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Appeal Letter To US State Department by Five Civic Associations In Washington DC and North America. #OromoProtets December 22, 2015

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Appeal Letter To US State Department by Five Civic Associations In Washington DC and North America.

 

 

December 10, 2015
Secretary of State John Kerry
US Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

RE: Continued Massacre in Oromia Regional State by the Tyrannical TPLF Government in Ethiopia

Dear Mr. Secretary,

It has been over a year since the Tyrannical TPLF minority regime unveiled a scheme to expand the city of Addis Ababa into the Oromia Regional State under the guise of development. Their underlying objective is to evict Oromos and settle their Tigrian people. If the scheme is implemented, the current size of the capital increases by 20 folds, from 54, 000 to 1.1 million hectares. It is designed to incorporate 36 Oromian towns into Addis Ababa, such as Dukem, Bishoftu, Adama, Gelan, Legetafo, Sendafa, Sululta, Burayu, Holeta, Sebeta, and Addis Alem among others. More than two million Oromo farmers will be forcefully evicted from their ancestral land by the plan. It is also designed to bring the expanded city under the federal government administration by abolishing the Oromia Regional State jurisdictional right and thereby destroy Oromo identity, Oromia integrity and constitutional right of self-administration

As a matter of fact, Addis Ababa itself is the heartland of Oromia and integral part; and should serve the federal government as headquarters while remaining under the full administration and ownership of Oromia State. Carving out Addis Ababa from Oromia and putting it under the jurisdiction of the federal government is weird and has no contemporary parallelism in the world. Washington, DC or Moscow is not under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The motive of the TPLF government is sinister to deny Oromo ownership and expropriate the city for the benefit of their Tigrian cronies. This scheme leads to permanent conflict and destabilization.

Completely surrounded by Oromia regional state, Addis Ababa city is entirely dependent on Oromia for all services. Today almost all electric power, water supply and other infrastructural raw materials come from Oromia region. In recognition of these, the Ethiopian constitution Article 49 (5) stipulates “the special interest of the state of Oromia will be respected regarding provision of services, the utilization of resources and joint administrative matters.”

Despite these historical, natural, constitutional and economic rights, Oromia regional government is devoid of any decision making process over Addis Ababa administration. Generally, the current so called Integrated Development Master plan violates the Oromia constitutional rights. The ultimate decision is in the hands of the TPLF (Tigre People Liberation Front) leaders whose interest is to exploit the land and resources, loot Oromia and destroy Oromo identity.

The scheme has been rejected by the Oromo nation as a whole. It is an existential question for Oromia and the Oromo people. The unveiling of the scheme ignited public protests in 2014 all over Oromia spearheaded by University, high school, and elementary students. The response by the tyrannical regime is to shoot and kill. More than 70 students were massacred, thousands gravely wounded and tens of thousands were hauled into concentration camps and torture prisons in April and May 2014. Because of the uprising the scheme was paused until it has been reactivated recently again leading to bloody protests in all Oromia Regional State

As different mass media outlets are streaming, the Oromo people in general and students at all levels are currently protesting against the implementation of the plan to expand the city of Addis Ababa into the neighboring Oromo farmers land, which not only displaces millions of Oromo farmers from their ancestral land, but also causes loss of Oromo culture, history and identity. The response by the dictatorial bloodthirsty minority government of the TPLF is shooting to kill, beating, imprisoning and torturing of the peaceful protestors as usual. 8 students were shot dead, thousands wounded, beaten, jailed, disappeared. The tyrannical regime is trying to silence the demand of the people by killing, harassment, imprisonment and torture.

The continued massacre of students and civilians is part of the grand scheme to annihilate the Oromo people and expropriate their land and resources. The late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said a couple of years ago, while he was alive,” the majority will be diminished into a minority.” That remark reflects deep rooted objective of annihilating Oromo, which the current TPLF leaders are bent to implement. Currently, about 90% of political prisoners in Ethiopia are Oromos. The former Defense minister stated that all prisoners speak Afaan Oromo (Oromo language) after released from prison indicating the huge number of Oromo prisoners. It is puzzling to fathom the strategy of reducing 40% of the Ethiopian population to minority unless one thinks of genocide. Generally, a war of attrition is being waged by the TPLF government against the Oromo people. The trend is dangerous. The Oromo demand deserves timely and appropriate response. Oppression leads to violent response.

Dear Mr. Secretary,

What is being perpetrated against peaceful demand and protest is the concern of the 40 million Oromos not students only. Accordingly, the Oromo Community Organization (OCO) of the Washington Metropolitan Area, the Oromo Youth Self-help Association (OYSA), the International Oromo Women’s Organization (IOWO), the Macha Tulama Association (MTA), the International Qeerroo Support Group(IQSG), and the Oromo Community Association in North America (OCO_NA)are writing this joint appeal letter to you to express our deep concern and outrage about the current massacre of Oromo students all over Oromia by the federal police and army of the TPLF/EPRDF Ethiopian government. While more numbers of fatalities are still coming in and the exact number is hard to be known due to the denial of access by the government for local and international journalists. We have known through our contacts that more and more reports of death are coming every day. Moreover, hundreds are severely wounded by live bullet and other thousands are rounded up and thrown into jail. Given the history of brutality of the current regime in Ethiopia, also those in jail are feared to be tortured or even secretly murdered in their prison cells.

It is so sad that such heinous crimes are repeatedly happening to the Oromo students and civilians. The massacre of more than 70 students on April 30 and May 1, 2014, took place when you were making official visit to Ethiopia. While you were in Addis Ababa, dozens of students were being massacred in Ambo, just 80 miles from your site and yet the Ethiopian government media behaved as if nothing had happened. It was only the BBC that exposed the genocidal killings, and other West media kept silent. This is the government that the U.S. Government is giving financial and economic aid and maintains intelligence and military “cooperation” with. The U.S. military support is used to kill Oromos and others who demand respect for their democratic and human rights.

Last year, we protested against the brutality of the government and submitted letter of appeal to address the problem and we also briefed the State Department staffers by appointment. We showed to the staffers videos of graphic atrocities. But nothing has been done. No member of the criminal regime has been brought to court of justice. We are observing criminal governments brought to ICC from former Yugoslavia, Kenya, Congo Democratic Republic, Rwanda, Liberia and others. We don’t understand why the criminal TPLF government is allowed to move with impunity. Because of unrestrained criminal activity, the government has continued to massacre the Oromo people, grab their lands, plunder resources, harass and imprison. The consequence of the unabated killing of citizens with impunity by tyrannical governments will be regrettable as we can see in many countries facing similar situations today. Stitch in time avoids big crack. Oromo life matters!!

The TPLF minority regime is hoodwinking the West by wearing the veil of progress and development. But the reality is the dirt under the veil. While the TPLF regime is boasting of 12% annual economic growth, 10 million Ethiopians are exposed to hunger and famine according to their appeal to the 2015 World Climate Conference in Paris for food aid. This shows the growth propaganda is commercial. But they blame climate change. Climate change is not earthquake that happens abruptly and cause hunger and famine. The main cause of the famine is land policy and mal administration. Land is expropriated by the TPLF government which they distribute to the Chinese, Indians, Saudis, Turks, and others freely for hidden quad pro quo. TPLF is sole land lord in the country. We recall the infamous hanger of 1973 which dethroned Emperor Haile Selassie and abolished feudalism. The 2015 hunger also should have consequences.

The regime speaks of democratic process while rigging election and declaring 100% victory. In the absence of freedom of expression, press, gathering, protesting they speak of democratic prevalence. They accuse dissenters of corruption and rent seeking, while they stash billions of dollars in foreign banks by snatching from the hunger stricken Ethiopians. They snatch people’s houses and farmers land in the name of development by paying minimum or no compensation and stash away the market value. There is no guarantee of property ownership. Generally, government accountability is nil. Anger against this government is simmering. The tyrannical activity of the government is leading to volatile vent. They should be denied support unless they respect human rights, democratic principles and show transparency.

The current student protest against the master plan is partly the extension of government involvement in extensive land grab which we, the Diaspora Oromo, have been protesting in front
of the US State Department and the White House. The plan is a land grab disguised in development. It is designed to kill the Oromo generation. There is no legal or social justification to include this small cities and provinces under Addis Ababa city administration for development.

To worsen the situation, the government has declared establishment of Urban Development Corporation, which controls all cities and municipalities denying the administrative rights of the Regional States. It is an initiative to abolish the federal system and centralize the country under the Tigrian minority regime. It will be adding fuel to the already burning fire in many parts of the country

The principle of integrated regional development does not infringe on the geopolitical entity of the regions. As we can see here in the United States, integrated development among the District of Colombia-Maryland-Virginia does not in any way, encroach on the entities of the states. We do not see any reason why the model cannot be applied in Ethiopia, unless it is for sinister motive. It is illegal to curve out urban centers and bring under the federal government. It is a big scheme to destroy the remaining faint light of federalism and put the county in chaos. There is no track record where the federal government controls the urban centers exclusively. This dictatorial regime is leading the country to disaster. It should be stopped before long.

We earnestly request the US government to use its influence to urge the Ethiopian government to respect the right of the Oromo people, rule of law and stop killing and arresting Oromo students, otherwise we request the US government to stop its support. We specifically request that the US government:

• Demand an immediate stop to the unlawful so called “Integrated development master plan” implementation and the unlawful eviction of Oromo farmers and the illegal selling of Oromo land under the disguise of such “development”.

• Demand the cancellation of the establishment of centralized Urban Development Commission to be implemented by the federal government.

• Demand that an independent commission be appointed to investigate the mass killing in Oromia regional state and look at the prison demography.

• Demand the unconditional and immediate release of Oromo students who are jailed for exercising their constitutional right and all political prisoners languishing in jail for several years.

• Demand that the regime to commit itself to the respect of human rights and allow freedom of expression and assembly and making a peaceful protest.

• Demand Ethiopian perpetrators of mass killing be brought to ICC similar to criminals in other countries.

• Demand the Oromo plight be given equal weight to that of other nations under the yoke of dictatorial regimes

Sincerely,

Desta Yebassa, Ph.D.
Board President, Oromo Community Organization of Washington D.C. area (OCO)
6212 3rd ST NW Washington, DC 20011 and Protest Organizing Committee Chair
ydesta9@aol.com, info@oneoromo.org
www.oneoromo.org

Abebe Etana
Chairman, Oromo Youth Self-help Association (OYSA)
6212 3rd ST NW Washington, DC 20011
abebe_etana@yahoo.com

Dinknesh D. Kitila
Board Director, International Oromo Women’s Organization (IOWO)
6212 3rd St NW, Washington, DC 20011
iowo@iowo.org.
http://www.iowo.org

Teshome Dime
Board Chairman, International Qeerroo Support Group (IQSG)
Box 55244 Washington DC 20040
tashomatakala@yahoo.com

Dr. Guluma Gemeda, PhD
Chair, Board of Directors of Oromo Communities’ Association in North America (OCA-NA)
465 Mackubin St N, St. Paul, MN, 55103, USA
ggemeda@umflint.edu

Asafa Jalata, PhD
Board Chairman, Macha-Tulama Cooperative and Development Association, USA, Inc.
Oromo Center 811 Upshur St. NW Washington, DC 20011
ajalata@utk.edu, contact@machatulama.org
http://www.machatulama.org

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

Mr. Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary-General
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
USA

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