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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing – December 1, 2016: Oromo Federal Congress chairman Dr. Merera Gudina has been detained by the Ethiopian Government. December 4, 2016

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QUESTION: Back to Africa. The chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress opposition group in Ethiopia has been arrested. Gudina is well known, I think, in this building; has had meetings here and on Capitol Hill in the past; allegedly has met with or communicated with banned terrorist organizations.

MR TONER: Yep.

QUESTION: Any information on that?

MR TONER: Yeah, we do, actually. We’re obviously aware that, as you noted, Oromo Federal Congress chairman Dr. Merera Gudina has been detained by the Ethiopian Government. We’re concerned about this report. We strongly encourage the government to make public any charges it has brought against Dr. Merera. If true, this arrest is yet another example of increasing restrictions on independent voices in Ethiopia and, frankly, further reinforces our view that Ethiopia’s declared state of emergency is perhaps being used to silence dissent and deny the constitutionally protected rights of Ethiopia’s citizens. And that’s contrary, I would say, to the promises of political reform made by the Ethiopian Government when the state of emergency was announced, so we’re watching it very closely.


Related Article:-


U.S. Senator Cardin Statement on Arrest of Dr. Merera Gudina in Ethiopia

Senator calls for immediate release Oromo People’s Congress leader, opening up of political space in Ethiopia.

 

Friday, December 2, 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement Friday after Dr. Merera Gudina, leader of the Oromo People’s Congress and one of Ethiopia’s opposition leaders, was arrested earlier this week after returning home following his testimony to the European Union parliament on the current political crisis in the country:

“Dr. Gudina’s arrest appears to be based solely based on the fact that he is a member of the opposition who has spoken out publicly against the regime, and as such he should be immediately released.  He is not the only member of the opposition to be arrested for speaking out, and his detention signals a disturbing lack of commitment to the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Ethiopian constitution.

“The government’s crackdown on Oromo protesters over the past year have resulted in very troubling allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings by security forces with little in the way of meaningful accountability.

“The Ethiopian government should release all journalists, members of the opposition and civil society activists who have been detained, and take meaningful actions to open political space, starting with lifting current restrictions on social media.

“Ethiopia and the United states are close partners.  As such, I call upon the government to take actions which demonstrate that it is sincere about making political reforms toward an inclusive, truly representative government.”

Background:

Senator Cardin introduced a bipartisan Senate resolution in April that condemns government crackdowns on and violence against civil society, opposition leaders and the media, as well as asks the Secretary of State to conduct a review of U.S. security assistance to Ethiopia.


 

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United Nations Grants Oromia Support Group Australia the UN Special Consultative Status December 4, 2016

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(Advocacy4Oromia, 04 December 2016) Oromia Support Group Australia (OSGA) has received UN special consultative status, a significant achievement for the NGO. The status allows the organisation to attend UN conferences and circulate statements at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

“It’s very exciting for us because we were just dreaming of getting at this stage and it has been our wish for almost 10 years,” Marama Kufi, leader of OSGA, told Diaspora Action Australia (DAA) in a recent interview.

It wasn’t an easy path for the Oromia community in Australia to get the highest status granted by the United Nations to NGOs.

The road to consultative status was a long one. OSGA first sent the application in 2009, the decision for which was postponed twice. It persevered through long silences and continued requests for updates.

Marama recalls DAA’s constant encouragement through those tough times: “DAA invested a lot of energy, advice and consultation without hesitating. When we sometimes didn’t hear anything from the UN about our application, DAA would give us encouragement and motivation.”

It was not until July of this year that the organisation received the ECOSOC’s final decision.

With its special consultative status, OSGA can now participate in the work of the United Nations, such as attending the meetings of the United Nations Economic and Social Council on human rights issues. “Any time when we have human rights concerns in Ethiopia, we can report them to different bodies of the UN. Also, we get UN official invitation when there is a conference on human rights issues. We can also send a delegation when there is consultation time, as well as accessing in the periodic reviews every three years, where we can sit down and listen and then answer the questions,” Marama explains.

OSGA aims to raise awareness of human rights abuses in Ethiopia, particularly on Oromo people. It advocates against abuses and violations, based on the International Human Rights Law. Its efforts are focused on ensuring human rights and self-determination for all the people of Ethiopia.

Linking the organisation’s aim and its new UN special consultative status, OSGA’s next step will be to work hand in hand with the UN body in order to have a close connection and a way of reporting the human rights abuses in Ethiopia. OSGA’s members are still discussing the best manner to work with this recognised international body.

Despite being only one branch of a larger Oromo community network spanning many countries such as the USA, Canada and Europe, Oromia Support Group Australia is the only Oromo organisation in the world that holds this UN consultative status.

At the end of the interview, Marama reflected on the importance of OSGA’s achievement for other groups: “This new access to the UN will benefit others who work on the same human rights issue, such as Ogaden and Sidama communities. This achievement is not only for OSGA, but the entire region. We are helping others. We became a channel for global voices.”

Source: http://diasporaaction.org.au/united-nations-grants-oromia-support-group-australia-the-un-special-consultative-status/


(Advocacy4Oromia, 04 December 2016) Oromia Support Group Australia (OSGA) has received UN special consultative status, a significant achievement for the NGO. The status allows the organisation to attend UN conferences and circulate statements at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).“It’s very exciting for us because we were just dreaming of getting at this stage and it has been our wish for almost 10 years,” Marama Kufi, leader of OSGA, told Diaspora Action Australia (DAA) in a recent interview.It wasn’t an easy path for the Oromia community in Australia to get the highest status granted by the United Nations to NGOs.The road to consultative status was a long one. OSGA first sent the application in 2009, the decision for which was postponed twice. It persevered through long silences and continued requests for updates.Marama recalls DAA’s constant encouragement through those tough times: “DAA invested a lot of energy, advice and consultation without hesitating. When we sometimes didn’t hear anything from the UN about our application, DAA would give us encouragement and motivation.”It was not until July of this year that the organisation received the ECOSOC’s final decision.With its special consultative status, OSGA can now participate in the work of the United Nations, such as attending the meetings of the United Nations Economic and Social Council on human rights issues. “Any time when we have human rights concerns in Ethiopia, we can report them to different bodies of the UN. Also, we get UN official invitation when there is a conference on human rights issues. We can also send a delegation when there is consultation time, as well as accessing in the periodic reviews every three years, where we can sit down and listen and then answer the questions,” Marama explains.OSGA aims to raise awareness of human rights abuses in Ethiopia, particularly on Oromo people. It advocates against abuses and violations, based on the International Human Rights Law. Its efforts are focused on ensuring human rights and self-determination for all the people of Ethiopia.Linking the organisation’s aim and its new UN special consultative status, OSGA’s next step will be to work hand in hand with the UN body in order to have a close connection and a way of reporting the human rights abuses in Ethiopia. OSGA’s members are still discussing the best manner to work with this recognised international body.Despite being only one branch of a larger Oromo community network spanning many countries such as the USA, Canada and Europe, Oromia Support Group Australia is the only Oromo organisation in the world that holds this UN consultative status.At the end of the interview, Marama reflected on the importance of OSGA’s achievement for other groups: “This new access to the UN will benefit others who work on the same human rights issue, such as Ogaden and Sidama communities. This achievement is not only for OSGA, but the entire region. We are helping others. We became a channel for global voices.”Source: http://diasporaaction.org.au/united-nations-grants-oromia-support-group-australia-the-un-special-consultative-status/

Source: United Nations Grants Oromia Support Group Australia the UN Special Consultative Status

Oromia: Athletic Nation Report: Oromo athlete Almaz Ayana and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt have been crowned the female and male World Athletes of the Year at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2016 December 4, 2016

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistOromo athlete Almaz Ayana is Olympic Champion with new world record. Tirunesh Dibaba is 3rd at #Rio2016jamaicas-usain-bolt-and-oromo-athlele-almaz-ayana-have-been-crowned-the-male-and-female-world-athletes-of-the-year-2016-at-the-iaaf-athletics-awards-2016

Oromia’s Almaz Ayana and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt  have been crowned the female and male World Athletes of the Year at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2016, held at Sporting Monte Carlo on 2nd December 2016.


Ayana had a record-breaking year. After recording the fastest 10,000m debut in history in June, the Oromian went on to win the Olympic title at the distance in a world record of 29:17.45.

She added to her Olympic medal haul in Rio by taking bronze in the 5000m, her only loss of the year. Having recorded three of the eight fastest times at 5000m, she ended the year as the Diamond Race winner for that discipline.

She becomes the third Oromo (representing Ethiopia) woman to win this award, following Genzebe Dibaba in 2015 and Meseret Defar in 2007.

“I don’t have words to explain my feelings right now, I’m so excited,” said Ayana whose award was presented by International Athletics Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. “Really, I’m so pleased.”


Bolt, who won the award five times between 2008 and 2013, added to his legacy by earning the trophy for a record sixth occasion. The sprinting superstar this year successfully defended his Olympic titles in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, bringing his lifetime tally of Olympic gold medals to nine.

He clocked season’s bests of 9.81 and 19.78 to win the 100m and 200m in Rio and then anchored the Jamaican team to a world-leading 37.27 when winning the 4x100m.

He also went undefeated throughout the whole season at all distances, including heats.

“I live for the moments when I walk into a stadium and I hear a loud roar and Rio was outstanding,” said Bolt, whose award was presented by IAAF President Sebastian Coe. “One of the main reasons I’m continuing for another year is because of the fans; they don’t want me to retire. I have to give thanks to them.”


Other awards

MALE RISING STAR
Andre De Grasse

At the age of 21, the Canadian sprinter earned the Olympic 200m silver medal in Rio, having set a national record of 19.80 in the semifinal. He took bronze over 100m in a PB of 9.91 and anchored the Canadian team to bronze in the 4x100m, setting a national record of 37.64.
FEMALE RISING STAR
Nafissatou Thiam

The Belgian all-round talent won gold in the heptathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a world-leading national record of 6810. Just 21 at the time, only one athlete (Carolina Kluft) has ever produced a higher score than Thiam’s at that age. En route to her Olympic triumph, she set a world heptathlon best of 1.98m in the high jump; higher than the winning leap in the individual high jump final.
COACHING ACHIEVEMENT
Harry Marra

The US coach guided Ashton Eaton to his second successive decathlon gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where Eaton equalled the Olympic record, and his third consecutive world indoor heptathlon title. Marra also guided Brianne Theisen-Eaton to the pentathlon title at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016, where she broke the North American record. She later earned the bronze medal in the heptathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
PRESIDENTS AWARD
Tegla Loroupe

Loroupe was the Chef de Mission for the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio. The former marathon world record-holder helped select the Refugee Olympic Team after the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation held a competition at the Kakuma refugee camp in north-west Kenya.

This award recognises and honours great service to athletics.
WOMEN IN ATHLETICS
Polyxeni Argeitaki

Argeitaki is an assistant professor of athletics at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens. The former Greek champion at middle-distance events is the treasurer, council member and president of the scientific committee at the Hellenic Athletics Federation. She has also written more than 50 scientific publications.

This award recognises outstanding achievements and contributions made to develop, encourage and strengthen the participation of women and girls at all levels of the sport.


 

Africa and its dictators: 40 years of total control: how Dos Santos shaped Angola December 4, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Uncategorized.
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Angola's President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos waits for the arrival of his French counterpart at the presidential palace in Luanda in July 2015
Angola’s President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos waits for the arrival of his French counterpart at the presidential palace in Luanda in July 2015 (AFP Photo/Alain Jocard)

Johannesburg (AFP) – Angolans endured a bloody civil war and extreme poverty as for nearly 40 years power rested solely in the hands of autocratic President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

State radio’s announcement on Friday that he will stand down next year appears to be the beginning of the end of one of Africa’s longest reigns, and could open a new chapter for a country largely closed off to the outside world.

When Dos Santos, now 74, became president in 1979, war was already raging between the MPLA government and UNITA rebels, four years after independence from Portugal.

Today, Angola has been at peace only since 2002, and is still deeply scarred by a conflict that became a vicious proxy battleground in the Cold War rivalry of the United States and the Soviet Union.

After fighting eventually ceased, a frenetic oil boom saw skyscrapers sprout up in the centre of the capital Luanda and paid for nationwide infrastructure improvements.

But it left millions of ordinary Angolans living in dire slums, and the collapse in oil prices has triggered a full-scale national economic crisis since 2013.

“In some ways he is the father figure of the nation, widely seen — rightly or wrongly — as the man who ended the war,” Soren Kirk Jensen, an Angola specialist at the London-based Chatham House think tank, told AFP.

“It wasn’t a negotiated peace, it was brutal, but it is hard to see there was any other way.

“There is growing discontent among the educated middle class, who see him as an autocrat, and as a failure due to the economy.

“But in large parts of Angola and especially rural areas, a generation that suffered during the war still view him in a positive light.

“That is his powerful legacy — very long and very mixed.”

– ‘Ruthless oppression’ –

Leading Angolan writer and opposition activist Rafael Marques is scathing in his criticism of Dos Santos and dismisses any suggestion of the president being held in affection.

Marques himself felt the sharp edge of the regime’s intolerance, standing trial twice on defamation charges and given suspended sentences.

“Dos Santos didn’t lead his country out of war — he was a warmonger who ruined his country and ransacked it for his family’s profit,” Marques said, speaking from Luanda.

“He has now run out of money to maintain his patronage system, so he became far more vulnerable to pressure by his party (to stand down).

“After 37 years of power, and after all the oil money, all you see in Angola is a few flash buildings, the misery of the people, corruption, repression and no freedom of expression.

“The most positive thing to happen would be to bring him to justice, but his departure won’t mean the end of the regime.”

Life after Dos Santos is hard to imagine for many Angolans if — as announced — he does not stand in next year’s election.

Though seldom seen in public, he has been a looming presence through the decades, exercising almost total authority over politics, the courts, the security forces, media and business.

His picture often appears on the front page of newspapers, as well as on countless billboards and framed photographs in every office.

“Looking back, he has been an extraordinary, substantial figure who was involved in ruthless oppression of opponents, including within his own party,” Martin Plaut, African analyst and fellow of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, told AFP.

“In some ways, he did bring stability to his country and he is viewed as an ’eminence grise’ by some other African leaders. But he ruled with an iron rod.