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Ethiopia is following the path of failed states in the Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Middle East January 31, 2018

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Ethiopia is following the path of failed states in the Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.

Ethiopia faces a high risk of failure due to continued political and social instability in the country, the Fund for Peace reported in its Fragile States Index Annual Report 2017.

Over the past few years, months, weeks and days, security officers have killed anti-government protesters, resulting in more anti-government protests. The latest point in this vicious cycle occurred on January 20 when Ethiopian security forces shot and killed at least seven protesters. According to news reports, the protesters were celebrating a religious festival. Then they started chanting anti-government slogans and hurling stones at security officers, who responded by firing bullets.

Reports say the weekend clash was followed by a week of more violent clashes, which resulted in the death of at least 20 civilians.

Much of this bloodshed in Ethiopia is based on ethnic differences and territorial disputes between ethnic regions within the nation.

“Limited attention has been given to outbreaks of violence in Ethiopia, as anti-government protests, particularly in the Amhara and Oromia regions, led to a declaration of a [10-month] state of emergency in October 2016,” the Fund for Peace wrote in its report. “The state of emergency was also used as a tool to crack down on political opponents and media.”

Activists say that more than 700 Oromia residents were killed when security officers clashed with people from the Oromo ethnic group during a thanksgiving festival in October 2016. A similar incident happened in October last year when security forces killed about 10 people who were protesting food shortages. In December, military officials reportedly killed 15 protesters in Oromia.

“Ethiopia’s overall Fragile States Index (fsi) score has been incrementally worsening over the past decade, moving from 95.3 in 2007, to a score of 101.1 in [last] year’s 2017 index, with Ethiopia—along with Mexico—being the most-worsened country over [2016],” wrote the Fund for Peace. Foreign Policy wrote on January 11 that “Ethiopia Is Falling Apart.”  Click here to read more….


WHAT DOES UNREST IN OROMIA SIGNIFY? – IDA, Africa Watch December 25, 2017

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By Dr. Stephanie M. Burchard*, The Institute for Defense Analyses , Africa Watch

In mid-December, a series of violent clashes between ethnic Oromo and ethnic Somalis in the Oromia region of Ethiopia resulted in at least 61 fatalities. This outbreak of violence followed the deaths
of 16 protesters who were shot by state security forces on December 12 in Chelenko, located east of Mulu in [Eastern] Oromia. Ethiopia was previously under a state of emergency from October 2016 to August
2017 in response to waves of protest that originated in Oromia and swept the country beginning in 2014. What is driving the recent spate of violence in Oromia, and is it indicative of potential larger unrest?

Origins of Unrest

Despite commonalities in language, religion, and culture, Oromo and ethnic Somalis have experienced
intermittent conflict for at least the past 25 years. Their two regional states, Oromia and Somali, share a border that is poorly demarcated. Much of the conflict between the Oromo and Somali groups has historically centered on access to resources and land.
Both ethnic groups complain about being marginalized by the Ethiopian government, which has been
dominated by the Tigray ethnic group. Ethiopia is ethnically heterogeneous, with more than 80 recognized ethnic groups. The Tigray are one of Ethiopia’s smaller ethnic groups, representing about 6 percent of the total population.
The members of the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, which comprises an estimated 35 percent to 40 percent of the population, feel particularly underrepresented by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.
Although tensions between the Oromo and ethnic Somalis are long-standing, the most recent conflict needs to be contextualized against the backdrop of previous unrest in Oromia that began in 2014. After the announcement of a development scheme in 2014 (detailed in the August 25, 2016, issue of Africa Watch) that would have enabled the government to incorporate parts of Oromia into the capital city, Addis Ababa, protests broke out across Oromia.
During the initial phases of the project, Oromo leaders accused the government of taking over land and forcibly evicting families. Protests continued and the grievances expanded to include concerns over human rights abuses, political representation, and limitations placed on freedom of expression. The government ultimately abandoned its expansion plan in January 2016 in response to the unrest, but anti-government protests continued to spread to the Amhara community, Ethiopia’s second largest ethnic group, and the capital. The government imposed a state of emergency in October 2016.
Current Conflict Details are sparse about the most recent clashes, but reports indicate that members from the Oromo ethnic group were killed first, which then triggered reprisal killings of ethnic Somalis. The clashes are alleged to involve the Somali Special Police, the Liyu. The Liyu are a paramilitary group created by the government in the mid-2000s to deal with a previous secessionist group located in the Somali region, the Ogaden National Liberation Front. The Liyu have been accused of using excessive force and engaging in extrajudicial killings. Coincidentally, in October, government forces
were accused of killing four people in Oromia who were protesting the delivery of a shipment of arms to the Liyu.
While some are attempting to define the recent clashes as primarily ethnic in nature, activists in Oromia claim that the involvement of the Liyu indicates that it is actually state-sponsored violence.
The opinions expressed in these commentaries are those of the authors and should not be viewed
as representing the official position of the Institute for Defense Analyses or its sponsors.
Links to web sites are for informational purposes only and not an endorsement.
The December 2017 clashes appear to be part of an escalation of violence and protest in the region. From
October 1 to November 30, around 118 violent events took place in Oromia, almost 50 percent of which were protests.
An estimated 200 fatalities occurred and tens of thousands are believed to have been displaced. This increase in violence follows a lull from April to July. Roughly 30 percent of all conflict activity in 2017 has involved the Liyu in some capacity; almost 50 percent has involved state security forces
(military or police).

Government Response to Unrest

The Ethiopian government responded to the 2014 Oromia security situation with a heavy hand. Ethiopian police were responsible for hundreds of deaths during protests from 2014 to 2016. In 2016, at the height of the conflict, more than 1,000 fatalities were reported in Oromia. The government arrested protesters en masse and attempted to control the flow of information into and out of Oromia. During the state of emergency, at least 29,000 persons were arrested, many of whom are still awaiting trial. The government arrested scores of journalists and frequently jammed nonstate news sources to prevent them from broadcasting. According to Human Rights Watch, the government also routinely cut cell phone service in areas where the military was deployed, presumably to prevent information about the military’s actions from being publicized widely.


The Ethiopian government announced in August 2017 that it was lifting the state of emergency due to an
improved security situation, but recent events suggest a resurgence of violence and protest in Oromia. The uptick in violence may signal the beginning of renewed unrest in Ethiopia. This should serve as a reminder that the core issues underlying the previous unrest, namely state repression and political representation, were never adequately addressed.

Click here to read more in PDF: WHAT DOES UNREST IN OROMIA SIGNIFY? Africa Watch, December-21-2017-vol17 (1)

*Dr. Stephanie M. Burchard is a Research Staff Member in the Africa Program at the Institute for Defense Analyses.



Genocide in plain sight: TPLF’s (mass-) red-terror against the Oromo people. #Prevent #Genocide December 25, 2017

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Genocide in plain sight: TPLF’s (mass-) red-terror against the Oromo people

 By Aba Orma

The Ethiopian Somali state liyuu police force well trained by TPLF to kill Ogaden and Oromo civilians

The TPLF/EPRDF government has orchestrated genocide against the Oromo people with the help of TPLF’s Janjaweed, the Somali para-commando known as the “Liyu Police”. Even the ruling party admitted to that. Then why is the world community silent and allowed the regime to commit genocide after genocide against the peoples in Ethiopia?  Are they afraid that declaring such will collapse the TPLF/EPRDF government and that in turn will bring chaos to the country like that of South Sudan? America is once again knowingly or unknowingly failing to stop genocide in Ethiopia. The alternative to America’s inaction is even much costly in human lives and stability of the Horn of Africa. Whether they like it or not, it is paramount to address and redress the Oromo quest for self-determination to bring peace and stability in the region.

TPLF spokpersons and representatives always represented the Oromo killings and genocide in simplistic terms as ethnic/border conflicts whereas the truth is they are the instigators. Under normal circumstances, governments spin and twist facts to fit their narratives. Medias and observers seek facts and correct spins toward justice. In the Oromo case, the TPLF government spins and the West accepts that as facts and spread it further and provides financial and military supports.

“Genocide is the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group”. The violence in Oromia meets the criteria of genocide because it is racially based. The Liyu Police that TPLF generals trained, armed and advised from Somali ethnic group massacred, burned houses, confiscated properties, and displaced more than 700,000 Oromos from their homes in an ethnic cleansing. The West has spoken for much less scale of displacement and massacre as genocide.

The Oromos should not expect Colin Powel of South Sudan to rise for them or actor George Cooney to speak up on behalf of Oromos. They have only themselves and heroes like athlete Feyisa Lelisa and artist Hachalu Megersa amongst us who are willing to risk everything and speak up heroes.

If the Oromo activism we see today had started five years ago, it would have matured, crystalized and would have made a larger impact today. But we are where we are and the time is short. Without any more delay the Oromo activists put aside their difference must come together and have a unified voice to speak up for their brothers and sisters in peril.

The Oromo people had had enough and are rising up in Unisom from all corners of Oromia. From East Oromia to West Oromia, from South Oromia to North Oromia to central Oromia to change this rotten system and replace it with a bright, tolerant, and democratic system.   The OPDO seems to have discovered its voice and forced by people’s fundamental human rights question started to challenge the TPLF supremacy. We should all applaud for the courage they have shown us so far and at the same time make it clear to them that the relative support they are getting from their people is not here to stay if they don’t continue to stand up for the people and stop the genocide against their people, stop the exploitation of Oromia to build and rebuild Tigray, and restore the fundamental rights of the Oromo people: the right to self-determination.

The usual TPLF machination is not acceptable. Any cosmetics changes are not acceptable to the Oromo people. Expelling and courting few corrupted TPLF members in the name of reform is not acceptable. The acceptable outcome is a total and complete accountability for each and every innocent life taken away under their command, complete and total surrender of Oromia to the Oromo people.

Any short-hand settlement with the TPLF group will not solve the problem except exposes the inferiority of OPDO to the minority Tigray group with super-size power over the Federal government. It will ignite intensified resistance to the regime and OPDO. The rank-and-file of OPDO who witnessed the horror against their people closely are echoing the Oromo people’s question. Lemma and his young team of leaders have only one choice, to stand with their people to the end. Capitulating to this group with the push of the old guards that spoiled TPLF brats and got them to where they are today is a gigantic mistake of historical proportion.

The Oromo people expect to the minimum, in order of importance, the following condition to be met before any kind of arrangement or agreement with the TPLF group:

  1. Prime Minster H/Mariam Desalegne is incompetent and no more viable to lead the federal government and must resign from his post immediately. He failed the Oromo people when he intentionally chose to ignore the genocide against them and choose to speak selectively on the wrongful death of 31 Somali. The Parliament appoints a new prime minster with its full power.
  2. Every non-Oromo TPLF/Agazi army should leave Oromia and the internal security must be left to the Oromia police. The Oromo members of the army are organized under the command of Oromo generals. Agazi and its TPLF generals led genocide against the Oromo people.
  3. Immediate resettlement of the more than 700,000 Oromos displaced by the “Liyu Police”.
  4. Oromia state government must form an independent commission to investigate and bring to justice the people responsible for the Irreechaa Massacre, the Cheelenko Massacre, and TPLF’s Janjaweed, the Liyu Police.
  5. The composition of the country’s army and its leaders must be proportional to the population
  6. All illegally appropriated lands in the name of investment back to the people.
  7. All political prisoners must be released without any precondition
  8. The Oromia state must take charge of all prisons in Oromia. No Oromo should go to prison outside Oromia.

Any machination and hand twisting will only expose the true power of OPDO as a representative of the largest people in the country and consolidates the struggle in one and only one direction. The independence of Oromia!

Dagalee Media: Memorial for Irreecha 2016 and fundraising for Eastern Oromia held in Pennsylvania October 11, 2017

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Prof Al Mariam: ‘My Letter to President Trump Requesting Targeted Sanctions Against the TPLF Regime in Ethiopia’ October 3, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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My Letter to President Trump Requesting Targeted Sanctions Against the TPLF Regime in Ethiopia

October 2, 2017

Donald Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:

I am writing this letter for two purposes. First, I wish to thank you for imposing sanctions[1] on certain senior current and former South Sudan government officials and South Sudanese companies responsible for undermining peace, security and stability in that violence-wracked country.

Second, I am writing to request imposition of similar sanctions against members of the ruling regime in Ethiopia self-styled as the “Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front” led and dominated by the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), an entity listed as a terrorist organization in the Global Terrorism Database[2] (GTD).

The last act of terrorism committed by the TPLF, according to the GTD, was on August 16, 2016[3].

I believe it is fair and proper to give credit where credit is due. While some have claimed the sanctions imposed on South Sudan’s leaders and their accomplices are meager and inadequate[4], I believe the action sends a clear and unambiguous message to all Africans in positions of power that protection of human rights is a central component of an America-first U.S. foreign policy in Africa, a fact that has been underscored by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson[5].

I am especially elated to learn the U.S. Treasury Department “will forcefully respond to the atrocities ongoing in South Sudan by targeting those who abuse human rights, seek to derail the peace process, and obstruct reconciliation in South Sudan.” Such a resolute statement goes a long way in reassuring not only the people of South Sudan but also all Africans that the U.S. will not merely talk the talk about being on the “right side of history” but also walk the talk by acting decisively and selectively against individuals and entities engaged in gross human rights violations.

I wish to point out for the record that the sanctions you have imposed in South Sudan are in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s lifting of sanctions against the Sudan in its last week in office.

During his presidential candidacy in 2007, Barack Obama said[6], the “genocide in Darfur [Sudan] is a stain on our souls… As a president of the United States I don’t intend to abandon people or turn a blind eye to slaughter.”

In the final week of his presidency, on January 13, 2017, Mr. Obama turned a blind eye to the genocidal Sudanese regime and stood on the “wrong side of history” when he rescinded  sanctions authorized pursuant to  Executive Order 13067[7] of November 3, 1997 and Executive Order 13412[8] of October 13, 2006 related to the policies and actions of the Government of Sudan.

In issuing his rescission of Executive Order 13761[9],  Mr. Obama whitewashed the bloody genocidal crimes of the Sudanese regime by speciously claiming that regime has shown “positive actions over the past 6 months”. The “actions” allegedly included maintaining cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in the Sudan, improving humanitarian access and counterterrorism cooperation.

It is said, “one swallow does not make a summer.” It is incomprehensible to me how Mr. Obama could gloss over and excuse atrocities committed over a period exceeding two decades on mere gestures of good behavior over six months.

What is even more appalling is Mr. Obama’s duplicity and hypocrisy in completely ignoring Sudan’s close ties with North Korea and purchase of weapons from that rogue regime for use in the commission of human rights violations and atrocities. In lifting sanctions against the Sudan, Mr. Obama also conveniently ignored the fact that Sudan has been on the list[10] of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993 and had provided a haven to Osama bin Laden.

Perhaps one should not be surprised by Mr. Obama’s stratagems and sophistry in exculpating those on the “wrong side of history”, as he used to call them. When Mr. Obama visited Ethiopia in July 2015, he unabashedly declared the TPLF regime, which claimed electoral victory by capturing 100 percent of the “parliamentary” seats, as “democratically elected[11].”

In light of Mr. Obama’s double-speak and duplicity on human rights in Africa, I find your recent targeted sanctions against South Sudan and the tenor of your administration’s emerging human rights policy forthright, refreshing and encouraging.

I believe selective and targeted sanctions such as the one imposed against South Sudanese leaders and companies can serve as effective tools of an America-first foreign policy in advancing the cause of human rights globally, and particularly in Africa. Targeted sanctions selectively and purposefully focus on leaders, their family members and supporters, political elites and segments of society known to be directly responsible for human rights violations or in aiding, abetting and giving material support in the commission of such violations. Blanket sanctions are more likely to inflict greater hardship and suffering on the general population, and often those engaged in gross human rights violations find ways to circumvent them. It has been observed that “targeted sanctions” or “smart sanctions” are like “smart bombs”, considerably reducing collateral damage on civilian populations.

I believe in the old saying, “What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” What is good for South Sudan is good for Ethiopia.

I am requesting that you follow up with targeted sanctions against current and senior members of the “Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front” led and dominated by the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front and other entities aiding and abetting that regime in the commission of human rights violations in Ethiopia. The evidence of human rights violations supporting targeted sanctions against the TPLF regime is overwhelming, incontrovertible, substantial and compelling.

The Irreecha Massacres of October 2, 2016

On October 2, 2016, troops loyal to the ruling Tigrean Peoples’ Liberation Front opened fire indiscriminately on crowds at a religious festival known as “Irreecha” attended by an “estimated 2 million people[12] in the town of Bishoftu, some 45 miles southeast of the capital Addis Ababa.

The TPLF regime reported 52 dead from what it said was crowd “stampede[13] caused by anti-government elements”. In a televised address, the regime’s prime minster blamed the victims for provoking troops into using indiscriminate deadly force.

On October 3, 2016, Freedom House issued a statement[14] on the Irreecha Massacres demanding an independent investigation: “The deaths in Bishoftu occurred because security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at a crowd of over a million people celebrating a religious occasion. The government of Ethiopia should allow a truly independent body to investigate the tragedy at Bishoftu as well as security forces’ well-documented record of using excessive force against peaceful gatherings.”

Eyewitness reports including statements by accredited Voice of America Amharic Service program journalists revealed that heavily armed regime troops had taken tactical positions behind the VIP grandstand hidden from direct view of the crowd and suddenly opened live fire on the unarmed and peacefully protesting crowd after the official program could not proceed due to crowd demands and chants against the regime.

On October 8, the TPLF regime declared a “state of emergency” suspending the constitution and instituting martial law under an entity called “Command Post[15]”.

On November 12, 2016, the regime officially reported[16] arresting “11,607 people, including 347 women”. The U.S. State Department in its 2016 human rights report[17]stated, “Many [of the thousands arrested] were never brought before a court, provided access to legal counsel, or formally charged with a crime.” The actual number of persons arrested was significantly higher than officially reported. In March 2017, the Command Post “announced that 4,996 of the 26,130 people detained for allegedly taking part in protests would be brought to court.”

An “investigative report” on the Irreecha Massacres released by the regime’s human rights organization in April 2016 rubberstamped the regime’s original position: “The violence happened because the protesters were using guns and so security forces had no other option.”

In its June 2016 report entitled “Such a Brutal Crackdown’: Killings and Arrests in Response to Ethiopia’s Oromo Protest”, Human Rights Watch stated, “security forces in Ethiopia have used excessive and lethal force against largely peaceful protests that have swept through Oromia, the country’s largest region, since November 2015.”

On September 19, 2017, Human Rights Watch in its 33-page report entitled “Fuel on the Fire’: Security Force Response to the 2016 Irreecha Cultural Festival” provided details on the regime’s “use of force in response to restive crowds at 2016’s Irreecha.” The report “found evidence that security force personnel not only triggered the stampede that caused many deaths but subsequently shot and killed some members of the crowd.”

Over the past year, the TPLF regime has committed unspeakable atrocities in Northern Ethiopia including Gonder, Wolkait, Bahr Dar and other locations.

The Irreecha Massacres are only the latest in the 26-year sordid history of gross and egregious human rights violation by the TPLF regime in Ethiopia.

On May 16, 2005, one day after the general election, the late leader of the TPLF regime, Meles Zenawi, also declared a state of emergency, outlawed all public gatherings and placed under his direct personal command and control all police, security and military forces in the country. Zenawi personally authorized the use of deadly force against any protesters in the post-election period. As a result, nearly a thousand people were either killed or severely wounded by regime troops. Zenawi subsequently set up an Inquiry Commission. That Commission was forced to go into exile following harassment and threats by the TPLF regime to falsify its findings. In November 2006, that Commission shared[18] its findings with members of the Africa Subcommittee in the House of Representatives. The Inquiry Commission laid the entire blame at the feet of the TPLF regime and rejected their spurious claims and justifications for use of deadly force.

partial list of the names of the victims of the Meles Massacres is publicly available.

list of names of those security, military and police officials directly involved in the post-2005 election massacres is also available. The TPLF regime to date has taken no action against these officials.

In May 2014, troops loyal to the TPLF regime massacred at least 47 university and high school students in the town of Ambo 80 miles west of the capital Addis Ababa. Eyewitnesses reported significantly higher casualties and fatalities than officially reported. Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement[19] condemning the “shooting at and beating [of] peaceful protesters in Ambo, Nekemte, Jimma, and other towns”. According to HRW, the student “protests erupted over the release of the proposed Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan” which would “expand Addis Ababa’s municipal boundary to include more than 15 communities in Oromia” and displace Oromo farmers and residents.

In December 2003, the TPLF massacred hundreds of Anuak people in Gambella in Western Ethiopia. Human Rights Watch documented  that TPLF troops “subjected Anuak communities throughout the region to widespread and systematic acts of murder, rape, torture, arbitrary imprisonment and the destruction of entire villages.” Genocide Watch sent a fact-finding team in Gambella and secured[21]  authentic documents “proving that the Gambella massacres were planned at the highest levels of the Ethiopian government, and even given the code name “Operation Sunny Mountain”. A report[20] by the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program on the Anuak Massacre concluded, “From December 2004 to at least January 2006, the ENDF (Ethiopian National Defense Forces) attacked and abused Anuak civilians in Gambella region – wantonly killing, raping, beating, torturing, and harassing civilians.”

In 2007, the TPLF regime massacred hundreds of people in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. Human Rights Watch in its June 2008 report[22] entitled “Collective Punishment: War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in the Ogaden area of Ethiopia’s Somali Region” documented, “Ethiopian troops have forcibly displaced entire rural communities, ordering villagers to leave their homes within a few days or witness their houses being burnt down and their possessions destroyed and risk death.”

The TPLF regime has refused to undertake meaningful and credible investigations into these crimes against humanity despite requests by human rights groups and even the U.N. The TPLF regime has refused entry to all UN special rapporteurs since 2007 to investigate human rights violations in Ethiopia.

The TPLF regime has dismissed and ignored all calls for an independent investigation of the Irreecha Massacres by United Nations top human rights official[23]the African Commission[24], the European parliament[25], and members of United States Congress[26].

The difference between the South Sudanese regime and the TPLF regime on human rights is the difference between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Both regimes are peas in a pod. Thus, what is good enough for the South Sudanese regime is good enough for the TPLF regime.

I believe an America-first human rights policy which employs targeted sanctions to promote human rights, democracy and peace in Africa is not only necessary but also likely to produce outcomes that are consistent with the values and principles of American taxpayers.

Millions of refugees are leaving Africa to come go to Europe and North America because life is hell for them in Africa under brutal and bloodthirsty dictatorships, not merely to seek better economic opportunities. The U.S. can effectively deal with this problem by addressing the root cause of migration out of Africa, namely, brutal and oppressive dictatorships that treat their citizens as slaves and their countries’ treasuries and resources as their private estates. Selective and targeted sanctions aimed at the financial and logistical incapacitation of leaders, political elites and segments of society known to be directly responsible for human rights violations or engaged in aiding, abetting and giving material support in the commission of such violations in Africa is the proverbial two-by-four that will quickly get their attention.

For well over a decade, I have argued without pause that the best way to help Africa is to let Africa help itself. Africa can never be free until African leaders are held to account and forced to abandon the culture of panhandling, which have perfected as an art form. The U.S. must end its aid welfare program to African dictators who siphon off much of that aid and deposit it in their private offshore bank accounts. Your transition team hit the nail on the head when it demndaed answers from the State Department to the following question: “With so much corruption in Africa, how much of our funding is stolen?”

I wish I could definitively answer that question for you. But I can say definitively that to begin the effort to find out “how much of our funding is stolen” in Africa, we must make targeted sanctions a central part of the America-first foreign policy in Africa.

Mr. President, what I am asking is not anything extraordinary. I am merely requesting that you impose the same targeted sanctions you imposed on the leaders, supporters and business entities in South Sudan to the leaders, supporters and business entities responsible for human rights violations in Ethiopia. What is good enough for South Sudan is good enough for Ethiopia.

Mr. President, when Mr. Obama visited Ghana in his first trip to Africa in July 2009, he said, “Now, make no mistake: History is on the side of these brave Africans, not with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power. Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.”

The people of Ethiopia and the people of Africa are on tenterhooks to find out if you are going to stand with African dictators or the common people yearning to breathe free.

I am betting my bottom dollar that you will stand with the people of Africa and not the dictators who lord over them, as did Mr. Obama.

I will guarantee that you will have 100 million fans in Ethiopia if you institute targeted sanctions against members of the TPLF regime and its cronies involved in gross human rights violations, and win more than a 1.2 billion Africans if you make targeted sanctions a core part of your America-first policy in Africa.

I guarantee it!


Alemayehu (Al) G. Mariam, M.A., Ph.D., J.D.
Professor and Attorney at Law

Cc: Hon. Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State
Hon. Steven T. Mnuchin, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Hon. Nimrata “Nikki” Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

[1] https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/sm0152.aspx

[2] http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?perpetrator=2127

[3] http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=201608260003

[4] http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/09/06/u-s-sanctions-south-sudanese-leaders/

[5] https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/05/270620.htm

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEd583-fA8M

[7] https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/13067.pdf

[8] https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/13412.pdf

[9] https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/DCPD-201700026/pdf/DCPD-201700026.pdf

[10] https://www.state.gov/j/ct/list/c14151.htm

[11] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/28/world/africa/obama-calls-ethiopian-government-democratically-elected.html?mcubz=3&mtrref=www.google.com&gwh=BBE0F6C584580DEF4C73E4D0F43ECE1F&gwt=pay

[12] http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/03/africa/ethiopia-oromo-deaths/index.html

[13] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ethiopia-stampede-violent-clashes-death-toll-oromia-disaster-bishoftu-protest-more-than-100-a7342951.html

[14] https://freedomhouse.org/article/ethiopia-more-150-dead-after-security-forces-fire-crowd

[15] http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/politics/item/2067-command-post-established-to-oversee-implementation-of-emergency-rule

[16] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/11/ethiopia-state-emergency-arrests-top-11000-161112191919319.html

[17] https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper


[19] https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/05/05/ethiopia-brutal-crackdown-protests

[20] http://hrp.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Ethiopia_2006_Report.pdf



[23] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-violence-un-idUSKCN10L1SY

[24] http://www.achpr.org/sessions/59th/resolutions/356/

[25] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P8-TA-2016-0023+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN

[26] https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hres128/BILLS-115hres128ih.pdf

Statement of International Oromo Lawyers Association In Commemoration Of Irreecha Massacre, 2nd October 2016. September 30, 2017

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Statement of International Oromo Lawyers Association In Commemoration Of Irrecha Massacre.

It is one year ago that the world witnessed the naked brutality of the TPLF-led Ethiopian regime, when it carried out a large scale massacre against the Oromo people gathered at the annual thanks-giving festival – Ireecha, in Bishoftu, some 45 kilometers, south of the capital.


According to reliable information, close to 1000 civilians were killed as a result of combination of stampede and use of life bullets as well as blockade of paths by the security forces. By all accounts, and conclusions by human rights experts, the tragedy was a well-designed and pre-planned government action against the Oromo people, who were already engaged in a year-long peaceful demonstration in the entire Oromia State region, demanding respect for their fundamental human rights.


Today, a year later, the government did not carry an investigation nor hold any official accountable for the death of the thousand civilians which resulted from the use of disproportionate use of force. To the contrary, it arrested and detained thousands of Oromo civilians for alleged instigation of disturbances.


This year, the festival is going to take place at the usual place following established rituals.  What is now becoming everyone’s worry is that, participants of the festival may try to use the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the way the government addresses, or failed to address at all, their demand for respect for their fundamental rights, which may be used as a pretext by the security forces to react with a force which is disproportional to the demand and the civilian character of the demanding population.


That being the case, IOLA would like to join the international community in general and human rights institutes in particular in expressing its deepest concern regarding the possibility of unrest and subsequent harm to the civilian population during this year’s celebration of Ireecha.


It therefore demands that the government should:

  1. Take advance measures to put in place all what is needed for the citizens to peacefully celebrate Ireecha as per established ritual and without disturbances by the security forces;
  2. Ensure that security forces use proportionate force needed to maintain law and order;
  3. Take all the necessary security measures to ensure that the physical safety and security of civilians festival-goers is not compromised;
  4. Remind its security forces and give them clear guidance that Ethiopia is bound by the international Covenants and Conventions it had signed and that they should adhere and properly implement the United Nations Basic Principles on the use of Fire Arms.


International Oromo Lawyers Association.

HRW: Ethiopia: Exercise Restraint at Upcoming Irreecha Festival. International Inquiry Needed into Deaths at 2016 Event September 21, 2017

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Ethiopia: Exercise Restraint at Upcoming Festival

International Inquiry Needed into Deaths at 2016 Event

Human Rights Watch, 19 September 2017

Statement from Oromo Federalist Congress: የታሪክ ሽሚያ ለማካሄድ ካልሆነ በስተቀር የእሬቻ ሰማዕታት ፓርክ/ሐዉልት በተጠያቂዎች ሊቆም አይገባም፤ በመሬት ጥያቄ ምክንያትም የሰዉ ሕይወት አይቀጠፍም፡፡ September 7, 2017

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Oromo Federalist Congress Statement on 7  September  2017, page1.png

Oromo Federalist Congress Statement on 7  September  2017, page2.png


የታሪክ ሽሚያ ለማካሄድ ካልሆነ በስተቀር የእሬቻ ሰማዕታት ፓርክ/ሐዉልት በተጠያቂዎች ሊቆም አይገባም፤ በመሬት ጥያቄ ምክንያትም የሰዉ ሕይወት አይቀጠፍም፡፡

ከኦሮሞ ፌዴራላዊ ኮንግሬስ የተሰጠ መግለጫ

መስከረም 22 ቀን 2009 የእሬቻን ባህላዊና ሃይማኖታዊ በዓል ለማክበር በቢሾፍቱ ሆራ አርሰዲ በተሰባሰቡ የኦሮሞ ዜጎች ላይ ሆን ተብሎ በተወሰደ የመንግስት ያልተገባ እርምጃ የብዙ ዜጎች ሕይወት ተሰዉቷል፡፡ አስቀድሞ ሲደረጉ የነበሩ ዝግጅቶች አደጋ ሊያስከትሉ እንደሚችሉ በመጠርጠር ፓርቲያችን፤ የኦሮሞ ፌዴራላዊ ኮንግሬስ “የእሬቻ በዓል የሕዝብ ባህልና ሃይማኖት በጣምራ የሚከበርበት መሆኑ ታዉቆ ማናቸዉም የፖለቲካ ኃይሎች ከዋዜማዉ ጀምሮ ጣልቃ ከመግባት እንዲቆጠቡ አበክረን እናሳስባለን፡፡” የሚል መግለጫ መስከረም 10/2009 ማዉጣታችንን እናስታዉሳለን፡፡
የሰጠነዉ ማሳሰቢያ የመንግስት ባለሥልጣን ሰሚ ጆሮ ባለማግኘቱና ቀደም ሲልም በሕዝብና በገዥዉ ፓርቲ መሀከል የነበረዉ መልካም ያልሆነዉ ግንኙነት ፈጦ ሊወጣ በመቻሉ በተለይም ወጣቱ የተቃዉሞ ድምፅ በማሰማቱ የመንግስት ኃይሎች በታዘዙት መሠረት የኃይል እርምጃ ወስደዋል፡፡ በዚህም የተነሳ ጥቂት በሚባሉ ወጣቶች የተቃዉሞ መፈክር ማንሳት የተነሳ፤ የመንግስት ኃይሎች ኃላፊነት በጎደለዉ ሁኔታ እጅግ ብዙ ሆኖ በተሰበሰበዉና ምንም ማምለጫ መንገድ በሌለዉ ንጹኃን ሕዝብ ላይ የኃይል እርምጃ ተወስዷል፡፡ በዚያ ዓይነት ሁኔታ በሕዝብ ላይ የበቀል እርምጃ መዉሰድ እጅጉን የሚከብድ መሆኑ ማመዛዘን ለሚችል ሰዉ የሚከብድ መሆኑ እየታወቀ፤ ከአቅም በላይ የሆነ እርምጃ በመወሰዱ የብዙ ዜጎቻችን ሕይወት በአሰቃቂ ሁኔታ አልፏል፡፡

የዚህ መግለጫ አስፈላጊነት ደግሞ እነዚያን በግፍ የተገደሉ ዜጎችን ለማስታወስ ሲባል የመታሰቢያ ፓርክ የሚባል ተገቢ ባልሆነ ቦታ ላይ ተገቢ ባልሆነ አካል መሰራቱ ነዉ፡፡ በወቅቱ የተገደሉ ዜጎች ተለይተዉ መላዉ ሕዝብ ባላወቀበትና በገለልተኛ አካል ተጣርቶ በኦሮሞ ሕዝብ ደንብ መሠረት ጉማ ወይም የደም ካሳ ባልተከፈበት ሁኔታ ዉስጥ ሆኖ፤ ገዳዮችና አዛዦቻቸዉ ለፍርድ ሳይቀርቡ ፓርክ ተሰራላቸዉ ሲባል የሟች ቤተሰቦችም ሆኑ መላዉ ሕብረተሰባችን የሚቀበሉት አይደለም፡፡ ምክንያቱ ቀላል ነዉ፡፡ የሰማዕታት ሐዉልትም ሆነ የመታሰቢያ ፓርክ በተጠያቂዎች አይገነባም፡፡ ከኢትዮጵያ ፌዴራላዊ ዴሞክራሲያዊ መንግስትም ሆነ ከኦሮሚያ ብሔራዊ ክልላዊ መንግስታት የሚጠበቅ ነገር ቢኖር የሟቾችን ማንነት በገለልተኛ አካል ይፋ ማድረግ፣ ጉማ ወይም የደም ካሳ መክፈልና ገዳዮችን ለፍርድ ማቅረብ ነዉ፡፡

ይህ በእንዲህ እንዳለ ተሰራ የተባለዉ የመታሰቢያ ፓርክም ዜጎቹ ከተገደሉበት ቦታ ርቆ መተከሉ የግብር ይዉጣ ሥራ ከመሆኑም በላይ የታሪክ ሽሚያ ለማካሄድ ካልሆነ በስተቀር የእሬቻ የሰማዕታት ሐዉልትም ሆነ ፓርክ በተጠያቂዎች ሊቆም አይገባም እንላለን፡፡ በሌላም በኩል ሕብረተሰቡ እነዚህ የተሰዉ ወገኖች በጥልቅ ሐዘን የሚያስታዉሳቸዉ ከመሆኑም በላይ ስማቸዉንና ምስላቸዉን በዝርዝር ማስቀመጥ ሲገባ እንዲሁ አንድ ቁም ድንጋይ ተክሎ ከጉዳዩ ጋር የማይመስለዉን ሀተታ በጽሑፍ ማስቀመጡ አሳዝኖናል፡፡ ከዚህ ጋርም በፓርኩ የመግቢያ በር ላይ በአፋን ኦሮሞ ተጽፎ የሚገኘዉ “Paarkii Yaadannoo Namoota Ayyanaa Irreechaa Irratti Lubbuun Isaani Tasa Darbe Yaadachuuf Moggaafame” የሚለዉ ዜጎቹ የሞቱት በድንገተኛ ሁኔታ እንደሆነ በጽሑፍ ማስቀመጡ በኦሮሞ ዜጎች መስዋዕትነት ላይ የማፈዝ ያህል ስለሆነ ተጨማሪ የሕዝብና የመንግስት ግጭትን ሳይጋብዝ ከቦታዉ እንዲነሳ እንጠይቃለን፡፡

ከቅርብ ጊዜያት ወዲህ ከኦሮሚያ ክልል ላይ የድንበር ጥያቄ የሚያነሱና በድንበሮች አካባቢ በሚገኙ የኦሮሞ ዜጎች ላይ ጥቃት የሚፈጽሙ ኃይሎች ጉዳይ ከአሳሳቢ ደረጃም ያለፈና የዜጎቻችንን ሕይወት እየቀጠፈ መሆኑን ተገንዝበናል፡፡ ይህ የመሬት ጥያቄ የድንበር አከባቢ ሕዝቦችን በማጋጨት ከፍተኛ የሕይወት መስዋዕትነት እያስከፈለ ይገኛል፡፡ የመሬት ጥያቄዉን አንዳንዴ ሲመለከቱት ኢትዮጵያዊያን በቀጣይ ጊዜያት ዉስጥ አብሮ የመኖር ዕጣ ፋንታቸዉ እያበቃ ያለ ያስመስላል፡፡ ምክንያቱም በምዕራብ፣ በደቡብ ምዕራብና በምስራቅ ኦሮሚያ በኩል የሚገኙት የገዥዉ ፓርቲ ካድሬዎችና ካቢኔዎች የሕዝቦች አብሮነት እንዲያከትም ፍላጎት ያላቸዉ ይመስላሉ፡፡

በድንበር አከባቢ የሚኖሩ ሕዝቦች በግጦሽ ሳር፣ በኩሬ ዉሃ፣ በጠፈ ከብትና በጥቃቅን ነገሮች ሊጋጩ እንደሚችሉና በአከባቢ ሽማግሌዎችና በጎሳ መሪዎች አማካይነት ሊታረቁ እንደሚችሉ፤ እነዚህ የአገር ሽማግሌዎችና የጎሳ መሪዎች ችግሮችን ሲፈቱም እንደነበረ ይታወቃል፡፡ የመሬት ወረራዉና የሰዎች ግድያዉ የኦሮሞን ሕዝብ ቁጥርና የኦሮሚያን የቆዳ ስፋት ለማሳነስ ታቅዶ የተቀመጠዉን እስትራቴጂ ተግባራዊ ለማድረግ እንቅስቃሴ ላይ ያለ ይመስላል፡፡ በተለይም በምስራቅ ኦሮሚያ በኩል በሱማሌ ልዩ ኃይል በኦሮሞ ዜጎች ላይ እየደረሰ ያለዉ ጥቃት እጅጉን ያሳስበናል፡፡
ስለሆነም እንደዚህ ዓይነት የጥቃት እርምጃዎች ለወደፊቱ ኢትዮጵያዊያን አብሮነት የማይፈይድና ወቅትን እየጠበቀ የሚፈነዳ ፈንጂ እየሆነ ስለሚቀጥል የሚመለከታቸዉ የመንግስት አካላትና ሕብረተሰቡ አስፈላጊዉን የዕርምት እርምጃ እንዲወስዱ አበክረን እናሳስባለን፡፡

የኦሮሞ ፌዴራላዊ ኮንግሬስ
ፊንፊኔ፤ ጳጉሜን 2/2009

Oromia: Ethiopia’s bereaved families seek justice September 5, 2017

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist



Bereaved families in Ethiopia are demanding justice for 650 anti-government protesters who were killed last year.

They were from the largest ethnic group, the Oromo, and died during a government crackdown on dissent.

Despite repeated government promises that security forces responsible for civilian deaths will be punished, no one has been charged.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports from Addis Ababa.

Oromia: Gumiin Waaqeffannaa Addunyaa Siidaa sobaa Mootummaan Naannoo Oromiyaa eebbise balaaleffachuun ibsa kana baasera. August 27, 2017

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist




Gumii WaaqeffannaaGumii Waaqeffannaa

Gumiin Waaqeffannaa Addunyaa Siidaa sobaa Mootummaan Naannoo Oromiyaa eebbise balaaleffachuun ibsa kana baasera. Waliif dabarsaa

Ibsa gaazexaawwaniif  Hagayya 27.08.2017

Dhimma: Siidaa wareegamtootaf Irreechatiif ijaarame laallata
Motumman Naannoo Oromiyaa Siidaa Wareegamtoota irreechatiif ijaarsise jedhee guyyaa 27/08/2017 siidaa fudhatama hin qabne tokko ebbisiisee jira. Nuti miseensonni Gumii Waaqeffannaa Oromoo siidaa ijaarame jedhame kana hadheefanne mormina. Sababiin nuti morminuufis:

1. Siidan kun hawaasa bal’aa, qaama hawaasaa dhimmi isaan ilaalu fi hayyoota wajjin mariin osoo hin godhamin maal na dhibdeen ijaaramu isaa

2. Iddoon itti ijaarame bakkuma dhumaatii sun gahe ta’uu osoo qabuu iddoo taate sun itti uumamerra km 10 fageessanii bakka namni hinarginetti ijaaramuu isaa

3. Barreefamni siidaa sanirratti barreefamee “Tasa lubbuun isaanii darbe” kan jedhu gonkuma taate sana kan hin ibsine ta’uu isaatifi wareegamtoonni kuni tasa osoo hintaane beekaa Wayyaanen kan fixxe dhoksuuf yaaluu isaanii

4. Akka heera biyattii mootuman dhimma amanti keessa hin galu kan jedhu ifatti barrefamee osoo jiru mootumman tuffii maal fiduun dhimma amantii waaqeffannaa keessa galuun yoo barbade baandii, yeroo kan abba gadaa angora bu’e fayyadamuun adeemsa sirna amantichaa jeequ isaa

5. Dhabbileen mirga namaa hedduun dhumaatin irreecha irratti gahe qaama walabaan yaa qoratamu jedhee bakka gaafatetti mootumman gaafii kana gurra duchachuun oftuuluman umata ofuma ajeesanii ofuma siida ijaarutti egaluu isaa

Walumaa galatti siidaa ijaarame jedhame dabalatee gochoota qaaneessaa mootummaan naannoo Oromiyaas ta’ee motumman Itiyophiyaa Gumii waaqqeffanna fi dhimma waaqeffanna irratti fudhacha jiran kan morminu ta’un ibsna.
Oromoo yeroo isaaf mijatetti wareegamtoota ofiitif siidaa akka aadaa ofii waliin walsimsiiisee kan ijaaru yoo ta’u kan yakka dalagame san maqsuuf ijaarame kana kan hinfudhannee ta’uu ibsina. Inuu kana gochuun dhiiga wareegamtootaa saniin akka qoosuttitti laalama.

Kanaaf Gumii Waaqeffattoota Addunyaa siidaa sobaa kana nibalaaleffata. Siidan sobaa kunis buqqa’ee kan seeraa ummanni Oromoo oofiin ijaarrattu qaba jennee amanna.

Gumii Waqeffannaa Oromoo Addunyaa

[Obboo Asnake T Erko]


HRW: UN Rights Council should address DR Congo, Turkey, and Ethiopia June 17, 2017

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In Ethiopia, a state of emergency has been in place since October, following a year of protests where around 1000 were killed by security forces, tens of thousands detained, and key opposition figures charged under the antiterrorism law. Restrictions have resulted in a cessation of protests for now, providing a window of opportunity for the government, but there is little sign that they are moving to implement human rights reforms. Ethiopia has ignored repeated calls for international investigations, saying it can investigate itself, but recent investigations by the Human Rights Commission have not met even the most basic standards of impartiality, underlining the need for an international investigation.


UN Rights Council should address DR Congo, Turkey, and Ethiopia; Greece should not block EU attention to human rights in China

HRW, 16 June 2017

Item 4 General Debate

Al Jazeera: Ethiopia ‘ruthlessly targeted’ Oromo ethnic group, report finds. #OromoProtests #OromoRevolution October 30, 2016

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomistOromo are ancient people Africa (Oromia, kemet)

Former detainees describe beatings, electric shocks and gang rape, according to Amnesty International report

Ethiopia has “ruthlessly targeted” and tortured thousands of people belonging to its largest ethnic group for perceived opposition to the government, rights group Amnesty International said in a report released Tuesday.

The report, based on over 200 testimonies, said at least 5,000 members of the Oromo ethnic group, which has a distinct language and accounts for over 30 percent of the country’s population, had been arrested between 2011 and 2014 for their “actual or suspected peaceful opposition to the government.”

“The Ethiopian government’s relentless crackdown on real or imagined dissent among the Oromo is sweeping in its scale and often shocking in its brutality,” said Amnesty International researcher Claire Beston.

The rights group said those arrested included students and civil servants. They were detained based on their expression of cultural heritage such as wearing clothes in colors considered to be symbols of Oromo resistance – red and green – or alleged chanting of political slogans.

Oromia, the largest state in Ethiopia, has long had a difficult relationship with the central government in Addis Ababa. A movement has been growing there for independence. And the government has outlawed a secessionist group, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which has fought for self-determination for over 40 years.

Since 1992, the OLF has waged a low-level armed struggle against the Ethiopian government, which has accused the group of carrying out a series of bombings throughout the country.

Amnesty said that the majority of Oromo people targeted are accused of supporting the OLF, but that the “allegation is frequently unproven” and that it is “merely a pretext to silence critical voices and justify repression.”

“The report tends to confirm the claims that diaspora-based Oromo activists have been making for some time now,” Michael Woldemariam, a professor of international relations and political science at Boston University, told Al Jazeera. “What it does do, however, is provide a wealth of detail and empirical material that lends credibility to claims we have heard before.”

Missing fingers, ears, teeth

Former detainees – who fled the country and were interviewed by Amnesty in neighboring Kenya, Somaliland and Uganda – described torture, “including beatings, electric shocks, mock execution, burning with heated metal or molten plastic, and rape, including gang rape,” Amnesty said.

Although the majority of former detainees interviewed said they never went to court, many alleged they were tortured to extract a confession.

“We interviewed former detainees with missing fingers, ears and teeth, damaged eyes and scars on every part of their body due to beating, burning and stabbing – all of which they said were the result of torture,” said Beston.

Redwan Hussein, Ethiopia’s government spokesman, “categorically denied” the report’s findings. He accused Amnesty of having an ulterior agenda and of repeating old allegations.

“It (Amnesty) has been hell-bent on tarnishing Ethiopia’s image again and again,” he told Agence France-Press.

The report also documented protests that erupted in April and May over a plan to expand the capital Addis Abba into Oromia territory. It said that protests were met with “unnecessary and excessive force,” which included “firing live ammunition on peaceful protestors” and “beating hundreds of peaceful protesters and bystanders,” resulting in “dozens of deaths and scores of injuries.”

Oromo singers, writers and poets have been arrested for allegedly criticizing the government or inciting people through their work. Amnesty said they, along with student groups, protesters and people promoting Oromo culture, are treated with hostility because of their “perceived potential to act as a conduit or catalyst for further dissent.”

Al Jazeera and wire services. Philip J. Victor contributed to this report. 


#OromoProtests, #OromoRevolution: The point of no return in Ethiopia October 26, 2016

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“We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.”  In Ethiopia, the government’s actions have left many people with no other option but to fight.


Screen grab of a video of Irreechaa protest, published by Jawar Mohammed via France24.

Hundreds of Ethiopians have been killed by their government this year. Hundreds. You might not have known because casualty numbers have been played down; “evil forces” and accidents are blamed rather than the soldiers that fired the bullets; we are even deprived of the ability to fully grasp the situation because journalists are not allowed to report on it and the Internet is periodically shut down by the government. (In fact, last week Ethiopia finally admitted to the deaths of more than 500 anti-government protestors. Protesters insist that more people have died.) Whatever we make of the government’s prevarication, the Irreechaa Massacre that took place at the beginning of this month was a point of no return.

Irreechaa is a sacred holiday celebrated by the Oromo people, when several thousands gather annually at the banks of Lake Hora Arasadi in the town of Bishoftu to give thanks. At this year’s Irreechaa celebration, a peaceful protest broke out after government officials tried to control who was allowed to speak at the large gathering. What happened next is unpardonable.

Video footage shows government forces shooting tear gas and live ammunition into the crowd. Panic erupts. Women, children and men who had come to celebrate flee for safety but many are trampled on, drown and fall to their deaths. The government claims only 55 were killed in the incident. Non-governmental sources, however, put that figure at over 300. Mainstream media has conveniently portrayed the cause of the tragedy as a stampede yet simple logic refutes this. “When you fire on a crowd of 3 million close to a cliff and adjacent to a lake, causing mayhem, that is not a stampede. It is a massacre,” says Dr. Awol Allo, a law lecturer at Keele University in the United Kingdom.

Frustrations and grievances in Ethiopia have been growing for years. In 2014, protests began over the Master Plan to expand the capital Addis Ababa into Oromia Region. This was just the spark. Though the Master Plan has been abandoned for now, thousands of people across Oromia and more recently Amhara regions have continued to protest against the government. Their demands are fairly basic: human rights, an end to authoritarian rule, equal treatment of all ethnic groups, and restoration of ancestral lands that have been snatched and sold oftentimes under the guise of development.

The government’s brutal response has only added fuel to the fire. Irreechaa is the most recent example of this. Within days of the massacre a wave of anti-government protests erupted across the country, mostly in the Oromia Region. People are coming out in larger and larger numbers. Fear is dissipating and giving way to determination. Many activists believe it is too late for reconciliation — that “the opportunity for dialogue was closed with Ireechaa”.

No one is to blame for this but the government itself. The EPRDF government in Ethiopia has been tragically recalcitrant and short-sighted in dealing with the legitimate concerns of its citizens. Externally it has touted its success in maintaining stability and spurring double digit economic growth rates as a source of legitimacy, while internally it shoved itself into the seat of power by eradicating any form of real opposition. But anyone who has been to Ethiopia knows precisely well that the image of “Africa’s rising star” is only a façade, which tries to cover up deep rooted social and economic inequalities, abject poverty and human suffering, ethnic patronage and corruption, and a weak economy that is overly reliant on foreign investment. In short, the political, economic and social situation in Ethiopia today is not, by any stretch of the imagination, stable, despite what the EPRDF’s self-interested allies like the United States would like to believe.

Over the years, various groups that have tried many ways to peacefully seek change in Ethiopia. In 2005, opposition groups tried to compete in elections. When they almost won, they were arrested and exiled. In 2012 Muslims across the country peacefully demonstrated for more liberties and autonomy. As their movement gained momentum, many of their leaders were labeled as terrorists and sent to prison. In 2014, Oromos began to protest against the government’s ill-conceived Master Plan and are now paying the price. Throughout this period, countless activists, journalists and students have been arrested, numerous independent media outlets have been shut down, and the space for civil society groups has shrunk almost to the point of nonexistence.

The great Frantz Fanon explained that, “we revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.”  In Ethiopia, the government’s actions have left many people with no other option but to fight. It is a country that has experienced much civil violence in the past, and is reluctant to return to it. However, the people’s patience is limited. Already, protestors are beginning to take more desperate measures. Some have torched foreign companies to send a message to the government and its foreign investors that their concerns and frustrations can no longer be brushed aside. From Eritrea, Dr. Berhanu Nega — who once ran as part of an opposition party in the 2005 elections — is preparing for a full-fledged guerilla war.

At this point the EPRDF only has two options: cut its losses, gradually cede power and make way for meaningful elections or dig its boots deeper into the ground, like a stubborn child, and hold out for as long as it can. The consequences of the second option will be more bloodshed and in the end a much greater fall for the regime. History has shown that when Ethiopians have had enough, they have overthrown even an imperial monarchy dating back centuries. The old Ethiopian proverb should be a warning: “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.”

WP: Letter to the Editor: America’s complicity in Ethiopia’s horrors October 15, 2016

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August 12
Regarding the Aug. 10 editorial “Ethiopia’s violent silencing”:It is true that, as the editorial board put it, “the United States has long relied on Ethiopia as a partner in the fight against al-Shabab’s terrorism in Somalia and sends the country tens of millions of dollars in development assistance.” But this characterization, which substantially underestimates the amount of aid we devote to propping up this tyranny, implies that we’re at least getting something in return for turning a blind eye to its crimes against humanity.

In fact, when one considers that the regime’s leaders are faking their claims of economic success, covering up the extent of the biggest famine in the country’s history, secretly trading with al-Shabab, embezzling $2 billion every year, enforcing policies that have killed millions of their citizens through neglect and malfeasance, and have perpetrated outright genocide, it becomes clear that we’ve gained nothing that could justify our shameful complicity in this holocaust. Our policy is a strategic failure and a moral stain that history will judge harshly.

David Steinman, New York

 The writer is an adviser to
Ethiopia’s democracy movement.

Oromo lawyers group on #IrreechaMassacre, statement October 11, 2016

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Oromo lawyers group on #IrreechaMassacre, statement

International Oromo Lawyers Association (IOLA)

12711 Mankato Street NE Blaine, MN 55449 USA
Email: iola@oromolawyers.org
Website: http://www.oromolawyers.org
Phone: +1 571 331 83 30

UPDATE: IOLA Press Statement Regarding the Irreechaa Massacre of October 2016

October 7, 2016

On the 2nd of October 2016, Ethiopian security forces shot live ammunition into the massive crowd (estimated in millions) and fired tear gas during the Irreechaa Festival, the Oromo͛s thanks giving day. As we now understand, in a matter of 30 minutes, hundreds of unsuspecting celebrant͛s were killed and thousands have suffered severe injuries and mental trauma. According to the statement from the opposition political party, The Oromo Federalist Congress, up until the 3rd of October 2016, the death toll has passed 678. This figure has continued to increase and the number of those injured is not yet accounted for.

The Oromo͛s have been celebrating Irreechaa for many years peacefully, but it has never entertained such a tragedy. This year͛s festival was in fact different from the previous ones on several grounds. There was unusually massive security presence from the start. The hills behind the stage and surrounding lake were all occupied by heavily armed forces. Several armored vehicles were pointing their warheads at the crowd and gunship helicopter was deployed. As the Oromo Protest (#OromoProtests) and disagreement with the government continued, political cadres from the ruling party were assigned and took central stage at this event. Given the continued protest and ongoing killings, such gross disrespect of the revered Irreechaa ceremony by the government cadres further infuriated the mass who continued to chant slogans.

According to the information available to us, the Irreechaa celebration was going peacefully with a visible sign of protests, until the police started firing tear gas followed by live ammunition in the direction of the people. Gunship helicopter flew overhead simultaneously to create the deadly havoc, confusion and panic. According to eye witness account of Mr Milkessa Midega (Lecturer at Dire Dawa University), ͞When the gunfire started, and tear gases rained, everyone was shocked but the wave of crowd had little options to access the exit road. Even the narrow exit itself was near the gorge. To make an already bad situation worse, the deep gorge was covered by bushes, which means people could not even see the hole in front of them, and since the gunfire came from the opposite direction (left side of the stage), the festival goers had no choice but to run toward the cliff. This suggests that the military strategically devised the scheme knowing full well that those who run away to escape bullets being fired from behind would be finished in the gorge and ditches. This is why many in the country and those of us who were there believe the Irreechaa massacre was deliberately executed.”

According to Milkessa ͞The closing of the wider exit road on the left side and firing on a panicked crowd from the direction of the safest and more visible exit cannot be a simple case of recklessness. It was deliberately planned to absolve the government of responsibility and might have saved the military some bullets. It͛s a cold, calculated and inhumane military decision.͟ Several other eye witness account, intelligence reports, photo and video evidences also confirms similar pattern of events. According to some intelligence reports, the killing was conducted with the direct order of the higher Intelligence command officials.

This tragic event took place at a time of massive crackdown on peaceful Oromo protesters all over Oromia. The protest has claimed the lives of more than five hundred people, (according to some estimated the figures have passed over 1000) in less than eleven months. The protest is still going on. Being subjected to an unprecedented economic, political and social marginalization, and singled out for harsh systematic repression; the Oromo people have been peacefully demonstrating and demanding for the respect of their fundamental human, social, economic and political rights.

The protests and subsequent human rights violations is in fact not limited to the Oromo region. The Gambella, Sidama, Amhara, Somalia and Konso people͛s have peaceful protested to air their grievances and demand for respect of various legitimate rights. But almost in all occasions the government responded with mass killing, displacement and imprisonments.

In one out of thousands of recent incidents, one mother whose child was was killed by the ͚Agazi͛ forces were bitten for refusing to sit on her Childs dead body in town of Dambi Dollo (Oromiya region). The right to life as a core and one of the few non-derogable rights among the long list of human rights are enshrined in International Covenants to which the Ethiopian government is a party. As a signatory of these Covenants, it is bound to do all necessary steps to fulfill its obligations. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Parliament demanded a neutral investigation in to the Oromo Protests killings but TPLF led EPRDF government has so far refused to fulfill by its obligations.

As the tense atmosphere remains and the cycle of violence continues, IOLA calls up on:

1) International community for the establishment of International investigating commission into the Irreechaa killings and these happened during the entire Oromo Protest, and bring those responsible to justice;

2) The Ethiopian government to immediately let the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly and other specialized UN human rights experts to visit Ethiopia to report on these situations. We respectfully ask the UN Security Council to ensure this step is carried out by the Ethiopian government.

3) The Government of Ethiopia to release all political prisoners and ensure the rule of law, in which Freedom, Equality and Justice are uncompromised;

4) The Government of Ethiopia to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Union Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and association;

5) The Ethiopian government to stop suppressing the free flow of information, including by jamming media broadcasts, blocking of communication services and harassing media, including through intrusive surveillance programs, and facilitate access throughout Ethiopia for independent journalists and human rights monitors; IOLA would also like to reiterate its readiness to support any constructive initiatives in this regard. update-on-iola-press-statement-regarding-the-irreechaa-massacre-of-october-2016-click-here-to-read-pdf

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International Oromo Lawyers Association (IOLA) is a non-profit, nonsectarian and non-politically professional association, registered in the United States.

UN: Ethiopia: UN experts call for international commission to help investigate systematic violence against protesters. #OromoProtests October 10, 2016

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Ethiopia: UN experts call for international commission to help investigate systematic violence against protesters

GENEVA (10 October 2016) –United Nations human rights experts today urged the Ethiopian authorities to end their violent crackdown on peaceful protests, which has reportedly led to the death of over 600 people since November 2015. They further called on the Government to allow an international commission of inquiry to investigate the protests and the violence used against peaceful demonstrators.

“We are outraged at the alarming allegations of mass killings, thousands of injuries, tens of thousands of arrests and hundreds of enforced disappearances,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard. “We are also extremely concerned by numerous reports that those arrested had faced torture and ill-treatment in military detention centres.”

“In light of the lack of progress in investigating the systematic violence against protesters, we urge the Ethiopian Government to allow an international independent commission to assist in shedding light on these allegations,” they stated.

The human rights experts highlighted in particular the 2 October events in Oromia, where 55 people were killed in a stampede.

“The deaths in the Oromia region last weekend are only the latest in a long string of incidents where the authorities’ use of excessive force has led to mass deaths,” Mr. Kiai said noting that peaceful protests in the Ahmara and Konso Wereda regions have also been met with violence from authorities.

“The scale of this violence and the shocking number of deaths make it clear that this is a calculated campaign to eliminate opposition movements and silence dissenting voices,” he added.

The UN Special Rapporteurs voiced particular concern over the use of national security provisions and counterterrorism legislation – the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation 652/2009 – to target individuals exercising their rights to peaceful assembly.

“This law authorises the use of unrestrained force against suspects and pre-trial detention of up to four months,” Ms. Callamard noted while warning that many of the killings could amount to extrajudicial executions. “Whenever the principles of necessity and proportionality are not respected in the context of crowd control, any death caused by law enforcement officials is considered an extrajudicial execution,” she stressed.

The Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances urged the authorities to immediately disclose the whereabouts of those disappeared and emphasized that” all allegations of enforced disappearances must be thoroughly and independently investigated and perpetrators held accountable”.

Ethiopia’s current wave of mass protests began in the Oromia region in November 2015, in response to the Government’s ‘Master Plan’ to expand Addis Ababa’s boundaries, which would lead to the displacement of Oromo farmers. In Konso Wereda, the protests started in mid-December 2015 after the annexation of Konso into the Segen Area Peoples Zone. Protests later spread to other areas of the country, including the Ahmara region.

“Curtailing assembly and association rights is never the answer when there are disagreements in a society; rather, it is a sign of the State’s inability to deal with such disagreements,” Mr Kiai said. “Suffocating dissent only makes things worse, and is likely to lead to further social and political unrest.”

The experts underlined the urgent need to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the violence. A group of UN experts made a similar call* in January 2016, which went unheeded, they noted.

Mr. Kiai, Ms. Callamard and the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances call has been endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, Victoria Lucia Tauli-corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez and the Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Roland Adjovi.

(*) Check the experts’ January statement: http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16977&LangID=E


The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Ethiopia:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/ETIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Ms. Marion Mondain (+41 22 91 79 540 /freeassembly@ohchr.org).

To view this press release online, visit:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20663&LangID=E


Human Rights League: Ethiopia: The TPLF/EPRDF Government has declared an official state of emergency in Oromia October 10, 2016

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Ethiopia: The TPLF/EPRDF Government has declared an official state of emergency in  Oromia 


HRLHA Urgent Action

October 9, 2016
Human rights League of the Horn of AfricaThe Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailamariam Dessalegn has informed the public  through the state run TV that a six month state of emergency has been declared as of October 8, 2016 because “the current situation in the country posed a threat against the people of Ethiopia”

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn indicated in  his emergency declaration that the Council of  Ministers  declared the state of  emergency after they discussed the damage caused by protests across the country during the past week.

HRLHA reported in its “Ethiopia: The TPLF Hidden Agenda of Reducing the Oromo Population Must be Stopped” on April 17, 2016 that the Oromia regional State has fallen under the TPLF Security intelligence officer generals’ control when they removed the civil administration and declared unofficial martial law as of Febrary 26, 2016. The recent declaration is designed to legitimize the previuos military administration of TPLF government.


The protests in Oromia regional state, which have continued steadily  since November 2015,   escalated  on October 2, 2016 after many Oromo people were killed by the Agazi force  on the ground supported by helicopter gunships at the Irrecha Festival – which left reportedly at least  600 civilians dead and thousands  wounded.


The Oromo nation  has been under attack since November 2015 when  Oromo protests restarted in West Showa, Ginchi town . The protests  demanded that the Chilimo  forest clearing by land buyers should stop. In response to the peaceful protest against  the land grabs- which included the Addis Ababa Master plan- the TPLF/EPRDF deployed its Killing Squad Agazi force to quell the protests.   In the past   eleven protest months, including the October 2, 2016 Irrecha festival massacre, an estimated 2000 civilians have been killed and several  thousands have been taken to  detention centers.Despite the brutalities committed  against Oromo civilians during the past  eleven months, the international community has not made a concerted response to end the crisis in Oromia.The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa has appealed several  times to the world community , including the UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council and Donor States such as USA, Canada, UK, Sweden and Norway to put pressure on the government of Ethiopia  to respect the constitution of the country and International human rights standards to solve the political crisis in the country in general and in Oromia regional state in particular.HRLHA is deeply concerned that if International Communities fail in responding to the killings presently taking place in Oromia Regional State as soon as possible , this could lead to a genocide comparable to those in Rwanda (1994), in Yugoslavia (1998) and in Darfur, Sudan (2003).
Therefore, the HRLHA respectfully demands that the International community including the UN Security Council take concrete actions by:

  1. Using its influence to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to respect international human rights, its own promised obligations, as well as domestic and International laws and refrain from its ethnic cleansing and respect the fundamental rights of Oromo Nation
  2. Passing a decision to intervene to stop the killings in Oromia using the mandate of the three pillars of the responsibility to protect, as stipulated in the Outcome Document of the 2005 United Nations World Summit (A/RES/60/1, para. 138-140) and formulated in the Secretary – General’s 2009 Report (A/63/677) on implementing the responsibility to protect :
    1. The State carries the primary responsibility for protecting populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and their incitement;
    2. The international community has a responsibility to encourage and assist States in fulfilling this responsibility;
    3. The international community has a responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other means to protect populations from these crimes. If a State is manifestly failing to protect its populations, the international community must be prepared to take collective action to protect populations, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

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Emergency Declared in Ethiopia but the decree means nothing to those who have lived with inhumanity worse than death. October 9, 2016

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In its total lawlessness, the regime had left no right unviolated be it bluntly or systematically. It is because of this that in terms of what rights it limits or what new power it confers on the executive, this declaration is inconsequential. There is nothing it changes on the ground. The resistance was happening while a full military rule organized by a Command Post chaired by the Commander-in-Chief himself was already in place. In the name of taking a “merciless and definitive” measure on protestors, the army and its Agazi Regiment, the Regional Special Forces, the Federal Police, the States’ Police Forces, Prison officials, and the Local Militia have all taken ultimate measures on civilians, children, mothers, and the elderly. They have applied the most barbaric methods of execution, massacre, torture, and abuse.

Emergency Declared in Ethiopia but the decree means nothing to those who have lived with inhumanity worse than death.

Tsegaye R Ararssa
9 October 2016.

14516615_1704863616502865_4754458393033099742_nThis morning, Ethiopians woke up to the news that the Council of Ministers of the Federal Government has passed an emergency decree that may last for the coming six months. The official text of the Decree is not yet published in the official legal communicator, the Negarit Gazetta. (As it has now become customary, it may never be published at all; the regime does what it wants to do nonetheless.) That it is so declared today is announced to journalists by the Prime Minister in Cabinet on the state television. The Prime Minister spoke in order to announce the decision to journalists as the primus inter pares, the first among equals, in the Cabinet. The reason given by the Prime Minister for issuing the declaration is that there is a breakdown of law and order that threatens the safety of citizens and the integrity of the constitutional order.

To the peoples of Ethiopia, especially to those who have been under military rule for the last one year and more (without any fact that necessitates it or any law that warrants it), the decree makes no practical difference in their ‘lives’. As such, the decree has little significance, if any.

The people have seen the worst face of repression. Killing, maiming, mass arrest, arbitrary detention, public torture, dispossession, eviction, dislocation (because of loss of houses and job and domicile), and much worse. They have seen burning of prisoners alive (in Qilinxo, Ambo, Gonder, Angereb, Debretabor, Zuway, etc). They have seen towns set on fire and razed down (in Konso). They have seen detainees poisoned (in Sabbataa). They have seen massacres on a sacred ground (Irrechaa) that was turned virtually into a killing field (Horaa Arsadii). They have seen children shot dead right in front of their moms (in Wallaggaa, in Arsi, in Harargee, and everywhere else).

Every day, those that are alive have lived under ‘the shadow of death.’ They have seen the regime mobilize one group of people against the other and lose loved ones and their means of livelihood as a result. They have seen snipers shoot young people in market places, in school compounds, and in the privacy of their homes. In short they have seen it all. So, what new thing they haven’t already seen is this emergency decree going to bring about? The answer given by almost everyone is a resounding “NOTHING!”

But while we are at it, it is important for us to ask what it means to declare a state of emergency in Ethiopia. What exactly is a state of emergency? When is it proper? Who declares emergency? What is the procedure? What is the implication for rights and for the exercise of power by the regime? Why is it declared now? What new thing is the regime planning to do under the guise of the emergency decree?

In what follows, I explore these questions in the light of the Ethiopian constitution (although no law, constitution or otherwise, has ever meant anything in Ethiopia). The key provision that regulates the mode, procedure, consequences, and implications of emergency declaration is article 93 of the Constitution.


What is emergency declaration? And when is it necessary?

Emergency decree is a decree of extraordinary situation. It is a law of abnormal times. It is a way of creating ‘legal illegality’ in a constitutional-political order invoking necessity on the ground of actual or impending war, crisis in law order, natural disasters, or break out of epidemics. It is a regime of exception-making through which the state is authorized to do what it cannot lawfully do under normal circumstances. Through emergency laws, a state is empowered to exercise special powers justified on the ground that the exigencies of political life has become so terrible that it demands a special set of measures.

According to the Ethiopian constitution (art 93(1)(a)), emergency is declared when there is:

  1. a) external invasion;
  2. b) a breakdown of law and order that cannot be managed through ordinary law-enforcement mechanisms;
  3. c) natural disaster; or
  4. d) epidemic.

One can see from the above that special measures that have to be effected through emergency decree are said to be necessary in times of war, crisis of public order, natural catastrophe, or the spread of contagious disease or plague that threatens the population.

According to the announcement of the Prime Minister, the cause of the emergency declaration today is the complete breakdown of law and order which has threatened the constitutional order. This is of course a concession on his part to the fact one can easily observe on the ground since the re-emergence of the #Oromoprotests on 12 November 2015.

Throughout the year Oromia—where military rule is imposed–has been completely ungovernable. Konso has also been ungovernable for the last eleven months. After July 2016, when the Amhara resistance broke out in Gonder, the Amhara region also became ungovernable by the regime thereby necessitating a military rule to be imposed there, too.

Who issues the Declaration of Emergency?

The necessity of such a decree is assessed and acted upon by the Council of Ministers (COM). But the COM is not the only institution that has a sole authority on the management of emergency situation. The power to declare emergency is shared between the Executive and the Legislature. According to art 93(2), owing to the urgency associated with emergency, the declaration may be issued unilaterally by the COM but it should be presented to the parliament within 48 hours if the parliament is in session. If the parliament refuses to approve it, the decree will be dead on arrival. If the parliament approves it by a 2/3rd majority vote, it becomes effective for up to six months from the date of declaration.

If the emergency happens in the season when the parliament is not in session—like it is the case now—the decree must be submitted to the parliament within fifteen days. This may necessitate calling a special or extraordinary meeting of the parliament. Without the approval of the parliament, no emergency decree can be effective. In other words, emergency power is shared between the two institutions, the executive (COM) and the legislature (HPR). The former has the power to generate the emergency bill and the latter has the power to approve or reject the decree submitted to it by the former.

The How of Emergency Declaration: Procedure

The process is activated when the COM decides to have such a decree after duly assessing the situation. If exceptional measures are found to be:

  1. a) necessary; and
  2. b) not preventable through any other measures.

Thus, the COM must demonstrate that there is a serious crisis in public order that it could not otherwise control through the activation of ordinary law-enforcement mechanisms. Once this is demonstrated, the decree is submitted to the Parliament for approval. On approval by parliament, it becomes the law of exceptional times. When it is duly approved by the parliament, the parliament establishes an Emergency Inquiry Board that supervises the humane treatment of all persons arrested in the course of enforcing the emergency (art 93(5)). The Board ensures the accountability of the executive for its measures taken during the emergency season.

What does Emergency entail? What are its consequences?

The declaration of emergency confers special powers on the executive. It empowers them to take measures necessary and proportional to avert the danger. Often, the executive is given latitude to suspend some constitutional rights as may be necessary to protect public peace and order. The usual candidates are rights such as freedom of assembly, demonstrations, movement, etc, which can be suspended for a limited period of time.

However, these powers are not open-ended. There is a limit to what the Executive can do. In particular, its actions are circumscribed by constitutional provisions that are non-derogable. The provisions relating to the right to life, freedom from torture and all forms of cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment or punishment, equality and non-discrimination, etc are often seen as universally inviolable under any circumstance. This emanates from the principle of sanctity of human life, human dignity, and fundamental equality in worth of all human beings.

In art 93 (4)(3)), these non-derogable provisions are five: art. 1 (the provision that has to do the nomenclature of the country and the system it denotes); art. 18 (the provision on the right to freedom from cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishment or treatment such as torture); art 25 (the provision on the right to equality and non-discrimination); art 39(1) (the provision on the right to self-determination including secession); and art 39(2) (the provision on the right to language, culture, and history). Curiously, the right to life (under arts 14 and 15) is not in the list of rights that cannot be suspended or limited during situations of emergency. Given the weight given to other structures such as the federal democratic republican structure and the name that denotes it; or to right of nations to self-determination; the absence of the right to life, the most fundamental of all human rights, in this list must be an oversight.

Why now? What Motivated the regime to Issue this declaration?

What is the point of this declaration? What new measures are to be taken other than those “merciless” measures that were being taken throughout the year? What rights are to be newly suspended and/or limited because they have been left unviolated thus far?

As we all know, the regime has virtually banned all forms of demonstrations, political meetings, associations, etc for a long time. We know that there is no press freedom in the country. Ethiopia is one of the top four jailers of journalists in the entire world. Arbitrary killing, mass arrests, detentions, tortures, discrimination, have been a matter of routine practice throughout the 25 years tenure of the regime, only exacerbated now in the context of the open mass revolt in the last couple of years.

The regime has always been confrontational with religious groups because it routinely and unscrupulously interferes with their freedom of religion.

Demanding the right to self-determination as per the constitution automatically renders one a terrorist because apparently, in EPRDF’s book, the right to self-determination is already exercised by all. As a result, identity is securitized, i.e., it is handled as a matter of threat to national security.

The right to one’s distinct language—e.g. the right to a choice of script—is routinely violated, a striking example being the regime’s denial of the right of the Erob people of Tigray Region to adopt a Latin script for their language.

In its total lawlessness, the regime had left no right unviolated be it bluntly or systematically. It is because of this that in terms of what rights it limits or what new power it confers on the executive, this declaration is inconsequential. There is nothing it changes on the ground. The resistance was happening while a full military rule organized by a Command Post chaired by the Commander-in-Chief himself was already in place. In the name of taking a “merciless and definitive” measure on protestors, the army and its Agazi Regiment, the Regional Special Forces, the Federal Police, the States’ Police Forces, Prison officials, and the Local Militia have all taken ultimate measures on civilians, children, mothers, and the elderly. They have applied the most barbaric methods of execution, massacre, torture, and abuse. Surely novelty will elude them in this regard. They have practised abuses that the world’s ghastliest torture centres and killing fields have witnessed in history.

The only question that remains now is why the regime issues this declaration now? What do they want to achieve? There are two possibilities: 1) to give a retrospective legal cover to atrocities they have been perpetrating so far and to exculpate the more extensive barbaric measures they are preparing to take in a last vindictive act just before they vacate power; and 2) to terrorize the public into temporary silence during which time they will dismantle major infrastructural facilities and move to the home base of the TPLF core of the regime. These possibilities are mere speculations, of course, but these are speculations that are hardly without reasons rooted in the conduct, words, and attitudes of the key figures in the regime.


Human Rights Watch: Q&A: Recent Events and Deaths at the Irreecha Festival in Ethiopia October 8, 2016

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Q&A: Recent Events and Deaths at the Irreecha Festival in Ethiopia

Security officials watch as demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, on October 2, 2016.

Security officials watch as demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, on October 2, 2016.

The following questions and answers are critical to understanding recent events inEthiopia. Responses are written by Felix Horne, senior Ethiopia researcher at Human Rights Watch. The Human Rights Watch analysis of the situation is informed by 15 interviews with people who witnessed and lived through the events of October 2, 2016, as well as hundreds of other interviews with people caught up in violent government responses to protests across Ethiopia in the past year.

  1. What is Irreecha and what happened on Sunday, October 2 during Irreecha?
  2. The government said 50 people died, while the opposition says 678. Why is there such a disparity in the numbers?
  3. Did security forces violate international laws or guidelines on the use of force in Irreecha?
  4. Why is an independent, international investigation important? Isn’t it the government’s responsibility to investigate?
  5. How has the government responded to the October 2 deaths in Bishoftu?
  6. What are protesters telling Human Rights Watch about the government response to the protests and about what they want now?
  7. What should the government be doing?
  8. What should Ethiopia’s key international allies, such as the US, UK and EU, do to help ensure improved human rights in Ethiopia?
  1. What is Irreecha and what happened on Sunday, October 2 during Irreecha?

Irreecha is the most important cultural festival to Ethiopia’s 40 million ethnic Oromos who gather to celebrate the end of the rainy season and welcome the harvest season. Millions gather each year at Bishoftu, 40 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa.

This week, people spoke of increased tension after year-long protests in Oromia. There was an increased presence of armed security forces in Bishoftu compared to previous years.

The government attempted to have a more visible role in the festivities this year. The government and the Abba Gadaas, the council of Oromo traditional leaders, held extensive negotiations about the arrangements for the festival. At the festival, tensions within the massive crowd built when government officials appeared on stage and even more so when the current Abba Gadaas were not present on stage. Instead, a retired Abba Gadaa who is perceived to be closely aligned with the government took to the stage.

A military helicopter flying low overhead increased public concern about the government’s intentions, according to witnesses. Eventually, a man went on stage and led the crowd in anti-government chants. The crowd grew more restless, more people went on stage, and then security forces fired teargas and people heard gunshots.

The security forces have used live ammunition while confronting and attempting to disperse numerous public gatherings in Oromia for almost a year. As Human Rights Watch has  documented in many of those protests, teargas preceded live ammunition, so when the pattern seemed to be repeating itself at Irreecha, panic very quickly set in. People ran and fell into nearby ditches, while others were trampled in the ensuring chaos.

  1. The government said 50 people died, while the opposition says 678. Why is there such a disparity in the numbers?

The Ethiopian government makes it extremely difficult to investigate these types of incidents. The government limits independent media and restricts nongovernmental organizations, both domestic and international, so that currently no one has had the access, expertise or impartiality necessary to determine a precise, credible death toll. Making things worse, over the last few days, the government has restricted internet access, as it has done intermittently throughout the protests.

Based on the information from witnesses and hospital staff Human Rights Watch has spoken to, it is clear that the number of dead is much higher than government estimates. But without access to morgues and families who lost loved ones, and with many people unwilling to speak for fear of reprisals, it is impossible to come up with a credible total. Anecdotal reports from some hospital staff indicate high numbers of dead, but they are also under pressure to keep silent. There are numerous reports of medical staff not being permitted to speak, or being pressured to underreport deaths. They may also have had limited access to the bodies. During the last 12 months, Human Rights Watch hasdocumented several arrests of medical staff for speaking out about killings and beatings by security forces, or in some cases for treating injured protesters.

All of this underscores the need for independent international investigation to document who died and how they died in Bishoftu on October 2.

  1. Did security forces violate international laws or guidelines on the use of force in Irreecha?

As a crowd-control method, teargas should be used only when strictly necessary as a proportionate response to quell violence. International guidelines, such as the United Nations Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, stipulate that the police are expected to use discretion in crowd control tactics to ensure a proportionate response to any threat of violence, and to avoid exacerbating the situation. Police should exercise restraint when using teargas in situations when its use could cause death or serious injury.

The witnesses all said the crowds were not violent, but they were clearly protesting against the government. Witnesses said they believed security forces fired guns into the crowd in addition to in the air but there is thus far no corroborated evidence of people hit by gunfire – but restrictions on access make it impossible to say for sure.

Based on the information Human Rights Watch has, it appears that the security forces’ use of force was disproportionate. To the extent that this force was used to disperse protests rather than in response to a perceived threat posed by the crowds, it may also have constituted a violation of the rights to free expression and assembly. The research leads us to the conclusion that the security forces’ disproportionate response triggered the stampede that resulted in so many deaths.

  1. Why is an independent, international investigation important? Isn’t it the government’s responsibility to investigate?

Yes, ideally the Ethiopian government should investigate. In the past, it has conducted investigations into alleged abuses by security forces that were neither impartial nor credible. Ethiopia’s Human Rights Commission presented an oral report to parliament in June about the protests over the last year, saying the security force response was in all cases proportionate to a threat posed by demonstrators. That conclusion is contrary to the findings of Human Rights Watch and other independent groups that have looked into recent events. It is very clear that security forces consistently used live ammunition to disperse protests, killing hundreds of people. The government’s findings have further increased tensions, underscoring concerns protesters have voiced about lack of justice and accountability.

The lack of credibility of government investigations into the brutal crackdown and the scale of the crimes being committed are a compelling argument for the need for an independent, international investigation into those events and the events on October 2. Ethiopia’s international allies should be pushing hard for this.

Despite growing calls from the EU and from the UN’s most important human rights official, the government has strongly resisted the calls for international investigations. The government has a history of resisting outside scrutiny of its rights record. Access has been requested by 11 special procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council since 2007, and all were refused except for the special rapporteur on Eritrea. On one hand the government wants to play a leadership role on the world stage, as seen in its membership on the Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council; but on the other it has resisted any international involvement in its own affairs.

  1. How has the government responded to the deaths in Bishoftu?

The government has been blaming “anti-peace elements” for the deaths, which continues to increase the people’s anger throughout Oromia. The government should instead allow an independent investigation and then acknowledge and ensure accountability for any abuses committed by its security forces. It should also demonstrate a commitment to respecting human rights by creating a forum to listen to protesters’ grievances in Oromia and other parts of Ethiopia. The protesters say that this is about rights denied: security force killings, arrests and torture, economic marginalization, and decades of grievances. Recent protests and the ensuing violence are not about social media trouble makers, or interference from neighboring Eritrea, as the government often contends when abuses come to light.

  1. What are protesters telling Human Rights Watch about the government response to the protests and about what they want now?

Over the last year, protesters have often told me that each killing by security forces increased their anger and determination. And the fear that was very present in Oromia and elsewhere in Ethiopia is dissipating. Some protesters say they feel they have nothing left to lose. I hear from one man each time he is released from detention. He has been arrested four times during the protests, including once when he was held in a military camp. He says he has never been charged with any crimes, has never seen a court room, and has been beaten each time he has been detained. He told me that in the military camp, soldiers stripped him down to his underwear, hung him upside down and whipped him. His brother was killed in a protest, his father arrested, and two of his closest friends have disappeared. I asked him why he keeps protesting despite the risks, and he said: “We have nothing else to lose. Better to go down standing up for our rights than end up dead, disappeared, or in jail.” I hear similar statements from many protesters, particularly the youth.

While the last year’s protests have been largely peaceful, more and more people are telling me that approach has run its course, that when you protest lawfully and peacefully and are met with bullets, arrests, and beatings, and little is said or done internationally, there is little incentive to continue that approach. Bekele Gerba, a staunch advocate for non-violence and deputy-chairman of the main registered opposition party in Oromia, is in detention and is on trial under the antiterrorism law. Treating those who advocate or engage in non-violent acts as criminals or terrorists sends a very dangerous message.

  1. What should the government be doing?

It seems clear that force will not suppress the protesters’ movement and has in fact emboldened it. When the government is willing to tolerate the free expression of dissent, allow peaceful assemblies, and engage in a genuine dialogue with protesters, it will help to end this crisis.

Most of the several hundred protesters interviewed in depth over the past year have a lengthy list of people close to them who have been arrested, killed, or disappeared, in addition to their own trauma. Older people have similar lists going back many years. Ethiopia needs accountability to rebuild trust with its citizens. The government has had numerous chances to make concessions and address protesters’ concerns. At those times when it has done so, as in January when it cancelled the master plan that ignited the initial protests, the action was taken far too late and done in a way that protesters did not consider credible.

In terms of immediate steps, the government should permit peaceful protests, ensure that no protests are met with excessive force, release those arbitrarily detained, and address grievances including ensuring respect for freedom of assembly, expression and association. This is what we have heard from the hundreds of protesters we have interviewed in the last year.

  1. What should Ethiopia’s key international allies, such as the US, UK and EU, do to help ensure improved human rights in Ethiopia?

For too long Ethiopia’s major international partners have not adequately raised serious concerns about the complete closure of political space in Ethiopia that has led to an inability to express dissent. At this point they need to take urgent action to ensure that the situation does not further spiral out of control. They should push for an independent international investigation. They should push for those arbitrarily detained to be released. And they should reiterate in the strongest way that lawful peaceful protests should be allowed to occur without the threat of bullets and mass arrests. They have leverage, and they should use it more effectively.
For more background:

On Ethiopia’s general human rights situation, see 2016 World Report on Ethiopia

On the human rights abuses during the Oromo protest, see “Such a Brutal Crackdown”(2016)

On Ethiopia’s repressive media environment, see “Journalism is Not a Crime” (2015)

On the history of abuses in Oromia, see “Suppressing Dissent, Human Rights Abuses and Political repression in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region” (2005) and Amnesty International’s 2014 report

On torture in Ethiopia, see “They Want a Confession”

On the need for an international investigation into the crackdowns, see “Ethiopia’s Bloody Crackdown: The Case for International Justice”

More Reading

African Arguments: Ethiopia: How popular uprising became the only option. #OromoProtests #OromoRevolution October 8, 2016

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Ethiopia: How popular uprising became the only option

In theory, the Oromo and Amhara are well-represented by parties in government. But they have never been perceived to have either legitimacy or autonomy.

The government claims 52 people were killed in the Irreecha celebrations, but the opposition puts the figure much higher.

The government claims 52 people were killed in the Irreecha celebrations, but the opposition puts the figure much higher.

When Shibiru Amana heard gunshots ring out near his home in the town of Mandi on 26 September, he immediately rushed outside where he saw people clamouring for safety and kids running for their lives. Across the commotion, he later told VOA Afaan Oromo, Amana spotted a young boy lying lifeless on the ground. He mustered up the courage and took a few steps towards him. It was his younger brother Lidata.

Lidata, who was just 15 years old, had been shot in the torso. His transgression had been shouting a few anti-government slogans at a gathering on the eve of the Meskel holiday.

A week later, enormous numbers of people from all corners of the Oromia region descended on the town of Bishoftu to celebrate Irreechaa, an annual Oromo thanksgiving festival. When some began to protest, security officers responded by firing tear gas and live ammunition, according to witnesses and videos that later emerged on social media.

The crowed was packed between a lake and treacherous terrain, and in the panic that ensued, many died. The government reported that 52 died. Human rights groups say several hundreds were killed. Meanwhile, the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) put the death toll at a huge 678.

The ongoing wave of protests in Ethiopia was initially triggered in November 2015 by a development plan that would have expanded the capital Addis Ababa into neighbouring Oromia towns. This plan was eventually suspended, but the protests amongst the Oromo people continued and have since spread to over 200 towns and been joined by Amhara demonstrators too. The government has often responded by sending in security forces that have engaged in deadly violence, leading to the deaths of over 600 people, according to rights groups, and over 1,000, according to activists.

[Ethiopia’s unprecedented nationwide Oromo protests: who, what, why?]

While some of these killings in Oromia have been carried out by regional police, it is notable that much of the security response has been conducted by the federal police and army. As Amana explained, “I wanted to ask the police officers why they killed my brother but they speak a different language”.

Under Ethiopia’s system of ethnic federalism – comprising of nine states and two chartered cities – significant powers are devolved to regional authorities, including the right to establish a state police force and maintain public order within the region. The federal army is only permitted to intervene at the request of the Oromia regional government.

However, the reality is that much of this devolved autonomy only exists in theory, and the fact that federal forces have been deployed reportedly without the express request of the Oromia government speaks to its lack of sovereignty.

Indeed, for the last 25 years, politics has been controlled by the four-party ruling coalition known as the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). This alliance includes the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO), the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). But its lead partner is the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

This latter party’s base represents just 6% of Ethiopia’s 100 million population, but TPLF elites have long dominated the country’s political and economic spheres and kept a hold on key posts such as defence, intelligence and foreign affairs.

It is partly anger at these inequalities that is driving protests in Oromia and Amhara. The government has largely denounced these demonstrators and used force, but it also recently announced it would evaluate the performance of its regional parties and engage in the necessary reforms of them to address the people’s concerns.

“Deep reform”?

In 2001, the year Lidata was born, the Ethiopian government also faced the need for an internal upheaval. A struggle for power within the TPLF had just concluded and the faction led by then Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had come out on top. A major purge of his opponents in government soon followed.

OPDO’s leaders had been indecisive in declaring their loyalties during the factional fight and were largely sidelined. Negasso Gidada, former president of Ethiopia and chair of the OPDO, was suspended along with other senior leaders. Meanwhile, Kuma Demeksa, an OPDO central committee member and president of the Oromia region, was removed and later replaced by Juneydi Saaddo, a new technocrat on the block.

In times of crisis and internal party strife such as these, there was nothing Meles enjoyed more than conducting a highly charged meeting (‘gimgema’) in which participants engaged in criticism and self-criticism. Those from the OPDO reportedly engaged in a frantic admission of guilt.

15 years on from this – and four years since Meles’ death in 2012 – today’s widespread protests have forced senior leaders in the TPLF and EPRDF to resurrect their ideologue’s penchant for reform. These recent changes have been spoken about under the banner ofTilq Tehadiso, which is Amharic for “deep reform”, and are supposed to “tackle rent-seeking” and “root out nepotism”. But the reality is that the exercise has been, at best, a cosmetic reshuffle.

At worst, it has been used to usher in an even more confrontational approach to the protests. In its September 2016 party congress, for instance, the OPDO replaced its chair and vice-chair with Lemma Megersa, a former Security Chief for the region, and Workneh Gebeyehu, a former Director-General of the Federal Police Commission. This shift is widely believed to have been choreographed by the TPLF, and the combined intelligence and law enforcement expertise of the two new leaders will be of immediate value to the government. According to Jawar Mohammed, a US-based Oromo political activist, the move is an attempt to “further militarize the administration in Oromia”.

Indeed, early evidence suggests the new leadership is taking a more ruthless approach. Weeks after the change of guard, crackdowns have intensified in parts of Oromia, leading scores if not hundreds such as Lidata to lose their lives. “That’s the closest I have ever been to a war,” Bayesa Abera, who has attended every Irreechaa celebration for the past 10 years, said of events earlier this week. “I am lucky to be alive today.”

Neither the cause nor the solution

The OPDO is not the only Oromo political party in Ethiopia, but thanks to the TPLF, it has developed a sense of near invincibility over its competitors in the region since the 1990s.

According to insiders, the TPLF masterminded the very creation of the OPDO in 1989 in order to pit them against the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a group with which its relations were deteriorating. The TPLF struggled to encourage the formation of this new OPDO party, however, and reportedly had to call upon on Oromo-speaking prisoners of war to make up its members. From its early days, OPDO officials were widely referred to disparagingly as ‘maxxanne’, Oromo for freeloader.

In 1992, the now banned OLF, a more potent symbol of Oromo nationalism, finally withdrew from the transitional government in acrimonious circumstances, and since then, the TPLF has ensured that its OPDO ally has completely dominated in the region. As a Human Rights Watch report from 2005 noted, “From top to bottom, the OPDO has had a near-total monopoly on political power in Oromia since 1992”.

Two Oromo opposition parties – the Oromo National Congress (ONC) and Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM) – did manage to enter the political fray when they won seats in the 2005 elections. But they were constantly undermined to prevent them from mounting a real challenge to the OPDO’s supremacy. This strategy of restricting political space to opposition parties culminated in the 2015 elections in which the OPDO officially won all 537 seats in the regional state council and all 178 seats allocated to the region in the federal parliament.

The OPDO’s loyalties have thus always been with the TPLF, and when men and women across Oromia have been gunned down, no OPDO official has had the courage to condemn excessive use of force. Juneydi Saaddo, a former ODPO cabinet minister who is now in exile, explained recently in an interview that those in government fear reprisals if they speak out against TPLF dominance, and confessed that the OPDO has never been able to shake off its subservient status.

[Behind the Ethiopia protests: A view from inside the government]

For the protesters in Oromia therefore, the OPDO possesses neither legitimacy nor autonomy, and any reshuffle of its leadership is considered as inconsequential as the party itself. The overwhelming belief is that its leaders are handpicked by the TPLF puppet-masters, and the new generation of Oromo youth – known as the ‘Qeerroo’ – have seen that it is business as usual after the latest reform. As Jawar Mohammedargued following the change of guard, “the OPDO is neither the cause nor the solution for the political crisis”.

Over the past year, Oromo protesters have been calling for genuine representation in government, an end to the dominance of a single ethnic group, respect for democratic and human rights, an end to indiscriminate killings and repression, and the cessation of marginalisation and evictions of Oromo from their ancestral lands. These are issues that far exceed the powers of the OPDO.

A Luta Continua

Over the past few months, the Amhara have joined the protests and there have been shows of unprecedented solidarity with the Oromo, united in their shared grievances. This is a significant development. Together, these two ethnic groups make up more than two-thirds of Ethiopia’s population, and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s most urgent and perhaps toughest job now is to halt or reverse this growing trend.

[“The blood flowing in Oromia is our blood too”: Why Oromo-Amhara solidarity is the greatest threat to the Ethiopian government]

Former strongman Meles Zenawi long managed to avoid this situation by stoking historical antagonisms in order to create perpetual mistrust between the two groups. He effectively drilled this trick into his disciples too, including current Communications Minister Getachew Reda, who in a recent interview, bluntly admitted that “the alliance between the two…is clear evidence that the government has failed to do its job”.

But Prime Minister Hailemariam, a former technocrat hailing from Ethiopia’s southern region, has proven less politically cunning than his predecessor. His attempts at employing the old divisive tactics, even mimicking Meles’ language and gestures at times, have failed as solidarity between the Amhara and Oromo has grown both within Ethiopia and in the diaspora. When the state TV recently unearthed and aired old footage of Meles expounding on the “narrow nationalism” and “chauvinism” of the two groups, it highlighted Hailemariam’s comparative lack of skill in delivering effective propaganda.

From Hailemariam’s first day in office, it has been clear that the TPLF still calls the shots. In fact, it is believed that his very survival strategy is to play second fiddle to gain approval from the TPLF hierarchy. But if protests continue, he could end up as a sacrificial lamb.

However, one thing the PM may take encouragement from is the fact that despite the turmoil facing the country, support from key Western allies hasn’t wavered. The US government in particular has shown little interest beyond penning half-heartedstatements of concern, reluctant to criticise a partner it sees as a force for stability in a volatile region and a major ally in its War on Terror.

In this configuration, the Ethiopian government has barely had to project even the semblance of democracy for Western diplomats to continue singing its praises. For instance, when US President Barack Obama paid a visit to the country in July 2015 – just two months after the ruling party and its allies won 100% of seats in parliament amidst accusations of intimidation and fraud – he described the government as “democratically elected”. The killing of hundreds of protesters since then has done little to shift this position.

The events of the last 11 months – and the responses from the Ethiopian government and its allies – have shown that Ethiopia’s protesters must take it upon themselves to define their destiny and bring an end to their peripheral role. Indeed, this seems to be the position that demonstrators in both Oromia and Amhara have willingly adopted, aware that as the two largest ethnic groups in the region, the success of their struggle lies in their ability to galvanise the public to rally and create links of solidarity with others who share their grievances. External actors can facilitate, but not replace, this process.

But this struggle goes on. At the funeral of Lidata, just one of many who have lost their lives at the hands of security forces, friends and family said their eulogies to celebrate his life and grieved that it had been so tragically cut short. A whole community gave him the send-off that he deserved, with mourners chanting pro-freedom slogans, of which one particularly stood out. Qabsoon itti fufa, or Oromo for A Luta Continua”.

Michael C. Mammo is studying for his PhD at the University of Birmingham. He is a former Ethiopia correspondent for Inter Press Service and Spanish News Agency (EFE). He tweets at @mcmammo.


BBC: Are Ethiopian protests a game changer? #OromoProtests October 7, 2016

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Are Ethiopian protests a game changer?

Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha in Ethiopia - 5 October 2016Image copyrightREUTERS

Political protests which have swept through Ethiopia are a major threat to the country’s secretive government, writes former BBC Ethiopia correspondent Elizabeth Blunt.

For the past five years Ethiopia has been hit by waves of protest, not only by formal opposition groups but also Muslims unhappy at the imposition of government-approved leaders, farmers displaced to make way for commercial agriculture, Amhara communities opposed at their inclusion in Tigre rather than the Amhara region and, above all, by groups in various parts of the vast Oromia region.

In the most recent unrest in Oromia, at least 55 people died when security forces intervened over the weekend during the annual Ireecha celebrations – a traditional Oromo seasonal festival.

The Oromo protests have continued long after plans to expand the capital Addis Ababa’s boundaries to take in more of the region were abandoned earlier this year. And in the last few months groups which were previously separate have made common cause.

Map of protests and violence in Ethiopia in 2016

In particular, Amhara and Oromo opposition has coalesced, with both adopting the latest opposition symbol – arms raised and wrists crossed as if handcuffed together.

The picture of Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa making this gesture while crossing the finish line at the Rio 2016 went round the world, and photographs from the Ireecha celebrations in Bishoftu show the crowd standing with their arms crossed above their heads before police intervention triggered the deadly panic.

Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa making a Oromo protest gesture at the OlympicsImage copyrightAFP
Demonstrators chant slogans during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016
Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionHis style of protest was also seen at the festival

The ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has some solid achievements to show for its 25 years in power, in terms of economic development and improved health and education, especially for the rural poor.

But what it has not been able to do is manage the transition from being a centralised, secretive revolutionary movement to running a more open, democratic and sustainable government.

‘Inflaming anger’

In theory, Ethiopia has embraced parliamentary democracy, but such hurdles are put in the way of potential rival parties that there are currently no opposition members of parliament.

Police fire tear gas to disperse protesters during Irreecha, the thanks giving festival of the Oromo people in Bishoftu town of Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe security forces have been accused of using excessive force to quell unrest

The EPRDF has in theory devolved a good deal of power to the country’s ethnically based regions, but time and again regional leaders have been changed by central government.

Ethiopia’s constitution allows freedom of speech and association but draconian anti-terrorism laws have been used against those who have tried to use those freedoms to criticise the government.

It is now clear that these attempts to hold on to control in a changing world have misfired.

Just as attempts to dictate who should lead the Muslim community led to earlier protests, reports from Bishoftu town, where the 55 died, say that anger spilled over on Sunday because of official attempts to control which Oromo leaders were allowed to speak at the event.

The overreaction of the security forces then turned a protest that might have gone largely unnoticed into a major catastrophe, inflaming anger in Ethiopia itself and causing growing concern abroad.

And so the cycle continues, and every time protests are badly handled they create more grievances, and generate more anger and more demonstrations.

Photo taken on February 20, 2014 shows a farmer winnowing a dried teff crop to separate seeds from stalks at Ada village in Bishoftu town, Oromia region of Ethiopia.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMany Ethiopians rely on agriculture for their livelihood
A woman from the Hamar tribe makes traditional coffee in Ethiopia's southern Omo Valley region near Turmi on September 20, 2016.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionCoffee is a major export earner

The US government is among those who have expressed concern at the deteriorating situation. Its Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, met Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn during the UN General Assembly last month.

She urged him to be more open to dialogue, to accept greater press freedom, to release political prisoners and to allow civil society organisations to operate.

Ethiopia’s ethnic make-up

  • Oromo – 34.4%
  • Amhara – 27%
  • Somali – 6.2%
  • Tigray – 6.1%
  • Sidama – 4%
  • Gurage – 2.5%
  • Others – 19.8%

Source: CIA World Factbook estimates from 2007

“We have encouraged him to look at how the government is addressing this situation,” she said after the meeting.

“We think it could get worse if it’s not addressed – sooner rather than later.”

Oromo PM hopes dashed

The latest reports from Ethiopia show why concerted opposition from Oromia is such a potential problem for the government.

The Oromos are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, and they have a long-standing grievance about the fact that despite this they have never controlled the political leadership.

More on Ethiopia’s unrest:

Oromo mourners in Ethiopia - December 2015Image copyrightAFP

Amhara domination, under Ethiopia’s former military government and emperors, was replaced by Tigrean leadership following the overthrow of long-serving ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991.

Meles Zenawi, who played a key role in the rebellion to overthrow the Mengistu regime, took power, serving as president and later as prime minister.

When he died in 2012, the Oromo hoped it would be their turn to rule, but his chosen replacement, Mr Hailemariam, came from the small Welayta ethnic group in the south.

Meles Zenawi (C) greets supporters as he arrives on May 23,2010 to cast his vote at a polling station in Adwa, 900 kms north of the capital Addis Ababa.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMeles Zenawi was in power from 1991 until his death in 2012

Not only are the Oromo numerous, their region is large and more productive than the densely populated highlands.

It produces a lot of Ethiopia’s food, and most of its coffee, normally the biggest export earner.

The sprawling region encircles Addis Ababa, controlling transport routes in and out of the city.

For a government so worried about loss of control, big Oromo protests are a serious threat indeed.

Oromo protests: Ethiopia arrests blogger Seyoum Teshome October 7, 2016

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Oromo protests: Ethiopia arrests blogger Seyoum Teshome

Mail & Guardian   AL JAZEERA   06 OCT 2016


The world’s third worst jailer of journalists detains notable critic after days of deadly protests in Oromia and Amhara.

Protests started among the Oromo – Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group – in November. They later spread to the Amhara, the second-most largest in the country. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Ethiopian police have arrested a blogger who criticised the government, especially its handling of the ongoing protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

Seyoum Teshome, an outspoken university lecturer who has been quoted frequently by foreign media outlets about the anti-government protests, was detained on October 1 at his home in Wolisso town in the Oromia region.

Ethiopia’s government spokesman, Getachew Reda, told The Associated Press news agency on Tuesday that he heard about Seyoum’s arrest and is investigating the reasons why.

Days before his arrest, Seyoum told the AP that he was planning to start his doctoral studies at Addis Ababa University and was starting his own blogging website, Ethiothinkthank. He wrote about Ethiopia’s anti-government protests on his blogging site and Facebook page.

“This arrest of a prominent writer and commentator is deeply disturbing as it comes against a backdrop of government moves to stifle protests and criticism,” said Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. “Seyoum Teshome should be released without delay and without condition.”

Ethiopia is the third worst jailer of journalists in Africa, and a number of journalists are serving jail terms for writing critical pieces about the government, said the journalists’ group.

The arrest came a day before dozens of people were killed in the Oromia region.

They were crushed in a stampede after government forces fired tear gas and bullets to disperse protesters during the annual Irrecha thanksgiving celebration of the Oromo people.

The government has said 55 have died, but online activists and opposition groups outside Ethiopia claim the death toll is much higher.

The incident has sparked renewed protests in many towns across Oromia, where over the past year anti-government protests have called for respect for human rights, wider freedoms and the release of detained opposition figures and journalists.

Witnesses said many people were crushed to death and others fell into ditches as they tried desperately to escape police. Shoes and clothing littered the scene of the disaster as a small group of angry residents dug for bodies in a deep ditch.

On Monday, Human Rights Watch called for an independent investigation and said the government should “end the use of deadly force to quell largely peaceful protests that began nearly a year ago”.

Protests started among the Oromo – Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group – in November. They later spread to the Amhara, the second-most largest in the country.

Both groups say a ruling multi-ethnic coalition is dominated by the Tigray ethnic group, which makes up about six percent of the population. –  Al Jazeera

Oromo religious organizations on the Irreecha Massacre October 6, 2016

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The following is a statement from Oromo religious organizations: Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Mission Society, Oromo Muslim Association of North America, Oromo Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Minnesota and United Oromo Evangelical Churches (UOEC).

Public statement of Oromo religious organizations on the killing and injuries that took place at the Irreecha festival in Bishoftu on October 2, 2016

Dear my Friend,

Peace of the Lord be with you.

In repose to the tragic events unfolding in Ethiopia, the Oromo religious organizations: Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Mission Society, Oromo Muslim Association of North America, Oromo Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Minnesota and United Oromo Evangelical Churches (UOEC), have issued the attached public statement to express our grave sadness by the irresponsible killing and injuries that took place at the Irreecha festival in Bishoftu over the weekend, where thousands of people gathered here for the annual thanksgiving. The report that government’s troops and a helicopter gunship had opened fire, driving people off a cliff and into a lake, for entirely peaceful expression opinion, is beyond our comprehension.

We mourn the loss of precious lives and express our deep condolences to the families of the deceased.

In this Association, we have also made it clear that Ethiopia is heading toward unrecoverable human tragedy, only because of the irresponsible action of the Ethiopian government and absolute disregard for human life and dignity. We call on the Ethiopian government for an immediate corrective action, and the international community to take tangible direct involvement to save the nation from further loss of the human life, and serious national and regional destabilization, which is not in the interest of all concerned.

I want to encourage and comfort you all with a quote from Martin Luther King, and the scripture, that we should not lose sight with this tragic event, and not to be swept up into simple bitterness, but only work for a united action.

“Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all … Violence ends up defeating itself.” Martin Luther King

“Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail.” Prov. 22:8

This evil government is paving a way for its demise, but we should be united and resolved more than ever to endure with the powerless majority, with one voice: advocating for justice, freedom, liberty, democracy now or never!

Peace and many blessings,

Rev. Gemechu Olana



EU needs new approach on Ethiopia. #OromoProtests #IrreechaMassacre October 6, 2016

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EU needs new approach on Ethiopia

By FELIX HORNE,  6 October 2016

  • Addis Abeba. As a valuable friend, the EU needs to push Ethiopia to respect divergent views, and rein in forces who rapidly turn to bullets, beatings, and mass arrests. (Photo: Henrik Berger Jorgensen)

(EU Observer) — In January, the European Parliament passed a 19-point resolution condemning the Ethiopian government’s brutal crackdown on protests that had left more than a hundred dead. Many Ethiopians rejoiced at the resolution. I read it to some Ethiopian friends, who cried.

They had assumed Ethiopia was part of an international order in which no Western institution would dare criticise a trusted ally despite the government’s brutal repression.  They hoped the resolution would be a watershed in Europe’s relationship with Ethiopia.

But in the nine months since, the European Parliament’s outrage has not been matched by the European Union or its member countries. This despite the hundreds more Ethiopians killed throughout the country, the detention of tens of thousands, and widespread torture in detention, as we have documented.

Instead, on the sidelines of EU Development Days in June, High Representative Frederica Mogherini and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn worked on a joint declaration “Towards an EU-Ethiopia Strategic Engagement” that proclaimed business as usual. While demonstrators were being shot, journalists and opposition members locked up, and peaceful activists punished, the EU was silently signing the cheques.

EU officials are quick to point to rare but tepid statements expressing concern for Ethiopia’s human rights situation but it’s not enough. The October 12 European parliamentary hearing on Ethiopia could be the catalyst for much stronger action —built on a willingness to use the considerable leverage that comes with providing various forms of support to the Ethiopian government, including €745 million in European aid for 2014-2020.

Ethiopia’s protests began last November in the largest region, Oromia, over the government’s development plans. Protests soon spread to the Amhara region where grievances focused on complex questions of ethnic identity and the dominance in economic and political affairs of people with ties to the ruling party.

Perfect storm

Security forces have shown no intention of changing their heavy-handed tactics, and the government hasn’t been willing to discuss the issues. The cycle of demonstrations and brutal government responses is feeding Ethiopia’s biggest political and human rights crisis in decades.

How this plays out could jeopardise Europe’s long-term interests in the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia’s current crisis came as a surprise to many European policymakers, but it follows years of systematic government attacks on fundamental rights and freedoms, cutting off dissent.

Despite widespread frustration with the government, the ruling party is able to hold every one of the seats in the federal and regional parliaments.  The courts have shown little independence on politically sensitive cases, misusing  an anti-terrorism law to punish peaceful dissent.

There is little scrutiny of abusive security forces in part because of restrictions on independent media and NGOs. All of this has contributed to the complete closure of political space, creating the perfect storm.

An international investigation is needed

The EU is among many donors that have historically been silent about Ethiopia’s human rights abuses, afraid to risk strategic partnerships on development, migration, peacekeeping, and security.

Foreign diplomats and development organisations working in Ethiopia understand that you limit public criticism in exchange for access. The EU claims that “quiet diplomacy” is the most effective way to push Ethiopia in the right direction.

But given the dramatic deterioration in Ethiopia’s human rights record it’s hard to argue that this approach works.

Offering government benefits in exchange for silence is something many Ethiopians, particularly in rural areas, have known for years.

Ethiopia’s government carefully controls access to the benefits of development– including seeds, fertilisers, food aid, and jobs, much of it funded by the EU and its members.

To their credit, some African institutions have broken rank and expressed concern over the killings, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Union. And the United States, a key ally of Ethiopia, has been stronger than usual in condemning the use of lethal force, with forceful resolutions introduced in the US House and Senate.

Last month the UN’s top human rights official, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said an international investigation is needed. A recent EU statement at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva echoed his call for an investigation, an important step that needs follow-up.

Investigate the killings

The EU needs a new approach to Ethiopia. Strategic relationships will become obsolete if Ethiopia plunges further into crisis, and all the signs are there.  As a valuable friend, the EU needs to push Ethiopia to respect divergent views, and rein in forces who rapidly turn to bullets, beatings, and mass arrests.

Ethiopia’s current approach to dissent guarantees future unrest and makes it less likely that the government will be able to find a way back to gain the trust of its citizens, all of which jeopardises the EU’s long term interests in the Horn.

The EU and its member states should continue to push for an international investigation into the killings, press the government to grant the UN access to investigate, and urge the government to hold to account security force members responsible for abuses.

By taking these steps, the EU and its member states can improve the potential for Ethiopians to be stable long-term partners.

Felix Horne is the senior Ethiopia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

The genocidal massacres of Oromos at the Irreechaa Fesival: The lies of the Tigre-led Ethiopian government October 6, 2016

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The genocidal massacres of Oromos at the Irreechaa Fesival: The lies of the Tigre-led Ethiopian government

The University of Tennessee


On October 2, 2016, the Tigre-led Ethiopian regime massacred more than seven hundred Oromos and injured hundreds more at Irreechaa, the Oromo national holiday of thanksgiving held in Bishoftu in which millions had gathered. During the Irreecha festival, Ethiopian security forces shot live ammunition into the crowd and fired tear gas, although they claimed that the lives lost were due to a stampede. Western media have joined in this claim, spreading inaccurate information about the tragic events of this day. However, Oromo victims know what happened to them and they are telling their truth. They have used videos, pictures, and social media to release accurate information.

The victims say that the Tigre-led government used live bullets, tear gas, helicopter gunships, armored cars, and snipers to terrify and kill Oromo children, elderly, women and other sectors of the Oromo society that had gathered to celebrate Irreecha. During the holiday, many young Oromos had chanted anti-government slogans to show support for Oromo Protests, a protest movement that has been taking place since November 2015. Although the holiday festival had this political moment, the massacre of hundreds of people on this day was an inhumane violation of one of the most sacred rituals of the Oromo.Irrechaa is a sacred holiday of peace and a celebration of culture, and the Ethiopian regime continues to push the limits of its inhumane violent practices.

For a quarter of a century, the Tigre-led regime has targeted Oromo mosques, churches and Galma (the house of Oromo indigenous religion) and killed hundreds of Oromo religious leaders who have expressed their Oromummaa (Oromo identity, culture, and ideology) through their religions, language, clothing, and other activities. The regime, mainly representing the interests of the Tigre, 6% of the Ethiopian population, has been committing heinous abuses and violence against the Oromo people, the largest ethno-national group in Ethiopia, and others, since its coming to power. Furthermore, in the process of transferring Oromo land and other resources to Tigre colonial elites and their collaborators, the regime has also targeted Oromo activists, politicians, students, and farmers who oppose its discriminatory and terrorist policies.

It is estimated that more than one million Oromos have been killed and thousands of Oromos have been suffering in prisons and secret concentration camps. Oromos who have been released from these prisons and concentration camps have exposed how Oromos are tortured, castrated, blinded, incapacitated, killed, and infected with HIV in various prisons and concentration camps. Also, hundreds of prisoners have perished due to the lack of adequate food, clothing, healthcare and other essential services. All these criminal acts have been committed on the brightest and conscious elements of the Oromo society. Unfortunately, the financial, military and diplomatic support of big powers has contributed to these genocidal and terrorist policies and practices for twenty-five years.  Still these big powers refuse to take practical actions to stop the regime from its criminal acts. While giving lip service, these powers have continued to provide material support to the regime.

Currently, the Oromo people are determined more than ever to establish their political destiny. Despite continuous violent crackdowns and heinous massacres such as that at Irreecha, they continue to protest peacefully and raise their voices to challenge the Ethiopian regime’s oppressive anti-Oromo policies. Tigre colonial elites and their collaborators have somehow convinced themselves that continuing and escalating violence against unarmed and peaceful civilians is their answer to controlling and quieting a people who are determined to struggle for their rights, sovereignty, and freedoms. The reaction from the Oromo has instead been more protests and more outrage at the Ethiopian regime’s inhumanity.

The Oromo, the Amhara, the Somali, the Konso, the Sidama, the Gambella and others need to join the Oromo protest movement to remove the Tigre-led terrorist and genocidal regime. Learning from the failures of the last two decades, the Oromo movement must rebuild its national organizational capacity and form an alliance with all peoples that are suffering from Ethiopian state terrorism, genocide, and war on the principles of national self-determination and an egalitarian multinational democracy.


Ethiopia: Moments Before & Aftermath of the Irreechaa Massacre in Bishoftu Against Oromos October 6, 2016

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Ethiopia: Moments Before & Aftermath of the Irreechaa Massacre in Bishoftu Against Oromos

By Finfinne Tribune and Gadaa.com  Onkoloolessa/October 4, 2016

The following video shows two segments: one is the moment immediately before the Ethiopian government’s security forces opened fire at the Oromo Irreecha participants who gathered around the main stage in millions – some voicing their protests peacefully; the stage is situated in front of Hora (Lake) Arsadi, which is the sacred ground where millions of Oromos come to every year to pay tribute to Waaqa, the Supreme spiritual power equivalent to God.

Secondly, immediately after the gunshots, the area around the stage is seen to have been evacuated massively and swiftly as millions run away from the gunshots — as a consequence, hundreds ran into their untimely deaths as they slipped into ravines around the lake. The government’s sniper gunshots were accompanied aerially with military helicopters (not shown on the video, but see photo below) – which entered the civilian perimeter to further escalate the situation. And, on the ground, military-grade Humvees were deployed (seen on the video) straight into the main stage area to drive Oromo Irreechaparticipants into the ravines.

These remain unanswered:
1) who gave the order to deploy the military as a response to the peaceful protest at the Irreecha festival;
2) the swiftness (fastness) with which the military responded (within minutes of the breakout of the peaceful protests) does initiate the question: was this a pre-planned massacre? Why was the military staged near the civilian festival?

Photo of the aerial force deployed against Oromo Irreecha participants:

Military-grade Humvee inside the civilian perimeter at the 2016 Irreecha festival (why was the soldier’s face covered with a bandanna?):



CCTV America: Who are Ethiopia’s Oromo and what’s behind the wave of protests in the country? October 6, 2016

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VOA: Ethiopia Protests Continue Despite Call for Calm. #OromoProtests #Bishoftu Massacre October 6, 2016

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#OromoProtests: “We want our own government and those in the current government don’t represent us. They are incompetent to administer us and we want them to leave power.”

Ethiopia Protests Continue Despite Call for Calm

 VOA, October 05, 2016  By Salem Solomon


FILE — Demonstrators chant slogans and flash the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is observing an official mourning period for more than 50 people killed during a crackdown and stampede at an ethnic cultural festival in the Oromia region Sunday.At the same time, the country is seeing a continuation, possibly an escalation, of the anti-government protests that sparked the violence.

Hundetu Biratu took part in a protest that turned deadly Monday in Dembidolo, a town in southwestern Ethiopia. She told VOA that her brother was shot and killed during the demonstration.

“We were taking my brother to the hospital. A bullet pierced his neck and exited through his ears. They fired tear gas and I fell. When I got up they shot me on my thighs and I fell,” she said.

Mulatu Gemechu, assistant deputy chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, said other protests took place Monday and Tuesday across eastern and western Oromia. He said clashes broke out in Sendefa, a town in central Ethiopia, as mourners returned from a funeral for a mother and a child who died in Sunday’s pandemonium.

The Oromia Police Commission deputy commissioner, Sori Dinqa, told reporters that protesters in the region are destroying property, burning cars and targeting government offices.


Demonstrators protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia. More than 50 people were killed in the violence.

“There are continued and sporadic efforts to block streets, disturb the peace and burn administrative buildings. Our police are continuing to prevent that. We want the people to condemn the uprising and discourage people from taking part in these acts,” he said.

But few people appear to be heeding his call.

A witness in Alem Gena, a town in central Ethiopia, said a funeral service for victims turned into an anti-government demonstration. He said no one was killed but anger in his area is running high.

“We want our own government and those in the current government don’t represent us. They are incompetent to administer us and we want them to leave power,” said the man, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons.

Questions about the stampede

Official tallies put the death toll from Monday’s violence at 52, while Desalegn Bayisa, general manager of the Bishoftu Hospital, told reporters 55 people had been killed. Opposition members and activists, however, place the number of people who died in the hundreds.

Bayisa said the hospital also treated more than 100 injured people.

Advocacy groups such as Freedom House blamed some of the deaths on security forces firing tear gas and live ammunition at festival attendees.

Questions about safety precautions are also being asked of the organizers of the festival, which drew hundreds of thousands of people to a location that includes a lake and deep ditches.

FILE -- People assist an injured protester during Irrechaa, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people in Bishoftu town of Oromia region, Ethiopia.

FILE — People assist an injured protester during Irrechaa, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people in Bishoftu town of Oromia region, Ethiopia.

“It’s amazing really. There seemed to be no preparation or planning about how to manage the flows of people,” said William Davison, a reporter for Bloomberg News who attended the event and said there were no barriers between the people and the ditches.

“To make those mistakes given the high likelihood of a protest and a government response just seems sort of criminally negligent to me,” Davison added.

Stifling dissent and criticism

Free speech advocates say the government was attempting to silence critical voices even before the festival.

Seyoum Teshome, a prominent Oromo blogger and lecturer at Ambo University, was arrested on October 1 in Wolisso, 110 kilometers from the capital of Addis Ababa. His house was searched and the police confiscated his computer according to local reports.

“My attempts to reach him via his phone ended unsuccessfully. May he stay safe,” wrote Befekadu Hailu, another blogger, on his Facebook page.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a group advocating for the safety of journalists, condemned the arrest and called on the government to release Teshome without delay or conditions.

It is “deeply disturbing as it comes against a backdrop of government moves to stifle protests and criticism,” CPJ’s deputy director Robert Mahoney said.

“We want to see any pending charges or charges they might try to pursue dropped,” Kerry Paterson, the senior advocacy officer for CPJ’s Africa program told VOA. “The chilling effect that occurs as a result of arresting people doesn’t just hurt the individual journalist who gets arrested. It hurts all Ethiopia.”

What’s next?

Analysts see no end in sight to the ethnic tensions roiling Ethiopia.

Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Vanguard Africa Movement, a group that advocates for good governance, said protesters do not feel the promise of Ethiopian federalism, in which all regions are supposed to have a degree of self-governance, has been realized.

“I don’t see it ending anytime soon,” he said of the widespread anger. “I think a lot of this resentment and a lot of this discord that we are seeing is because the highly intrusive, highly repressive central government has not allowed those basic democratic avenues to be opened up. They have not allowed the Oromo people in particular to exercise and to demonstrate their basic rights that are enshrined in the country’s own constitution.”

Adane Tilahun, the chairman of the opposition All Ethiopian Unity Party, said that to begin the healing process from this week’s events, the government needs to recognize the killings were unjustified, apologize, and offer compensation to the families of the victims.

Tilahun also called on international actors and human rights groups to put pressure on the Ethiopian government in order to establish an independent investigation into the deaths.

VOA reporters Tujube Hora and Solomon Kifle contributed to this report.


Aljazeera: Oromo protests: Ethiopia unrest resurges after stampede October 6, 2016

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Oromo protests: Ethiopia unrest resurges after stampede

Bloggers arrested, internet shut down periodically, and foreign firms attacked as anti-government protests continue.

File: A man at a funeral holds up the portrait of Tesfu Tadese Biru, a construction engineer killed in Bishoftu [Tiksa Negeri/Reuters]

Often violent protests in which rights groups say hundreds of people have been killed by security forces have flared again in Ethiopia, with a US citizen among the latest deaths.

Protests reignited in the Oromia region – the main focus of a recent wave of demonstrations – after at least 55 people were killed in a stampede at the weekend, which was sparked by police firing tear gas and warning shots at a huge crowd of protesters attending a religious festival.

Fifty-five is the official death toll given by the government, though opposition activists and rights groups say they believe more than 100 people died as they fled security forces, falling into ditches that dotted the area. Ethiopian radio said excavators had to be used to remove some of the bodies.

 Are Ethiopia’s Oromo being repressed?

The anti-government demonstrations started in November among the Oromo, Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, and later spread to the Amhara, the second most populous group. Though they initially began over land rights they later broadened into calls for more political, economic and cultural rights.

Both groups say that a multi-ethnic ruling coalition and the security forces are dominated by the Tigray ethnic group, which makes up about six percent of the population.

The government, though, blames rebel groups and foreign-based dissidents for stoking the violence.

Staff at the California-based UC Davis university  confirmed the identity of the US citizen as Sharon Gray, a postdoctoral researcher of biology, who had been in the Horn of Africa nation to attend a meeting.

The US embassy said she was killed on Tuesday when stones were hurled at her vehicle on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, where residents said crowds have attacked other vehicles since the stampede.

The embassy did not give further details or a precise location for the incident.

Foreign firms attacked

News of Gray’s death came as foreign-owned factories and equipment were damaged in the protests. Demonstrators in Oromia say farmland has been seized to build foreign factories and housing blocks.

On Tuesday, crowds damaged a factory run by Turkish textile firm Saygin Dima and the BMET Energy cable plant, which also has Turkish investors, officials from firms in the area said. Both plants are in the Oromia area.

READ MORE: The ‘Ethiopia rising’ narrative and the Oromo protests

A third of the Saygin Dima plant in Sebeta, 35 km (20 miles) southwest of Addis Ababa, was destroyed by fire, General Manager Fatih Mehmet Yangin said.

“A large crowd attacked the factory,” he said, adding three vehicles were also destroyed.

Yangin said a flower farm nearby was also attacked. The Oromia Regional Administration said vehicles and some machinery at a plant owned by Nigeria’s Dangote Cement were vandalised.

Oromia has been a focus for industrial development that has fuelled Ethiopia’s economic growth, but locals say they receive little compensation when land is taken by the government.

The death toll from unrest and clashes between police and demonstrators over the past year or more runs into several hundred, according to opposition and rights group estimates. The US-based Human Rights Watch says at least 500 people have been killed by security forces.

The government says such figures are inflated.

Ethiopia criticised over lack of press freedom

The attacks will cast a shadow over Ethiopia’s ambition to draw in more investment to industrialise a nation where most people rely on subsistence farming, and have been struggling with a severe drought in the past two years or so.

The government has been building new infrastructure, including an electrified railway connecting the capital of the landlocked nation with a port in neighbouring Djibouti, which was inaugurated on Wednesday.

At least seven foreign-owned flower farms in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, another area where protests have flared, were damaged in political violence at the start of September.

Bloggers arrested

Rights groups and opposition politicians accuse the government of excessive force in dealing with demonstrations, crushing opponents and stifling free speech.

WATCH: What is triggering Ethiopia’s unrest?

The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) called on authorities on Tuesday to free Seyoum Teshoume , a blogger critical of the government, who writes for the website Ethiothinktank.com. CPJ said he was reported detained on October 1.

Another blogger who has expressed support for the protests, Natnael Feleke, was arrested on Tuesday, according to a blogging collective of which he is a member. Natnael was previously arrested in 2014 and released after more than a year in prison when charges against him were dropped.

There were also reports that the internet had been shutdown periodically over the last two days.

Officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but the government says it only detains people who threaten national security and says it guarantees free speech.

The opposition failed to win a single seat in a 547-seat parliament in a 2015 election and had just one in the previous parliament.

Source: Al Jazeera News And Agencies

Related Article from Financial Times 


Ethiopians chant slogans against the government during a march in Bishoftu © AP

Ethiopian anti-government protesters are escalating attacks on foreign investors as anger grows over the regime’s crackdown on demonstrations, in which hundreds of people have been killed.

Activists torched a Turkish textile factory and attacked a mine owned by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, damaging trucks and machinery on Tuesday, days after more than 50 people were killed when police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protests at a religious festival. The US embassy in Addis Ababa said an American woman died on Tuesday when her vehicle was struck by rocks thrown by Ethiopians on the outskirts of the capital.

The violence comes after a wave of protests this year that were originally triggered over a land dispute in the Oromia region of central and southern Ethiopia. They have since escalated into broader demonstrations against the autocratic government and spread to other regions, threatening the stability of one of Africa’s best-performing economies.

Addis Ababa has responded with force — activists accuse security forces of firing live ammunition on unarmed demonstrators and say hundreds have been killed in the protests.

Washington has called the government’s approach to the unrest “self-defeating,” while the EU on Wednesday called for the authorities to address the “wider aspects of the grievances”.

Activists and analysts say the attacks on foreign companies are becoming increasingly co-ordinated.

More than two dozen foreign companies, including flower farms and other agribusinesses have suffered millions of dollars in damage in recent weeks, according to Verisk Maplecroft, a UK-based consultancy.

Juan Carlos Vallejo, co-owner of Esmeralda Farms, pulled out of the country after his business was attacked several weeks ago.

“Right now, everyone is really scared,” he said. “We never expected something like this to happen. I don’t think anyone is going to want to invest here any more.”

Ethiopia has been one of Africa’s star performers, recording 10 per cent annual growth and attracting tens of billions of dollars in foreign investment over the past decade thanks to a carefully planned, state-led development and industrialisation policies.

But it is also a tightly controlled society, with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front — which has governed with an iron grip since 1991 — and its allies controlling all the seats in parliament.

Dissent is swiftly repressed and the political opposition was severely weakened by a government crackdown — during which scores of people were also killed — after disputed 2005 elections.

“We have made clear that Ethiopia’s prosperity depends on the ability of its government to maintain a stable and predictable investment climate and to expand political space,” a western diplomat said.

The current protests began in Oromia region last November over plans to expand Addis Ababa into Oromo lands. The initiative was shelved but the government’s aggressive response to the protests saw them spread to northern areas, which are dominated by the Amhara ethnic group.

Both the Amhara and Oromo are frustrated by the political dominance of the Tigray minority, which makes up 6 per cent of the 100m population, analysts say. The Oromo and Amhara comprise some two-thirds of Ethiopians.

Awol Allo, an Ethiopian law lecturer at Keele University, said foreign investors were being targeted because “they are seen as the source of legitimacy for the government”.

“The government has to attract foreign investment to keep the economy growing and has to provide land and services cheaply,” he said. “People are taking out their anger on investments by foreigners to undermine the government.”

The government has sought to play down the protests, blaming overseas agitators and criminal elements.

Analysts say the Tigray-dominated regime has maintained its grip in part by keeping the larger ethnic groups divided. But they add that now the Oromo and Amhara have united in their opposition to the government, it will be hard for the authorities to appease them without making significant concessions.

However, Rashid Abdi, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, said some ministers, and the Tigray-controlled military, are loath to do this.

“The protests have now reached a serious level, a different scale,” he said. “We should not exaggerate and say the government is going to keel over tomorrow, but it portends future trouble unless they get a grip. What’s worrying is that so far they haven’t.”

Afar People’s Party: Condolences and Solidarity message to Bishoftu Massacre October 5, 2016

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Condolences and Solidarity message to Bishoftu Massacre


 October 4, 2016

Afar People’s Party is dismayed by the mass killing of our Oromo brothers in Bishoftu, while celebrating the Irrecha seasonal holyday. This act of state-terror and coward action on civilian population is a testimony for that the Woyane regime is falling apart and the situation is getting out of its control. It’s time to make sense of the causes, the causes that people are scarifying their lives for all over the country. Many heroic Ethiopians have been killed, prisoned, tortured and driven from their homes because they merely voiced their grievances and said No to social injustice and said Yes for human dignity.

In this trying time our hearts are bleeding and our souls are mourning with all families who lost their beloved ones. Afar People’s Party would like to express its solidarity with all Ethiopian people in general and with our Oromo brothers in particular.

Since its control of power, the EPRDF/TPLF regime has been systematically dismantling every aspects of societal institutions to create fertile ground for its divide and rule policies. The paradox is that those who have been killed repeatedly are civilians not armed opposition groups.

  • For instance, since 2005 Ethiopian have been massacred when they protested to protect their votes from being snatched;
  • Our Muslim brothers were killed and prisoned and tortured when they say “listen to our voices” and respect our religious freedom and demanded to restrict state interference in religious affairs;
  • Ethiopians were massacred in Gambela to give land for foreign investors;
  • Ethiopians were massacred and villages were burned in Ogaden when people asked for full-fledged federal arrangement;
  • Ethiopians were massacred in Gonder/ Wolkait/ Bahirdar/ Konso/ Sidama/ Konnaba/ Sawne/ Gawani etc., when they demanded that one’s identity should be determined by a group or individual but not by the state;
  • Ethiopians are massacred, prisoned and displaced in Afar because of they protested against land grabbing, territorial claims and marginalization;
  • Ethiopians were massacred in every corner of Oromia and now while celebrating the traditional ceremony of Errecha; and the list can continue…

The question is now, how long shall we wait and see while such gross human rights violations and crime against humanity are committed in daily basis? We believe that it’s our responsibility to accomplish the dreams and aspiration of many fallen brothers and sisters and we can only achieve that when we are united against the tyrannical regime.

  • We condemn all forms of barbaric acts and convey our condolences to those families who lost their beloved ones.
  • We call up on all Ethiopians to unite for lasting peace, justice, freedom and peaceful coexistence among Ethiopian.

Together we can make it happen !

Afar People’s Party


Quartz: Ethiopia emerges from national mourning with more protests and internet shutdown October 5, 2016

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Bishoftu Massacre

Following the death of at least 55 people in the weekend, Ethiopia is coming out of a three-day national mourning with a complete internet shutdown and more protests engulfing the country. Anti-government protests have broken both in the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, with reports of closed roads, a heavy presence of riot police…

via Ethiopia emerges from national mourning with more protests and internet shutdown — Quartz

Bishoftu Massacre: Ana Gomez, MEP, Statement at European Union regarding the mass killings conducted by fascist Ethiopia’s regime (TPLF) at Irreecha Oromo National Cultural celebration event in Bishoftu, Oromia where over 4 million people congregate on 2nd October 2016 October 5, 2016

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Oakland Institute: After Irreechaa Tragedy, the US Must Take Action for Human Rights in Ethiopia October 4, 2016

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Oakland Institute

After Irreechaa Tragedy, the US Must Take Action for Human Rights in Ethiopia

October 4, 2016

Irreechaa Holiday 2016: Protests and Tragedy

The annual Irreechaa festival is a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the Oromo people of Ethiopia. After the hardship of the winter months, the festival welcomes the spring and attracts millions to the town of Bishoftu in one of the largest cultural and spiritual celebrations of the year.

But instead of jubilation, this year’s festival was met with bloodshed. Between 55 and several hundred anti-government protesters were killed when Ethiopian security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition on crowds, triggering a stampede.

Protest for Human Rights in Ethiopia, Oakland, CA Credit: Elizabeth Fraser
Protest for Human Rights in Ethiopia, Oakland, CA. Credit: Elizabeth Fraser

The exact details of this atrocity are difficult to confirm—Ethiopian authorities routinely jail journalists and bloggers for critiquing the government and internet and cell phone reception in the Bishoftu region has reportedly been cut off. But regardless of the exact details, this is the latest in a series of events that signal increasing state violence.

State Violence Mounting in Ethiopia

For almost a year, protests have erupted in the Oromo and now also the Amhara regions of Ethiopia. They originated in response to a “Master Plan” that was set to expand the boundaries of Addis Ababa and take land away from farmers in the region, but have grown into larger calls for democracy and human rights in the country. Between November 2015 and January 2015, at least 400 people—mostly students—were killed by security forces in Oromo in the start of these protests. In August, nearly 100 more were killed in similar events in Oromo and Amhara. In September, a fire in the prison holding political prisoners and anti-government protesters in September took the lives of 23.

The trend is clear: state violence and repression in Ethiopia is mounting, and the international community is doing little to stop it.

Over the past eight years, the Oakland Institute has extensively researched, monitored, and reported on land and human rights abuses in Ethiopia. We started this work by examining detrimental land investments. This work led us to document the widespread human rights violations and repression of critics and opponents of the government’s development plans that were grabbing land and resources from its own citizens. In the wake of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation that led to the arrest of students, land rights defenders, journalists, indigenous leaders, opposition politicians, religious leaders, and more for exercising basic freedoms; in the wake of the villagization program that set out to forcibly relocate up to 1.5 million people to make their land available for foreign investment; in the wake of this year’s anti-government protests that have seen hundreds, if not thousands, killed by security forces—our work has expanded and our appeals for justice have grown.

Today, as we all reel from this latest tragedy, we say enough is enough. The US—as the largest bilateral donor to the country—must take a firm stand for human rights, democracy, and justice in Ethiopia.

House Resolution 861—Human Rights in Ethiopia

In September, Resolution 861—“Supporting Respect for Human Rights and Encouraging Inclusive Governance in Ethiopia”—was introduced in the House of Representatives, thanks to the courageous leadership of Representative Chris Smith. To date, it has been publically co-sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH). The resolution summarizes and condemns the massive abuses taking place in Ethiopia; calls on numerous US departments and agencies to review their financing of the Ethiopian government; and “stands by the people of Ethiopia and supports their peaceful efforts to increase democratic space and to exercise the rights guaranteed by the Ethiopian constitution.” The resolution’s support is growing, with news received last week that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) will also be signing on.

The US Must Act Now

The US and Ethiopia have a unique relationship: the US has relied on Ethiopia in its war on terrorism in the region, while Ethiopia relies on the US as a primary aid contributor. Because of this relationship, the position of the US is vital. A strong statement from the US would not only cause the Ethiopian authorities to take heed, but could inspire other world leaders to stand up for human rights in the country as well.

Over the past year, nearly one thousand people have lost their lives because they stood up for justice and human rights. How many more innocent lives need to be lost before the US is willing to take a stand?

All eyes are on us. The time to act is now.

Oromia: Ibsa ABO: Dhiigni dhangala’e fi lubbuun harcaate galaana tahee diina fuudha October 2, 2016

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Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo (ABO)
Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)
Lakk/NO. ABO/006/2016
Guyyaa: 010/2/2016

Dhiigni dhangala’e fi lubbuun harcaate galaana tahee diina fuudha

Ayyaan Irreechaa 10, 2016 Haroo Arsadee bushooftuutti bara baraan tahu, Aayyaan Africaa keessaa guddichaa fi sadarkaa addunyaattiis lakkooysa nama Miiliyoona hedduu hirmaachisuun beekamuudha. Kan bara 2016 kuni ammoo dirree murriqii ilmaan Oromoo idda takkatte tahee ummata Oromoo fi ummata dhala namaaf naatota addunyaa hunda biratti guyyaa dukkanawaa tahee jira.

Aayyaanni arraa kuni kan durii caalaa Oromoota miliyoonata hedduu hirmaachise, Bushooftuun yoo xirracha darban lafa hin bu’u. Humni Faashiftiin TPLF/wayyaaneen ummata sirbaa fi dhiichisaan gidiraa, gadadoo, hidhaa fi ajjeechaa dhala Oromoo irratti ji’oota 11 darbe kana tahaa turte anaanataa, yeroo Haroo Arsadee itti deeman Rabbii ifii kadhachaa uffata aadaa fi caffee qofa qabatee ayyaanichaaf bahe loltuu lafaa fi xayyuura/hilicopter sammiirran rasaasa itti roobse akka baala mukaa lubbuu dhibba hedduu murruq godhee jira.

Warraa fi Maatiin tiruun biruqxe, Saba guutuutti guyyaa dukkanaa tahe, Ilmi, Intalti,Abbaan yokaan Haati teessan wareega ulfaataa kabajaa Biyyaa fi Sabatiif wareegaman. Jabaadhaa, gumaa baafna malee hin nyaannu. Wareegni, Lafee fi dhiigni haga firii xaafii osoo hin hafne kafallanna. Kumaantamaan dhiiga dhiigaan baasuuf tarree galee jira. Onnee keessaan rabbiin jajjabina isiinii haa kennu, Abbaa keenya, Ilma keenya, Intala teenya fi Haadha teenya ulfina Rabbin/waaqa biratti wareegamtoonni Saba fi biyyaaf of kennan qaban rabbiin haa badhasu.

Ilmaan Oromoo biyya ambaa jirtan

gatii bilisummaan gaafattu Sabni keenya kafalaa jiru harka duwwaa duguuggaa shanyummaa Saba keenya irratti tahaa jirtu laallee garra, guyyaan dirqama Sabummaa bahunnu, kan wareega sadarkaa kamiittuu kafallu amma dirmachuuf Sabaaf uwwaadhaa.

Jaarmayni Oromo

Guyyaan maqaan qabsaawummaa fi Jaarmayummaa itti salphatuu fi itti kabajaa Saba Oromoo biratti argatu yeroon geesse. Lubbuu Saba keenya guyyaa kabajamaa irratti, Oromiyaa irratti murriqiin bu’aa jirtu gaafii qabsaawaa dhugaa, kan waan jedhe hujjitti hiiku, Kan lubbuu ifii Sabaaf rakoo godhu, kan irbuu seene itti dhugoomsu gahee jira. Guyaan dhiiga ilkee liqimsanii irbuu Sabaaf seename guutamee, gochaan muldhifamu amma. Humnaa fi beekumsa moora mooraa jiru mara qindeessuun qabsoo Sabni Oromo daraarse firiif wareega baasa jiru kanaaf gummaacha Sabummaa akka baanu dhaamna. Kuni ammoo, boodaa miti amma, Boruu mitiis arra.

Ummata Oromoo Niimota!!

Oromiyaa Irratti Abbaa Biyyaa Nitaata!

Adda Bilisummaa Oromo

Onkoloolessa 02,2016 Ayyaanni Oromoo Guddichi Irreechi Tarkaanfii Diinaa Dhiiga Ilmaan Oromoo Dhibbaa ol Dhangalaaseen Boora’e, Oromoof Sanbata Gurraacha!

(Ibsa ABO)

Ummatni Oromoo Ayyaana uumaa isaaf galata itti galchu wagga waggaan Oromiyaa keessatti kabaja. Ayyaanni kun addatti ammoo lammiilee Oromoo Oromiyaa mara keessaa walitti dhufuun Har-Sadee Bishooftuutti kabajamu isa ol aanaa dha. Irreecha wagga waggaan kabajamu kana mootummaan Wayyaanee/TPLF danda’ame hanqisuuf dadhabame ammoo karaa jalee isaa OPDO, tikoota siivilii uffatanii fi humna waraanaan hanqisuuf karoora itti baafatuun yeroo dheeraaf sosso’aa akka ture ni yaadatama.

Ayyaana Irreeffannaa kana waltajjii siyaasaa mootummaa farra-ummatootaa godhatuun fedhii siyaasaa ofii ittiin guuttatuufis, deggertoota mootummaa gandoota Oromiyaa keessaa Har-Sadeetti akka argaman gochuu, akkasumas, bakka Irreeffannaatti baandii muuziqaa qopheessuu fi jalbultii ayyaana kanaa fiigichoo gosa adda addaa qopheessuun fuula mootummaa ittiin miidhagsuuf maallaqni irratti dhangalaafame hedduu dha. Kana malees ummatni Oromoo Ayyaana Irreechaa irratti baay’inaan akka hin argamneef karaa cufuutti dabalee geejjibni akka hin sossoone taasifamuun ummata jalaa dhokataa miti. Kanneen hundi Ayyaana Irreechaa tohannoo mootummaa jala galchuuf yaadamee hojjataman.

Ummatni Oromoo gochaa diinaa kana jabinaan dura dhaabbatuun Har –Sadeen bakka uumaa itti galateeffatan malee waltajjii siyaasaa mootummaa itti faarsan ykn eebbisan akka hin tahiin hubachiisuun, mootummaan gochaa kana irraa akka dhaabbatu hubachiisaa fi yaadachiisaa ture. Haa tahu malee mootummaan humnatti amanu kun akkuma bare humnaan to’achuun waltajjii ofii godhatuuf yaalii godheen mormii dhalateen ummata meesha maleeyyii ayyaana kabajataa jiru irratti boombii harkaa darbatuun lubbuu gaaga’ee, waraana lafoo fi helikooptara waraanaan marsee dhukaasa baneen lammiilee fayyaaleyyii Oromoo dhibbaa ol ajjeesuu dhaan diinummaa isaa caalaatti ifa godhee jira. Guyyaan kun Oromoof Sanbata Gurraacha seenaa keessatti hin dagatamne tahee jira.

Kanneen aadaa fi safuu ummataaf kabajaa hin qabne ajjechaa jumlaa fi tarkaanfii sanyii duguggii kana kan rawwatan bakka Irreeffannaatti tahuun ammoo mootummaan kun Ayyaana ummata Oromoof kan kabajaa hin qabne tahuu kan durii caalaa mirkaneesse. Waan taheef tarkaanfii diinummaa kana ABOn gadi jabeessee balaaleffata.

Hawaasni addunyaa, nagaa jaallattootni, dhabbattootni mirga namoomaa gochaa gara jabinaa fi faashistummaa mootummaa Wayyaanee kana akka balaaleffatan ABOn jabeessee gaafata. Addatti ammoo mootummootni mootummaa kanaaf waahela tahan ajjechaan jumlaa haa gahu jechuun callisa isaanii irra aanuun tarkaanfii barbaachisuu fi quubsaa yeroon itti fudhatan amma tahuu irra deebi’ee yaadachiisa.

Ummatni Oromoo mootummaa Wayyaanee ummatoota hunda irratti roorrisaa jiru kun akka gatiittii ummatoota irraa bu’uuf qabsoo gaggeessuun durummaan kaafama. Qabsoo ummatni Oromoo itti jiru fakkeenya godhatuun kan qabsoo mirgaa fi eenyummaa kaasuun falmaa seenanis hedduu dha. Ummatootni qabsoo eenyummaa fi mirgaatti jiran martis gochaa kana akka balaaleffatanii fi qabsoo mirgaa fi dimokraasii ummatni Oromoo itti jiru cinaa hiriiruu fi wal tumsuun falmaa isaanii akka finiinsan ABOn gaafata.

Tarkaanfiin fashistummaa guyyaa har’aa Onkoloolessa 2, 2016 ummata Oromoo irratti fudhatame hariiroon mootummaa Wayyaanee fi ummata Oromoo gidduu kan diinummaa tahuu waan daran caalaatti mirkaneesseef, ummatni Oromoo mootummaa kana irraa ajjeechaa fi hidhaa, xiqqeenyaa fi salphina malee kan argatu homaatuu akka hin jirre hubatee, qabsoo bilisummaa itti jiru bifa hundaan akka finiinsu ABOn dhaamsa dabarsa.

Dhaabotni bilisummaa fi mirga waliigalaaf qabsaawan hundi fi ummatootni marti akka qabsoo hadhaawaa kana finiinsanii umrii mootummaa fashistii kana gabaabsuu irratti akka fuulleeffatan waamicha keenya dabarsina.

Sanbatni kun Oromoof Sanbata Gurraacha Seenaan hin dagatamne dha.

Injifannoo Ummata Oromoof!

Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo

Onkoloolessa 2, 2016

ከመቶ በላይ የኦሮሞ ዜጎች ደም በጠላት እርምጃ ፈስሶበት የታወከው ታላቁ የኦሮሞ ባህል፡ ኢሬቻ፡ ለኦሮሞ ጥቁር ሰንበት ሆኗል

(የኦነግ መግለጫ)

የኦሮሞ ህዝብ ለፈጣሪው ምስጋና የሚያቀርብበትን በዓል በየዓመቱ በኦሮሚያ ውስጥ ያከብራል። በተለይ ደግሞ ከመላው ኦሮሚያ ቢሾፍቱ ሀር-ሰዴ ላይ በሚሰባሰቡት የኦሮሞ ዜጎች የሚከበረው በዓል ታላቁ ነው። የወያኔ/ሕወሃት መንግስት ይህንን ዓመታዊ በዓል ከተቻለለት እንዳይከበር ለማድረግ ካልቻለ ደግሞ በጀሌው ኦፒዲኦ፣ ሲቪል ልብስ በለበሱ የደህንነት ሃይሎቹና በጦር ሃይሉ ኣማካይነት ለማደናቀፍ እቅድ በማውጣት ለረዥም ጊዜ ሲንቀሳቀስ እንደነበር ይታወሳል።

የኢሬፈና በዓል የሚከበርበትን መድረክ የህዝቦች ጠላት የሆነው መንግስት ለፖለቲካ መደስኮሪያነት ለመጠቀም የስርዓቱን ደጋፊዎች ከኦሮሚያ ቀበሌዎች በሀር-ሰዴ ላይ እንዲገኙ በማድረግ፣ በኢሬፈና ቦታ ላይ የሙዚቃ ባንድ በማዘጋጀትና በበዓሉ ዋዜማ በተለያዩ ርቀቶች የሩጫ ውድድር በማዘጋጀት የመንግስትን ገጽታ ለማሳመር ከፍተኛ ገንዘብ ኣፍስሶበታል። ከዚህም በተጨማሪ የኦሮሞ ህዝብ በኢሬቻ በዓል ላይ በብዛት እንዳይገኝ መንገድ መዝጋትን ጨምሮ የመጓጓዣ ኣገልግሎትን በማቋረጥ ህዝቡን እንዳይንቀሳቀስ ማድረጉ የተሰወረ ኣይደለም። ይህ ሁሉ የኢሬቻ በዓልን በመንግስት ቁጥጥር ስር ለማስገባት ታስቦ የተሰራ ደባ ነው።

የኦሮሞ ህዝብ ይህንን የጠላት ድርጊት በቆራጥነት በመጋፈጥ ሀር-ሰዴ ፈጣሪን የሚያመሰግኑበት ቦታ እንጂ መንግስት የሚወደስብት የፖለቲካ መድረክ እንዳልሆነ በማስገንዘብ መንግስት ከዚህ ድርጊቱ እንዲታቀብ ሲያሳስብ ቆይቷል። ይሁን እንጂ ይህ በሃይል የሚያምነው ኣምባገነኑ መንግስት እንደልማዱ በሃይል በመቆጣጠር ኢሬቻን የራሱ መድረክ ለማድረግ ባደረገው ጥረት በተፈጠረ ተቃውሞ በዓሉን እያከበረ ባለው መሳሪያ-ኣልባ ህዝብ ላይ የእጅ ቦምብ በመወርወር፣ በእግረኛ ጦርና በጦር ሄሊኮፕተር ከብቦ በከፈተው ተኩስ ከኣንድ መቶ በላይ የሚሆኑ ንጹሃን የኦሮሞ ዜጎችን በመግደል ጠላትነቱን ይበልጥ ኣረጋግጧል። ይህ ዕለት ለኦሮሞ በታሪክ የማይረሳ ጥቁር ሰንበት ሆኗል።

ለህዝብ ባህልና ወግ ክብር የሌላቸው ይህንን የጅምላ ግድያና የዘር-ማጥፋት እርምጃ የፈጸሙት በኢሬፈና ቦታ መሆኑ ደግሞ ይህ መንግስት ለኦሮሞ ህዝብ በዓል ክብር የሌለው መሆኑን ይበልጥ ኣስመሰክሯል። ስለሆነም የኦሮሞ ነጻነት ግንባር ይህንን ጠላታዊ እርምጃ በጥብቅ ያወግዛል።

የዓለም ማህበርሰብ፣ ሰላም ወዳዶች፣ የሰብዓዊ መብት ተቋማት ይህንን ኣረመኔያዊና ፋሽስታዊ የወያኔ መንግስት እርምጃ እንዲያወግዙ ኦነግ ኣጥብቆ ይጠይቃል። በተለይ ደግሞ ለዚህ መንግስት ኣጋር የሆኑ መንግስታት የጅምላ ግድያ ይብቃ በማለት ዝምታቸውን በመስበር ኣስፈላጊውንና ኣጥጋቢ እርምጃ የሚወስዱበት ጊዜ ኣሁን መሆኑን በድጋሚ ያሳስባል።

የኦሮሞ ህዝብ በሁሉም የሃገሪቷ ህዝቦች ላይ ጭቆና እየፈጸመ ያለው የወያኔ መንግስት ከህዝቦች ጫንቃ ላይ እንዲወገድ ትግል በመካሄድ በግንባር ቀደምትነት ይጠቀሳል። የኦሮሞ ህዝብ እያካሄደ ያለውን ትግል እንደኣብነት በመውሰድ ለመብቶቻቸውና ለማንነታቸው ወደ ፍልሚያ የገቡትም በርካቶች ናቸው። ለመብታቸውና ለማንነታቸው በመታገል ላይ ያሉት ሁሉም ህዝቦችም ይህንን ኣረመኔያዊ የዘር-ማጥፋት ድርጊት እንዲያወግዙና የኦሮሞ ህዝብ እያካሄደ ካለው የመብትና የዲሞክራሲ ትግል ጎን በመሰለፍና በመተባበር ትግላቸውን እንዲያፋፍሙ ኦነግ ጥሪውን ያቀርባል።

በዛሬው ዕለት፡ ጥቅምት 2, 2016ዓም በኦሮሞ ህዝብ ላይ የተወሰደው ፋሽስታዊ እርምጃ በወያኔ መንግስትና በኦሮሞ ህዝብ መካከል ያለው ግንኙነት የጠላትነት መሆኑን በድጋሚ ይበልጥ ስላረጋገጠ የኦሮሞ ህዝብ ከዚህ መንግስት ግድያና እስራት፣ ውርደትና ሃፍረት እንጂ ኣንዳች የሚያገኘው ነገር እንደሌለ ተገንዝቦ እያካሄደ ያለውን የነጻነት ትግል በሁሉም መልክ እንዲያፋፍም ኦነግ መልዕክቱን ያስተላልፋል። ለነጻነትና ለኣጠቃላይ መብት የሚታገሉ ድርጅቶች እንዲሁም ሁሉም ህዝቦች ይህንን መራር ትግል ኣፋፍመው የፋሽስቱን መንግስት እድሜ ለማሳጠር ተግተው እንዲታገሉ ጥሪያችንን እናስተላልፋለን።

ይህ ሰንበት ለኦሮሞ በታሪክ የማይረሳ ጥቁር ሰንበት ነው።

ድል ለኦሮሞ ህዝብ!
የኦሮሞ ነጻነት ግንባር
ጥቅምት 2, 2016ዓም

Irreecha Massacre: Bishoftu Massacre: Fascist Ethiopia’s regime (TPLF) has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Oromia (Ethiopia) on the peaceful Irreecha ceremony- Oromo thanksgiving day, 2nd October 2016 where over 4 million celebrating the Oromo National Cultural Day at Horaa Harsadii, Bishoftu, Oromia. October 2, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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Ethiopia’s regime’s ( TPLF) mass killing at Irreecha Makaa 2016 in Bishoftuu. #Irreechamassacre



ABO: Dhiigni dhangala’e fi lubbuun harcaate galaana tahee diina fuudha.

VOA: Ayyaana Irreechaa Har’aa Irratti Walitti Bu’iinsa Uumameen Kanneen Dhibbaan Lakkaa’aman Dhuman Jedhama

TPLF soldiers (Agazi) opened fire from ground by snipers and commandos  and helicopter on these people celebrating Ireecha Birraa at Harsadii  Lake in Bishoftu, Oromia.




An Oromo just shot and killed in Bishoftu at an area called ‘Circle’. His body still there as soldiers prevented medical personnel and civilians from picking him up.


Shoes of Oromo people killed by fascist Ethiopia’s regime forces (TPLF, Agazi) during Irreecha 2016 in Bishoftu. Genocide is gooing on. 2nd October 2016.


UUUUUUUUU Genocide against Oromo people by TPLF. This is at Hora Harsadii while millions of Oromo People at Irreecha, 2nd October 2016.




As social media more accurately reports from the field and hospitals,  more than 800 people were massacred and thousands were jured   by TPLF while more than 4 million people  celebrating the most popular  African based Oromo Thanksgiving season on 2nd October 2016. The number of people killed by Agazi on 2nd October on Irreecha day may be increased. The genocide has been going on  over 25 years particularly since November 12, 2015 as the world community has been watching.

Hundreds of people fell into this deep ditch as bullets tear gas fell on millions from helicopter and ground soldiers


Ergaa kana naaf dabarsi Beekan.. ANi ogeessa fayyaa Hospiitaala Bishooftuuti. Namoota du’aniifi gaggaban adda baafachuu hamma dadhabnetti jirra. AKka warra lubuun keessa jiru hinyaallannettis nama jala erganii nudanqaa jiru. Dawwaanillee dhumee waan ittiin madaa isaani qoorsinu fixneerra. Warri akkanumaan gar aFinfinneetti refer’ gochaa jirrus utuu achi hingahiin du’uuti malu. Nama gaddisiisa. Har’an ogeessa fayyaa ta’uukoo of abaare. Jarri saba keenyaa lafarra daguuguuf murteeffatteetti. Ani kanin lakkaa’ee qofti dhibba sadii ol ta’a…maaloo warri sagalenkeessan dhaga’amu, sabni kun ciisee du’uurra ajjeesee akka du’uuf dhamsa nuuf dabarsa. Namoota naannoo Bishooftu jiraniin adaraa dhiigaa nobboleeyyan keessaniif nuuf arjoomaa naajedhiin. kana boda abbaatu ofmara jedhe bofti.ani dhukkuba uumamaa sabnikoo ittiin miidhamu yaaluufan baradhen se’e amma garuu ajjeechaa Wayyaaneen lammiikoorratti gootu ..yeroon siif katabu kana office ‘ koo balbala cufadhee imimmaan ofirra lolaasaadha. Gaafa haatikoo duute akkas boo’ee hinbeeku. Adaraa tokkummaan ka’aa naa jedhiin.



Video lee Irreecha Bishooftuu Guyyaa Har’aa Toora Kana Keessaa Argattu.

Haala Irreecha guyyaa har’aa irratti  ture Video lee hedduu kana keessa saaqachuun argattu



OPRIDE:The Irreecha massacre: Hundreds feared dead in Bishoftu


(OPride) — At least 250 feared dead in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, after police used tear gas and opened fire on people gathered to mark Irreechaa, the Oromo thanksgiving festival, according to activists and eyewitness reports. The Irreechaa holiday at Hora Arsadi, the crater lake near the site of Sunday’s massacre, is considered the biggest cultural and spiritual celebration in Africa.

 TN: Irreecha Massacre: Hundreds of Oromo Festival Goers Feared Dead in Bishoftu

On this day, October 2, which will be entered into history books as the Irreechaa Massacre, the sacred grounds of Arsadi were littered with dead bodies, according to reports. The mass arrests began a day early. Tensions run high all day as military helicopters flew above the crowd at lower altitude, in what was seen as an effort to intimidate the gathering crowd. At the city entrances, security checkpoints stretched for hours as festival goers arrived from across Oromia. But despite the heavy security presence, Irreechaa goers still expected to partake in a peaceful celebration of the arrival of Birraa, as the holiday marks a seasonal change from dark and rainy winter months to a bountiful Spring.

But chaos, confusion and stampede broke out in the early afternoon when the youth booed the newly elected chairman of the ruling Oromo People’s Democratic Organization, OPDO, off the stage. The protests began as soon as the crowd filed into the malka, the river bank, close to the stage where politicians hoped to make political statements – statements that are often unheard and unheeded even on a “normal” year. It’s clear that the youth were ready to make a statement of their own to the local officialdom – in an unusual in your face type of way. But their protests were peaceful. They crossed arms, forming an X, popularized by Oromo marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa, to say no to the killings, beatings and arrests. It is an incident like no other. A turning point for the 11-month old Oromo protests, a popular uprising against the Oromo people’s continued social, economic and political marginalization by the central government in Ethiopia.

Irreechaa has emerged at the most important event among the Oromo. It is officially a celebration of the bountiful harvest of Birra but a celebration of Oromummaa itself. It is the most unifying event for the Oromo, who constitute at least half of Ethiopia’s 100 million people.

This wasn’t an ordinary year for Oromo and for Ethiopians as a whole. More than 1,000 people have been killed, mostly in Oromia, but also in the Amhara state in the last 11 months.

Opposition party says stampede kills at least 50 people in chaotic scenes in restive Oromiya region

Protesters run from teargas during the Irreecha festival of thanksgiving in Bishoftu.
Protesters run from teargas during the Irreecha festival of thanksgiving in Bishoftu. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Police in Ethiopia’s Oromiya region fired teargas and warning shots to disperse anti-government protesters at a religious festival, triggering a stampede the opposition party said killed at least 50 people.

Note: Dr Merera told The guardian about 50 casualties several hours ago right after the news first emerged. Current estimate stands over 350. Also note, they are still waiting for bulldozers to dig people who feel deep into the ditch and waiting for divers for those who fell into the lake. Jawar Mohammed


WP: Dozens of deaths during stampede at Ethiopia religious event




IOL: Ethiopia religious festival ends in stampede  / 2 October 2016

Africa News: Oromia festival disrupted as Ethiopian police fire teargas to disperse protesters


Oromia: Protest at Irrecha Celebration 2016

BBC:Oromia: Several dead in Ethiopia festival stampede

Several people have been killed in a stampede in Ethiopia’s Oromia region after police fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse a protest.


ALJAZEERA: Ethiopia: ‘Several’ killed in Oromia festival stampede

Police fire tear gas at protesters during Oromia religious festival, reportedly instigating deadly stampede in Bishoftu.

Thousands of people gathered for the annual Irreecha festival in Bishoftu, about 40km south of the capital.

Protesters chanted slogans against the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation, one of four regional parties that make up the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front, which has ruled the nation for quarter of a century.