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Defend the Oppressed Peoples in Ethiopia June 15, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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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


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UNPO: A report on human rights in Ethiopia, shedding light on the worrying situation of the Oromo and Ogadeni peoples. March 16, 2017

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Those living in the Ogaden and Oromia regions are most vulnerable to the State-sponsored persecution. Protests in Oromia were violently repressed by the government since they started in April 2014, and continue to be. “Jail Ogaden” holds thousands of prisoners of conscience in overcrowding conditions and unhygienic facilities. Rape is systematically used as a weapon by the government and local polices such as the Liyu Police, combined with other forms of torture. And those are just a handful of examples. UNPO Report, Human Rights in Ethiopia


UNPO Releases Report on Human Rights in Ethiopia

Photo courtesy of Andrew Heavens @Flickr

UNPO has released a report on human rights in Ethiopia, shedding light on the worrying situation of the Oromo and Ogadeni peoples. While international partners tend to hail Ethiopia as an African democratic role model and a beacon of stability and hope in an otherwise troubled region, the fundamental rights of the country’s unrepresented continue to be violated on a daily basis. With the support of major international donors such as the European Union, Addis Ababa increasingly prioritises strong economic growth, development and a high degree of enforced political stability at the expense of human rights and civil liberties.

Ethiopia’s economy has been growing steadily in recent years, boasting a small emerging middle class and receiving continuously-increasing foreign investment. The country is seen as a key ally by Western powers in the fight against terrorism and the regulation of international migration. Meanwhile, Ethiopia remains one of the world’s poorest countries, with a third of the population living in abject poverty and the country’s regime is also one of the African continent’s most authoritarian in character, cracking down mercilessly on those who voice dissent.

Those living in the Ogaden and Oromia regions are most vulnerable to the State-sponsored persecution. Protests in Oromia were violently repressed by the government since they started in April 2014, and continue to be. “Jail Ogaden” holds thousands of prisoners of conscience in overcrowding conditions and unhygienic facilities. Rape is systematically used as a weapon by the government and local polices such as the Liyu Police, combined with other forms of torture. And those are just a handful of examples.

As of March 2017, 300 people have died of hunger and cholera in the Ogaden region, because of the restrictions imposed by the Ethiopian government. Limitations on freedom of movement bars access to healthcare facilities and the trade embargo causes critical food shortages. UNPO calls on the international community to play its role in safeguarding human rights by putting an end to the financial flows fueling the Ethiopian State’s oppression and intimidation of the most vulnerable among its population.

To view and download the report, please click hereUNPO Report, Human Rights in Ethiopia

UNPO: Ogaden: Documentary Sheds Light on Ethiopia’s ‘Hidden Shame’ June 26, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooEthiopia's regime crimes in OgadenOgaden, Ethiopia's hidden shame

 

Ethiopia is often hailed as an African role model and a beacon of stability and hope in an otherwise troubled region. The developmental community is smitten by the country’s alleged progress in areas such as GDP growth, school attendance and provision of public healthcare. As British journalist and filmmaker Graham Peebles points out in his documentary, however, the reality for most of the people in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia is radically different from the sugar-coated image put forth by the Ethiopian government. Scores of Ogadenis flee their home region to escape state-sponsored violence and abuse, while the international community turns a blind eye to their plight.

 

Below is an article published by Dissident Voice:

Ethiopia is regularly cited as an African success story by donor nations; the economy is growing they cry, more children are attending school and health care is improving. Well GDP figures and millennium development statistics reveal only a tiny fraction of the corrupt and violent picture.

What development there is depends, the Oakland Institute relate, on “state force and the denial of human and civil rights”; the country remains 173rd out of 187 countries in the UN Human Development Index and around 40% of the population live below the extremely low poverty line of US-$1.25 a day, – the World Bank worldwide poverty line is $2 a day.

The ruling party, the EPRDF, uses violence and fear to suppress the people and governs in a highly centralised manner. Human rights are ignored and a methodology of murder, false imprisonment, torture and rape is followed.

The ethnic Somali population of the Ogaden, in the southeast part of the country, has been the victim of extreme government brutality since 1992. It is a familiar story of a region with a strong identity seeking autonomy from central government, and the regime denying them that democratic right.

In 2013 and again in 2014 I visited Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and met a number of people who had fled state persecution in the Ogaden. Men and women told of false imprisonment, murder and torture. All the women I spoke with relayed accounts of multiple rape, and sexual abuse; defected military men confessed to carrying out such appalling crimes.

We filmed the meetings and put together a short documentary, Ogaden: Ethiopia’s Hidden Shame. Most people have never heard of the region and know nothing of what is happening there.

The purpose of the film is to raise awareness, of what human rights groups describe as a genocidal campaign, and to put pressure on the primary donors – America, Britain and the European Union. Countries that collectively give around half of Ethiopia’s federal budget in various aid packages, and whose neglect and indifference amounts to complicity.

The film records the distressing stories of three extraordinary young women, Anab, Maryama and Fatuma.


http://unpo.org/article/19281

Ethiopian Army Wantonly Massacres 51 Civilians in Ogaden June 9, 2016

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Odaa OromooONLF

Namoonni 51 ol Ogaden keessattii wayyaaneen ajjesamuuni gabaafame. Kan ajjeefamani keessa baayyeen dubartoota fi daa’imman ta’uun beekame.


(ONLF, 8 June 2016) — The Ethiopian Army wantonly massacred 51 civilians in Jama’ Dubad village near Gashamo town on June 5, 2016. The army indiscriminately opened fire on unarmed civilians in the village centre,  shooting everybody in sight, not sparing women, children or the elderly. After the army started the massacre, many villagers run to the local mosque, hoping that they may be spared there. However, the Ethiopian army followed them there, shooting and killing them all. Then, the army torched the village,  destroying all property, food and the water supplies of the village.

Many wounded civilians who managed to run away to the fields, are scattered and hiding in the fields. Some of the villages and many children are still unaccounted for. In addition,  the Ethiopian army has abducted more than ten elders whose whereabouts are still unknown. The Ethiopian army has sent reinforcements and are currently occuppying  villages along the border. This is an indication that the army intends to commit more massacres in order to create fear and stem any reaction from the local communities.

Just two months ago, the Ethiopian army massacred civilians in Dhaacdheer and Gaxandhaale villages near Galadi town in Wardheer region, killing scores of civilians. In Febraury 2016, the Ethiopian army and the  Liyu Police militia destroyed Lababar village near Shilabo, killing more than 300 civilains and destroying the whole community in order to clear areas near the Jeexdin (Calub) Gas fields.  In  similar aggression the Ethiopian army killed many civilians near Bur-Ukur,  Ferfer, Beledwayne and Hudur areas at the end of last year.

After committing crimes intended to extinguish the spirit and the humanity in Ogaden, Oromia and  all communities in Ethiopia, the regime is now increasingly targeting other peoples along its borders and other neighbouring countries, specially those along the Somalia and Kenyan borders.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front categorically condemns the action of the Ethiopian regime and calls upon all peoples and parties in the Horn of Africa and the international community to condemn this heinous act  and come to the aid of the affected innocent civilians.

Issued by

Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)

UNPO: Getting United, Bold, Loud and Active Key to Uncover the Suffering of Minority Women and Misuse of EU Funds in Ethiopia. #Oromia. #Ogaden. #Africa February 6, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ogaden, Oromia, Oromo.
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O

Getting United, Bold, Loud and Active Key to Uncover the Suffering of Minority Women and Misuse of EU Funds in Ethiopia

On 4 February 2015, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) in cooperation with the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), hosted by Ana Gomes MEP (S&D) and Julie Ward MEP (S&D) at the European Parliament in Brussels, welcomed a number of international guests to speak about the serious issues facing minority groups in Ethiopia, particularly ethnic minority women. At the event titled ‘Minority Women’s Rights: An Ethiopian Inferno?’, participants spoke about the systematic persecution of Ogaden and Oromo ethnic groups in Ethiopia by the ruling regime; combining expert analysis and personal accounts to not only share views, but also help plot a course of action.

 

In his introduction UNPO Secretary General, Marino Busdachin, raised the hypocritical stance of the western world towards Ethiopian governance and the Ethiopian people – a theme that would run through the course of the discussions that followed. By outlining the huge amount of aid that Ethiopia receives – over $3 billion per year on average – Mr Busdachin questioned the motives of the European Union (EU). Aid constitutes over half of the total budget of the Ethiopian government (with the EU being the second largest single contributor), yet there is no transparency in the use of this aid and no safeguards or effective conditions attached to money in order to ensure its proper usage. To this end Mr Busdachin concluded by saying that the 15 May upcoming elections in Ethiopia are an opportunity for the EU to change its relationship with Ethiopia, encourage democratic opposition to the regime and wake up to its responsibilities outside of Europe.

 

Mr Busdachin then passed the floor to Julie Ward MEP who spoke of her political concerns surrounding the use of aid funds in the Ethiopian regime’s policy of systematic violence used against Ethiopian minorities, particularly women. Ms Ward said that the violence in Ethiopia is “causing a fractured society” and causing sections of this society to crumble like a house of cards. She said that the use of violence in any country makes minority women particularly vulnerable as the combination of deeply rooted discrimination and use of physical force in a socio-political mean that minority women lose their power to influence and improve society. Like Mr Busdachin before her, she attacked the EU’s role in providing funds to Ethiopia while turning a blind eye to how these funds are being used on the ground. Ms Ward concluded powerfully by admitting that “silence is complicity; silence is guilt”, if the EU does not speak out then it is complicit too.

 

 

Ana Gomes MEP then extrapolated on the points made by Ms Ward by talking about the inherent lack of transparency in the Ethiopian governance structure. Drawing on her personal experiences of visiting Addis Ababa, Ms Gomes talked about the Ethiopian regime’s ability to use politically correct language and let the international community hear what they want to hear. The EU in turn has used Ethiopia as an exemplary case study of what aid promotion can achieve. This reciprocal denial between the regime and the EU means that it has become very hard to actually discover the true situation in the country. Restriction on freedom of expression and the freedom of the media particularly distressed Ms Gomes, who underlined that the EU needs to support brave journalists and activists on the ground, who in turn can reveal much of the truth that is hidden by organisations, media outlets and political parties supportive of the Ethiopian government. She finished by stating that the Ethiopian diaspora also has a responsibility; they are in a position to know part of the true situation in Ethiopia but not be constrained by restrictions on their freedom of expression. Ms Gomes called on all Ethiopian ethnic minority diaspora to unite, forgoing any current disagreements and finding the right platform from where to voice their concerns and ideas.

 

 

The first panel Divide and Conquer – State Sanctioned Repression in Ethiopia was opened by Mr Abdullahi Mohamed of the African Rights Monitor, who gave an account of Ethiopia’s non-compliance with several international human rights conventions. Mr Mohamed described how the Ethiopian regime has signed many international human rights conventions but continuously fails to follow through with any of the recommendations made by international actors regulating convention implementation. Among these are examples of Ethiopian unwillingness to submit mandatory reports – the 2011 Ethiopian state review requested by the Committee on Civil and Political Rights was 17 years late – and the regular denial of access to minority regions to UN monitoring groups and special rapporteurs. Mr Mohamed also highlighted the pressing need for Ethiopia to allow access to minority regions such as Ogaden for international humanitarian organisations whose continued absence from the area is causing serious humanitarian crises.

 

The next speaker was Mr Abdullahi Hussein, former head of the Ethiopian state media, who had managed to smuggle over 100 hours of footage to Sweden when he fled his home country, appalled by the brutal crimes committed by the regime he had worked for. He presented his findings from the footage and personal accounts of what he experienced. His moving story recounted how he progressed in the governance structure of Ethiopia and became increasingly exposed to military fear tactics and persecution in minority areas such as the Ogaden region. He spoke of media dominance by the regime and the smokescreen that is created to prevent the outside world learning of serious persecutions that take place, especially with regard to sexual violence used against women in the infamous Prison Ogaden.

 

The floor was then given to Mr Ato Abebe Bogale, Vice-Chairman of the Ethiopian political opposition movement Ginbot 7, who expressed his exasperation that despite the myriad human rights reports and empty words of foreign powers, no concrete action is being taken. He stressed the extent to which systematic persecution of political opposition, minority groups and women has permeated throughout all levels of governance in Ethiopia and is a pandemic that needs to be stopped. He called on the EU to stop focusing on the apparent economic improvements that are being made in the country and to consider the human cost of achieving positive growth figures saying, “for the sake of humanity and for the betterment of Ethiopia and Africa, please stop helping the dictatorship within the country”. Mr Bogale’s speech was followed by Ms Dorothée Cambou, PhD candidate at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) specialising in the rights of indigenous groups. Ms Cambou contextualised the actions of the Ethiopian government within its national, regional and international legal obligations, and emphasised the land rights of indigenous peoples in relation to development projects.

 

 

The first speaker on the second panel Victims of Politics – Women in Ogaden and Oromia was Ms Juweria Bixi Ali who, on behalf of young Ogaden women in Ethiopia, spoke of the vulnerability that minority women in Ethiopia experience being the targets of the dictatorship’s attempts to break the will of ethnic minorities in the country. She spoke passionately about the horrors that minority women experience at the hands of military personnel who are specifically trained how to rape and abuse women in order to “shame the men and disgrace the women”. Ms Ali described how the military use tactics of sexual violence and orchestrated starvation against women in particular in order to instil the maximum amount of fear in a people.

 

 

Following Ms Ali was Mr Graham Peebles, a freelance journalist who had visited the Ogaden and surrounding regions on a number of occasions. He spoke of many of the interviews that he had conducted with both the victims and confessed perpetrators of these crimes. He spoke of how orchestrated rape and fear tactics have become a norm in Ethiopia, and the horrors that he spoke of are by no means isolated cases. He described that no woman, particularly those of targeted ethnic groups, is safe from the state sponsored persecution. He concluded with yet another plea to the EU to eliminate their hypocritical practices of providing financial support to this regime and questioned how donor countries around the world could have a clear conscience when supporting such blatant criminality.

 

The floor was then passed to Dr Baro Keno Deressa who gave a chilling account of the medical issues that occur from regular use of rape against women. He described how rape that is used for extracting information, political terror and as a reward for soldiers does not only undermine the social standing of women but can cause terrible, untreatable medical conditions that victims have to live with for the rest of their lives, including HIV transmission and genital deformation. He also outlined that the rape tactics used by the Ethiopian government against Oromo women are destroying the traditional social fabric of the Oromo people, creating a large gap in gender equality in a people that are traditionally egalitarian and have a long and proud history of democratic values.

 

The final speaker of the panel was Dr Badal Hassan, representative of the ONLF, who called on the Ethiopian regime to remove all suffering and oppression that his people face and allow them to pursue their right to self-determination. He summarised the main facts surrounding the persecution of the Ogaden and Oromo peoples: tens of thousands of civilian executions, tortures, rapes and forced migration. He also spoke of the persecutions that Ethiopia conducts against Ogaden and Oromo people who have fled to neighbouring countries making this an international issue rather than a domestic problem. He concluded by calling on all Ethiopians, regardless of ethnicity or religion, to unite and raise their collective voices against oppression.

 

Ms Ana Gomes MEP closed the panel discussion by reaffirming her commitment to take the issues that had been raised to the relevant parliamentary committees and push for promises to be made and firm action to be taken. Although she said it may be a slow process, she urged everyone present, especially the Ethiopian diaspora to “get united, bold, loud and active”, assuring that there are politicians like herself and Ms Julie Ward who will listen, and in time, will make others listen too.

 

UNPO is fully committed to work towards raising the issues of human rights and democracy in Ethiopia with all relevant international stakeholders and demand concrete action to address the persecution of innocent civilians; be they Ogadeni, Oromo, or from any other ethnic group. The 4 February conference at the European Parliament was an important first step in the right direction, but much more remains to be done to overcome the silent complicity of Western donors in relation to the Ethiopian inferno.

Read more at:

http://unpo.org/article/17931

Ogaden: Repression of Dissent Intensifies with Approaching May 2015 Ethiopia’s Sham Elections February 2, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Ogaden.
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Ogaden: Repression of Dissent Intensifies with Approaching May 2015 Elections

According to the latest Human Rights Watch report, the Ethiopian Government has been reinforcing its campaign of arrests, persecution and unlawful violence as a strategy of silencing peaceful political dissent. In addition to the political under-representation of minorities in Ethiopia, journalists and dissenters face widespread Government censorship. All are hoping for greater political rights and freedoms in the period leading up to the May 2015 general elections.  

Below is an article published by allAfrica:

The Ethiopian government during 2014 intensified its campaign of arrests, prosecutions, and unlawful force to silence criticism, Human Rights Watch said today [29 January 2015] in its World Report 2015.

The government responded to peaceful protests with harassment, threats, and arbitrary detention, and used draconian laws to further repress journalists, opposition activists, and critics.

“The Ethiopian government fell back on tried and true measures to muzzle any perceived dissent in 2014,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director. “Journalists and dissenters suffered most, snuffing out any hope that the government would widen political space ahead of the May 2015 elections.”

In the 656-page world report, its 25th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries.

In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth urges governments to recognize that human rights offer an effective moral guide in turbulent times, and that violating rights can spark or aggravate serious security challenges. The short-term gains of undermining core values of freedom and non-discrimination are rarely worth the long-term price.

Ethiopia’s dismal rights record faced little criticism from donor countries in 2014. Throughout the year, state security forces harassed and detained leaders and supporters of Ethiopian opposition parties.

Security personnel responded to protests in Oromia in April and May with excessive force, resulting in the deaths of at least several dozen people, and the arrests of hundreds more. The authorities regularly blocked the Semawayi (Blue) Party’s attempts to hold protests.

Media remain under a government stranglehold, with many journalists having to choose between self-censorship, harassment and arrest, and exile. In 2014, dozens of journalists fled the country following threats.

In July, the government charged seven bloggers known as Zone 9 and three journalists under the abusive Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. In August, the owners of six private publications were charged under the criminal code following threats against their publications. The government blocks websites and blogs and regularly monitors and records telephone calls.

The authorities have been displacing indigenous populations without appropriate consultation or compensation in the lower Omo Valley to make way for the development of sugar plantations. Villagers and activists who have questioned the development plans face arrest and harassment.

The government showed no willingness to amend the Anti-Terrorism Law or the Charities and Societies Proclamation, despite increasing condemnation of these laws for violating basic rights.

Authorities more rigorously enforced the Charities and Societies Proclamation, which bars organizations from working on human rights, good governance, conflict resolution, and advocacy on the rights of women, children, and people with disabilities if the organizations receive more than 10 percent of their funds from foreign sources.

“The government’s crackdown on free expression in 2014 is a bad sign for elections in 2015,” Lefkow said.

 

Read more at:

http://unpo.org/article/17912