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Appeal Letter to President Obama from Oromo Communities Association in North America (OCA-NA), an Umbrella Organization of NA Oromo Communities. July 10, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Oromia, Oromo, US-Africa Summit.
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???????????OromoProtests against genocidal TPLF Ethiopia1. 19 June 2015

Appeal Letter to President Obama from OCA-NA, an Umbrella Organization of NA Oromo Communities.

July 07, 2015President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
http://www.whitehouse.gov
Tel: (202) 395-2020

Subject: Your Plan to Visit Ethiopia in July, 2015

Dear President Obama,

On behalf of the Oromo Communities in the United States, we, the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the (OCA-NA), are writing this urgent letter regarding your plan to visit Ethiopia in July 2015. OCA-NA is an umbrella organization of the Oromo communities, and represents thousands of citizen and legal residents of Oromo origin in the United States. It is organized to advocate for the human rights of the Oromo in Diaspora and those at home, in the Horn of Africa.

Like the majority of US citizens and the global community, we were excited when you were elected as the president of the United States in 2008 and expected huge progress for all freedom loving people in the world. Your statement in Ghana, during your first visit to Africa in 2009, in which you promised your administration’s commitment to support “strong and sustainable democratic governments” in Africa and to deny assistance to corrupt and dictatorial regimes confirmed our hopes and widened our imaginations. Despite moments of frustration, over the last seven years, we have continued to hope for your strong support for democracy and freedom in Ethiopia. On several occasions, the Oromo communities have appealed to your administration and to you personally, regarding the repressive acts of the Ethiopian regime. Incidentally, the Oromo residents of Washington, DC Metropolitan Area and representatives of communities from many states were holding a peaceful rally in front of the White House when they learned the announcement of your planned visit to Ethiopia.

It is with shock and profound sadness that we received this message. We are afraid that your visit sends the wrong messages to both the government of Ethiopia and the people suffering from government’s repressive policies. First, your visit emboldens the dictatorial EPRDF regime and encourages it to implement even more destructive and undemocratic policies. Portraying your visit as an endorsement of its misguided actions, the regime intensifies the violence against innocent people, continues violation of human rights, further suppresses dissidents, stifles legitimate grievances of citizens, and displaces farmers, the youth and intellectuals. Your meeting and photo ops with Ethiopian government officials will be exploited to the maximum by the regime to subdue the people claiming that your administration fully supports its dictatorial practices and the unbelievable 100 percent victory in its sham elections. Second, the Oromo in particular, and the Ethiopian people in general, would lose hope. They would feel the most powerful nation and its president, whose speeches and actions they passionately follow and expect highly from his administration, have ignored their plight. Your meeting in Addis Ababa with Ethiopian officials, who torment innocent people daily, will deepen the people’s disillusionment and frustrations. Third, the Oromo communities in US are extremely concerned that your visit will have negative implications for the policy objectives of your administration and the long term interests of United States in the region.

The Ethiopian government distorts facts, manipulates the reality, and represents itself as democratic. But, human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Survival International, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa and the annual human rights reports of the State Department have attested to the massive human rights violations of the EPRDF regime. The well documented long list of imprisoned students, journalists, bloggers, and members of opposition political parties fully confirm the undemocratic nature of this regime. In a country like Ethiopia, with complicated and highly contested political issues, the recent 100 percent victory in the national elections is totally unbelievable, and leaves no doubt about EPRDF regime’s dictatorial rule. Finally, the Ethiopian government also exploits global and regional security issues. Declaring its support for the war on global terrorism and posing as an ally of the United States, the government uses resources it receives from big powers for suppressing dissent, terrorizing innocent people, and for subverting democratic processes. It should be clear that a regime that terrorizes its citizens cannot be a reliable ally to fight extremism.

Mr. President,

For these reasons, we are puzzled by your decision to visit Ethiopia and meet government officials who contradict your convictions and the principles of American democracy. First, we are strongly appealing to you to reconsider your planned trip to Ethiopia. Second, if your visit to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa is absolutely necessary, we are strongly urging you not to meet Ethiopian government officials in public and not offer them the opportunity to use your visit for their domestic propaganda. Third, we also request you to make it clear to the people in public that the Ethiopian regime’s undemocratic practices are unacceptable. We believe the United States will not ignore the atrocities perpetrated against the 95 million people in favor of the oppressive regime in the name of alliance against global terrorism.

Sincerely,

Oromo Communities’ Association in North America (OCA-NA)

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