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, 2016Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: Africa, Dr. Merera Gudna, Genocide Against Oromo People, ofc, Oromia, Oromo, the U.S. State Department
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.
Senator calls for immediate release Oromo People’s Congress leader, opening up of political space in Ethiopia.
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.”
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.