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#OromoProtests: Comparative Analysis February 4, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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Odaa Oromoo#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in EthiopiaDeath toll climbs as #OromoProtests still rage in Oromia state ( Ethiopia); schools remain closed. As of 30 january 2016. Fascist Ethiopian regime conducts genocide against Oromo people.agazi-fascist-tplf-ethiopias-forces-attacking-unarmed-and-peaceful-oromoprotests-in-baabichaa-town-central-oromia-w-shawa-december-10-20151

South Africa: Bloody Repression in Ethiopia and Why #FeesMustFall Should Take Notice

ANALYSIS

By Addis Alem,  All Africa, 4 February 2016

Over the past few months, students, in solidarity with farmers resisting land grabs in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, faced off with security forces in some of the biggest protests the country has ever seen. The protests against the “Addis Ababa Master Plan” were repelled by Ethiopian troops, resulting in mass arrests and deaths of protestors.ADDIS ALEM describes the current situation in the Oromia region, and how it can be compared to the #FeesMustFall protests in South African universities.

The Oromo community, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, began protesting in November against the “Addis Ababa Master Plan”, which, the government said, aimed to develop areas surrounding the capital. Protesters said the plan would only evict farmers and leave them dispossessed and impoverished.

While the protests were about the plan, it also was an opportunity for the Oromo people who feel marginalised economically and culturally by the government, to be heard. And the struggle over the plan is part of a bigger accusation leveled against the state: the forcible removal of removing tens of thousands of people from their homes to make way for large-scale, commercial ventures (mostly foreign).

Of course it is a problem: eighty percent of Ethiopians still live in rural areas and land remains a contentious issue in this East African country.

The protests

Students – from high schools and primary schools – led the protests against land grabs. Doctors, nurses, teachers and bank workers stood in solidarity with them, and boycotts, sit-ins and silent marches were held throughout the country.

The response from the Ethiopian government has been brutal. The police and army in Ethiopia responded with live ammunition, teargas and mass arrests, resulting in scores dying – including children.

Independent reporting on what is happening in the country is almost nonexistent due to government censorship. There is also no way to independently verify the death toll, but activists have put the number at at least 150.

Hundreds more are said to have been arrested, joining tens of thousands of political prisoners in Ethiopian jails.

Journalists, bloggers, Muslim advocates for religious freedom, non-governmental organisations, opposition groups and other dissenting voices have long been repressed with Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation 652/2009. According to Amnesty International, the law permits the government to use unrestrained force against suspected terrorists, including pre-trial detention of up to four months.

Those involved in the current wave of protests have been labelled as “terrorists”, with the military being sent in to clamp down on them. Journalists, bloggers and other dissenting voices have already been prosecuted on the basis of Anti-Terrorism Laws.

Take the story of Hora Banti Irena, a 4th year Food Science student at Walaga University. On January 4th, he was arrested on campus. Two days later, his body was found in the Hadiyya river. In another incident, Reuters reported that two students were killed and six others were injured when a hand grenade was thrown at them in Dilla University.

Meanwhile, others have simply disappeared. In one case, Kenna Shiferaw, a 10th-grade student at Ambo Secondary school was kidnapped by soldiers. Her pictures, along with many others, have flooded social media.

#OromoProtests Kenna Shiferaw a 10th grade student at Ambo secondary school was kidnapped by soldiers this morning. pic.twitter.com/hYkzzr6zSS

— Addisgazetta (@addisgazetta) December 29, 2015

The army was deployed onto some university campuses and schools, and some students – including high school and primary school students – boycotted class, demanding the release of their classmates and arrest of those who killed protestors.

As a result of the protests, the government’s plan was shelved. But the protests have continued. Though calls have been made for independent investigations into the killings and arrests, nothing has been done. The protests over the land have triggered protests against the dispossession of thousands of smallholder farmers, destruction of livelihoods and erosion of cultural rights.

#Ethiopea.Powerful cover from @addisstandard on #OromoProtests. pic.twitter.com/zAKywcSlkb

— Revi Mfizi (@revimfizi) January 11, 2016

“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,” Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, was quoted as having said.

Last year, in Ambo, about 125km west of the Addis Ababa, about 47 were reported to have been killed by security forces [Editor’s note: the Ethiopian government said nine people were killed] after university students led a protest against the land grabbing.

In many ways, the wave of protests over land is a resumption of student-led protests 2014, and they have re-emerged at a time of immense desperation: the country faces one of the worst droughts since the 1980s. Despite the much lauded double-digit growth, some ten million people are already in desperate need of food aid as a result of the drought.

The link to South Africa

The student-led struggle in solidarity with smallholder farmers in Ethiopia is similar to the campaign for better working conditions for cleaning staff in South African universities. The campaign in South Africa has forged a unity between students and mainly black women workers, who endure insecure working conditions and earn a poverty wage.

To this end, it is impossible to talk of #FeesMustFall without bringing in the struggles of students and the Oromo people in Ethiopia. They are in many ways the same struggle: for dignity, justice and better access for the black body. Moreover, #FeesMustFall is perhaps the first stop en route the land question in South Africa.

Besides, the story has certainly reached South Africa.

Ethiopians protest at #UN offices in #Pretoria demanding UN interves in rights abuses in #Ethiopia #OromoProtests pic.twitter.com/HBDhVOmlCU

— Hassan Isilow (@hisilow) February 1, 2016

This places an urgent responsibility into the hands of students and other progressives organising in universities and other political formations in South Africa and beyond against this brutal repression of students fighting a similar cause.

The use of live ammunition by the security forces must cease, and thorough and transparent investigations into the extra-judicial killings and other violence against protestors in Ethiopia must begin immediately. Likewise, there must also be investigations into violence of police and private security in protests in South Africa. All political prisoners in Ethiopia must be released. The Anti-Terrorism laws must also be scrapped.

We anticipate that there will be more protests at South African universities against financial exclusion and against outsourcing in 2016. In fact, mobilisations have long begun. The promise to contain protests by any means has also been made repeatedly as universities doggedly insist they will continue to block students burdened with debt and insist on upfront payment.

A firm stand against any form of repression and urgent solidarity is needed to protect the right to protest in South Africa. In the same light, solidarity with the Oromo student-led protests against land grabbing is also an important step which speaks to the struggle of African people to decide on their own material wellbeing in their collective interests and not that of a narrow political and economic elite.

Addis Alem (not his real name) is a member of the October 6 movement, a collective of progressive students, workers and academics in the University of Johannesburg and Witwatersrand.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201602041524.html

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UNPO: Ethnic Cleansing in Gambella Region, Ethiopia: What Is to Become of Its Minorities? February 4, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Gambella, Genocide, Indigenous People.
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Odaa OromooUNPO

Ethnic Cleansing in Gambella Region, Ethiopia: What Is to Become of Its Minorities?

 

Unfortunately it is not unusual for the Ethiopian government to conduct ethnically-based human rights violations in its own country. Only a few weeks go, Oromo civilians were specifically targeted and killed in their home towns following peaceful protests. Today it is the Anuak community who is suffering from oppression by national authorities. The government seems to have started the conflict to repress a group of civilians suspected of affiliation to the Gambella Peoples’ Liberation Movement (GPLM). The People’s Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD) condemns these atrocities and pleads the international community to take these continuous human rights violations in consideration when engaged in relations with the Ethiopian Government.

 

Photo courtesy of Julio Garcia @Flickr

 

On January 27, 2016, around 2:00 am local time, ‘special police’ from the regional administration of Gambella aided by local militia attacked Anuak civilians all over the region. Subsequently, the death of more than four dozen of Anuak civilians have been reported; and the indiscriminate massacre of unarmed Gambella civilians is said to be continuing. Moreover, the local militia close to the regional administrator attacked a prison in Gambella town and residential areas by killing more than 8 people and destroying the regional state prison.

In Gambella, the Ethiopian government arms and trains both the special police forces and the local militias. Therefore, the government is believed to have instigated the current conflict after it has suspected that the Anuak are affiliated to Gambella Peoples’ Liberation Movement (GPLM), one of the founding members of the ‘Peoples’ Alliance for freedom and Democracy’ (PAFD). The instability of the South Sudan is also said to have negatively impacted on the intra-communal harmony.

Between 13 and 16 of December 2003, in Gambella region, the Ethiopian army has massacred over 424 Anuak people, wounding further 200 and causing the disappearances of about 85 people.

Time and again, we have witnessed such profoundly disturbing crimes perpetrated by the current Ethiopian government on civilians of all regions. Since November 2015, the Ethiopian government’s forces are committing similar massacres and brutally treating unarmed Oromo civilians in various Oromia villages and towns. The Oromo civilians are peacefully protesting TPLF’s land-grabbing policies under the pretext of expanding Addis Ababa.

The regime blatantly continues committing similar massacres in Ogaden Somali, Sidama, Tepi-Mezenger, Beni-Shangul and other regions in front of the international community. Civilians and opposition groups and their supporters are arbitrarily imprisoned, continually tortured and denied legal representation. Millions of farmers are continually uprooted from their livelihoods to vacate their land for TPLF’s business. Journalists for writing the truth and all those who dare to exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights are classified as terrorists.

Therefore, PAFD

– Categorically condemns the Ethiopian government’s systematic instigation of the current conflict in Gambella and urges it to stop the arming of one ethnic group to stand against their own people.

– Calls upon all the Gambella civilians to exercise utmost restraint; stop massacring their own brothers and sisters- instead uniting to resist authoritarian TPLF’s regime

– Calls upon all Gambella related democratic movements and liberation fronts to unite in unanimously denouncing the Ethiopian government’s heinous tactics of inciting conflicts between fraternally co-exited brothers and sisters.

– Calls upon all the international and Ethiopian related democratic forces to unite in condemning the on-going Gambella massacre orchestrated by the Ethiopian government.

– Calls upon all the international humanitarians and Western politicians to rethink their position whilst supporting the Ethiopian TPLF’s authoritarian regime.

– Call upon all foreign groups to desist from interfering in the internal affairs of the Gambella peoples.

 

For the original press release please download this.

http://unpo.org/article/18883