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Oromia (BBC News): Ethiopia: Amnesty warns against ‘brutal crackdown’ on protesters. #OromoProtests December 17, 2015

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???????????#OromoProtests, Qabosoon itti fufa jedhu aayyoleen‪#‎OromoProtests‬ Global Solidarity, Switzerland, 11 December 2015

Ethiopia: Amnesty warns against ‘brutal crackdown’ on protesters

Ethiopian immigrants from the Oromo region in Djibouti on 5 December 2010Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMany Oromo people flee Ethiopia to take refuge in neighbouring states

Anti-terror rhetoric by Ethiopia’s government could escalate into a brutal crackdown on protesters, human rights group Amnesty International has warned.

A plan to expand the capital’s administrative control into the Oromia region has sparked deadly protests.

The government has accused Oromo protestors of links with terrorist groups and trying to topple the state.

Amnesty says the claims aim to justify repression of those protesting against feared land seizures.

The Oromo make up Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, at about 27 million people.

Oromia is the country’s largest region, surrounding the capital Addis Ababa.

Authorities say five people have died in protests so far, but opposition parties and human rights groups say the number is closer to 40.

Protesters also say they fear cultural persecution if what has been dubbed a “master plan” to integrate parts of Oromia into Addis Ababa go ahead.

‘Chilling’

Some have also raised the prospect that they will be forcibly evicted and their land taken amid the rapid expansion of the capital.

“The suggestion that these Oromo – protesting against a real threat to their livelihoods – are aligned to terrorists will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression for rights activists,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

In April last year the same plan sparked months of student protests.

The government said at the time that 17 people had died in the violence, but human rights groups said that the number was much higher.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-35117713?SThisFB

 

Ethiopia: Anti-terror rhetoric will escalate brutal crackdown against Oromo protesters

(Amnesty International Press Release, 16 December 2015)

http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/ethiopia-anti-terror-rhetoric-will-escalate-brutal-crackdown-against-oromo-protesters

Protesters have been labelled ‘terrorists’ by Ethiopian authorities in an attempt to violently suppress protests against potential land seizures, which have already resulted in 40 deaths, said Amnesty International.

A statement issued by state intelligence services today claims that the Oromia protesters were planning to “destabilize the country” and that some of them have a “direct link with a group that has been collaborating with other proven terrorist parties”.

“The suggestion that these Oromo – protesting against a real threat to their livelihoods – are aligned to terrorists will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression for rights activists,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“Instead of condemning the unlawful killings by the security forces, which have seen the deaths of more than 40 people in the last three weeks, this statement in effect authorizes excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.”

The latest round of protests, now in their third week, are against the government’s master plan to integrate parts of Oromia into the capital Addis Ababa.

Similar protests against the master plan in April 2014 resulted in deaths, injuries and mass arrest of the Oromo protesters.

Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation 652/2009, permits the government to use unrestrained force against suspected terrorists, including pre-trial detention of up to four months.

People that have been subject to pre-trial detention under the anti-terrorism law have reported widespread use of torture and ill treatment. All claims of torture and ill treatment should be promptly and independently investigated by the authorities.

“The government should desist from using draconian anti-terrorism measures to quell protests and instead protect its citizen’s right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Muthoni Wanyeki.

 

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