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The Atlanta Black Star: The Ethiopian government is reportedly continuing its crackdown on the Oromo people February 24, 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, Human Rights, Oromia, Oromia News, Oromo.
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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 Ethiopia

Human Rights Watch Reports Daily Killings As Ethiopian Government Continues Oromia Crackdown

 

Women mourn during the funeral ceremony of a primary school teacher who family members said was shot dead by military forces during protests in Oromia

Photo: Women mourn during the funeral ceremony of a primary school teacher who family members said was shot dead by military forces during protests in Oromia, Ethiopia in December 2015. (Reuters)


The Ethiopian government is reportedly continuing its crackdown on the Oromo people.

According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, about 200 protesters have been killed in the latest government operation. Oromia, home to the Oromo people, is Ethiopia’s largest region. Demonstrations in the region broke out when the government attempted to clear a forest for an investment project. Protests escalated when the government decided to expand the borders of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, to incorporate surrounding towns in Oromia, according to The International Business Times.

Government forces have used heavy-handed tactics to squash the protests, including rounding up and detaining protesters, torture and even extra-judicial killings, according to The Atlanta Blackstar. Many of the early protests were led by students, but that has not stopped the violence from security forces.

“They walked into the compound and shot three students at point-blank range,” said a 17-year-old student in a Human Rights Watch report. “They were hit in the face and were dead.”

The IBT said there are almost daily reports of killings.

“Things have become considerably more violent in the last few days,” said Felix Horne, Horn of Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The government needs to back down and stop the brutal crackdown.”

It’s difficult to get accurate information about what’s going on because Ethiopia does not have a free media. Human Rights Watch says it is relying on information leaking out via social media posts. The foreign-based Oromo Media Network is also reporting on the situation. However, its signals have been jammed by the Ethiopian government. Government forces have also reportedly smashed OMN satellites and jailed people who have shown their broadcasts.

However, the Ethiopian government denies there is a problem and dismissed Human Rights Watch’s latest report.

Getachew Reda, Ethiopia’s communications minister, told the BBC the report was an “absolute lie” and questioned how Human Rights Watch could report on the situation from New York. He also blamed the latest violence on armed gangs “who are trying to stir up emotions in the public.”

According to The IBT, the European Parliament passed a January resolution condemning the government’s crackdown on largely peaceful protesters. However, the U.S. government has not criticized the Ethiopian government, and has called for dialogue. According to The IBT, Ethiopia received $580 million in aid from the U.S. in 2012. Additionally, The Washington Post reported that the U.S. government uses Ethiopian bases to fly drone missions against terrorists groups in Somalia.

Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said countries that donate money to Ethiopia should pressure the government to stop the killing.

“Ethiopia’s donor countries have responded tepidly, if at all, to the killing of scores of protesters in Oromia,” said Lefkow. “They should stop ignoring or downplaying this shocking brutality and call on the government to support an independent investigation into the killings and other abuses.”


 

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Human Rights Watch Reports Daily Killings As Ethiopian Government Continues Oromia Crackdown


 

#OromoProtests (Oromia):More to be done by the international community to stop the continuing violations of human rights in Ethiopia February 7, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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Odaa OromooCIVICUS

Hanna doja. Oromo child, 1st grade student in Kombolcha, Horroo Guduruu, Oromia. Attacked  by Ethiopian regime fascist  forces on 31st December  2015

MORE ACTION NEEDED TO STOP HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN ETHIOPIA

 


 

CIVICUS spoke to Yared Hailemariam, the director of Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE), concerning the recent killing of protesters in the country. AHRE is an NGO initiative of Ethiopian human rights activists that fled the country and is dedicated to the advancement of human rights protection in Ethiopia.


 

1. Can you detail the main causes of the current protests in Ethiopia?

The current protest in Ethiopia’s Oromia region began in November 2015. The first and main cause of the protests was the controversial government proposal of a Master Plan for the capital, Addis Ababa, which aims to expand the city by taking over several Oromia towns surrounding the capital. Protestors say the implementation of the plan will result in the displacement of thousands of local farmers who settled in the area many years back. The protest was started by students in Oromia region and then farmers and other members of the Oromo ethnic group joined the demonstrations.

2. The government has now said that it has halted the Master Plan. What are the implications of this on the current protests?

This Master Plan which is known as the “Addis Ababa Integrated Regional Development Plan” was announced by the government in April 2014. That announcement was followed by bloody protests in April and May 2014 after government forces used excessive force to stop peaceful Oromo protesters who opposed the plan. As a result, dozens were killed, hundreds of students were arrested, and many charged under the anti-terrorism law, and many others left the country. After the 2014 bloody events, the government promised to settle the disputes raised concerning the Master Plan by holding inclusive and transparent dialogue with all stakeholders especially the local residents, opposition parties, civil society representatives and local officials. However, the promises were not adhered to hence the current protest is due to those unfulfilled promises on lack of consultations.

Since the current protest started in mid-November 2015 a large number of causalities and mass arrests have been reported. These are unlawful, brutal and irresponsible acts of the government aim to dismantle the protests. The intensity of the response of the armed forces in the Oromia region exacerbated the situation. Even after the government announced its decision to halt the implementation of the Master Plan, a number of casualties were still being recorded.

In the last few weeks the protestors were also raising other serious issues such as lack of the rule of law, accountability of the state, corruption, justice problems, inequality, lack of democracy, and non-respect for basic rights of citizens.

3. It has been reported that approximately 160 people have already been killed during the protests. Can you describe the extent of the violations committed during the protests?

The current protest started on 12 November 2015 in a small town called Ginchi, which is about 80 kilometres south-west of Addis Ababa. After a week, the protests spread throughout the Oromia region. In most places the protests were peaceful including at universities, high schools and elementary students. But the response of the army and police was disproportionate to the protests as they attacked protestors killing more than 160 people and wounding many others.

On 1 December 2015 the Federal Police killed Gazahany Oliiqaa, a Haromaya University student. Some of those killed included young students and children between the ages of seven and 15 years old.

Thousands of protestors, including opposition leaders, journalists and activists were also arrested. In December 2015, prominent opposition leader Bekele Gerba, two journalists Getachew Shiferaw and Fikadu Mirkana, online activist Yonatan Teressa and four other Blue Party members were arrested. The Ethiopian authority labelled them as terrorists. In two of the main universities in the Oromia Region, including Harromaya University there were explosions in which a number of students sustained serious injuries.

4. In light of the multitude of restrictions imposed on the media and civil society in Ethiopia, to what extent has civil society been able to document and report on the protests?

Ethiopia has for a long time severely restricted press freedom and the work of civil society. It is one of the top countries when it comes to jailing journalists, many of whom it charges under the 2009 anti-terrorism law. The space for civil society to carry out their work has also been narrowed since the adoption the 2009 Charity and Societies Proclamation. This law has crippled the ability of many local NGOs especially those who work in the area of human rights. The restrictions imposed on media and civil society have a significant impact on the monitoring, documentation and reporting of the situation of human rights in Ethiopia.

As far as I am aware the current protest in Oromia region have not been well documented or investigated by the independent media or human rights organisations. Only a few foreign journalists tried to report the protest. The rest of the information has been gathered by local amateur social media activists who reported most of the incidents from the scene. Together with the foreign media, local journalists are not allowed to carry out investigations on the protest. The only local human rights organisation, the Human Rights Council (HRCO) has expressed its concern on the protest and asked the government to stop the killings and targeting of peaceful protestors. However, it was unable to conduct its investigation or reporting because of restrictions and budget constraints that hinder it from covering the whole country.

5. Has the response of the international community been adequate?

I could say that in the last two months the response of the international community has not been adequate especially when the number of causalities were rising daily. There has not been any strong pressure on the Ethiopian government to stop the excessive use of force against protesters. Perhaps the first response from the international community is the motion of the European Parliament for a resolution on the current situation in Ethiopia which has adopted on 21 January 2016.  There is still more to be done by the international community to stop the continuing violations of human rights in Ethiopia before the situation gets out of control and leads to political instability in the country.

6. What can international and regional civil society groups do to support activists in the country?

Activists in the country have faced numerous challenges and many restrictions as they perform their day to day activities. They are also subject to direct attack by government authorities. The Ethiopian government is labelling activists who criticise its policies as terrorists. As a result, the participation and visibility of Ethiopian activists in international and regional human rights mechanisms is very low and limited. This gap can be closed with a strong commitment and efforts of the international and regional civil society who have better access to advocate on the situation of Ethiopia at all levels. They could also support the work of local activists through capacity building, financing their work, consulting, supporting their research work and providing technical and security support.


 

http://www.civicus.org/index.php/en/media-centre-129/news-and-resources-127/2354-more-action-needed-to-stop-human-rights-violations-in-ethiopia

A Bloody Crackdown on #Oromo Protesters in Ethiopia, Again. #OromoProtests December 6, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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???????????Say no to the master killer. Addis Ababa master plan is genocidal plan against Oromo people

A Bloody Crackdown on Oromo Protesters in Ethiopia, Again

The resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia
OROMO FIRST. Continued marginalization, discrimination and brutal crackdown against peaceful civilian Oromo protest is fast driving the resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.

By Felix Horne | for Human Rights Watch,

Student protests are spreading throughout Ethiopia’s Oromia region, as people demonstrate against the possibility that Oromo farmers and residents living near the capital, Addis Ababa, could be evicted from their lands without appropriate – or possibly any – compensation. Social media is filled with images of bloodied protesters; there are credible reports of injuries and arrests in a number of towns; and local police have publicly acknowledged that three students have died so far.

The current protests echo the bloody events of April and May 2014, when federal forces fired into groups of largely peaceful Oromo protesters, killing dozens. At least hundreds more students were arrested, and many remain behind bars. Both then and today, the demonstrators are ostensibly protesting the expansion of Addis Ababa’s municipal boundary into the surrounding Oromia region, which protesters fear will displace Oromo farmers from their land. But these protests are about much more: Many Oromos have felt marginalized and discriminated against by successive Ethiopian governments and have often felt unable to voice their concerns over government policies.

Of the student protesters detained in 2014, some have been released. Those I spoke with told me about the torture they endured as part of interrogations. But countless others remain in detention. Some have been charged under Ethiopia’s draconian counterterrorism law for their role in the protests; others languish without charge in unknown detention centers and military camps throughout Oromia. This week, five students were convicted of terrorism-related offenses for their role in the protests.

ALSO READ : Ethiopia at Risk of Disintegration: Oromo Opposition

There has been no government investigation into the use of live ammunition and excessive force by security personnel last year.

Ethiopia’s tight restrictions on civil society and media make it difficult to corroborate the current, mounting allegations and the exact details of the ongoing protests emerging from towns like Haramaya, Jarso, Walliso, and Robe. The government may think this strategy of silencing bad news is succeeding. But while the fear of threats and harassment means it is often months before victims and witnesses come forward to reveal what happened in their communities, they eventually do, and the truth will emerge.

The government should ensure that the use of excessive force by its security personnel stops immediately. It should then support an independent and impartial inquiry into the conduct of security forces in the current protests – and last year’s as well. Those responsible for serious abuses should be fairly prosecuted. This would be the best way for the Ethiopian government to show its concern about the deaths and injuries inflicted on the students, that it does not condone the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters, and that those who break the law are appropriately punished.

http://www.tesfanews.net/bloody-crackdown-on-oromo-protesters/