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AI: The return of mass arrests of opposition activists and supporters is a worrying signal in Ethiopia January 28, 2020

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Ethiopia: Authorities crack down on opposition supporters with mass arrests

27 January 2020

Amnesty International has confirmed that at least 75 supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) were arrested over the weekend from various places in different parts of Oromia Regional State, as Ethiopian authorities intensify the crackdown on dissenting political views ahead of the general elections.The return of mass arrests of opposition activists and supporters is a worrying signal in Ethiopia. Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa

“The return of mass arrests of opposition activists and supporters is a worrying signal in Ethiopia. These sweeping arrests risk undermining the rights to freedom of expression and association ahead of the 2020 elections,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

Arrests took place across the state including in Finchawa town in West Guji Zone of Oromia, and Shambu town in Horo-Guduru Wallaga Zone of Oromia.These sweeping arrests risk undermining the rights to freedom of expression and association ahead of the 2020 elections. Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa

Among those arrested was Chaltu Takele, a prominent political activist. Police broke into her parents’ home in Shambu town, Horo-Guduru Wellaga at 5am on 26 January and arrested her. She is detained at the Shambu Police Station.

Chaltu Takele spent more than eight years in prison between 2008 and 2016 after being accused of being a member of the Oromo Liberation Front, which the Ethiopian government had listed as a “terrorist organization”. The Ethiopian Parliament delisted OLF and other political opposition groups from being proscribed terrorist groups in 2018. Chaltu was also arrested and briefly detained in 2017, and again 2019 while she was pregnant.

The weekend arrests are the latest in a long line of mass arrests of opposition activists. The Ethiopian police and military have been rounding up people for “rehabilitation training” since February 2019. After spending time in various military and police detention centres, most were released between September and November 2019.

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Rakkoo nageenya Oromiyaa keessaa balaaleffachuuf hawaasni Oromoo Waashingitan DCtti hiriira mormii gaggeessan

Reforestation is not necessarily about planting more trees January 19, 2020

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A much less costly way to regenerate our forests and decrease carbon levels is to assist nature to do its job.

by Nikola Alexandre, Al Jazeera 18 Jan 2020

Cattle graze next to a fragment of the Atlantic Forest in Silva Jardim, Brazil on April 18, 2019 [File: AP/Leo Correa]
Cattle graze next to a fragment of the Atlantic Forest in Silva Jardim, Brazil on April 18, 2019 [File: AP/Leo Correa]

Last year, the journal Science published a study that made a bold – and elegantly simple – claim: To mitigate climate change, plant a trillion new trees.

Authored by a team of scientists from various research institutions in Europe and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the study attracted considerable mainstream media coverage.

Soon after, tree-planting initiatives across the globe bloomed. Ethiopia announced it would plant 350 million trees in a single day and India promised to plant 220 million. The US unveiled a plan to establish forests in Asian and African cities. Companies ranging from Biocarbon Engineering to EasyJet to Warner Music turned the spotlights on their tree-planting initiatives.

The excitement was understandable. The idea that we could negate the effects of centuries of deforestation and keep the planet cool enough to survive simply by planting some trees sounded really good.

The study found that a trillion new trees could store 205 billion metric tonnes of carbon – the equivalent of 25 percent of the current atmospheric carbon pool and enough to help keep us under a 1.5-degree Celsius global temperature rise. Climate action, meet your magic bullet.

Yes, we need to plant trees. Close to one billion hectares (2.5 billion acres) globally is estimated to be available for some kind of forest restoration. If only it were that simple.

To succeed in the fight against climate change we have to do two big things: Stop emitting carbon dioxide and remove the excess carbon dioxide we have already emitted. Restoring forests is the best way to do that second part – but not all restoration is created equal.

In the buzz surrounding the study published in Science, what got scant attention was the cost of planting a trillion trees. With conservation needs already facing a $350bn annual gap between what we are spending and what is needed to secure ecosystems, planting and stewarding a trillion new trees will require mobilising huge amounts of money – something the world does not seem brave enough to do. According to the paper, we would have to reforest approximately 0.9 billion hectares (2.2 billion acres) of land – an area the size of China – to reach their magic number, and at an average cost of $3,000 per hectare, the invoice for this gardening project is prohibitively expensive.

But there is a more realistic way to replace the trees we have destroyed: Help nature run its course.

It is a real, science-based strategy known as assisted natural regeneration. It is low-tech, high-yield, highly scalable, and 70 percent cheaper than planting new saplings.

The premise of assisted natural regeneration is that the most economical way to restore and protect forests is to acknowledge nature’s resilience, remove barriers to natural regeneration and – where necessary – accelerate it. Given time, trees regrow and forests come back. Assisted natural regeneration simply supports and accelerates the process. What does it look like in practice?

Examples include stopping fires from burning young trees that are naturally regrowing, dispersing seed mixes in degraded areas close to intact forests, and developing national policies that incentivise intensifying agriculture in some areas in order to let others naturally regenerate.

One of the most exciting assisted natural regeneration strategies is called applied nucleation, also known as “tree islands”, which involves planting only a very small number of trees that attract birds and other seed dispersers, which can spread seeds around the tree islands. Gradually, these tree islands turn into intact forests. 

If it is such an obvious and effective tactic, why has it not caught on yet? First, it does not have the PR appeal of a person lowering a young sapling into the ground. Second, until recently, assisted natural regeneration was not seen as a solution that could work on a large scale. But advances in our ability to model and predict natural processes – and an unlikely and unexpected test case in Brazil – showed otherwise.

Brazil’s Atlantic Forest stretches across 34 million hectares (84 million acres) of the country’s coastal southeast. As large as it is, it is a fraction of what it used to be, having lost nearly three-quarters of its original extent to deforestation.

Over the past two decades, though, rural populations there thinned, with people in farming communities abandoning their land to move to cities to find work, while well-organised local groups ensured enforcement of a Brazilian law aimed at curbing deforestation.

What happened next was remarkable: Between 1996 and 2015, nearly three million hectares (7.4 million acres) of the area was found to have regenerated naturally – without a single sapling being planted.

This did not escape the notice of conservationists. Researchers from the International Institute of Sustainability (IIS) in Rio de Janeiro analysed this regeneration and found that one-third of the degraded Atlantic Forest – some 21.6 million hectares (53.4 million acres) – could eventually be restored if assisted natural regeneration is applied. It was the first real evidence that this method could be scaled up.

Seizing on these findings, Conservation International launched what is on track to be the largest tropical restoration project in history in the Brazilian Amazon. Working with local and international partners, the organisation helped protect and nurture a portion of the Amazon rainforest so it could rebound without interference – and it has started to do so.

Now, Conservation International and IIS are leading efforts to identify other areas of the world where assisted natural regeneration is likely to be ecologically and socially feasible, and it is now estimated that, of the billion or so hectares of forest around the world that have been destroyed or degraded, fully one-third is suitable for assisted natural regeneration.

What that means is that all that land, if protected around the edges from logging, fires, farming and grazing, then left to its own devices, could come back to life – bringing with it all the benefits that forests provide, from water filtration to biodiversity to climate regulation. And that is without threatening food security – critical to our exploding world population – or sticking a single (expensive) sapling in the ground.

So what needs to happen now?

First, the research community must pay closer attention to what nature has been doing for millennia to focus its efforts on actions that support that process.

Second, science and indigenous knowledge must be brought together to show governments where assisted natural regeneration is possible, and inform policies to unlock it.

Third, banking and development communities need to create financial incentives to spur investment in reforestation.

Fourth, corporate actors should put protection above profit so that mistreated land is given space to recover – which in the long run is good for their bottom line.

Let us be clear: Assisted natural regeneration is not the only way forward. We still need to plant new trees where it is necessary, and in ways that respect local ecology and local cultures.

But if we can see to all of the above, Mother Nature will have a much easier time doing what she does best – naturally.

Oromia (Ethiopia): Press releases from The Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Mission Society (OELMS) concerning the military operations in Western Oromia and Gujii January 12, 2020

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Press releases from The Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Mission Society (OELMS) concerning the military operations in Western Oromia and Gujii.

‘Karoora dhokataafi ijaarsa seeraa alaan Finfinneefi Amaara waltuqsiisuuf hojjetamaa jira’ January 6, 2020

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BBC Afaan Oromo

Milkeessaa Miidhagaa (PhD): ‘Karoora dhokataafi ijaarsa seeraa alaan Finfinneefi Amaara waltuqsiisuuf hojjetamaa jira’

Karoora dhokataadhaan, qubsuma seeran alaafi ijaarsa seeran alaatiin Finfinneefi naannoo Amaaraa waltuqsiisuuf warri hojjetan ni jiru, jedhan Hoogganaa Biiroo Bulchiinsaafi Itti-fayyadama Lafaa Oromiyaa Milkeessaa Miidhagaa (PhD).

Ijaarsi seeraan alaa Godina Addaa Oromiyaa Naannawa Finfinneetti haala yaaddessaa ta’een dabalaa dhufeera.

Magaalli Finfinnees Amajjii jalqabarratti manneen seeran alaa aanaalee magaalichaafi naanawasheetti ijaaraman diiguu akka jalqabu ibsee ture.

Dhimma weerara lafaafi ijaarsa seeran alaa Godina Addaa keessatti mul’achaa jiru ilaalchisuun Hogganaan Bulchiinsaafi Itti-fayyadama lafaa Oromiyaa Dr. Milkeessaa Miidhagaa BBC waliin turtii taasisaniin, Ijaarsi seeran alaa Naannawa Finfinnee amma sadarkaa yaaddessaarra gaheera jedhan.

Wanti Godina Addaa keessatti ta’aa jiru kuni fedhii siyaasaarraa kan maddeefi galma lakkoofsa jiraattotaa jijjiiruu kan kaayyefate ta’uus himu.

“Wanti naannawaa Finfinneetti ta’aa jiru kuni siyaasa lakkoofsa jiraattotaa sabaan akka caalamu gochuuti.

Adeemsa keessammoo ‘lafti kun kan eenyuuti?’ kan jedhurratti gaaffiin ka’ee abbummaa dhabamsiisuu, aadaa, afaan duguuganii balleessuu kan kaayyefate,” jedhu.

Oduu kana waliin walqabatan biroo filadhaa:

Gochi kun galma siyaasaa qabaachuufi eenyummaa Oromoo dhabamsiisanii kan saba biraatiin bakka buusuu akka kaayyefate Biiroon isaanii qorannoo taasiseen mirkaneefachuus himan.

“Godina Addaatti qaamni ijaarsa seeran alaa irratti bobba’e hiyyeessa miti. Dureessota ergama siyaasaa sana galmaan gahuuf hojjetanitu qarshii guddaa ramadee qubachiisaa, ijaarsisaa jira.

Faddaaltonni ciccimoon ergama seenaa kana raawwachuuf halkaniifi guyyaa hojjetanis jiru,” jedhan.

Ijaarsi kuni erga raawwateen booda namoota rakkatoofi daa’imman qaban itti galchanii yeroo mootumman diigu miidiyaaleerrati iyyuuf akka dhimma itti bahanis himan.

Naannoolee kanneenitti manneen amantaa ijaaruunis karoora weerara lafaa kanaaf qabatanii namoonni kunneen hojjetanis jiru jedhan.

Gochi weerara lafaafi ijaarsa seerana alaa kana keessatti caasaan mootummaa naannoo Oromiyaas faayidaadhaan itti masakamee galma dhokataa diinaa kanaaf tumsuun gocha kana dursanii ittisuu akka hin dandeenyeef danqaa akka ta’es himan.

“Lafti Oromoo hammi kuni yeroo saamamu caasaan mootummaa inuma jira. Taa’etuma ilaala. Caasaa keenyatu keessa galee waliin hojjechaa jira. Kanaaf dhaabuus, dhaabsisuus dadhabne,” jedhan.

Oromiyaa keessa magaalli weerara lafaafi ijaarsa seeran alaa irraa bilisa ta’e akka hin jirres himan.

Manni seeraan alaa si’a torba diigamee ijaarama…

“Namoonni duula ijarsa seeran alaa kanarratti bobba’an ‘manni si’a torba diigamee hin ijaaramne mana miti’ dhaadannoo jedhu qabu. Kanaaf, yeroo diigame deebisanii ijaaru. Si’a torbaffaatti siif mirkanaa’a jedhanii wal onnachiisu. Kuni qorumsa guddaadha” jedhan Dr. Milkeessaan.

Qaama karoora dhoksaa kanaa kan ta’e qubsumni seeraan alaa lafa Oromoo irratti taasifamu kun naannawaa magaalaa Finfinnee qofa osoo hin taane baadiyyaa Oromiyaa keessattis haalaan dabalaa dhufuus eeran.

“Fakkeenyaaf, godina Jimmaa aanaa Sokorruutti tibba kana qubsumni taasifamaa jiru waan hamaadha. Gammoojjii Gibee keessaa Fagoodhaa dhufee namni bayinaan qubachaa jira.

Kana duras lafa Oromoorra qubsiisuun kun Shawaa Lixaa, Horroo Guduruu, Wallagga Bahaa, Iluu Abbaa Booriifi Boorana keessatti baayyee dabaleera,” jedhan.

Naannoo biraarraa qubsummni gara naannoo Oromiyaatti taasifamu kun seera maleessummaa qofa osoo hin taane qubsuma ummataa (Demography) jijjiiraa deema jedhan.

“Bara mootummaa cehumsaa keessa yeroo Taammiraat Laayineeti lafti duwwaan Oromiyaa keessa jiru qoratamee, ummanni gara kaabaa kanarraa dhufee akka irra qubatu gochuun kan eegalame.

Namoonni kunneen bakka bakkatti hidhannoo guutuu waliin qubatu. Bakki itti kana seeratti galchuuf deemamee poolisii keenya ajjeesanifaatu jira,” jedhu.

Waggoota 15 darbe keessa ‘Finfinneen kan Oromoo miti ‘warri jedhanii odeessan karoora dhokataadhaan naannoo Amaaraafi Finfinnee walqunnamsiisuuf hojjechaa jirus jedhan.

“Karoora isaanii ‘Finfinneen kan Oromoo miti’ jedhu sana mirkaneessuuf, qubannaa seeran alaatiin baayina lakkoofsa ummata isaanii dabaluudhan, Godina Addaatti manneen barnootaa Afaan Oromootiin akka hin banamne godhanii Amaaressuudhaan lafa fudhachuuf.

Kanaafimmoo ragaa qabatamaa of harkaa qabna,” jedhan Dr. Milkeessaan.

Karaa Kaaba Baha Finfinneetiin magaalota Lagaxaafoo, Sandaafaa Bakkee, Shanoofi kanneen biroo keessatti ijaarsa seeraan alaafi qubsumaan lafa weeraranii Finfinneefi naannoo Amaaraa waltuqsiisuuf karoora dhoksaan hojjetamu jiraachuus bira geenyeerra jedhan.

“Yoo danda’ameef naannoo Amaaraa Finfinnedhaan waltuqsiisuu kan jedhu Pirojektii jedhu qabu. Waraanni Asaaminoo Tsiggee leenjisaa ture Kanaan dura daangaa Oromiyaa keessa galchee qubachiisuuf yaaleera.

Karaa Kanaan Finfinnee too’anna kan jedhu yaaleera,” jedhan.

Qubannaan karaa kanaan taasifamu ispoonsara godhamee itti yaadamee lafa Oromoo weeraranii Finfinnee kan ofii gochuuf yaadamee pirojektii bocanii hojjechaa turuu ragaa quubsaa argachuu himan Dr. Milkeessaan.

“Lagaxaafoo akkuma darbaniin magaala seeran alaa ‘Arbaa Aratti’ jedhamtu hundeessaniiru. Baadiyyaa keessas akkanumatti itti fufeera.

Caasaan naannoo keenyaammoo waraqaa eenyummaa birriidhaan baasaafii oola. Pirojektiin kun Finfinneedhaa hooggansi siyaasaa kennamaaf.”

“Keessa darbanii lakkoofsa ummataa dabalumaaf yaadamee maallaqni ramadamee ‘Godina Addaatti mana kireefadhaa galaa’ jedhanii hojii demography jijjiruu hojjechaa akka jiran ragaadhaan beekna.

Caasaa Oromiyaammoo malaamaltummaadhaan waan barbaadan goosisu,” jedhan.

Akka angaa’aan kun jedhanitti, halli amma ‘Finfinneen kan keenya’ jechaa ‘aadaafi eenyummaa keenyammoo keessaa dhabneerra’ jennu, waggoota 30 booda Godina Addaattis carraan akkanaa muudachuun waan hin hafnedha jedhan.

Africa News: I did it for Oromo: Jawar Mohammed explains decision to join Ethiopia opposition party January 2, 2020

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I did it for Oromo: Jawar Mohammed explains decision to join Ethiopia opposition party

I did it for Oromo: Jawar Mohammed explains decision to join Ethiopia opposition party


Ethiopia’s prominent activist Jawar Mohammed explained that he joined the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress party (OFC) because of its strong stand on federalism.

Jawar’s membership in OFC comes five months before general elections that will test the popularity of reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in the east African nation of more than 100 million people.

“I have been working with the party as a supporter for a long time,” Jawar told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

I will use my influence, network, and experience to help strengthen the party.

“I am attracted to the party because of their clear and strong stand on federalism.”

Jawar and the party are expected to call for greater autonomy for Ethiopia’s regional states, including Oromia, which is the largest and most populous.

‘‘The Oromo objective is very clear. It boils down to self-rule, which can be translated into cultural, political and economic autonomy, having full ownership over the wealth God has given us…also being able to govern our home region by a government elected by the Oromo people.’‘

Bitter ethnic rivalries resulting in violent clashes are one of the most serious challenges to Abiy’s government. More than 1,200 people were killed and more than 1.2 million others displaced in clashes in the country within the past year, Ethiopia’s Attorney General Office disclosed in September. The clashes, most of which took place along ethnic lines, threaten Abiy’s reforms.

Falling out with Abiy

Until recently, Jawar was seen as an ally of the prime minister. When he was living in the U.S. many say Jawar played a key role on social media in mobilizing widespread protests that led the previous prime minister to resign and saw Abiy rise to power in April, 2018.

Last year, Abiy relaxed restrictions on political activists which allowed Jawar and others to return to Ethiopia without fear of arrest.

But recently frictions emerged between Abiy and Jawar. In October Abiy criticized “media personalities with foreign passports” for causing troubles in Ethiopia, a comment widely seen as criticism of Jawar.

A day later, Jawar alleged there were attempts to remove his government-provided security guards and hundreds of his supporters flocked to his residence to offer him protection. Unrest that followed in some parts of the country, mainly Oromia, resulted in the deaths of several dozen people.

Jawar’s plan for 2020

Jawar, owner of the Oromo Media Network which has a television station, website and magazine, has more than 1.7 million followers on Facebook and a large support base in the Oromia region.

“I will use my influence, network, and experience to help strengthen the party,” he said, adding that the party will decide what office he will run for in the upcoming elections in May, 2020.

One last hurdle remains before he can launch a political career, however. Jawar holds U.S. citizenship, which prevents him from being a candidate for office in Ethiopia. He said he has started the process of relinquishing his U.S. passport and regaining his Ethiopian citizenship. He said “it will be completed soon.”

Jawar is seen by many as a polarizing figure. While many in Oromia consider him a hero who pushed hard for change in Ethiopia, others call him an opportunist who is waiting for the right time to assume power.

“Jawar joining the opposition party’s leadership would convert the party into a major political force, as he is popular among Oromo and has considerable ability to influence and mobilize Oromo voters using his various media platforms,” William Davison, International Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Ethiopia, told the AP.