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

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomistremember-irreechamassacre

Ethiopia has been suffering from a super centralized TPLF autocratic, barbaric and terroristic rule.  October 9, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethiopian Empire, Ethnic Cleansing, Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights.
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For the last 26 years, Ethiopia has been suffering from a super centralized TPLF autocratic, barbaric and terroristic rule.

It is beyond dispute that the recent event witnessed in Eastern and Southern Oromia is nothing but TPLF’s last ditch futile effort at the triangulation and expansion of the conflict in the face of the ongoing broad based and persistent opposition to its repression. The Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama, Gurage, Wolayita and the other Ethiopian peoples are saying NO, in one voice, to the decades of repressions, killings, incarcerations, humiliations, displacements and robberies of their resources by the TPLF junta. The Ethiopian people are rising in unison to break out of the shackles of slavery and fear the TPLF has put them in.

It is a well established fact TPLF’s longstanding strategy of diffusing bipolar conflicts between itself and the Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama or Gurage people –just to mention the major heavy weights in Ethiopian politics in terms of shear demographic size – is triangulation of the conflict. For instance, the TPLF always attempts to add a front to the real conflict between itself and the Oromo people and between itself and the Amhara people by inciting (fabricating) conflict between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Based on this strategy, the TPLF has been attempting incessantly for the last 26 years to incite conflicts mainly between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Fortunately, the diabolical efforts by the TPLF has been rendered for the most part pre-emptively ineffective thanks to the long history of peaceful coexistence between the two peoples.

Moreover, the massive demonstrations held in Oromia and Amhara States over the recent years put, in no uncertain terms, the final nail to the coffin of this TPLF’s savage strategy triangulating the conflict as TPLF-Oromo-Amhara conflict. The dumb-founded TPLF was left with nothing but to whisk a few bribed Somali elders carrying a “10 million birr donation check” to Mekele instructing them to tell the people of Tigray that they are not alone in this and that the Somali people are by their side. This was intended not only to calm the Tigray people who have been growing increasingly isolated, nervous and uncomfortable by the latest cascades of erratic and impulsive reactions by the TPLF to suppress the popular demands but it was also to officially declare that the efforts to triangulate the conflict is moving East. It is obvious that since the strategy of triangulation of the TPLF-Oromo people bipolar conflict or TPLF-Amhara people bipolar conflict has been dealt a final blow, TPLF was forced to play what it thought was its next best card from the few diminishing cards left in its hands. In a very interesting twist of events, Seye Abraha, a rebel commander-turned-defense minister who was a member of the Politburo of the TPLF and who is believed to be one of the main authors and architects of the TPLF war doctrine went to the same place, Easter Ethiopia, in 1991 in relation to the TPLF-Oromo conflict and bragged something to the effect of “…TPLF can create a war let alone winning a war….” Fast forward – we are here today. Alas, terrorist TPLF is at it again – trying to transplant the vortex of conflict at Oromia-Somali border in order to open a new front on the Oromo people for being on the forefront of the struggle of the Ethiopian people for peace, freedom, justice and democracy. So it is evidently clear that what we are seeing unfolding right in front of our eyes in Eastern Oromia today is nothing but that strategy of the triangulation of conflict at work.


The Culprit is the TPLF – Not Ethnic Federalism 

By Aklilu Bekele,


The current horrendous situation the barbaric and kleptomaniac dictatorial TPLF regime has put Ethiopian in has brought the debate on ethnic based federalism back into the spotlight. Nowadays, barely a minute goes by without hearing or seeing the opponents of the ethnic based form of federalism in Ethiopia attempting to pound on ethnic federalism to gain the maximum political capital possible out of the bad situations and the suffering of the innocent victims of the TPLF led state terrorism. The veteran as well as the newly minted opponents of ethnic federalism are shouting at the height of their voices using any platform they can find that the ongoing war perpetuated by the TPLF regime against the Oromo people, particularly in Eastern and Southeastern Oromia, is yet another irrefutable proof for the failure of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia. They even go as far as arguing that ethnic federalism has failed in Ethiopia in and of itself out of its own shear weight and inherent nature and not because of the failure of the TPLF to implement it whole-heartedly. The way the opponents are trying to frame the debate betrays their frantic jubilant mood as if their longstanding dream had come true.

Before I delve into the counter arguments made by the proponents of ethnic federalism, allow me to throw in a few sentences about the war the TPLF is waging against the Ethiopian people of Oromo origin in Eastern Oromia. It is beyond dispute that the recent event witnessed in Eastern and Southern Oromia is nothing but TPLF’s last ditch futile effort at the triangulation and expansion of the conflict in the face of the ongoing broad based and persistent opposition to its repression. The Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama, Gurage, Wolayita and the other Ethiopian peoples are saying NO, in one voice, to the decades of repressions, killings, incarcerations, humiliations, displacements and robberies of their resources by the TPLF junta. The Ethiopian people are rising in unison to break out of the shackles of slavery and fear the TPLF has put them in.

It is a well established fact TPLF’s longstanding strategy of diffusing bipolar conflicts between itself and the Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama or Gurage people –just to mention the major heavy weights in Ethiopian politics in terms of shear demographic size – is triangulation of the conflict. For instance, the TPLF always attempts to add a front to the real conflict between itself and the Oromo people and between itself and the Amhara people by inciting (fabricating) conflict between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Based on this strategy, the TPLF has been attempting incessantly for the last 26 years to incite conflicts mainly between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Fortunately, the diabolical efforts by the TPLF has been rendered for the most part pre-emptively ineffective thanks to the long history of peaceful coexistence between the two peoples.

Moreover, the massive demonstrations held in Oromia and Amhara States over the recent years put, in no uncertain terms, the final nail to the coffin of this TPLF’s savage strategy triangulating the conflict as TPLF-Oromo-Amhara conflict. The dumb-founded TPLF was left with nothing but to whisk a few bribed Somali elders carrying a “10 million birr donation check” to Mekele instructing them to tell the people of Tigray that they are not alone in this and that the Somali people are by their side. This was intended not only to calm the Tigray people who have been growing increasingly isolated, nervous and uncomfortable by the latest cascades of erratic and impulsive reactions by the TPLF to suppress the popular demands but it was also to officially declare that the efforts to triangulate the conflict is moving East. It is obvious that since the strategy of triangulation of the TPLF-Oromo people bipolar conflict or TPLF-Amhara people bipolar conflict has been dealt a final blow, TPLF was forced to play what it thought was its next best card from the few diminishing cards left in its hands. In a very interesting twist of events, Seye Abraha, a rebel commander-turned-defense minister who was a member of the Politburo of the TPLF and who is believed to be one of the main authors and architects of the TPLF war doctrine went to the same place, Easter Ethiopia, in 1991 in relation to the TPLF-Oromo conflict and bragged something to the effect of “…TPLF can create a war let alone winning a war….” Fast forward – we are here today. Alas, terrorist TPLF is at it again – trying to transplant the vortex of conflict at Oromia-Somali border in order to open a new front on the Oromo people for being on the forefront of the struggle of the Ethiopian people for peace, freedom, justice and democracy. So it is evidently clear that what we are seeing unfolding right in front of our eyes in Eastern Oromia today is nothing but that strategy of the triangulation of conflict at work.

Apologies for digressing more than I initially wanted. Going back to my main theme of this writing, the proponents of ethnic federalism are also making their point by arguing that what is certain to have failed in Ethiopia is not the ethnic federalism form of state but the absolute centralism that has bedeviled Ethiopia for over a century. They argue that the absolute unitary dictatorship (one language and one religion policy, among others) had been tried fiercely and in earnest (whole-heartedly with absolute commitment, giving it all they had and to the fullest extent possible) in Ethiopia from Menilik to Haile Selassie to Mengistu for over a century but it failed and failed miserably. The TPLF has continued the same old tired unitary militaristic dictatorship with a thinly veiled facade of federalism. If there is anything that makes the TPLF regime different from its predecessors, it is its pretension and con artistry to create an illusion of change by marginally changing the form without changing the substance an iota, none whatsoever.

Ethiopia has never tried federalism of any form nor democracy in its history. How can we conclude that something has failed when we have not tried it whole-heartedly in the first place? What type of experimentation is that? I believe the opponents of ethnic federalism know very well that what exists in today’s Ethiopia is not any form of federalism but an absolutely centralized TPLF dictatorship. They are blaming the form instead of the substance. They are attempting to use the current TPLF war on the Oromo people in Eastern and other parts of Oromia as an opportune moment and the casus belli for the war they have already declared anyway on ethnic federalism. It is hard to fathom but one dares to ponder that the opponents of ethnic federalism are so gullible that they would believe that Ethiopia’s multifaceted and multilayered complicated problems would vanish in one day were the TPLF take off its veil of fake federalism and come out naked for what it truly is; namely, the worst dictatorial centralist regime Ethiopia has ever known. The elaborate TPLF spy network that has been installed throughout Ethiopia spanning from the TPLF politburo all the way down to the infamous one-to-five (1-2-5) structure is an irrefutable testimony to the absolute dictatorial centralism under which the TPLF regime has been ruling and plundering the Ethiopian people since it controlled the state power in May 1991. This is the truth in the today’s Ethiopia.
However, the truth doesn’t matter for the opponents. They have the propensity to kick the truth aside if it is doesn’t serve their political purposes. Their untenable and feeble argument about the failure of federalism (whatever its form may be) in Ethiopia falls flat in the face of the reality on the ground in Ethiopia. The reality in Ethiopia has been out there for everyone to see with his/her naked eyes without any need for a visual aid. For the last 26 years, Ethiopia has been suffering from a super centralized TPLF autocratic, barbaric and terroristic rule.

The opponents’ argument makes sense if and only if we accept a hypothetical premise that Ethiopia has had a democratic system for the last 26 years. Otherwise, how can we blame ethnic federalism as the cause of the crises we are seeing unfolding in Ethiopia today or for the last 26 years for that matter because federalism never works without democracy? If we don’t accept the premise that Ethiopia is a democracy today, then blaming ethnic federalism for the country’s crises is not only absurd but it is also like indicting someone who has nothing to do with the crime. In fact, pointing finger to the ethnic federalism is in tune with what the terrorist TPLF propagandists are attempting in vain these days to hoodwink and make us believe with a vivid intent of deflecting the focus away from the real issue – themselves. In a nutshell, the opponents’ argument doesn’t stand to reason nor to any meaningful scrutiny. It is rather an intentional misrepresentation of the facts on the ground in order to divert our attention away from the real problems the country has been facing and their immediate and longstanding causes.

Just for the sake of argument, let us assume that what the opponents say is true and agree to abandon our efforts to institute a genuine ethnic federalism in Ethiopia. If that is the case, then it automatically begets that we have to also abandon our struggle for democracy because democracy has also failed in Ethiopia today. I hope the opponents would not argue with the same zeal as they do against ethnic federalism that democracy is flourishing in Ethiopia under the TPLF rule. If the opponents are arguing that the democratic experimentation has succeeded but it is only the ethnic federalism that has failed in Ethiopia today, then it is worth considering going to other forms of federal systems.

However, if the opponents of ethnic federalism agree that democracy has also failed in Ethiopia today, then there is a fallacy in their argument because true federalism (whatever its form may be) cannot be implemented without democracy. Democracy is an essential pre-requisite for any form of federalism. If the opponents of ethnic federalism accept the premise that democratization has failed in the TPLF ruled Ethiopia, are they also telling us with the same breath to forgo our struggle for democracy and leave Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people at the mercy of the barbaric, plunderous terrorist TPLF? Otherwise, if they accept the glaring truth that there is no democracy in Ethiopia, then they have to shift their accusing fingers to the failure of the democratization process and the TPLF instead of the non-existent ethnic federalism. There is an Amharic saying that goes something like ‘searching for dung where no cow has been”.

I would like to conclude by stating the obvious at the risk of sounding redundant and repetitive. The reality is that what have failed in Ethiopia over and over again for over a century are dictatorship and centralism. Ethnic federalism is the only realistic antidote not only for the birth defect and chronic ailments Ethiopia has been suffering from since its inception but for its unique multicultural nature and its recorded history of ethnic repression as well. We understand that the pre-TPLF Ethiopia for which the opponents of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia are nostalgic was a heaven for them but that doesn’t mean it was the same for everyone. The pre-TPLF and the TPLF Ethiopia is the same hell for the majority of the Ethiopian people. We, in the freedom camp, are striving to create an Ethiopia that is free, fair and just, an Ethiopia that treats all its citizens equal, an Ethiopia that is democratic, multicultural and ethnic federalist that we all call home and be proud of.

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

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remember-irreechamassacre

International Oromo Lawyers Association (IOLA)  logo

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

Posted by OromianEconomist in Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Irreecha, Uncategorized.
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HRW

Ethiopia: Exercise Restraint at Upcoming Festival

International Inquiry Needed into Deaths at 2016 Event

Human Rights Watch, 19 September 2017

HRW: The Long Arm of Ethiopia Reaches for Those Who Fled September 21, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Oromian Affairs, Uncategorized.
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HRW

The Long Arm of Ethiopia Reaches for Those Who Fled

Ethiopia’s Refugees Unsafe in Kenya and Elsewhere

Statement by the U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa on Reports of Ethnic Violence on the Oromia-Somali Border September 19, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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Addis Ababa, September 19, 2017 :– We are disturbed by the troubling reports of ethnic violence and the large-scale displacement of people living along the border between the Oromia and Somali regions, particularly in Hararge, although the details of what is occurring remain unclear.

We urge the Ethiopian government to conduct a transparent investigation into all allegations of violence and to hold those responsible accountable.  At the same time, on the local level, communities must be encouraged and given space to seek peaceful resolutions to the underlying conflicts.

We believe Ethiopia’s future as a strong, prosperous, and democratic nation depends on open and inclusive political dialogue for all Ethiopians, greater government transparency, and strengthening the institutions of democracy and justice.  These recent events underscore the need to make more rapid and concrete progress on reform in these areas.

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የአሜሪካ ኤምባሲ  በኦሮሚያ-ሶማሌ ድንበር የተከሰተውን የጎሳ ግጭት አስመልክቶ ያወጣው መግለጫ

አዲስ አበባ፤ መስከረም 9፤ 2010 ዓ.ም. – በኦሮሚያ እና ሶማሌ አዋሳኝ አካባቢዎች በተለይም በሐረርጌ  የጎሳ ግጭትን እና የበርካታ ሰዎችን መፈናቀል አስመልክቶ በሚወጡ አሳሳቢ ዘገባዎች ተረብሸናል፤ ምንም እንኳ ዘገባዎቹ ስለሁኔታው ዝርዝር መረጃ ስለማቅረባቸው ግልጽ ባይሆንም፡፡

በመሆኑም የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት ግጭቱን ግልጽ በሆነ አካሄድ እንዲያጣራ እና አጥፊዎችን ተጠያቂ እንዲያደርግ እንጠይቃለን፡፡ በተመሳሳይ ሁኔታ፤ ግጭቱ በተከሰተባቸው አካባቢዎች የሚኖሩ የኅብረተሰብ ክፍሎች ለችግሩ ሰላማዊ መፍትሔ እንዲሹ መበረታታት ይኖርባቸዋል፡፡

ኢትዮጵያ ጠንካራ፤ የበለጸገች እና ዴሞክራሲያዊት ሀገር መሆን የምትችለው፤ ግልጽና ሁሉን አቀፍ የፖለቲካ ውይይት፤ ግልጽ የመንግሥት አሰራር፤ እንዲሁም የዴሞክራሲ እና የፍትህ ተቋማትን ማጠናከር ስትችል እንደሆነ እናምናለን፡፡ የሰሞኑ ሁነቶች በተጠቀሱ ዘርፎች ይበልጥ ፈጣን እና ተጨባጭ ለውጥ አስፈላጊ እንደሆነ አመላካች ናቸው፡፡

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Petitioning the Ethiopian Government and United Nations Security Council: Stop Unspeakable Abuses, Prevent Deportation of Oromo September 19, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethnic Cleansing, Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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There should be no place for state-sponsored armed gangs terrorizing people in eastern Ethiopia, killing and displacing thousands – and we are asking for your help to try and stop it.

In today’s world we like to believe that governments don’t use mercenaries to wage covert wars against their own citizens.  We like to think that ethnic cleansing does not happen because leaders cannot keep their evil deeds secret. Anyone with an iPhone can capture them and broadcast them around the world.

What we like to think is a bit passé is happening. The Ethiopian government, using a shadowy armed gang called Liyyu Hayil (Special Forces), has been terrorizing people in the Somali and Oromia regional state of Ethiopia.

The Liyyu Hayil has been terrorizing and killing Somali people within the Somali National Regional State of Ethiopia since 2008.  It has extended its death mission to the Oromia Regional State, the largest and most populous in the Ethiopian federation. Nearly 500,000 Oromo residents of the Somali region have been forced to leave their homes and deported to the Oromia region.

Sign this petition urging the Ethiopian government to disband the Liyyu Hayil and stop the heinous atrocities immediately.

The atrocities of the Liyyu Hayil has been documented by in Human Rights Watch reports and media outlets, including the GuardianAllAfricaOPrideInternational media outlets, and media organizations and activists abroad have reported on the situation.

My colleagues and I have signed an open letter to raise awareness about the ethnic-cleansing in-the-making. This week, 55,000 have been rounded up, loaded on trucks and dumped off in the territory of the Oromia region.

Sign this petition to join us in urging the international community to prevent the deportation of Oromo that is already underway.

Thank you!

This petition will be delivered to:

Ethiopia: Addressing the alarming conflict in the border areas of Oromia National Regional State and Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State September 18, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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Ethiopia: Addressing the alarming

conflict in the border areas of Oromia National Regional State and Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State

Press Release

Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia

September 14, 2017


Your Excellences,

The General Assembly of the United Nations

United Nations Human Rights Council

African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights

The Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament


Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE) writes to draw your attention to the alarming conflict in the border areas of Oromia National Regional State and Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State that has led to grave violations of human rights; and to call for the establishment of an independent, impartial, and international investigation into the violations being committed in the aforementioned border areas of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is currently in a highly volatile situation whereby a border dispute in borders of the regional states of Oromia and Ethiopia’s Somali has escalated and claimed the lives of several peaceful civilians. According to AHRE’s source, thousands of civilians are also displaced from the regions because of their ethnicity. A special police force, called Liyu Police, established by the current regional state of Somali is reportedly responsible for the killings of several civilians. Liyu police has a repulsive reputation of committing heinous crimes against civilians, including killings. This is not the first time where conflicts, mainly instigated by border and economic reasons have led to conflicts in the Nation states of Oromia and Ethio-Somali borders.

The Heads of the two regions recently gave conflicting accounts regarding the cause of the incident, one accusing the other. The Communication Minister of Ethiopia Dr. Negeri Lencho said the federal government has taken the situation under control; he admitted to the killings and also said that around 600 civilians are displaced from Jijiga (the capital of the Somali region) and Awoday (a town in Oromia region) and surroundings, but stated that situations are now calming and the displaced residents are now being relocated back to their homes.

However, AHRE has enough evidence that clearly indicates the seriousness of the conflicts; we believe that this could escalate into a violent full-fledged ethnic conflict which could spread to other regions in Ethiopia. We are already aware of similar sporadic ethnic disputes in other regions in Ethiopia. We have received disturbing images, and have been informed that, the police forces instigated and perpetrated the killings; however, it is deliberately being staged to appear as if civilians and anti-peace forces are responsible for the killings.

Therefore, we kindly urge your delegation to look into the situation with utmost consideration and caution; and to immediately set up and send an independent inquiry commission to Ethiopia that investigates the alarming situation and the alleged killings and displacement of innocent civilians.

We also call upon your delegation to urgently demand the government of Ethiopia to:

Call upon the Liyu police to immediately stop killing civilians and ensure that those responsible be brought to justice.

End the border dispute peacefully by bringing both regional offices to come to agreement.

Allow an independent, impartial and thorough inquiry into the alleged killings and displacement.

Collaborate with international institutions and other local stake holders to put an end to the highly alarming conditions in the area, and other regions that are currently facing sporadic ethnic conflicts.

With assurance of your highest consideration,

Sincerely,

Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia

ONLF: Press release on the conflict between Somalis and Oromos created by TPLF. September 17, 2017

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistONLF

 

Press release on the conflict between Somalis and Oromos created by TPLF

September 16, 2017


TPLF regime has created deadly conflict between Somali and Oromo nations in Ethiopia. Hundreds of innocent civilians have been reported dead and many others have been displaced.

The cause of the conflict is not about land dispute as the regime and its puppet administrations claim.

The TPLF regime in Addis Ababa has been working to instigate violence and hostility between the two fraternal nations by using the puppet administrations in Somali and Oromo regions. The purpose of this action is to weaken the struggle of these nations and to divert them from their strategic goals.

The regime in Addis Ababa is well known for creating conflicts and hostilities between nations in order to redirect the attacks from freedom and democratic organisations and diminish the effects of the countrywide people’s uprising against the minority TPLF regime.

Somali and Oromo nations are under TPLF rule and they fight for their rights, they have a long history of cooperation and coexistence. Therefore, both nations are reminded to understand that this violence has been instigated by the TPLF regime to thwart their struggles to achieve their goals and thus, to sabotage the popular uprising in many parts of Ethiopia.

Therefore, ONLF calls upon Somali and Oromo nations to stop immediately this hostility between them and to respect each other and live peacefully side by side as they used to be for centuries.

ONLF also calls upon political organisations, civil society organisations and intellectuals of both nations which are against the divide and rule policy of TPLF to work hard toward easing of the fighting and the hostility.
ONLF strongly condemns the Ethiopian government for creating hostility between neighbourly nations and calls upon the international community to make the TPLF regime accountable for war crimes and the crimes against humanity.

Ogaden National Liberation Front ( ONLF)


 

ANALYSIS: RISING DEATH TOLL, DISPLACEMENT AND PROTESTS IN EAST, SOUTH AND SOUTH EAST ETHIOPIA. WHAT LIES BENEATH? September 14, 2017

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Thousands of Oromo are displaced from their homes in eastern Ethiopia

Liyat Fekade

Addis Abeba, September 13/2017 – Increasing numbers of civilian casualties due to military actions in parts of east, south and south east Ethiopia over the last weeks has now led to fresh protests, more deaths and displacements in several places in eastern Ethiopia.

On the other hand, federal and regional authorities have gone from denial to pointing fingers at one another to explain the root cause of what is visibly becoming an alarming breach of peace and stability in many areas bordering the Oromia and Somali regional states.

In the past few months, Addis Standard has been reporting on several incidents of raids by armed men who casually cross from the Somali regional state to villages and towns under the administrative jurisdiction of the Oromia regional state.

Addis Standard interviewed local residents in several towns and villages, including Chinakson, Mieso, Deder and Gursum in east and west Hararghe; Moyale, Liben and Gumii Edelo in Guji Zone in southern Ethiopia; as well as in Sewena, Meda Wolabu and Dawe Serer woredas (district zones) in Bale, south east Ethiopia, on several occasions since March 2017.  Almost all the people interviewed say armed men who are members of the “Liyu police” force were often the culprits of cross border raids that ends in the death of civilians.

Contentious border issues

The boundary between the two neighboring regional states has been a hotly contested affair since Ethiopia became a federal state in 1995.  In Oct. 2004 the two regions have conducted a border referendum, which was held to determine the residents’ choice for administrative status of villages and towns located adjacent the two regional states.

The referendum was conducted in 420 Kebeles located in 12 different Woredas across five zones of the Somali Regional state. According to the official results of the referendum, residents in close to 80% of the disputed areas have voted to be under the administration of the Oromia regional state. But claims alleging voting irregularities persist. And subsequent ethnic conflicts have led to the displacement in late 2004 and early 2005 of more than 80,000 people on both sides.

Although clashes of various degrees, particularly between the Borana Oromo and the Garii communities (often triggered by meager resources, such as shortage of water and pasture where available,) have remained the hallmark between the two communities in Moyale and its environs, locals in various places claim cross border raids by armed men became much more frequent and have contributed in fueling these conflicts, especially after the establishment of the “Liyu Police” in April 2007.

In March 2017, as attacks against civilians intensified and were solely blamed on border disputes, Addisu Arega Kitessa, head of the Oromia government communication affairs office, said the result of the referendum were “final” and will not be altered.  Addisu also blamed the “raids by armed men” as economic in nature. “After attacking the areas, these armed militiamen engage in looting of properties.”

And in April 2017 Abdi Mohamud Omar, a.k.a, Abdi Illey, and Lemma Megerssa, presidents of Somali and Oromia regional states respectively, have signed an agreement to end “border hostilities”. Three months later on August 19, the Oromia regional state said that as part of that agreement, of the 68 contested towns and villages between the two regions, 48 were returned to be under the administration of the Oromia regional state. And that “border issues were resolved and peace was restored.”

Recent escalation 

As of late however, the somewhat sporadic military raids due to border and economic issues and have not only intensified but took a different shape.

Usman Omar, one of the eight local elders who traveled to Addis Abeba from East Hararghe Zone, Gursum Woreda to file complaints at the federal house of federation warned in an exclusive interview with Addis Standard that “the situation in the region [was] very bad…we have been under the Oromia Regional state since the 2004 border referendum [because] we [chose] to but we are forced to pay a heavy sacrifice for that.” By the time the elders were in Addis Abeba looking for answers, an attack by armed men has left seven civilians dead in Chinakson in east Hararghe and its environs. Chinakson has always been under the Oromia regional state and local residents do not believe the attack was motivated by a “non-existing border conflict.”

Blames, more deaths, displacement and protests

Residents in all these areas who either contacted or were interviewed by Addis Standard speak in unison and anger regarding the role of the “Liyu police” in fueling the conflict. However, despite growing pressures both from the residents and online Oromo activists, officials from the Oromia regional state have refrained from pointing fingers at this paramilitary elite force, until Tuesday September 12 that is.

On Monday September 11, Selama Mohammed, Gursum woreda administrator, and Mohammed Abdurahman, former security affairs deputy head of Deder town in east Hararghe, as well as a Tajudin Jamal, a member of the Oromia police in Harar, were taken from their car while en route to Harar from Jijiga, the capital of the Somali regional state. According to the locals, they were taken to a police station by members of the Somali police force together with “Liyu police”. Selama Mohammed and Tajudin Jamal were found dead in Bombas, half way between Harar and Jijiga, while Mohammed Abdurahman got hurt while escaping. He is now admitted to Dil Chora referral hospital in Dire Dawa.

The incident triggered mass protests in several cities on Tuesday, the sternest being in Deder and Gursum, the later where Selama Mohammed and Tajudin Jamal were known by the locals as “men of the people”, according to Abdi Dulee Mohammad, a resident of the town who spoke to Addis Standard by phone. Protesters were chanting “down, down Woyane,” the Tigriyna term used to refer to TPLF, the all too powerful member of Ethiopia’s ruling party EPRDF. “The young people who went out to the streets to protest know that “Liyu Police” is the creation of TPLF as a gift to Abdi Illey. We all know that,” Abdi Dulee said.

According to Abdi Dulee, the locals have increasingly become resentful of the extrajudicial stretch by members of the “Liyu Police.” “Sometimes girls as young as 12 are taken by these men even in peace times,” he said, “there is a lot of anger and no peace will come unless they are removed.”

The “Liyu police” was created in 2008 to operate in the Somali Regional State (SRS) which had its own regular police force of its own. Its creation preceded an attack in 2007 by the Ogaden National Liberation Army (ONLA), the armed wing of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in a Chinese oil field that killed 74 members of the federal army and nine Chinese engineers.

(ED’s Note: For more on the dynamics involving the role of “Liyu Police”, please read this analysis  published on Addis Standard as part of our continuous coverage).

 But, the role of the “Liyu police” came to another twist when online activists posted an ID card of a captured armed man called Shune Kherow Abdi, who is described on the ID as a member of the National Army of the neighboring Republic of Somalia. The information was later on confirmed by Addisu Arega Kitessa, head of the Oromia government communication affairs office, who posted the ID with short note saying that the person is indeed a member of the Somalia National Army.

“This incident not only complicates matters but also calls for a careful reading of the dynamics of the conflict in the area that involves more than 1000 km shared border between the two regional states in Ethiopia,” said a political science professor at the Addis Abeba University (AAU), who wants to remain anonymous. According to him, the creation of “Liyu Police” has “outlived its purpose, if there were any. It is time the federal government revisits the presence of such police force in the region not only because members of the “Liyu Police” are repeatedly accused of rights violations previously in Ogaden and now in Oromia,  but also because of the regional dynamics and Ethiopia’s relationship with the neighboring Somalia.”

Blames and counter blames

Officials from the Somali regional state do not only loath allowing access to mainstream media but also maintain a habit of selectively granting access to pro-government journalists, bloggers  and commentators to disseminate choreographed information. Our repeated attempt to get interviews in the past two weeks bore no result so far.

But on Tuesday Sep. 12, the VOA Amharic held a rare interview with Edris Ismael Abdi, head of the Somali regional state Communication Bureau.  What he said during the interview gave many a chill.

Edris Ismael Abdi was not only willing to provide adequate response to the questions, but threw alarming accusations of mass killings and torching of villages orchestrated by what he claimed were members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) in coordination with officials of the Oromia regional state and Oromo online activists, particularly Jawar Mohammed. Edris also personally criticized Addisu Arega Kitessa of partnering with OLF and Jawar to “destabilize Ethiopia”. He also accused Addisu of “forging evidence” in reference to the ID card; and went on to accuse the Oromia regional state of being staffed by “officials who sympathize with OLF’s ideology.”

However, Edris’s tirade fell flat when asked if he was willing to provide solid evidence. “I don’t have it compiled at the moment,” he said, but insisted “their deeds bear witness.” He also said he can provide evidence of captured rebels who were held under police custody.

Addisu on his part countered the statement from Edris and spoke about the “negative role” being played by members of the “Liyu Police.” This was the first time Addisu spoke of the involvement by the “Liyu police”. “What is happening is not what Edris said was happening. Members of the “Liyu police” are crossing over to villages under the administration of the Oromia regional state and are attacking civilians. The people are witnesses for this.”  He also denied that there were areas where the OLF was active. “We are conducting investigations and are compiling a detailed report which will be released in the near future.”

Addisu further explained about the progress of redrawing contested areas, which were the sources of previous conflicts. Later on, he wrote on his Facebook page with a link to the VOA interview and said: “It’s surprising to hear my friend Edris Ismael Abdi…is trying to defend Shune Kherow Abdi, a soldier from Somalia Republic captured in Moyale while killing innocent people. I hope this irresponsible statement is not an official statement from Somali National Regional State Government. It rather seems Edris Ismael’s personal opinion.”

But on Wednesday September 13, the Somali Regional state communication affairs bureau proved Addisu wrong when they posted on their official Facebook page a contemptuous statement accusing the Oromia regional state of having direct links with the OLF, an organization labeled by the federal government as a terrorist organization.

“This is a troubling turn of event”, said our interviewee from the AAU, who has written several academic papers on the fault lines of Ethiopia’s federalism.  “Whoever did that knows that this is an accusation the federal government will not take lightly given past experiences. They know that every Oromo dissenting voice within the country has been dealt a severe blow in the pretext of membership to OLF. So, if you are not concerned by this turn of event so far, you should now.”

Today afternoon, Addisu issued his response in his personal Facebook page in which he expressed his frustrations about, among others, the use of poor and inflammatory language in the statement from the Somali regional state, which “helps nothing but further fuel the situation.”

More death and displacement

Protests have taken place in several cities in eastern Hararghe yesterday and to a lesser extent today. Although reports indicate of heavy causalities, the exact numbers are hard to come by. According to Addisu, 18 people – 12 from Somali and 6 from the Oromo ethnic groups – were killed in just one day yesterday during a protest by angry local residents in Awoday, a commercial city in eastern Hararghe. The protesters took to the street after news of the killing of Selama Mohammed and Tajudin Jamal came out, according to Addisu.  Some 200 suspects were placed under police custody.

On Friday September 01 residents of Mieso town, west Hararghe zone, took matters into their own hands and engaged in a daylong fighting with members of the “Liyu Police”. The clash left “more than 30 people”, including “more than a dozen army members”, dead and several others injured.  “We couldn’t take the killings our men, the raping of our girls and the lootings of our cattle by bandits openly supported by the Liyu Police,” wrote Abdulatif Kererro, a resident of the town in a message sent to Addis Standard.

As chain of similar events followed, a fighting between local residents and what they continued insisting were members of the “Liyu police” quickly spread to the south and south eastern Ethiopia and has claimed unknown numbers of lives.

The youth in Moyale town of Guji zone, 795 km south of Addis Abeba, have come out en mass to fight against the taking of “our holy sites,” according to one resident. “For example, Gofa and Ia’ee are among our nine Tulas (deep wells) taken by the Garee community – a Somali pastoralist clan.” According to him, the taking over of these areas were not entirely driven by the Garee, “who lived alongside us for generations and, who, despite occasional competition for resource, never touched our sacred places,” rather, he says, it was “orchestrated and supported by the “Liyu police” and members of militia belonging to the Somali regional state for sheer reason of capitalizing on chaos.”   Relative calm has returned since the last “three days,” he said.

But one cannot say the same about eastern Ethiopia. Yesterday, around 600 ethnic Oromo residents of Tog Wajale (Wachale) in eastern Ethiopia towards the border with the Republic of Somalia, as well as hundreds from Jijiga town, the capital of the Somali regional state, were forced to flee their homes. Some have made it to Harar while others are arriving in several places such as Gursum in east Hararghe to take refugee.

The displacement has continued throughout today with some of the displaced telling disturbing stories of mutilation and killing of a woman and detention of men, according to DW Amharic.

The federal government has deployed members of the federal army in parts of eastern and western Hararghe as well as Jijiga. But the displacement has continued with thousands more said to have already been on the road.

Our interviewee from the AAU concurs with the decision by the federal government to send federal army members, but he is critical of the “root cause of the problem, which is the presence of a special force in a fragile region and the hope that it will serve as checks and balances – it is delusional. You cannot maintain peace and stability by a proxy force which operates in impunity.”

Other Ethiopians have taken to Facebook to denounce the special elite force. “The Ethiopian government can no longer justify the continued existence of the paramilitary force called ‘Liyu Police,’” wrote Awol Kassim Allo, a lecturer of law at Keele University. “There can be no legitimate reason for a country that plays an active part in regional and global peacekeeping operations to keep its own peace with a notorious paramilitary force known for its lethal ferocity.”

Although many, including Abdi Dulee and the professor from AAU, agree that removing the “Liyu Polcie’ may be the solution, other critiques are skeptical of the federal government’s willingness to do just that. “The federal government instigated the conflict to compromise Lemma [Megerssa], divert attention and consolidate the minority coalition,” wrote one such critique in a message. “The escalation would legitimize the federal government’s intervention in the person of Samora Yenus, [the federal army chief]. This would discredit OPDO, emboldens the military and equates Oromia, the biggest and largest national state with an aspiration to be a mainstream political force with Ethiopian Somali state, Ethiopia’s Chechnya.” He said he believed the federal government was “behind the escalation and the calculated neglect of the crisis.”

On Friday September 08, during a New Year press conference, Dr. Negeri Lencho, head of the federal communication affairs bureau, admitted that “there were other forces” operating in some parts within the two regional states. “We have information that recently lives were lost in some areas due to fresh conflicts. These fresh conflicts have nothing to do with border issues between the two regional states. Our information is that officials from both regional states are working on implementing to resolve the border issues. However, there are some instigation by some forces assigned by unknown actors,” Dr. Negeri said. He also said the federal government has placed the situation “under control.” But events in eastern Ethiopia until the publishing of this article prove him wrong. AS 

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The Dictatorial and Predatory Ethiopian TPLF Regime Will Never Succeed in Instigating Conflicts Between The Sisterly Oromo And Sidama Nations! September 13, 2017

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

The Dictatorial and Predatory Ethiopian TPLF Regime Will Never Succeed in Instigating Conflicts Between The Sisterly Oromo And Sidama Nations!

SNLF Press Release, 12 September 2017

Sidama Nation Flag

 

The predatory Tigre Ethiopian Empire is crumbling from within and without. It is destroying itself from endemic economic and political corruption from within. The demise of the brutal regime is precipitated from without by the mass uprising of the majority Oromo nation who are demanding an end to the over a century of political and economic marginalization, and restoration of freedom, justice and self-rule in their vast Oromia land. The Oromo uprising has been continuing since 2015.

Instead of answering the legitimate question of the Oromo nation by granting them their inalienable democratic rights to self-determination, the TPLF regime embarked on desperate measures to cling onto illegitimate political power. It has also monopolised the economic aspects of the entire country. The political aspects in Oromia alone included, brutal massacre of over 1,500 peaceful Oromo protesters since 2015; mass imprisonment of over 60,000 Oromo civilians; imprisonments of the entire leadership of the Oromo Federalist Congress including the renowned Professor of Political Science, Marara Gudina and prominent politician, Bekele Gerba, as well as a dozen Sidama political activists including a prominent business person, Solomon Naayu, and Dawassa Daaka, most of whom are languishing in Qilinxo prison today.

When the regime realized its genocidal measures were insufficient to quell the mass uprising engulfing the entire country, it resorted to yet other barbaric measures of divide and rule among the sisterly oppressed nations. First, the TPLF trained, armed, aided and abetted the Somali militia to attack the innocent Oromo civilians causing death of hundreds of our Oromo brothers and sisters and destruction of properties since 2016. Using a mercenary puppet Ogadeni Somali regional renegade leader, the TPLF regime continues to relentlessly instigate conflicts between the two sisterly Ogadeni Somali and the Oromo nations as we speak. The TPLF regime is also perpetrating similar crime by mobilising a similarly downtrodden Gambella civilians to fight the Oromo nation.

Moreover, having failed to stir conflict between the Sidama and Oromo nations, the TPLF recently attempted to ignite instability in the border between the Sidama and Wolayita nations. The regime attempted to sow discord between the two nations over the 6 disputed villages (Kebeles) where the Sidama people lived for hundreds of years in peace with their Wolayita neighbours. The people on both sides understood and rejected the relentless attempt by the TPLF rogue empire to sow seeds of hatred and conflict among the two nations that lived side by side in peace for millennia.

The desperate and crumbling Tigre Ethiopian Empire seems to neither give in to the popular demands nor give up its genocidal acts of stirring conflicts among the various oppressed nations of the south. We also understand that the TPLF regime is instigating such conflicts in northern part of Ethiopia. In the past two months, the TPLF went deep into the eastern Sidama land where the people have lived together with their Oromo neighbours in peace and harmony for generations and attempted to ignite conflicts between the two peoples. TPLF’s attempts to ignite such conflicts between the Sidama and Oromo cousins have been foiled time and again, with wise and sensitive management of these attempts by the elders of both nations. Both nations have time and again rejected the plots of the TPLF regime as they wholly denounce its interference in their affairs.

However, in the past two months, the TPLF managed to cause unnecessary deaths and damage to the properties of the Sidama residents in eastern Sidama by aiding and abetting its local surrogates in Oromia as well as Sidama region to commit crimes against the will of the two sisterly peoples. Dozens of the Sidama citizens have been displaced from their homes.

The primary objective of the TPLF’s primitive divide and rule measures are sustaining the crumbling Tigre Empire by undermining the unity among the oppressed nations of the south. Therefore, the Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF) understands that these measures are, further aimed specifically at weakening the Peoples’ Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD), the political movement that encompasses the Oromo, Sidama, Ogadeni Somali, Gambella and Banishangul and Gumuz nations that accounts for over 60% of the population and 70% of land mass of the empire.  However, we assure the TPLF regime that the unity among the oppressed nations of the south is rock solid, thus will never be dented by its primitive tactics of divide and rule.

Finally, the SNLF unconditionally condemns in the strongest possible terms the barbaric and relentless attempts by the Ethiopian TPLF regime to aid and abet genocide among the oppressed nations of the south. The sisterly Sidama and the Oromo nations will conquer once again any attempt to divide them. Our wise elders will ensure peace, stability and harmony not only between the sisterly Sidama and Oromo nations but among all Cushitic and other oppressed nations of the south and work hand in hand to hasten the demise of the predatory TPLF regime that has been plundering their resources and massacring their peoples for far too long.

Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF),

September 12, 2017

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ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE: THE CURRENT STAGE OF THE TPLF-FASCISTS OF FAKE ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia: The Never Ending Horror Against the Oromo Nation September 11, 2017

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Ethiopia: The Never Ending Horror Against the Oromo Nation

Human rights League of the Horn of Africa

Ethiopia is Descending into Civil War

 HRLHA  Urgent Action


Sept  9, 2017

The peaceful street protests in Oromia that shook Ethopia for over one year (November 2015-October 2016) turned violent after the reckless action by the government when its military attacked civilians and murdered over 700 at the Oromo Irrecha Festival  on October 2, 2016.

The  fascistic action of the Ethiopian government turned a peaceful protest into a violent one  in which many people were killed and government property was destroyed by the angry protesters.

The TPLF/EPRDF government declared a six- month state of emergency- later extended to ten months- on October 8, 2016 with the pretext of calming the violence in Oromia. During the  State of Emergency, the government killing squad members were deployed in all villages of the Oromia Regional state where they committed killings, kidnappings, and arrests during the ten months of the State of Emergency.

Under the State of Emergency, the TPLF/ EPRDF government- trained  Liyu Police led by the killing  Squad Agazi  were deployed  along  the long border  between Somali and Oromia regional states and occupied 32 districts of Oromo land from the  south Borana zone to the northeast  Hararge zone; many people were killed from both sides. During the six- month war between the federal government force backed Liyu Police and Oromo farmers  over 500 people have been killed, and many other Oromos have been forcefully kidnapped  and taken to Somali Region.

The border crisis between Somali and Oromia regional states was settled as a result of negotiations between the Oromia and Somali state authorities by annexing  15 Oromia villages into the Somali regional state.

However, two months after the signing of the agreement between the two sides, the pre-planned and  unprecedented war against the Oromo nation was re-aggravated  along the borders of all sides of Oromia by the Ethiopian Federal government- sponsored regional militias. As a result, intense fighting has occurred from mid- August 2017  until this report was compiled   in the Eastern Oromia, Gursum, East Hararge,  Rayitu and Saweena, Bale zone, Chamug Borana zone, Wachile and Moyale Gujji zones- over 56 people have already been killed from both sides.

The HRLHA  informant has also reported similar war is happening on the border of Benshangul in the west, Gambela  in the southwest, Afar in the North. As a result, the Oromo people are currently essentially at war with the Federal government-backed regional militias in all directions.

Horror

The current Oromia Regional State Authorities could not protect their people from the aggression of neighbor states backed by the Federal Killing squads.

The Ethiopian Federal government, which in theory has a state duty and a responsibility to bring peace and harmony among the nations and nationalities in the country, actually instigated the conflict  between Oromia and all its neighboring states. The TPLF/EPRDF government’s  killing squad Agazi force collaborated with the invaders and continued its ruthless repression which will probably drive the country into a full-fledged civil war.The Oromo  farmers, who were disarmed by the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) during the State of emergency,  have no option other than to confront  the attacks perpetrated against them from all directions.

To reverse the shadow of the looming civil war which could result in human tragedy, and atrocity in Ethiopia, the donor governments such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Swedin, Norway and government agencies like the UN, AU and EU  and subsidiary  organizations (African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, EU Human Rights Commission and UN human rights council) have to express their concerns  to the  government of Ethiopia to stop backing small groups from fighting against the largest ethnic group- the Oromos- and instead act responsibly to stabilize the country.

This is a cosmopolitan ideal of protecting people inside states against mass atrocities as a matter of common obligation. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P), coined in 2001 under the leadership of the Canadian government and adopted by 150 heads of states and governments in 2005, obliges the international community to intervene to stop atrocities.

As a matter of principle, a state shoulders the primary responsibility to prevent and protect its own citizens against horrific acts, but if it is unable or unwilling to prevent and protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, the responsibility is thus shifted to the international community. The R2P states, “ when a state is unable or unwilling to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, the international community has the responsibility to intervene”.

The UN Charter’s first and most essential aim is to “maintain international peace and security”. However, when the UN was first created, it was an enormous undertaking based on hope.

Today, one critical question on everyone’s lips is whether the United Nations is living up to its mandate, more particularly, of maintaining international peace and security. Amid ongoing human rights crises in Ethiopia it is hard to figure out what exactly the UN & AU have done to uphold their responsibilities. Nevertheless, it is not too late to act today.  

Recommendation:

The international communities and agencies can play a decisive role to stop the looming civil war in Oromia/Ethiopia  by::

  • Major donor governments, including the USA, the UK & Canada, Sweden, Norway and Australia should stop funding the authoritarian TPLF/EPRDF government
  • Putting pressure on the government of Ethiopia to respect the principle of  R2P,  and shoulder its primary responsibility to prevent and protect its own citizens against horrific acts
  • Putting pressure on the TPLF/EPRDF government to allow neutral investigators to probe into the political crisis in the country as the precursor to international community intervention

The HRLHA therefore calls, yet again, upon the international community to act collectively in a timely and decisive manner – through the UN Security Council and in accordance with the UN charter on a case-by – case basis to stop the looming Civil War in Oromia/Ethiopia

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Oromia: Ethiopia: NEWS: “LOCAL GOVERNMENT FAILING US” SAY RESIDENTS FRUSTRATED WITH KILLINGS IN MOYALE AS BORDER CONFLICTS INCREASE September 8, 2017

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 Moyale

Addis Standard staffs

Addis Abeba, September 08/2017 – Residents of Ethiopia’s Moyale town, 795 km south of Addis Abeba, in Guji zone, Borena, say both local and regional government officials have “failed us repeatedly” in the face of renewed border incursions followed by attacks by what they described were members of the “Liyu Police”, a special paramilitary force operating within the Ethiopian Somali regional state.

The complaint from residents who talked to Addis Standard came following yesterday’s bloody fighting between the locals and what Addisu Arega, head of communications affairs bureau of the Oromia regional state, said were “armed men who crossed over to the border from the Ethiopian Somali regional state”.

Several people were reported to have been killed during the daylong fighting in Chamuqi woreda in the town of Moyale and its environs. Addisu told DW Amharic that yesterday’s fighting was a “serious conflict” and that causalities were reported, but he said the regional state was not able to verify the number of causalities and the extent of the damage as of yet due to the “ongoing conflict”.

Dube Qajelcha, a resident of Moyale town, told Addis Standard that several accounts from the people around put the number of causalities both from the members of the “Liyu Police” and the locals to more than 30. “Most of the causalities are from the members of the “Liyu police” who were met with resistance from the locals when they crossed to the Chamuqi village,” Dube said.

According to Addisu, the Somali regional state administration had in the past began a project in Chamuqi woreda, which is under the administrative boundaries of the Oromia regional state, but had to stop following negotiations. But armed men from the Somali regional state returned back and tried to waive the Somali regional state’s flag.

Dube Qajelcha said the local youth have taken matters into their own hands and “went to fight against members of the “Liyu Police” who then stared to indiscriminately fire at the locals.”  “Officials of the Oromia regional government knew about this repeated incident in the past but have chosen to ignore it,” he said “they have failed us.”

Another resident of the town who wanted to remain anonymous expressed his anger at the “OPDO leadership who, just a few months ago, were seen shaking hands with officials from the Somali regional state pretending that the problems were resolved.  We all know that the real problem is not a border issue. The real problem is the use of the “Liyu Polcie” by the Somali regional government to loot our cattle, rape our women and kill our men,” he said, “the Oromia regional state know this. We have been telling them since ten years now, but they are unable to deal with our plights.”

Several bodies of dead military men and civilians have littered Oromo social media activists throughout yesterday. And in late afternoon similar conflict erupted in Rayitu Gelbi woreda of Bale zone, south east Ethiopia. According to DW Amharic at least four people were killed in yesterday fighting and the federal army reserve from Ginir, Bale, were seen mobilizing toward the area, DW said quoting eye witnesses.  However, reports indicate the conflict is still ongoing.

The incident is not an isolated one; it is an extension of a growing tension related to border and resource issues between the two regional states but one that is exacerbated by the persistent raid by the members of the “Liyu Police” into towns and villages of areas under the administrative border of the Oromia regional state.

The “Liyu police” is a special police force established in April 2007 following an attack by the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebel group on a Chinese oil exploration that killed 74 Ethiopians and nine Chinese workers. However, since its establishment the paramilitary force is repeatedly accused of committing atrocious crimes against civilians with pure impunity.

Mieso 1

On Tuesday this week, Addisu Arega reported that four children were hurt when a hand grenade went off in in Mieso town eastern Ethiopia.  He posted another report on the same day saying armed men who crossed from the Somali regional state have opened fire against civilians in the same town and have wounded two people. On Friday last week another intense fighting between the Ethiopian Somali and the Oromo ethnic groups in the same town and its environs has left “more than 30 people”, including “more than a dozen army members”, dead and several others injured, Addis Standard reported.

eldersThe elders who traveled from East Hararghe Zone

In August, a group of elders who traveled from East Hararghe Zone, Gursum Woreda of the Oromia Regional State to the capital Addis Abeba have called for an end to the “Liyu police anarchy” in areas bordering the Oromia and Somali regional states; and in march 2017 weeks-long cross border incursions by armed militiamen that local say were members of “Liyu Police”  into many localities in eastern and southern part of the Oromia regional state, (bordering the Ethiopian Somali regional state in eastern and south eastern Ethiopia) had left more than 100 civilians dead. AS


Related:

https://www.facebook.com/nagessa.oddo/posts/1518725958170552

https://www.facebook.com/OromiaMedia/videos/1987911884755002/

UNPO: Oromo: Charge of Seven Artists with Terrorism further Threatens Freedom of Expression in Ethiopia September 7, 2017

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist
Free Oromo music artists

Oromo: Charge of Seven Artists with Terrorism further Threatens Freedom of Expression in Ethiopia


Photo courtesy of Seenaa Solomoon in ‘Ramacii Rincice’

 

The arrest and charge of seven artists in Ethiopia with terrorism in June 2017 constitutes yet another example of the Ethiopian government’s disregard for freedom of expression. Especially members of the Oromo community and artists criticising the government such as singer Teddy Afro have systematically been the victims of harassment by Ethiopian authorities, including being prevented from performing or even being arrested. The UNPO condemns these actions and calls for the charges against the seven artists currently held in custody to be dropped.

 

Below is an article published by Freemuse:

Ethiopian authorities charged seven artists – musicians and dancers – with terrorism in late June 2017 for producing and uploading “inciting” political songs and videos, according to media reports. Freemuse is concerned about the charges and the continued erosion of freedom of expression in Ethiopia, especially of the Oromo people, the largest ethnic group in the country.

Freemuse is also alarmed by the wide latitudes Ethiopian authorities have taken during the recently lifted ten-month-long state of emergency put in place in response to protests stemming from the government’s plan, announced in 2014, to expand capital city Addis Ababa into farm lands in the Oromia region, the country’s largest region and home to the Oromo people.

“What is happening in Ethiopia is not a spin off from the recent protests and uprising, but rather is about a government clampdown on the artistic community in general and of Oromo artists in particular. We call on national authorities to drop the charges on the seven artists and protect all peoples’ right to freedom of expression, including expressions critical of governments,” Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said.

The seven artists – Seenaa Solomon, Elias Kiflu, Gemechis Abera, Oliyad Bekele, Ifa Gemechu, Tamiru Keneni and Moebul Misganu – were arrested in December 2016 and held in Maekelawi Prison, which Global Voices reports is notorious for its torture practices. Misganu had been arrested before in 2014 in connection to student protests in Oromia and was released in 2016.

More recently, the BBC reported that Ethiopian police stopped the formal launch of singer Tewodros Kassahun’s, who performs as Teddy Afro, latest album without any official reason, preventing event organisers from entering the venue and demanding a permit. His new album, released in May, has become Ethiopia’s fastest selling album and topped Billboard’s world album chart.

Additionally, his Ethiopian New Year’s Eve concert scheduled for 11 September this year was cancelled for the third consecutive year, according to non-profit Music in Africa Foundation.

Teddy Afro is no stranger to controversy as he first drew negative attention from authorities in 2005 when he released his third album which contained songs critical of the government that became anthems for protest movements.

In 2008, he was imprisoned for a hit-and-run accident in a case that he claims was politically motivated and was released in 2009, after serving 18 months of a two-year sentence.

Freemuse has registered over the years several attacks and forms of harassment on Oromo artists, including the imprisonment, beatings and forced exile of artists, as well as the banning of music and shutdown of studios.

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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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

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

BREAKING NEWS: ANOTHER HEAVY DEATH TOLL FROM A CONFLICT IN EASTERN ETHIOPIA September 2, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Colonizing Structure, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Uncategorized.
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Addis Abeba, September 01/2017 – Intense fighting between the Ethiopian Somali and the Oromo ethnic groups in the eastern Ethiopia has left “more than 30 people”, including “more than a dozen army members”, dead and several others injured, Addis Standard learned.

According to three residents of Mieso town, west Hararghe zone, who contacted Addis Standard late this evening, today’s fighting in and around the town was between several members of local residents and heavily armed members of the “Liyu Police”.   “We couldn’t take the killings our men, the raping of our girls and the lootings of our cattle by bandits openly supported by the Liyu Police,” wrote Abdulatif Kererro, a resident of the town in his message. A similar attack has left seven civilians dead last week in Chinakson in east Hararghe and its environs.   

The conflict has been going on for several months now. The local say it is aggravated by the presence of members of Ethiopia’s notorious police force, “Liyu Police,” a special paramilitary elite force accused of its close connection to Abdi Mohamoud Omar, president of the Somali regional state in eastern Ethiopia. Members of the “Liyu Police” are often accused of looting, rape and extrajudicial killings of civilians ever since their establishment in April 2007.

Last week, a group of elders who traveled from East Hararghe Zone, Gursum Woreda of the Oromia Regional State to the capital Addis Abeba have called for an end to the “Liyu police anarchy”.

In march 2017 weeks-long cross border incursions by armed militiamen that local say were members of “Liyu Police”  into many localities in eastern and southern part of the Oromia regional state, (bordering the Ethiopian Somali regional state in eastern and south eastern Ethiopia) had left more than 100 civilians dead.

It is not clear what trigged the latest conflict. But the Oromia regional state bureau head Addisu blamed the reasons for March’s conflict as “border expansion” and “economic” in nature. The clashes happened after incursions by “armed men” from the Somali regional state into towns and villages administratively under the Oromia regional state.  

In April 2017, following several attacks by Liyu police, Abdi Mohamud Omar and Lemma Megerssa, presidents of Somali and Oromia regional states respectively, have signed an agreement to end “border hostilities”. On August 19, the Oromia regional state said that as part of that agreement, of the 68 contested villages between the two regions, 48 have been returned to be under the administration of the Oromia regional state. But the deal doesn’t not seem to hold water.

Today’s heavy clash subsided late this afternoon after the “members of the federal army arrived in the scene”, according to Abdulatif, “but we are not going sit back and see this happen again,” he wrote. AS


Related:-

Oromian EConomist: Six Major National and Regional Unintended Policy Consequences of the Invasion of the Eastern and Southern Oromia by the Somali Liyu Police, i.e., the Somali Janjaweed Militia

Ethiopia’s Somali Region: Political Marketplace for Tigray Military Commanders

Analysis: History repeating itself in the Horn of Africa: Is the crime in Darfur being replicated in Eastern and Southern Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia? – http://addisstandard.com/analysis-history-repeating-horn-africa-crime-darfur-replicated-eastern-southern-oromia-regional-state-ethiopia/

ETHIOPIA: FASCIST TPLF’S PROXY WAR THROUGH THE LIYU POLICE

Conversations in Ideas: Liyu Police and the Oromia-Ogaden Border Conflict

Six Major National and Regional Unintended Policy Consequences of the Invasion of the Eastern and Southern Oromia by the Somali Liyu Police, i.e., the Somali Janjaweed Militia August 31, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

Six Major National and Regional Unintended Policy Consequences of the Invasion of the Eastern and Southern Oromia by the Somali Liyu Police, i.e., the Somali Janjaweed Militia


By Dr.  Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni


 

1. The TPLF/EPRDF government’s arming and creation of well trained and well-armed local militias for smaller ethnic minorities groups like Afar, Somali, Benishangul and few others with the sole purpose of attacking the Oromo and the Amhara; and the disarming of the two major ethnic groups, the Oromo and the Amhara, will have lasting peace and security implication for Ethiopia and the rest of Horn of Africa. The TPLF/EPRDF government will come out of this war as weak, cunning, untrusted and very hated by all Ethiopians.

2. The invasion of Eastern and Southern Oromia by the Somali Liyu Police and the politically calculated passivity by other Ethiopians mainly in Addis Ababa and the Amhara region will send strong signal to the Oromo people that the Ethiopian nationalism and patriotism is dead and the country is on the verge of dismemberment; and the Oromo people will be unlikely to participate in any national self-defense effort under the Ethiopian umbrella from now on be it on the Eritrean front or the Sudan front or even invasion by country’s like Egypt.

3. The Somali Liyu Police invasion of Eastern and Southern Oromia orchestrated and aided by the TPLF/EPRDF and the so called Ethiopian defense force will lead to the breakup of the Ethiopian Defense force along ethnic lines or regiments that will not trust and coordinate with each other. No young Oromo who observe the present actions of those now leading the Ethiopian National Defense Force will ever trust and be loyal to the command structure of the Ethiopian Defense Force since it will be perceived as not having the best interests, mainly the peace and security, of the Oromo people.
4. The Somali Liyu Police invasion of in Eastern and Southern Oromia and its attack on unarmed civilians will lead to regional arms race within Ethiopia where every ethnic group will race to arm itself and establish its own popular self-defense forces against any potential attacks similar to the attack and invasion the Somali militias are conducting daily in Oromia.

5. The Somali Liyu Police invasion and the failure of the Ethiopian Federal government to do anything to defend the unarmed Oromo civilians from attack will send strong signal to the international businesses, development and security partners of Ethiopia that the country is unstable, ripe for sudden ethnic conflicts and civil war which will make it very high-risk country to do business in.

6. The creation of Somali Liyu Police in Ethiopia certainly will trigger Horn of Africa wide regional instability by encouraging the creation of similar armed Somali militia groups in Kenya and Djibouti with similar objectives to accomplish the greater Somalia agenda by seceding the Somali speaking part of Kenya and Djibouti.


Related:

Ethiopia’s Somali Region: Political Marketplace for Tigray Military Commanders

Analysis: History repeating itself in the Horn of Africa: Is the crime in Darfur being replicated in Eastern and Southern Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia? – http://addisstandard.com/analysis-history-repeating-horn-africa-crime-darfur-replicated-eastern-southern-oromia-regional-state-ethiopia/

ETHIOPIA: FASCIST TPLF’S PROXY WAR THROUGH THE LIYU POLICE

Conversations in Ideas: Liyu Police and the Oromia-Ogaden Border Conflict

 

Ethiopia’s Somali Region: Political Marketplace for Tigray Military Commanders August 29, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Ethiopia’s Somali Region: Political Marketplace for Tigray Military Commanders


By Karamarda Group


Crime against humanity suspect, President of Ethiopian Somali Regional State Abdi Mohamud Omar
Alex De Waal, in his book titled, The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa, Money, War and the Business of Power describes; political market place is a contemporary system of government in which politics is conducted as the exchange of political services or loyalty for payment or license. The Horn of Africa is advanced and militarized political market place, characterized by pervasive rent-seeking and monetized patronage, with violence routinely used as a tool for extracting rent. This is absolutely true none other than the Somali region of Ethiopia.

Today, The Somali Region of Ethiopia is profitable market place for military commanders of the Ethiopian defense Force. Though, the monopoly of the Somali region political and economy was in the making for quite some time, yet the different branches of the federal government offices such as the federal affair’s, the Federal intelligence and ministry of defense used to compete to seek rent in the Somali Region. However, since the death of Meles, no one has absolute authority as Meles did to manage the day-to-day operations. Hence, various military and civilian Tigrai powerful political individuals have bargained and created a competitive political structure to govern different Regions. The prime minster, an otherwise a decent man is merely a symbolic figure put there to create the image of a non Tigrayan figurehead for political consumption. As such the Ethiopian defense forces under the leadership of General Samora has come out as a winner to seek rent and be a caretaker for the Somali Region. The General has mandated, the commander in Chief of the 4th Brigade, Let. General Abraha to be the de facto ruler of the Somali Region. General Abraha has in return supporting Abdi Mohamud Omer to serve as the political manager for the Somali Region.
Abdi Mohamud Omer is neither a Somali nationalist who bargain in the interest of the Somali people in the so-called ethnic federal system of Ethiopia nor a unionist with a vison of prompting centralized united Ethiopian ideology. He is an opportunist who is obsessed with reading and understanding the psyche and mood of the Tigrai military commanders and act upon what he considers will gain him sympathy and loyalty. He is also a ruthless paranoid and a cruel administrator who will do anything to get the coerced adulation of the entire Somali population in the region and beyond. In doing so, he managed to create a one-man state; he has absolute arbitrary power to kill, jail, invades any community or region and has offered in return for loyalty the entire Somali Region budget in the Ethiopian political market place.
The hallmark of Abdi Mohamed administration is to terrorize the Somali People; creating one of the biggest mass incarcerations in the Somali Region called “Jail Ogaden”. Killing thousands of innocent man, women and children in the name of supporting the rebels, forced an educated mass to migrated and abandon their homes, mascaraed family remembers of those who opposed him from far and could directly retaliate against them.
Abdi Mohamed Omer have auctioned out a number of policy gains by previous Somali region leaders and politicians that had huge sentimental value for the Somali people, though these changes did not made any difference for Tigrai military leader’s political capital, he used it to attest his allegiance, For example, he made a change to resemble the Somali region flag to that of Tigrai Region by totally removing the Somali identity, he changed Thursday and Friday being the holidays for the Somali region people, denying the Somali ordinary citizens to spent time with their families and opportunity to attend Friday prayers. Yet He traded the Somali people lands to Afar region without any due process as long as it is prolonging his tenure. However, the main and most significant plunder by Tigrai leaders under Abdi tutelage is the visible and hidden financial robbery of the Somali Region budget and revenue. The looting is well-designed scheme undertaking for quite some time to create a centralization economy and power. To illuminate this system that permitted the monopoly of power and economy, (one man –state), one has to look at how Abdi is tasked to cleverly organize the different administrative structures to make sure they serve him and his patronage.
Administration: Abdi Mohamed administration by design operates under strict kin (blood) and mirage arrangements. He has fired or jailed every Somali person with conscious and dignity and replaced them with his family members, the inexperienced youth and aficionado members of the society. He has recruited his clan and immediate family members from diaspora and the region to run the day today activities. Here is the list of family members in key positions;
* His First wife, Safiya Mohamed Mohamud is a Member of the federal Parliament from Jarar Zone
* Khadar Abdi , brother of the second wife and Abdi Ilay brother in-low, Minster of Trade and head of the Party ,the most powerful man next to Abdi
* Iliyas Abdi, brother of the second wife and Abdi Ilay brother in-low. Vice- minister of Water resources
* Sucad Ahmed, Vice president, Minster of natural resources and Chairman of ESDA board, Married to Abdi Ilay cousin and commander of Presidential security
* Yasiin Omer, minster of the revenue
* Deeq Labagole, an MP from Mersin and Minster of Labor
* Yasiin Abdiwaris an MP from Kabridahar and Minster of security
* Farhan Mahamud Minster of Information
* Nasradin Anab, Head of the design enterprise
* Mohamed Shugri head of the finance for Liyu police
* Mohamed Maki, Purchasing enterprise for the Liyu police
* Lubi Kariye head of PSNP
* Bashir Waal head of the Diaspora office
The Liyu police: is the pillar of Abdi’s administration and the most brutal and vicious force ever operated in the Somali Region. Initially, the TPLF formed the Liyu police as a counter insurgency force against the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a group fighting for self-determination for the Somali region. These force estimated to be around 40, 000 have been terrorizing the civilian population in the Somali region and Somali Border towns without impunity since 2008.
As any Somali leader, he used the clan card to recruit and mobilize the force. Initially, the Liyu police leaders were hired from close and trusted other sub clans to makeup the gap and implement the project; currently all of the former leaders of Liyu police are in jail Ogaden replaced by his close family members. Some of the current Leaders of the force are ex-members of ONLF and family members of Abdi Ilay who shifted alliance when he came to power. The Liyu police are more than a militia force;
* It is an entry point for Abdi Ilay administration. Currently, all administrative and judicial leaders at all level (sub- district, district and zonal) are from Liyu police.
* A revenue collectors; income and asset tax is collected by Liyu police all over the Somali region.
* A business enterprise; the Liyu police have a number of enterprise organization that are contracting to build roads, houses and other services.
* Housing Development agency
* Water work construction Enterprise
* Construction & Procurement special police Enterprise
In the past two years, the Liyu police have extended their rent seeking violence in the Somali Republic regions of Puntland, Somaliland, Galmudug and now in the Oromo region to gain loyalty, payment and license to continue killing innocent people. ……… Here are the top Liyu police militia leaders that are close family members of Abdi;
* General Abdiraham Labagole , Commander in Chief of the Liyu Police
* General Abdi Adan Waris, second in Command of the Liyu police
* Colonel Deeq Bujo
* Colonel Sh Mukhtar Subane
* Colonel Nasradin Canab
* Colonel Sanyare
* Colonel farahmahad
* Colonel Deeg Jeri
* Colonel Yasiin Abdiwaris
* Colonel Nasra Hassan
Elder’s council: Elders in the Somali community play a crucial role in managing public affairs, perceptions and providing support and legitimacy for leaders and institutions. They are highly respected and viewed as guardians of peace, resources and Welfare of their perspective communities. In the Somali Region, there has always been established traditional elders leaders and council in every clan and sub clan. Yet, Abdi Mohamed had created his own elders council (known by locals as the Liyu police elders council) sidelining those traditional elders who are not in agreement with his way of doing things. This tension is very noticeable particularly in Jigjiga zone where Garad Kulmiye Gard Mohamed Gard Dool, suldan Abdirahman suldan Bade, Garad Abdimaalik (Janan) Garad Osman, in Shinle zone Ugaas Mustafa Mohamed and many others are homebound and nonfunctional. This new elder council is led by his uncle and counselor colonel Ciro.
Media: in Somali region, there is no independent media what so ever, print, radio or TV. The only Media enterprise is Abdi Ilay’s TV, Radio and website managed by Ilay’s cousin, the information minister. It is another important instrument in creating the one man state and the Abdi’s utopia propaganda. More often, his media is also used to convey messages of intimidation for diaspora decedents. In the midst of extreme and severe drought in the region, with cost of millions of Birr, the media enterprise in 2016 has summoned a huge number of Somali musicians from diaspora to stay for almost a year in Jigjiga and sing songs of prosperity, Abdi’s talent and leadership and security and safety of the Somali Region.
Economic and financial monopoly:
He also altered the entire revenue collection, budgetary planning and finical system to benefit him and the Tigrai military leaders. Currently, the budget is planned purely based on estimated amount of revenue collection. For example, when the budget is put together, the administration in Jigjiga without any consideration of resources or ability of a district to pay will assign a figure. Then the district administration will coerce the elders, small business and the handful government employees to contribute. If the district could not meet the revenue request, elders will gather their clan and sub-clan to collect, sheep, goat, camel etc. just like they are paying blood or dia. If the district could not meet the request, they will not receive the allocated food aid. Furthermore, for the first time in the history of Somali region routine tax is collected in rural area from owning livestock. For example, if of someone has a 100 camel, he will be required to pay random amount as tax without any documentation or knowledge how often the tax will be collected. All of the many collected as tax are used to bribe military commanders so that he stays in power.
Contracts and business Licenses: in order to be able to do a business in the Somali Region whether by acquiring license or to set up a company to bid in the contracts, one has to be able to be part of an association. These associations have to be approved by the administration and often managed by assigned individuals based on the value and importance of the association. Abdi and his family members are involved in every big business in the Somali region, to mention a few;
* The Oil Factory, Jigjiga
* The Meat Factory in Dhagxle
* Cement Factory in DiriDawa
* The Khat export, taken away from Zuhura
* The soft drink import, taken away from Zuhara and others
* The contract to build the new Kabri-Dahar airport
* The contract to build the new presidential Palace
Conclusions
The risk of empowering Abdi Mohamed without any checks and balances in the Somali region and beyond worries not only the Somali population, but also the bordering regions of Oromia, Somalia and the Ethiopian central intelligence. The increase in number and operations of the Liyu police beyond its original intent creates uneasiness within the intelligence community. As the Liyu police increase in number, their role in rent seeking in Somalia and now in Oromo region expands, Abdi Mohamed believes his bargaining power increases as well. He has positioned himself as indispensable and the intelligence community knows that the one clan militia with such a large amount of resources and weapons could instantly join the rebel group if Abdi feels threatened or they want to clampdown the power of his militia.
In the absence of strong Somali government, and the new and fragile South Sudan, the TPLF military commanders found themselves not only in international peacekeeping but also in high yield rent seeking operations and are making fortunes. Yet, for those commanders who did not join in the highly paid UN blue helmet, such as General Abarah and others, they expanded their share of rent seeking in the peripheral lands of Somali, Binshangul and Gambela. The income inequality, the Tigray domination of every sector, nepotism and lack of press and freedom of speech will lead to the escalation of the Oromo and Amara protests and shows signs of spreading to Somali and other regions.

Ali Abdi
Karamarda Group
Executive Committee
The Karamarda Group is a group of Somali Regional State citizens who are interested in promoting Democracy and Good Governance in the Somali Region of Ethiopia and could be reached at karamardagroup@gmail.com


 

IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS: THE STATE OF EMERGENCY IS OVER BUT THE FATE OF THOUSANDS HANGS INSIDE ETHIOPIA’S POLITICIZED COURT ROOMS, UNLAWFULLY August 22, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Uncategorized.
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female prisosners 1

Among the thousands facing criminal charges in the wake of the SoE are these group of women in Assela town. 

Liyat Fekade

Addis Abeba, August 22/2017 – On Friday August 04, members of the Ethiopian parliament have reconvened after having been called off their summer recess. Of the three topics they reconvened to discuss was the lifting of the ten month old State of Emergency (SoE), first declared on Oct. 08 2016.

Briefing the members of parliament (MPs) on the need to lift the SoE, Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa, who is also the secretariat of the command post established to oversee the implementations of the SoE, said that the country was experiencing a return to normalcy as compared to the months and days prior to the declaration of the emergency decree, hence the need to lift the SoE.

However, almost as news besides the lifting of the SoE, Siraj Fegessa told the lawmakers that there were 7, 737 individuals who were facing legal actions in different courts in the country after having been charged with criminal offenses. According to Siraj, 4, 136 of these people were from the Oromia regional state, the epicenter of the 2016 yearlong anti-government protests; 1, 888 from the Amhara regional state, which followed suit six months into the protests in Oromia; 1, 166 from the less publicized protest-hit areas in the Southern Nations Nationalities and People’s Regional state (SNNPR); and 547  from the capital Addis Abeba.

It was a déjà vu

Ethiopians are acutely familiar with the government’s intuitive response of mass detention that quickly follows popular anti-government protests. Tens of thousands of Ethiopians from all walks of life had ended up in the country’s military camps, prisons wards and temporary detention facilities in the post 2005 general elections, in which close to 200 protesters were also gunned down in the streets of the capital by fully armed security forces.

 

female prisosners

These detainees include students, mothers and in some instances, government employees 

Reminiscent of that recent past, 24,799 Ethiopians were detained in two rounds during in the first few weeks into the October SoE, according to the government’s own account. However, countless others were already detained in the lead up to October 2016, which brought the number of those detained to over 27, 000.

Grieving in Ethiopia’s politicized court rooms

It is worth mentioning here that the 7, 737 people who are now facing charges of serious criminal offenses, including but not limited to outrage against the constitutional order, is a number three times higher than the 2, 449 individuals that Siraj Fegessa said would be brought to face justice on Dec. 17, 2016.

In what could safely be considered as politically motivated act, the federal Supreme Court has “placed considerable pressures on courts and prisons authorities in Oromia, Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s regional states to bring thousands of detainees to Addis Abeba for them to be tried with terrorism offenses,” a senior judge in Adama, 100 km south of Addis Abeba, told Addis Standard.

A somewhat similar incident in post-2005 elections played a significant role in forcing the then president of the Oromia Regional State Supreme court, Teshale Aberra, into exile.

Teshale

Judge Teshale Abera is now living in exile

Speaking from his exile in the UK, Teshale told Addis Standard that in 2005, the rift between him and the federal Supreme Court widened when the later requested him to facilitate the trials of some 18,000 detainees who were transported to several detention facilities in Oromia regional state after having been detained in the capital Addis Abeba. “Because the case concerned protesters who supported the opposition CUD, which won all the 23 seats allocated to the city of Addis Abeba in the federal parliament, and because many of the judges who were presiding in the federal courts in the capital were ethnic Amharas, authorities at the federal Supreme Court believed that the trial would lack judicial impartiality from the judges,” Teshale said. “This was a clear case of politically motivated decision, which I refused to accept.”

Teshale’s experience in 2005 remained a perpetual stain in judicial procedures in Ethiopia, leaving the fate of hundreds of Ethiopians detained during protest-crackdowns and subsequently prosecuted hanging in the country’s politicized court rooms.

For starters, detainees are often brought to the capital from all corners of the country to face terrorism charges. This practice often exposes  detainees to extrajudicial brutalities, including torture, inside prison facilities in the capital, especially the notorious Ma’ekelawi prison, where hundreds are forced to spend months on end without any due legal process. It also leaves detainees isolated from family members, thereby denying them of adequate legal representations.

A data available on newly established tracking website documents the number of people brought from different parts of the country and are facing terrorism charges in the capital, which shows a recent sharp increase since Ethiopia first introduced the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) in 2009.

 

Nigist

The iconic picture of activist Nigist Yirga wearing a t-shirt with a text “The People of Amhara are not terrorists”

Of the close to 900 cases of terrorism (most of which is related to people who were brought from different parts of the country), a particular case in point is the case of six detainees who were brought to the capital after having been arrested in north Gonder and Bahir Dar of the Amhara Regional state.  Activist Nigist Yirga, known by her iconic protest picture captured during last year’s protests in Amhara regional state with a text “The People of Amhara are not terrorists”, is facing terrorism charges along with Alemneh Wase Gebre Mariam, Tewdros Telay, Awoke Abate, Belayneh Alemneh, & Yared Girma in the federal high court 4th criminal bench here in the capital.  A recent short animation video produced by the Ethiopia Human Rights Project (EHRP) sheds light on the disturbing abuse Nigist Yirga sustained while she was held in Ma’ekelawi.

However, Nigist’s case – neither her arrest nor the prison abuses she is subjected to – is by no means an isolated one. On July 25/2017, the families of Ayele Beyene, who died while in police custody at Qilinto prison, a maximum prison facility on the southern outskirt of Addis Abeba, have received and buried his body in his home town in Gidami, east Wallaga zone of western Ethiopia. After having spent months at Ma’ekelawi following their arrest in October 2016, Ayele and seven others with him were charged on May 10 with terror related as well as criminal offenses.

Ayele

Ayele Beyene died while in police custody. He was detained in Oct. 2016 and was only charged in May 2017.

Delegation of federal courts jurisdiction

Perhaps beyond and above this disturbing practice is the constitutional legality of transferring detainees from other parts of the country to face terrorism charges in the capital Addis Abeba. The federal Constitution and the criminal justice policy (adopted in 2011) highly centralize criminal law, i.e. investigation and prosecution of crimes, under the federal government. It is a legal practice which relegates regional states in a federated Ethiopia to depend on the federal government concerning criminal matters that are political in nature, in particular terrorism related offenses.

Currently, there are two tiered courts both at the federal and state levels in Ethiopia: the Federal Supreme Court, (Federal High and First Instance Courts), and the State Supreme Court, (State High and First-Instance Courts). Article 80 of the federal constitution clearly stipulates that State Supreme Courts have the highest and final judicial power over State matters. Quote: “They shall also exercise the Jurisdiction of the Federal High Court [by delegation]. State High Courts shall, in addition to State jurisdiction, exercise the jurisdiction of the Federal First-Instance Court.” In other words, although the legislative criminal power has been centralized by the Federal Government in Ethiopia and has been ferociously applied to punish dissenting , it is, at the same time, decentralized in terms of its execution and adjudication by doctrine of delegation, at least on paper.

According to Yohannes Bekele (name changed), a former public prosecutor who is currently an attorney and counselor at law, there are two arguments to be made on the issue of criminal jurisdiction.  The first is that all cases arising from the Federal Criminal Code should be the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Courts in line with Art. 3(1) of the Federal Court Proclamation No. 25/96. “This is the common argument the federal government criminal investigation and prosecution organs use when they want to investigate a crime of their interest”, Yohannes told Addis Standard.

The second argument is that the Regional State courts are empowered to hear cases other than the ones exhaustively reckoned under Article 4 of Federal Courts Proclamation. These are cases related to, among others, offenses against the constitutional order or against the internal security of the state; offenses against foreign states, against the law of nations, against the fiscal and economic interests of the Federal Government, as well as offenses regarding counterfeit currency, and forgery of instruments of the Federal Government.

Teshale on his part believes that if regional courts can take up cases as grave as these ones, “there should be no question about their ability to preside over terrorism cases.”

Terrorism related offenses

Despite the constitution however, Article 31 of the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation solely sanctioned the Federal High Court and the Federal Supreme Courts to have jurisdictions over terrorism related offenses. This proclamation does not incorporate a delegation clause to regional courts, giving federal courts the exclusive mandate to preside over terrorism cases brought against defendants who come from all parts of the country.

This, in and of itself, raises several concerns. The most alarming is the issues of access to justice. “Many of the suspects, especially those from Oromia and the southern regional state, do not have translation facilities during interrogations while in prison and during the hearing procedures,” said the senior judge in Adama, who wants to remain anonymous.

The issue of access to justice was one of the many concerns Addis Standard raised in its extensive coverage on Ma’ekelawi prison ward.  To quote one of the interviewees then: “The fact that detainees come from afar disconnects them from their family and their support system thereof. But more importantly such distance from one’s place of residence becomes a barrier to access to justice. Physical distance, cultural distance, and linguistic distance are the three major barriers to access to justice.”

In a 2014 research paper submitted to the Addis Abeba University (AAU) titled Criminal Jurisdiction of State Court under FDRE Constitution, Abdi Gurmessa, a law graduate, stated that the current trend of centralization of criminal law and policy in the federal government is not effective when tested in light of the guiding principles of the distribution of powers, the principle of subsidiarity and the experiences of other federations. Centralized criminal law, according to Abdi, has an “adverse effect on the regional autonomy of the states”, and prohibits regional states from exercising the right to self-determination in the context of criminal laws.

This judicial overreach by the federal court was raised during a preliminary objection in one of the high profile terrorism charges in recent history of the country involving the Federal Attorney General vs. Gurmessa Ayano et al (including prominent politician Bekele Gerba).  In a debate the later have since lost to the former, the defense team have argued on lack of jurisdiction of the federal court and said that the case could be tried by the Oromia Regional State Supreme court through delegation pursuant to the constitution. Their objection was dismissed by the federal court citing Article 31 of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; the case continued to be tried at the federal high court 4th criminal bench where it reached a curious stage.

‘Sharp departure’

However, in what is seen by many as a ‘sharp departure’ from what was expected, a complaint was lodged by the executive of the Oromia regional state sometime between November and December 2016 at the federal Supreme Court to block possible additional terrorism indictments against hundreds of individuals detained in the wake of the 2016 protest. (Gurmessa Ayano et.al were detained in the beginning of the protests in Dec. 2015, as are several others).

Subsequently, the federal Supreme Court has granted a rare delegation to the Oromia Supreme court to look into the cases involving the 4, 136 people who are now facing criminal charges in eleven different courts within the regional state, according to the judge in Adama. “It was a chance for these people to avoid terrorism indictments,” he said, “we are now working even in weekends to facilitate speedy trials.” Some of these courts where the hearings are taking place include courts in Dambi Dollo and Gimbi in western Ethiopia, Asella and Adama in south east, Batu (Ziway) and Shashemene in west Arsi, as well as Bale Robe and Yabello in south eastern Ethiopia, according to him.

letter

Copy of a letter exclusively received by Addis Standard showing the federal Supreme court’s delegation

Too little too late?

Despite this positive turn of event, however, the lingering detention and trial not only of the 4, 136 in Oromia, but also the rest in Amhara, SNNPR and Addis Abeba after the state of emergency was declared over defies constitutionalism.

The federal constitution under Article 22 provides protection under “Non-Retroactivity of Criminal Law.’ Art.22/1: “No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offense at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed on any person than the one that was applicable at the time when the criminal offense was committed.”  Art.22/2: “Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-Article 1 of this Article, a law promulgated subsequent to the commission of the offense shall apply if it is advantageous to the accused or convicted person.”

“If the newly enacted law [that ostensibly repealed the SoE] is advantageous to those people who are accused of violating a repealed law, the new law will be implemented,” wrote Zelalem Kibret, a lecturer of law before he was dismissed by the Ambo University following his arrest as part of the Zone9 blogging collective, from which he was later on acquitted. In a series of twitter post shortly after the SoE was declared over, Zelalem wrote, “The State of Emergency decree criminalizes many trivial things that thousands were convicted of [or] are currently accused of. However, the State lifted the [SoE] by another proclamation, hence since the subsequent repeal is obviously advantageous to the incarcerated, it [would] get precedence in its application. As a result, all the cases invoking the SoE decree must be dropped and all awaiting and convicted prisoners must be released,” Zelalem said.

It is an optimism that Nigist Yirga, 24, and her co-defendants, as well as hundreds of others facing similar fate, could use following the lifting of the SoE on Aug. 04. But Ethiopians know that it may be too little too late. On August 18th, the Federal High Court 4th criminal bench has once again, and after several protracted hearings, failed to deliver a key a verdict on whether Nigist Yirga et.al have a case to defend; like several other cases, the court adjourned the next hearing to October 31/2017 after its summer recess. AS


Ed’s Note: Kiya Tsegaye, Addis Standard’s legal affairs researcher, contributed to this story

Photos: Social Media

Fascist Ethiopia’s regime (TPLF) paramilitary forces (Liyu Police) continues with its ethnic cleansing and genocide against Oromo people August 19, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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TPLF Ethiopia’s Somali Liyu Police and  the federal defence forces jointly invaded  Oromia and currently conducting their  ethnic cleansing in five Oromia Zones and 14 Districts. The following are some of the Oromia’s districts currently under attack:

i. Qumbi, Cinaksan, Midhaga Tola, Gursum, Mayu Muluqe and Babile in East Hararghe Zone;

ii. Bordode in West Hararghe Zone;

iii. Dawe Sarar, Sawena, Mada Walabu and Rayitu in Bale Zone;

iv. Gumi Eldelo and Liban in Guji Zone; and

v. Moyale in Borana


Profile of the Invading Somali Liyu Police that Invaded Five Oromia Zones and 14 Oromia Districts

1. Established in April 2007 as counter insurgency military group, the Somali Liyu police are estimated to have more than 40,000 well-armed and well-funded troops.
2. Who is providing the funding and training: Initially, it was funded and trained by the government of the United Kingdom. Now, the group is believed to have a wider network in the Middle East, in addition to the support it regularly receives from the TPLF/EPRDF government of Ethiopia….. Click here to read more …..
The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) says the regime in Addis Ababa is worsening clashes between the Somali and Oromo communities that share common borders.
The ONLF also accused the Liyou (special) police of the Somali regional government of committing rape, abduction and killings against the Oromo and even against their own Somali communities with backing of the brutal regime.
Hassan Abdulahi in an interview with ESAT said the main culprits were the TPLF generals who are behind the Somali special police that just takes orders from the generals.
Abdulahi says the Somali special police have since 2007 committed inconceivable crimes against Somali, Oromo and other communities.
He said there are over a million people who are internally displaced due to the brutal actions of the Liyou police under the auspices of regime generals.
Border clashes between the two communities resulted in the death of hundreds of people, abduction and cattle raiding, according to the ONLF and other Oromo political parties.

#LIYUU POOLISII AJAJNI ISII WAYYAANEDHA…

Ummata keenya kan Daangarratti argamu kan Somaalee itti diree kan ajjeesisaa fi saamsisaa jiru, TPLF tahuun beekkamaadha.
Humni nama keenyaa naannawa daangaa hundaatin akka darratu ( meeshaa lolaa, Waan akka Mancaa fi kkf akka irraa guuramu) kan godhe ergamtoota OPDOti. Wayyaaneen ummanni oromoo yoo qawwee qabaachuu baatellee Meeshaa qonnaaf itti gargaaramaniin Somaalee ofirraa dhoorkuu akka danda’an waan beekaniif, OPDO Keessan akka ummanni oromoo mi’a tokkollee hin horre irratti dalagamaa ture. Wanni kana go dhaniif, mormii biyya keessaa muddee isaan qabe kana gufachiisuf gurri oromoo akka gara wayyaanee dhiisee gara Liyuu poolisii deebi’u gochuufi. Hangasan isaan hafuura akka fudhataniifi. Haalli kun waan amma qofa godhame osoo hin tahin, yeruma ummanni keenya biyya keessaa qabsoo finiinsee wayyaanee hudhe hunda waan godhamaa ture.
Gochi Torbaan kana NAANNOO #Cinaaksan, Gursum walumaa galatti Ona Jaarsoo fi Baabbilee kanatti tahaa jirus kan duraan godhamaa turerraa addaa miti. Wanni torbee kana Liyuu poolisii ummatatti bobbaasaniifis, MORMII UMMANNI KEENYA MARSAA 3FFAA godhuuf qophaawaa jiru sodaatteeti wayyaaneen humna teenya bittinneessuun kana eegalte.
OPDO n Ergamtuu wayyaanee waan taatef, Afaan isaanii dhugaa seetanii hin sobaminaa,
Dheengadduma Bulchaan OPDO #Lammaa Magarsaa baantan #Gursundhaqee amma booda Somaalen isin hin tuyxu je’ee Waadaa ummataaf galee, Gaala badhaasanii biraa gale.
Guyyaan itti aanu kanuma #Ganda Ulaan’ulaatti nama keenya qe’ee isaanii irratti hidhanii tumaa, Saamaa jiran namuu argaa jirra.
Silaa opdon tun jiraatuu baattee hunda diinatti beekeeti sabni keenya ulelleen tahu diina ofirraa dhoorka. Amma kan ummata keenya meeshaa akkan horre godhaa turee fi jirus Opdo dha. Yoo duraan hubachullee baate, ummanne keenya Bulchiinsi OPDO Haada diina duratti isaan Gaadi’u tahuu hubatanii, akka haalli isaanii aanjawetti, Mancaa, Qawwee, Eeboo, Shimala, dhagaas dabalatee ofirraa qolachuu qaba.
Duulli Liyuu poolisin gootu kun kan Daangaa Oromiyaa kan Naannoo Shaniitin Waldaangessu Tahuu ummanni keenya ni beeka. (Baabbile, Gursum, Erer, Mi’eesso, Bordodde, Baale, Booranaa fi kkf, …)
Jeeqaa turuun isaanii ni yaadatama, ammas ummanni keenya kan naannoo kanaa bifa Qophii fi Bayyanootaa taheen ofirraa eeguu qaba. Namoonni biyya alaa jirus Kan gara Leeccallootin Ummata gargaarsa rabbii malee homaa hin qabne kana bifa danda’ameen akka hidhatan hatattamaan itti yaadamuufii qaba.

Galatoomaa! Injifannoon kan Abbaa Haqa qabuuti.
S/A”

 


Guyyaa kaleessaa woraanii somalee Aanaa cinaaqseenitti gandootaa Araddaa ulaan ulee hedduu tooyatee jira. Mana barnootaa kaampii woraanaa godhatee jira. Dubartoon hedduu fudhatamaniiru. Ummatni halkani edaa gaaratti galeera.
Aanaa Gursumitti Araddootaa seenaa qabeessaa akka Hujubaa funyaan biraa keessaatti kan argamani gandootiin babadhaan 8 qabamaniiru. gandootii kana keessaa somaaleen tokkoollee hin jiru. somaaleenillee gaafii irratti hin dhiyeessinee.
Aanaa Aanaa baabbileetti guyyootaa sadani darbani keessaa qofa somaalooni kuma 100 oli ta’ani maqaa godaantuun qubataniiru.
Amma magaalaa Baabbilee keessaatti hojjatoonii mootummaa jibuuti kan sooramaa bahani maneen viillaa 1320 magaalaa Baabbileetti ijaarataniiru isaani kan eeguu humna woraanaa somaaleeti
woraanaa somaaleetiifi baajetaa, uffataa , meeshaa woraanaa kan kennu mootummaa Jibuutiit.

 


****DAANGAA OROMIYAA FI LIYYUU POOLISII SOMAALEE****

Uummatni kenya kan naannoo Harargee yeroo ammaatti jiruu hadhaawaa keessa jira. Ajjeechaan keessaa fi allan itti hammateera. Keessaan bittaa wayyaanee, alaan ajjeechaa Liyu Police Somalee kan meeshaa ammayyaa hidhateen ajjeefamaa jira. Kun maali?

1. Liyu Polisii Somalee kan jedhan kun, ergamoota wayyaaneeti (paramilitary) kan jedhan. Fakkeenyaaf, lola Sudan fi South Sudan gidduutti gaggeeffamaa kan ture wayita jabaatee turetti, President Omar Al-Bashi qaama milishaa Janjaweed jedhamu leenjisee uummata South Sudan kumaatamootan lakkaa’am ficciisiise. Kun maalif? Itti gaafatamummaa gara boodaa dhufuu malu jalaa baqachuuf jecha akka waan qaamni waraanaa kun kan mootummaa hinta’inii fakkeessuudha. Mootummootni abba irree Afiriikaa hedduun qaamollee milishaa kan akka mercenery fi paramilitay jedhaman dhoksaatti leenjisani uummata karaa nagaa biyya keessaa isaaniin mormu itti ficcisiisu.

Mormii uummatni Oromoo waggoota dhihoo as keessatti wayyaanee irratti gaggeessaa jiru wayyaanee kuffisuu akka danda’u jarri haalaan hubattee jirti. Kanumaaf jecha, xiyyeeffannoon uummataa mormii biyya keessaa (internal protest) irraa gara daangaatti (border conflict) jijjiiruudhaan diinni uummata Oromo Wayyaanee osoo hinta’in Liyyuu Poolisii qofa akka ta’e fakkeessuf jecha qindaa’ee kan gaggeeffamaa jiru fakkaata.

Torban ykn ji’a muraasa booda, uummatni keenya hedduun dhumee kaan erga dadhabeen booda, wayyaneen as baate, jaarsummaa taa’uudhaan Mootummaa naannoo Somaale (Abdi Ilee) fi Oromiyaa (Lammaa Magarsaa) walitti araarsuuf teessi. Ofii isheetii wayyaaneen qaama qulqulluu fakkaachuun araara sobaa buufti jechuudha. Akkas natti fakkaata.

2. Haata’u malee, uummatni keenya kan hubachuu qabu, Liyyuu poolisii kan baajata itti baasee leenjisaa jiruu fi hidhachiisaa kan jiru Wayyaaneedha. Liyuu Poolisii jechuun wayyaanee jechuudha. Lola uummatni keenya gaggeessa jiru Wayyaanee waliin jechuudha.

3. Qondaltotni OPDO haarawaan kan akka Lammaa, Addisuu, Abiy etc yoo ilaallee isaan illee lola daangaa irratti Liyyuu Poolisiin gaggeessa jirtu haalaan waan isaan gammachiisu natti fakkaata. Maaliif yoo jettan? Lammaa fi kaabineen isaa ji’a 6 darbee keessa abdii sobaa erga uummatatti guutaniin booda, deebii uummataa deebisuu akka hindandeenye hubataniiru. Nyaatamuu akka danda’an illee hubataniiru. Kanaaf, tarsiimoo isaan ittiin mootummaa irra turuu danda’an tokko yoo jiraate ajjeechaa fi darara daangaa Oromo kana uruursaa ittiin uummata Oromoo gowomsaa yoo turan qofa. Gaaffii uummatni keenya siyaasa biyya keessaa mormaa jiru irraa xiyyeeffannoo (attention) kaasuudhaan gara siyaasa daangaatti waan geessuuf, mormii biyya keessaa irraa boqonnaa arganna jedhanii waan yaadan natti fakkaata.

4. Furmaatni maali? Wayyaaneen yoo hinjirre, Liyyuu Poolisiin hinjirtu. Wayyaaneen yoo hinjirre, OPDOn hinjirtu. UUmmatni Oromo miliyoona 50 ta’u mormii biyya keessaa fi lola daangaa irratti itti baname ofirraa faccisuuf dandeettii qabaachuu qaba. Mirga uumamaa qaba. Of gurmeessee, walgurmeessee of hidhachiisuu, walhidhachiisuu qaba. The right to defend oneself from enemy is a God given right. Haallii Oromoiyaa yeroo ammaa kan duraanii irra adda.

Eastern oromoia oromo fan page's photo.
Eastern oromoia oromo fan page's photo.
Eastern oromoia oromo fan page's photo.
 This is Hayat Aliyi Ahmad age 17. This horrific attack said to have been committed against her by official of the Somali regional government in Jigjiga. She is currently at Hiwot Fana Hospital. She is originally from Malka Ball, East Hararge, Oromia. Click here for the image and detail of the attack.
https://twitter.com/Jawar_Mohammed/status/898979246508474368
https://www.facebook.com/Jawarmd/posts/10103331515817393
https://www.facebook.com/Jawarmd/posts/10103331771699603

“Beware of TPLF’s minority card

Recently you might have noticed that TPLF is propagating ‘Somalis’ protesting against OLF, G7 etc. Its important to know that these are members of the TPLF’s puppet party in Somali region ( its like OPDO and ANDM members rallying in support of the regime). In fact many of the thugs are not from Somali regional state but from Djibouti, Somalia, Somaliland and even Kenya. Back home the psychopathic president of the region has forced residents of Jigjiga to stage a rally. Why all this? First it shows the regime have given up on its puppet parties in Oromia and Amhara regions. Pro-regime rallies planned in Oromia and Amhara were either cancelled due to fear of turning into protest or no one showed up.

But there is more sinister motive than just this. It is part of the minority card TPLF leaders are trying to play as they fight for survival. Two weeks ago Seyoum Mesfin and Abay Tsehaye gave interview where they repeatedly pulled the minority card. They have two objectives in doing so. First they want to mislead and gain sympathy of the liberal international community that their minority ethnic group (Tigreans) are facing genocide from alliance of the two largest ethnic groups Oromo and Amhara. They have been telling diplomats that it’s not just Tigreans facing existential threat but also other minorities. Second, they want to implement their long held plan of ‘minority coalition’ to withstand pressure from Amhara and Oromo forces. Since the days of their armed struggle, TPLF leaders believed that the best way to cope with being outnumbered is to forge alliance (under their domination) with other minorities. The controversial map that connects Tigray with Benishangul-Gumuz and all the way down to Gambela on the West, and Afar and Somali through the East is not some simple error or latest development. It has been on the works since 1980s. Although it failed due to economic competition with Tigrean businessmen, they have also tried to bring urban minorities to their side as well.

But is TPLF an ally of minorities in Ethiopia? Its records say NO!
– Its military carried out ethnic cleansing against Ethiopian Somalis as meticulously recorded by human rights organizations. Abdi Illey was their henchmen who was facilitating the massacre.
– It massacred the Agnuwak in Gambella region in 2003 and still continue to kill in the region.
– The Sidama were massacred at Loqe in 2002.
– Entire villages in Konso are being burned down as we speak.
– The Mursi are killed en mass and those captured alive are chained like animals as might have seen on pictures
– Silte and Gurage businessmen have been pushed out of the market and replaced by Tigreans.
– Afar land is all but taken over by Tigrean land grabbers.
– On and on and on……

Yet as it faces increasing resistance in Oromo and Amhara, TPLF will be aggressively using this ‘minority card’ in the up coming weeks and months. This will be done with action that will create rift between minority ethnic groups and Oromo/Amhara. We should henceforth expect the following:

– More rallies in diaspora and targeted regions in Ethiopia with participants holding slogans that offend Oromo/Amhara.
– Intensified campaign on media using languages that provoke debate and counter attack.
– Physical attack on Oromo/Amhara activists and institutions with the aim of provoking counter attack on Somalis.
– They will intensify instigating conflict on regional boarders. We are already hearing provocation on Benishangul-Amhara boarders, Somali -Oromia boarders.

If left unchallenged, these tactics could cause serious short and long term problem between various nations of the country. Therefore, the following steps should be taken to counter that:

– Oromos and Amharas shouldn’t fall for the provocative trap. Avoid debates and arguments against Somalis and others.
– Let activists, political leaders and organizations respond to debunk them.
– Beware that the regime’s agents will engage in nasty exchanges pretending to be Oromo, Amhara, Somali etc.
– Prominent activists, political leaders should be careful against attacks by hired thugs. Community and religious institutions should be protected. In case attacks occur, the situation must be wisely contained. No doubt the regime agents in Amhara and Oromo communities will try to instigate counter attack on Somali and others. Hence no matter the severity, the possible attack on Amhara/Oromo personalities, the response should never be communal; the individual who committed the crime should be singled out and brought to justice.

Such old and tired tactic of divide and rule cannot extend TPLF’s dictatorship.”

JM: September 27-2016

Ethiopia’s life under emergency August 13, 2017

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Ethiopia’s life under emergency
By Nizar Manek, The Hindu,  AUGUST 12, 2017


Military helicopters circled above a crowd of thousands during a festival in Ethiopia’s Oromia region in October last. “Down, down TPLF!” one of those who assembled at Bishoftu town in Oromia shouted into a microphone, referring to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, the dominant wing of Ethiopia’s ruling party. Oromia has seen violent protests, which began two years ago after complaints about evictions of farmers to make way for development projects and a lack of autonomy in an authoritarian system. Security forces fired tear gas at the crowd, triggering a stampede in which scores were crushed. Some drowned in a lake. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn declared emergency rule less than a week later. The same day, defence forces shot a 28-year-old Oromo farmer. Witnesses cited in a report by Ethiopia’s only rights NGO, Human Rights Council, said the farmer was shot because he protested. An Opposition party leader was arrested after he addressed the European Parliament.

Ten-months later, the ruling party has unexpectedly lifted the emergency. Most of the over 20,000 people arrested were released after “renewal training”, while over 7,000 are on trial, Defence Minister Siraj Fegessa told Parliament earlier this month. But Oromia is far from being calm. The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa has recommended avoiding an area where Oromia and Ethiopia’s Somali regions meet, where intense fighting is going on. Weeks earlier, Information Minister Negeri Lencho, an Oromo, told this reporter that almost 70,000 retailers lodged complaints over a new regional income tax law. “Most of the shops are closed where I live to protest” overvalued tax payments, said a resident of an Oromo town, 20 km from the capital.

‘Torture and murder’

 

The Human Rights Council published its 49-page report online, in Amharic, on May 29. A day later, the state telecom monopoly turned off internet access for almost a week. It documents 22,525 arrests, testimony from 28 former prisoners, six cases of “torture, beatings, and injuries” and 19 murders. Ex-inmates of a prison in the Amhara region, to where the protests spread, testified that prisoners were dunked in a cesspit full of urine; 250 youths were held without charge or trial; up to 100 prisoners were forced to sleep in a room of 10X4 meters; water was given only weekly; and contaminated water exposed them to contagious diseases.

In November, a 12-year-old girl from Ethiopia’s south was beaten and then taken from her house by government forces to a makeshift prison, her father testified. A heavy presence of government forces prevented the Council’s staff from moving freely, people were afraid to testify, and state organs, including police stations and federal prisons, remained deaf to the Council’s efforts at official corroboration, the report says.

The Council says what it documented violates the right to life contained in Ethiopia’s Constitution, as well as the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Convention against Torture, to which Ethiopia has acceded. The report assumes the scope and types of violations are “more than presented. It asks the ruling party to give the UN permission to investigate without restriction. Addis Ababa, however, rejects this, citing “an issue of sovereignty”. Zadig Abraha, deputy government spokesperson, said the report is “politically-motivated”. He pointed to a government-sanctioned inquiry which found that security forces took “proportionate measures in most areas”, saying 669 people were killed last year alone. The government can investigate itself, he added.

Nizar Manek is a reporter based in Addis Ababa, covering African affairs


 

Ethiopia: Aid in the wrong hands: Ethiopia’s mass killing security forces misuse vehicles donated by the Global Fund in Ambo city, Oromia August 9, 2017

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OPEN LETTER:

To: The Global Fund Board of Directors

Cc: -The Global Fund Secretariat
– Global Fund’s Office of the Inspector General
Geneva, Switzerland


Greetings!
Global Fund, as the 21st century partnership-based financing organization designed to accelerate the end of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics, is indeed contributing its fair share for the global health and wellbeing of millions of people.

As Ethiopia is one of the top recipients of support from the Global Fund, there is no doubt that many poor patients have benefited irrespective of the level of corruption and misappropriation of funds on the part of the ruling regime.
The country has received over $2 billion from 2002 to 2016, as per the report of the Global Fund itself. But the regime in power misused and misappropriated much of this money by manipulating and taking advantage of Global Fund’s good-intentioned principle called ‘Country ownership’ — at the heart of which is the golden idea that people determine their own solutions in fighting the diseases affecting their health, and take full responsibility for them.

However, the regime in Ethiopia has effectively manipulated this principle to use global fund resources for its own political end goals. The 2015 audit report of the office of the general inspector of the Global Fund itself briefly touched up on these problems.
For the malaria grant for example, the report rightly identified the following problems:
• Inadequate Monitoring and Evaluation and Poor Data Quality;
• Theft or Diversion of Non-Financial Resources;
• Poor Financial Reporting;
• Treatment Disruption;
• Substandard Quality of Health Products;
• Inadequate Principal Recipient Reporting and Compliance.

To illustrate the report’s important point on diversion of resources for wrong purposes, there is no better example than drawing your kind attention to a recent case in the city of Ambo, where the regime deployed its brutal security forces using the vehicles obtained by the Ministry of Health using foreign funding such to crack down on anti-government protesters who were on the streets protesting a newly introduced tax hike.

As a result, the protesters have torched one of the vehicles in mid-June but the regime continued using these vehicles to transport its security agents. Several evidences show that these vehicles which the tyrant regime in Ethiopia is using to transport its security forces to kill protesters, were procured by the Global Fund grants.

The Global Fund secretariat should therefore reconsider and submit to rigorous scrutiny its partnership with the corrupt and repressive regime of Ethiopia.
Financial supports from the Global Fund should not be used to enable the repressive security structures of the regime that kills its own citizens but to help the needy people of the country. To this end, the Global Fund has not only the moral responsibility but also the legal duty to make sure that all its financial supports to the regime are used solely for their intended purposes.
We are therefore kindly requesting the Board Directors of the Global Fund to undertake the necessary investigations on the misuse, misappropriation and diversion of resources that the regime in Ethiopia receives as grants from the Global Fund.

Sincerely,
Jawar Mohammed

Jawar Mohammed's photo.
Jawar Mohammed's photo.
Jawar Mohammed's photo.

Smith Resolution on Ethiopian Human Rights Advances From Committee July 27, 2017

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News Item: Smith Resolution on Ethiopian Human Rights Advances From Committee

27 July 2017

Today, the full House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to advance a resolution, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), highlighting the human rights violations of the Ethiopian government, and offering a blueprint to create a government better designed to serve the interests of the Ethiopian people.

The resolution, which passed without objection, also calls on the U.S. government to implement Magnitsky Act sanctions, targeting the individuals within the Ethiopian government who are the cause of the horrific abuses.

The State Department’s current human rights report on Ethiopia notes, “[t]he most significant human rights problems were security forces’ use of excessive force and arbitrary arrest in response to the protests, politically motivated prosecutions, and continued restrictions on activities of civil society and NGOs.”

H. Res. 128, is like a mirror held up to the Government of Ethiopia on how others see them, and it is intended to encourage them to move on the reforms they agree they need to enact,” said Smith, Chair of the House panel on Africa. “For the past 12 years, my staff and I have visited Ethiopia, spoken with Ethiopian officials, talked to a wide variety of members of the Ethiopia Diaspora and discussed the situation in Ethiopia with advocates and victims of government human rights violations.  Our efforts are not a response merely to government critics, but rather a realistic assessment of the urgent need to end very damaging and in some cases inexcusable actions by the government or those who act as their agents.”

H. Res. 128, entitled “Supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia,” condemns the human rights abuses of Ethiopia and calls on the Ethiopian government to:

It is important to note that this resolution does not call for sanctions on the Government of Ethiopia, but it does call for the use of existing mechanisms to sanction individuals who torture or otherwise deny their countrymen their human and civil rights,” said Smith.

Smith has chaired three hearings on Ethiopia, the most recent of which looked into the deterioration of the human rights situation in Ethiopia and was titled “Ethiopia After Meles: The Future of Democracy and Human Rights.”

 


Itoophiyaa keessatti akkaataa qabiinsa mirga dhala namaa fooyyeesuudhaa wixineen seeraa miseensonni mana maree Yunaaytid Isteets dhiheessan manichaaf akka dhihaatu fi sagaleen irratti kennamu koreen dhimmoota biyyoota alaa waligalteera gahe.

Oromo music under tyranny: Free Artist (Journalist) Seenaa Solomon and all Oromo political prisoners in Fascist Ethiopia’s (Africa’s North Korea) torture chambers July 6, 2017

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Seena

 

Seenaa Solomon is a talented musician, actor and journalist. She is  one of the most adored  in Oromo (indigenous) cultural music with her inspirational and beautiful songs and lyrics. Because she is  an Oromo woman, promotes Oromo  culture and music, and advocates for the rights of people under tyrannical regime, she has been kidnapped by TPLF Ethiopia’s fascist forces and thrown into Ma’ekelawi  torture camp.

New: Olyaad Bekele Debre et.al

A Fire under Ashes: The Ongoing Struggle for Human Rights in Ethiopia July 1, 2017

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A Fire under Ashes: The Ongoing Struggle for Human Rights in Ethiopia


As massive protests swept across Ethiopia last year, the dire human rights situation in the country made headlines around the world. The Financial Times described it as Ethiopia’s “Tiananmen Square moment,” and then-US Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Tom Malinowski called the government’s crackdowns on dissent “self-defeating tactics.”

A poster of Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa at a protest in Oakland, California. Making the crossed arm gesture is now a criminal offense under Ethiopia’s state of emergency. Credit: Elizabeth Fraser
A poster of Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa at a protest in Oakland, California. Making the crossed arm gesture is now a criminal offense under Ethiopia’s state of emergency. Credit: Elizabeth Fraser.

The protests that brought this unprecedented attention to the country were rooted in land grabs. Starting in November 2015, Ethiopians took to the streets to oppose a “Master Plan” to expand the borders of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, which would have displaced Oromian farmers from their homes and land. The plan was eventually canceled, but the protests struck a nerve and became more widespread, calling for human rights and democracy in the country.

After failed attempts to quell the increasing dissent with force, the Ethiopian government imposed a country-wide state of emergency in October 2016. Since then, the news out of Ethiopia has waned, but problems remain.

The State of Emergency: A Veil to Hide Political Turmoil

In late July 2016, as protests spread from Oromia to the Amhara region, the country’s two largest ethnic groups – who together make up over 60 percent of the population – joined together. Despite being faced with violence from the security forces, citizens refused to back down and took to innovative means, like shaving their heads in solidarity with political prisoner Bekele Gerba and launching city-wide stay-at-home protests. In August, when Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa crossed his hands above his head in solidarity with the protests as he crossed the finish line at the Rio Olympics, the plight of his people was brought to the TV screens of millions around the world. And in October, the political situation in Ethiopia further unravelled as dozens if not hundreds were killed at an annual Irreechaa celebration in Oromia, when the police response to protests triggered a stampede.

To curb this mounting dissent, a state of emergency was imposed in October 2016, including a long list of draconian measures curtailing freedoms across the country. Security forces were given greater powers, social media and diaspora news outlets were banned, curfews and travel restrictions were imposed, and more. Over 26,000 people were arrested, most of whom were sent to “rehabilitation camps,” where detainees reportedly endured physical violence, degrading conditions, and were forced to take part in a training program to ensure allegiance to the ruling party.

In March 2017, while some of the restrictions were lifted, the state of emergency was extended for another four months.

The Need for an Independent Investigation

Hundreds, if not more, lost their lives to Ethiopia’s security forces during last year’s protests, causing international human rights experts and civil society organizations to call for an international investigation. The government has rejected these calls, claiming that the investigation should be led by national institutions.

An oral report from one internal investigation, provided by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in April 2017, concluded that nearly 670 people lost their lives in last year’s violence, over 600 of whom were civilians. The commission, however, went on to blame much of the violence on opposition groups, as well as diaspora-based media outlets such as the Oromo Media Network and the television station ESAT. Worse still, the commission deemed that the use of force by security officials in many instances was “proportionate.”

Several observers have challenged these findings and question the EHRC’s independence. The Commission is both funded and overseen by the parliament and is led by Dr. Addisu Gebregziabher, who took the appointment after finishing his term as deputy chairman of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia – the agency under which the current government won 100 percent of the seats in parliament in the last election.

A few weeks after the EHRC’s oral report was heard, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein traveled to Ethiopia where he met with numerous government officials, as well as political prisoners at the notorious Kilinto jail.

In a press conference, High Commissioner Zeid brought attention to several issues plaguing Ethiopia, including the need for more “substantive, stable and open democratic space.” Zeid also noted that laws such as the Anti-Terrorism and Charities of Societies Proclamations are not aligned with international legal norms. High Commissioner Zeid did not, however, corroborate the EHRC’s findings, as his delegation was not granted permission to travel to areas affected by recent protests. Calls for an international investigation thus remain.

“I am also concerned that an excessively broad definition of terrorism may be misused against journalists, bloggers, and members of opposition parties … if the fight against terrorism is misused as a pretext to attack perceived dissent, this only feeds grievance and will weaken the State.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, May 2017

Simmering Discontent

While the state of emergency may have taken Ethiopia out of the international spotlight, it has failed to address the issues that fueled protests.

Political dissent continues to be a criminal offense. For instance, in a “further blow to press freedom in the country,” the editor of the newspaper Negere Ethiopia, Getachew Shifteraw, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for “inciting subversion.” Yonatan Tesfaye – the former spokesperson for the opposition “Blue Party” – was found guilty of encouraging “terrorism” because of his Facebook posts and sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison. And indigenous land rights defender, Mr. Okello Akway Ochalla, is serving a nine-year sentence for speaking out about human rights abuses in his home region of Gambella.

Opposition party members likewise continue to be detained. Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) has been in jail since December 2015. The evidence used against Gerba includes a video in which he advocates for non-violent struggle. Merera Gudina, the chairman of the OFC, was arrested after returning from a trip to Brussels in November 2016, where he spoke to the European parliament about the current state of emergency.

The government’s second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) continues to advocate for foreign investment in large-scale commercial farming operations, which raises concerns about further land grabbing, forced displacement, and loss of livelihoods.

Unsurprisingly, given these circumstances, many expect that protests will resume once the emergency measures are lifted, with one Oromo-based judge calling the situation a “fire under ashes.”

International Complacency

At the same time, the international community has been complacent about ongoing crisis in Ethiopia. Sure, after the state of emergency was enacted, visits by some foreign dignitaries took place, including calls for democracy and fundamental freedoms. And yes, the EU recently passed a resolution on the situation in the country. But Ethiopia continues to be celebrated for its economic growth and enjoys extensive financial backing from Western and non-Western donors alike. This includes billions of dollars in multilateral and bilateral funding, as well as significant foreign investments from countries like India and China.

While millions of Ethiopians continue to be denied basic human rights, this international support sends the message that the Ethiopian government can continue its crack down on democracy and people without consequences. International complacency towards the regime may well stem from concerns around maintaining stability in an unstable region. But this short-sighted approach ignores the fact that continued repression could lead to more loss of lives and a region spiralling out of control.

Human Rights League: Ethiopia: The Charade of Democracy, Rule of Law, and Justice in the Oromo Nation in Ethiopia June 27, 2017

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Ethiopia: The Charade of Democracy, Rule of Law, and Justice in the Oromo Nation In Ethiopia
__________________________________
The OPDO is primarily accountable for the human misery against the Oromo Nation
When the current Ethiopian government seized power in 1991, the suffering of nations and nationalities that had happened for over a century in Ethiopia hoped for its end, and freedom, justice, and equality under genuine democracy- as promised and put on paper by the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE)- would prevail.
The TGE’s “Transitional Period Chapter of Ethiopia, 1991” was a period of hopefulness, the beginning of a democratic and accountable system in which the people would be empowered and able to hold their leaders to account. The Transitional Period Chapter allowed all nations and nationalities have equal rights and be allowed to send their political organizations to take part in the transitional government’s parliament.
However, following the broad and multi dimensional promises declared in the Transitional Period Chapter, hopes of progressing along a reformist democratic path appear to be slipping back and promises have receded.
Members and supporters of political organizations assumed in the TGE including members and supporters of Oromo political organizations have been taken to prisons, killed, abducted and human rights violations have become rampant all over Oromia under the so called “Peaceful and Democratic Transitional Government of Ethiopia”
a new democratic system of Ethiopia.
At the beginning of 1992, genuine Oromo political organizations which had been part of the formation of the so-called Peaceful and Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) have been forced to leave the TGE without preconditions. As the genuine Oromo political organizations left the TGE, their members and supporters have been targeted and many have been killed, abducted, and forcefully disappeared and other thousands have been arrested by TPLF militias using the surrogate organization OPDO as a finger pointing to their fellow Oromos.
The Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) formed the surrogate Oromo Organization in 1991 when they realized that the military government was failing to use them to penetrate into Oromia (south) from their homeland Tigray (North). The OPDO was created and programmed to serve its master (TPLF) by a remote operation. Over time, the TPLF leaders have strengthened their hold on power, entrenched themselves and built up enough confidence in walk freely into the invaded nations and nationalities’ territories. In doing this, the TPLF showed to the world community that peace and justice had been secured in all corners of the country. Western states, including the UK & US governments who were the leading supporters of the TPLF, backed it to silence citizens who demanded peace and equality in the country.
The TPLF led TGE have been able to play on Western funding governments and organizations’ security concerns in the Horn of Africa, especially as the civil war in the neighboring country Somalia became a threat to the security of the Horn of Africa Region.
After The US Embassies bombing on August 7, 1998 in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania,
( make it “ US Embassy’s” in the link) and the September 11, 2001, Terrorist attack on the New York World Trade Center Towers, the “War on Terror” and fear of instability became greater drivers of Western policy than encouraging the rule of law and democratic freedoms around the Horn. The EPRDF government claimed that it is the strongest military force in the region and continued, as a result, to garner substantial budgetary and military support especially from the US government.
The financial aid the EPRDF collected from the Western states, including big financial support from the US government, enabled it to entrench power at home to dehumanize its citizens who tried to exercise their constitutional rights of assembly, free speech, and peaceful protests. The Oromo, the largest nation in Ethiopia who could not detach itself from subjugation by its northern neighbor rulers for over 1.5 centuries, again became victims under the EPRDF regime.
As history repeated itself, the TPLF came to Oromia under the cover of the surrogate Oromo organization, the OPDO. This surrogate group, most of whose members were non-Oromos, opened the door to the TPLF militias who have killed thousands, abducted many, forcefully kidnapped and arrested millions of Oromos in the past twenty plus years.
The OPDO helped the TPLF not only to incarcerate Oromo nationalists, but also collaborated with the invaders in killing, abducting, and forcefully disappearing thousand of thousands of Oromos who demanded democracy and self-determination in the past twenty-six years, demands that turned into the Oromo social movement of 2015-2016. The Oromo nation’s social movement was the continuation of the Oromo youth revolt against subjugation (Qabsoo Didda Gabrummaa) was created in 2005.
The Oromo student movement against the regime was officially started in 2005 in Ambo town, West Shewa, in November 09, 2005 by students of the Ambo High School who staged a peaceful demonstration against inequality and injustice in Oromia. At least five students were reported killed, including students Jagama Badhane and Kabbada Badhassa, and a younger female student, and the police killed at least two more) at a protest rally in response to Jagama’s death.
The struggle of Oromo youth spread to all high schools, colleges and universities in Oromia and Oromo students expressed their grievances in different schools in different days with peaceful demonstrations, demanding non-discrimination at school, and the rights of free speech and assembly.
Since the Oromo youth revolt against subjugation was officially started, until the great Oromo social movement broke out in 2015, several high school, college and university Oromo students have been killed, incarcerated, and forcefully disappeared.
The inspiring news from Ginch town, the small town in the south-west Showa zone, and its courageous action and struggle for real democracy and respect for the rule of law and human rights attracted the attention of million Oromos to continue with their demands despite the fact that several students were killed during the students’ peaceful protest in 2014 all over Oromia Regional State schools and universities.
The Oromo nation’s peaceful demonstration started in 2015 and spread all over Oromia and received the attention of the world community and was reported widely. During the continued demonstration in Oromia between November 2015-Octber 2016, over 2000 Oromos have been killed, hundreds of thousands have been incarcerated and other thousands have been forcefully disappeared in different places at different times,.
The protests continued vigorously until the October 2, 2016 tragedy in which over 700 innocent Oromos in one day were massacred by the TPLF killing squads at the Oromo Irrecha festival /Oromo Thanksgiving day celebration. The Federal government of Ethiopia had demonstrated its cruelty against the Oromo nation by shooting into the crowds. The inhuman and terrorist acts of the government escalated the tension between the government and the protesting Oromos, government and government-linked properties were destroyed, and around 600 more Oromos were killed and others were taken to prisons including to military camps.
The government of Ethiopia was forced to declare a state of emergency to silence the Oromos’ anger; on October 8, 2016, a state of emergency was declared for six months.The six month state of emergency was used for more killings, imprisonments, raping and forceful abductions of Oromos from their homes or villages.
Irrecha Festival /Oromo Thanksgiving Day Massacre (October 2, 2016), The Unforgoten Day in Oromo History
For example, on November 6, 2016 at 5:00 am, three brothers- Marabu Jamalo, Abdissa Jamalo and Tola Jamalo- were killed in cold blood by the TPLF killing squad Agazi force in their home in Eastern Arsi Zone in Shirka district. Their father Mr. Jamalo Hussein said “my children have been killed by the fascist government killing squad, Agazi, not because they stole or did anything wrong, but only because they are Oromos”.
Hailu Ephrem , a sixteen- year old boy and Ibsa Runde, a seventeen year old boy were killed while playing in their area.They have been killed for no apparent reason- except perhaps that the psychopathic killing machines called Agazi have to kill Oromos to satisfy their masters’ orders. The mother of Hailu Ephrem, Mrs Tadelu Tamama, a mother from Dembidolo, Welega (Oromia region of Ethiopia) told VOA Afaan Oromo service radio “After the soldiers shot and killed my son in front of me “They told me to sit down on my dead son’s body”.
To continue with its crimes against humanity, the Ethiopian government extended the state of emergency for more four months until August 2017.
Due to this multi-phase reality of institutionalized violence and impunity in Ethiopia, the numbers of Oromos fleeing their homeland, (at least 100,000 per year) and trying to cross from neighboring countries into Europe are increasing from year to year. This has resulted in many drowning deaths in the Mediterranean and Gulf of Aden repeatedly.
Perpetuating Injustice Against the Oromo nation Under the Guise of Democracy
The Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO) is primarily accountable for the human miseries in Oromia in the past quarter century.
As history repeats itself behind the multi-generational reality of institutionalized acts of repression, killings, discrimination, and evictions from livelihoods committed against the Oromo nation, Oromo individuals and groups were/are the major role players collaborating with the invaders.
These Oromo groups who were created by non-Oromo political organization to collaborate with them are powerless and used simply as an instrument to harass supporters and members of independent political organizations, and nationals in Oromo community. The OPDO members repeatedly claim they are representing their people in one or another.
OPDO, the surrogate of the TPLF, claimed that it represented the Oromo nation from its first day of creation as a part of a multinational political organization, the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). However, in the past twenty-six years of federalism, the Oromo people have witnessed when the OPDO served the TPLF, acts of repression, torture and crime against the Oromo nationalists followed. In Oromia, the OPDO collaborated with TPLF securities to spy on the people.
The Federalist system in Ethiopia is a nominal designed system to influence the world community that Ethiopia is moving towards democracy and rule of law.
Both the Ethiopian Constitution of 1995 article 8 (1) and the Constitution of the Regional State of Oromia 1995 article 8 (a) declared simultaneously;
“ All sovereign power resides in the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia”,.
and “sovereign power in the Regional State of Oromia resides in the people of
Oromo Nation”
As the nations and nationalities in Ethiopia know, the nations and nationalities’ constitutional rights which have been enshirined in Federal and Regional States Constitutions were only meant for the political consumption for the Tigrian People Liberation Front (TPLF). In the past twenty- six years, all regional government and different department offices, including the regional administration head offices, have been controlled by the TPLF direct assigned members.
The OPDO, who are loudly voicing the sovereignty of their government under the guise of democracy, could not save the lives of thousands of Oromo from killings, abductions and forceful disappearances over the past twenty- six years.The domination of the TPLF in Oromia Regional state and their committing crimes against humanity in the Oromo nation in the past twenty six years could not make OPDO free from the atrocities committed in Oromia. The OPDO authorities have been collaborating with the TPLF security agents to assassinate Oromo nationalists, to dismantle Oromo independent political organizations, to disable Oromo independent institutions,and etc. OPDO officials from top to bottom in the past and present, Oromia members of parliament in the past and present are all primarily accountable for those who have been killed, disappeared, tortured, whose lands have been taken and whose families have been scattered – for all the miseries impacts the Oromo people have faced and are still facing.

Politics of Death: The map maker who finds the bodies in Ethiopia’s land battle June 22, 2017

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Politics of Death: The map maker who finds the bodies in Ethiopia’s land battle

 

By Sally Hayden, This Is Place,  20 June 2017

 

A man at a funeral holds up the portrait of Tesfu Tadese Biru, 32, a construction engineer who died during a stampede after police fired warning shots at an anti-government protest in Bishoftu during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Denkaka Kebele, Ethiopia, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo


Academic Endalk Chala has been mapping the deaths of men and women killed in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, since violence erupted in November 2015By Sally Hayden


LONDON, June 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It was late 2015 when Endalk Chala began documenting deaths in his home country of Ethiopia, scouring Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to piece together who had died and where.

Chala comes from Ginchi, a town 72 km (45 miles) from Addis Ababa where protests began in November 2015, initially over a government plan to allocate large swathes of farmland to the capital city for urban development.

The plan would have displaced thousands of Oromo farmers, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.

“There were reports that people were killed in the protests and no one was reporting about it. No one cared who these people are,” Chala told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

“The information was all over the internet, not well organised. I just wanted to give perspective.”

While the land re-allocation project was officially scrapped by authorities, protests and conflict reignited over the continued arrest and jailing of opposition demonstrators with full-scale protests over everything from Facebook to economics.

Several hundred protesters were killed in the 11 months to October 2016 when the government declared a state of emergency and shut down communications, including the internet.

More than 50 people died at a single demonstration that month, after a stampede was triggered by police use of teargas to disperse anti-government protesters at a religious festival.

Watch: the map-maker’s mission

Witnesses also reported security forces firing live rounds into crowds of protesters at multiple locations.

A government report presented to parliament in April acknowledged a death toll 669 people – 33 of them security personnel – although activists believe it could be much higher.

For the government shutting off the internet for periods all but ended online contact across Ethiopia, leaving it to the Ethiopian diasporas to pull together the facts.

DIASPORA’S DATABASE

Enter Chala, a PhD student in Oregon, the United States, who decided to log every death he could on an interactive map, inspired by a similar Palestinian project.

“I started to collect the information from the internet: Facebook, Twitter and blogs. And I started to contact the people who had put that information out,” he said.

Once word spread that Chala was collating the deaths, Ethiopian friends and activists began to send details, including photographs of those injured and killed. They contacted Chala via social media and instant messaging applications like Viber.

Chala learned that Ethiopians in rural areas were driving miles to put evidence of the killings online, but he still feared there were information black holes.

Click here to see map WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC IMAGES OF VIOLENCE AND DEATH 

In its report of 669 deaths presented to parliament, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission – which works for the government – blamed protesters for damaging land and property.

In the report, seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Commission said the disturbances had damaged public services, private property and government institutions. It also cited harm to investment and development infrastructure.

However the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, criticised the government for a lack of accountability and called for access to protest sites.

Neither the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission nor the Ethiopian government responded to requests for comment.

FACEBOOK LEADS TO JAIL

In a country where fear of reprisals is common place, it is easier for those living outside Ethiopia to speak out, said Felix Horne, Ethiopia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Any time victims of human rights abuses share information with outside groups, with journalists – either domestic or international – there’s often repercussions, quite often from local security officials,” he said.

Protesters run from tear gas being fired by police during Irreecha, the thanks giving festival of the Oromo people in Bishoftu town of Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri – RTSQE9N

Horne said Facebook was a key source of information in the early stages of the protests but this was quickly seized on by the government and security officials checked students’ phones.

Last month, an opposition politician was sentenced to 6-1/2 years in prison because of comments he wrote on Facebook.

Horne, whose organisation also attempted to document the deaths, agreed that numbers are important for accountability, but said a focus on the death toll alone can be de-humanising.

“We’ve talked to so many people who were shot by security forces. Many of them children. Many of them students. The numbers sort of dehumanises these individuals.”

COST OF FREE THINKING

Benta, a 29-year-old veterinarian and former government employee who took part in the protests, saw nine people shot.

Speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Kenya, his new home, he recalled how a soldier fired directly on a car in Aje town, West Arsi on Feb. 15 last year. Five people were shot, two died and three were wounded, he said.

Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa makes a gesture while crossing the finish line at the Rio Olympics to protest Ethiopia’s treatment of his ethnic group, the Oromo people on August 21, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Six months later, on Aug. 6, Benta was participating in another protest in Shashamane in the Oromia region, when he saw four people shot. He says he was detained and tortured for nearly two months and has now made a new life in Nairobi.

“If you’re expressing your freedom, you’ll be shot, and if you’re asking for your rights, you’ll be detained,” he said.

Chala said bullet wounds were the most common injuries visible on the photos that flooded in to him from Ethiopia and the brutality he witnessed has stayed with him.

“It really hit me very hard,” he said.

“People will forget. They’ll bottleneck their emotions and grievances and the government will just extend and buy some time, and there will be another bubble sometime in the future. That’s a vicious circle.”


This is part of our series The Politics of Death”, reporting a global wave of violence against communities fighting for their lands. To find out why, read the full story here.


 

Why EPRDF opted for a policy of Mutual self-annihilation on Addis Ababa? June 22, 2017

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Why EPRDF opted for a policy of Mutual self-annihilation on Addis Ababa ?
        By Dr Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni, Morning Star, 20  June 2017

In a tragedy akin to the Treaty of Wichale of May 2, 1889, the Ethiopian federal government is repudiating the self-governance rights of the Oromo people of themselves and their territory by trying to separate Addis Ababa from Oromia.
This is very problematic and evil by design which will undermine social harmony and peaceful coexistence among Ethiopians, and maybe even might lead to Ethiopia’s disintegration as a nation.
The issue is very simple for every living human being to understand. If Oromo lands where other Ethiopian ethnic groups settle in large number and live are snatched and taken away from the Oromo people under the pretext of Oromos have become minority in their own city or land or Oromos cannot govern other Ethiopian ethnic groups (which comes only out of the heart of a group who has extreme hatred and disrespect for the Oromo people), then, why on Earth will the Oromos allow for other ethnic groups to come and live among them in the first place?
This malicious and evil policy driven by shortsighted land grab agenda by few will force the Oromo people to adopt xenophobic attitude or not to allow anymore for other Ethiopian ethnic groups to live anywhere among the Oromo people. That is natural human instinct particularly when it is clear that the policy is not to live together with the Oromo people but to slowly take Oromo people’s land by eliminating the Oromo.
This is not nuclear science. All Ethiopians who really care about Ethiopia and harmony among Ethiopians should just close their eyes for a minute and think about it. It is a nightmarish situation. I don’t understand why EPRDF is doing this against the Oromo people and the Ethiopian people unless the intention is something evil and sinister.
I strongly advise EPRDF and the Ethiopian government to immediately restore the status of Addis Ababa as one of the Oromia cities under Oromia jurisdiction, and decide upon the special interest of the federal government in Addis Ababa.
Imagine what will happen if the same situation is contemplated on Gonder, Bahir Dar, Mekele or Awassa? Will the Amhara or Tigray people sit idle?
How long could the EPRDF continue disrespecting the Oromo people and for what end?! If the EPRDF as a group thinks the Oromo people will not assert their rights in their own country and on their own land? Then, the EPRDF has little understanding of the Oromo people and the Ethiopian history! I don’t know why this policy of mutual self-destruction become a top priority for the EPRDF when there are many other policy options available to it?

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


Defend the Oppressed Peoples in Ethiopia June 15, 2017

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Why this is important

CLICK HERE PLEASE SIGN ON TO STOP THE ATROCITIES AND GENOCIDE COMMITTED BY THE ETHIOPIAN STATE

LAND GRABBING IN ETHIOPIA & ABYSSINIA MUST STOP

WATCH !

The International Criminal Court (ICCt) announced on 15 September 2016 it will now hold corporate executives and governments legally responsible for environmental crimes. The court’s new focus on land grabbing and environmental destruction could help put a dent in corporate and governmentalimpunity. Politicians and corporate bosses who are chasing communities off their land and trashing the environment will find themselves standing trial in the Hague alongside war criminals and dictators. However, far‐sighted covers by USAmerican corporate investors through corporate fronts from e.g. India restrict the ICCt, since neither the USA nor India ‐ as other rogue states like Sudan or Israel ‐ are parties to the Rome Statute of the ICCt.
https://www.icc‐cpi.int/itemsDocuments/20160915_OTP‐Policy_Case‐Selection_Eng.pdf

Latest Updates:

01. Dec. 2016: 
Ethiopian forces from the command post of Ethiopia’s sweeping State Of Emergency command post detained leading Oromo ethnic group and government opposition figure Prof. Dr. Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), upon his arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport after returning from Brussels, where he testified at the EU parliament on the current situation in Ethiopia alongside with Prof. Berhanu Nega of Patriotic Ginbot 7 (G7), an armed freedom fighter group, and Rio Olympics marathon silver medallist ‐ athlete Feyisa Lellisa. Also four relatives of Prof. Merera were detained.

23. Nov. 2016:
Oromo asylum seeker and UNHCR registered refugee Yaazoo Kabbabaa ‐ the prominent leader of ‘Qeerro‘ (The Oromo youth group who is leading the protests in Ethiopia) ‐ was attacked in Cairo during the evening while he was returning home from visiting friends, by people described as Ethiopian state agents following him. During the incident Mr. Kabbabaa was injected in the neck with a toxic substance. Luckily he was rescued and brought to a hospital, where he regained consciousness in the meantime. It is, however, not yet clear if he will remain paralyzed. His medical bills are being covered by a campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/yaazoo‐kabbabaas‐medical‐fund . Please chip in! Ethiopian dissidents who fled the country live in constant fear from agents sent by the Addis regime after them.

* 14. Nov. 2016:
Oromo Leadership Convention was held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, November 11 ‐ 13
Oromo United and Steadfast to Continue Revolution Against TPLF Regime
http://www.oromorevolution.com/s/Press‐Release‐English.pdf

* 20. Oct. 2016:
As we predicted: The brutal regime felt empowered by Merkel’s visit and the promised millions of Euro for “police training” and “to try to quell the unrest”. In just the one week after her ill‐conceived visit almost 3,000 Oromo women and men were rounded up in different locations and thrown in jail. Reportedly Ethiopian agents were sent to neighbouring countries to hunt down dissidents. Ethiopian authorities admitted to Reuters on Thursday they had detained 1,645 people.

* 15. Oct. 2016: The Dictatorial Regime proclaims STATE OF EMERGENCY http://hornaffairs.com/en/2016/10/19/ethiopia‐directive‐execution‐state‐emergencyfull‐text/

* 11. Oct. 2016: German Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababawhere she was welcomed by the PM of the corrupt regime with military honours. Amid protests in Germany against the insensitive visit, Merkel offered millions of Euro in bilateral agreements, to train the police and mediation to try and quell the rising unrest in Ethiopia. Just two days prior to Merkel’s visit, the Ethiopian regime declared a six‐month state of emergency in order to undertake even more brutal measures to suppress popular protests.

* 02. Oct. 2016: 
At least 52 people directly killed by police action against protesters during Oromia religious festival of Irreechaa, the Oromo Thanksgiving, in Bishooftuu. Others died in the ensuing stampede. 175 dead bodies have been loaded and taken to Addis Ababa according to a police source. That’s in addition to over 120 at Bishoftu hospital. ECOTERRA Intl., Human Rights Watch and the UN called for an independent investigation.

* 01. Oct. 2016: ECOTERRA Intl. demands the immediate and unconditional release of illegally arrested Ethiopian scientist and blogger Seyoum Teshome. Police arrested the prominent writer and commentator Teshome today, who writes for http://www.Ethiothinkthank.com and lectures at Ambo University.

* 16. June 2016: Ethiopian security forces killed at least 500 people in the recent wave of anti‐government demonstrations, US‐based Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in its most comprehensive report into the Oromo protests.
https://tinyurl.com/j7nanmr
Even government officials admitted that over 170 Oromo protesters were killed.

Meanwhile the atrocities against the Mursi and other aboriginal nations of Ethiopia continue unabated.

Foreign investments through the present Ethiopian governance are unethical and taxpayers all over the world must ensure that their governments, who are state‐sponsors or donors to the Ethiopian governance, stop immediately any support until these crimes against humanity end.

Land Grabbing is the purchase and lease of vast tracts of land from poor, developing countries by wealthier nations and international private investors. It has led to unprecedented misery especially in Africa, South‐America and India.African Food Security is in jeopardy and lands half the size of Europe have already been grabbed.

The Ethiopian government has forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of indigenous people from their ancestral lands. It has rendered formerly sustainably living small‐scale farmers and pastoral communities dependent on food aid, which is paid for by the taxpayers and well‐wishers from donor countries, while the profits of these industrial agriculture‐, oil‐ and gas‐ventures go into the pockets of private investors and corrupt officials.

THIS MUST STOP

The recently enacted Kampala Convention ‐ an Africa‐wide treaty and the world’s first that protects people displaced within their own countries by violence, natural disasters or large‐scale development projects ‐ is violated blatantly and with impunity by Ethiopia.

PLEASE SIGN ON
URGE THE AFRICAN UNION AND THE ETHIOPIAN GOVERNANCE TO STOP THE ETHIOPIAN ATROCITIES AND GENOCIDE

The African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa must be enforced!

Read more:
Indian investors are forcing Ethiopians off their land
By John Vidal (TheGuardian)

Thousands of Ethiopians are being relocated or have already fled as their land is sold off to foreign investors without their consent

Ethiopia’s leasing of 600,000 hectares (1.5m acres) of prime farmland to Indian companies has led to intimidation, repression, detentions, rapes, beatings, environmental destruction, and the imprisonment of journalists and political objectors, according to a new report.

Research by the US‐based Oakland Institute suggests many thousands of Ethiopians are in the process of being relocated or have fled to neighbouring countries after their traditional land has been handed to foreign investors without their consent. The situation is likely to deteriorate further as companies start to gear up their operations and the government pursues plans to lease as much as 15% of the land in some regions, says Oakland.

In a flurry of new reports about global “land grabbing” this week, Oxfam said on Thursday that investors were deliberately targeting the weakest‐governed countries to buy cheap land. The 23 least‐developed countries of the world account for more than half the thousands of recorded deals completed between 2000 and 2011, it said. Deals involving approximately 200m ha of land are believed to have been negotiated, mostly to the advantage of speculators and often to the detriment of communities, in the past few years.

In what is thought to be one of the first “south‐south” demonstrations of concern over land deals, this week Ethiopian activists came to Delhi to urge Indian investors and corporations to stop buying land and to actively prevent human rights abuses being committed by the Ethiopian authorities.

“The Indian government and corporations cannot hide behind the Ethiopian government, which is clearly in violation of human rights laws,” said Anuradha Mittal, director of the Oakland Institute. “Foreign investors must conduct impact assessments to avoid the adverse impacts of their activities.”

Ethiopian activists based in UK and Canada warned Indian investors that their money was at risk. “Foreign investors cannot close their eyes. When people are pushed to the edge they will fight back. No group knows this better than the Indians”, said Obang Metho, head of grassroots social justice movement Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE), which claims 130,000 supporters in Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Speaking in Delhi, Metho said: “Working with African dictators who are stealing from the people is risky, unsustainable and wrong. We welcome Indian investment but not [this] daylight robbery. These companies should be accountable under Indian law.”

Nyikaw Ochalla, director of the London‐based Anywaa Survival Organisation, said: “People are being turned into day labourers doing backbreaking work while living in extreme poverty. The government’s plans … depend on tactics of displacement, increased food insecurity, destitution and destruction of the environment.”

Ochall, who said he was in daily direct contact with communities affected by “land grabbing” across Ethiopia, said the relocations would only add to hunger and conflict.

“Communities that have survived by fishing and moving to higher ground to grow maize are being relocated and say they are now becoming dependent on government for food aid. They are saying they will never leave and that the government will have to kill them. I call on the Indian authorities and the public to stop this pillage.”

Karuturi Global, the Indian farm conglomerate and one of the world’s largest rose growers, which has leased 350,000 ha in Gambella province to grow palm oil, cereals maize and biofuel crops for under $1.10 per hectare per year, declined to comment. A spokesman said: “This has nothing to do with us.”

Ethiopia has leased an area the size of France to foreign investors since 2008. Of this, 600,000 ha has been handed on 99‐year leases to 10 large Indian companies. Many smaller companies are believed to have also taken long leases. Indian companies are said to be investing about $5bn in Ethiopian farmland, but little is expected to benefit Ethiopia directly. According to Oakland, the companies have been handed generous tax breaks and incentives as well as some of the cheapest land in the world.

The Ethiopian government defended its policies. “Ethiopia needs to develop to fight poverty, increase food supplies and improve livelihoods and is doing so in a sustainable way,” said a spokeswoman for the government in London. She pointed out that 45% of Ethiopia’s 1.14m sq km of land is arable and only 15% is in use.

The phenomenon of Indian companies “grabbing” land in Africa is an extension of what has happened in the last 30 years in India itself, said Ashish Kothari, author of a new book on the growing reach of Indian businesses.

“In recent years the country has seen a massive transfer of land and natural resources from the rural poor to the wealthy. Around 60 million people have been displaced in India by large scale industrial developments. Around 40% of the people affected have been indigenous peoples,” he said.

These include dams, mines, tourist developments, ports, steel plants and massive irrigation schemes.

According to Oakland, the Ethiopian “land rush” is part of a global phenomenon that has seen around 200m ha of land leased or sold to foreign investors in the past three years.

The sales in Africa, Latin America and Asia have been led by farm conglomerates, but are backed by western hedge and pension funds, speculators and universities. Many Middle East governments have backed them with loans and guarantees.

Barbara Stocking, the chief executive of Oxfam, which is holding a day of action against land grabs on Thursday, called on the World Bank to temporarily freeze all land investments in large scale agriculture to ensure its policies did not encourage land grabs.

“Poor governance allows investors to secure land quickly and cheaply for profit. Investors seem to be cherry‐picking countries with weak rules and regulations because they are easy targets. This can spell disaster for communities if these deals result in their homes and livelihoods being grabbed.”
While DFID, GIZ etc. failed and fail to act on Human Rights violations ‐ see also: http://www.anywaasurvival.org

‐ and please note that many believe the Indian companies act simply as straw‐men for USAmerican land‐grabbing interests Incl. AGRA and Monsanto), who are competing now with similar Chinese interests in Africa.

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

In the harsh Ogaden region of Eastern Ethiopia, impoverished ethnic people are being murdered and tortured, raped, persecuted and displaced by government paramilitary forces. Illegal actions carried out with the knowledge and tacit support of donor countries, seemingly content to turn a blind eye to war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by their brutal, repressive ally in the region; and a deaf ear to the pain and suffering of the Ogaden Somali people.

read: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/08/ethiopian‐annihilation‐of‐the‐ogaden‐people/

Meanwhile the Ethiopian GIBE III dam project is devastating the lives of remote southern Ethiopian ethnicities. Pastoralists living in the Omo valley are being forcibly relocated, imprisoned and killed due to the ongoing building of a massive dam that shall turn the region into a major centre for commercial farming ‐ mostly by foreign ventures. War is in the making.

see also: http://www.genocidewatch.org/ethiopia.html

Since mid‐November 2015, large‐scale protests have again swept through Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region, and the response from security forces has again been brutal. They have killed countless students and farmers, and arrested opposition politicians and countless others.

Since then Ethiopia has been shaken by a global wave of anti‐government protests over the controversial “Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oromia_Special_Zone_Surrounding_Finfinne , which is just another form of grabbing land from the Oromo people. The regime had insisted on escalating its violations of human rights through the implementation of this very dangerous policy of land grabbing in Oromia. While the Oromo people were peacefully protesting against the unfair land use policy at least over 180 innocent Oromo civilians were killed in the three months from mid November 2015 to mid January 2016.
After two months of global protests, the Ethiopian government finally announced the cancellation of this development plan https://www.oromiamedia.org/tag/finfinne‐master‐plan/ for Addis Ababa (Finfinne) http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/IPeoples/WG/IGFM1‐oromo‐4b.doc and its expansion into neighbouring Oromia state. But the problem hasn’t gone away.

In violation of the EU resolution and despite international pressure, reports are confirming now that the regime’s loyal armed forces continue to attack the civilian population in many parts of Oromia. Though these violations of civil rights during the process of land grabbing have reached a new climax, the capacity of human rights organizations to access data of extra‐judicial killings and disappearances in the region is at an unprecedented low.

There is a war of ethnic cleansing officially declared against the Oromo people and implemented across Oromia. Though it has been difficult even to keep up with reports of the death toll some confirmed records are now showing that more than 400 civilians have been killed as of 19. February 2016. 

This rein of state terror must end!

‐ see also the previous HRW report https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/01/22/ethiopias‐invisible‐crisis

On January 12, 2016 the Ethiopian government announced it was cancelling the master plan, but that hasn’t stopped the protests and the resultant crackdown. Although the protest was initially about the potential for displacement, it has become about so much more. Despite being the biggest ethnic group in Ethiopia, the Oromos have often felt marginalized by successive governments and feel unable to voice their concerns over injust government policy. Oromos who express dissent are often arrested and tortured or otherwise mistreated in detention, accused of belonging to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a group that has long been mostly inactive and that the government designated a terrorist organization. The government is doing all it can to make sure that the news of these protests doesn’t circulate within the country or reach the rest of the world. Of recent the Ethiopian Government has even resorted to use their Cyber‐crime Act to treat bloggers as terrorists. Ethiopia’s allies, including governments in the region and the African Union, have largely stood by as Ethiopia has steadily strangled the ability of ordinary Ethiopians to access information and peacefully express their views, whether in print or in public demonstrations. But they should be worried about what is happening in Oromia right now, as Ethiopia — Africa’s second most‐populous country and a key security ally of the US — grapples with this escalating crisis.

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Sons and Daughters
By Maya Angelou

If my luck is bad 
And his aim is straight 
I will leave my life 
On the killing field 
You can see me die 
On the nightly news 
As you settle down 
To your evening meal.

But you’ll turn your back 
As you often do 
Yet I am your sons 
And your daughters too. 

In the city streets 
Where the neon lights 
Turn my skin from black 
To electric blue 
My hope soaks red 
On the pavement’s 
gray 
And my dreams die hard 
For my life is through. 

But you’ll turn your back 
As you often do 
Yet I am your sons 
And your daughters too. 

In the little towns 
Of this mighty land 
Where you close your eyes 
To my crying need 
I strike out wild 
And my brother falls 
Turn on your news 
You can watch us bleed.

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

ECOTERRA Intl.
SURVIVAL & FREEDOM for PEOPLE & NATURE
join the phalanx directly: africanode[at]ecoterra.net
fPcN ‐ interCultural (friends of Peoples close to Nature) e‐mail: collective[at]fpcn‐global.org


GPI 2017: Peacefulness in Africa deteriorates to worst level in almost a decade. Ethiopia suffered the biggest deterioration (both within SSA and globally) June 14, 2017

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More than half of all countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) saw their level of peacefulness deteriorate in 2017. Out of the five countries with the largest deteriorations worldwide, four were in SSA.

SSA’s level of peacefulness, as measured by the 2017 Global Peace Index (GPI) regional score, deteriorated to its worst level since 2008. Although the region recorded notable annual improvements between 2011 and 2013, SSA’s GPI score has been consecutively worsening for the past four years, albeit by different magnitudes.

 Despite the fact that the trend for the safety & security and ongoing conflict GPI domains has been improving since 2008, the deterioration in the overall score since this reference year has been driven by a worsening trend in the militarisation domain. The reason behind this becomes clear when we disaggregate these domains by their respective GPI indicators; with access to small arms, military expenditure and UN peacekeeping funding being the ones that deteriorated the most since 2008. Political Terror is another indicator that deteriorated significantly during this time. Notable improvements were however recorded in the indicators for political instability and the deaths from conflict, although the indicator for intensity of conflict has been worsening since 2013.
Ethiopia suffered the biggest deterioration (both within SSA and globally). This was reflected in a sharp worsening of the indicators measuring internal peace levels, leading Ethiopia to suffer a 16 rank deterioration: falling from 118th to 134th.  Read more at: Vision of Humanity: Peacefulness in Africa deteriorates to worst level in almost a decade

Human Right Council Ethiopia Releases Report On Rights Abuses Committed Under Current State Of Emergency June 13, 2017

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Human Rights Council (HRCO) Ethiopia, a non-profit, non-governmental organization, has released 49 pages of report detailing widespread human right abuses committed by the security under the current State of Emergency, first declared on Oct. 08, 2016, and extended by four more months in March 2017.

In the report, which was originally published on May 29th, but was largely unseen due to the week-long nationwide internet blackout, HRCO documented details of abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and imprisonment committed in 18 Zones and 42 Woredas of three regional states: Oromia, Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) states as well as abuses committed in ten different Kifle Ketemas(administrative unites) in the capital Addis Abeba.

The detailed accounts of the report covered the months between October 2016 and May 2017 – of which HRCO said it held field assessments between October 2016 and February 2017.  Accordingly, HRCO published names, background information as well the circumstances of extrajudicial killings of 19 people in various places. Fifteen of those were from the Oromia regional state, the epicenter of the year-long antigovernment protests, while three were from SNNPR and one was from the Amhara regional state. The account of the 19 killed included the Oct. 10, 2016 gruesome killing by security officials of Abdisa Jemal and two of his brothers,  Merhabu Jemal and Tolla Jemal, in east Arsi Zone, Shirka Woreda, Gobesa 01 Kebele, some 270km south east of the capital Addis Abeba.

HRCO also documented the detention of 8,778 individuals from Oromia regional state followed by 5, 769 people from SNNPR, 640 from Amhara, 411 from the capital Addis Abeba and one from the Afar regional state. A total of 6, 926 individuals were also detained from unspecified locations, bringing the total number of people detained in the wake of the state of emergency to 22, 525. It also criticized the inhuman conditions faced by detainees in many of the detention camps.

Out of the 22, 525 people, 13, 260 were detained in several facilities including military camps, colleges and city administration halls located in Oromia regional state, while 5, 764 of them were detained in Amhara regional state; 2, 355 were detained in Afar and 430 were detained in the capital Addis Abeba. This list includes list of names such as journalist Elias Gebru and opposition politician Daniel Shibeshi, who have recently been charged after months of detention. HRCO also said 110 people were held at unknown locations.

HRCO’s report came a little over one month after the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, (EHRC), a government body tasked to investigate recent anti-government protests that rocked Ethiopia, admitted in April that a total of 669 Ethiopians were killed during the 2016 widespread anti-government protests. EHRC’s report, however, has not been released to the wider public, yet.

According to the government’s own account more than 26 thousand Ethiopians were detained in various places including military camps. This number is including those who were detained prior to the state of emergency. More than 20 thousand have since been released but about 5,000 are currently facing trials in various places.

Owing to Ethiopia’s outright refusal to accept outside independent investigation, including from the UN Human Rights Commission, ERCO’s report stands as the only independent investigation into widespread state violence in Ethiopia. AS

The Foreign Desk: Horn of Africa: a country in a state of emergency: Ethiopia. Protests have put the government under pressure and hundreds have been killed. So what’s next? June 3, 2017

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New World Health Organization Director Accused Of “Genocide” In Ethiopia. #OromoProtests June 3, 2017

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New World Health Organization Director Accused Of “Genocide” In Ethiopia.



Find out why some Ethiopians are not pleased with the new Director-General of World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.


The Hill: Ethiopia at tipping point as Congress mulls human rights bill May 30, 2017

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Ethiopia at tipping point as Congress mulls human rights bill

Ethiopia at tipping point as Congress mulls human rights bill

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Ethiopia has been under a state of emergency decree since October 2016. That decree imposes “draconian restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly that go far beyond what is permissible under international law.” There has been a significant deterioration in human rights violations in Ethiopia over the past decade.

For over a decade, Representatives Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) and the late Donald Payne (D-N.J.) toiled tirelessly to pass a bill promoting democracy and human rights accountability in Ethiopia. In 2007, HR 2003, co-sponsored by 85 members, passed the House.

That bill sought to promote human rights, democracy, judicial independence, press freedom and counterterrorism cooperation; and it strongly urged release of all political prisoners. The bill died in the Senate, supposedly due to a hold placed by Sen. James Inhofe(R-Okla.).

In February, Representative Smith introduced H.Res. 128  to “support respect for human rights and encourage inclusive governance” in Ethiopia. Last Week, Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced S.Res. 168, co-sponsored by 14 senators, which mirrors the House version.

In a statement, Cardin cautioned “partnering with the Ethiopian government on counterterrorism does not mean that we will stay silent when it abuses its own people.” Rubio underscored the “critical” need for the U.S. to remain “vocal in condemning Ethiopia’s human rights abuses against its own people.”

During the March 9 hearing on the H.Res. 128, Smith stated  that there are “at least 10,000 political prisoners” in the country. He condemned the arbitrary imprisonment of opposition party leaders, criminalization of journalism under an “antiterrorism law” and the absence of the rule of law and “lack of due process in Ethiopian courts”.

Ranking member Karen Bass (D-Calif.) also underscored the “steady assault on the human and civil rights of citizens” and the deprivation of the “right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression” in Ethiopia.

In its 2017 report on Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented the large-scale “crack-down” by “Ethiopian security forces” against “largely peaceful demonstrations, killing more than 500 people.”  HRW also documented that, “Security forces arrested tens of thousands of students, teachers, opposition politicians, health workers, and those who sheltered or assisted fleeing protesters.” HRW’s findings are corroborated by the U.S. State Department and Freedom House.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Ethiopia ranked fourth on is 2015 list of the 10 Most Censored Countries and is the fifth-worst jailer of journalists worldwide. In May 2010, the ruling regime in Ethiopia claimed to have won 99.6 percent of the parliamentary seats. In 2015, it claimed 100 percent of the seats.

The ruling regime in Ethiopia has refused all requests for an independent human rights inquiry by U.N. special rapporteurs. Similar calls by the European parliament, the African Commission and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights have fallen on deaf ears.

Despite a history of massive human rights violations, the Obama administration has provided unwavering political and financial support to the ruling regime in Ethiopia. When Obama visited Ethiopia in July 2015, he anointed that regime, which claimed to have won all parliamentary seats, “democratically elected.” Between 2010-16, the U.S. has provided well over $5 billion to Ethiopia, making it the second-largest recipient of U.S. aid in Africa.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a speech to State Department employees announced  that, “Guiding all of our foreign policy actions are our fundamental values: our values around freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated.”

In a speech of 6,511 words, Tillerson devoted a stunning 1,057 words to talk about American values and their role in guiding the future of American foreign policy. Tillerson declared the way “we represent our values” is “by conditioning our policy engagements on people adopting certain actions as to how they treat people”.

Human rights represent the rock-solid foundation of the American Republic as eloquently proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and implemented in the Bill of Rights. Without Eleanor Roosevelt, there would have been no Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

President Jimmy Carter rightly affirmed  in his farewell address that, “America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, it is the other way round. Human rights invented America.” In a 2012 N.Y. Times op-ed, Carter wondered if the U.S. had abdicated its moral leadership in the arena of international human rights.

The pending human rights bill is judiciously crafted to help advance human rights protections, promote democratic shared governance and institutionalize accountability and transparency in Ethiopia by improving oversight and monitoring of U.S. assistance. Congress should pass it.

There a quiet riot, if not a creeping civil war, taking place in Ethiopia today. The massive uprisings and resistance in the Oromiya and Amhara regions of the country over the past year and the militarized response backed by an emergency decree is merely one indication of the downward spiral into a vortex of civil strife compounded by muted ethnic hatred and hankering for revenge.

There are deep grievances against the ruling regime than cannot be papered over by an emergency decree. With claims of 100 percent election victory, the regime suffers from a serious legitimacy deficit, which creates conditions for violent and nonviolent resistance. Ethiopia today is at a tipping point.

Passage of a human rights and inclusive governance bill will go a long way in staving off widespread internecine conflict in Ethiopia. By insisting on structural reforms, the bill creates the necessary conditions for peaceful political dialogue among contending groups and helps open political spaces for peaceful change.

For instance, the provisions in the bill demanding repeal of the draconian “anti-terrorism” and “civil society” laws could help open the political space for dialogue and negotiations. The alternative to passage of the human rights bill is for the U.S. to watch idly as the slow burning fuse inches closer to the Ethiopian powder keg.


Alemayehu (Al) Mariam is a professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino, with research interests in African law and human rights. He is a constitutional lawyer and senior editor of theInternational Journal of Ethiopian Studies.

 


Ethiopia’s Liyyu Police – Devils on Armored Vehicles May 28, 2017

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HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF IN THE HORN OF AFRICA: IS THE CRIME IN DARFUR BEING REPLICATED IN EASTERN AND SOUTHERN OROMIA REGIONAL STATE OF ETHIOPIA?


It is saddening to witness repetitions of similar tragic events in history. Recurrences of such dreadful events can even sound farcical when they happen in a very short span of both time and space. This is exactly what is currently happening in the Horn of Africa.  It is barely over a decade since the height of the Darfur genocide.  One would hope that the international community has been well informed to avoid repetition of Darfur like tragedy anywhere in the world.  However, it is depressing to observe that the Darfur crisis is in the process of being replicated in Ethiopia.

In this piece, I will explain how the scale of the crisis unfolding in Ethiopia’s Eastern and Southern regions (and those brewing up in other regions) can have a potential to dwarf the Darfur crisis.  The Janjaweed militia (in the case of Sudan) and the so-called Liyyu police (in the case of Ethiopia) are the catalysts for the crisis in their respective regions. For this reason, I will focus my analysis on explaining missions and functions of these two proxy militias.

Sudan’s Janjaweed – Devils on Horseback

In order to draw a parallel between the Darfur and Eastern Oromia, it would prove useful to recap the Janjaweed story.  Janjaweed literally means devils on horseback presumably because the Janjaweed often arrived riding horses while raiding and wreaking havoc in villages belonging to non-Arab ethnic groups. The origin of Janjaweed is rooted in a long established traditional conflict primarily over natural resources such as grazing rights and water control among the nomadic Arabized and the sedentary non-Arabized ethnic groups in Chad and Sudan. The Janjaweed militia were initially created as a pan-Arab Legion by the late Mohammed Gadafi in 1972 to tilt power balance in favor of the Arabized people of the region.  The key point to note here is that the origin of the Janjaweed as well as the conflict between Arabized and non-Arabized people in the region long predates the Darfur crisis which started in 2003.

The beginning of the Darfur crisis signified a confluence of the traditional conflict between ethnic groups with another strand of conflict in the region – the wider conflict between Sudanese national army and regional liberation movements, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army. The latter was still fighting to liberate what has now become South Sudan. In 2003, the government of Sudan encountered setbacks in its military operations against JEM and SPLA. In its desperate attempt to overcome failures in military front and also cover up for its planned ethnic cleansing in Darfur, the Al-Bashir government applied divide and rule tactic, thereby merging the two strands of the conflicts into one.  This was accomplished by organizing, training, arming and providing all necessary logistical support to the Janjaweed militia of the Arabized ethnic group in Darfur.  This was how Al-Bashir’s government has engineered ethnic cleansing and undertaken genocide in Darfur with a brutal efficiency, using the Janjaweed as a proxy militia group.  The number of people killed in Darfur was estimated to range between 178,000 to 462,000. Human rights groups have documented staggering number of rapes and mass evictions and destructions of livelihoods of millions of people in the region.

Ethiopia’s Liyyu Police – Devils on Armored Vehicles

“Liyyu” is an Amharic expression to mean “special”, so Liyyu police denotes a “special police”.  If the Janjaweed are devils on horseback, then Liyyu police can be described as demons maneuvering armored vehicles.  It is instructive to examine why, where, and when the regime in Addis Abeba has created Liyyu police.

The Liyyu police was created in 2008 in the Somali People’s Regional State of the ethnically constituted federal government of Ethiopia.  It is important to note that like any other regional state, the Somali Regional State (SRS henceforth) has a regular police force of its own.  But why was a special police required only for SRS?

The key point is to recognize that Liyyu police is nothing but only a variant of the usual proxy politics that has riddled Ethiopia’s political affair during the ruling EPRDF era.  This special force has no separate existence and no life of its own as such but it is just a proxy militia purposely created to cover up for human right abuses that was being perpetrated by Ethiopia’s National Defense Force (ENDF) but also planned to be intensified in its battles against the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

The armed wing of ONLF, the Ogaden National Liberation Army (ONLA), has been engaged in armed conflict with ENDF for many years. This conflict reached a turning point in April 2007, when the ONLA raided an oil field and killed 74 ENDF soldiers and nine Chinese engineers.  This was followed by frequent clashes between ONLA and ENDF. The conflicts have led to gross human rights violations in the region at a scale unheard before. In its report of early 2008, the Human Rights Watch accused the ENDF for committing summary executions, torture, and rape in Ogaden and has called for donors to take necessary measures to stop crimes against humanity.

In an article entitled “Talking Peace in the Ogaden: The search for an end to conflict in the Somali Regional State (SRS) in Ethiopia”, author Tobias Hagmann observes that the creation of Liyyu police is essentially “indigenization of confrontation”.  In other words, the government in Ethiopia established Liyyu police to create a façade that human rights violations in Ogaden and its neighboring regional state are “local conflicts”. This was done pretty much in similar fashion with Sudanese government that resorted to countering freedom fighters in Darfur through the Janjaweed militia.  However, unlike the Janjaweed which were already in place, the government in Ethiopia had to assemble the Liyyu police from scratch, applying doggy recruitment methods, including giving prisoners the choice between joining Liyyu police or remaining in jail. The founder and leader of Liyyu Police was none other than the current President of SRS, Abdi Mohammed Omar, known as “Abdi Illey”, who was security chief at the time.

The size of Liyyu militia is estimated to have grown considerably over the years, currently standing at approximately around 42,000. However, any debate over the size of Liyyu police is essentially a superfluous argument, given that there is a very blurred line between ENDF and Liyyu police.  After all, it requires an expert eye to distinguish between the military fatigues of the two groups. It has been proven time and again that ENDF soldiers often get engaged in military actions disguised as Liyyu police by simply changing their military uniform to that of Liyyu police. In fact, it is a misnomer to consider Liyyu police as a unit separately operating with different military command structure within the Ogaden region.  For all intent and purposes, if we ignore niceties, the Liyyu police is a battalion of Ethiopia’s army operating in the region.

Fomenting Inter-Ethnic Conflict

Liyyu police is a special force with a dual purpose.  The first purpose has already highlighted Liyyu as a camouflage for atrocities being committed by ENDF in the SRS, to relegate such atrocities to a “local affair”, as if it is internal conflict between Somalis themselves.

Liyyu’s second purpose is to aggravate the already existing traditional conflicts between Somalis and Oromos over pasture and water resources.  ONLA in Ogaden and Oromo Liberation Army, OLA (the military wing of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front – OLF) have frustrated the Ethiopian army for decades.  While OLA has had support all over Oromia, it has traditionally been most active in Eastern and Southern Oromia – Oromia’s districts bordering with the SRS.

Therefore, the EPRDF government realized that it could ride on existing traditional conflicts through a proxy militia to fight two liberation fronts. This was carbon copy of how things were done in Darfur, indicating how dictators learn from each other. Except that the EPRDF had to create Liyyu police from scratch, it acted in similar fashion with the way the Bashir government used the Janjaweed militia in Darfur.

Oromo and Somali herdsmen have traditionally clashed over grazing and water resources but such conflicts have always short-lived due to effective conflict resolution mechanisms practiced by local elders on both sides. These conflict resolution systems have evolved over centuries of peaceful coexistence between the two communities. The EPRDF government’s divide and rule strategy has long targeted to change this equilibrium, and exploit the existing conflict to its advantage.

Conflicts have traditionally arisen when herds arrived at water holes, leading to confrontations as to whose cattle get served first, essentially a conflict over “resource use”, rather than “resource ownership”. Conflicts flare up often among the youth but they were immediately put under control by the elders. Besides, each side are equally equipped with simple tools such as traditional sticks or simple ammunitions, so there has always been power equilibrium.  But the regime sought an effective means of aggravating these conflicts by transforming them in to a permanent one.

Such manipulation of the situation was done essentially in two ways.  First, supplying deadly modern military equipment, training and military logistics to Liyyu police, thereby destabilizing the existing power balance. Second, and critically, by changing the nature of the conflict from “use rights” to “ownership” of the resource itself.  The conflicts were engineered to be elevated from clashes between individual members of communities to that between Somali and Oromo people at a higher scale.

The seeds for conflicts were sown in the process of redrawing borders along adjacent districts of the Somali and Oromia regional states. In this process, the number of contested Kebeles, the lowest administrative units in Ethiopia, were made to suddenly proliferate.  Over a decade ago, the number of such contested kebeles already escalated to well over 400. In order to resolve disputes between the two regional states, a referendum was held in October 2004 in 420 kebeles along 12 districts or five zones of the Somali Region. The outcome of the referendum was that Oromia won 80% of the disputed kebeles and SRS won the remaining kebeles.  Critically, regardless of the outcome, severe damage was already done to durable good-will in community relationships due to purposeful manipulation of the process by the regime in Addis Abeba before, during and after the referendum.

Once the referendum results were known, all the dark forces bent on divide and rule needed to do was to nudge the Somalis to claim that the vote were rigged during the referendum and hence they should aim to get their territory back by other means, that is to say by force and the Liyyu police was created to do the job.

Since it came into existence, Liyyu’s operations have often overlapped but with varying degrees of intensities across its dual-purposes.  During its first phase, Liyyu police focused on operations within Somali region. These operations had much less to do with fighting ONLA but raiding villages and drying up popular support base of the ONLF, in the process committing gross human rights violations at a massive scale. Human rights organizations have widely documented arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial executions, rapes, tortures and ill-treatment of detainees in the region.

Over the years, however, Liyyu’s operations have increasingly focused on the second pillar of the proxy militia’s mission – cross border raids into Oromia.  However, Liyyu’s frequent raids into Oromia have not received enough attention from human rights organizations and hence atrocities committed by this proxy militia on Oromo communities over a decade or so has not been well documented.  The authorities in Addis Abeba, who have purposefully sown seeds of conflict to aggravate traditional clashes, have often deliberately misreported Liyyu Police raids as “the usual fights” between Oromo and Somali herdsmen but nothing could be further from the truth.

In a desperate attempt to gain popular support from the Somali people, the Liyyu police military adventures have been conducted in the name of regaining territory the SRS lost to Oromia during the referendum of 2004.  The evidence one could adduce for this is that every time Liyyu Police encroached into Oromia and occupied a village, they would immediately hoist the Somali flag as a sign of declaring that territorial gains.  The proxy militia has done so after attacking and killing large number of civilians and displacing thousands of households in numerous districts in Eastern Oromia: Qumbi, Mayu Mulluqe, Goohaa, Seelaa Jaajoo, Miinoo. Liyyu Police overrun the town of Moyale in Southern Oromia resulting in the death of dozens of people and forcing tens of thousands to flee to Kenya. It was reported that during an attack on Moyale town in Southern Oromia “the 4th army division [of ENDF] stationed just two miles outside the town center watched silently as the militia overrun the police station and ransacked the town. Then the militia was allowed safe passage to retreat after looting and burning the town while administrators of the Borana province who protested against the army complacency were thrown to jail.”

Alliances and Counter-Alliances

The Oromo Peaceful protests erupted on 12th November 2015 and then engulfed the nation, spreading to all corners of Oromia like a forest fire.  Oromo Protests ignited Amhara resistance, and then ended up with Oromo-Amhara alliance.  It became commonplace to see solidarity slogans on placards carried by protestors both in Amhara and Oromia. It should be noted that Oromo and Amhara population constitute well over two-third of Ethiopia’s population. It was historical acrimony and rivalry between these two dominant ethnic groups which provided a fertile ground for the divide and rule strategy so intensely practiced by the current regime which is dominated by the TPLF, the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front. The Tigre ethnic group account for less than 6% of Ethiopia’s population.

The Oromo-Amhara solidarity sent shock waves among the Tigrean ruling elites.  The Oromo Protest, Amhara Resistance and other popular protests elsewhere in Ethiopia exposed the fake nature of the coalition in the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front (EPRDF). It has always been an open secret that EPRDF essentially means TPLF (the Tigrean People Liberation Front). The remaining parties, especially the OPDO (Oromo People’s Democratic Party) was cobbled up in haste from prisoners of war when TPLF was approaching Addis Abeba to control power by ousting the military junta back in 1991. However, even the so-called OPDO – lately joined by the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) – felt empowered by the popular protests in their respective regions sending a clear sign that TPLF was about to be left naked with its garbs removed.

Now that the Tigreans realized that they cannot reply on dividing Oromo and Amhara any more, they resorted to another variant of divide and rule – fostering alliance between minorities to withstand the impending solidarity between the two majority ethnic groups. This strategic shift was elucidated by two most senior TPLF veterans, Abay Tsehaye and Seyoum Mesfin, in their two-part interview conducted (in Amharic) with the government affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation. The TPLF-dominated-EPRD’s new strategy was to present the Oromo-Amhara coalition as a threat to the minority ethnic groups, such as Tigre and Somali.  The regime has already experimented pitting minority against majority at different scales: Tigreans against the rest of Ethiopians at national scale, Somali against Oromo at regional scale, and many more similar fabricated divisions at regional and local levels in many communities across Ethiopia.  What is new is the fact that these two relatively separate strands are explicitly brought together and extensively implemented at national scale.

In addition to the interview cited above, one can adduce more evidences to illustrate the new machination by the Tigre and Somali political and security alliance.  For instance, there was an incidence in which Amhara popular uprising caused some ethnic Tigreans to get relocated from the Amhara regional state. What happened next raised eyebrows of many observers: Abdi Mohamoud Omar, SRS President who rules his people with iron fist, declared his cabinet’s endorsement to “donate 10 million birr for displaced innocent Ethiopian people [Tigreans] from Gondar & Bahir Dar cities of the Amhara regional state”.

Further evidence regarding the maneuvering of minority alliance with deadly intent comes from Aigaforum, a TPLF mouthpiece. In an article entitled “Liyyu Police: The Savior”, the website came up with the following jumbled up assertion: “they [Liyyu Police] are from the people and for the people of Somali region; to protect the honor and dignity of their own people and overall Security of the region, and Ethiopia at large. This special force has a mandate primarily to protect the people of [the] region, to secure and stabilize the aged conflict in Somali region of Ethiopia.  This Special force is not like a tribal militia from any specific clan or sub-clan in the region, rather they are holistic and governmental arms —who are well screened, registered and recruited from kebeles and woredas and trained [as per the] standards [of] Ethiopian military training package and armed with modern military equipment. Besides being regional state special forces; they are part and parcel of Ethiopian arm[y].”

In an overzealous effort to glorify the devilish proxy militia, aigaforum inadvertently exposes TPLF by admitting that actually Liyyu Police is part and parcel of the national army, a fact the TPLF politicians have never admitted in public.

Towards full-scale atrocity?

The alliance between Tigre elites and Abdi Mohammed Omar’s cabinet got manifested in the transformation of Liyyu police’s mission from sporadic military excursions to full scale invasion of Oromia. This started by deploying Liyyu police in Oromia to attack and disburse peaceful protestors. For instance, based on eye witness accounts Land-info reported that starting from January 2016 Liyu Police was being used against Oromo demonstrators in many locations, including in Dire Dawa and Bededo.

By the third quarter of 2016, popular protests did not only intensify but literally covered most parts of the country.  However, protests that were inherently peaceful were transformed into confrontations between the protestors and the security forces because the latter have already mowed down the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians during the previous months.  In a desperate attempt to hang onto power, the TPLF dominated regime enacted a State of Emergency (SoE) on October 8, 2016.

An essential component of the SoE is securitization of many regions and transport corridors in Ethiopia.   Particularly, Oromia, the birth place of the latest popular protest, was literally converted into a “high security prison” and Oromos were effectively “put under house arrest”.  Oromia’s regional government was made redundant, being replaced at all levels by Military Command Posts, a form of local and regional government by a committee of armed officers. This was exactly the way it has been for the most part of the previous two decades except that the SoE signaled a temporary move to direct control by the military, abandoning the all too familiar indirect controls through puppet civilian parties such as OPDO.

Soon after the SoE was enacted, Abdi Illey declared an all-out war and the Liyyu Police was unleashed on all fronts along the Oromia and SRS boundary, stretching over a total of close to 1200 km. According to information from the Oromia Regional State, the 14 districts affected in the latest wave of Liyyu Police invasion are: Qumbi, Cinaksan, Midhaga Tola, Gursum, Mayu Muluqe and Babile in East Hararghe; Bordode in West Hararghe; Dawe Sarar, Sawena, Mada Walabu and Rayitu in Bale; Gumi Eldelo and Liban in Guji; and Moyale in Borana.  It is highly significant to note that there is at least 500 km “as the-crow-flies” distance between Qumbi (extreme North East) and Moyale (extreme South West).  Therefore, the sheer number of districts affected, the physical distances between them, and the simultaneous attacks at all fronts indicate that Liyyu’s latest invasion of Oromia is a highly sophisticated and coordinated military adventure which can only be understood as planned by the TPLF-dominated regime’s military central command.

The SoE was enacted with explicit intention of laying information blackout all over Ethiopia, particularly in the highly securitized Oromia Regional State.   For this reason, it is difficult to obtain reliable estimates on victims of Liyyu’s invasion of Oromia.  Human Rights Watch (HRW) has been receiving reports that dozens of casualties have been, including many civilians in Oromia but “[R]estrictions on access have made it difficult to corroborate details.” Locals indicate that Liyyu police have so far killed large numbers of civilians.  Oromo civilians have given up with the hope of getting any meaningful protection from ENDF, given that by now it has become an open secret that the latter is complicit in the invasion.  Consequently, in a desperate act of survival, Oromos have organized a civilian defense force.  Based on incidents of confrontation between Liyyu Police and Oromo civilian defense force around 23rd February 2017 in Southern Oromia, the Human Rights League for Horn of Africa (HRLHA) reported about 500 people were killed, over 200 injured.  If so much destruction has happened in a few days and few districts, then it is possible to imagine that wanton destructions must have been happening during several months of Liyyu police’s occupation in all districts across the long stretch along the Oromia-Somali region boundaries.  Opride, an online media, reported: “Mothers and young girls have been gang raped, according to one Mayu resident, who spoke to OPride by phone. He said the attacking Liyu Police were fully armed and they moved about in armored vehicles brandishing machine guns and other heavy weapons. They stole cattle, goats, camels and other properties.”

Publicity and Accountability

When it comes to publicity and awareness, Darfur and Eastern Oromia can only be contrasted.  Although it did not lead to avoiding large-scale atrocities, the international community got involved in the case of Darfur at much early stage of the crisis.  On the contrary, it is well over a decade now since Abdi Illey’s Liyyu police began rampaging in Ogaden as well as Oromia but the international community has chosen to turn a blind eye to the regional crisis, which has gained momentum and now nearly getting out of control.

Perhaps the reason gross human rights violations by Liyyu Police has been ignored or tolerated by the international community lies in the fact that some donors have been directly implicated in financing and supporting the paramilitary group. For instance, the British Press has repeatedly accused DFID for wasting UK tax payer money on providing training to the Somali Liyyu Police.  Similarly, there are evidences to suggest that the notorious proxy militia has also been funded by the US government.  It is no wonder then that the UK, US, and the rest of the international community have ignored for so long the unruly Liyyu Police’s military adventures in Ogaden and Oromia.

Last week, the HRW released a report entitled Ethiopia: No Justice in Somali Region Killings. This report is timely in raising awareness of the general public as well as drawing the attention of authorities in the UK and the US, who are most directly implicated with financing the militia group.  However, I would hasten to add that what has been lacking is the political will to act and curb the activities of Liyuu police.  Starting from 2008 the HRW has released numerous similar reports but this did not stop the atrocities the paramilitary group is committing from escalating over the years.

The HRW’s report asserting that “Paramilitary Force Killed 21, Detained Dozens, in June 2016”, indicates that the report is anchored on an incident that happened in SRS about ten months ago.  Although the focus of the report was on the particular incident in SRS, it has also highlighted Liyyu Police’s latest atrocities in Oromia.  As indicated in the report, the SoE related movement restrictions means the HRW had to release the report on the incidence in SRS with ten months delay.  Clearly, HRW and other human rights organizations could not undertake any meaningful independent assessment on the damages caused by the latest invasion into Oromia.  The point here is that while HRW has been grabbling with conducting inquiries into a case in which dozens of people were killed or detained in SRS in mid-2016, Liyyu police has killed and abducted hundreds in Oromia since the start of 2017.

The TPLF dominated EPRDF regime in Addis Abeba has long started sowing the seeds of divide and rule strategy coupled with deliberate acts of fomenting conflicts between different communities.  The motivation is pretty clear –it is an act of survival, a minority rule can sustain itself only if it turned other ethnic groups against each other.  The case of Liyyu Police and its latest invasion of Oromia fits into that scheme.

If not addressed timely and decisively, Liyyu Police’s invasion of Oromia has a potential to turn into a full-blown atrocities that is likely to dwarf what happened in Darfur. Clearly, the tell-tale signs are already in place. Genocide Watch, the international alliance to end genocide, states that “Genocide is always organized, usually by the state, often using militias to provide deniability of state responsibility (the Janjaweed in Darfur.) Sometimes organization is informal (Hindu mobs led by local RSS militants) or decentralized (terrorist groups.) Special army units or militias are often trained and armed. Plans are made for genocidal killings.”

In Ethiopia, this situation on the ground is rapidly changing and it requires an urgent response from the international community.


 

Global Voices: Ethiopian Protester Sentenced to Six Years Behind Bars for Facebook Posts May 27, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Because I am Oromo.
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Ethiopian Protester Sentenced to Six Years Behind Bars for Facebook Posts

Yonatan Tesfaye. Photo shared on Twitter by Eyasped Tesfaye @eyasped

This week in Ethiopia, two prominent human rights advocates and critics of the ruling government were given long-term prison sentences for “incitement” on Facebook.

On May 25, Yonatan Tesfaye was sentenced to six years and three months in prison for “inciting” antigovernment protests in nine Facebook updates.

Breaking: fed court sentenced former oppos’n Blue party PR head to six years & 3 months in jail for terrorism

The 30-year-old activist has been an outspoken opponent of government’s violent response to the popular protest movement that has challenged Ethiopia’s ruling party and government since 2015. Yonatan had previously served as a press officer for the leading opposition Blue Party before resigning in 2015.

Yonatan was jailed for nine Facebook posts that expressed solidarity with the protesters, called for open dialogue and pleaded for an end to the violence.

The day before his sentencing, Yonatan’s former colleague Getachew Shiferaw, was found guilty of inciting violence for a private message he sent to colleagues through his Facebook messenger app. The former editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Negere Ethiopia, Getachew was sentenced to one year and six months in prison:

Breaking- court sentenced , editor-in-chief of Negere Ethiopia NP, to 1yr & half in jail, time he already served

The Facebook message that allegedly contained inciting content made reference to a heckling incident targeting late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at a 2012 symposium in Washington, D.C. In the message Getachew wrote, “since the political space in Ethiopia is closed heckling Ethiopian authorities on public events [sic] should be a standard practice.”

These cases are among many others of less well-known citizens who have spoken out against the regime’s violent targeting of protesters demanding protections for land rights and other fundamental freedoms. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 800 people have died at the hands of Ethiopian police, and thousands of political opponents have been imprisoned and tortured during the protests.

Facebook is a key tool for activists — and law enforcement

Facebook, along with other social media platforms, has had a central role in interactions between authorities and protesters. Ethiopian authorities have blamed social media for waves of protests that began in April 2014 and have continued ever since. In October 2016, Facebook was blocked in Ethiopia as part of the government’s state of emergency. But activists — and likely Ethiopian law enforcement — have continued to use the platform via VPN.

Although it is difficult to know the precise number of detainees, dozens of arrests appear to have been triggered by a person posting, liking or sharing a post on Facebook. Others have been arrested for communicating with diaspora-based activists through Facebook messages.

These cases have been compounded by an increasingly common practice in which Ethiopian authorities demand that detainees divulge their Facebook logins and passwords. In some cases, people have been arrested before being charged, forced to hand over their Facebook credentials, and then charged based on what authorities find in their accounts.

Police will arrest activists, force them to hand over their Facebook credentials, and then charge them based on what they find in their private message logs.

Getachew was charged with “inciting violence” after he was forced to give his username and password of his Facebook page. The private chat texts on his Facebook message were presented as evidence in his charge sheet.

Whatever the court decides, friends and family members of Yonatan and Getachew wanted the case to end. So, they would learn their fate, to take their fight to the next stage. But their case, like so many others court cases, had been delayed.

In Ethiopia, it is not uncommon for court cases involving bloggers journalists and politicians to take longer than other cases. This causes exhaustion for defendants and brings pain to their loved ones.

Yonatan and Getachew each spent 18 months in jail before they learned their fate. They were brought before the court at least a dozen times. Their private Facebook accounts were laid bare by authorities. Judges failed to appear in court, and police failed to bring defendants to court on their trial days, causing their cases to drag on for 18 months.

Facebook has been a critical platform for Ethiopian activists and rights advocates working to document and communicate human rights violations. This makes the experience of Yonatan and Getachew an especially chilling story for Ethiopians.

Bipartisan Resolution Calling on Ethiopia to Respect Human Rights, Open Democratic Space May 25, 2017

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) today introduced a Senate resolution condemning excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces that led to hundreds of deaths last year, and calling on the Ethiopian government to release all political opposition, dissidents, activists, and journalists and to respect the rights enshrined in its constitution.

“As the Ethiopian government continues to stall on making progress on human rights and democratic reform, it is critical that the United States remains vocal in condemning Ethiopia’s human rights abuses against its own people,” said Rubio, chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on human rights and civilian security. “I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to urge the Ethiopian government to respect the rule of law and prioritize human rights and political reforms.”

“The Ethiopian government must make progress on respecting human rights and democratic freedoms.  I am deeply troubled by the arrest and ongoing detention of a number of prominent opposition political figures.  The fact that we have partnered with the Ethiopian government on counterterrorism does not mean that we will stay silent when it abuses its own people,” said Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “On the contrary, our partnership means that we must speak out when innocent people are detained, and laws are used to stifle legitimate political dissent.”

The resolution notes that hundreds of people have been killed and thousands were arrested during the course of the protests in Ethiopia. To date, there has not been a credible accounting for security forces’ excesses.

Joining Rubio and Cardin as original cosponsors of the resolution are Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).


USA on Ethiopia, senate resolution

Wixineen Seeraa Haaraan Seenaateroonni US Dhiheessan Qaamota Lammiiwwan Itoophiyaa Irratti Dhiitaa Mirgaa Hamaa Geechisan Irra Qoqqobbin Akka Kaayamu Gaafata.


OMN: Oduu (Caamsaa 18, 2017)

 

HRC35: Addressing the pervasive human rights crisis in Ethiopia. May 25, 2017

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HRC35: Addressing the pervasive human rights crisis in Ethiopia

 


 

Your Excellency,

 

To Permanent Representatives of

Members and Observer States of the

UN Human Rights Council

Geneva, 25 May 2017

 

RE: Addressing the pervasive human rights crisis in Ethiopia

Your Excellency,

The undersigned civil society organisations write to draw your attention to persistent and grave violations of human rights in Ethiopia and the pressing need to support the establishment of an independent, impartial and international investigation into atrocities committed by security forces to suppress peaceful protests and independent dissent.

As the UN Human Rights Council (UN HRC) prepares to convene for its 35th session from 6 – 23 June 2017, we urge your delegation to prioritise and address through joint statements the ongoing human rights crisis in Ethiopia.

In the wake of unprecedented, mass protests that erupted in November 2015 in Oromia, Amhara, and the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples (SNNPR) regional states, Ethiopian authorities routinely responded to legitimate and largely peaceful expressions of dissent with excessive and unnecessary force. As a result, over 800 protesters have been killed, thousands of political activists, human rights defenders, journalists and protesters have been arrested, and in October 2016, the Ethiopian Government declared a six-month nationwide State of Emergency, that was extended for an additional four months on 30 March 2017 after some restrictions were lifted.

The State of Emergency directives give sweeping powers to a Command Post, which has been appointed by the House of People’s Representatives to enforce the decree, including the suspension of fundamental and non-derogable rights protected by the Ethiopian Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and other international human rights treaties to which Ethiopia is party. More information on the human rights violations occurring under the current State of Emergency is included in the Annex at the end of this letter.

Lack of independent investigations

Few effective avenues to pursue accountability for abuses exist in Ethiopia, given the lack of independence of the judiciary – the ruling EPRDF coalition and allied parties control all 547 seats in Parliament.

Ethiopia’s National Human Rights Commission, which has a mandate to investigate rights violations, concluded in its June 2016 oral report to Parliament that the lethal force used by security forces in Oromia was proportionate to the risk they faced from the protesters. The written Amharic version of the report was only recently made public, and there are long-standing concerns about the impartiality and research methodology of the Commission. On 18 April 2017, the Commission submitted its second oral report to Parliament on the protests, which found that 669 people were killed, including 63 members of the security forces, and concluded that security forces had taken “proportionate measures in most areas.”  Both reports are in stark contrast with the findings of other national and international organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions has rated the Commission as B, meaning the latter has failed to meet fully the Paris Principles.

Refusal to cooperate with regional and international mechanisms

In response to the recent crackdown, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has called for “access for independent observers to the country to assess the human rights situation”, and recently renewed his call for access to the country during a visit to the capital, Addis Ababa. Ethiopia’s government, however, has rejected the call, citing its own investigation conducted by its Commission. UN Special Procedures have also made similar calls.

In November 2016, the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights adopted a resolution calling for an international, independent, and impartial investigation into allegations of the use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force by security forces to disperse and suppress peaceful protests. Recent European parliament and US Congressional resolutions have also called for independent investigations. The Ethiopian embassy in Belgium dismissed the European Parliament’s resolution citing its own Commission’s investigations into the protests.

As a member of the UN HRC, Ethiopia has an obligation to “uphold the highest standards” of human rights, and “fully cooperate” with the Council and its mechanisms (GA Resolution 60/251, OP 9), yet there are outstanding requests for access from Special Procedures, including from the special rapporteurs on torture, freedom of opinion and expression, and peaceful assembly, among others.

Recommendations

During the upcoming 35th session of the UN HRC, we urge your delegation to make joint and individual statements reinforcing and building upon the expressions of concern by the High Commissioner, UN Special Procedures, and others.

Specifically, the undersigned organisations request your delegation to publicly urge Ethiopia to:

    1. urgently allow access to an international, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into all of the deaths resulting from alleged excessive use of force by the security forces, and other violations of human rights in the context of the protests;
    2. respond favourably to country visit requests by UN Special Procedures,
    3. immediately and unconditionally release journalists, human rights defenders, political opposition leaders and members as well as protesters arbitrarily detained during and in the aftermath of the protests;
    4. ensure that those responsible for human rights violations are prosecuted in proceedings which comply with international law and standards on fair trials; and
    5. fully comply with its international legal obligations and commitments including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and its own Constitution.

With assurances of our highest consideration,

Sincerely,

Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Civil Rights Defenders

DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)

Ethiopia Human Rights Project

Freedom House

Front Line Defenders

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Human Rights Watch

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

International Service for Human Rights

Reporters Without Borders

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

https://ahrethio.org/2017/05/25/hrc35-addressing-the-pervasive-human-rights-crisis-in-ethiopia/

 

ANNEX: BACKGROUND

A repressive legal framework

The legal framework in Ethiopia restricts the enjoyment of civil and political rights, and therefore the activity of the political opposition, civil society, and independent media in the country.

The Charities and Societies Proclamation (2009) caps foreign funding at 10% for non-governmental organisations working on human rights, good governance, justice, rule of law and conflict resolution. The law has decimated civil society and human rights activism in the country. Currently, a handful of independent human rights organisations continue to operate, but with great difficulty.

The Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (2009) has been used repeatedly to silence critical voices. Political opposition party leaders and members, people involved in public protests, religious freedom advocates and journalists have been arrested and charged under this law. Both laws are a matter of great concern and have been repeatedly raised in international forums, including at Ethiopia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2014.

Overarching restrictions under the State of Emergency

The State of Emergency directives restrict the organisation of political campaigns, demonstrations, and any communication that may cause “public disturbance.” It also bans communications with foreign governments and NGOs that may undermine ‘national sovereignty, constitutional order and security’, and the right to disseminate information through traditional and social media. Additionally, the Command Post was given sweeping powers to arbitrarily arrest and detain individuals without due process.

A few weeks before the State of Emergency was extended by an additional four months, the government announced it was lifting some of these restrictions, including the Command Post’s power to arbitrarily arrest people or conduct property searches without warrants, curfews, and certain restrictions regarding sharing of information online and offline.

Despite some improvements in internet access since mobile data services were restored throughout parts of the country on 2 December 2016, social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter remain inaccessible except through VPNs.

Mass arrests

Since the declaration of the State of Emergency, the Command Post announced that tens of thousands have been arbitrarily arrested and transported to different detention centers throughout the country. Most of the detainees were held for a period of around three months in Awash, Alage, Bir Sheleko, and Tolay police and military camps. In November 2016, authorities announced the release of 11,607 people who were detained under the State of Emergency following “rehabilitation training programs.” One month later, authorities announced they were releasing an additional 9,800 detainees.  Former detainees have reported being subjected to torture, harsh prison conditions, and other forms of ill treatment. In late March 2017, the Command Post announced through state media that 4,996 of the 26,130 people detained for allegedly taking part in protests would be brought to court.

Continued targeting of the political opposition, the media and civil society

According to the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, three of Ethiopia’s main opposition parties, the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ), Blue Party, and All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP) have claimed that a large number of their members were targeted by Command Post and arbitrarily arrested.

On 30 October 2016, Dr. Merera Gudina, a professor and prominent opposition leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress was arrested after his return from Brussels where he provided testimony on the current political crisis to some members of the European Parliament and described human rights violations being committed in Ethiopia. On 3 March 2017, prosecutors formally charged Dr. Merera with a bid to “dismantle or disrupt social, economic and political activity for political, religious and ideological aim […] under the guise of political party leadership”. Dr. Merera was also accused of meeting with an organisation designated as a terrorist group contravening restrictions contained in the State of Emergency directives.

Members of the Wolqait Identity Committee, including Colonel Demeqe Zewude, have also faced allegedly politically motivated criminal charges under the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Their attempted arrest sparked protests in the Amhara capital of Gondar in August 2016.

On 18 November 2016, journalists Elias Gebru and Ananiya Sori were arrested by security forces, according to the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia. Both were reportedly arrested in relation to their criticism of government policies and actions. Ananiya was released on 13 March 2017. At the time of writing, Elias is still being held in prison without due process of law.

On 6 April 2017, Ethiopia’s Supreme Court ruled that two bloggers from the Zone 9 collective previously acquitted of terrorism charge should be tried instead on charges of inciting violence through their writing. If convicted of the charge, Atnaf Berhane and Natnael Feleke would face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. The court also upheld the lower court’s acquittal of two other Zone 9 bloggers, Soleyana S Gebremichael and Abel Wabella.