UNPO: A report on human rights in Ethiopia, shedding light on the worrying situation of the Oromo and Ogadeni peoples. March 16, 2017Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: #OromoProtests, Africa, Ethiopia, Genocide Against Oromo People, Genocide against the Ogaden People, Human rights violations, Indigenous People, Ogaden, Oromia, Oromo, Tyrannic TPLF Ethiopia, UNPO
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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
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.
Tags: Africa, Genocide, Genocide against the Ogaden People, Human Rights Violation Against Ogaden people, Ogaden, The tyrannic Ethiopia, UNPO
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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.
Tags: Africa, Ethiopian Army Wantonly Massacres 51 Civilians in Ogaden, Genocide, Genocide against the Ogaden People, Ogaden, The Ogaden Youth and Student Union condemns the systematic genocidal massacres taking place in Oromia and Ogaden, The tyrannic Ethiopia, Victims of Politics – Women in Ogaden and Oromia
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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.
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, 2015Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ogaden, Oromia, Oromo.
Tags: Africa, African Studies, Ethiopian inferno, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, Genocide against the Ogaden People, Genocide against the Oromo, Human rights violations, Ogaden, Ogaden women, Oromo, Oromo women, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Victims of Politics – Women in Ogaden and Oromia
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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.
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Ogaden: Repression of Dissent Intensifies with Approaching May 2015 Ethiopia’s Sham Elections February 2, 2015Posted 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.
Tags: Africa, Genocide, Genocide against the Ogaden People, Human rights violations
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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.
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