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Human Rights League: Ethiopia- Gross Human Rights Violations: Human rights situations that require the UN Human Rights Council’s attention May 31, 2016

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Odaa OromooHuman rights League of the Horn of Africa

Ethiopia- Gross Human Rights Violations


Submission to:  Human Rights Council – 32nd Session UN,

13 June – 1 July 2016, Geneva, Switzerland

Item 4 –  Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

May 29, 2016

(HRLHA) – Ever since November of 2015 and still going on are serious human rights violations in Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia. Peaceful protestors against the so-called  ” Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan”  came to the streets in Oromia in November to express their grievances about the “Addis Ababa Integrated Master plan” and were met with brutal crackdowns. An estimated 500 plus Oromos have been killed by the Ethiopian Government force. The Ethiopian Government deployed its military and applied excessive force against the unarmed civilians to quell the dissent. The Oromo nation protested against  the “Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan” because:

  • It is a plan which did not consult the stakeholders and aimed to annex 36 small towns in Oromia to the capital city to expand it by 20 fold, thereby evicting  over two million farmers
  • In the past 15 years, over 150,000 Oromo farmers from suburban towns of Addis Ababa have been forcefully evicted from their livelihoods and their land has been sold to investors for a low price, and given to the government authorities for free. Land owners have become beggars on the street.
  • Many farmers in Oromia Regional Zones have been forcefully removed from their ancestral lands and their lands sold cheaply to investors for flower plantations.

The  recent deadly violence against Oromo peaceful demonstrators staged against the so called “Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan”- violence that has already claimed over 500 lives, including children and senior citizens  along with more than 20,000 –  30,000 imprisoned and more disappeared- has also attracted the attention of many donor countries such as the USA whose Department of State has condemned the excessive military force against the peaceful demonstrators, (see in table 1)

Various organizations, including government agencies ( EU parliament, UN Experts), international, regional and domestic human rights organizations  (HW, AI, HRLHA) and international mass media such as BBC, CNN, France 24 have reported on the  recent violations in Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia, (see in Table 2)

Table 1 – Government Agency’s Report

Reporter Report Description Report Date
The White House Office of the Press Secretary Statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price on the Arrest of Journalists in Ethiopia December 30, 2015
US Department of State The United States Concerned By Clashes in Oromia, Ethiopia December 15, 2015
EU Parliament European Parliament resolution on the situation in Ethiopia  January 21, 2016
UN Experts UN Experts Urge Ethiopia to halt violent crackdown —  January 21, 2016

Table 2- Human Rights Organizations’ Report

Reporter Organization Report Description Reported Date
HRW  Using Courts to Crush Dissent in Ethiopia May 9, 2016
HRW Deafening Silence from Ethiopia April 12, 2016
HRW Ethiopia’s Invisible Crisis January 22, 2016
Government Backs Down, But Will Protests End in Ethiopia? January 15, 2016
HRW Ethiopia: Lethal Force Against Protesters, Military Deployment, Terrorism Rhetoric Risk Escalating Violence December 18, 2015
HRW Yet Again, a Bloody Crackdown on Protesters in Ethiopia December 5, 2015
AI Ethiopia: Anti-terror rhetoric will escalate brutal crackdown against Oromo protesters December 16, 2015
AI Ethiopia: Ethnic Oromos arrested, tortured and killed by the state in relentless repression of dissent October 16, 2014
HRLHA Ethiopia: Oromia Regional State Under Siege Dececember 15, 2015
HRLHA Ethiopia: Extreme Cruelties Against Oromo Children and Youths Dececember 8, 2015
HRLHA Oromia/Ethiopia: Region-Wide, Heavy-Handed Crackdown on Peaceful Protesters December 5, 2015
BBC Ethiopia says Oromia protests crackdown claims are ‘lies’ February 22, 2016
BBC (BBC vidio) Ethiopian Government Criticized Over Oromo Protests November 2015
BBC BBC World News reports on Oromo Protest against Addis Ababa Master Plan May 2, 2014
CNN Ethiopia crackdown on student protests taints higher education success May 22, 2014
France 24 Video: Anger among Ethiopia’s Oromo ethnic group boils over March 30, 2016


Recalling that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of person, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful demonstration and assembly,

Recalling further that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary arrest and detention,

The HRLHA urges  the United Nations Human Rights Council to raise concerns about the serious human rights abuses presently taking place in Oromia.

The HRLHA also calls upon the UN Human Rights Council:

  • To create an international commission of inquiry to investigate the recent serious violations of international customary law and international human rights law by the Ethiopian Government
  • To use its mandate to put pressure on the Ethiopian Government:
  • To immediately bring to justice those military members who cold-bloodedly attacked the peaceful demonstrators
  • To unconditionally free all Oromo prisoners of conscience and  others arbitrarily detained, including those held before for no reason and  during the peaceful protests of April-March 2014 and November – December 2015 against the ” Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan “
  • To refrain from reprisals against aromos who have taken part in peaceful demonstrations

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