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UNPO: Oromo: Dr Geleta’s Daughter Calls for Urgent Support of the German Government July 24, 2020

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Jul 23, 2020

Oromo: Dr Geleta’s Daughter Calls for Urgent Support of the German Government


In a letter addressed to the German government, Bonsitu Shigut, the daughter of Dr Shigut Geleta – Chair of the OLF and UNPO Presidency Member – has asked for urgent international support to end the arbitrary arrest of her father. Dr Geleta has been jailed by Ethiopian security forces without a court order or warrant by Ethiopian federal security force on 3 July 2020 in Addis Ababa. Since then, his family has not been able to determine his whereabouts and has no information about his well-being. This was his second imprisonment in which the arresting officers did not have a warrant.

Bonsitu highlighted that her father has been working hard to foster a strong cooperation with a multitude of other oppressed ethnic groups in Ethiopia while also actively engaging with many notable human rights organisations. “Since his return to Ethiopia, my father has dedicated his efforts exclusively to peaceful and democratically motivated causes. Despite all of this, he was arrested without a court order or warrant”. Bonsitu’s letter recalls that Dr Geleta requires daily medication, without which his health condition in prison could deteriorate quickly.

Below is a letter signed by Ms Bonsitu Shigut

Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is Bonsitu Shigut. I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and moved to Germany with my family when I was seven months old. I am a German citizen; I have completed my secondary school and university education in Germany, and currently I am working and reside in Munich, Bavaria. I am writing you this letter to act your part  for the release of my father, Dr. Shigut Geleta, member of the OLF, who was arrested unlawfully by the Ethiopian security forces on 03.07.20.

After assassination of the prominent Oromo singer Hacaaluu Hundessa on 29.06.20, massive protests broke out throughout the country. The Ethiopian security forces were unable to contain the people’s anger despite the widespread unlawful imprisonment of innocent individuals and mass killings. 

My father had been jailed previously, in February 2020 he was arrested without a court order or warrant by Ethiopian federal security forces. This episode is his second round of imprisonments (Friday, 03.07.20 during the evening hours he was taken away from his home by the security forces), the process of imprisonments happened as previous one without court order or warrant. Despite intensive actions of searching to determine whereabouts (embassy, security forces, his organizations…). I Myself and other family members have been unable to determine the place of his detention.

Due to his medical condition (daily medication use) me as his daughter and other family members are devastated by all the process. Our daily question was did he get his medication daily? How is it his physical condition? How is it his emotional status? ….My father has been an active member of the Oromo Liberation Front for a long time, and has been in charge of all diplomatic matters for the organizations internally and externally. In September 2018, when the Oromo Liberation Front returned back to Ethiopia it was primarily to focus on the federal elections through democratic process and peaceful manner, originally planned for late 2020.

It has always been the OLF’s conviction that democratic elections will only be realized in a healthy political environment that allows peaceful collaboration with other political parties and the incumbent administration. Therefore, the organization has always made it clear that it does not condone any form of violence and has distanced itself from those to believe otherwise. With its return, the OLF intentionally sought out a peaceful path into Ethiopian democracy. As a result, my father Dr. Shigut Geleta has worked hard to foster a strong cooperation with a multitude of other oppressed ethnic groups in Ethiopia while also actively engaging with many notable human rights organisations.

His objective has been to establish the foundations that will eventually lead the Oromo people into a free and democratic future. Since his return to Ethiopia, my father has dedicated his efforts exclusively to peaceful and democratically motivated causes. Despite all of this, he was arrested without a court order or warrant. I am worrying  for the safety of my father due to the blatant aggression and cruelty security forces have exhibited towards innocent civilians, and the rapidly rising death toll in the country. Ethiopia’s terrible record of human rights violations and the torture of detainees and prisoners is widely known.

We, the family of Dr. Geleta, have been unable to obtain any information about where he has been detained and what condition he is in. His daily medication need is also another independent factor of humanity. For us, Dr. Shigut Geleta is not merely an innocent member of the OLF, but a beloved husband and father first. We fear that the dictatorial administration of Dr. Abiy Ahmed poses an immediate threat to his life and us, the family, call on you to stand with us and to demand the immediate release of my father Dr. Shigut Geleta, a German citizen.

Sincerely,

Bonsitu Shigut

Ethnic Cleansing Continued In Oromia Regional State By Ethiopian Government Lead By Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister Of Ethiopia July 23, 2020

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Ethnic Cleansing Continued In Oromia Regional State By Ethiopian Government Lead By Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister Of Ethiopia

July 10, 2020

Ethnic Cleansing

The Right Honourable Justin Pierre James Trudeau MP, Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2
Tel: 613-995-0253
Fax: 613-941-6900
Email: justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

We, the members of the Oromo Canadian Community Association of Atlantic Canada, and the Oromo Community Association of Nova Scotia, are writing this letter to bring to your attention and express our deepest concerns about the continued mass killing, evicting of farmers from their land, arbitrary arrest without due process, torturing of innocent civilians, raping of girls and women in front of their families, burning of crops, and the killing of opposition parties’ supporters and party members in Oromia by defense forces, Federal Police, Federal Security, and Special Forces of the Ethiopian government lead by Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

Under military rule headed by Dr. Abiy Ahmed, authorities are committing outrageous mass killings, of not only mothers, young children, students, merchants, farmers, civil servants, community leaders, religious leaders, civil right activists, and journalists, but recently they have targeted Oromo artists.

Several Oromo artists were jailed without committing any crime, and some have been executed in public by killing squads, or have left the country as refugees due to expression of their opinions using their music and artistic talents to promote social justice and expose human rights violation issues in Oromia.

A well-known iconic Oromo music star, and author of 5 books, Mr. Daadhi Galaan was assassinated by a killing squad while performing his music on stage on February 11, 2019 in Finfinne/Addis Ababa.

A well-known Oromo artist, songwriter, performer, human rights activist, and freedom fighter Haacaaluu Hundeessa was assassinated in Finfinne/Addis Ababa on June 29, 2020. Security forces also killed his uncle.

Since Dr. Abiy came to power in April 2018, tens of thousands of innocent Oromos have been killed by security forces, have disappeared, or have been detained and tortured in the country’s notorious prisons and at hidden and unmarked locations.

A gross violation of the constitution ensued, and the legally recognized party that brought him to power two years ago, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), was illegally dismantled and the election term was extended; the country is currently facing civil war and disintegration.

The majority of Ethiopians, including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), who were among the founders of the EPRDF, have rejected the newly merged party, the Prosperity Party (PP), due to the party’s policies and ideology. The PP’s hidden agenda is to rebuild the outdated unitary monarch dictatorship system – to bring back the legacy of Emperor Menelik II – which emphasizes one country, one language, one flag, and one religion, while abandoning a pluralistic, multicultural, multilingual, and multi-ethnic Ethiopian society.

Currently, the PP has declared war on the groups, or individuals, or zones, or regional states that refuse to accept the PP’s ideology. The hidden policy includes eliminating ethnic identity, abolishing the current language-based regional states, abolishing the actual region’s using their own language for their own regional administration, and wanting to impose the PP’s official language.

To date, more than 2 million Oromo farmers have been evicted by force from their land and have become internal refugees without any assistance. Most of the people who are residing in conflict zones have fled persecution to neighbouring regions or neighbouring countries.

Almost all Ethiopian regions, except Tigray, are under the control of state sponsored terrorism including Oromia, Amhara, Afar, Gambela, Southern Nations Nationalities and People, Benishangul-Gumuz, Somali (Ogaden), and Sidama region. The Tigray region has also been pushed to the corner, and there are tensions on the northern and southern borders.

Since the government of Ethiopia has blocked independent media organizations including the Oromo News Network, and the Oromo Media Network, government-controlled media are spreading fake news and dramas to humiliate opposition parties.

Electricity and Internet have been curtailed, and independent mass media, human rights monitors, and international human rights observers have been blocked from gaining access to Oromia, particularly in zones that are suffering at the hands of the military administration, and it is difficult to corroborate the government killing, arresting, torturing, and displacing of innocent people.

Based on our own independent sources, since this undeclared war started in Oromia, thousands of Oromos have been killed, hundreds of Qemants and Agaws have been killed or burned alive in their own houses in the Amhara region, hundreds of Sidama activists have been jailed, and hundreds of people have killed in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, by government security forces. Several Welayta, Kambata, and Mocha youth have been jailed due to their demands to become members of the Ethiopian Federal states.

The hope for elections and the democratization of Ethiopia has vanished, and the bogus National Election Board of Ethiopia office has become a showcase to collect money from donors in the name of democratization and election process improvement while the election office is totally owned and controlled by Prosperity Party security agents. COVID_19 was presented as a lame excuse to delay the election planned for May 14, 2020 and the current government cannot rule beyond October 10, 2020 due to the country’s constitution, which states that the House of Peoples’ Representatives shall be elected for a term of five years, and their time will end in October.

In this situation, according to the constitution, opposition parties must convene to discuss how the country is to be governed, but unfortunately, most of the opposition party leaders are in jail or under house arrest or have been killed, and no one knows where they are.

The current situation and the direction in which the government is leading the country will lead to civil war.

Mr. Prime Minister, our community is deeply concerned that there is ethnic cleansing going on in Oromia and Ethiopia, once again, the international community has not responded. We have come to a point where we cannot sit in silence and watch the massacre of innocent Oromos. We appeal to you and your government to evaluate the crimes committed by the Ethiopian government over the last 26 months and to use your good office to apply appropriate pressure on the regime to stop killing innocent people.

In the past, the Government of Canada has demonstrated support for human rights, democracy, and good governance and it is time for Canada to stand with the people of Oromo, Ethiopia, instead of supporting an armed criminal government.

We feel that military, economic, and strategic aid or partnership with Ethiopia should be tied to respect for human rights, justice, democracy, and good governance.

We, therefore, respectfully request that you use the influences of your good office to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to immediately and unconditionally:

  1. Stop killing, torturing innocent civilians without any precondition;
  2. We solemnly appeal to the Canadian government and the international community to put maximum pressure on the Ethiopian Prime Minister, and Ethiopian President to step down immediately before the country plummets into civil war;
  3. We appeal to the Canadian government to help, to facilitate International Commissions of Inquiry, Commission on Human Rights to investigate gross human rights violations, ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia, particularly in the Oromia regional state during the last 26 months so that perpetrators face justice;
  4. We appeal to the Canadian government and the international peace loving communities to impose maximum economic, and armed embargo on current Ethiopian government until they stop killing innocent citizens, and immediately call for fare and free election, and hand over the power to freely elected people’s representatives or else we fear that there will be a devastating civil war in the country;
  5. We appeal to the Canadian government and the international peace loving communities to put maximum pressure on Abiy Ahimed to restore electricity, telephone, and internet services, without any preconditions so that they can share information on COVID_19;
  6. We appeal to the Canadian government and the international peace loving communities to put pressure on Abiy Ahimed to release all political prisoners and reimburse them for the illegal time they spent in prison and for the torture and suffering they faced; COVID_19 outbreak reported in several prisons, but government-controlled media are not reporting – Red Cross and independent media should be allowed to access the prison facility to observe the political prisoner health conditions;
  7. We appeal to the Canadian government and the international peace loving communities to put pressure on Abiy Ahimed to stop bringing foreign mercenaries, mobile killing squads from neighboring countries to kill the opposition leaders or prominent leaders in the community;
  8. We appeal to the Canadian government and the international peace loving communities to put pressure on Abiy Ahimed to allow UN independent observers access to affected areas in Oromia;
  9. We appeal to the Canadian government and the international peace loving communities to put pressure on Abiy Ahimed to allow Doctors without Borders and the Red Cross to treat the injured victims in affected areas;

Yours very truly,

Leta Etafa
President of Oromo Canadian Community Association of Atlantic Canada
oromocanadacommasso@gmail.com

Abdulfetah Abawajy
Chairman of Oromo Community Association of Nova Scotia
addezem@yahoo.ca

CC:

  • Her Excellency The Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada
  • The Honourable Andrew Scheer, PC MP, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Leader of the Opposition
  • The Honourable Jagmeet Singh, NDP Leader and MP
  • Ms. Jo-Ann Roberts, Interim Leader of the Green Party of Canada
  • The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs and MP
  • The Honourable Mary Ng, MP, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
  • The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, MP, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
  • The Honourable Karina Gould, MP, Minister of International Development
  • The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, MP, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
  • Mr. John F.G. Hannaford, Deputy Minister of International Trade
  • His Excellency Marc-André Blanchard, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations
  • The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, MP, Minister of National Defence of Canada
  • The Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier of the Province of Nova Scotia
  • His Excellency Antoine Chevrier, Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti
  • H.E. Nasise Challi JIRA, Ethiopian Ambassador to Canada