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HRW: UN Human Rights Council: Item 4 General Debate June 22, 2016

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UN Human Rights Council: Item 4 General Debate

(HRW) — Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned about several human rights situations that have either been inadequately addressed by this Council, or on which the Council has remained largely silent.

Bangladesh has taken an ever-increasing turn to authoritarianism in recent years. The authorities have engaged in mass arrests of opposition members – numbering in the thousands – and have cracked down on civil society groups, opposition media houses, editors, and journalists. Impunity for the security forces remains the norm, as alleged abuses by government forces go unchecked. The government’s initial response to the machete killings of over 50 people was to warn these victims to exercise self-censorship, even going so far as to prosecute four bloggers for “hurting religious sentiment.” In the past week, the authorities have taken a more determined turn in responding to these killings, but instead of investigating and prosecuting in a careful, measured manner, have fallen back on old patterns and arrested 15,000 people, many, it seems, arbitrarily. We urge Member States to raise this concerning situation at the Council and directly with the government.

In Ethiopia, state security forces have killed more than 400 protesters since November 2015, during largely peaceful protests in its largest region of Oromia. Many of those killed were students. Tens of thousands of people have been detained, and many of those remain in detention without charge. More broadly, Ethiopia continues to criminalize peaceful expression of dissent through severe restrictions on independent media, independent civil society, and misuse of its antiterrorism law. Torture and ill-treatment in detention continues to be a serious concern. We call for an independent and impartial investigation into the use of excessive force and other serious abuses by security forces in Oromia. As a Human Rights Council member – and vice-president – Ethiopia is required to cooperate with the Council and its mechanisms. Yet it has not accepted requests by numerous Special Procedures to visit over the past decade. We urge the government to do so as a matter of priority.

In Thailand, since the military coup in May 2014, the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has carried out policies and actions without any effective oversight or accountability. A current draft constitution, written by a junta-appointed committee, endorses unaccountable military domination of governance even after a new government takes office. Regardless of its pledges to respect human rights, the junta—led by Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha—has banned political activity and public gatherings; made expression subject to criminal prosecution; conducted hundreds of arbitrary arrests; and held civilian detainees in military detention. Public debates and open opposition to the draft constitution, on which a referendum is scheduled for August 7, 2016, are prohibited. Military courts are regularly used to try civilians, particularly dissidents and alleged lese majeste offenders. In southern border provinces, serious abuses by all sides continue unabated in the fighting between separatist groups and security forces. The killing and enforced disappearance of human rights defenders and other activists, as well as reprisals via politically motivated criminal litigation, remain a pressing concern across Thailand. Millions of migrant workers face systematic abuse. Asylum seekers, having no legal avenue to bring their claims, are subject to arrest and deportation.

Finally, the armed conflict in Yemenhas been marked by serious violations of international law and an absence of accountability. The Saudi-led coalition has carried out numerous indiscriminate and disproportionate aerial attacks. Human Rights Watch alone documented 43 airstrikes that killed more than 670 civilians and 16 attacks involving indiscriminate cluster munitions. The Houthis and allied forces have fired weapons indiscriminately into civilian areas, recruited children, and laid anti-personnel landmines. The conflict has taken a terrible toll, with more than 3,500 civilians killed and 82 percent of the population needing humanitarian assistance. The Human Rights Council should establish an international me­chanism to investigate violations by all parties to the conflict.


UN Human Rights Council: General Debate under Item 4: Human Rights Crisis in Ethiopia March 15, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, Oromia, Oromia News, Oromiyaa, Oromo.
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Odaa Oromoo#OromoProtests global solidarity rally organised by the Australian Oromo community in Melbourne, 10 March 2016 p2
No To Fascist TPLF Ethiopia's genocidal militarism and mass killings in Oromia, Ethiopia
Women mourn during the funeral ceremony of a primary school teacher who family members said was shot dead by military forces during protests in OromiaGaaffiiwwan yeroo ammaa#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

(HRW  15 March 2016) — A human rights crisis is taking place in Ethiopia. It has received little attention internationally but is the biggest political crisis to hit Ethiopia since the 2005 elections.

Protesters in Oromia region, Ethiopia.

Protesters in Oromia region, Ethiopia, December 2015.

Since November 12, 2015, protesters across Ethiopia’s Oromia region have been risking their lives and liberty in the face of a brutal—and sometimes lethal–response from security forces. Soldiers and police have used deadly force and killed several hundred peaceful protesters. We understand that thousands of people have been detained in official and secret detention facilities. While there have been some incidents of violent clashes and some members of the security forces have also been killed, the vast majority of the protests have been peaceful.

The protests were triggered by the so-called Addis Ababa Master Plan, which envisioned expansion of Addis Ababa’s municipal boundary 20-fold. Protesters raised concerns that ethnic Oromos living in the area of that boundary expansion would be displaced from their farms. Ethnic Oromos, who make up approximately 35 percent of Ethiopia’s population, have long felt politically marginalized and culturally discriminated against by successive governments.

The government’s cancellation of the master plan in January came weeks too late for many protesters, who have seen too many killed and arbitrarily arrested. Over the four months of the protests, Human Rights Watch has documented security forces firing into crowds of protesters with little or no warning, the arrests of students as young as 8, and the torture of protesters in detention. Security forces have also arrested teachers, artists, political opposition leaders, and other influential Oromos who they believe are mobilizing protesters.

Since 2009, the Ethiopian government has systematically restricted independent media and civil society groups, both domestic and international. As a result, there has been limited reporting on the crackdown and inadequate international attention to this ongoing crisis. These restrictions make it difficult to verify the death toll and scale of the crackdown. It is clear, however, that the crackdown is putting Ethiopia on a very dangerous trajectory that could endanger its long term stability and progress.

Human Rights Watch urges the Council to raise concerns over the serious abuses taking place in Oromia. The Council should call on the Ethiopian government to cease using excessive force against protesters and release everyone arbitrarily detained. The Council should also support an independent investigation into the killings and other abuses. Any investigation should include sufficient levels of international involvement to ensure it is independent, credible, and impartial. Thank you.




A Call for the UN Human Rights Council to Create a Commission of Inquiry for Oromia State/Ethiopia December 24, 2015

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Odaa OromooHuman rights League of the Horn of Africa

HRLHA: A Call for the UN Human Rights Council to Create a Commission of Inquiry for Oromia Regional State/Ethiopia


Dec 24, 2015

Shocked and grieved by the unprecedented tyrannical actions and gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Ethiopian Government against the Oromo Nation in the past twenty five years, since the present government came into power in1991;

Condemning the recent deadly violence against Oromo peaceful demonstrators staged against the so called “Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan”- violence that has already claimed more than 200 lives including, children and senior citizens in December 2015 alone with more than 50,000 imprisoned;

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 calls on the United Nations Human Rights Council:

  • to create an international commission of inquiry to investigate the recent alleged serious violations of international customary law and international human rights law by the Ethiopian Government
  • to request the UN Commissioner of Human Rights to dispatch a mission to Oromia Regional State/Ethiopia immediately to investigate the alleged violations

In the meantime, the HRLHA calls upon the UN Human Rights Council to use its mandate to put pressure on the Ethiopian Government:

  • to immediately bring the “Agazi” paramilitary members who cold-bloodedly attacked the peaceful demonstrators to justice
  • 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 Oromos who have taken part in peaceful demonstrations

Background Reports:

The Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) government’s gross human rights abuses against the Oromo Nation in the past 25 years have been widely reported by domestic, regional and international human rights organizations and international media including Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty (AI), the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)[1], the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and others.


Human Rights League of the H. O. Africa background report, Human Rights violations against Oromo people in Ethiopia