained in unofficial places of detention, mostly  in military camps throughout the region. In some cases apparently considered more serious, detainees were transferred to Maikelawi in Addis Ababa. Arbitrary detention without charge or trial was reported in all of these places of detention.

Almost all people interviewed by Amnesty International who had been detained in military camps or other unofficial places of detention said their detention was not subject to any form of judicial review. All detainees in military camps in Oromia nterviewed by Amnesty International experienced some violations of the rights and protections of due process and a high proportion of all interviewees who had been detained in a military camp reported torture, including rape, and other ill-treatment.
Actual or suspected dissenters have been subjected to torture in federal and regional detention centres and prisons, police stations, including Maikelawi, military camps and other  unofficial places of detention. The majority of former detainees interviewed by Amnesty  International, arrested based on their actual or imputed political opinion, reported that they had been subjected to treatment amounting to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in most cases repeatedly, while in detention or had been subjected to treatment that amounts to torture or ill-treatment in and around their homes. Frequently reported methods of torture were beating, particularly with fists, rubber batons, wooden or metal sticks or gun butts, kicking, tying in contorted stress positions often in conjunction with beating on the soles of the feet, electric shocks, mock execution or death threats involving a gun, beating with electric wire, burning, including with heated metal or molten plastic, chaining or tying hands or ankles together for extended periods (up to several months), rape, including gang rape, and extended solitary confinement. Former detainees repeatedly said that they  were coerced, in many cases under torture or the threat of torture, to provide a statement or confession or incriminating evidence against others.
Accounts of former detainees interviewed by Amnesty International consistently demonstrate that conditions in detention in regional and federal police stations, regional and federal prisons, military camps and other unofficial places of detention, violate international law and  national and international standards. Cases of death in detention were reported to Amnesty  International by former fellow detainees or family members of detainees. These deaths were  reported to result from torture, poor detention conditions and lack of medical assistance.  Some of these cases may amount to extra-judicial executions, where the detainees died as a result of torture or the intentional deprivation of food or medical assistance. 

There is no transparency or oversight of this system of arbitrary detention, and no independent investigation of allegations of torture and other violations in detention. No independent human rights organizations that monitor and publically document violations have access to detention centres in Ethiopia.

In numerous cases, former detainees interviewed by Amnesty International also said their release from arbitrary detention was premised on their agreement to a set of arbitrary  conditions unlawfully imposed by their captors rather than by any judicial procedure, and  many of which entailed foregoing the exercise of other human rights, such as those to the freedoms of expression, association and movement. Failure to uphold the conditions, detainees were told, could lead to re-arrest or worse. Regularly cited conditions included: not participating in demonstrations or other gatherings, political meetings or student activities; not meeting with more than two or three individuals at one time; not having any contact with certain people, including spouses or family members wanted by the authorities for alleged dissenting behaviour; or not leaving the area where they lived without seeking permission from local authorities. For a number of people interviewed by Amnesty International, it was the difficulty of complying with these conditions and the restricting impact they had on their  lives, or fear of the consequences if they failed to comply, intentionally or unintentionally, that caused them to flee the country.
The testimonies of people interviewed by Amnesty International, as well as information received from a number of other sources and legal documents seen by the organization, indicate a number of fair trial rights are regularly violated in cases of actual or suspected  Oromo dissenters that have gone to court, including the rights to a public hearing, to not be  compelled to incriminate oneself, to be tried without undue delay and the right to presumption of innocence. Amnesty International has also documented cases in which the lawful exercise of the right to freedom of expression, or other protected human rights, is cited as evidence of illegal support for the OLF in trials. Amnesty International also received dozens of reports of actual or suspected dissenters being
killed by security services, in the context of security services’ response to protests, during the  arrests of actual or suspected dissidents, and while in detention. Some of these killings may  amount to extra-judicial executions. A multiplicity of both regional and federal actors are involved in committing human rights violations against actual or suspected dissenters in Oromia, including civilian administrative  officials, local police, federal police, local militia, federal military and intelligence services,
with cooperation between the different entities, including between the regional and federal levels.
Because of the many restrictions on human rights organizations and on the freedoms of  association and expression in Ethiopia, arrests and detentions are under-reported and almost no sources exist to assist detainees and their families in accessing justice and pressing for  remedies and accountability for human rights violations.

The violations documented in this report take place in an environment of almost complete impunity for the perpetrators. Interviewees regularly told Amnesty International that it was either not possible or that there was no point in trying to complain, seek answers or seek justice in cases of enforced disappearance, torture, possible extra-judicial execution or other violations. Many feared repercussions for asking. Some were arrested when they did ask about a relative’s fate or whereabouts.
As Ethiopia heads towards general elections in 2015, it is likely that the government’s efforts to suppress dissent, including through the use of arbitrary arrest and detention and other  violations, will continue unabated and may even increase. The Ethiopian government must take a number of urgent and substantial measures to ensure no-one is arrested, detained, charged, tried, convicted or sentenced on account of the peaceful exercise of their rights to the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, including the right to peacefully assemble to protest, or based on their imputed political opinion; to end unlawful practices of arbitrary detention without charge or trial, incommunicado detention without access to the outside world, detention in unofficial detention centres, and enforced disappearance; and to address the prevalence of torture and other ill-treatment in Ethiopia’s detention centres. All allegations of torture, incidents involving allegations of the unnecessary or excessive use of force by security services against peaceful protestors, and all suspected cases of extra-judicial executions must be urgently and
properly investigated. Access to all prisons and other places of detention and to all prisoners should be extended to appropriate independent, non-governmental bodies, including international human rights bodies.
Donors with existing funding programmes working with federal and regional police, with the military or with the prison system, should carry out thorough and impartial investigations into allegations of human rights violations within those institutions, to ensure their funding is not contributing to the commission of human rights violations. Further, the international community should accord the situation in Ethiopia the highest possible level of scrutiny. Existing domestic investigative and accountability mechanisms have proved not capable of carrying out investigations that are independent, adequate, prompt, open to public scrutiny and which sufficiently involve victims. Therefore, due to the  apparent existence of an entrenched pattern of violations in Ethiopia and due to concerns over the impartiality of established domestic investigative procedures, there is a substantial
and urgent need for intervention by regional and international human rights bodies to conduct independent investigations into allegations of widespread human rights violations in Oromia, as well as the rest of Ethiopia. Investigations should be pursued through the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry, fact-finding mission or comparable procedure, comprised of independent international experts, under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council or the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 

See full report @ http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR25/006/2014/en/539616af-0dc6-43dd-8a4f-34e77ffb461c/afr250062014en.pdf

Amnesty International’s report titled, “‘Because I Am Oromo’: A Sweeping Repression in Oromia …” can be accessed here.

Read also other media sources reporting:


OMN: Interview with Amnesty International Researcher Claire Beston – Part 2


OMN: Interview with Amnesty International Researcher Claire Beston – Part 1




























Does British aid to Africa help the powerful more than the poor?