Advertisements
jump to navigation

TIME WITH SPECIAL PEOPLE ABOUT OROMO: STOP THE GENOCIDE AGAINST THE OROMO PEOPLE August 13, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

 

 

TIME WITH SPECIAL PEOPLE ABOUT OROMO: STOP THE GENOCIDE AGAINST THE OROMO PEOPLE.

Video by Chala Alemu

Advertisements

Mirga Uummataa fi Babal’achuu Dimokraasiif Qabsaa’uu Koofin Himatame: Dr. Mararaa Guddinaa. Professor Merera Gudina’s speech after the court of Ethiopia denied him hearing. July 8, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment


Dr. Mararaa Guddinaa

Dr. Mararaa Guddinaa


Manni murtii Federaalaa himannaa Dr. Mararaa Guddinaa, Dr. Biraahnuu Naggaa fi obbo Jawaar Mohamed ISAT FI OMN irratti himannaa abbaan alangaa dhiyeesse dhaggeeffatee jira. Dr. Mraraanis himannaan isaan irratti dhiyaate kanneen bakka hin jiraannetti himatamaniittii adda ba’ee akka, ilaalamuuf gaafataniiru. Dr. Mararaan yakkamaa utuu hin taane hidhamaa siyaasaa ti jechuun ille mana murtichatti dubbataniiru.

Ragaalee isaan irratti dhiyaates akka ibsamu gaafatanii manni murtichaas yaada isaanii dhaggeeffatee ragaaleen dhiyaatan gama seeraan hiika akka argataniif mana maree Federeeshiniitti dabarsuu isaa beeksisuu dhaan Adoolessa 25tti beellama kennaa jira.


https://twitter.com/addisstandard/status/883251452394844160

Oromia: #OromoProtests:#OromoRevolution: #ABCDeebisaa: Gabaasa Fincila Xumura Garbummaa (FXG) Oromiyaa 2017 (June) June 30, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #ABCDeebisaa, #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

oromoprotests-one-year-on-struggle-november-2015-2016oromorevolution-oromoprotests

Oromo Protests defend Oromo National Interest

#OromoPRotests tweet and share#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in Ethiopia

https://videopress.com/embed/Kv0UV52t?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0

scotiabank-toronto-waterfront-half-marathon-winner-kinde-asafa-showing-the-protest-juster

an-oromo-youth-hero-shanted-down-down-woyane-on-the-face-of-mass-killers-tplf-agazi-at-bishoftu-2nd-october-2016-oromoprotestsFeyisa Lelisa Rio Olympian and world icon of #OromoProtestsQuebec City Marathon winner, Oromo athlete, Ebisa Ejigu, replicates Rio Olympic medallist’s #OromoProtests. p3Athlete Fraol Ebissa Won the Germany 10Km race and shows his solidarity with #OromoProtests. 4 September 2016. p2oromo-athlete-tamiru-demisse-center-reacts-after-the-final-of-mens-1500m-of-the-rio-2016-paralympicoromo-oromo-athletes-tamiru-demisse-c-megersa-tasisa-l-and-sport-journalist-adugna-angasu-r-who-are-in-rio-de-janeiro-brazil-for-the-paralympic-2016-show-solidarity-in-a-world-stage-to-oromoathlete-hajin-tola-winner-of-mississauga-canken-5k-race-protests-in-support-of-ethiopias-oromo-peopleathlete-hirut-guangul-joined-the-brave-movement-as-she-won-the-womens-marathon-and-in-solidarity-with-oromoprotests-25-september-2016-this-video-is-viral-on-social-media-in-her-adoration
Oromo Students protest @ Mandii, Western Oromia 25th November 2015Oromo Students protest @ Ambo, Oromia 25th November 2015 picture1

Gaaffiiwwan yeroo ammaastop killing Oromo People#GrandOromoProtests 6 August 2016, in Oromia including in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa), the capital.


Oromo Olympic marathon athlete Fayyisaa Lalisaa in the social and international media. #OrompProtests global icon. p7

the-heroes-said-down-down-wayyane-down-on-2nd-october-2016-at-irreecha-bishoftu-to-protests-mass-killings-p2oromorevolution-thefinalmarchforfreedomoromoprotests-and-fascist-tplfs-human-rights-violations-anaginst-civilians-2016-bbc-sources

Gincii, Amboo, Jalduu, Gudar, Giddaa Ayyaanaa, Mandii, Najjoo, Laaloo Assaabii, Jaarsoo, Gullisoo, Bojjii, Gujii,Dambi Doolloo, Gimbii, Naqamtee, Buraayyuu, sabbataa, Dirree Incinnii, Adaamaa, Harammayyaa, Mattuu, Baale (Robee), Madda Walabu, Walliisoo, Tulluu Boolloo, Sulultaa (Caancoo), Horroo Guduruu, Buuraayyuu, Dirree Dhawaa, Calanqoo, Ada’aa Bargaa, Baddannoo, Holootaa, Shaashee, Awaday (E. Harargee), Hara Qallo (Goro Dola, Gujii), Gaasaraa (Baalee), Bulee Hora, Jimmaa, Arjo, Heebantuu, Giddaa Ayyaanaa ,Kiiramuu, Ciroo, Dodolaa, Anfilloo (Mugii), Walqixxee, Diillaa, Bishooftuu, Finfinnee,  Yuniversiitii Finfinnee, Geedoo, Asallaa,  Shaambuu, Agaarfaa, Sibuu Siree, Kotobee, Wacaalee, Saalaalee, Machaaraa, Ammayyaa, Tokkee  Kuttaayee, Innaangoo, Baabbichaa, Laaloo Qilee, Hiddii Lolaa, .Mugii, Arsi Nagallee, Baabbichaa, Shukutee,  Baakkoo Tibbee, Jalduu, Gindoo, Buun’dho Beddellee, Grawwaa, Gaara Mul’ataa, Qarsaa, Qobboo (Dardar, Eastern Oromia), Sinaanaa (Baalee), Jimmaa Arjoo, Bojjii, Kombolcha,  Aggaaroo,Tajji (Iluu), Qilxuu Kaarraa, Baabboo Gambel, Daawoo,Tulu Milki (Warra Jarso), Hirnaa, Xuulloo,  Masalaa, Galamso, Bordode, Mi’esso, Waheel, Diggaa, Arjoo Guddattuu, Guraawa, waamaa Adaree, Shabee Somboo, Limmuu Saqaa, Amuruu (Agamsa), Daroo Labuu (Gaadulloo), Yaabelloo, Aliboo (Jaartee Jardagoo), Saasigga, Magaalaa Dafinoo, Dhumugaa, Daroo Labuu (Buraysaa) Begii (Kobor), Mardida Halo Guba (Daroo Labuu), Qassoo, Bonayyaa Boshee, Baalee  (Dalloo Mannaa), Jimmaa Raaree (Magaalaa Gobaan), Nophaa (Iluu), Bordoddee, Togowacaalee, Dooguu, Metekel (Wanbara), Asaasaa, Waabee, Heeraroo, Doguu, Quufanziq (Dadar), Boku Luboma (Miyo, Borana), Eddoo, Dirree (Ada’aa), Qilxuu Kaarraa, Shebel town, Bate, Walanchiti, Warra Jiruu,  Boolee Bulbulaa, Diilallaa, Gannat Haaraa (dodolaa)……………



 

 

Amajjii (January): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 ……2017

Gurraandhala (February) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28…..2017

Bitootessa ( March): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31……..2017

Ebla (April): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7, 8, 9,10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30…… 2017

Caamsaa (May): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 ……….2017

Waxabajjii (June): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30……….2017


 

Down! down! Down With Wayyanee! Down TPLF!

https://videopress.com/embed/Kv0UV52t?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0

https://youtu.be/D5YauwAQTgU

 

#OromoProtests: International Community Alarmed as Ethiopia Crisis Worsens

#OromoProtests. International Community Alarmed as Ethiopia Crisis Worsensfreedom-in-the-world-2017-ethiopia-profile-not-free-and-deteriorating-situation

Ethiopia received a downward trend arrow due to the security forces’ disproportionate and often violent response to massive, primarily peaceful antigovernment protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions, as well as an emergency declaration in October that gave the military sweeping powers to crack down on freedoms of expression and association.

Ethiopia's scores in freedom in the world 2016, freedom House World Report, January 2016.

Ethiopian regime guilty of crime against humanity

 

Click here for #OromoProtests/ #OromoRevolution Report 1-31 May 2017

Click here for #OromoProtests/ #OromoRevolution Report 1-30 April 2017

Click here for #OromoProtests/ #OromoRevolution report 1-31 March  2017

Click here for #OromoProtests/ #OromoRevolution report 1-28 February 2017

Click here for #OromoProtests/ #OromoRevolution report 1-31 January 2017

Click here for #OromoProtests/ #OromoRevolution report 1-31 December 2016

Click here for #OromoProtests/ #OromoRevolution report 1-30 November 2016

Click here for #OromoProtests/ #OromoRevolution  report  1 – 31 October 2016

Click here for #OromoProtests report 1- 30 September 2016

Click here for #OromoProtests report 1- 31 August 2016 PDF

Click here for #OromoProtests Updates, 1st July – 31st July 2016 PDF

Click here for #OromoProtests Updates, 1st June – 30 June 2016 PDF

Click here for #OromoProtests updates, 1st – 31st May 2016

Click here for #OromoProtests updates, 1st – 30 April 2016

Click here for #OromoProtests updates, 1st – 31st March, 2016

Click here for #OromoProtests updates, November 2015- February 29, 2016



For Latest News click here for OromianEconomistonfacebook

#OromoProtests twitter


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

OSA: Statement on the Draft Law on Oromia’s Special Interest in Addis Ababa

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

 

OSA: STATEMENT ON THE ATTEMPT TO ALTER THE QUBEE (ALPHABET) OROMO WRITTEN ALPHABET. #ABCDeebisaa #OromoProtests

UNPO: Oromo: Alterations of Afan Alphabet Raise Concerns About Community’s Cultural Rights

UN Rights Council should address DR Congo, Turkey, and Ethiopia

Item 4 General Debate


Human Right Council Ethiopia Releases Report On Rights Abuses Committed Under Current State Of Emergency

Indexing Ethiopia

Ethiopia anger ‘a fire under ashes’ amid state of emergency

Ethiopia Travel Warnings

COMMENTARY: ETHIOPIA’S UNSTABLE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE IN UNSTABLE REGION

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

 Sidama Nation: TPLF fascist Ethiopia’s regime is destroying Sidama to erase its national identity for the first time in its history

Defend the Oppressed Peoples in Ethiopia

Ethiopia and Its Manufacturing Industry: “There’s been a brilliant PR campaign on its part to sell a story that does not really exist.”

The Hill: Ethiopia at tipping point as Congress mulls human rights bill

HRC35: Addressing the pervasive human rights crisis in Ethiopia.

Fragile States Index (FSI) 2017: Ethiopia: The Most-worsened Country Over The Past Year

Rubio, Cardin Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Calling on Ethiopia to Respect Human Rights, Open Democratic SpaceMAY 17 2017

HRW: European Parliament Demands Investigation Into Ethiopia Killings. #OromoProtes

UNPO: European Parliament Resolution Condemns Crackdown on Civil Society in Ethiopia

Why I run: I will continue to protest until the Oromo people in Ethiopia gain their freedom.

Surveillance and State Control in Ethiopia

U.N. RENEWS CALLS TO INVESTIGATE DEADLY ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTS IN ETHIOPIA

Feyisa Lilesa urges world to do more to help the Oromo people (via Newsweek)

The Hill: USA doesn’t need Ethiopia in its war on terror in the Horn of Africa

WHO Director General Nominee Tedros Adhanom Represents Ethiopia’s Repressive Regime. #WHA70

AP News: UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF: ETHIOPIA BLOCKED ACCESS TO PROTEST AREAS

 

Quartz Africa: Ethiopia’s humans rights problems may tank its ambition to become a global apparel center

Genocide Watch: Land Grabbing and Violations of Human Rights in Ethiopia

ESPN The Magazine: Why Olympic Silver Medalist Feyisa Lilesa Didn’t Go Home

Scholars at Risk Network: Release and drop charges against Dr. Merera Gudina

Human Rights violations in Ethiopia must be investigated by independent body, rights group

TV Link: Why the Oromo People Are Fleeing Ethiopia

Fear of Investigation: What Does Ethiopia’s Government Have to Hide?

London Marathon favourite Feyisa Lilesa amazing protest. #OromoProtests

#OromoJustice in Ethiopia: Pass HR 128

Why Is Western Media Ignoring Ongoing Atrocity In Ethiopia?

UNPO: Oromo: Violent Oppression and Disregard for Human Rights Continue as State of Emergency Gets Prolonged

Ethiopia extends emergency as old antagonisms fester

The Ethiopian state of emergency that was declared October 2016 continues to fuel outward displacement, and Ethiopian asylum seekers interviewed in Yemen, are increasingly referring to the unrest as a key reason for their migration out of the country.

 

OSA 2017: Oromo Studies Association Mid-Year Conference: Social Media and Social Movements: Leadership,Transnationalism and the Oromo Quest for Transformation

Fascist Ethiopia: Would Extending the State of Emergency solve grievances of citizens?

Fascist Ethiopia’s regime (TPLF) extends its state of emergency by four months

Ethiopia’s increasing outmigration highlights wider economic and security problems

Oromo-American Citizen Council (OACC): Extension of the State of Emergency-All is Not Well in Oromia

OMN: Prof. Ezekiel B. Gebissa in conversation with Canada MP Bob Zimmer (March 29, 2017)

Oromia: OMN: Qophii Jiruuf jireenyaa Artist Dirribee Gadaa Bit 28, 2017. OMN: Interview with one of the most creative minds in Oromo music and art, artist singer Dirribee Gadaa

UNPO caught up with Shigut Geleta of the Oromo Liberation Front, one of our speakers at our conference “Women’s Inferno in #Ethiopia” co-organised with the People’s Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD) and hosted by Liliana Rodrigues MEP (S&D). Mr Geleta highlights his great concern for #women‘s rights in #Ethiopia, as they are the first victims when conflict strikes.

Urgency of Addressing the Plight of Women Belonging to Vulnerable Groups in Ethiopia Highlighted at UNPO EP Conference

Oromia: Athletic Nation Report: The global icon of #OromoProtests Olympian Feyisa Lilesa (Fayyisaa Leellisa) wins the New York City 2017 Half Marathon. Mare Dibaba Wins the Lisbon City

Forbes: Ethiopia’s Cruel Con Game

Ethiopia: IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS: QOSHE GARBAGE DUMP COLLAPSE: A TRAIL OF CORRUPTION, CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE AND COUNTLESS VICTIMS

Congressman Urges U.S. to End Alliance with Brutal Ethiopian Regime

HRW: US: Stand Up for Ethiopians as Government Stifles Protests, Jails Journalists Human Rights Watch Statement on Ethiopia to US Congress

Rep. Chris Smith: Ethiopia should acknowledge its challenges and seek reasonable solutions

 

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

Liyu police raids in Oromia testing Ethiopia’s semblance of calm

US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor : Ethiopia: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016

Oromo Revolution echoes around the globe

The police brutalities resulted in several deaths. A death toll of 150 was recorded in Ethiopia, 32 in DRC and one in Mali.  To date, not one security agent has been prosecuted for any of the killings in the three countries. Unfortunately, this is just one of the many violations perpetrated against protestors, journalists and media organisations in Africa as reported in the maiden edition of the Freedom of Expression Situation in Africa report by the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) compiled for the period July to December 2016.

THE MESSENGER :Ethiopia state media face scrutiny from Facebook fact-checkers

OMN: Weerara Poolisii Addaa ilaalchisee Dhaabbileen Siyaasaa Oromoo maal jedhu?

ETHIOPIA:  The Ethiopian Government is Plotting a War Among  the Nations and Nationalities in Ethiopia

 

HRLHA Press Release


 

""

International Human Rights Day  marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. Crafted in the shadow of the horrors of the Holocaust and World War II, the Declaration gave the world the vision it needed to stand up to fear and the blueprint it craved to build a safer and more just world.  Its single premise is:   “Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

 

Human Rights Day Message:United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s message for Human Rights Day 10 December 2014.

 

In observing Human Rights Day, its important to  highlight the horrific going on in 2014 in our world. The following document is the summary of horrific repression going on against Oromo people by tyrannic Ethiopian  regime:

http://www.amnesty.nl/sites/default/files/public/because_i_am_oromo.pdf

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/?s=because+I+am+Oromo&searchbutton=go%21

” data-medium-file=”” data-large-file=”” class=”alignleft wp-image-4426″ src=”https://qeerroo.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/hrlha.jpg?w=151&h=151″ alt=”HRLHA” style=”margin: 0px 7px 2px 0px; padding: 4px; border: none; float: left; display: inline;”>February 26, 2017The  Ethiopian Somali Liyu Police led by the Ethiopian Federal government’s killing squad have been engaged in a cruel war for the past six months against the Oromo nation in fifteen districts of Oromia.   The Oromia districts that have been invaded by the two aforementioned forces are in east and east- west Hararge Zone, Eastern Oromia,  Guji,  Borana and  Bale, South Oromia zones, Southern Oromia of Oromia Regional State.


Freedom House: Freedom in the World 2017: Ethiopia Profile: Not free and in downward trends with political rights and civil liberties: Aggregate score of 12/100

UNPO: Oromo: Political Conviction Endures, while Communities Refuse to be Stifled

How should the US react to human rights abuses in Ethiopia?

Real Media Press: WHY IS ETHIOPIA’S SITUATION THE MOST UNDER-REPORTED CONFLICT IN THE WORLD?

Ethiopia: War Crimes Against the Oromo Nation in Ethiopia

African Studies Centre Leiden: ASCL worried about Ethiopian political scientist Dr Merera Gudina

Ethiopia in Crisis: What is going on now in Oromia is a massacre in the name of emergency, terrorising civilian populations

Stop Genocide Against the Oromo People: The Whole of Oromia Must Act to Stop the Agazi and Liyu Police Terror in Hararge, Bale, Borana and Gujii

IHS Jane’s Country Risk Daily Report: War Crimes: Crimes Against Humanity: The genocide against Oromo people involving Ethiopia’s Somali region police (Liyu Police), a segment of fascist TPLF’s Agazi forces

Fascism: Corruption: TPLF Ethiopia: Inside the Controversial EFFORT

AI: ETHIOPIA TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT: The torturous fields of Ethiopia’s rehabilitation centre

The NY Times: OLYMPICS: Feyisa Lilesa, Marathoner in Exile, Finds Refuge in Arizona


The hero, the legend and the thinker: Oromo Athlete Feyisa Lilesa’s spectacular finish at Aramco Houston Half Marathon January 16, 2017

THE INTEREST THAT IS NOT SO SPECIAL: ADDIS ABEBA, OROMIA, AND ETHIOPIA

 

 

Mail & Guardian Africa: Ethiopia’s political ripple a big test for infrastructure-led Chinese approach

BBC: Oromia: No regrets for Ethiopia’s Olympic protester. #OromoProtests #OromoRevolution

Free Dr. Merera Gudina And All Political Prisoners In Ethiopia

Oromia: Human Rights League New Year’s Message: “It always Seems Dark Until the Sun Rises”

Oromia (Africa): Oromo Person of The Year 2016: The Qubee Generation. #OromoProtests #OromoRevolution

BBC: Africa’s top hashtags of 2016: #OromoProtests and #AmharaProtests

 Stop Your madness with Masterplan and Resolve the Master Problem

Hof-Land: Ausgestoßene im eigenen Land

ETHIOPIA: THE STATE OF EMERGENCY CANNOT BECOME THE NORM

Samantha Power, the Unites States ambassador to the United Nations (UN) has called for the release of a leading Ethiopian opposition member, Bekele Gerba

HRW: The Year in Human Rights Videos

WP: A state of emergency has brought calm to Ethiopia. But don’t be fooled.

THE HUMAN COST OF ETHIOPIA’S SWEEPING STATE OF EMERGENCY: “I NEVER WANTED TO SEE TOMORROW”

In his interview with VOA, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Tom Malinowski discussed the current Ethiopian situation and his concerns regarding human right protection. He said, “It’s a very difficult situation. The country is under a state of emergency, and a state of emergency by definition means that certain rights are suspended. Due process is suspended. And however much the government may feel that the state of emergency has brought calm temporarily to the country, it also brings with it certain risks. It risks adding a new layer of grievances to those grievances that initially led people in Oromia and Amhara to come out onto the streets. At first they were concerned about land seizures and lack of jobs and representation, all of which the government has acknowledge to be real and legitimate. But now they’re also upset about the arrests and the violence. And the longer this continues, the more those grievances are likely to build. At the same time, it risks giving greater power to the security apparatus in a way that could delay the introduction of the reforms that the Prime Minister and the government have, to their great credit, said are necessary.” Listen the first part of VOA interview at: http://bit.ly/2h3kmYO https://www.facebook.com/us.emb.addisababa/posts/1372399152802454


 

Ana Gomes (MEP): Ethiopia: Arrest of Dr. Merera Gudina – Annual report on Human Rights and Democracy

Africa News: EU parliament writes to Ethiopian president over detained Oromo leader, Professor Merera Gudina

AU expresses concern about upcoming Summit in restive Ethiopia

Africa News: Oromia’s Olympic athlete, Feyisa Lilesa, has been named among the 2016 top 100 global thinkers by the Foreign Policy (FP) magazine.

EurActive: EU: Commission to Ethiopia: ‘start addressing legitimate grievances of your people’December 2, 2016

 

The Independent: Ethiopian opposition leader testifies to EU over lack of political freedoms – and is immediately arrested upon his return. European politicians ‘shocked’ by arrest of Merera Gudina

BBC: Ethiopian opposition leader arrested after Europe trip

WP: Ethiopia arrests top Oromo opposition politician after Europe Parliament speech

Ethiopian Opposition Leader from Restive Region Arrested


One Year Anniversary of Oromo Protests Against Land Grabs


Africa Times: #Oromo news network in U.S. works to defeat Ethiopia’s media blackout


#OromoRevolution Australian MP Andrew Wilkie the parliament speaking about the of Oromo people

https://youtu.be/mmhJ1EevSqQ


OROMIA: OMN: Gaafiif Deebii Gammadaa Waariyoo Down Down Wayane TPLF Jechuun Kan Beekamu. #OromoProtests


The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Ethiopia


Ethiopia: State of Emergency Used as Systematic State Repression in Ethiopia HRLHA Press Release


Open Democracy: Ethiopia’s crisis: Things fall apart: Will the centre hold? By RENÉ LEFORT 19 November 2016


Why is the Ethiopian diaspora so influential?

The Oromo protests have changed Ethiopia

The struggle of the Oromo people has finally come to the attention of the global public conscience.

 

Newsweek: ETHIOPIA: OROMO POLITICIAN ARRESTED AFTER SPEAKING TO EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT


#OromoProtests: A year on struggle: This is a video made by Swedish students in Skara about the protests going on in Ethiopia. #OromoRevolution

Pambazuka News: Some thoughts on the deteriorating situation in Ethiopia. #Oromorotests #OromoRevolution

HRW: Will Ethiopia’s Year-Long Crackdown End?

Need for Meaningful Reforms, Accountability

Olympics dissident: Ethiopia could ‘become another Libya’

AI: Ethiopia: After a year of protests, time to address grave human rights concerns


Crossing Arms: The Plight and Protest of the Oromo in Ethiopia


State of emergency: Fascist TPLF Ethiopia’s government command post soldiers raping and killing


The Final Desperate Emergency Martial Law of Ethiopia and its Implications


“Open Letter to Government of Ethiopia” From Lotte Leicht, EU Director, Human Rights Watch. #OromoProtests #OromoRevolution #Africa


Global Journalist: Ethiopia’s State of Emergency & #OromoProtests


One Of The World’s Best Long Distance Runners Is Now Running For His Life

 


HRW: Ethiopia: State of Emergency Risks New Abuses: Directive Codifies Vague, Overbroad Restrictions. 

 An Ethiopian government directive under a state of emergency contains overly broad and vague provisions that risk triggering a human rights crisis, Human Rights Watch said  in a legal analysis. The government should promptly repeal or revise all elements of the directive that are contrary to international law.  31 October  2016.


 Ethiopia’s state of emergency silences aid workers — and some of their work


Venture Africa: WHY THE ‘PLANNED’ HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION IN ETHIOPIA SHOULD BE A GLOBAL CONCERN. #OromoProtests


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkNRF-erHls

Al Jazeera: Ethiopia ‘ruthlessly targeted’ Oromo ethnic group, report finds.

Ethiopia’s Regime Faces Precarious Times As Diaspora Plans for the Future


AI: Ethiopia: Draconian measures will escalate the deepening crisis. #OromoProtests


How Ethiopia’s State of Emergency affects Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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


Ethiopia’s crisis is a result of decades of land disputes and ethnic power battles


DW: New Ethiopian clampdown

Ethiopia’s state of emergency could trigger civil war and food shortage


The National Interest: Ethiopia Opens a Pandora’s Box of Ethnic Tensions


Oromia: Yakka Waraanaa Ummata Oromoo Irratti Gaggeeffama Jiru Ilaalchisuun Ibsa Gamtaa Barattoota Oromoo (Oromo Student Union )


Ibsa Ejjeennoo Barattoota Oromoo Yuuniversiitii Jimmaa,  October 7, 2016


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

 

Gabaasaa qindaawaa armaan gadii kan nama balaa san irraa hafeen nuu dhihaate kana obsaan dubbisaa. Sana booda wanti kaleessa Hora Haarsadeetti tahe maal akka fakkaatu hubannoo gahaa horattu.
■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
“Kan dhagaa darbaate ummata miti. Yeroo dheeraaf mormiin walitti fufinsaan deemaa ture. Waanuma godhan dhaban. Gubbaan helekoopitara nurra naanneessaa turan. Helekoopitarri marsaa duraa ergaa baga geessan jedhu gubbaa gad facaasaa ture. Sun kan akeekkameef ayyaana ummataaf yaadamee miti. Sodaachisaaf ture. Yeroo helekopitarichi nurratti gad siqee naannawuu umman guutuun harka wal qaxxaamursuun mallattoo didda itti agarsiisaa ture. Haalichi cimee itti fufe. Mormiin bifa adda ta’een deeme. Qeerroon guutummaan iddoo silaa Opdof isaan qabachiisu barbaadan dursite ganamumaan waan qabatteef kallattii dhaban. Karaa mormii ittiin qabaneessan dhaban. Midiyaaleen addunyaas ta’e isaan biyya keessaa bifa danda’aniin haalicha waraabaa turan. Guutummaan mormii waan tureef kallattiin dabarsu hin dandeenye. Fuuldura keenyatti faranjoota heedduu argaa ture. Waraabaa turan.

Midiyaaleen alaa carraa nu bira ga’uu hin arganneef malee gara ummata mormii irra jiruutti seenuun jiddu jidduun gaafiif deebii taasisaa turan. Qeerroon sodaa tokkoon alatti isaanitti himaa ture. Manguddoonnis akkasuma himaa turan. Mootumma shiftaa kana hin barbaannu,opdo hin barbaannu,ofiin of bulchina jechaanii ture. Ammas mormiin cimaa dhufe. Ummanni kallattii hundaan gara irreechaatti dhufu mormii dhaggeesisaa dhufa. Sagantaa gaggeeffachuu taasuma isaan hin dandeenye. Haalli kun hedduu isaan aarse. Ni boba’an. Naannolee adda addaatii qarshii kanfalaniif ummanni isaan geejibbaan fidatanis isaanitti gara gale. Mormiin liqimfamee mormitti seene. Woyaneen waan qabdee gad dhiiftu dhabde. Poolisoonni jidduu ummataa dhaabde hidhannoo hin qaban. Agaazii gara duubaatiin dhaabdee jirti. Booda irra as ba’an malee tasuma hin mul’atan ture.

Adaduma baayinni ummata gara horaa dhufu dabaluun mormiin haala duraanii caale cime. Dirreen irreechaa dirree mormii qofa taate. Kanatu isaan dhukkubse. Ummanni miliyoona heddu dirree irreechaa irratti bakka miidiyaaleen addunyaa baay’een argamanitti isaan salphise. Kanaaf maratan. Summii saamii irraan helekopitaraan gad roobsan. Ummata joonjesan. Sab booda dirreen aaraan guutamte. Agaaziin iddoo jirtuu as baate. Rasaasaan dha’amuu ummata arguu qofa taate. Boolla meetira 10-15 gad fagaatutu jidduu waraanaaf ummataa jira. Boolla kanatti baayee fixan. Lakkofsi ummata dhumee hedduu dabaluu danda’a. Rasaasa isaanii cinatti boollichis isaaniif tumseera.”
Yaya Beshir irraa


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

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


UN Human Rights Briefing Note on EthiopiaOctober 7, 2016


Indian Professor in Ethiopia: An Appeal to the International Community about Human Rights Situation. #OromoProtests #OromoRevolution


African Arguments: Ethiopia: How popular uprising became the only option. #OromoProtests #OromoRevolution


BBC: Are Ethiopian protests a game changer? #OromoProtests


Aljazeera: Oromo protests: Ethiopia unrest resurges after stampede

VOA: Ethiopia Protests Continue Despite Call for Calm. #OromoProtests #Bishoftu Massacre


Ethiopia: human rights defender condemns deadliest mass murder in Oromia. #IrreechaaMassacre #OromoProtests


Ethiopia Human Rights Abuses Spark U.S. Congressional Action

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


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


Risk Advisory: Ethiopia | Assessment of government stability amid ongoing protests

The Ethiopian government is looking increasingly unstable, and the security environment in Ethiopia is looking more dangerous.


This is Africa: Ethiopia at a crossroads: apartheid, civil war or reconciliation?


ETHIOPIA’S GRADUAL JOURNEY TO THE VERGE OF CRISIS

Lelisa’s Message

A wave of protest in Ethiopia highlights the country’s history of exploitation and dispossession.


Click here  to read Daily Maverick: Ethiopia Mourns– but mourns what, exactly?

The Economist: The downside of authoritarian development: Ethiopia cracks down on protest: Once a darling of investors and development economists, repressive Ethiopia is sliding towards chaos


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

“Internet mobile irrati fayadamuuf mali argameera… akkas agodhani qeeroon Setting..more network….mobile network… access network name…. harka mirgara + kan jedhu tuqu… name kanjedhu … et.wap… APN… et.wap…. proxy…10.204.189.211… port…9028…. authentication… PAP or CHAP kan jedhu guutu… kana booda qeerroon mirgaan galte Mobile jam Tplf irraa hanu… sanan fayadama jira amaan kana.” #OromoRevolution.

 

 

For those following the Feyisa Lilesa and  in Ethiopia: Sifan Hassan on his demonstration – “He’s my hero.”

For those following the Feyisa Lilesa and in Ethiopia: Sifan Hassan on his demonstration – “He’s my hero.”

Athlete Sifan Hassan, the European champion – “I’m Oromo and Feyisa is my hero” 

https://www.facebook.com/v2.3/plugins/post.php?app_id=249643311490&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2Fr%2FSh-3BhStODe.js%3Fversion%3D42%23cb%3Df2de287767684ac%26domain%3Dorom

Fayyisaa Leellisaa goota Oromoo

https://videopress.com/embed/7vGBHiNV?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0


https://youtu.be/fI4k2kCxdYk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWfvdxZ2MEs


Godina Wallagaa Yuniversiitii Wallaggaa Keessatti Loltooti TPLF Barattoota Eebbifamuuf Jedhan Doorsisaa Jiru Jedhu Barattooti.

IMG_20170629_220602Waxabajjii 29,2017/Yuunversiitii Wallaggaa keessatti sirna eebbifamtoota bara kanaa irratti diddaan ka’uu. mala jechuun Wayyaaneen baratoota ba’aaf gala dhorkaa jiraachuu Qeerroon gabaase.
Mootummaan gita bittuu abbaa irree Wayyaanee baratoota mooraa yuunversiitii wallaggaa keesssa jiran maqaa eebba bara kanaa irratti mormii kaasuu jedhuun shakkii fi muddamsuu keessa seenuudhaan humna waraanaa guutummaa mooraa yuunversiitii Wallaggaa fi naannoo ishee irra qubsiisee baratoota moorichaa  ba’aafi gala dhorkaa akka jiru maddeen qeerroo mooraa yuunversiitii wallaggaa irraa gabaasan. Continue reading 


Godina Arsii Aanaalee Shirkaa fi Gobbessaa Keessaa Oromoonni Heddumminaan Waraana TPLFn Qabamuun Hidhaatti Darbamaa Jiru.

because-i-am-oromoWaxabajjii 30.2017/ Godina Arsii Aanaa Shirkaa Magaalaa Gobeessaa keessatti Dargaggoonni Oromoo hidhamaa jiru. Godina Arsii Aanaa Shirkaatti Ayyaana Iidalfaxriitti Ummanni Akka mormii godhuuf waamicha karaa adda addaatin godhaa turtanii jirtu jechuun Ilmaan Oromoo mana isaanitii guuramuun hidhatti darbatamaa jiru. Akka gabaasni Aanicharraa nu gahe addeessutti dargaggoonni hanga ammaatti mana hidhaatitti darbataman Muhammad Jabboo Aliyyii, Huseen Amaan Gaaradoo, Turaa Jamaal Waakkannee, Ibraahim Jamaal H/ Hasan, Reeduwaan Sh/ Amiin Turee, Awwaloo Ahmad Aloo , Abdii Muhaammad Jamaal, Mahdii Muhaammad Amiin kanneen jedhaman kan keessatti argaman ta’uu maddeen keenya Shirkarraa gabaasanii jiru.

Kana malees Godina Arsii Aanaa Shirkaatti Dubartoota walitti qabdee Durgoo Qarshii 50 guyyaan kaffalaaafii Dubartoota doorsisaa jirti.19366239_682332708641349_5389908550204486148_n

Akka gabaasni achii nu gahe ibsutti dubartoonni maatii isaanii Akka deeggartoota ABO fi Qaamolee siyaasaa kamiituu hin Continue reading 

 

Artistooti Oromoo Beekamoon Lama Loltoota Wayyaaneen Butaman.

Waxabajjii 28,2017 /Godina Shaggar Kaabaa Kaabaa aanaa Giddaatti weellistoonni Oromoo lama butamanii jiru. Weellistoonni kun

  1. Mogoroo Jifaarii fi
  2. Shimallis Abbaabuu

Jedhaman,weellistoonni kun kana duras magaalaa sulultaatti ukkaamfamuun Wajjira poolisii Sulultaatti ergi guyyaa muraasa dararaamanii booda gad lakkifamii turan ammas marsaa lammaffaa,Godina Shaggar  kaabaa aanaa giddaatti ukkaamfamuun wajjiraa Poolisii aanaa giddaa keessatti dararaamaa jiraachuu gabaasni Qeerroo Giddaa ni addeessa. Continue reading 

 

Godina Lixa Shaggar Magaalota Gincii fi Amboo Keessatti FXG Itti Fufee Oole.

Waxabajjii 26/2017 Gidduugaleessaa Oromiyaa Godina Lixa Shaggar Magaalaa Ginciitti Sochiin Warraaqsaa Biyyoolessa Oromiyaa FXG Gootota Qeerroo Barattoota Oromoo M/B Giincii Sadarkaa 2ffaa fi Qophaa’inaan finiinee itti fufee jira . Gabaasaa dabalataan Walitti deebina.  Continue reading 


Godina Oromiyaa Gara Garaa Keessatti FXG Itti Fufee Oole.

Waxabajjii 25,2017/Guyyaa Har’aa Ayyaana Iidaa Alfaxrii salaata  Duraa fi boodattis Godinaalee Harargee Arsii fi Baalee keessatti Mormiin balaleffanna Mootummaa Abbaa Irree wayyaanee godhamaa jira.waraanni wayyaanees daandii marsee akka cabbiitti gadi naqamee ummata harka wal Qaxxaamursee mormii godhaa jiru daawwataa jira . Continue reading 


 

 

 

 

 

Jijjiramu tartiiba Qubee Afaan Oromoo ni mormina: Baratoona Amboo. #ABCDeebisaa #OromoProtests

Oduu OMN

(AMBOO, Oromiyaa,  Waxabjj 15,2017) –  Tartiibni qubee Afaan Oromoo jijjiiramuu hin qabu jechuun diddaan barattoota Amboo ammas akkuma itti fufetti jira.

Gareen komaandipoosti barattoota reebuudhaan mormii isaanii bittinsuullee barattoonni OMN tti himan.

(Usmaan Ukkumee)

Magaalaa Ambootti bifa haarawaan mormii fi diddaan erga jalqabee torbaan tokko laakkofsisee jira. Loltoota Agaaziitiin haga ammaatti lubbuun barattoota lamaa yoo darbu, 50 ol hidhamuun ni yaadatama.

Guyyaa hardhaa Waxabajjii 15 bara 2017ttis barumsi akkuma dhaabbatetti jira. Gareen komaandipoosti wayta barattoonni mana barumsaa deemanitti akka isaan hin barannee taasisaniiru.

Jiraattota dubbifne akka jedhanitti hardhas barattoonni bifa haaraan mormii dhageesisan. Ka’umsi mormii isaanii tartiiba qubee Afaan Oromoo jijjiramuuf karoora dhihaate irratti akka ta’es dubbatanii jiru.

Dhimma kanarratti barattuun nuti dibbinfe akka jettutti guyyaa hardhaa osoo isaan mormii geggeessaa jiranii loltoonni Agaazii reebicha irratti raawwachuun addaan bittinsuu ni dubbatti.

Loltoonni Wayyaanee konkolaataa heddutti fe’amanii magaalaa Amboo keessa ori’aa akka jiranis nuuf himteerti.

Barattoonni kunniin reebamuun mooraa mana barumsaa keessaa waan baafamaniif barumsi dhaabatee akka jirus ibsitee jirti.

Haga ammaatti barattoonni hidhaman meeqa ta’u laata gaaffii jedhuuf barattuun tun yoo deebiftu, konkolaataa sadiin qabamanii waan hidhamaniif lakkofsaan beekuun rakkisaadha.

Kana malees barattoonni hagi tokko magaalaa gadi dhiisanii baadiyatti baqataniiru. Barattoonni kutaa 10ffaa fi 12ffaa ammoo qormaata xumuranii gara maatii isaanitti deebi’aniiru.

Mana hidhaa magaalaa Amboo fi buufata leenjii poolisii Oromiyaa Sanqalleetti kanneen hidhamanis heddu ta’uu nutti himtee jirti.

Loltoota Wayyaaneetiin wayta ammaa kana guutumatti nagaa fi tasgabbiin dhabameera kan jettu barattuun magaalaa Amboo tun rakkoo kana irra aanuuf ammoo gaaffiin ummata Oromoo deebii argachuu qaba.

Ba’aa gabrummaa Wayyaaneen nurratti feetee jirtu ufirraa qaarisuu qofatu fala jechuun ni dubbatti.

Barattoota barumsa isaanii hordofuudhaaf gara mana barumsaa deemanitti danqaa uumuun loltoota Wayyaanee haarawa akka hin taane himtee, inni ammaa garuu sodaa jabaadhaan kan guuttameedha.

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77lncWiN9m8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K2bicc64kE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FUpz8k3efw

https://youtu.be/lsbFeC2bi3Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtpZzMsqDVE

Marii maqaa Egzibiishinii fi maqaa badhaasa gootota misoomaa badhaasna jedhuun magaalaa Naqamtee keessatti taasifamaa ture irratti hookarsii fi diddaan gootowwan Qeerroo magaalaa Naqamteen dhalachuun himame.

Waxabajjii 11,2017/ Marii maqaa Egzibiishinii fi maqaa badhaasa gootota misoomaa badhaasna jedhuun magaalaa Naqamtee keessatti taasifamaa ture irratti hookarsii fi diddaan gootowwan Qeerroo magaalaa Naqamteen dhalachuun himame.
Mootummaan goolessituu Wayyaanee godina Wallagga bahaa magaalaa Naqamtee keessatti maqaa badhaasa goototota misoomaa badhaasna jedhuun erga guyyaa gaafa jimaataa irraa kaasuun uummata magaalattii walitti qabuun uummata nagaa dhorkuu ittuma fuftee jirti. Sirni wayyaanee kan hundeen isaa holola kijibaa fi hannaan kan gad dhaabbate guyyaa har’aas godina wallagga bahaa magaalaa Naqamtee staadeemii magaalaa Naqamtee keessatti uummata nagaa walitti qabuun holola misoomaatiin uummata leeqaa afanffajjeessaa oole jira.Sobni yoomiyyuu sobuma.

Murni atakkaaroon kijibaan biyya bulchaa jiru Haayile Maariyaam Dassaaleeny fi Gootowwan Qeerroon magaalaa Naqamtees diddaa sirna Wayyaaneef qaban irraa kan ka’an guutummaa uummata walitti qabamanii jiran gidduutti wallee warraaksaa jalqabuun addaan fashaleessanii jiru.Kanumaan wal qabatees dargaggoonni 4 reebicha waraanni sirna wayyaanee irratti raawwataniin miidhamanii jiru.Dargaggoota kanneen ammaaf maqaaf suuraan nun geenye.Akkuma arganneen isin beeksisna.


Godina Arsii Aanaa Hanqooloo Waabeetti Wayyaanee OPDOn Sababaa Jijjiirraa Qubeen Ummata Gidirsaa Jiru.

Waxabajjii 11,2017/Wayyaanee OPDOn Godina Arsii Aanaa Hanqooloo Waabeetti Dilbata har’aa gandoota hundatti Barattoota fi Maatii barattootaa walitti qabdee Qubaan hin jijjiiramne umnoota Ummata Fincilaaf kakaasuu fedhantu akkas jedha malee Tartiibni  Qubee hin sirreeffama jedhe malee Qubee hin jijjiira hin jenne mootummaan jechuun ummatatti kijibaa jiraachuu maddeen Qeerroo gabaasanii jiru.


Waayeen Jijjiirraa Tartiiba Qubee Dabballoota Wayyaaneetiif Hojii Baasee Jira.

Waxabajjii 10,2017/ Shirri Wayyaaneen Tartiiba Qubee jijjiiruu jettee asiin baate. Wayyaanefii Ergamtuu Tigree OPDO rifaatuu guddaa keessa galchuun godinaalee hundatti ummata yaaftee qubeen hin jijjiiramne hin jijjiiramus jettee ololaa jiraachuun dhagayamaa jira.Bifuma kanaan Godina Arsii Aanaa Amiinyaattis maatii Barattootaa walitti qabdee Qubeen jijjiirame jechuun Kan Biyya keessaa fi Alaa hafarfamaa jiru kijiba kanaafuu ummanni keenya Oduu akkasiitif gurra hin kenninaa jettee itti kijibaa jiraachuu maddeen Oduu keenya Aanaa Amiinyaa irraa nuuf gabaasanii jiru


Wayyaaneen TPLF Raga Baatota Sobaa Maallaqaan Bitataa Jiraachuu Qeerroon Gabaase.

Waxabajjii 10,2017/ Wayyaaneen Ummata Mallaqaan bittee Ragaa Sobaa Qeerroo Karaa nagayaatiin Falmaa turerratti ragaa baasisaa jirti.Haaluma Oromiyaa guutuu keessatti godhaa jirtuun Godina Arsii Aanaa Balee Gasgaar keessattis Qeerrorratti Ragaa bahaa jettee warra isiin mallaqaan bitte keessaa muraasni kanneen maqaan isaanii barruu armaan gadii kanarratti argaman ta’uun beekamee jira

Godina Arsii Aanaa Roobee Magaalaa Roobee Diida’aa Keessaa Dargaggoonni Sabboonoo Waraana TPLFn Qabamaa Jiru.

Waxabajjii 10,2017.Dargaggoo Oromoo Jibriil Sammaan FXG Godina Arsii Aanaa Roobee Magaalaa Roobee Diida’aatti Bara darbe gaggeeffamaa ture adda dureedhaan kan hoogganaa ture isa jechuun wayyaaneen ji’a Sadeetii oliif barbaadaa erga turtee jirti.haata’u malee humnoota barbaacha isaa irratti bobbaafte heddummeeffachuun guyyaa kaleessaa harka diinaa galee jira.Dargaggoon kuni Loltuu raayyaa ittisa biyyaa ta’ee waggaa Afuriif hojjatee loltummaa dhiisee hojii dhuunfaa isaa hojjachuun jiraachaa kan ture ta’uunis ni yaadatama Yeroo Ammaa gara ma’aakalaawii geessaa jiraachuun maddeen keenya gabaasanii jiru


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irtouh5L-do

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q6maJ5yH9w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYb3YxWeEx0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRMsEnuMXek

 

 


(OMN, Ambo wax 8, 2017) – Barattoonni mana barumsaa Qophaa’inaa Amboo fi qeerroowwaan magaalitti guyyaa har’aa mormii jabaa gaggeessa oolu isaanii jiraataan magaalaa sanaa tokko OMNtti himan.
Baarataan Yuuniversiitii Amboo tokkos gaaffii fi deebii AFP waliin taasiseen dhiibbaan akka sabatti nurratti gaha jiru jabinaan mormii akka itti fufnu nu taasisa jedhe.

Barattoonni mana barumsaa Qophaa’inaa Amboo fi qeerroowwan magaalaa Amboo mormii jabaa moootummaa wayyaanee irratti qaban guyyaa har’aa Waxabajjii 8, bara 2017 gaggeessa oolu isaanii jiraataan magaalitti OMNtti himan.

Barattoonni guyyaa har’aa mormii gaggeessatti oolan kunneen, barattoota kutaa 12ffaa barachaa turanii, guyyaa har’aa kanneen qorumsa seensaa Yuuniversiitii akka biyyittitti kennama ture warreen xumuranidha.

Barattoonni kunneenis tahee qeerrowwan Amboo, gaaffiin Oromoo deebii gaha hanga hin argannettii, sochiin warraaqsaa gara bilisummmatti taasisatti jiru jabinaan itti fufuna, duubatti hin deebinu jedhan.

Itti fufuun, mootummaan wayyaanee OPDOtti dhimma bahuun nu callisisuuf yaaluus, hanga gaaffiin saba keenya deebii quubsa argatuttii falmaa keenya jabaatee itti fafa jechuu isaanii jiratan Amboo dabaluun OMNtti himan

Mootummaan wayyaanee sagantaalee kanneen akka warraaqsaa diinagdee, carraa hojii dargagootaaf uumuu kan jedhuuf faayidaalee muraasa nuti dhadheessatti jiras jedhan.

Oduu wal fakkatuun madda oduu Azyaansi Firaansi pirees-AFP barataa Yunivarsitii Amboo tokko dubbisuudhaan haala rafamaa siyaasaa biyyaa Itoophiyaa waliin wal qabaate nageenya fi tasgaabbii amansiisaan akka hin jirees gabaaseera.

Akka gabaasa AFPtti, rakkinni nageenya fi tasgaabbii moora yuuniversiitii Amboo keeessattis tahe dhaabbiilee barnoota biyyitti keesuma immoo Oromiyaa keessatti bal’inaan jiraachuu saaxileera.

Barattoonni hedduun yakkaa tokko malee, manneen barnoota irraa uggurama fi ari’ama akka jiran kan dubbate barataan kun, daran hammachuun sarbaminsa mirgaa nammoomaa, sochii warraaqsa sabicha ammas bifa haaraan akka ka’uu taasisa jedheera.
Dhuma irrattis barataan Yunivarsitii Amboo kun ammas taanan mormiiin ummatta Oromoo jabinaan itti fufa jechuun AFP himmeera.
(Itichaa Guddataa)

“Abbootin Gadaa Hora Arsadiitti Faloo ummata keenya du’eef goona jechuun Arsaditti wal gahanii Gumaa ummata keenya dhume Rabbii nuuf haa baasu jedhan. Faloon keenya kan gumaa ijoollee teenya baasu fi kan bilisummaa teenya dhugoomsu jechuun eebba bal’aa kennan Abbaa gadaa dabalee jaarsoliin eebba eebbisan hunduu.” Jawar Mohammed, Waxabajjii, 8, 2017.


Qubeen Afaan Oromoo Qabsoon Argame Qabsoon Tikfama.

Bittootni Itophiyaa seenaan ummata Oromoo, aadaa fi afaan isaa akka hin dagaagne, hin baratamnee fi hin beekamne taasisuu irratti baroota dheeraaf hojjatan. Dhabama aadaa, afaanii fi seenaa ummata Oromoo irratti kan ofii dagaagfatuun akeeka bittootaa waan tureef wanneen eenyummaa Oromoo mul’isan hundi ugguramoo kan ittiin hin baratamne, ittiin hin hojjatamnee fi ittiin wal hin quunnamamne taasifamuun dhabamaatti dhiheeffamaniii turan.

Bittootni eenyummaa Oromoo dhabamsiisuuf yaalii ol aanaa godhan illee beektotni Oromoo garuu matayyaanis tahe gareen dhabama irraa hambisuuf gumaachi godhan ol aanaa dha. Afaan Oromoo afaan quunnamtii qofa osoo hin taane Afaan hojii fi barnootaa akka tahuuf yaaliin baroota dheeraaf adeemsisan milkaa’ee Afaan hojii fi kan barnootaa kan tahe waggoota 26n dura bara 1991 keessa tahuunis ni yaadatama. Continue reading 


Barataa Medicine Waggaa 6ffaa Yuunibarsiitii Jimmaa fi Barreessaa Kitaaba ‘’Hidhaa Moo Hidhannoo?’’ jedhu kan barreesse barataa Falmataa Bayeechaa Hundee Adamoo Waraana TPLF Jalaa Miliquun Biyyaa Bahe.

Waxabajjii 6/2017 Barataa Medicine Waggaa 6ffaa Yuunibarsiitii Jimmaa fi Barreessaa Kitaaba ‘’Hidhaa Moo Hidhannoo?’’ jedhu kan barreesse barataa Falmataa Bayeechaa Hundee yeroo dheeraaf humnoota tikaa fi Waraana komaandii Poostii wayyaaneetiin ajjeechaaf barbaadamaa kan ture afaan Diinaa jalaa miliqee bahee jiraachuu madden Qeerroo gabaasan. Barataa Falmataa Bayeechaa Hundee Gamtaa Barattoota Oromoo GBO bu’uuressuu fi hanga hoogganuutti illee gahee guddaa nama qabudha.
Sabboontota dargaggoota Qeerroo Oromoo Sochii Warraaqsaa Biyyoolessaa Oromiyaa Ebla 11/2014 irraa eegaluun bifa qindaa’een qabsiisan keessa nama tokko ta’uun beekamaadha. Continue reading 

 

OPDOn Tartiiba Qubee Afaan Oromoo A B C D….Z Ture Jijjirte!

Baarentuu Gadaa Irraa

Image result for ABCD oromoBiiroon Barnoota  OPDO Oromiyaa keessatti tartiiba qubee Afaan Oromoo A B C E F….Z   ture  jijjirudhaan  tartiiba haaraa L irraa eegalu uumee kitaaba barnootaa maxxansee barsiisuu eegaluun wal qabatee gutummaa Oromiyaa keessatti  ummanni Oromoo keessumaa barattoonnii fi barsiiftonni mormii guddaa muldhisaa jiru.

Akka gabaasa kanaatti  biroo barnoota Oromiyaa kena jedhamuu fi kan jalee wayyaanee OPDOn hogganamu  jiru  qormaata gahaa fi sababa  ifa ta’e osoo lafa hin kaa’iin  tartiiba qubee faaan Oromoo waggota hedduuf, Odoo OPDOnuu hin ummamin hojiirra oolaa ture  tartiiba isaa faalleessuun isa ummanni Oromoo fi saboonni kuunilleen ittiin beekan A B C D…..Z jedhu jijjiruun  ka’uumsa isaa L.. …..taasisuun kutaa 1- amma 8tti  kitaaba maxxansee barsiisuu eegaleera.

Jijjiramuu  tartiiba qubee afaan Oromoo  kanaaf sirnichis ta’e ogeeyyiin afaanii amma ammaatti ibsa ballaa fi sababa isaa kan lafa hin kaa’iin yoo ta’u; Barattonnii fi barsiiftonni manneen barnootaa  adda addaa gutummaa Oromiyaa keessa jiran deemsa kana ifatti balaaleeffachaa akka jiran gabaafameera. Continue reading 


 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjN989mHVCQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkRjcE2mcDQ

https://www.facebook.com/caltuu.muhammed.7/videos/1950069235227195/

ETHIOPIA SHUTS OFF MOBILE INTERNET NATIONWIDE WITHOUT EXPLANATION

 

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

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

 

 

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

Posted by OromianEconomist in #ABCDeebisaa, #OromoProtests, #SidamaProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

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

Posted by OromianEconomist in #ABCDeebisaa, #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
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?

Africa: Sidama Nation: TPLF fascist Ethiopia’s regime is destroying Sidama to erase its national identity for the first time in its history June 17, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #SidamaProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

 


 

Sidama: -TPLF is destroying Sidama to erase its national identity for the first time in its history

By Denboba Natie, June 2017


The unprecedented level of pain TPLF’s regime is inflicting on the Sidama nation is transcending sane imagination. TPLF’s actions against the Sidama nation defy belief simply because the nation – whose economy is potentially capable of enriching the entire South – is made beggar on its own soil. The degree of injustices to which the Sidama nation is subjected under this brutal regime is deeper, complex and multifaceted; only those who can see today’s Sidama situation beyond TPLF’s lies, deceits and rhetoric can understand. Unaddressed in time, the Sidama is at the verge of destruction. The society is left without representation at all levels: from the Sidama Zone to the pseudo-parliamentarians in Finfinne (also known as Addis Ababa). Sidama is the only nation, even in the Ethiopian standard, whose TPLF-picked cadres utter no word – from bottom to top – whilst working against their own people. For the last 4 or 5 years in particular, the Sidama intelligentsia, students, business community, peasants and the wider society at large have effectively been silenced by the unprecedented level of military presence in the Sidama land, and the 1-to-5 North Korean-style spying apparatuses and surveillance operating in Sidama. TPLF’s anti-Sidama mission is implemented through the nation’s worst enemy – Shiferaw Shigute (TPLF’s second-best advocate in the South of Ethiopia – following the current puppet Prime Minister Hailemairam Desalegn).

Therefore, as in Oromia, Ogadenia, Amhara, Konso, Gambella, Benshangul and the rest of Ethiopia (if not worst), an unprecedented level of anger and frustration is fermenting in the Sidama land although it is unclear when it is likely to explode to full scale. The fire of change is smoldering although it needs brave Sidama national leadership (within) – which can set it on, so that it won’t be extinguished by barbaric TPLF without totally burning it, for the seeds of freedom, liberty and democracy to be able to germinate and yield fruits.

Since its inception, TPLF’s criminally-stitched regime has been causing serious harm to the Sidama nation although this hasn’t been an exclusive practice. For example, TPLF has been causing such deliberately masterminded harms to the Oromo, Ogadenia, Gambella, Konso, Amhara and the rest of the peoples in the country. These nations and peoples of Ethiopia – including Sidama, have been continually brainwashed with lies and deceits, thus allowed themselves to be silently enslaved for the last 26 years, whilst bickering with one another on minor issues. Besides, the move of various nations since October 2015’s Oromo resistance is encouraging, although such resistances need commonality of purpose, unity, more focus, holistic and inclusive approach by accommodating differences, without agreeing until TPLF is removed from power.

In Sidama, in addition to the burden the entire nations and peoples of the country are sharing, the magnitude of harm TPLF has caused and is causing is multifaceted and different for various reasons. Despite Sidama being the fourth or at least fifth largest nation of the country with the population size of about 6 million, TPLF has denied Sidama of its constitutional rights to regional self-determination (although nominal) – a right which had been granted to 20,000 populated Harari. Tigray is not larger than Sidama in the size of its population and is much far less with economic contribution in 1991. Hundreds of Sidama civilians have been massacred, and tens of thousands have been unlawfully incarcerated for demanding the said rights. Equivalent to tens of billions of worth dollars budget have been withheld and denied to the Sidama nation as the nation is denied the said rights for the last 26 years. TPLF pockets all sums of money during these periods. Doing so makes the nation the most victimized nation in Ethiopia, given the size of its population and economic contribution. To the contrary, TPLF’s companies expropriating its resources in Sidama have become millionaires.

The continued denial of constitutionally guaranteed quest of the Sidama nation for regional self-determination has got significant ramifications. The nation can’t exist as a national entity without being in a position of formulating its own policies. Having regional autonomy – although nominal, enables Sidama to manage its own resources by setting its own priorities, economic, education, agricultural, more essentially cultural and local development policies, although these are all controlled by TPLF. For example, the Oromo nation has been equally brutalized by TPLF, besides, it has managed to develop its cultural aspects in the past 26 years which is a precursor of social consciousness. I’m proud of the Oromo nation in this aspect. This is the opposite in Sidama. The Sidama’s cultural heritages are rapidly eroding at an alarming rate. The symbol, even nominal, of regional autonomy, for the nation would mean huge as doing so helps the nation to continue as a national entity, albeit subjugation. Today, the Sidama nation is at the brink of losing itself in the utopian sea of TPLF masterminded confusion. If someone goes to Hawassa, the Sidama capital, people hardly see the signature of the nation. If one goes to Mekele, Gonder, Bahirdar or elsewhere in the contrary, it’s easy to see the signature of the host nation. In Sidama, however, only its displaced beggars symbolize its national demise.

The Sidama nation is denied these fundamental rights by successive rulers, although TPLF is the worst in facilitating the demise of the nation, faster than any person can imagine. Needless mentioning, to ascertain this argument, it’s worth looking at the fake Sidama history book facilitated by TPLF and written under the supervision of Sidama’s worst quisling, Shiferaw Shigute – and his likes. This is the sign of national disgrace.

I argue that TPLF’s denial of Sidama’s constitutionally guaranteed rights has got serious ramifications to the nation’s survival as a national entity; if it’s left unaddressed. I further argue that, I can justify that, since TPLF assumed power in 1991, it has threatened the survival of Sidama as a national entity for the first time since the creation of the Ethiopian state in today’s form in the late 1880s. This must be crystal clear to both friends and foes. Moreover, those who’re busying themselves to implement TPLF’s anti-Sidama policies in the Sidama land must unambiguously know the level of damage they are causing to the survival of the nation. This is a historical error; inexcusable and unforgettable mistake inevitably costs the culprits dearly when the right time comes, sooner or later.

TPLF uses various methods to dehumanize the nation whilst expropriating its resources. By this regime – more than all its predecessors, the Sidama is belittled, denigrated, massacred, continually silenced, displaced and made destitute. The nation is told and retold that it is incapable of managing its own affairs unless being dictated by the invading TPLF and its handpicked messengers, such as the aforementioned quisling. Sidama’s sons and daughters are kept at bay whilst their resources taken away in front of their eyes for the last 26 years. All Sidama environs surrounding Hawassa have been taken by TPLF’s business empire by leaving tens of thousands of Sidama peasants penniless and destitute. As indicated above, if the generation is silenced, subjugated, impoverished and kept at bay, the survival of Sidama – as a national entity – will not only be compromised, but also seriously at the risk of destruction. This is a wake-up call for the Sidama nation.

Moreover, TPLF’s denial of the Sidama nation of their constitutional rights to the nominal regional self-governance adversely affected not only Sidama, but also the wider 56 various southern nations and peoples of Ethiopia – which are amalgamated into a pressure-cooker known as the Southern Ethiopia Nations and Peoples Regional State (SNNPR) to be collectively enslaved. These diverse nations and peoples were previously five regions in which the Sidama was one of. This pressure-cooker has been created by the late TPLF’s PM Meles Zenawi in 1994/5, after totally merging the previously five distinct regions. Ever since, Sidama has been crippled in several ways without a single person from Sidama Zone at the federal level uttering a single word on behalf of the nation.

To make the situation worst, the injustice imposed on the Sidama nation has become severe since the May 24, 2002 Sidama massacre in Looqqe village (outskirt of the Sidama capital, Hawassa), where the regime’s army and security forces have summarily executed over 69 confirmed Sidama peaceful and unarmed civilian demonstrators – who were demanding TPLF to respect the Sidama nation’s rights to regional self-determination.

In its heyday after assuming power in 1991 by toppling its authoritarian predecessor, Derg’s regime, TPLF appeared to be serious about defending the rights of historically subjugated nations of the political South, including the Oromo. Besides, its subterfuge became clear when it systematically denied nations’ constitutionally guaranteed rights, few years after its grip on power. Unarmed civilians, in all parts of the country, have become the subjects of ongoing brutalities of unprecedented scales – including massacres, mass incarcerations, tortures and disappearances. Millions have been obliged to flee their country due to TPLF’s brutality and deliberately caused poverty.

In the actions only comparable with Europe’s Scramble for Africa, TPLF remains busying itself with the expropriation of the resources of the entire country with varying degrees. It has also gone beyond the expropriation of resources. For example, it has removed previously existing equipment from various hospitals, such as Tikur Anbassa Hospital, during its first year in power. From Tikur Anbassa – for instance, it has removed the Swiss-donated giant auto-sterilizer – which was used for an operation theater – and had taken it to a hospital in Mekele, Tigray. Various army facilities, construction and public transport sites – from where it has ransacked buses, lorries and automobiles and tens of thousands of military vehicles to take all to Tigray, in addition to exclusively monopolizing the entire economy, military and politics of the country ever since it came to power in 1991.

Not only brutalizing the dissents and expropriating the resources of the country, but also, time and again, it has shown its unpreparedness for a pluralist political system in a multi-ethnic and multi-national Ethiopia. TPLF has continually ignored this workable politico-economic system, totally disregarding its own paper-tiger ethnic-based federalism advocating constitution. TPLF dictates its lifeless constitution which theoretically grants universally recognized rights to the stakeholders without recognizing it.

Cognizant of its ramification as the older colonial rulers of the world, as indicated above, whilst expropriating their wealth, TPLF is working hard and is tirelessly working to erode the national identity of the Sidama nation. It mercilessly murders those Sidama civilians who dare demanding their rights as it has been the case during the Sidama Looqqe massacre of May 24, 2002. This is also the case in Oromia, Ogadenia, Konso, Amhara, Gambella, Benshangul … and elsewhere in the country.

Ironically, the Sidama traitors are blinded of the truth. They hardly see the world outside the lenses TPLF has given them. They worship TPLF as their personal god and believe that TPLF is omnipotent. They hardly breath a single word even under their own roof, with erroneous belief that, TPLF knows everything they do 24/7. Therefore, puppet PM Hailemariam Desalegn had once publicly venerated the late evil TPLF’s PM Meles Zenawi by praising him like God. They agree to the genocide the regime continually commits on the nations and peoples of Ethiopia with varying degrees. They agree to the displacements of the Sidama nation from their ancestral lands to vacate it for TPLF’s companies. The Sidama cadres are molded to believe that it is absolutely right for TPLF’s security and army forces to do whatever barbarism, incarceration and tortures of unarmed civilians to steal Sidama’s land in the name of ‘development’; they think nothing otherwise.

Furthermore, in the Sidama Zone, even the cadres are handled differently because the Sidama is an epicenter of the battle for TPLF’s survival in the South of Ethiopia, simply because TPLF has got no mass base in the entire country apart from the South through two historical failures, namely Hailemariam Desalegn and Shiferaw Shigute – in addition to Kassu Ilala and handful other South Ethiopia’s quislings. TPLF uses and throws when the surrogates fail to do their job – it replaces them with other quislings under their tacit belief that ‘this is not good enough to brainwash Sidama.’ The nation is heading towards its demise.

Finally, the Sidama nation – as the rest of the peoples of Ethiopia, including its cousin (Oromo) – has been subjected to ongoing tragedy. Traditionally gallant, the nation has been denied of its dignity and self-pride by TPLF. The nation is humiliated time and again, and is being groomed to lose its direction to become visionless. The nation is coerced by TPLF’s Sidama surrogates to think and believe that TPLF has got godly power, thus the nation must shut up and follow their orders without questioning it. Sidama quislings are stage-managing TPLF’s anti-Sidama policy in the Sidama land with all possible means, including intimidating, massacring, silencing and impoverishing their own people.

Sidama’s new generation is misguided, has become hopeless – thus it has been obliged to scavenge over the leftovers of TPLF – instead of fighting for its legitimate rights whilst its wealth enriches TPLF’s bandits. The families of Sidama youth – who have sent their children to universities by selling their precious assets – are obliged to helplessly see their returnee graduate children sitting idle without aspirations, hopes and dreams. Sidama’s development activities, which were supported by foreign aid – have been dismantled by the order of TPLF’s late PM and the remaining few serve political purposes of the regime and its cadres. The Sidama land has become a battleground which the TPLF rulers scramble over while its over 6-million legitimate owners are silently driven into nonexistence with deprivation. The Sidama land has become hell for its owners whilst TPLF entirely controls its abundant economy, political and related affairs.

For how long will the Sidama remain silent? For how long will the nation tolerate slavery? For how long will the nation put up with its worst quislings who are stage-managing its suffering? For how long will the nation remain belittled and deceived? For how long will, the historically gallant Sidama nation, remain subservient to the brutal TPLF’s rule? For how long will its wealth enrich TPLF whilst its sons and daughters are surviving on a single meal a day? For how long will the nation allow its lands to be freely confiscated by TPLF’s apparatuses leaving Sidama peasants beggars on their own soil? Uncustomary fear or silence Sidama nation?

Dying defending own rights and land is privilege and much more dignified than dying under slavery in silence whilst nation’s survival is at stake!

The Sidama Nation, Wake up!

* Denboba Natie can be reached at denbobanatie@yahoo.co.uk

 


 

 

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

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

 

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

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

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


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

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

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

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

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

 


Ethiopia at tipping point as Congress mulls human rights bill

Ethiopia at tipping point as Congress mulls human rights bill

© Getty Images


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

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment


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.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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.

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

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

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.


 

Surveillance and State Control in Ethiopia May 21, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

 


A small Tigray elite dominates a political system that formally derives its legitimacy from ethnoregional autonomy and representation. This has fueled resentment and discontent in many parts of the country. As a result, the government fears that any space for autonomous civic action could spark further mobilization and unrest, potentially triggering defections within the ruling apparatus.


The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front came to power in 1991 as an insurgent coalition intent on transforming Ethiopia’s politics and economy. Over the past two decades, the government’s heavy-handed approach has fostered significant regional and ethnic discontent.

TACTICS

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) came to power in 1991 as an insurgent coalition intent on transforming Ethiopia’s politics and economy. Over the past two decades, the government’s heavy-handed approach has fostered significant regional and ethnic discontent. As the EPRDF’s grip on power has weakened, it has moved to further close political and civic space. Two laws adopted in 2009—the Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation—decimated the country’s already weak human rights community. The government’s crackdown has also extended to development and humanitarian groups, which have been targeted with burdensome funding regulations and government harassment.

The closing of civic space in Ethiopia has the following key features:

  • Harsh restrictions on foreign funding for civil society organizations working on a wide range of politically related issues.
  • Violent repression of civic mobilization in the name of counterterrorism and anti-extremism.
  • Efforts to bring all independent civil society groups—including development and humanitarian actors—in line with the government’s national development policy.

Civil Society Growth Amid Constraints

A History of Repression

While Ethiopia has a long history of mutual self-help organizations and informal community groups, the formal nongovernmental sector has historically been weak and marked by adversarial relations with the state.407Any autonomy enjoyed by civil society during the reign of emperor Haile Selassie was severely restricted after the Marxist Derg regime assumed power in 1974. State authorities closed down or co-opted almost all independent professional organizations and interest groups, including traditional associations in rural areas. Those organizations that survived state repression focused on providing emergency relief services. However, the famines of the 1970s and 1980s forced the Derg leadership to open the door to international assistance, triggering an influx of foreign NGOs that often relied on local partners to facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid.408

Ethiopia’s NGO sector expanded rapidly during the brief period of political liberalization that followed the EPRDF’s ascent to power. As aid flowed into the country to support the political transition, new professional associations and development organizations emerged, as well as a handful of advocacy groups.409 The Ethiopian Teachers Association took an active role in challenging the government’s education reforms. Traditional associations such as the Mekane Yesus church in western Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region added human rights components to their community work, and student activism flourished.410At the same time, most civil society organizations had relatively limited resources and capacity, and their impact on state policy remained marginal. Given Ethiopia’s dire humanitarian situation after years of civil war, many groups continued to focus on service delivery and relief efforts.411 Those that ventured into advocacy typically worked on relatively safe issues such as children’s and women’s rights and operated within existing policy frameworks.412

Continued Government Suspicion

Despite efforts at liberalization, the EPRDF remained suspicious of independent media and civil society. Beginning in the early 1990s, the government sought to bring independent trade unions under EPRDF control by replacing government critics with party loyalists. The Ethiopian Teachers Association and the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions—both of which had been critical of the government’s reforms—experienced sustained harassment. The president of the teachers association was convicted of armed conspiracy in 1996, and the confederation chairman fled the country in 1997. State officials also set up a rival teachers association of the same name that was staffed exclusively with EPRDF supporters.413

The lack of a comprehensive legal framework governing civil society created additional barriers for nongovernmental groups, with some being arbitrarily denied registration for having ostensibly political goals. For instance, the ruling party characterized the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, the country’s most prominent human rights monitoring group, as a partisan political movement affiliated with the Amhara-dominated opposition, rejected its application for registration, and temporarily blocked the organization’s bank account.414 When prominent intellectuals and professionals from Addis Ababa’s Oromo community formed the Human Rights League in 1996, the group’s leaders were promptly arrested for being supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front—although their case never went to trial.415

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the civil society sector as a whole remained vulnerable to state control. Most civil society organizations were led by urban elites and lacked a strong grassroots base. Many did not have a significant presence beyond the capital and in rural areas. This provided fodder for government accusations of parasitism and rent-seeking. Distrust among NGOs also stood in the way of forming sector-specific coalitions and consortiums that could have maximized their outreach and impact. At the same time, the government rarely consulted civil society organizations in its policy formulation processes.416 Beginning in 2003, it began to consider restrictions on foreign funding of civil society organizations, arguing that external funding for political and rights advocacy amounted to illegitimate meddling in the country’s internal affairs.417

Narrowing of Political Space

The 2005 Postelection Crisis

The 2005 election proved to be a turning point for Ethiopian civil society. The run-up to the election witnessed unprecedented displays of political competition and opposition party coordination. Civil society organizations sponsored televised debates on public policy issues and sued the government to be allowed to monitor the polls.418 Early election results indicated that the opposition coalition had made unexpected gains, suggesting a win of more than 180 parliamentary seats. When official tallies indicated that the ruling party had won, the largest opposition coalition refused to concede defeat. They alleged that the ruling party had stolen the election, while the EPRDF claimed that opposition parties had conspired to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means. The ensuing standoff continued for months, with violence erupting between protesters and security forces across the country.419

In this climate of intense polarization, government authorities accused civil society organizations that had monitored the polls and conducted voter education efforts of sparking unrest and inciting violence.420 Even before the election, the government had ordered representatives of highly visible international organizations providing democracy and governance aid to leave the country, including the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, the International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute. Surprised by the outpouring of opposition support, EPRDF officials concluded that foreign-funded human rights groups and independent media outlets had coordinated with the opposition to undermine the ruling party.421

Yet the EPRDF did not immediately move to impose legal restrictions on civil society. Rather, the clampdown unfolded in two main phases. In the immediate aftermath of the election, the EPRDF was in crisis mode. Its initial efforts centered on quelling opposition protests and consolidating power ahead of the 2008 local elections. Approximately 20,000 protesters and as many as 150 opposition leaders, activists, and journalists were arrested, and numerous independent newspapers and magazines were shut down.422 Two well-known human rights lawyers, Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demisse, were among the first to be charged with conspiracy and incitement to overthrow the government. In 2007, both were sentenced to two and a half years in prison.423

The EPRDF introduced a series of laws that specifically targeted activities that had facilitated widespread popular mobilization during the previous election cycle.

The EPRDF viewed the opposition’s success as an existential threat to its own survival and to the ethnic federation it had constructed. Starting in 2005, the party leadership embarked on a massive party rebuilding effort, investing significant resources in expanding local party structures and bringing the rural population back into the party’s fold.424 It strengthened its control over local administrative units (kebele) that have the capacity to monitor households and restrict access to government services.425 Party membership increased from 760,000 in 2005 to more than 4 million in 2008. The government also passed electoral reforms that ensured the EPRDF’s dominance in the 2008 polls. For example, it drastically increased the number of local council seats, which made it impossible for any but the largest parties to field enough candidates to seize control of the councils. These efforts paid off: in 2008 the EPRDF won virtually all the local council seats. Together with the revival of mass associations and youth cooperatives, these reforms effectively incorporated millions of Ethiopians into EPRDF structures and government organizations.426

Institutionalization of Legal Restrictions

The second phase of the crackdown began as the 2010 general election drew near. Aiming to prevent a repeat of the 2005 crisis, the EPRDF introduced a series of laws that specifically targeted activities that had facilitated widespread popular mobilization during the previous election cycle: independent media publishing, civil society advocacy and monitoring, free public debate, and opposition party coordination. The Mass Media and Freedom of Information Proclamation, passed in December 2008, allowed prosecutors to stop any print publication that threatened national security concerns or the public order—a provision that has been used to target independent newspapers. In addition, the law criminalized the “defamation” of legislative, executive, or judiciary authorities and raised defamation fines to about $10,000.427

In February 2009, the government adopted the Proclamation for the Registration and Regulation of Charities and Societies (referred to hereafter as the Charities and Societies Proclamation), the first comprehensive law governing Ethiopian nongovernmental organizations. While civil society organizations were allowed to contribute to the draft proclamation, they had little meaningful influence over the final version.428 The law imposed a wide range of burdens on civil society. Most important, it divided all civil society organizations into three categories: Ethiopian charities and societies, Ethiopian resident charities and societies, and foreign charities and societies. The first category comprises all NGOs that receive at least 90 percent of their funding from domestic sources, and only these groups are allowed to work on “the advancement of human and democratic rights; the promotion of equality of nations, nationalities and peoples and that of gender and religion; the promotion of the rights of the disabled and children’s rights; the promotion of conflict resolution or reconciliation; and the promotion of the efficiency of the justice and law enforcement services.”429 This means that any organization that receives significant outside funding is effectively barred from a wide range of advocacy, peacebuilding, and rights-focused activities. The government justified this provision as necessary to ensure that organizations working on political issues are “Ethiopian in character” and, in an apparent nod to Russia, to prevent “color revolutionaries” from trying to overthrow the regime.430

For many Ethiopian civil society organizations, this provision was devastating. Given the dearth of domestic funding sources, they had relied almost exclusively on external aid. They had few alternative options; the Ethiopian government was unlikely to fund any advocacy efforts or politically related programs. In addition, the proclamation specified that any charity or society could allocate no more than 30 percent of its budget to administrative activities—while classifying an unusually wide range of expenditures as administrative costs.431 As a result, organizations were forced to count basic operational expenses—including staff allowances and benefits, monitoring and evaluation expenditures, and travel and training costs—as administrative overheads, triggering widespread pushback.432

The 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation also had a debilitating effect on civil society and independent media. Like similar legislation around the world, the law includes extremely broad definitions of terrorist activity and material support for terrorism and imposes long prison sentences and even the death penalty for a wide range of crimes.433 The law’s vague language grants authorities the power to prosecute journalists who publish articles about protest movements, armed opposition groups, or any other individuals deemed as terrorist or anti-peace.434 Rights advocates also found themselves at risk of prosecution for carrying out or supporting terrorist acts.435 The law was particularly pernicious given the Ethiopian government’s extensive capacity to monitor citizen communications, including mobile phones and landlines.436 Since coming into force, the law has been broadly applied in criminal cases involving opposition politicians, activists, and journalists, even though credible evidence of communication with or support for terrorist groups is almost never provided. The judicial system lacks the independence and capacity to push back against abusive applications of the law.437

Repression in the Name of National Security

Targeting of Activists for Security-Related Offenses

With this restrictive legal framework in place, government authorities had new tools at their disposal to suppress civic activism and independent media in moments of crisis. Two key patterns have emerged over the past six years. First, the EPRDF has relied on its almost complete control over radio, television, and print media to cast pro-democracy and human rights activists as terrorists and foreign agents, tapping into popular fears of Islamic radicalism, foreign intervention, and ethnic strife. For example, after the U.S. Department of State issued its 2009 Human Rights Country Report on Ethiopia, the state-controlled Ethiopian Television Agency broadcast a three-part series accusing several Ethiopian human rights groups of supplying false information to the U.S. government in exchange for support.438 Media outlets also regularly blame foreign powers and organizations for stirring domestic unrest and use this alleged interference to justify extrajudicial action.439

These prosecutions had a chilling effect on the country’s online activists and remaining independent reporters—at least sixty journalists have fled the country since 2010.

Second, the government has used court proceedings to selectively intimidate and silence high-profile activists, reporters, and civil society leaders, typically based on alleged national security threats. For example, following repeated demonstrations by Ethiopia’s Muslim community against government interference in religious affairs between 2012 and 2014, Ethiopia’s Federal High Court convicted the protest leaders on charges of terrorism and conspiracy to create an Islamic state in Ethiopia.440 In the thirteen months before the 2015 polls—the first to be held following former prime minister Meles Zenawi’s death in 2012—journalists also witnessed escalating harassment by security and judicial officials.441 In April 2014, this campaign culminated in the arrest of three journalists and six bloggers from the Zone 9 blogging collective, who were convicted under the criminal code and the antiterrorism law for having links to banned opposition groups and attempting to violently overthrow the government.”442 In August 2014, an additional six newspapers and magazines were charged with encouraging terrorism, among other charges.443 These prosecutions had a chilling effect on the country’s online activists and remaining independent reporters—at least sixty journalists have fled the country since 2010.444 Security forces have also arrested and detained rights activists and lawyers who defend political prisoners, often without formally charging them with crimes.445

Extension of Rural Surveillance and Control

At the same time, the state’s extensive administrative apparatus has continued to subject citizens in rural areas to threats and detention, creating a pervasive climate of fear. The state’s surveillance capacities at the local level have stifled civic activism and dissent in many places without the need for violent repression.446 The EPRDF has relied on a pre-existing system of local governance that existed under the Derg regime to extend government control. Officially, Ethiopian officials insist that these local-level institutions are voluntary associations formed in regions like Oromia in order to advance rural agriculture and development. However, human rights organizations report that they are often used to monitor citizens’ activities, report incidents of dissent, and selectively withhold government benefits.447Attesting to this dramatic closing of civic and political space, the EPRDF and its affiliates claimed 99.6 and 100 percent of parliamentary seats in 2010 and 2015, respectively. These overwhelming majorities signaled political continuity after the upheaval that followed the 2005 polls and Zenawi’s sudden death, reminding the party’s rank and file that defection was pointless given that the EPRDF still controlled all access to public office.448

Citizens have nevertheless continued to mobilize, as evidenced by the widespread antigovernment protests that broke out in the Oromia and Amhara regions in 2015 and 2016. The government’s response to these outbursts of citizen discontent has been violent suppression: security forces arrested more than 11,000 people over the course of one month and killed at least 500.449 Once again, authorities have claimed that demonstrators are part of banned opposition groups in order to delegitimize the protests. The current state of emergency, declared in October 2016 and extended repeatedly since then, has imposed additional barriers on freedoms of assembly, association, and expression. The implementing directive initially restricted access to and usage of social media and banned communication with so-called terrorist and anti-peace groups as well as contact with foreign governments and NGOs that could affect “security, sovereignty and the constitutional order.”450 It also allowed the army to be deployed across the country for a period of at least six months. The government has blamed human rights groups seeking to document violations by security forces for stirring up unrest and has denounced diaspora groups for spreading misinformation about the government’s response to the protests.451

Support for Mass-Based and Development Associations

In contrast to its crackdown on independent groups, the EPRDF government has encouraged the growth of mass-based and state-supported development associations as a more authentic expression of grassroots activism. While these organizations have traditionally focused on development and service delivery, the government elevated their role with respect to governance and rights advocacy after the 2005 election—just as it began cracking down on independent media and civic activism. Most mass-based associations have their roots in the armed struggle against the Derg regime. For example, the Women’s Association of Tigray can be traced back to the Women’s Committee of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, established in 1976.452 The structures of these associations typically extend from the national level down to the regional, district (woreda), and village (kebele)levels, providing a wide societal reach. Development associations, on the other hand, are membership organizations that focus on promoting local development in their respective areas of operation.453 In Ethiopia, each regional state has its own development association, such as the Tigray Development Association and the Oromo Development Association.

Both mass-based and development associations generally lack political independence and financial and technical capacity.454 They tend to collaborate closely with sector ministries and bureaus, and government bodies often view them as implementing agencies rather than independent actors that represent the interests of their members.455 For example, owing to their presence in remote rural areas, mass-based organizations have played an important role in recruiting new party members and mobilizing EPRDF support ahead of local and national elections.456 In contrast, the few remaining independent trade unions and professional societies have experienced continued harassment and government interference. For example, the government has refused to register the National Teachers Association, which was forced to hand over its property, assets, and name to the government-aligned Ethiopian Teachers Association. Security agents have subjected the association’s members to surveillance and harassment.457The Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions, the Ethiopian Bar Association, and the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association have faced similar attacks.

DRIVERS

The Ethiopian government’s efforts to restrict civil society are a function of the EPRDF’s doctrine of revolutionary democracy, state-led development agenda, and struggle for political survival. Despite the party’s control over state institutions, the country’s political structure remains fundamentally fragile. A small Tigray elite dominates a political system that formally derives its legitimacy from ethnoregional autonomy and representation. This has fueled resentment and discontent in many parts of the country. As a result, the government fears that any space for autonomous civic action could spark further mobilization and unrest, potentially triggering defections within the ruling apparatus. The opposition’s unexpected gains in the 2005 election in particular sparked a renewed effort to consolidate party control by eliminating or co-opting alternative centers of power.

The EPRDF’s Ideological Underpinnings

The EPRDF was formed as a political coalition between different ethnic-based liberation fronts that had fought Mengistu Haile Mariam’s military regime. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which had led the insurgency under the command of Zenawi, recognized that transitioning from a rebel movement to a national government would require the support of the country’s many ethnic groups. At the same time, Zenawi sought to preserve the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s highly hierarchical structure. He and his allies were trained in Marxist ideology and rejected liberal democracy as a viable political model to achieve economic and political transformation.458 Instead, they conceived of the EPRDF as a Leninist vanguard party that rules on behalf of the rural masses. While the party adapted to the end of the Cold War by retreating from an explicitly socialist approach, it retained its core—though ambiguously defined—doctrine of revolutionary democracy, which stresses grassroots participation via mass organizations and party cells. Political competition and interest representation occur under the mantle of the vanguard party. As a result, even in the 1990s, the party had limited interest in encouraging the expansion of an independent civil society, which it considered an urban and elite-driven phenomenon with limited transformative potential.

The EPRDF’s pursuit of rapid economic development further reinforced the government’s efforts to extend its control over the civic sphere. The EPRDF came to power with a vision of itself as the only actor that could effectively tackle the country’s underdevelopment. Other societal actors—including civil society—had to be subordinated to the government’s modernization and industrialization efforts. Party leaders viewed development NGOs as opportunists who sought out foreign money to fund their inflated salaries and expenses without serving the public interest. They also blamed them for fostering aid dependence at the expense of long-term development and argued that their funding streams and activities should be subjected to greater government control.459 According to the EPRDF model, the development state not only intervenes in the economy, but “also has a role in guiding ‘appropriate’ citizen behavior and constructing useful social networks” that advance the national development agenda.460 Local kebele and sub-kebele administrative structures have been imposed from above both as tools of development and mechanisms of political control.461 This approach has gone hand in hand with a dramatic expansion of public goods and services meant to ensure continued popular support—particularly in light of growing ethnoregional discontent.462

A Contested Political Settlement

At the core of the EPRDF’s efforts to suffocate independent civil society lies the fear of further antiregime mobilization. Despite the government’s developmental success record, its position of power remains fundamentally fragile, owing primarily to the internal contradictions of the EPRDF regime. After coming to power, the EPRDF instituted a complex system of ethnic federalism that granted an unprecedented degree of political autonomy and representation on the basis of ethnicity. The EPRDF’s ascent was celebrated as the liberation of Ethiopia’s nations and nationalities from decades of centralized rule. The party also formally committed to multiparty elections and political pluralism.

However, these constitutional guarantees have not resulted in an actual decentralization of executive power.463 Instead, the state has become increasingly intertwined with the ruling party, and political and economic power has gradually become concentrated in the hands of a small elite. Ethiopia’s regions are governed by ethnoregional parties that are de facto subordinate branches of the EPRDF—which remains dominated by the ethnic Tigray, who make up only 6 percent of Ethiopia’s total population. Party leaders know that if the EPRDF were to open space for civic mobilization, it could mean the end of Tigray rule. The opposition’s unexpected gains in the 2005 election justified these fears. Throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s, Ethiopia had held regular elections, but the hegemony of the ruling EPRDF was never threatened. The opposition remained divided, and the ruling party used coercive means and its incumbency advantage to prevent rival parties from participating on a level playing field.464 When political space temporarily opened up in the lead-up to the 2005 polls and opposition actors unified, the EPRDF’s grip on power proved to be tenuous. As a result, the EPRDF under the leadership of Zenawi embarked on a de facto restoration of the one-party state.

After having eliminated the immediate threat of the political opposition, the government’s attention turned to civil society and the media. The ruling party’s continued control and legitimacy depends on regulating access to information and channeling civic activism through party and state structures. The fact that civil society organizations had monitored the 2005 elections, conducted voter education efforts, and condemned the security forces’ subsequent crackdown only reinforced the government’s view that advocacy organizations were partisan actors allied with opposition forces and set on upending EPRDF rule. As a result, most civil society organizations were not surprised when the government moved to enact further NGO restrictions ahead of the 2010 polls, even though many had not anticipated just how stifling the legislation would be.465 In sum, the EPRDF has compensated for vulnerabilities of the current political settlement by continuously extending the party’s control over Ethiopian society; any alternative space—whether in the political sphere or in civil society—could potentially emerge as a challenge to its continued authority.466

IMPACT

The political and legal changes introduced between the 2005 and 2010 elections had a profound impact on Ethiopian civil society. The total number of active organizations has shrunk, and many groups have been forced to shift their focus from political and rights-based work to development and service delivery in order to keep receiving foreign funding. As a result, there are very few advocacy and human rights monitoring groups left in the country. Initially, development organizations did not feel affected by the new legal regime. However, government-imposed budget specifications have forced them to abandon certain activities and have hindered the formation and operation of civil society networks and umbrella organizations.

Consequences of the Crackdown

Shrinking of the Human Rights Community

The Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation had a dramatic impact on human rights work in Ethiopia. The circle of active and professional human rights organizations was already small before the laws were passed. These groups, which were mostly established during the 1990s, provided legal aid and civic education, monitored elections and human rights violations, and advocated for the rights of minorities, women, and other vulnerable groups. Many were focused on single issues, such as voter education, religious freedom, peacebuilding and conflict resolution, and women’s rights.

The restrictions on foreign funding caused a near cessation of independent advocacy activities.

After the Charities and Societies Proclamation took effect, human rights and conflict resolution organizations faced a stark choice: they could either try to continue their work, which meant they would have to raise 90 percent of their funding from domestic sources, or register as resident charities and shift toward more politically neutral development and relief work. Given the lack of domestic funding sources, the restrictions on foreign funding caused a near cessation of independent advocacy activities. Many organizations opted to change their focus, knowing that they would not be able to sustain their work without international support.467 For example, local and international organizations such as Mercy Corps, Pact Ethiopia, Action for Development, and the Oromia Pastoralist Association abandoned their conflict resolution work and reduced their support for local peace committees.468 Those that lacked the resources and human capacity to retrain their staff and develop new programming shut down their operations altogether. Others fled the country in fear of prosecution under the antiterrorism law.469 The result was a rapid decline in the number of active human rights organizations in the country. Only around 10 percent of the 125 previously existing local rights groups reregistered under the new law.470

Reduced Capacity for Advocacy, Outreach, and Assistance

A small number of organizations—including the Ethiopian Bar Association, the Human Rights and Peace Center, the Human Rights Council (HRCO; previously the Ethiopian Human Rights Council), and the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA)—chose to reregister as Ethiopian charities and societies to continue their work. These groups have faced a dearth of domestic funding, which has forced them to scale back their work. While community-based giving is common across Ethiopia, there is no strong tradition of donating to charitable organizations. Organizations have struggled to raise money through membership fees and fund-raising events.471 As noted above, the Charities and Societies Proclamation imposed additional hurdles by giving the Charities and Societies Agency the power to deny or delay any fund-raising or income-generation proposals.472 The law also prohibits anonymous donations, which means that citizens who donate to human rights groups face potential political repercussions.473 To make matters more difficult, the agency froze the bank accounts of both the HRCO and EWLA after the law had been passed, depriving them of their accumulated savings.474

Faced with harassment and funding cuts, human rights organizations had to disband key training and assistance programs. For example, the HRCO had previously conducted human rights education seminars and workshops that aimed to raise awareness of human rights standards among public servants, police officers, and judicial officials. Despite initial skepticism, participation in these workshops was on the rise before the passage of the Charities and Societies Proclamation: in 2009, a total of 1,034 officials took part.475 After the law was passed, the organization’s budget shrank from $351,000 in 2008 to $26,300 in 2011, forcing it to disband the program.476 Another civil society initiative to establish child protection units at police stations was similarly suspended.477 EWLA—the only major NGO advocating for women’s rights and gender equality at the national level—has had to abandon key areas of work. The association had provided free legal aid to more than 17,000 women and established an emergency hotline for women that received 7,332 calls in the first eight months of its existence.478 After the Charities and Societies Proclamation was passed, EWLA was forced to cut 70 percent of its staff, shut down its hotline, and give up most of its public education work, continuing to provide only a small amount of free legal aid using volunteers.479

Reduction in Human Rights Monitoring

It has also become much more difficult for local and international groups to accurately document human rights violations and security force abuses. Before 2009, the HRCO monitored and documented human rights violations through twelve branch offices across Ethiopia. It was the only civil society group conducting extensive field investigations, including in high-risk areas.480 After the enactment of the Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, half of the organization’s staff—including the director—left the country in fear of government reprisals. The organization was forced to close nine of its twelve branch offices, which curtailed its ability to effectively collect information and communicate with victims of human rights abuses.481 The number of field investigators decreased from seventeen to four, dramatically limiting the organization’s reach. Increased government harassment makes the work of the remaining investigators more difficult and dangerous.482

International organizations that could complement domestic monitoring efforts have been barred from entering the country or accessing certain regions. The International Red Cross was expelled from the Ogaden region in 2007 for allegedly aiding separatist forces, and Médecins sans Frontières has been denied access to certain areas.483 Ethiopian officials have denied entry to Human Rights Watch researchers and prevented Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights, and the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (among others) from opening offices in Ethiopia. The government has then used their absence from the ground to deny the legitimacy of their reports.484

Those who tried to systematically collect information faced government surveillance, threats, and repression.

As a result of these restrictions, it has become increasingly difficult to undertake independent investigations into human rights abuses and monitor the government’s use of international donor funds.485 This became evident during the recent suppression of antigovernment protesters in Oromia and Amhara. As demonstrations broke out in Oromia in 2015, there were few independent analysts on the ground who could corroborate reports of security force abuses.486 Those who tried to systematically collect information faced government surveillance, threats, and repression. In the summer of 2016, four of the HRCO’s members were arrested and detained, likely because they were documenting the crackdown on antiregime demonstrators.487Government restrictions on Ethiopian NGOs have impeded their ability to prepare and submit parallel reports to international human rights treaty bodies.488 The Ethiopian diaspora has attempted to fill this gap by gathering information remotely through their contacts in the country.489

Faced with criticisms, the Ethiopian government has highlighted its own human rights institution, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, which was created in 2000 and has been tasked with monitoring and raising awareness of human rights issues in the country. However, the commission lacks the technical and financial capacity to effectively carry out its mandate. It has yet to publish a single report detailing human rights violations in the country.490 In fact, it has at times been used to counteract the work of independent civil society organizations.491 For example, in 2016, the commission denied allegations made by civil society groups that Ethiopian security forces had used excessive force against demonstrators and declared the government’s response to have been “proportional.”492

Barriers to Election Monitoring and Voter Education

Independent civil society groups have also been forced to strike election monitoring and voter education from their mandates. Ahead of the 2005 elections, civil society organizations conducted civic and voter education efforts across the country. International donors allocated $6.2 million to support a free and fair electoral process, which included $1.6 million for twenty-four Ethiopian NGOs to provide information about the polls to voters.493 The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia initially barred most civic groups from observing the election, but national courts reversed the board’s decisions shortly before the vote. Despite the lateness of the court decision, the HRCO sent out 1,550 observers on polling day to monitor the vote.494

The 2010 and 2015 parliamentary elections occurred in an entirely different context. Ahead of the 2010 polls, independent groups struggled to obtain the necessary accreditation from the electoral board to monitor the elections or conduct voter outreach. For example, the HRCO was asked to remove both election observation and voter education from its statute to reregister with the government.495 The Ethiopian Civil Society Network for Elections, which consisted of twenty-four member groups, was dissolved.496The InterAfrica Group, which played a key role in organizing public debates in the run-up to the 2005 election, had shifted toward other activities and receded from the public eye.497

The Charities and Societies Proclamation encourages mass-based organizations to “actively participate in the process of strengthening democratization and election,” observe the electoral process, and cooperate with electoral organs.498 However, as noted above, these organizations remain closely aligned with the ruling party. The largest authorized domestic election observation group to monitor the 2010 polls, the Consortium of Ethiopian Civil Societies for Election Observation, is a case in point: it found the elections to be free and fair, despite a 99.6 percent victory by the ruling party.499 In contrast, the EU Election Observation Mission stated that the elections fell short of international standards.500Since the 2010 election, the only international observers to monitor Ethiopian elections have been from the African Union. The EU declined to take part after its previous recommendations were rejected by the Ethiopian government.501 Meanwhile, voter education has been taken over by the electoral board, which lacks independence from the government. In 2015, the board launched its voter education campaign just days before the election and limited its efforts to instructing citizens on how to find polling stations and complete their ballots.502

New Constraints for Development Work

Initially, development organizations did not feel particularly affected by the new legal framework.503 A key feature of the Charities and Societies Proclamation is that it treats rights advocacy and development work as distinct areas of activity. While organizations working on issues such as gender equality, children’s rights, and minority protection are prohibited from receiving foreign funding, the same restriction does not apply to development aid and humanitarian organizations. Indeed, the total number of organizations involved in development and service delivery grew in the six years following the enactment of the law.504

However, the government’s new funding rules and the overall shrinking of civic space have nevertheless constrained their work. First, the government’s bifurcation of Ethiopian civil society organizations failed to take into account that many aid organizations over the past few decades have embraced a rights-based approach to development that focuses on the connections between poverty, political marginalization, and discrimination. These groups were forced to abandon their work on national policy questions and shift toward more apolitical and service-oriented activities. The fear of criminal prosecutions for infringements of the NGO law reinforced this trend: many NGOs began practicing self-censorship and refraining from any open criticism of government policies to avoid administrative or legal reprisals.505

Second, the Charities and Societies Proclamation prohibits any organization from spending more than 30 percent of their budgets on administrative costs.506 Government officials justified this provision—what became known as the 70/30 regulation—as a mechanism to ensure that the majority of project funding reaches the intended beneficiaries rather than going toward excessive overhead costs. Yet for many organizations, the government’s expansive definition of administrative overhead meant that they could not comply with the requirement without drastically reducing the scope of their work. Expenses they considered critical to project implementation—such as staff allowances, travel and trainings costs, monitoring and evaluation expenses, and vehicle purchases—suddenly counted as administrative costs. Many organizations noted that spending on vehicles, fuel, and driver salaries was essential to maintaining project sites in remote rural areas. For example, health organizations providing mobile outreach services, trainings for health extensions workers, and clinical mentorship suddenly had to classify all of their core activities as administrative expenses.507 The guideline proved particularly challenging for civil society networks and umbrella groups that aimed to enhance individual member organizations’ influence and shape national policy discussions. Under the new guideline, these networks are no longer allowed to engage in advocacy work and can only finance their work through member contributions.508

Adaptation Strategies

Shift Toward Development and Service Provision Activities

To survive in the new legal and political environment, the majority of Ethiopian civil society organizations have chosen to shift their activities toward technical development and local service delivery work, moving away from any issues that could be construed as politically sensitive. A 2011 survey of thirty-two NGOs conducted by the Taskforce for Enabling Environment for Civil Society in Ethiopia found that 70 percent of development organizations and 44 percent of human rights organizations changed their organizational mandates and activities in order to preserve their access to foreign funding.509

Some organizations were able to simply rebrand stigmatized activities in a way that made them more palatable to government officials. They did so by removing any references to rights or governance from their mission statements, funding applications, and activity reports. Most international organizations successfully reregistered using the same tactic.510 For example, the pre-2010 mission statement of Action Aid’s Ethiopia branch was titled Rights to End Poverty and noted their work with excluded populations “to eradicate absolute poverty, inequality and denial of rights.” In response to the new law, the group changed its mission to ensuring “that poor people effectively participate and make decisions in the eradication of their own poverty and their well-being generally.”511

To survive in the new legal and political environment, the majority of Ethiopian civil society organizations have chosen to shift their activities toward technical development and local service delivery work.

Other groups had to undergo a more radical restructuring process. A significant shift in mandate and programming was feasible only for larger organizations that had sufficient human resources.512 For example, the prominent human rights organization Action Professionals’ Association for the People completely reoriented its mission toward providing socioeconomic services for the poor, producing research, and conducting capacity development activities. The Organization for Social Justice Ethiopia renamed itself the Organization for Social Development and shifted from human rights and voter education to corporate social responsibility. The Ethiopian Arbitration and Conciliation Center stopped providing conflict resolution and arbitration and began focusing on capacity building and judicial training.513

The abandonment of the rights-based focus has had a significant impact on the Ethiopian development landscape. Moving away from the underlying drivers of marginalization, many organizations have ceased their awareness-raising, advocacy, and training activities. For example, NGOs that previously worked on child trafficking, child labor, and juvenile justice had to abandon their focus on children’s rights and focus instead on livelihood improvements and direct support to orphans and vulnerable children.514The Forum on Street Children Ethiopia, which had sponsored child protection units in police stations and trained justice sector officials on children’s rights, ceased its child protection activities at the end of 2010.515Resident charities that have nevertheless engaged in gender equality, children’s rights, and justice sector reform have received official warnings from the government.516 Foreign-funded organizations are also barred from working on women’s rights and gender equality, meaning that they no longer advocate for policy and legal reforms on key issues such as female genital mutilation, unsafe abortions, and childhood marriage.517 On the other hand, those organizations that successfully shifted their work to purely developmental activities have continued to collaborate closely with government agencies at the national and regional levels and maintain fruitful working relationships.518

Compliance and Resistance in Response to the 70/30 Guideline

Adaptation to the 70/30 rule proved to be another significant challenge for the sector. Organizations undertook different measures to ensure their compliance, including cutting down on staff training and salaries, giving up capacity-building and training activities, reducing the frequency of field visits, or refocusing their work on urban or semi-urban areas.519 In addition, many groups had to drastically reduce their expenditures on monitoring and evaluation, which in turn made them less attractive partners for international donors.520 According to civil society representatives working in education, health, gender equality, and food security, the overall impact of the 70/30 directive was a decrease in the quality of service delivery and an inability to meet donor expectations with respect to project design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.521

After extensive domestic and international pressure, the government agreed to amend the 70/30 guideline in 2015. The regulation now classifies salaries, transportation costs, and training-related expenses as operational rather than administrative expenses. However, the majority of Ethiopian civil society organizations still struggle to fulfill the requirements. While the Charities and Societies Agency has been slow and inconsistent in enforcing the law, it has repeatedly closed down organizations that have failed to comply. In June 2016, the agency announced that it had shut down more than 200 NGOs over the previous nine months. The announcement followed a new directive imposing additional penalties for noncompliance with the Charities and Societies Proclamation.522 The effort may have been triggered by the Federal Auditor General’s performance audit of the agency, which found evidence of widespread inefficiencies and weak enforcement.523

Working Under the Radar

The few Ethiopian human rights groups that remain active in the country have struggled to survive. Raising local funding has proven particularly difficult. Before the Charities and Societies Proclamation came into force, the HRCO successfully negotiated with its international funders to invest some of the organization’s core funding into a property that could generate rental income for the organization.524 Other groups have organized film screenings or music evenings. However, such efforts have raised only small amounts that fail to cover even basic operating expenses.525 In addition, applications to the Charities and Societies Agency for proposed fund-raising activities have often been met with delays, forcing organizations to cancel planned events.526 As noted above, all active human rights groups have adjusted to the new context by further downsizing their activities and disbanding central areas of work.527

The primary survival strategy has been to carve out space at the local level, with the support of international donors. For example, the EU successfully negotiated exemptions in the government’s restrictive legal framework that allow limited amounts of international funding to flow to Ethiopian charities and societies, in spite of the 10 percent foreign funding limit. While these funding arrangements depend on the approval of Ethiopian authorities, they have ensured the survival of organizations like the HRCO, Vision Ethiopian Congress for Democracy, and EWLA that would otherwise most likely have vanished.528 However, receiving aid through government-approved channels has not protected these groups from harassment by security officials. Most recently, in October 2016, security agents raided an HRCO’s organizational fund-raiser—which had earlier been authorized by government authorities—and briefly detained the organization’s leaders before releasing them with a warning not to criticize the government.529 A number of regional organizations registered with local sector offices have been able to continue their work on gender equality, children’s and disability rights, and the rights of the elderly. For example, the Amhara Women’s Association has continued to focus on gender-based violence and the prevention of female genital mutilation. However, these types of regional organizations tend to have limited resources, which reduces their scope for action.530

INTERNATIONAL RESPONSES

Similarly as in the case of Egypt, U.S. and European security interests have constrained Western responses to shrinking civic space in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government’s successful development track record has further complicated international pushback. European and U.S. leaders have primarily engaged in quiet diplomacy rather than public shaming of Ethiopian authorities. They have focused their behind-the-scenes pressure on short-term issues on which they felt tangible progress could be achieved, such as the release of political prisoners. Lastly, they have generally not used overseas development assistance or security cooperation as tools to gain leverage, even though the EU managed to renegotiate assistance modalities to channel limited amounts of funding to embattled civil society organizations.

Competing Economic and Security Interests

International responses to the closing of space for civil society in Ethiopia have to be understood in the context of Ethiopia’s broader relationship to Western donor governments. In recent years, Ethiopia has been one of the largest African country recipients of overseas development assistance, receiving an average of $3.5 billion from international donors.531 However, although the Ethiopian government is highly dependent on external development assistance, Western governments have been hesitant to use this leverage to push back against repressive efforts in the country for several reasons.

First, Ethiopia’s status as a security and counterterrorism partner has made the country relatively impervious to external conditionality. The Ethiopian government has built an international reputation as an anchor of stability in a fragile region.532 The Ethiopian National Defense Forces have a played a key role in the fight against Al-Shabaab in Somalia and served as peacekeepers in the disputed Abyei area between Sudan and South Sudan. From 2011 to 2016, the U.S. military also used an Ethiopian base to launch unmanned aerial vehicles assigned to counterterrorism operations in East Africa.533 The EU, on the other hand, has relied on Ethiopia to stem the flow of migrants from East Africa and the Horn of Africa.534 Western governments fear that heightened pressure could destabilize the Ethiopian government, thereby creating further instability in the Horn of Africa.535Second, Ethiopian leaders have been highly effective at warding off international pressure by highlighting the government’s commitment to economic development and its substantial developmental track record, as well as by threatening to turn further toward China in the event of Western funding cuts. Third, international donors have been unwilling to cut their humanitarian and development assistance out of concern that such a drastic step would only end up hurting the country’s poorest populations, which are already vulnerable to drought and famine.

Behind-the-Scenes Pressure Against the Charities and Societies Proclamation

In 2008, news of the draft Charities and Societies Proclamation triggered international diplomatic pressure behind the scenes. International partners privately lobbied the Ethiopian government to remove some of the law’s harshest provisions. Throughout the drafting process, Western governments showcased an unusual degree of unity and coordination in condemning the law. Delegations from the EU, the United States, and the United Kingdom (UK) expressed their concern over the legislation during high-level meetings with Ethiopia’s prime minister and Ministry of Justice officials.536For example, the assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor traveled to Ethiopia to share U.S. concerns with Zenawi, raising issues such as the 10 percent cap on foreign funding and the limit on administrative overhead.537 However, these efforts did not significantly impact the final proclamation. The government agreed to a few amendments but retained the core features of the law. At the same time, it publicly accused the international community of illegitimate meddling.538

The international reaction to the passing of the law was timid. In a presidential declaration, the EU welcomed the “thorough exchanges of views” it had with the Ethiopian government regarding the law.539 It neither condemned the law nor asked for its repeal. The statement stood in contrast to the EU’s significantly stronger criticism of the 2006 Russian NGO law and similarly repressive legislation passed in Zimbabwe in 2004.540 Moreover, the European Commission simultaneously announced 250 million euros in additional assistance for the Ethiopian government. On the U.S. side, the Department of State issued a public statement of concern.541 Various high-level U.S. officials subsequently raised the issue of the shrinking civic space in meetings with their Ethiopian counterparts, but they rarely addressed the question in public.

Shift to New Funding Modalities

After the law’s passage, Western governments shifted their focus from lobbying to adaptation. The Civil Society Sub Group of the Development Assistance Group—a network of bilateral and multilateral donors established in 2001—set up a monitoring system to track the enforcement of the Charities and Societies Proclamation and collect systematic evidence on the challenges faced by civil society organizations. In addition, the group funded an Adaptation Facility to help Ethiopian civil society groups adjust to the new legal environment.542 The first part of this project was funded by USAID, whereas the second part was funded by a group of donors that included the Swedish International Development Agency, Irish Aid, the Danish and Dutch embassies, and the Canadian International Development Agency and was executed by a local CSO Taskforce.543

The EU also successfully pushed for an exemption from the Charities and Societies Proclamation. Thanks to the Cotonou Agreement—a treaty that obliges EU partner countries to more fully involve nonstate actors in development and policy planning—the EU convinced Ethiopian authorities to label the EU’s Civil Society Fund a domestic funding source. As a result of this exemption, the EU was able to keep funding civil society groups engaged in human rights and advocacy work, which would otherwise have been be barred from raising more than 10 percent of their budget from foreign sources.544 Between 2006 and 2012, the Civil Society Fund dispensed 14.9 million euros in small grants and capacity-building support to more than 250 Ethiopian civil society organizations.545 In 2012, the EU launched a second incarnation of the fund that allocated an additional 12 million euros to Ethiopian NGOs.546 As part of the agreement, Ethiopian government authorities participate in the funding allocation decisions and therefore exercise some degree of control over the process. The program has nevertheless benefited a few organizations working directly on democracy and rights, including the HRCO, EWLA, the Consortium of Christian Relief and Development Associations, and the Vision Ethiopian Congress for Democracy. In addition, the EU has channeled grants to Ethiopian NGOs through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.547

The U.S. government has struggled to continue its democracy assistance activities in the country. USAID initially continued funding the United Nations Development Program’s Democratic Institutions Program, which provided technical capacity building to Ethiopian governmental institutions, including the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. Yet it phased out its support after the Electoral Board denied civil society groups the right to provide voter education ahead of the 2010 elections.548 The National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute did not resume their in-country activities after having been expelled from the country in 2005.549 However, the National Endowment for Democracy has continued disbursing small discretionary grants to Ethiopian civil society organizations, including the Vision Ethiopian Congress for Democracy, the Forum for Social Studies, and the Peace and Development Center (see Figure 6).550

Quiet Diplomacy

At the diplomatic level, both the EU and United States continued to address the human rights situation in Ethiopia privately and within the framework of high-level meetings and formal political dialogues with the Ethiopian government. Their efforts centered primarily on monitoring the impact of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and its use against journalists, opposition activists, and religious leaders. U.S. officials raised these issues in meetings of the U.S.-Ethiopian bilateral Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights Working Group.551 EU officials also regularly discussed the Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation during its Article 8 dialogues with the Ethiopian government. These dialogues derive their name from Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, which requires the EU and its development partners to “regularly engage” in dialogue about democracy and human rights.552

This type of quiet diplomacy led to little political change. The Ethiopian government adopted a highly formalistic approach to dialogue that provided few opportunities for a genuine debate on governance and human rights. On the EU side, the Article 8 dialogues were hampered by the lack of political engagement by member states and the absence of verifiable human rights benchmarks.553 International lobbying efforts proved most effective when they centered on specific cases, such as the release of political prisoners. For example, U.S. officials privately urged the government to cease the harassment and detention of opposition party supporters, which may have contributed to the release and pardon of a number of opposition leaders and journalists.554 Similarly, the EU expressed strong concern about the fate of the Zone 9 bloggers, who were imprisoned in 2014 and ultimately released in 2015 shortly after Obama’s visit.555

Yet high-level public pressure remained rare, even as the human rights situation in Ethiopia deteriorated further. Several prominent U.S. officials glossed over Ethiopia’s backsliding on democracy in public statements. The former under secretary of state for political affairs, Wendy Sherman, caused a small stir among human rights organizations in 2015 when she referred to Ethiopia as “a democracy that is moving forward” and asserted that Ethiopia was willing to “make every election better than the last one in being inclusive” and “[make] sure everybody’s rights are respected.”556Obama faced a similar backlash in 2015 when he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia—the same year that the EPRDF claimed to have won all 547 parliamentary seats in a landslide victory. During his visit, Obama called Ethiopia’s government “democratically elected,” seemingly legitimizing the flawed elections.557 While praising Ethiopia as an “outstanding” partner in the war on terror, he privately pressed Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn for improvements on human rights and political freedoms.558 Faced with criticism, the Obama administration argued that raising the profile of governance concerns during a high-level meeting would be more effective than sidelining the Ethiopian government.559 As in the case of Russia and Egypt, Obama’s team thus prioritized what they termed “principled engagement” over punitive diplomacy.560

Continued Aid Flows

While the United States and European countries have engaged Ethiopian authorities on democracy and human rights issues in public statements and private meetings, they have not applied any significant financial or economic sanctions to pressure the Ethiopian government to open up political space. U.S. aid to Ethiopia has fluctuated greatly over the years, but it has generally not been subject to conditions relating to democracy and human rights. The Security Assistance Monitor reports that the United States has provided between $300 million and $900 million in economic aid and between $1 million and $25 million in security aid to Ethiopia every year since 2003.561 While Ethiopia’s access to foreign military financing and military education and training funds has been subject to certifications from the secretary of state that Ethiopia has improved along various political indicators, U.S. support for peacekeeping, counterterrorism, and other defense operations is exempt from such certifications.562

In Europe, the Nordic countries and the European Parliament have been the most vocal and public advocates for greater European conditionality toward Ethiopia. In January 2013, the European Parliament passed a resolution imploring the European Commission and other international donors to make military and development assistance to Ethiopia contingent on political reforms, including “the repeal or amendment of the Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.”563However, these efforts have translated into few tangible changes in assistance modalities. For example, the EU has never activated Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement to suspend development aid to Ethiopia over democracy and governance concerns.564 After the Ethiopian government’s 2005 postelection crackdown, the EU did cancel its direct budget support to Ethiopia’s national treasury.565 Yet it redirected the funds to the World Bank’s Protection of Basic Services program in Ethiopia, which later came under fire from human rights organizations for enabling the EPRDF’s human rights abuses.566 The EU also approved a “middle-sized” governance incentive tranche—meant to incentivize and reward political reform—even as the country experienced a significant tightening of civic and political space.567 Ethiopia stands out as the only low-income African country other than The Gambia where the European Development Fund has not named democratic governance as a “focal area.”568 Between 2005 and 2014, the EU allocated only 3 percent of its total EU aid to Ethiopia to support governance reform programs.569

The United Kingdom, another major source of economic and military assistance for Ethiopia, has not significantly changed its policy toward Ethiopia since the crackdown on civil society intensified in 2009. In recent years, Ethiopia has consistently been among the top five recipients of British development aid. In fact, between 2015 and 2016, Ethiopia moved up from being the UK’s third-highest aid recipient (313 million pounds) to being the UK’s second-highest aid recipient (388 million pounds), with only Pakistan receiving more aid.570 In the past, UK aid has come under fire for allegedly supporting human rights abuses by the Ethiopian government, as in the case of Mr. O, an Ethiopian farmer who filed a suit against the UK Department for International Development for indirectly funding a “villagization” program in which Ethiopian security forces displaced hundreds of Ethiopian villagers.571

As noted in the introduction, the reluctance to use political conditionality partly stems from donors’ desire to support the Ethiopian government’s development efforts and concerns that increased pressure in the form of financial and development penalties would only hurt the most marginalized and impoverished Ethiopians.572 Donor governments also worry that isolating the Ethiopian government could further increase China’s influence in the country—particularly since the EPRDF already views Chinese investment as an important alternative to Western support.573 They point to existing evidence that democratic conditionality rarely works.574 Moreover, the belief that sustainable democracy in fact requires economic development and political stability remains prevalent among many donors, reinforced by multiple short-term incentives to continue diplomatic and assistance cooperation around counterterrorism and migration management.

Weak Responses to the Current Crisis

The disjunction between Western countries’ aid relationship to the Ethiopian government and concerns over increasing repression in the country became even more apparent during the Ethiopian government’s crackdown on protesters in 2015 and 2016. On the one hand, the frequency of high-level statements and condemnations increased. The European Parliament repeatedly issued strong statements criticizing the EPRDF’s handling of the protests. In January 2016, it passed another resolution calling on the EU to link its development cooperation with Ethiopia to democratic reform commitments and mitigate the “negative impact of displacement within EU-funded development projects.”575 In 2016, the EU delegation in Addis Ababa and various EU member states cosponsored a joint mission to Ethiopia’s Oromia region to conduct field visits, meet with stakeholders, and evaluate the human rights situation of protestors targeted by Ethiopian security forces. Similarly, twelve U.S. senators in April 2016 introduced a resolution condemning the use of violence against protesters and civil society and calling on the secretary of state to review U.S. security assistance to Ethiopia.576

At the same time, U.S. and EU officials have given no indication of a broader policy shift. In November 2015, the EU and Ethiopia signed a Declaration on a Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility, which allocates further financial support to the Ethiopian government to manage migration flows in the Horn of Africa.577 On the sidelines of the European Development Days in June 2016, EU leaders and the Ethiopian prime minister signed a joint declaration, Towards an EU-Ethiopia Strategic Engagement, which sets up a comprehensive process of cooperation along shared interests, including counterterrorism, trade, migration and economic development.578 While the initiative includes annual consultations on human rights and governance, it remains to be seen whether they will serve as an effective forum to challenge Ethiopian officials on the shrinking of civic space. After meeting Desalegn in March 2017, the EU’s high representative, Federica Mogherini, did not address the ongoing state of emergency in Ethiopia, and even praised the government’s establishment of a dialogue with the opposition.579 For now, it seems that the EU will continue to embrace quiet diplomacy while refraining from applying public pressure or conditionality, while the new U.S. administration has given no indication of a shift in approach.

NOTES

407 Jeffrey Clark, “Civil Society, NGOs, and Development in Ethiopia: A Snapshot View,” World Bank, June 30, 2000, http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/611131468773954100/Civil-society-NGOs-and-development-in-Ethiopia-a-snapshot-view, 1.

408 Clark, “Civil Society, NGOs, and Development in Ethiopia,” 4.

409 Sisay Alemahu Yeshanew, “CSO Law in Ethiopia: Considering Its Constraints and Consequences,” Journal of Civil Society 8, no. 4 (2012): 372.

410 . Ben Rawlence and Leslie Lefkow, “‘One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure’: Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia,” Human Rights Watch, March 2010, https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/ethiopia0310webwcover.pdf.

411 . Clark, “Civil Society, NGOs, and Development in Ethiopia,” 5–6.

412 . Bahru Zwede and Siegfried Pausewang, eds., Ethiopia: The Challenge of Democracy From Below (Uppsala: Nordic Africa Institute, 2002), 109.

413 . Abadir M. Ibrahim, The Role of Civil Society in Africa’s Quest for Democratization (Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2016), 137; and “Ethiopia: The Curtailment of Rights,” Human Rights Watch, December 9, 1997, https://www.hrw.org/report/1997/12/09/ethiopia-curtailment-rights.

414 Zwede and Pausewang, Ethiopia, 110.

415 Siegfried Pausewang and Günter Schröder, “Ethiopia,” in Encyclopedia of Human Rights,ed. David P Forsythe(New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 161.

416 . Zwede and Pausewang, Ethiopia, 109.

417 . Debebe Hailegebriel, “Ethiopia,” International Journal for Not-for-Profit Law 12, no. 2 (February 2010).

418 . Terrence Lyons, “Ethiopia in 2005: The Beginning of a Transition?,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, January 20, 2006, https://www.csis.org/analysis/africa-notes-ethiopia-2005-beginning-transition-january-2006, 3.

419 Jon Abbink, “Discomfiture of Democracy? The 2005 Election Crisis in Ethiopia and Its Aftermath,” African Affairs 105, no. 419 (2006): 174–99.

420 . Lovise Aalen and Kjetil Tronvoll, “The End of Democracy? Curtailing Political and Civil Rights in Ethiopia,” Review of Political Economy 36,no. 120 (2009): 193–207.

421 Interview with specialist on civil society in Ethiopia, January 9, 2016.

422 Simegnish Yekoye Mengesha, “Silencing Dissent,” Journal of Democracy 27, no. 1 (January 2016): 90.

423 Ibid., 90.

424 . Sarah Vaughan, “Revolutionary Democratic State-Building: Party, State and People in the EPRDF’s Ethiopia,” Journal of Eastern African Studies 5, no. 4 (2011): 633.

425 . Aalen and Tronvoll, “The End of Democracy?,” 203.

426 . Vaughan, “Revolutionary Democratic State-Building,” 634.

427 Mengesha, “Silencing Dissent,” 92.

428 Hailegebriel, “Ethiopia.”

429 . “Civic Freedom Monitor: Ethiopia,” International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), last updated October 27, 2016, http://www.icnl.org/research/monitor/ethiopia.html; and “Ethiopia: Proclamation No. 621/2009 of 2009, Charities and Societies Proclamation,” Federal Negarit Gazeta, February 13, 2009, http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ba7a0cb2.html.

430 Dereje Feyissa, “Aid Negotiation: The Uneasy “Partnership” Between EPRDF and the Donors,” in Reconfiguring Ethiopia: The Politics of Authoritarian Reform,eds. Jon Abbink and Tobias Hagman (New York: Routledge, 2013), 208–9.

431 . “Civic Freedom Monitor: Ethiopia,” ICNL.

432 . Berhanu Denu and Ato Getachew Zewdie, “Impact of the Guideline to Determine Charities’ and Societies’ Operational and Administrative Costs (70/30 Guideline)—Phase III,” Development Assistance Group Ethiopia, September 2013, http://esap2.org.et/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Report-10_7030-Phase-III_Sep2013.pdf.

433 . Lewis Gordon, Sean Sullivan, and Sonal Mittal, “Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Law: A Tool to Stifle Dissent,” Oakland Institute, January 2015, 9.

434 “One Hundred Ways,” Human Rights Watch.

435 . Gordon, Sullivan, and Mittal, “Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Law,” 9.

436 . Hilary Matfess, “Rwanda and Ethiopia: Developmental Authoritarianism and the New Politics of African Strong Men,” African Studies Review 58, no. 2 (September 2015): 194.

437 Leonardo R. Arriola and Terrence Lyons, “The 100% Election,” Journal of Democracy 27, no. 1 (January 2016): 82.

438 “One Hundred Ways,” Human Rights Watch.

439 “Ethiopia Blames ‘Foreign Enemies’ for Stoking Unrest,” Al Jazeera,October 10, 2016, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/ethiopia-blames-foreign-enemies-stoking-unrest-161010100148946.html.

440 . Awol Allo, “Ethiopia Politicizes Courts to Strangle Dissent,” Al Jazeera America,July 10, 2015, http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/7/ethiopia-politicizes-courts-to-strangle-dissent.html.

441 Shannon Orcutt, “Caught Up in Bitter Contests: Human Rights Defenders Working in the Context of Elections in Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi and Uganda,” East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP), Human Rights House, September 2015, https://www.defenddefenders.org/2015/09/caught-up-in-bitter-contests-report-on-human-rights-defenders-working-in-the-context-of-elections/, 18.

442 Agence France-Presse, “Ethiopian Bloggers and Journalists Charged With Terrorism,” Guardian, July 18, 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/18/ethiopian-bloggers-journalists-zone-nine-charged-terrorism-ginbot-7.

443 . Orcutt, “Caught Up in Bitter Contests,” 18.

444 Ibid., 19; Mengesha, “Silencing Dissent,” 89; and “Journalism is Not a Crime: Violations of Media Freedoms in Ethiopia,”Human Rights Watch, January 2015, https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/01/21/journalism-not-crime/violations-media-freedoms-ethiopia.

445 . Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, “2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ethiopia,” U.S. Department of State, March 11, 2010, https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135953.htm.

446 . “‘One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure,’” Human Rights Watch.

447 “Suppressing Dissent: Human Rights Abuses and Political Repression in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region,” Human Rights Watch, May 9, 2005, https://www.hrw.org/report/2005/05/09/suppressing-dissent/human-rights-abuses-and-political-repression-ethiopias-oromia.

448 Arriola and Lyons, “The 100% Election,” 85.

449 “Ethiopia Extends State of Emergency by Four Months,” Al Jazeera,March 30, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/ethiopia-extends-state-emergency-months-170330110807086.html.

450 “Legal Analysis of Ethiopia’s State of Emergency,” Human Rights Watch, October 30, 2016, https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/10/30/legal-analysis-ethiopias-state-emergency.

451 . See, for example, “Human Rights Watch Encourages Opposition Violence in Ethiopia,” Official Blog of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, October 22, 2016, https://mfaethiopiablog.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/human-rights-watch-encourages-opposition-violence-in-ethiopia-article-drtedros/.

452 Tracking Trends in Ethiopia’s Civil Society (TECS), “Mass Based Societies in Ethiopia: Prospects and Challenges,” Development Assistance Group Ethiopia, March 2012, http://www.dagethiopia.org/new/images/DAG_DOCS/TECS_Policy_Brief_MBS_Final_English_2April12.pdf, 16.

453 . Gebre Yntiso, Debebe Haile-Gebriel, and Kelkilachew Ali, “Non-State Actors in Ethiopia—Update Mapping,” Ethiopia–European Union Civil Society Fund and Civil Society Support Programme, March 2015, 66.

454 TECS, “Mass Based Societies in Ethiopia,” 23.

455 Ibid.

456 Dupuy, Ron, and Prakash, “Hands Off My Regime!,” 29.

457 Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, “2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ethiopia,” U.S. Department of State, February 27, 2014, https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220113.htm.

458 . Arriola and Lyons, “The 100% Election,” 79.

459 . Feyissa, “Aid Negotation,” 209.

460 Matfess, “Rwanda and Ethiopia,” 186.

461 “‘One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure,’” Human Rights Watch.

462 Meles Zenawi, “States and Markets: Neoliberal Limitations and the Case for a Developmental State,” in Good Growth and Governance in Africa: Rethinking Development Strategies, eds. Akbar Noman, Kwesi Botchwey, Howard Stein, and Joseph E. Stiglitz(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

463 Tobias Hagmann and Jon Abbink, “The Politics of Authoritarian Reform in Ethiopia, 1991 to 2012,” in Reconfiguring Ethiopia, 3.

464 Pausewang and Schröder, “Ethiopia,” 160.

465 . Author interview with specialist on civil society in Ethiopia, January 9, 2016.

466 Feyissa, “Aid Negotiation,” 214.

467 “Stifling Human Rights Work: The Impact of Civil Society Legislation in Ethiopia,” Amnesty International, March 2012, http://files.amnesty.org/archives/afr250022012eng.pdf, 12.

468 Yntiso, Haile-Gebriel, and Ali, “Non-State Actors in Ethiopia,” 43.

469 Author interview with specialist on civil society in Ethiopia, January 9, 2016.

470 Dupuy, Ron, and Prakash, “Hands Off My Regime!,” 15.

471 “The Impact of the CSO Proclamation on the Human Rights Council,” Human Rights Council (HRC), July 2011, https://www.ehrco.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/impact_of_the_cso_proclamation_on_hrco.pdf, 8.

472 . Ibid., 4.

473 . Ibid.

474 . Amnesty International, CIVICUS, and Human Rights Watch, “Ethiopia: Supreme Court Ruling Marks a Further Erosion of Human Rights Work,” joint public statement, Human Rights Watch, October 19, 2012, https://www.hrw.org/news/2012/10/19/ethiopia-supreme-court-ruling-marks-further-erosion-human-rights-work.

475 “The Impact of the CSO Proclamation,” HRC, 12.

476 . Ibid., 9, 12.

477 . HRC et al., “Joint UPR Submission by the Ethiopian CSO Taskforce: Human Rights Council (HRC), Vision Ethiopia Congress for Democracy (VECOD), Ethiopian Human Rights Service (EHRS), Ye Ethiopia Ye Fiteh Seratoch Ma’ekel (Center for Legal Pluralism in Ethiopia,” UPR Info, September 2013, https://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/ethiopia/session_19_-_april_2014/js6_upr19_eth_e_main.pdf, 5.

478 . “Stifling Human Rights Work,” Amnesty International,26.

479 Ibid.,13.

480 Ibid., 24.

481 . “The Impact of the CSO Proclamation,” HRC, 9.

482 Ibid.

483 . Xan Rice “UN Fears Humanitarian Crisis in Remote Ethiopian Region,” Guardian, September 20, 2007, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/sep/20/internationalaidanddevelopment.internationalnews.

484 Addis Standard, “Ethiopia: The Slow Death of a Civilian Government and the Rise of a Military Might,” AllAfrica, January 24, 2017, http://allafrica.com/stories/201701240915.html.

485 Kenneth Roth, “Ethiopia: Development Assistance Group Should Address Human Rights in Ethiopia” (letter to Kenichi Ohashi, Ethiopia country director for the World Bank), Human Rights Watch, December 17, 2010, https://www.hrw.org/news/2010/12/17/ethiopia-development-assistance-group-should-address-human-rights-ethiopia.

486 “140th Special Report (Executive Summary),” HRC, March 14, 2016, https://ehrco.org/2016/03/140th-special-report-executive-summary/.

487 “Ethiopia: Civil Society Groups Urge International Investigation Into Ongoing Human Rights Violations,” press release, Amnesty International, August 30, 2016, https://www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2016/08/ethiopia-civil-society-groups-urge-international-investigation-into-ongoing-human-rights-violations/.

488 . Yntiso, Haile-Gebriel, and Ali, “Non-State Actors in Ethiopia,” 43.

489 “Ethiopia’s Compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities” (submitted to the 16th Session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, August 15–September 2, 2016), Advocates for Human Rights, http://www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org/uploads/ethiopian_-_crpd_-_july_2016.pdf.

490 HRC et al., “Joint UPR Submission,” 2.

491 Addis Standard, “Ethiopia: The Slow Death of a Civilian Government.”

492 . Ibid.

493 “Ethiopia: The 15 May 2005 Elections and Human Rights,” Amnesty International, April 2005, http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/42ae98270.pdf, 6.

494 . “The Impact of the CSO Proclamation,” HRC, 13.

495 . “Stifling Human Rights Work,” Amnesty International,18.

496 . Dupuy, Ron, Prakash, “Hands Off My Regime!,” 16.

497 Addis Standard, “Ethiopia: The Slow Death of a Civilian Government.”

498 . “Charities and Societies Proclamation,” Federal Negarit Gazeta.

499 . “Coalition of Civil Societies Says Ethiopia’s Elections Fair, Democratic,” Xinhua,May 25, 2010, http://en.people.cn/90001/90777/90855/6997960.html.

500 . European Union Election Observation Mission to Ethiopia, “Final Report on the House of People’s Representatives and State Council Elections,” Election Observation and Democracy Support, May 2010, http://www.eods.eu/library/EUEOM%20FR%20ETHIOPIA%2008.11.2010_en.pdf.

501 Marthe van der Wolf, “No Western Observers for Ethiopian Elections,” Voice of America,May 20, 2015, http://www.voanews.com/a/no-western-observers-for-ethiopian-elections/2779335.html.

502 Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, “2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ethiopia,” U.S. Department of State, April 8, 2011, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154346.htm.

503 Interview with Ethiopian civil society activist, January 9, 2017.

504 Yntiso, Haile-Gebriel, and Ali, “Non-State Actors in Ethiopia,” 14.

505 Barbara Unmüßig et al., “Closure of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Office in Ethiopia,” Heinrich Böll Stiftung, November 29, 2012, https://us.boell.org/2012/11/29/closure-heinrich-boll-foundation-office-ethiopia-democracy.

506 Denu and Zewdie, “Impact of the Guideline.”

507 . TECS, “On CHSOs Engaged in the Health Sector,” Development Assistance Group Ethiopia, December 2013, http://www.dagethiopia.org/new/images/DAG_DOCS/TECS_Information_Bulletin_10_CSOs_in_health_sector.pdf.

508 TECS, “Impact of the Proclamation and Guidelines on Consortia (Networks),” Development Assistance Group Ethiopia, August 2013, http://dagethiopia.org/new/images/DAG_DOCS/Policy_Brief_6_Consortia_August_2013.pdf.

509 Dupuy, Ron and Prakash, “Hands Off My Regime!,” 16.

510 . Ibid., 17.

511 . Ibid., 18.

512 . Ibid., 11.

513 . Ibid., 18.

514 TECS, “Charities Working With Children,” Development Assistance Group Ethiopia, August 2014, http://esap2.org.et/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Policy-Brief-13-Children-August-2014.pdf.

515 Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Ethiopia,” U.S. Department of State, May 24, 2012, https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/af/186196.htm.

516 . Yntiso, Haile-Gebriel, and Ali, “Non-State Actors in Ethiopia,” 43.

517 “Stifling Human Rights Work,” Amnesty International, 22.

518 . TECS, “Charities Working With Children.”

519 Hiwot Getachew Gebreyohannes, “The Challenges and Prospects of ChSA ‘70/30 Guideline’ Implementation on the Performance of NGOs in Ethiopia: A Case Study of Food for the Hungry/Ethiopia (FH/Ethiopia)” (master’s thesis, School of Management Studies, Indira Gandhi National Open University, April 2016), http://repository.smuc.edu.et/bitstream/123456789/1433/1/Hiwot%20Getachew.pdf, 22–23; and Denu and Zewdie, “Impact of the Guideline.”

520 Berhanu Denu and Ato Getachew Zewdie, “Early Evidence of the Impact of the 70/30 Guideline to Determine Operational and Administrative Costs (Guideline 2/2003 EC) Phase II,” Development Assistance Group Ethiopia, http://www.dagethiopia.org/new/images/DAG_DOCS/Policy_Brief_5_70_30_phase_II_April_2013.pdf.

521 Ibid.

522 Yoseph Badwaza, “Ethiopia: Attack on Civil Society Escalates as Dissent Spreads,” Freedom House, July 22, 2016, https://freedomhouse.org/blog/ethiopia-attack-civil-society-escalates-dissent-spreads.

523 Author interview with specialist on civil society in Ethiopia, January 9, 2016.

524 Ibid.

525 Ibid.

526 . CIVICUS, EHAHRDO and HRC, “Joint NGO Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review,” CIVICUS, September 16, 2013, http://www.civicus.org/images/CIVICUS_EHAHRDP_HRCO_Joint_Ethiopia_UPR_Submission.pdf, 4.

527 “Stifling Human Rights Work,” Amnesty International,5.

528 . Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Ethiopia”; and Yntiso, Haile-Gebriel, and Ali, “Non-State Actors in Ethiopia,” 76.

529 . “Ethiopia Undermines Financial Support for Human Rights Groups,” Freedom House, October 24, 2016; and interview with specialist on human rights in Ethiopia, November 25, 2016.

530 . Yntiso, Haile-Gebriel, and Ali, “Non-State Actors in Ethiopia,” 69.

531 Luis Flores, “Development Aid to Ethiopia: Overlooking Violence, Marginalization, and Political Repression,” Oakland Institute, 2013, https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/OI_Brief_Development_Aid_Ethiopia.pdf, 1.

532 . Awol Allo, “Ethiopia’s Unprecedented Nationwide Oromo Protests: Who, What, Why?,” African Arguments, August 6, 2016, http://africanarguments.org/2016/08/06/ethiopias-unprecedented-nationwide-oromo-protests-who-what-why/.

533 “US Shuts Down Drone Base in Ethiopia,” BBC, January 4, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-35220279.

534 . James Jeffrey, “Europe Pays Out to Keep a Lid on Ethiopia Migration,” IRIN,October 24, 2016, https://www.irinnews.org/analysis/2016/10/24/europe-pays-out-keep-lid-ethiopia-migration.

535 . Interview with specialist on human rights in Ethiopia, November 25, 2016.

536 . Hailegebriel, “Ethiopia.”

537 Alphia Zoyab, “Criminalizing Humanitarian Aid—Ethiopia’s Controversial New Law,” International Affairs Review, December 7, 2008, http://www.iar-gwu.org/node/50.

538 Hailegebriel, “Ethiopia.”

539 “Declaration by the Presidency on Behalf of the EU on the Adoption of the Charities and Societies Proclamation by the House of Peoples’ Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,” press release, Council of the European Union, January 30, 2009, http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_PESC-09-7_en.htm.

540 . Lotte Leicht and Georgette Gagnon, “Letter to the European Union on Their Disappointing Reaction to the Ethiopian NGO Law,” Human Rights Watch, February 10, 2009, https://www.hrw.org/news/2009/02/10/letter-european-union-their-disappointing-reaction-ethiopian-ngo-law.

541 Robert Wood, “New Ethiopian Law Restricts NGO Activities,” press statement, U.S. Department of State, January 8, 2009, https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/01/113692.htm.

542 ICNL, “The NGO Legal Enabling Environment Program (LEEP): Quarterly Programmatic Report, July–September 2009,” U.S. Agency for International Development, http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/Pdacp042.pdf, 3; and Hailegebriel, “Ethiopia.”

543 . Yntiso, Haile-Gebriel, and Ali, “Non-State Actors in Ethiopia,” 14, 48.

544 “About CSF,” Ethiopia–European Union Civil Society Fund, http://csf2.org/?q=content/about-csf; and “Answer Given by High Representative/Vice-President on Behalf of the Commission,” European Parliament, March 9, 2012, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2012-001616&language=EN; “Annual Action Programme 2011 Covered by the Country Strategy Paper 2008–2013 for the European Development Fund in Ethiopia,” Germany Trade and Invest, https://www.gtai.de/GTAI/Content/DE/Trade/Fachdaten/PRO/2011/10/P19726.pdf?v=6; Max Hennion et al., “Evaluation of the Commission of the European Union’s Co-Operation With Ethiopia,” European Commission, January 2012, http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/how/evaluation/evaluation_reports/reports/2012/1301_vol1_en.pdf.

545 “Quarterly Newsletter of the EU Delegation to Ethiopia (July-October 2016),” Delegation of the EU to Ethiopia, November 2, 2016, https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/ethiopia/13782/quarterly-newsletter-of-the-eu-delegation-to-ethiopia-july—october-2016_en; and “Supporting Non-State Actors, Building Partnerships,” Ethiopia–European Union Civil Society Fund, http://csf2.org/sites/default/files/CSF%20BROCHURE%20Jun%2021-FINAL.pdf.

546 “About CSF,” Ethiopia–European Union Civil Society Fund.

547 Karen Del Biondo, “Multiple Principals, Multiple Agents: EU and US Democracy Assistance in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, December 2014, http://cddrl.fsi.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/del_biondo_1_final.pdf, 19; and Yntiso, Haile-Gebriel, and Ali, “Non-State Actors in Ethiopia,” 55.

548 Ibid., 18.

549 Ibid.

550 “Ethiopia 2015,” National Endowment for Democracy, http://www.ned.org/region/africa/ethiopia-2015/.

551 . “U.S. and Ethiopia Hold 6th Bilateral Democracy, Governance and Human Rights Working Group in Addis Ababa,” press release, U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, March 30, 2016, https://ethiopia.usembassy.gov/pr_2016_20.html.

552 “Answer Given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on Behalf of the Commission,” European Parliament, November 9, 2012, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2012-008050&language=EN; “Answer Given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on Behalf of the Commission,” and European Parliament, March 9, 2012, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2012-001616&language=EN.

553 Federica Petrucci et al., “Thematic Evaluation of the European Commission Support to Respect of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Including Solidarity with Victims of Repression),” European Commission, December 2011, http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/how/evaluation/evaluation_reports/reports/2011/1298_vol1_en.pdf, 49.

554 Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, “2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ethiopia.”

555 . “Answer Given by Vice-President Mogherini on Behalf of the Commission,” European Parliament, September 11, 2015, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2015-008413&language=EN.

556 “Press Availability by Wendy R. Sherman,” U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, April 16, 2015, https://ethiopia.usembassy.gov/wendy-sherman-foreign-minister.html; “The United States’ Irresponsible Praise of Ethiopia’s Regime,” Washington Post,April 30, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ethiopias-wrong-turn/2015/04/30/e170d29c-ed1f-11e4-a55f-38924fca94f9_story.html; Mohammed Ademo, “US Official Praises Ethiopian ‘Democracy,’ Rest of World Begs to Differ,” The Scrutineer (blog), Al Jazeera America,April 18, 2015, http://america.aljazeera.com/blogs/scrutineer/2015/4/18/us-official-praises-ethiopian-democracy-us-begs-to-differ.html.

557 . “Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia in Joint Press Conference,” White House, July 27, 2015, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/27/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-hailemariam-desalegn-ethiopia.

558 . Katrina Manson, “Barack Obama Urges Ethiopia to Improve Political Freedoms,” Financial Times, July 27, 2015, https://www.ft.com/content/fcd537c2-346d-11e5-b05b-b01debd57852.

559 . Edward-Isaac Dovere, “Obama Differs From Top Aides Over Ethiopia’s Democracy,” Politico,July 27, 2015, http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/obama-differs-from-top-aides-over-ethiopias-democracy-120657.

560 . Richard Youngs, “The End of Democratic Conditionality: Good Riddance?,” FRIDE, September 2010, http://fride.org/descarga/WP102_The_end_democratic_conditionality_ENG_set10.pdf, 3.

561 “Security Aid: Ethiopia, 2000–2016,” Security Assistance Monitor, http://securityassistance.org/data/program/military/Ethiopia/1996/2016/is_all/Global.

562 Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, H.R. 2055, 112th Cong. (2011), https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/2055; Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, H.R. 3547, 113th Cong. (2013), https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/3547; Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, H.R. 83, 113th Cong. (2013), https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/83/text; Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, H.R. 2029, 114th Cong. (2015), https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2029/text.

563 . European Parliament, Resolution of 15 January 2013 on EU Strategy for the Horn of Africa, 2012/2026(INI), January 15, 2013, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P7-TA-2013-0006&language=EN&ring=A7-2012-0408.

564 Karen Del Biondo and Jan Orbie, “The European Commission’s Implementation of Budget Support and the Governance Incentive Tranche in Ethiopia: Democracy Promoter or Developmental Donor?,” Third World Quarterly 35, no. 3 (2014).

565 Ibid.

566 “Development Without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia,”Human Rights Watch, October 19, 2010, https://www.hrw.org/report/2010/10/19/development-without-freedom/how-aid-underwrites-repression-ethiopia; and Helen Epstein, “Why Are We Funding Abuse in Ethiopia?” New York Review of Books, March 14, 2013, http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2013/03/14/why-are-we-funding-abuse-ethiopia/.

567 . Del Biondo and Orbie, “The European Commission’s Implementation of Budget Support and the Governance Incentive Tranche in Ethiopia.”

568 Christine Hackenesch, “Good Governance in EU External Relations: What Role for Development Policy in a Changing International Context?,” Directorate-General for External Policies, European Parliament, July 2016, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/578012/EXPO_STU(2016)578012_EN.pdf.

569 Ibid.

570 . UK Aid Development tracker, https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/; and “Ethiopia Is Top UK Aid Recipient,” Voice of America, February 28, 2011, http://www.voanews.com/a/ethiopia-is-top-uk-aid-recipient-117204413/157544.html.

571 Claire Provost, “Ethiopia’s Rights Abuses ‘Being Ignored by US and UK Aid Agencies,’” Guardian,July 17, 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/jul/17/ethiopia-rights-abuses-us-uk-aid-agencies; and David Smith, “’Britain Is Supporting a Dictatorship in Ethiopia,’” Guardian, July 6, 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/06/britain-supporting-dictatorship-in-ethiopia.

572 . William Easterly and Laura Freschi, “Why Are We Supporting Repression in Ethiopia?,” New York Review of Books,November 15, 2010, http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2010/11/15/why-are-we-supporting-repression-ethiopia/.

573 . David H. Shinn, “The Evolution of China-Ethiopia Relations,” This Is Africa, March 31, 2015, http://www.thisisafricaonline.com/News/The-evolution-of-China-Ethiopia-relations?ct=true.

574 . Youngs, “The End of Democratic Conditionality.”

575 European Parliament, Resolution of 21 January 2016 on the Situation in Ethiopia, 2016/2520(RSP), January 21, 2016, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P8-TA-2016-0023+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN.

576 “Cardin, Rubio, Colleagues Condemn Ethiopia’s Crackdown on Civil Society,” press release, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, April 20, 2016, https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/ranking/release/cardin-rubio-colleagues-condemn-ethiopias-crackdown-on-civil-society-.

577 . “European Union and Ethiopia Sign Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility,” press release, European Commission, November 11, 2015, http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-6050_en.htm.

578 “Ethiopia, EU Sign Joint Declaration Towards Strategic Engagement,” Ethiopian News Agency, June 15, 2016, http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/politics/item/1495-ethiopia-eu-sign-joint-declaration-towards-strategic-engagement

579 “HRVP Federica Mogherini Meets Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegm,” press release, European Union External Action, March 17, 2017, https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/22980/hrvp-federica-mogherini-meets-ethiopian-prime-minister-hailemariam-desalegn_en.

End of document

Why I run: I will continue to protest until the Oromo people in Ethiopia gain their freedom. May 20, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Why I run 


I will continue to protest until the Oromo people in Ethiopia gain their freedom.


 ALJAZEERA ENGLISH, 19 May 2017
Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia crosses his wrists in solidarity with the Oromo people after crossing the finish line at the 2016 Rio Olympics [Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha]
Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia crosses his wrists in solidarity with the Oromo people after crossing the finish line at the 2016 Rio Olympics [Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha]

by 

Feyisa Lilesa is a long-distance runner from Ethiopia and a member of the Oromo people.

My name is Feyisa Lilesa. I am an exiled marathon runner from Ethiopia.

I have not been back to my country since winning a silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games last August. In Rio, as I approached the finish line, I crossed my wrists above my head in solidarity with the men, women and children who have died fighting for their rights and those who are still suffering under the brutal regime in Ethiopia.

It was a sign of nonviolent resistance used by protesters in my native Oromia region, the largest of Ethiopia’s nine ethnic-based states.

Much has changed since my Olympic protest in Rio. I now live and train in exile in the United States. Last February, I was reunited with my wife and two children.

Meanwhile, despite the global spotlight my protest attracted, the killings, imprisonment and harassment of my people by Ethiopian security forces have only worsened.

This is why I continue to protest, after every race and at every media event.

In a few days, the World Health Organization (WHO) member states will elect a new director general at the 70th World Health Assembly. One of the top three candidates is Tedros Adhanom, current special adviser to the Ethiopian prime minister and Ethiopia’s former foreign and health minister. Adhanom is travelling the world discussing human rights (while comically admitting Ethiopia’s record is “not perfect“) as part of his campaign to lead WHO.

Adhanom is one of the chief architects of Ethiopia’s repressive regime. He has been a cabinet minister for more than a decade. In 2015 and 2016, according to human rights organisations security forces killed hundreds of peaceful protesters; the number in my opinion might be more than 1000. Adhanom, then the country’s foreign minister, downplayed the extent of the problem and denounced even the scant international scrutiny of Ethiopia’s human rights record.

In an op-ed last October, Adhanom targeted Human Rights Watch – blaming the New York-based nonprofit and the Ethiopian diaspora for whipping up anti-government protests. Having systematically decimated domestic opposition, the civil society and independent press, this was part of his regime’s attempt to intimidate and silence critics abroad. Like the government he served, which spends millions of dollars on lobbying to shore up international support, Adhanom has turned to PR agencies to whitewash his image.

Adhanom is now travelling around the world hypocritically talking about health as a human right. But when he was health minister, his office refused to acknowledge large cholera outbreaks, which cost many lives. Today Ethiopia is also covering up yet another cholera outbreak, using the euphemism of acute watery diarrhoea.

Adhanom has also been touting his success with Ethiopia’s national Health Extension Program. I have friends who worked as extension workers and know communities that were supposed to benefit from this much-hyped initiative. Particularly in Oromo areas, the services never reached the people who needed them the most.

OPINION: The Oromo protests have changed Ethiopia

In some towns, poorly supplied health centres were built and extension workers with 10th grade education – who had only a year of medical training – were assigned to staff the facilities.

However, the poor training, distance the workers had to travel to get to the satellite offices and the lack of medical equipment and supplies meant the majority still don’t have access to quality health services. Moreover, admission into the programme requires party membership and mandatory political indoctrination.

In other words, Adhanom’s health ministry used the donor-funded health extension programme as a coercive political recruitment tool for the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). In some cases, people were denied access or were asked to join EPRDF in order to access even the measly services provided by extension workers.

That is not all. Ethiopia has gained international praise for reaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. However, in Oromia today, babies often still die in great numbers from preventable diseases like diarrhoea. The true child mortality rate is never recorded since the statistics are falsified with the aim of meeting global development goals and keeping foreign aid coming. This practice has so far escaped international scrutiny given the lack of independent press, organised opposition and robust civil society in Ethiopia.

After years of authoritarian backsliding, Ethiopia is now effectively a military state, ruled by a Command Post that was setup to oversee the country’s now 8-month-long state of emergency, declared in October.

Despite these crimes, there is still an opportunity for Adhanom and the Ethiopian regime to do the right thing.

First, the martial law must be immediately lifted and protesters, journalists, opposition leaders and civil society members must be released from jail. Specifically, Oromo opposition leaders Bekele Gerba, Merera Gudina and their colleagues, must be released without further delay. Authorities must also allow independent investigation, including by UN Special Rapporteurs on torture and assembly, into human rights violations and the killings of protesters.

Second, instead of blaming the diaspora and neighbouring countries for the deepening political crisis, authorities must meet the protesters demands for a free and fair Ethiopia. That entails opening up the political environment and allowing the country’s 100 million citizens to elect their leaders – ending the hegemony of Adhanom’s Tigrayan ethnic group.

Finally, Adhanom – still a special adviser to the Ethiopian prime minister – must withdraw from the election for director general of the WHO and issue a formal apology to the Ethiopian people, the African Union and human rights groups for trying to divert attention from the crimes he and his government have committed over the last two decades and a half.

International civil society groups, the media and WHO member states face a unique opportunity to send a clear message that human rights matter. And perpetrators and enablers of atrocious crimes cannot be rewarded for their complacence in the face of egregious right abuses. Member states must reject Adhanom’s candidacy and demand that Ethiopia stops covering up water-borne diseases and be transparent about its record of child mortality and other key indicators.

I look forward to one day returning home to run across the blood red soil of my homeland. However, until the Oromo people gain their freedom, I will continue to protest in solidarity.  

Feyisa Lilesa is a long-distance runner from Ethiopia and a member of the Oromo people.


 

UNPO: European Parliament Resolution Condemns Crackdown on Civil Society in Ethiopia May 19, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

European Parliament Resolution Condemns Crackdown on Civil Society in Ethiopia

UNPO, 18 May 2o17


 

Photo credit: Antoine Lemonnier via Foter.com CC BY-NC-SA

On 18 May 2017, the European Parliament passed a resolution on Ethiopia, drawing attention to the violent crackdown on civil society in the country and shedding light more particularly on the case of Oromo opposition politician Dr Merera Gudina, still behind bars. The resolution urges the Ethiopian government to end the state of emergency and the restrictions it entails, as well as to stop using anti-terrorism legislation to suppress peaceful opposition. The European Union (EU) High Representative is called to “put pressure on the Ethiopian government” for it to allowan independent investigation into the killings of protesters. The current humanitarian crisis affecting the Ogaden region and beyond is also tackled in the document.

The last eight months have been a synonym of political repression and humanitarian distress for Ethiopia’s most vulnerable peoples and particularly for the inhabitants of Oromia and Ogaden. On 8 October 2016, in response to ongoing protests after the Irrecha massacre of 2 October, during which 600 demonstrators were killed, the Ethiopian government declared a six-month state of emergency for Oromia. In the following week alone, the Ethiopian authorities had already arrested more than 1,600 people, mainly from the Oromia and Amhara regions. At the end of March 2017, the government announced an extension of the state of emergency by four months.

One emblematic case of the violent crackdown on human rights and civil liberties in the country is the arrest, on 1 December 2016, of Dr Merera Gudina, a high-level Oromo opposition politician, shortly after his return to Ethiopia. In his speech from 9 November in the European Parliament, Dr Gudina had roundly condemned the arrests that followed the institution of the state of emergency. On 23 February 2017, Dr Merera Gudina was charged with terrorism by Ethiopian prosecutors and since then he remains in jail, along with other political leaders, journalists and prominent elders.

Along with a dire human rights situation, the people from the region of Ogaden and beyond face a life-threatening crisis involving a devastating wave of deaths due to a cholera epidemic and famine. Due to this, since November 2016, it is estimated that 2,000 people have died in the remote rural areas of Ogaden.

During the debate that preceded the vote, MEPs raised their concerns over the recent events in Oromia and the overall human rights and humanitarian situation in the country. The text was supported by six parliamentary groups and authored by more than 90 MEPs.

A little bit more than a year after the last European Parliament resolution on Ethiopia, UNPO is glad to see that the MEPs are keeping up their efforts to bring up the plights of the Ethiopian peoples in the hemicycle. More than ever, our organization is committed to pursue its work with its Members, partners and decision-makers to urge Ethiopia to guarantee the protection of the human rights of its citizens, especially those who are the most vulnerable.

You can access the resolution by clicking here.

To watch the video of the plenary debate, please click here.

To read Human Rights Watch’s article on this topic, please click here.


 

HRW: European Parliament Demands Investigation Into Ethiopia Killings. #OromoProtes May 19, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments


European Parliament Demands Investigation Into Ethiopia Killings

Resolution Calls for Urgent UN Inquiry Into Protester Deaths and Detention

Global Voices: As WHO Director-General Election Nears, Ethiopia’s Candidate Is Accused of Cholera Cover-Ups. #WHA70 May 16, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment


As WHO Director-General Election Nears, Ethiopia’s Candidate Is Accused of Cholera Cover-Ups

A Unicef-supported pump in Ethiopia. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Ayene. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

In January 2017, when Ethiopia’s candidate for director-general of World Health Organization, Tedros Adahanom, stormed to the top of the final three candidates — beating out six other candidates — it was a high time for Ethiopia’s government.

Although Adahanom had faced ferocious opposition from his fellow citizens, he has largely made it through unscathed, giving a propaganda victory for Ethiopian state media. With his well-funded campaign, Adahanom has traveled to more than 120 countries, and his supporters felt confident that his election is all but a matter of time.

Then on May 13, the New York Times ran a story reporting that a “prominent global health expert” had accused Adahanom of concealing three cholera epidemics from 2008 to 2011 during his tenure as Ethiopia’s health minister. Lawrence O. Gostin made the allegations; he is an informal adviser to one of Adahanom’s opponents in the director-general race, the UK’s David Nabarro, but Nabarro told the New York Times that he had not instructed Gostin to make the accusations on his behalf.

Finally! The @NYTimes calls out @WHO DG candidate @DrTedros for covering up cholera epidemic using the euphemism of Acute Water Diarrhea. https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/863525012258656257 

Abebe Gellaw, a prominent Ethiopian journalist in the diaspora, wrote on Facebook that it was only the beginning:

New York Times has a hard-hitting article on Tedros Adhanom. Tedros says it is a “smear campaign”. But the revelation is just the tip of the iceberg. A lot more will come out in the next few days…

A screenshot of the New York Times article on Tedros Adahanom. Click the image to read the story on nytimes.com

The explosive article made Adahanom and his supporters defensive while it created a sense of vindication for his opponents. Adahanom has denied the allegations. A former Reuters journalist who wrote Ethiopia’s cholera outbreak in 2009, however, responded on Twitter that the accusations as detailed in the New York Times story was consistent with what he had seen.

In 2009, when Tedros was health minister, I obtained minutes of an NGO/UN meeting, in which a cholera outbreak was acknowledged.

NGOs, UN and government refused to comment. And UN officials pressured me not to run story. Full story here: http://reut.rs/2pLNcz5 

Photo published for Cholera/diarrhoea outbreak hits 18,000 in Ethiopia

Cholera/diarrhoea outbreak hits 18,000 in Ethiopia

Cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases have infected 18,000 people in Ethiopia over the last three weeks in many parts of the country, including the capital Addis Ababa, according to a document seen…

reuters.com

At the time, UN officials regularly complained in private that lack of acknowledgement from govt stopped them getting more aid in.

In responding to the allegations, Adahanom accused Nabarro’s camp of engaging in smear campaign with imperialistic intentions. Pro-government groups took this line of accusation even further, claiming Nabarro is working with Ethiopian opposition groups that are labeled as “terrorists.”

Ethiopia’s semi-official news outlet accuses the current special advisor to the UN Secretary General, Dr. David Navarro with terrorism.

😳 https://twitter.com/abbaacabsa/status/863805131342700545 

Since April 2014, a popular protest movement in Ethiopia has challenged the government, which in turn has responded brutally. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 800 people have died, and thousands of political opponents and hundreds of dissidents have been accused of terrorism. Since October 2016, authorities have imposed some of the world’s toughest censorship laws after it declared a state of emergency.

Now, the tactic of calling opponents “terrorists” has spilled over Ethiopia’s borders and might create blowback for Adahanom as his record is examined critically by international media.

The health ministers of WHO member states will vote for the new director-general on May 23, 2017.

TV Link: Why the Oromo People Are Fleeing Ethiopia April 28, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
3 comments

 Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

 Ethiopian demonstrators

Ethiopians Fleeing Human Rights Violations Sparked by Land Use Conflict


Tristan MartinSally Hayden TV Link, April 26, 2017

When marathon silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa crossed the finish line at the Rio Olympics, he crossed his arms above his head in an “X”, a sign of protest against the Ethiopian government’s treatment of his people, the ethnic Oromo.

The champion runner did not return home after the Olympics, fearing for his safety even though the government said he would not be punished.

Feyisa Lilesa
Feyisa Lilesa crosses the finish line of the Men’s Marathon athletics event during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 21, 2016. Lilesa crossed his arms above his head as a protest against the Ethiopian government’s crackdown on political dissent. | ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

“[I knew] I would be jailed or killed if not, I would [never be allowed] out of that country and allowed to participate in any international competition or race at all,” Lilesa told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“I am quite sure those things would happen to me,” he said in a Skype interview from Rio where he has been staying since Monday when the rest of his team mates returned to Ethiopia.

The Oromia region, home to more than 25 million Oromos, has been riven by unrest for months over land rights and allegations of human rights violations.

Lilesa, 26, is one of thousands of Ethiopians estimated by activists to have left the country amid a security crackdown on demonstrations sparked by a conflict over land use policies.

City of Addis Ababa's proposed expansion plan
Map of municipal plans to expand city limits and include some parts of the Oromiya region within the capital city Addis Ababa.

Human Rights Watch estimated 400 demonstrators were killed by security forces between November 2015 and June 2016 during protests triggered by government plans to include some parts of Oromiya within the capital Addis Ababa’s limits.

Victim shot down during protests
Victim shot down during protests. | Oromia Media Network

Up to 100 people were shot in a single weekend in August when security forces also shut down the internet for 48 hours, according to activists.

Thousands more have been arrested, including the prominent Oromo activist Bekele Gerba, who was taken from his home in December.

The government, which disputes the death toll and says the protests are being staged illegally, stoked by rebel groups and overseas-based dissidents, did not respond to several requests by the Thomson Reuters Foundation for a comment.

Lilesa’s fear of being jailed upon his return home reflects the experiences of other Ethiopians who have spoken out against the government.

In the Greek capital Athens, 26-year-old Muaz Mahmud Ayimoo is staying in a cramped apartment with five other Oromo friends who are traveling with him.

A student from Haro Dumal city in Oromiya, Ayimoo was arrested by authorities and imprisoned for a month last November after he attended several non-violent protests along with fellow students.

Conditions for those detained were wretched and abuse was regular, Ayimoo said.

“They used to take us out one by one, torture us with electricity and beat us badly,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Muaz Mahmud Ayimoo
Muaz Mahmud Ayimoo, a 26-year-old Ethiopian refugee is staying in a cramped apartment in Athens with five other Oromo friends who are traveling with him. | Thomson Reuters Foundation

Ayimoo’s family in Ethiopia paid a bribe for his release, later selling everything they had to get him to Europe.

“I can’t go back because I would lose my life,” he said.

Those in Athens are the lucky ones: Ayimoo’s wife and baby girl drowned in April after the boat they were on crossing the Mediterranean from Libya sank, killing hundreds, according to survivors.

“I could hear the screaming of my baby as I fell. I couldn’t save my family,” he said.

Muaz Mahmud Ayimoo shows photograph of his family
Muaz Mahmud Ayimoo shows photograph of his wife and daugther before their boat sank in the Mediterranean Sea. | Thomson Reuters Foundation

Other Ethiopians now following the unrest from abroad include the journalists of the Oromia Media Network, a dissident satellite TV channel broadcasting into Ethiopia in the Oromo language from Minneapolis in the United States, a city home to around 40,000 Oromo.

Jawar Mohammed
Jawar Mohammed, executive director of the Oromia Media Network in Minneapolis. | Thomson Reuters Foundation

“We became part of the whole protester story,” said Jawar Mohammed, executive director of the network, which he said is watched by more than 11 million people in the Middle East and Africa at peak times.

Mohammed also regularly posts updates on his Facebook page, with more than 800,000 followers, about the unrest in his homeland.

Abel Wabella, 30, an activist who wrote for Zone9, a blog which focused on social and civic issues in Ethiopia, was imprisoned between April 2014 and October 2015 in what critics say was an attack on press freedom.

“I think the government is not ready for real reform the people are demanding right now. The people are tired of their false promises and will escalate their resistance,” he said.

 

Top image: Like many Ethiopian protesters across the world, women cross their hands during a protest against human rights violations in Ethiophia’s Oromia region, in front of United Nation’s information center in Pretoria, South Africa. | Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images


  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fear of Investigation: What Does Ethiopia’s Government Have to Hide? April 21, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
3 comments

Fear of Investigation: What Does Ethiopia’s Government Have to Hide?

 

In February 2016, an 18-year-old student who I will call Tolessa and two friends took part in their first protest, in Oromia’s East Hararghe zone. As the crowd moved forward, they were met by a line of regional police, federal police and the army. Shortly thereafter and without warning, security forces fired live ammunition into the crowd hitting Tolessa four times. Miraculously he survived. But his two friends were not so lucky.

I first interviewed him in April 2016 for the Human Rights Watch June 2016 report on abuses during the first six months of the Oromo protests. Several days ago, Tolessa got in touch with me again to update me on his condition.

I spoke to him around the time that Ethiopia’s national Human Rights Commission submitted an oral report to parliament on the protests. This was the Commission’s second report to parliament, covering the protests between June and September in parts of Oromia, Amhara, and SNNPR regions. The Commission found that 669 people were killed, including 63 members of the security forces, and concluded – once again – that security forces had taken “proportionate measures in most areas.”

While many will focus on the death toll, the commission’s conclusion that the use of force was mostly proportionate and appropriate is in stark contrast to the descriptions of victims like Tolessa, and at odds with the findings of other independent investigators. At this stage, the grounds for the commission’s conclusion are unclear, since no written report has yet been published.

In its first oral report to parliament, in June, the commission similarly concluded that the level of force used by federal security forces in Oromia was proportionate. The written version of this report was only made public this week, 10 months later. In the 92 page English version [134 pages in Amharic] there is no mention of security forces firing on protesters, mass arrests, torture in detention, or any one of a slew of other abuses that have been widely reported.

Instead, the commission largely describes violence committed by protesters as described to the commission members by local government officials, security forces, and elders. It parrots the government’s narrative, making many references to Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) involvement, but never provides any evidence for this allegation. It references interviews with detainees, but otherwise fails to describe the commission’s methodology, including how many protesters, victims, and witnesses its members interviewed.

It’s quite possible that many protesters and victims of security force abuses would not speak to the commission because of the widespread perception that it has no independence from the government. Independence is crucial for any successful national human rights commission, and the Ethiopian institution has failed to meet this bar for many years. I know first-hand that it is not difficult to find protesters willing to share their experiences.

Armed security officials watch as protesters stage a protest against government during the Irreechaa cultural festival in Bishoftu, Ethiopia on October 02, 2016.

Armed security officials watch as protesters stage a protest against government during the Irreechaa cultural festival in Bishoftu, Ethiopia on October 02, 2016.

Aside from the commission’s activities, there is no domestic scrutiny of security force abuses. The members of parliament are all from the ruling party and affiliates. The judiciary lacks independence on politically motivated cases. Various courts have consistently refused to investigate mounting allegations of torture from detainees. Harassment, prosecutions, and swathes of restrictions have stifled independent media and nongovernmental organizations. In this situation, the commission and other “independent” institutions like the ombudsmen could play a vital role in scrutinizing abuse by Ethiopia’s security forces, but they too are apparently hamstrung by government influence.

The government consistently tries to frame the protests as the result of lack of “good governance” and youth unemployment. Yet one of the most common slogans heard on the streets of Oromia and Amhara, particularly in the later months of the protests, was a call to respect human rights, stop shooting protesters, and stop imprisoning students. The patterns of abuse documented by several human rights groups in Oromia  during various periods, including the 2005 pre-election period and between 2011-2014 are strikingly similar.  In each case, the government ignored calls for independent investigations, denied the allegations, and claimed they were politically motivated. These longstanding patterns of abuse against those who challenge the government, committed with complete impunity, are key to understanding the levels of anger fueling protests in the streets of Oromia over the last 18 months. And Oromia isn’t the only place in Ethiopia that has experienced serious rights violations by security forces – sometimes repeatedly – without meaningful investigations.

In Gambella, Human Rights Watch documented possible crimes against humanity by the Ethiopian army in 2003 and 2004, including extrajudicial executions, rape, and torture. In the Somali Regional State (SRS), the Ethiopian military committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity between mid-2007 and 2008 during their counterinsurgency campaign against the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). The government-allied Liyu police have subsequently committed numerous extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, and other attacks on civilians in SRS. Instead of permitting independent investigators to come in, the Ethiopian government consistently shuts the door and insists that Ethiopian institutions, such as the Human Rights Commission, can do the job.

I asked Tolessa his view of the commission. He said it’s “just another arm of the government,” and noted that the its head, Dr Addisu Gebregziabher, was previously chair of the National Electoral Board, another body with questionable independence. While the commission’s lack of independence is hardly newsworthy, it does underscore the need for independent, international scrutiny of Ethiopia’s rights record, especially given the government’s dubious claims that the commission’s investigations are credible. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn reiterated this claim during an April 18 interview with the BBC, rejecting calls for a UN investigation into the protests by stating that Ethiopia is “an independent country that can investigate its own cases.” Yet these repeated refusals beg the question: if the security forces acted appropriately, then what is the government trying to hide?

Ethiopia is currently a member of both the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council, which requires it to uphold the “highest standards of human rights.” Yet the government repeatedly rejects efforts to hold it to account, refusing entry to all UN special rapporteurs since 2007, except the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea. There are many outstanding requests from these UN monitors – on torture, freedom of opinion and expression, and peaceful assembly, among others. Recent calls by the United Nations top human rights official, the African Commission, the European parliament, and some members of United States Congress, for international investigations have all been dismissed. The government also avoids judicial scrutiny at the highest level as it is not a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Ethiopia is certainly not alone in disliking international scrutiny of its rights record, yet many countries recognize that there are benefits to cooperation, particularly if there is genuine commitment to transparency, accountability, and improving human rights. Ethiopia’s continuous refusals call into question all of these commitments, instead making clear that it is not willing to stop using excessive force against protesters or torturing dissenters into silence.

Human Rights Watch research in many countries has demonstrated that a decision to ignore atrocities and reinforce a culture of impunity carries a high price, and merely encourages future abuses, which  should concern investors, diplomats, and others concerned about the long-term stability of Ethiopia following almost 18 months of bloody turmoil. An international investigation would be a first important step in ending Ethiopia’s culture of impunity and would send a powerful and overdue message to the Ethiopian government that its security forces cannot shoot and kill peaceful protesters with impunity. And it would send an important message to victims like Tolessa that their pleas for justice are being heard.


 

KP: Ethiopia’s Liyyu Police – Devils on Armored Vehicles: Is the crime in Darfur being replicated in Oromia regional state of Ethiopia? April 10, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
Is the crime in Darfur being replicated in 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.
By J. Bonsa (PhD)

Realeted:-

press-statement-on-oromo-massacre-by-ogaden-liyu-militia-final-feb-02-2017-issued-by-sidama-national-liberation-front-snlf-executive-committee

Why Is Western media ignoring ongoing atrocity in Ethiopia? April 7, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
Ethnic Oromo students rally together as they demand the end of foreign land grabs marching with placards on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2014. Image: FlickrCC

She spoke to me with tears in her eyes describing the calculated execution of her own people. Even though Atsede Kazachew feels relatively safe as an Ethnic Amharic Ethiopian woman living inside the United States, she is grieving for all her fellow ethnic Ethiopians both Amharic and Omoro who have been mercilessly killed inside her own country.

“There is no one in the United States who understands,” outlined Atsede. “Why? Why?” she asked as her shaking hands were brought close to her face to hide her eyes.

The Irreecha Holy Festival is a hallowed annual celebration for North East Africa’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo people. Bringing together what has been counted as up to two million people, who live near and far away from the city of Bishoftu, the Irreecha Festival is a annual gathering of spiritual, social and religious significance. It is also a time to appreciate life itself as well as a celebration for the upcoming harvest in the rural regions.

Tragically on Sunday October 2, 2016 the event ended in what Ethiopia’s government said was 55 deaths but what locals described as up to 700 deaths and casualties.

“The Ethiopian government is engaged in its bloodiest crackdown in a decade, but the scale of this crisis has barely registered internationally…,” outlined UK Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) David Mepham in a June 16, 2016 media release published by the International Business Times.

“For the past seven months, security forces have fired live ammunition into crowds and carried out summary executions…” added Mepham.

So what has the U.S. been doing about the present crisis situation in Ethiopia?

With a long relationship of diplomacy that spans over 100 years beginning in 1903, that builds up the U.S. to consider Ethiopia as an ‘anchor nation’ on the African continent, corrupt politics and long range U.S. investors in the region are an integral part of the problem. All of it works a head in the sand policies that pander to the status of the ‘’quid pro quo’.

Spurred on by what locals described as Ethiopia military members who disrupted the gathering by threatening those who came to attend the holiday event; the then makeshift military threw tear gas and gun shots into the crowd. The voices of many of those who were present described a “massive stampede” ending in numerous deaths.

“This has all been so hard for me to watch,” Atseda outlined as she described what she witnessed on a variety of videos that captured the ongoing government militarization and violence in the region. “And there’s been little to no coverage on this,” she added. “Western media has been ignoring the situation with way too little news stories.”

“Do you think this is also an attempt by the Ethiopian military to commit genocide against the ethnic Omoro people?” I asked.

“Yes,” she answered. The Amharic and the Omoro people have suffered so very much over many years, outlined Atsede. Much of it lately has been about government land grabs, on land that has belonged to the same families for generations, Atsede continued.

The details on the topic of apparent land grabs wasn’t something I knew very much about in the region, even though I’ve been covering international news and land grabs in Asia Pacific and China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region along with the plight of global women and human rights cases for over a decade.

JONATHAN ALPEYRIE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
One lone woman stands out surrounded by men during her march with Ethiopia’a Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a national self-determination organization that has worked to stop atrocity against rural ethnics inside Ethiopia beginning as far back as 1973. Today the Ethiopian government continues to classify the OLF as a terrorist organization. In this image the look on this unnamed woman’s face says “a-thousand-words.” Image: Jonathan Alpeyrie/Wikimedia Commons

Numerous ethnic women living inside Ethiopia today in 2017 are attempting to work toward peace in the northern and southern regions of Ethiopia as they continue to witness the destructive crackdown of the government against rural farming communities.

Under conditions of internal national and border conflict, ethnic Ethiopian women can often face increased stress under forced relocation, personal contact with unwanted violence including domestic abuse and rape, and discriminatory conditions for their family and children that can also affect conditions causing food insecurity and loss.

Increasing land grabs play an integral part of high levels of stress for women who normally want to live with their family in peace without struggle. But corruption on the leadership levels inside Ethiopia are encouraging land acquisitions that ignore the needs of families who have lived on the same land for centuries.

As Ethiopia’s high level business interests continue to be strongly affected by insider deals under both local and global politics the way back to peace is becoming more and more difficult.

Even foreign government advocacy agencies like the World Bank, DFID, as well as members of the European Union, have suffered from ongoing accusations of political pandering and corrupt practices with business interests inside Ethiopia.

With the release of the film ‘Dead Donkeys / Fear No Hyenas’ by Swedish film director Joakim Demmer the global public eye is beginning to open widely in understanding how land grab corruption works inside East Africa. With a story that took seven years to complete the film is now working to expand its audience through an April 2017 Kickstarter campaign.

“Dead Donkeys / Fear No Hyenas was triggered by a seemingly trivial scene at the airport in Addis Ababa, six years back. Waiting for my flight late at night, I happened to see some tired workers at the tarmac who were loading food products on an airplane destined for Europe. At the same time, another team was busy unloading sacks with food aid from a second plane. It took some time to realize the real meaning of it – that this famine struck country, where millions are dependent on food aid, is actually exporting food to the western world,” outlined film director Demmer.

It’s no wonder that anger has spread among Ethiopia’s ethnic farming region.

“The anger also came over the ignorance, cynicism and sometimes pure stupidity of international societies like the EU, DFID, World Bank etc., whose intentions might mostly be good, but in this case, ends up supporting a dictatorship and a disastrous development with our tax money, instead of helping the people…,” continued Demmer in his recent Kickstarter campaign.

“What I found was that lives were being destroyed,” added Demmer in another recent March 28, 2017 interview with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute. ”I discovered that the World Bank and other development institutions, financed by tax money, were contributing to these developments in the region. I was ashamed, also ashamed that European and American companies were involved in this.”

“Yes. And yes again,” concurred Atsede in her discussion with me as we talked about big money, vested interests and U.S. investors inside Ethiopia, including other interests coming from the UK, China, Canada and more.

As regional farmers are pushed from generational land against their will, in what has been expressed as “long term and hard to understand foreign leasing agreements”, ongoing street protests have met numerous times with severe and lethal violence from government sanctioned security officers.

Ironically some U.S. foreign oil investments in the region vamped up purchasing as former U.S. State Department Deputy Secretary Antony Blinken showed approval of the Dijbouti-Ethiopia pipeline project during a press meeting in Ethiopia in February 2016.

In April 2017, as anger with the region’s ethnic population expands, Ethiopia has opted to run its government with a four month extension as President Mulatu Teshome Wirtu announced a continuation of the “State of Emergency.”

“How long can Ethiopia’s State of Emergency keep the lid on anger?” asks a recent headline in The Guardian News. Land rights, land grabs and the growing anger of the Oromo people is not predicted to stop anytime soon.

The ongoing situation could cost additional lives and heightened violence say numerous human rights and land rights experts.

“The government needs to rein in the security forces, free anyone being held wrongfully, and hold accountable soldiers and police who used excessive force,” said Human Rights Watch Deputy Regional Africa Director Leslie Lefko.

“How can you breathe if you aren’t able to say what you want to say,” echoed Atsede Kazachew. “Instead you get killed.”

___________________________________

__________

AI: ETHIOPIA TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT: License to torture March 29, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

A license to torture

Seyoum Teshome is a professor at a university in Ethiopia and writes to fight the spread of fear that has engulfed his country as a result of an increasingly repressive administration. In September 2016, Seyoum was arrested and charged with incitement to violence against the state. In this blog, he describes the treatment of prisoners in one of Ethiopia’s rehabilitation centres, where he was detained further to his arrest. Thousands of Ethiopians like Seyoum have been arrested and tortured in rehabilitation centres since the state of emergency was imposed in October 2016.

It was around 6:30 am on 30 September 2016 when I was rudely awakened by loud knocks on my door and someone shouting out my name. Peeping through the keyhole, I saw around 10 local police officers. Some of them were staring at the door while others were guarding the corridor.

I said to myself, “Yap! At last…here you go, they have come for you!”

One of them asked if I was Mr Seyoum Teshome to which I replied in the affirmative. They said they wanted to talk to me for a moment, so I opened the door. They showed me a court warrant which gave them permission to search my house. The warrant indicated that I had illegal weapons and pamphlets to incite violence against the government.

Accused without evidence

After searching my entire house and despite finding no signs of the said items, they arrested and took me to a local police station. They also carried off my laptop, smartphone, notebooks and some papers. Confident that they hadn’t found the items mentioned in the court warrant, I was certain of my release. However, three hours later, I found myself being interrogated by a local public prosecutor and two police investigators. The interrogation eventually led to the commencement of a legal charge.

I was scheduled to sit a PhD entry exam on 2 October 2017 at Addis Ababa University, something I had been working towards for a very long time. Throughout the interrogation, my pleas for the case to be hastened so that I wouldn’t miss the rare opportunity to pursue a PhD course fell on deaf ears. My colleagues had provided a car and allowance fee for a police officer to go with me to the university so that I could sit the exam. This is a standard procedure. Yet on that day, they were not willing to lend me a hand. I was stuck in pre-trial detention due to Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and missed my chance.

Little did I know that, in just 12 hours, I would be the state’s guest for merely expressing my opinion.
Seyoum Teshome

The day before my arrest, I had given an interview to Deutche Welle-Amharic radio station about the nation-wide teachers meeting where I commented that, in Ethiopia, expressing one’s own opinion could lead to arrest, exile or possibly death. Little did I know that, in just 12 hours, I would be the state’s guest for merely expressing my opinion.

On 3 October 2016, I was presented in court. I was accused of writing articles and posts on social media sites aiming to incite violence against the government. In addition to the two notebooks and papers they had taken from my house, the investigator had also printed 61 pages of the 58 articles I posted on the Horn Affairs website that year. In total, they brought more than 200 pages of written and printed writings as evidence to support their allegations. I denied all the charges.

Another court session was scheduled in 10 days to allow the police to conclude their investigations. The 10 days lapsed and the police requested an additional seven days to complete their investigations on me while denying me bail.

On 20 October 2016, a jury found there was no evidence to support the police department’s claims. I thought the matter was over but I was immediately accused of contravening the State of Emergency that had been declared on 9 October 2017. A piece of paper with some writing on it was presented as evidence to support the charge.

Barely survived

The Police initially took me to Tolay Military Camp and later transferred me, together with others arrested, to Woliso Woreda Police Station in central Ethiopia, outside Addis Ababa.  We were shoved into a 3×5 metres squared detention room where we joined more than 45 other people already there. It was very hard to find a place to sit. I survived suffocation by breathing through a hole beneath the door. After that terrible night, I was taken back to Tolay where I stayed until 21 December, 2016 – 56 days after my arrest.

Access to food in the first 20 days was limited. We were made to walk while crouching with our hands behind our heads. We also walked barefoot to and from the toilet and dining areas. Due to this treatment, three of my fellow detainees suffered cardiac arrest. I don’t know whether or not they survived. I also heard that a woman’s pregnancy was terminated.

Every day, a police officer came to our room and called out the names of detainees to be taken for the so-called “investigation.”  When they returned, the detainees had downtrodden faces and horrible wounds on their backs and legs.  Waiting for one’s name to be called was agony.

The healing wound on the back of Seyoum’s leg after being beaten with wood and plastic sticks while in detention.

It took eight days before my name was finally called. I sat in front of five investigators flanked on either side by two others. While I was being interrogated, detainees in another room were being beaten. I could hear them crying and begging their torturers to stop.

Moved by what I had witnessed, I decided to secretly gather the detainees’ information. It didn’t take long before I was discovered by the authorities. On a hot afternoon, they came to my room and called my name. A group of investigators ruthlessly began beating me, to the point where I fainted three times. The beatings were unbearable so I finally confessed to collecting information in the camp. The chief investigator was then called in so that I could also confess to him.

Undeterred

By then, I had gained enough strength to renounce my earlier confessions which angered   the Chief Investigator very much. He drew a pistol and threatened to kill me for making a fool out of them. I stretched turned around and spread my arms wide.  Then, I said, “Fear of death doesn’t make me confess against myself! Go ahead, shoot!”

Amazingly, the commander ordered me to go to my room and take a shower. I didn’t believe it. I still don’t. I quickly ran off. I was released a little over two weeks later.

Though I finally left Tolay, those memories and emotions are still with me. Though I am still afraid of another arbitrary arrest and being sent back to prison, what I fear more is the totalitarian state that complete denies freedom. . While there, I told myself that, if I made it out, I would raise international awareness on the government’s outrageous treatment of prisoners.

I will continue to do so as long as Tolay exists.

Read more

NEWS ANALYSIS: TOURISM IN PROTEST-RIDDEN ETHIOPIA IS HURTING; REVIVING IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN UNVEILING A LOGO March 28, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

NEWS ANALYSIS: TOURISM IN PROTEST-RIDDEN ETHIOPIA IS HURTING; REVIVING IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN UNVEILING A LOGO

Fitsum Abera, Addis Standard, 27 March 2017


Last week on March 22, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who also chairs the Ethiopian Tourism Transformation Council, officially introduced the Amharic version of Ethiopia’s new tourism logo ‘Ethiopia, Land of Origins’. It is now called Midre Kedemt in Amharic.

The Prime Minister unveiled the Amharic version of the new logo while attending the fourth regular meeting of the Council, which was established three years ago in March 2014 along with the Ethiopian Tourism Organization. Reason? To transform the country’s ailing tourism industry.

A sign of urgency to reboot the country’s tourism industry plagued by, among others, poor tourism infrastructure and absence of meaningful coordination, both the Council and the Organization were established following a regulation issued by the Council of Ministers (CoM) in August 2013.

The ups and downs

Tourism in Ethiopia has been witnessing an increasing- if modest- growth since the country officially opened its doors to foreign tourists in 1963.  According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MOCT), the most significant dip in the number of foreigners visiting Ethiopia happened during the 17 years in power of the military Derg regime from 1974 to 1991.  Since then, following the coming into power of the incumbent in 1991, the numbers have shown a steady growth from 64,000 to 750,000 during the 2014/15 fiscal year.

That was until November 2015, when anti-government protests that would grip the country throughout 2016 first started, an unexpected turn of an event both the Council and the Organization seemed not prepared to handle.

“That [the time the protests began] was when we started to notice the difference,” says a tour operator who requested anonymity.  “More and more clients began asking questions about security as the [protests] got international press coverage. Pretty soon the low season was upon us and the number of tourists plummeted as we [feared]. But we didn’t expect that more than 95% of our bookings for the high season would end up being canceled.”

The high season in Ethiopia typically starts in September, when the main rainy season is over; and it ends around February when it becomes too hot to take tourists to famous destinations such as the Danakil depression.

Encouraged by the steady inflow of tourists before the start of the protests, our source invested in two 4WD cars. “We bought two cars towards the end of the last fiscal year,” he explained. “We borrowed money from a bank and invested some from our own accounts. But there are no tourists now and we can’t even rent the cars to business tourists coming to Addis Abeba. We don’t know what to do. We are just paying rent, maintaining a small staff and hoping for the best at the moment.”

Although order seemed to have returned following the declaration of the current state of emergency in October last year, and “we are getting more requests now than before, it is not enough to maintain our business,” our source worries. “If things continue at this rate, we will be forced to close down. We picked a bad time to expand our business.” He also said most of their clients come from abroad after communicating with them via the internet, which suffered its own share misfortune as the country shut down internet following protests. Walk in and domestic clients account only for less than 2% of their total bookings, he said.

His frustrations are shared by many tour and travel companies that joined the market recently. Not only tour operators but those working in the transport sector were affected as well, according to Getnet Asefa, a freelance driver/guide. Getnet, who used to make an average 500birr (around $21) per day as a freelance guide, says he is now considering a change in career. “Last year at this time, I worked at least 4 days a week,” he says, “Now getting tourism work has become very difficult. Some of my friends have started working as taxi drivers. At this point, we don’t know what is going to happen next and that is scary.”

Embassy travel warnings aren’t helping the matter, either. The United States traveling warning, issued in Dec. 2016, and the United Kingdom foreign travel advice, updated most recently in Jan. 2017, are still in effect. In fact, the only country that has lifted its travel ban is Germany. But even that excludes traveling to North Gondar, an area located in a region where most tourist detestations are found.

The effect is also felt among tour and travel agencies that on the surface seemed to be doing well. “We are concerned that the company won’t survive this year,” says Yenealem Getachew, managing director of Horizon Ethiopia Tour and Travel plc. “We don’t expect to be reimbursed for our losses. But we do have many commitments. For example, we have to pay profit tax at the end of the year. Some of us have bank loans. When you have a debt to service, that is the first thing you want to take care of. If you can’t do that, you start to lay off employees.”

Yenealem said his company has asked the government for help but they “still haven’t got a response. I think they are more concerned about companies with physical damage. They don’t seem to grasp that without clients we tour operators get nothing.”

In late Oct. 2016, Ethiopia Ministry of Culture and Tourism, MOCT, has established a command post to assess the damage the industry sustained as well as to ensure the “safety of tourists”. “We went to see the damage caused by the protesters,” Tewedros Derbew, Tourist Services Competence and grading directorate director at the ministry and head of the committee, told Addis Standard. “We called the owners for a meeting to discuss how to help them as well as to offer moral support. We have now sent a report to the investment commission detailing their losses. We have also distributed questionnaires to tour operators but we haven’t received their responses yet.”

Tewedros admits “the industry has been severely affected. There is no question about that.” But contrary to the actors in the industry say, he insists “no tour and travel company was forced or threatened to close down or let go of its employees because of it.”

The opposite of…

In late 2015, around the same time the protests began, MOCT announced that it wanted to “triple the number of foreign visitors, to more than 2.5 million, by 2020”, and make Ethiopia become one of Africa’s top five tourist destinations.

In a stark difference to what the actors in the industry and several reports say in post-protest Ethiopia, in a January 2017 report to the house of people’s representatives, Hirut Woldemariam, the new minister at the ministry of culture and tourism, reported that despite the current state of emergency 300,000 tourists have visited the country during the first quarter of the current fiscal year, generating $872 revenue to the country.

But as in every sector, data for this sector is prepared by the government itself. If one goes by Hirut’s numbers above for example, more tourists have visited Ethiopia during its turbulent year than in its years of peace. In Oct. 2015, one month before the start of the protests, the same ministry said that during the 2014/15 fiscal year, 750,000 tourists have visited Ethiopia, fetching in $2.9 billion income to the county. That figure is close to the $3b the government expected to earn from the industry by the end of its first Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) in 2015.

Other hurdles

In Oct. 2016, Lonely Planet has rated Ethiopia 10th out of the “Top Ten Countries to visit in 2017.” But, that announcement seemed to contribute little when it comes to shaking off Ethiopia’s image in the aftermath of the widely reported yearlong protests.

“Image is everything for a country’s tourism sector,” one expert says. “We had just managed to overcome decades of bad publicity caused by famines and violent regime changes. [As of late] Ethiopia had been named one of the emerging tourist destinations. The country’s overall infrastructure was getting better. Then this [the protest] happens. It will take a long time to recover from the effects of the unrest. It is difficult to predict just how long.”

Other issues many tour operators cite in relation to the decline in tourism are the substandard services and accommodations, inadequate maintenance given to tourism infrastructure and destinations, and the lack of communication between tour operators and government agencies.

“Take Lalibela for example. It looks exactly the way it did 10 years ago but the entrance fee has increased,” says Yenealem. “Our hotel bookings are dropped with little to no notice when there are big events like Epiphany in Gondar. The local guides monopolize any work to be done on the sites [including] increasing entrance and guide fees at will and they chase away anyone who refuses to have a guide.”

Lots of plans

In addition to the five-year plan by the MOCT, in September 2016, The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has handed over Ethiopia’s Sustainable Tourism Master Plan (STMP) 2015-2025 to the then minister of tourism and culture, Ayisha Mohammed Mussa. It targets to lift the number of international visitors to five million in the year 2025. The projected income from the industry to increase from ETB14.197 billion in 2012 to ETB180 billion in 2015. The corresponding number of jobs in the tourism sector will increase from 985, 500 to 4.8 million, according to the document.

As part of its several initiatives to revive the industry, as of last week, the Ethiopian Tourism Organization is organizing a series of workshops in several cities in North America including New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto.

ETO has also recently signed, for an undisclosed amount of money, an agreement with New York-based CornerSun, a tourism marketing and public relations firm to “represent and promote Ethiopia” to travel trade and media throughout the United States and Canada. Since it was formed in 2014, the organization, led by an industry veteran Solomon Tadesse, has spent more time and resource to promote Ethiopia by participating in various fairs and exhibitions outside the country.

With all that said and all the inconsistencies considered, however, tour operators worry that the number of tourists visiting Ethiopia will continue falling short than both the five year plan by the ministry and ECA’s STMP have anticipated.

Last week and this week, while Solomon Tadesse, along with a group of hotels as well as tour and travel company owners, is doing a three-city roadshow in the Americas, some tourists who want to take chances to visit Ethiopia signed onto Lonely Planet’s online forums to complain about complicated visa requirements at Ethiopian embassies abroad and a steep rise in domestic flight fare by the state monopoly, Ethiopian Airlines, an indication that beyond the protest-tainted image the industry is facing as of late tourists are also dealing with other problems that are equally urgent; but problems that are less the focus of the endless plans to revive the sector, including a new logo. AS 

IFEX: The police brutalities resulted in several deaths: A death toll of 150 was recorded in Ethiopia, 32 in DRC and one in Mali. March 24, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
4 comments
In this photo taken on 2 October 2016, Ethiopian soldiers try to stop protesters in Bishoftu, Ethiopia
In this photo taken on 2 October 2016, Ethiopian soldiers try to stop protesters in Bishoftu, Ethiopia

AP Photo


This statement was originally published on africafex.org on 21 March 2017.


A total of 183 deaths were recorded from July to December 2016 following clashes between protestors and security agents in three countries – Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mali.

In each of the three countries, security agents used excessive force to disperse protestors who were demonstrating against specific issues in their respective countries. The police brutalities resulted in several deaths. A death toll of 150 was recorded in Ethiopia, 32 in DRC and one in Mali.

To date, not one security agent has been prosecuted for any of the killings in the three countries.

Unfortunately, this is just one of the many violations perpetrated against protestors, journalists and media organisations in Africa as reported in the maiden edition of the Freedom of Expression Situation in Africa report by the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) compiled for the period July to December 2016.

The periodic Freedom of Expression Situation in Africa Report is an intervention by AFEX that seeks to monitor and report on FOE violations (including violations against freedom of assembly and association) and other developments in Africa for the timely intervention by appropriate stakeholders.

Over the six-month period, 63 incidents of violation were recorded in 19 countries across the African continent. State security apparatus were the main perpetrators of the violations. Together, they were responsible for 57 percent (36) of the 63 violations.

State security agents were not only responsible for the killing of the 183 protestors in the three countries; they were also the perpetrators of all 19 incidents of arrests and detentions in 10 of the 19 countries covered in the report. in addition, five out of six media organisations were shut down by state security agents.

State officials were also found to be perpetrators of media and FOE rights violations both online and offline. Of the 63 violations, 10 were carried out by/on the orders of state officials. Thus, state actors were generally the main perpetrators of the various violations reported in the Freedom of Expression Situation in Africa report.

Sadly, only seven out of 63 recorded violations received some form of redress actions.

For the full report on the types of violations cited, other perpetrators, the 19 countries monitored and the targets of the violations, click here.


 

Ethiopia: List of Fascsit TPLF Military and Intelligence officers involved in planning and commanding the Somali region Liyu Police mercenary paramilitary conducting genocide against the Oromo People March 19, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

List of TPLF Military and Intelligence officers involved in planning and commanding the Somali region Liyu Police mercenary paramilitary


1. Col. Gebremedihin Gebre, Shhinelle Zone Coordinator and deputy commander of Somali Special Forces
2 Col. Fiseha, chief of intelligence of somali regional government, specializing particularly in Oromos and Oromia issue, also heads and supervises Fefem zone security
3. Col. Gitet Tesfaye , coordinates and leads disputed borders issue and security
4. Major Desalegn Haddish, Babile front intelligence chief
5 Major Abraha Sisay, heads training of mercenaries and somali recruits at Bobas training center
6 Brigadier General Hadgu Belay, advisor to the president of Somali region on security and organizational affairs on security at regional government level
7 Col. Gebretensae, heads and coordinates Somali militias organization Oromo mercenaries working with the TPLF officials
1. Lieutenant Hassan Ali, former member of defense forces of Ethiopia, now commands a Liyu Police unit consisting 120 members at attacking Erer district( wereda)
2. Captain Mohammed Ibrahim, with a unit of 120 members at Babile front( WEREDA)
3 Sergeant Usman Mohammed, Garalencha district
4 Sergeant Jibril Ahmed spies on Oromo militia in Gursum district, to Fafam direction
5 Sergeant Mohamed Usman, Raqe, Meyu Muluke areas military operations
6 Sergeant Fuad Aliyi, Chinaksen district
* The Liyu Police and Somali region militia are organized in 26 regiment each consisting up to 500 personnel.


 

Oromo-Somali Solidarity Forum Press Release March 16, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment


Oromo-Somali Solidarity Forum Press Release
Date: 16th of March, 2017    Ref: OSSF/01/17


For immediate release


Since November 2016, i.e., for the last five months, the murderous Liyu Police forces, commanded by the President of the Somali Regional State, have been undertaking border raids and attacks against civilians in the Oromia region, in the process killing and displacing many people. The attack is launched on five Oromia zones and 14 districts bordering the Somali region. At least 200 civilians have been killed and many others injured in the attacks according to reports. These senseless attacks were ordered by the TPLF as part of its strategy to weaken the popular uprising underway in Oromia against the minority ruling clique. TPLF has been trying to portray the conflict it maneuvered between the brotherly Somali and Oromo peoples as a dispute between the two regions over the ownership of border towns and localities, a dispute that has been settled through public referenda in 2005/6. The two neighboring ethnic groups have co-existed peacefully for centuries and have a culture of resolving disputes through established traditional conflict resolution mechanisms. Without the sinister hands of the TPLF, this conflict would not have even started. TPLF is hiding in plain sight and should understand that such mischief will not absolve it from the crimes it continues to commit against both the Oromo and Somali people.

The atrocities committed by the Liyu Police did not start with defenseless Oromos. These merchants of death and destruction have been terrorizing their own Somali people for the last ten years at the behest of their TPLF masters. They have committed numerous grave human right violations inside the Somali region and even as far beyond as Somalia with gruesome executions, rape, and burning of villages being their distinctive trademarks.

We at the Oromo-Somali Solidarity Forum hereby condemn this TPLF-engineered reckless conflict which led to the bloodshed of our brotherly peoples. We urge the brotherly Somali and Oromo peoples to stand in solidarity and deny the TPLF the pleasure of achieving the division and animosity it aspires to sow between our people. The ongoing conflict is not a war between Oromos and Somalis. It is a proxy war orchestrated by the TPLF against Oromos through the Liyu Police which is an auxiliary instrument of repression by the desperate minority regime. United, we will overcome TPLF’s 26 years of oppression and mayhem.

Victory to the oppressed Oromo and Somali people!

With profound regards!
Oromo-Somali Solidarity Forum

Addressed to: All Ethiopians, Oromos, Somalis and the international press

Representative signatories:
 Geresu Tufa
 Mohamed Hassan
 Najat Hamza
 Nagessa Oddo Dube
 Jemal-Dirie Kalif
 Jawar Mohammed
 Abdullahi Hussein
 Dahabe M. Abdella
 Tibebu Sime
 Hadi Luqman
 Girma Gutema
 Solomon Ungashe
 Tsegaye Ararsa
 Gadissa Abrahim
 Eda’o Dawano
 Latu Bushan
 Aman Maldewo
 Endiris Negewo

HRW: US: Stand Up for Ethiopians as Government Stifles Protests, Jails Journalists Human Rights Watch Statement on Ethiopia to US Congress March 10, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
4 comments

US: Stand Up for Ethiopians as Government Stifles Protests, Jails Journalists

Human Rights Watch Statement on Ethiopia to US Congress

HRW, 9 March 2017


Print

Human Rights Watch Statement to US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Bass, members of the Subcommittee: thank you for holding this important hearing on the current situation in Ethiopia and for inviting me to testify. I am pleased to be a part of it.

Ethiopia is a country of dual realities. Visitors and diplomats alike are impressed with the double-digit economic growth, the progress on development indicators, and the apparent political stability. But in many ways, this is a smokescreen: many Ethiopians live in fear. The current government – the only one since 1991 – runs the country with an almost complete grip on power, controlling almost all aspects of political, public, and even much private life. Pervasive telephone and online surveillance and an intricate network of informants allow the government to quickly curb any threats to its control; it silences critical voices through the use of arbitrary arrests and politically motivated prosecutions. These actions also prevent critical and divergent views as many who may be impacted by these harsh policies fear repercussions.

Ethiopia remains among Africa’s leading jailors of journalists. If you are or you seek to be an independent Ethiopian journalist you must choose between self-censorship, harassment, and possible arrest, or living in exile. The government blocks websites critical of the authorities and sometimes blocks the internet completely. Independent radio and television stations are regularly jammed. In short, the state tightly controls the media landscape, making it extremely challenging for Ethiopians to access information that is independent of government perspectives. As a result, Voice of America, which broadcasts in three Ethiopian languages, has become an increasingly important source of information for many Ethiopians but the government has, at times, obstructed its broadcasts as well.

Independent civil society groups face overwhelming obstructions. The 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation has made obtaining foreign funding nearly impossible for groups working on human rights, good governance, and advocacy. Leading members of the human rights movement have been forced to flee abroad and many organizations have stopped working on human rights and good governance to avoid problems.

There have also been serious restrictions on opposition political parties. This led to the ruling coalition in the May 2015 election winning 100 percent of the seats in the federal and regional parliaments. This is despite evident anti-government sentiments in much of the country, as the protests would later illustrate. Arbitrary dentition of members and supporters, politically motivated criminal charges, and restrictions on financing ensures that opposition parties are constrained and largely ineffective.

The state systematically ensures that many of the country’s 100 million citizens are dependent on the government for their livelihoods, food security and economic future. It controls the benefits of development including access to seeds, fertilizers, jobs, health care, and humanitarian assistance, even when funded by the US or other donors. While US-funded development assistance contributes to much-needed poverty reduction efforts, it also adds to the repressive capacity of the government by bolstering Ethiopians’ reliance on the government for their livelihoods and ultimately for their survival.

There is no evidence that the ruling party rigs elections – they don’t need to. The population’s dependence on the ruling party and the limits on opposition parties leaves many citizens, particularly in rural areas, little choice but to support the ruling party come election time. As one farmer in the Amhara region told me in July 2014, “we do not like this government, but we always vote for them. We have to because we get our seeds and fertilizer from them. During times of drought, we get food aid from them. If we don’t vote for them, we can’t eat.” He went on to tell me about his neighbor who voted for the opposition in the 2010 election and shortly thereafter was denied food aid, was denied treatment at a government health clinic, and eventually was displaced from his land for an investment project run by a government cadre.

The justice system provides no check on the government. Courts have shown little independence during politically charged trials. Many opposition politicians, journalists, and activists have been convicted under the repressive 2009 anti-terrorism law and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Acquittals are rare, credible evidence is often not presented, and trials are marred by numerous due process concerns. Mistreatment and torture are common in Ethiopia’s many places of detention. Just two weeks ago, Dr. Merera Gudina , the chair of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), a legally registered political opposition party, was charged with “outrages against the constitution.” A former fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Merera joins many other senior opposition leaders currently facing politically motivated criminal charges. Among those presently standing trial is OFC deputy chairman Bekele Gerba. Prosecutors included as ostensible evidence of his crimes a video of Bekele at an August 2016 conference here in Washington, DC, where he spoke of the importance of nonviolence and commitment to the electoral process. Like Merera, he has been a moderate voice of dissent in a highly polarized political landscape.

This begs the question: what avenues are left in Ethiopia to express dissent, to question government policies or to voice concern over abusive practices and how can the United States help strengthen free expression and association rights in Ethiopia?

I speak to you to today 16 months after large-scale and unprecedented protests started in Ethiopia’s largest region of Oromia in November 2015, spreading to the Amhara region in July 2016. Ethiopian military forces and police cracked down on these largely peaceful demonstrations, killing hundreds and detaining tens of thousands. The protests were a predictable response to the systematic and calculated suppression of fundamental rights and freedoms.

On October 2, the protest movement took a devastating turn. In Bishoftu in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, security forces mishandled a large crowd at the Irreecha cultural event causing a stampede that killed scores of people as they fled security forces. In the days that followed, angry mobs of youth destroyed government buildings and private property. Ethiopia was on the brink of chaos. One week after the Irreecha tragedy the government announced a state of emergency that remains in place. It prescribed sweeping and vaguely worded restrictions on a broad range of actions undermining rights to free expression, association, and peaceful assembly. It goes far beyond what is permissible under international human rights law and signaled a continuation of the militarized response to the expression of grievances. While the state of emergency has halted both the destruction of properties and the protests themselves, underlying grievances remain. No one should deny there are serious risks that more unrest could occur.

Since imposing the state of emergency, the Ethiopian government has repeatedly committed publicly to undertake “deep reform” and engage in dialogue with opposition parties to address grievances. In short, the authorities are saying the right things. But the only changes the government has made so far are largely cosmetic and fall dramatically short of the protesters’ calls for the protection of basic human rights.

The continuation of the state of emergency – furthering crushing the space for free expression and divergent views of governance – is not conducive for the open dialogue that is needed to address Ethiopia’s ongoing crisis. The government announced that it arrested over 20,000 people since the state of emergency began, although there has been little corroboration of these numbers, which could be higher. These mass arrests along with politically motivated trials of key opposition leaders, reinforces the message that the government is continuing along the path of suppressing dissent by force and not engaging in genuine and meaningful dialogue with opposition groups.

The Ethiopian government’s responses to all of these abuses have been consistent. The allegations are routinely denied without meaningful investigation, the government claiming they are politically motivated, while simultaneously restricting access for independent media and human rights investigators. In a report to parliament last June, the Ethiopia Human Rights Commission, a government body, concluded that the level of force used by federal security forces was proportionate to the risk they faced from protesters. This is contrary to all available evidence, including that contained in the US State Department’s recently released Human Rights Country Report for Ethiopia. No one has seen a written version of the Commission’s report that would justify such a conclusion.

While we are speaking today about the lack of accountability over the brutal crackdown in Oromia and Amhara regions over the last 16 months, Ethiopians in other regions have also been victims of serious abuses, most often without any meaningful investigations by the government. For example, Human Rights Watch documented possible crimes against humanity committed by the Ethiopian army in 2003 and 2004 in the Gambella region. There was no credible investigation into the extrajudicial executions, rape, and torture. In Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State, the Ethiopian military committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity between mid-2007 and 2008 during their counterinsurgency campaign against the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). The Liyu police, a paramilitary force formed in 2008 that reports to the president of the Somali Regional State, have been implicated in numerous extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, and attacks on civilians accused of backing the ONLF. No meaningful investigations have been undertaken into any of these alleged abuses in the Somali Regional State.

International scrutiny of Ethiopia’s rights record has also been lacking despite its June election to the UN Security Council, and its membership on the UN Human Rights Council – which requires it to uphold the “highest standards of human rights” and cooperate with UN monitors. Ethiopia has refused entry to all UN special rapporteurs since 2007, except the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea. There are outstanding requests from the special rapporteurs on torture, freedom of opinion and expression, and peaceful assembly, among others. In total, 11 UN Special Rapporteurs have outstanding requests for access to Ethiopia.

Despite abundant evidence of serious and growing repression by the Ethiopian government, particularly since the 2005 election, the US government has been a muted critic. Quiet diplomacy proven ineffectual and has coincided with the dramatic downward spiral in human rights and a serious constriction of political space that has led to the crisis Ethiopia is in today. It is time for a new US approach to Ethiopia in which Congress can play a leadership role in seeking a more balanced policy and requiring more deliberate oversight as it has done in other countries in crisis, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt.

As a starting point, members of Congress should speak out strongly and publicly against abuses by the Ethiopian government. House Resolution 128 and the resolutions introduced last year are steps in the right direction and contain many important elements. While non-binding, they are impactful because they let the Ethiopian government know there are repercussions for brutality against their own citizens – brutality that undermines US priorities in the Horn of Africa, including security, development, and economic growth. These partnerships are dependent on long-term stability in Ethiopia. Opposition to the ruling party’s repressive rule – as witnessed in the last 16 months – is a glaring indication that Ethiopia’s governance model marked by lack of respect for basic rights, is incapable of ensuring that stability.

International legitimacy is very important to the Ethiopian government – it wants to be a key player on the international stage and condemnation of its human rights record contradicts that image. So consistent, sustained and vocal pressure is critical.

It is crucial that the US makes it clear that if Ethiopia is going to remain a strong US partner it needs to open up legitimate political space and allow for critical voices to be heard. To begin with, members of Congress can and should call for the release of all political prisoners, including those like Bekele and Merera who should be part of any credible dialogue between the government and opposition parties. Members of Congress should also call for the release of all journalists unjustly jailed and call for the repeal or substantial amendment of repressive laws used to stifle critical voices. Any meetings with the Ethiopian ambassador to the US should include these points, as should any meetings with other Ethiopian officials, whether in DC or elsewhere. As the FY18 budget process gets underway, US support to the Ethiopian government should be conditioned on making progress in these and other areas of concern.

Members of Congress should use available opportunities to tell Ethiopia to stop hiding its own human rights record from international scrutiny. As a member of both the Human Rights Council and the Security Council, Ethiopia should cooperate fully with UN special mechanisms, in particular the rapporteurs on peaceful assembly and torture.

As expressed in House Resolution 128, members of Congress should reiterate the call of the UN high commissioner for human rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and others for an independent international investigation into the crackdown in Oromia and Amhara regions. Such action will send a powerful message to the Ethiopian government that its security forces cannot shoot and kill peaceful protesters with impunity. It will also send an important message to the victims and families, that their pleas for justice are being heard.

I’ll close by saying that I am aware of concerns expressed by some in the administration – and even here in Congress – that a more public stance on Ethiopia’s domestic situation might undermine the bilateral partnership between Addis Ababa and Washington – including cooperation on development, security and peacekeeping. But the United States has often underestimated its own leverage and been overly cautious as a result. Some of Ethiopia’s international partners have made strong public statements in the last year and these statements have not undermined their strategic partnerships. Far from it. The US may need Ethiopia – but Ethiopia needs the US too. The US should send a strong signal of support to the many Ethiopian citizens and Ethiopian Americans who seek the protection of their rights, greater political space, and democracy but whose fight for dignity and freedom has been crushed time and again through brutal force.

Thank you.


Related articles:

Terrence Lyons, Testimony for hearing entitled Democracy Under Threat in Ethiopia

Seenaa Jimjimoo, Testimony for hearing entitled Democracy Under Threat in Ethiopia

Tewodrose Tirfe, Testimony for hearing entitled Democracy Under Threat in Ethiopia

Abaguya Ayele Deki, Testimony for hearing entitled Democracy Under Threat in Ethiopia

Yoseph Tafari, Testimony for hearing entitled Democracy Under Threat in Ethiopia

Why fascist TPLF Ethiopia’s regime waging a proxy war on the Oromo through the Liyu Police? March 9, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

 

 

Why is Ethiopia waging a proxy war on the Oromo through the Liyu Police?

By: Nadhii G. Hawaas


This article explores the raison d’être for why the Neo-Agazians – the king makers in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a.k.a. the present-day rulers of Ethiopia – have adopted a non-intuitive strategy of waging a war of attrition against the Oromo through a notoriously brutal proxy, the ill-reputed Liyu Police of the Somali region; whilst they were rather widely expected to reassess their current policy and attempt to pacify Oromia – a state that has been the epicenter of a historic and heroic popular opposition against the government in the last three years. In my opinion, here are some of the primary reasons.

Why is Ethiopia waging a proxy war on the Oromo through the Liyu Police?

The obsession to smoke out and defeat the Oromo Liberation Army:

TPLF’s general disposition and military escapades over the last twenty five years, would lead a neutral analyst to the conclusion that it is obsessed, more than anything else, with the goal of dismantling the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and its army. As a result of this fixation, Afaan Oromo has earned the unique distinction of becoming Ethiopia’s “language of prisons”, and Oromia has turned into the killing field of the Horn of Africa, where all sorts of human rights abuses are the norm. TPLF’s various military adventures in the Horn of Africa – from its various illegal military interventions in

(Ayyaantuu) -Somalia to its regular incursions into Kenya, as well as its so-called peacekeeping missions in south Sudan – are all motivated by what appears to be a preoccupation to deny the Oromo liberation army (OLA) a base of operation. These military adventures have been carried out without due regard for the cost in human lives, but they have allowed the regime to stay in power by weakening its greatest homegrown threat which comes in the form of OLA.

There is no doubt that the OLF has been downgraded, partly as a result of these actions by the TPLF and the resulting geo-political outcomes. The OLA has diminished in size and effectiveness from its heyday in the late 1980’s, when it was able to engage two formidable opponents – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Ethiopian army in the west, and the latter in the east and the southeast – and thrive at the same time. TPLF’s strategic maneuver and direct military interventions in the neighboring countries contiguous to Oromia in the last two decades should thus be seen in light of its fixation to deny its strategic nemesis, the OLF, a military base of operation – an objective in which it has succeeded to a great extent, thus far.

But, judging by events that have transpired in Oromia in the last three years, particularly in 2016, it appears that the OLF has adapted to these difficult geo-political circumstances and could be poised to take on the TPLF more vigorously than before. Notwithstanding the misguided efforts by some in the diaspora to hijack the Oromo Protests, there are clear signals that the protest movement is orchestrated by the OLF. This development has shaken the regime to its core, from which it is likely not going to able to recover. The Oromo Protests have put the TPLF in unfamiliar territory, forcing it to react to facts on the ground its adversary has set in motion. Albeit at tremendous cost to Oromo lives, round one of this phase of the conflict between the OLF and the TPLF was decisively concluded with the latter substantially degraded politically and economically, if not militarily yet, invigorating the former substantially. Therefore, the ground work seems to have been laid for round two and perhaps the decisive stage of this phase of the conflict; and judging by its current activities, the TPLF is mightily worried (as it should be) about the likely outcomes.

One of the dangerous policies the TPLF is pursuing currently to foil what is shaping up to be a historic faceoff between its forces and Oromo freedom fighters, is to unleash the notorious Somali region paramilitary group on peaceful Oromo citizens in the east, the south and the southeast. In my opinion, the main purpose of this move is to provoke OLF fighters to come out of the woodwork, as it were, in order to engage them militarily before more recent events have a chance to solidify in ways that will benefit the combatants. Based on certain signals that are out there, the OLF might have succeeded in embedding its forces in certain communities in Oromia, and it would be reasonable to assume that the TPLF wants to flush these Oromo fighters by goading them into battles of its choosing. It is a clever move, but it doesn’t appear that the OLF is taking the bait.

Why is Ethiopia waging a proxy war on the Oromo through the Liyu Police?

The best defense is a good offense:
The principle of “the best defense is a good offense” has successfully been employed in many areas of life that are guided by strategic interactions between two or more actors. Whether it is sporting competitions, competitions for market, or more consequential human conflicts such as wars, players that prevail are often times those that strike first and knock their opponents off their game plan, forcing them to react. Successful war generals and strategic thinkers – including George Washington, Mao Zedong, Machiavelli and others – have utilized this principle with remarkable success.

The TPLF has used this adage throughout its existence – both in the military and the political arenas – initially against the fearsome Dergue, and later on against all opposition parties, including the OLF. In all the engagements I personally witnessed closely, for instance, the TPLF always seemed to relish the initiative to attack – often with surprising speed and agility – forcing its opponents to scramble to assume defensive positions, denying them opportunities to launch their own attacks. The surviving members of Dergue’s armed forces could speak more competently than I can about the efficacy of TPLF’s famed Qorexa tactics in the battle field.

With the OLF adapting to the aforementioned difficult geo-political realities in the Horn of Africa, and OLA likely getting deeply rooted in Oromia, the TPLF appears to have lost the strategic edge it has worked so hard to achieve and maintain. The Oromo Protests have exposed its weaknesses so unmistakably, sending a clear signal to potential partners or enemies, big or small, that the “dogs from Tigray” might have just been neutered and may not have potent bites anymore. Notice the most recent political developments in Somalia, South Sudan, the European Parliament, and even some corners of the US government – developments that mark that the ground has begun shifting from under the TPLF. Therefore, with no obvious OLF military camp it can attack, and a realization setting in among its senior ranks that its strategic opponent might have regrouped enough to start putting some non-trivial points on the board; the TPLF is undertaking unprovoked military aggressions against Oromo civilians in the east, the southeast, the south, and the west via its proxy paramilitary units, certain that the oppressive system it has built over the years cannot be sustained if it is perceived to have lost its mojo. Thus, its latest move is most likely a desperate attempt to send a signal to its friends and foes that it is in control and still calling the shots.

Attempting to ingratiate to the Oromo a Trojan-Horse named the OPDO:

One of the remarkable outcomes of the Oromo Protests was that it annihilated the intricate and oppressive state structure the TPLF had built in Oromia using the so-called Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), an outfit that was created by TPLF to rule and exploit the Oromo. The TPLF doesn’t stand a chance to rule Oromia without the OPDO serving the purpose for which it was invented. To reinstitute its tentacles throughout Oromia, therefore, the TPLF is employing a number of obvious and subtle strategies including the following: launching different initiatives meant to seduce the unemployed youth; promoting a few “educated” Oromo individuals to positions of power; and most importantly, undertaking moves that might ingratiate the OPDO to the Oromo. Lemma Megersa – the shiny-new telegenic puppet of the regime– is assigned a role of play-acting as the second coming of Tadesse Birru on TV, although he is little more than a pawn in a game being conducted behind his back against his own people.

If implemented properly, the unfolding strategy of unleashing the Liyu police on the Oromo would also contribute to the objective of endearing the OPDO to the Oromo to a certain extent. Here is a two-sentence script for this play: The TPLF invades the Oromo by using its proxies just enough to rile up the Oromo from coast-to-coast; then boom, the OPDO comes to the rescue, turning – contrary to reason and logic – into a “legitimate” Oromo organization that can protect the interests of its constituents. Arguably, this drama has thus far played out as planned by its authors, considering how many Oromo activists have fallen for this cruel scheme. Just because they uttered nationalistic soundbites on state TV, some members of the so-called Caffee Oromiyaa are being promoted as defenders of Oromo national interests by individuals who should know better, indicating that the Neo-Agazians might have achieved some of their short term objectives by making the OPDO an acceptable alternative to a segment of our traumatized population. The Oromo national trauma must be so deep that many mistake the enablers of their abusers for their saviors.

Breaking the thriving morale of the Oromo:

Events that have transpired in the last three years in Oromia – particularly the well-orchestrated massacre at the Irreechaa festival on October 2, 2016 and the ethnic cleansing operations being carried out against the Oromo of Hararge, Bale, Guji, Borana, and some parts of Wollega – are well-designed operations by TPLF aimed at, among other things, breaking the thriving morale of the Oromo and checking the rising tide of Oromo nationalism. The TPLF has always banked on riding Oromo nationalism that it believed could be manipulated at will to exploit Oromo resources, and utilized to engage in a campaign against the traditional and historical nemesis of Tigray – the Amhara elites. When this strategy failed – with the Oromo taking a heroic stand to challenge its monopoly of power and exploitation of their resources; and the Oromo and the Amhara showing some signs of solidarity, even if tactically – it resorted to a war of attrition against the Oromo, foolishly thinking that that would break the thriving morale of the Oromo and put the genie back in the bottle.

For those capable of discerning the zeitgeist in contemporary Ethiopia, however, the writing on the wall is unmistakable: Oromo nationalism has prevailed against all odds – thanks to the sacrifices of countless precious Oromo children – and will continue to develop at a pace determined largely by the dialectics within Oromo society. No amount of treacherous designs by the current rulers of Ethiopia, or the ill-will of those who wish to dismantle it, can derail it from its current auspicious trajectory.

Avenging for the loss it has sustained politically, diplomatically, and financially due to Oromo Protests:

As stated earlier, the Oromo Protests have inflicted heavy losses – politically, diplomatically, and financially – on the TPLF from which it will never recover. Although this is not how smart strategic players are supposed to conduct themselves in high-stakes political games, I can’t put it beyond the realm of possibility that avenging for these losses might just be one of the motivating factors for the dangerous course the TPLF has chosen recently. To the extent that the Neo-Agazians are disposed towards having a sense of entitlement to the political and economic power they are currently enjoying undeservedly (there are plenty of evidences indicating that this might be the case), their lashing out against the Oromo – a nation that has effectively foiled their long-term objective of developing Tigray at the expense of Oromia – should not be unexpected.

In summary, the TPLF is a severely wounded entity that is running out of options faster than most so-called experts of the Horn of Africa anticipated. There will not be any measure it will not pursue in order to stay in power for as long as it is feasible. For now, Abay Tsehay and co. are using Abdi Iley and his UK-financed killing-squads as a “Hail Mary pass” to see if that could extricate the TPLF out of its desperate situation. The OLF is expected to execute its game plan with discipline, focusing on the real prize, disregarding the white noise coming out of the diaspora in the virtual space.


Related:

Bob Zimmer, Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, Canada has expressed solidarity for #OromoProtests.

US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor : Ethiopia: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016 March 4, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
4 comments

Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

u-s-department-of-state-bureau-of-democracy-human-rights-and-labour

Ethiopia: The 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.


Ministriin Dhimma alaa Yunaayitid Isteetis Gabaasa Mirga Dhala Namaa Haaraa Baase

U.S. Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016

 


Security forces used excessive force against protesters throughout the year, killing hundreds and injuring many more. The protests were mainly in Oromia and Amhara regions. At year’s end more than 10,000 persons were believed still to be detained. This included persons detained under the government-declared state of emergency, effective October 8. Many were never brought before a court, provided access to legal counsel, or formally charged with a crime. On June 10, the government-established Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reported and presented to parliament a summary of its report. The EHRC counted 173 deaths in Oromia, including 28 of security force members and officials, and asserted that security forces used appropriate force there. The EHRC also asserted Amhara regional state special security had used excessive force against the Kemant community in Amhara Region. On August 13, the international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported an estimate that security forces killed more than 500 protesters. In October the prime minister stated the deaths in Oromia Region alone “could be more than 500.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights requested access to Oromia and Amhara regions, which the government refused. Following dozens of deaths at a religious festival in Bishoftu on October 2, groups committed property damage. On November 9, international NGO Amnesty International reported more than 800 persons were killed since November 2015.

The 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.

Other human rights problems included arbitrary killings; disappearances; torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest, detention without charge, and lengthy pretrial detention; a weak, overburdened judiciary subject to political influence; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights, including illegal searches; a lack of participatory consultations and information during the implementation of the government’s “villagization” program; restrictions on civil liberties including freedom of speech and press, internet freedom, academic freedom and of cultural events, and freedom of assembly, association, and movement; interference in religious affairs; only limited ability of citizens to choose their government; police, administrative, and judicial corruption; restrictions on activities of civil society and NGOs; violence and societal discrimination against women; female genital mutilation/cutting; abuse of children; trafficking in persons; societal discrimination against persons with disabilities, persons based on their gender identity and sexual orientation, and persons with HIV/AIDS; societal violence including violence based on ethnicity, property destruction, and the killing of security force members; and limits on worker rights, forced labor, and child labor, including forced child labor.

Impunity was a problem. The government generally did not take steps to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed abuses other than corruption.

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:Share

a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings

There were numerous reports the government and its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings. Security forces used excessive force against protesters throughout the year, killing hundreds. The protests were mainly in Oromia and Amhara regions. A March 14 report from the independent Ethiopian NGO Human Rights Council (HRCO) covering 33 districts in Oromia from November 2015 to February 20 described more than 100 extrajudicial killings. On June 10, the government-established EHRC reported to parliament that it counted 173 deaths in Oromia, including 28 of security force members and officials, and asserted security forces used appropriate force there. The EHRC also asserted Amhara regional state special security had used excessive force against the Kemant community in Amhara Region. The EHRC did not publicly release its report. On August 13, HRW estimated security forces killed more than 500 protesters.

On August 6 and 7, security forces reportedly killed approximately 100 persons in response to demonstrations in major cities and towns across the Oromia and Amhara regions. Political opposition groups reported government forces killed more than 90 protesters in Oromia. The Amhara regional government reported seven deaths; other sources reported more than 50 were killed in Amhara Region.

b. Disappearance

Individuals reportedly arrested by security forces as part of the government’s response to protests disappeared. In a June report on the government’s response to Oromo protests, HRW reported hundreds of persons were “unaccounted for” including children.

Due to poor prison administration, family members reported individuals missing who were in custody of prison officials, but whom the families could not locate.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Although the constitution and law prohibit such practices, there were reports security officials tortured and otherwise abused detainees.

In its June report, HRW reported security force members beat detainees, including minors. Security force members used wooden sticks, rubber truncheons, and whips to do so. According to the report, several students stated they were hung by their wrists and whipped, four said they received electric shocks to their feet, and two had weights tied to their testicles. Several female detainees reported security force members raped them. The report stated, “Most of the individuals interviewed by HRW who were detained for more than one month described treatment that appeared to amount to torture.”

Mistreatment reportedly occurred at Maekelawi, official detention centers, unofficial detention centers, police stations, and in Kilinto federal prison. There were reports police investigators used physical and psychological abuse to extract confessions in Maekelawi, the federal crime investigation center in Addis Ababa that often held high-profile political prisoners. Interrogators reportedly administered beatings and electric shocks to extract information and confessions from detainees. HRW reported abuses, including torture, that occurred at Maekelawi. In a 2013 report, HRW described beatings, stress positions, the hanging of detainees by their wrists from the ceiling, prolonged handcuffing, pouring of water over detainees, verbal threats, and solitary confinement. Authorities continued to restrict access by diplomats and NGOs to Maekelawi, although some NGOs reported limited access.

The United Nations reported that during the year (as of December 20) it received one allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse against Ethiopian peacekeepers for an incident alleged to have occurred during the year. The allegation, against military personnel deployed to the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, was investigated by the Ethiopian government and found to be unsubstantiated.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison and pretrial detention center conditions remained harsh and in some cases life threatening. There were reports that authorities beat and tortured prisoners in detention centers, military facilities, and police stations. Medical attention following beatings reportedly was insufficient in some cases. Prisoners died in fires.

The country had six federal and 120 regional prisons. During the state of emergency, effective since October 8, the government announced detention centers in Awash, Ziway, and Dilla and stated suspects could be detained at various police stations in Addis Ababa. There also were many unofficial detention centers throughout the country, including in Dedessa, Bir Sheleko, Tolay, Hormat, Blate, Tatek, Jijiga, Holeta, and Senkele. As part of the government’s response to the protests, persons were also detained in military facilities, local administration offices, and makeshift government-owned sites.

A local NGO supported model prisons in Adama, Mekelle, Debre Birhan, Durashe, and Awassa; these prisons had significantly better conditions than those in other prisons.

Pretrial detention often occurred in police station detention facilities, where conditions varied widely, but reports indicated poor hygiene and police abuse of detainees.

Physical Conditions: Authorities sometimes incarcerated juveniles with adults. Prison officials generally separated male and female prisoners, although mixing occurred at some facilities.

Severe overcrowding was common, especially in prison sleeping quarters. The government provided approximately nine birr ($0.40) per prisoner per day for food, water, and health care, although this amount varied across the country. Many prisoners supplemented this amount with daily food deliveries from family members or by purchasing food from local vendors. Other reports noted officials prevented some prisoners from receiving food from their families. Medical care was unreliable in federal prisons and almost nonexistent in regional ones. Prisoners had only limited access to potable water. Water shortages caused unhygienic conditions, and most prisons lacked appropriate sanitary facilities. Many prisoners had serious health problems but received little or no treatment. There were reports prison officials denied some prisoners access to needed medical care. In 2012 the Ministry of Health stated nearly 62 percent of inmates in jails across the country experienced mental health problems due to solitary confinement, overcrowding, and lack of adequate health-care facilities and services.

The June HRW report on government response to Oromo protests stated detainees reported overcrowding, inadequate access to food and water, and solitary confinement, including in military camps. The report stated men and women were not held in the same cells in most locations, but children were detained with adults.

Fires in prisons occurred in Gondar in December 2015, in Ambo on February 19, in Debretabor on September 1, and, on September 3, at Kilinto Prison where at least 23 inmates died.

Visitors of political prisoners and other sources reported political prisoners often faced significantly different treatment compared with other prisoners. Allegations included lack of access to proper medication or any medical treatment, lack of access to books or television, and denial of exercise time. In at least one case, when such complaints were openly raised in a court of law, the presiding judges referred the complaints to the prison administration, which had already refused to look into the complaints.

Administration: Due to the lack of transparency regarding incarceration, it was difficult to determine if recordkeeping was adequate. There were reports prisoners mistreated by prison guards did not have access to prison administrations to complain. Prisons did not have ombudspersons to respond to complaints. Legal aid clinics existed in some prisons for the benefit of prisoners, and at the regional level had good working relations with judicial, prison, and other government officials. Prison officials allowed detainees to submit complaints to judicial authorities without censorship. Courts sometimes declined to hear such complaints.

The law permits prisoners to have visitors. According to the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP), a lawyer is permitted to visit only one client per day, and only on Wednesdays and Fridays. Authorities allegedly denied family members access to persons charged with terrorist activity. There were also reports authorities denied the accused visits with lawyers or with representatives of the political parties to which they belonged. In some cases police did not allow pretrial detainees access to visitors, including family members and legal counsel.

After the September 3 fire in the federal prison at Kilinto, attorneys reported visitation for several prisoners was restricted to closely prison visits by family members only. Conversations could not touch on subjects such as trials, politics, and allegations of abuse. This was reported in the prisons in Kilinto, Shewa Robit, and Ziway. These restrictions also applied to political prisoners.

Officials permitted religious observance by prisoners, but this varied by prison, and even by section within a prison, at the discretion of prison management. There were allegations authorities denied detainees adequate locations in which to pray. Prisoners could voice complaints regarding prison conditions or treatment to the presiding judge during their trials.

Independent Monitoring: During the year the International Committee of the Red Cross visited prisons throughout the country as part of its normal activities. The government did not permit access to prisons by other international human rights organizations.

Regional authorities had allowed government and NGO representatives to meet with prisoners without third parties present. By September such allowances were severely curtailed, however. Prison officials reportedly denied access to prisoners for civil society representatives and family members, including in undisclosed locations. The government-established EHRC, which is funded by parliament and subject to parliamentary oversight, monitored federal and regional detention centers and interviewed prison officials and prisoners in response to allegations of widespread human rights abuses. An NGO continued to have access to various prison and detention facilities around the country.

Improvements: The government constructed two new prisons.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention; however, the state of emergency regulations allowed law enforcement to arrest and detain individuals without a court warrant. There were thousands of reports of arbitrary arrest and detention related to protests. Security forces arbitrarily arrested and detained protesters, professors, university students, musicians, businesspersons, health workers, journalists, children, and others. Security forces went door-to-door after protests to conduct arrests and arbitrarily detained opposition party members and supporters, accusing them of inciting violence.

ROLE OF THE POLICE AND SECURITY APPARATUS

The Federal Police report to the Office of the Prime Minister and are subject to parliamentary oversight. The oversight was loose. Each of the nine regions has a state or special police force that reports to regional civilian authorities. Local militias operated across the country in loose and varying coordination with regional and federal police and the military. In some cases these militias functioned as extensions of the ruling party. The military played a significant role in responding to the protests. The constitution provides for the military to perform duties assigned to it under a state of emergency.

Impunity remained a serious problem, including impunity for killings of and violence against protesters. The internal mechanisms used to investigate abuses by federal police were not known. On June 10, the government-established Ethiopian Human Rights Commission reported to parliament on the protests, stating it confirmed 173 deaths in Oromia, including 28 security force members and officials, and asserted security forces used appropriate force there. The EHRC also asserted Amhara regional state special security had used excessive force against the Kemant community in Amhara Region. The commission did not publicly release its report. The government rarely publicly disclosed the results of investigations into abuses by local security forces, such as arbitrary detention and beatings of civilians.

The government continued to support human rights training for police and army personnel. It continued to accept assistance from NGOs and the EHRC to improve and professionalize its human rights training and curriculum by including more material on the constitution and international human rights treaties and conventions.

ARREST PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DETAINEES

The constitution and law require detainees be brought to court and charged within 48 hours of arrest or as soon thereafter as local circumstances and communications permit. Travel time to the court is not included in the 48-hour period. With a warrant, authorities may detain persons suspected of serious offenses for 14 days without charge and for additional and renewable 14-day periods if an investigation continues. The courts allowed security officials to continue investigations for more than 14 days without bringing formal charges against suspects.

Under the ATP police may request to detain persons without charge for 28-day periods, up to a maximum of four months, while an investigation is conducted. The law permits warrantless arrests for various offenses including “flagrant offenses.” These include offenses in which the suspect was found committing the offense, attempting to commit the offense, or just completing the offense. The ATP permits a warrantless arrest when police reasonably suspect a person has committed or is committing a terrorist act.

The law prohibits detention in any facility other than an official detention center; however, local militias and other formal and informal law enforcement entities used an unknown number of unofficial local detention centers. As part of the government’s response to the protests, persons also were detained in military facilities.

A functioning bail system was in place. Bail was not available for persons charged with terrorism, murder, treason, and corruption. In most cases authorities set bail between 500 and 10,000 birr ($22 and $444), which most citizens could not afford. The government provided public defenders for detainees unable to afford private legal counsel but only when cases went to court. There were reports that while some detainees were in pretrial detention, authorities allowed them little or no contact with legal counsel, did not provide full information on their health status, and did not allow family visits. There were reports officials held some prisoners incommunicado for weeks at a time, and civilians were also placed under house arrest for an undisclosed period of time.

The constitution requires authorities under a state of emergency to announce the names of detainees within one month of their arrest. In practice, the names of those detained under the state of emergency were generally announced. The names were not always made available within 30 days and civilians were not always able to locate the rosters of names of those imprisoned.

Arbitrary Arrest: Authorities regularly detained persons arbitrarily, including protesters, journalists, and opposition party members. There were thousands of reports of arbitrary arrest by security forces in response to protests. The March 14 HRCO report listed 84 individuals under “illegal detention,” with four having subsequently been released.

On March 8, authorities detained 20 students from Addis Ababa University and charged them under the criminal code with inciting the public through false rumors, holding an illegal demonstration, and encouraging the public to disobey the ATP. On August 1, the Federal First Instance Court acquitted nine of the students and reduced the charges against the 11 others, whose trial continued at year’s end.

The government continued to arbitrarily arrest journalists and those who express views that oppose the government (see section 2.a.). On March 3, federal police temporarily detained a foreign correspondent, a freelance journalist, and their translator near Awash Town. Police reportedly took their phones and identification cards and then escorted them back to Addis Ababa. On March 4, authorities released them without giving any explanation for their detention.

In December 2015 police arrested and detained former Blue Party spokesperson Yonatan Tesfaye. On May 4, the federal attorney general charged Yonatan with incitement of terrorism through posts under a pseudonym on Facebook, citing article 4 of the ATP. The court hearing the trial changed the charges to article 6, which pertains to encouragement of terrorism and carries a lesser sentence. Yonatan’s trial continued at year’s end.

There were developments in the case of three individuals detained in March 2015 at Bole International Airport while on the way to Nairobi. In mid-November a court reduced the charges against Omot Agwa Okwoy to the criminal code and dropped the charges against Ashinie Astin Titoyk, and Jemal Oumar Hojele, who were both released.

Pretrial Detention: Some detainees reported being held for several years without charge or trial. The percentage of the inmate population in pretrial detention and average length of time held was not available. Lengthy legal procedures, large numbers of detainees, judicial inefficiency, and staffing shortages contributed to frequent trial delays. The state of emergency regulations allow authorities to detain a person without a court order until the end of the state of emergency.

Detainee’s Ability to Challenge Lawfulness of Detention before a Court: The law provides for detainees to be informed of the nature of their arrest. It also provides persons accused or charged of a crime the ability to appeal. During the year there were no reported cases of a court ruling that a person was unlawfully detained. The law does not provide for persons who are unlawfully detained to receive compensation.

Amnesty: In September, in keeping with a long-standing tradition of issuing pardons at the Ethiopian New Year, the government released more than 12,000 prisoners, including prisoners convicted under the ATP such as Abubeker Ahmed Mohamed and other members of the Muslim Arbitration Committee. Of those, 757 were released from federal prisons and more than 11,000 from regional prisons.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for an independent judiciary. Although the civil courts operated with a large degree of independence, criminal courts remained weak, overburdened, and subject to political influence. The constitution recognizes both religious and traditional or customary courts.

TRIAL PROCEDURES

By law accused persons have the right to a fair public trial “without undue delay”; a presumption of innocence; the right to legal counsel of their choice; the right to appeal; the right not to self-incriminate; and the right to present witnesses and evidence in their defense, cross-examine prosecution witnesses, and access government-held evidence. In practice, however, detainees did not always enjoy all these rights, and as a result, defense attorneys were sometimes unprepared to provide an adequate defense. Defendants were not always presumed innocent, able to communicate with an attorney of their choice, provided timely free interpretation as necessary from the moment charged through all appeals, or provided access to government-held evidence. Defendants were often unaware of the specific charges against them until the commencement of their trials. There were reports of detainees being subjected to torture and other abuse while in detention to obtain information or confessions.

The federal Public Defender’s Office provided legal counsel to indigent defendants, but scope and quality of service were inadequate due to the shortage of attorneys, who in some cases may individually handle more than 100 cases and many more individual clients at the same time. Numerous free legal aid clinics, based primarily at universities, provided services. In certain areas of the country, the law allows volunteers, such as law students and professors, to represent clients in court on a pro bono basis.

Many citizens residing in rural areas had little access to formal judicial systems and relied on traditional mechanisms for resolving conflict. By law all parties to a dispute must agree to use a traditional or religious court before such a court may hear a case, and either party may appeal to a regular court at any time. Sharia (Islamic law) courts may hear religious and family cases involving Muslims if both parties agree to use a sharia court before going to trial. Sharia courts received some funding from the government and adjudicated a majority of cases in Somali and Afar regions, which are predominantly Muslim. Other traditional systems of justice, such as councils of elders, continued to function. Some women stated they lacked access to free and fair hearings in the traditional court system because local custom excluded them from participation in councils of elders and because of strong gender discrimination in rural areas.

POLITICAL PRISONERS AND DETAINEES

The number of political prisoners and detainees at years’ end was not known. The government detained journalists and political opposition members.

Police arrested Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of recognized political party the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), and 21 others in November and December 2015. On April 22, the attorney general charged them under the ATP. Authorities reportedly mistreated Bekele and others, including denying adequate medical care and access to visitors, including legal counsel. Their trial continued at year’s end.

Police arrested other leaders and members of political parties during the year, including Merera Gudina on November 30 (see also section 3, Elections and Political Participation, Political Parties and Political Participation).

There were further updates in the cases of 10 persons including opposition party leaders and others whom police detained in 2014. On May 10, the Federal High Court sentenced Zelalem Workagegnehu to five years and four months in prison, Tesfaye Teferi to three years and 11 months, and Solomon Girma to three years and seven months in prison. The other two defendants in the same trial, Yonatan Wolde and Bahiru Degu, were acquitted and released on April 15. Separately, the prosecution appealed the August 2015 Federal High Court acquittal of Habtamu Ayalew, Yeshiwas Assefa, Daniel Shibeshi, Abraha Desta, and Abraham Solomon. On December 2, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s acquittal of Habtamu Ayalew, Yeshiwas Assefa, and Abraham Solomon but remanded to the High Court the cases of Daniel Shibeshi and Abraha Desta.

There were also developments in cases of the Zone 9 blogging collective. In October 2015 the Federal High Court acquitted Natnael Feleke, Atnaf Berahane, Abel Wabella, and Soleyana Shimeles Gebremichael (in absentia) and reduced the charges against Befekadu Hailu. The prosecution’s appeal of the acquittals continued at the Supreme Court, and the Federal High Court continued to hear the trial of Befekadu Hailu. On October 4, Natnael Feleke was arrested again. He was later released on bail and charged with “inciting the public through false rumors” in relation to having made critical remarks regarding the government during a private conversation at a restaurant. On November 11, authorities arrested Befekadu Hailu again. On December 21, he was released without charge.

CIVIL JUDICIAL PROCEDURES AND REMEDIES

The law provides citizens the right to appeal human rights violations in civil court. Citizens did not file any such case during the year.

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law generally requires authorities to obtain court-issued search warrants prior to searching private property, however, after the state of emergency, prior court approval for searches was suspended. In an amendment to the state of emergency provisions, security officials had to provide a reason, an official identification card, and be accompanied by someone from the community before conducting a search. The law also recognizes exceptions for “hot pursuit,” in which a suspect enters premises or disposes of items that are the subject of an offense committed on the premises, and when police have reasonable suspicion evidence of a crime punishable by more than three years of imprisonment is concealed on or in the property and that a delay in obtaining a search warrant would allow the evidence to be removed. Moreover, the ATP permits warrantless searches of a person or vehicle when authorized by the director general of the Federal Police or his designee or a police officer has reasonable suspicion a terrorist act may be committed and deems a sudden search necessary.

Opposition political party leaders and journalists reported suspicions of telephone tapping, other electronic eavesdropping, and surveillance, and they alleged government agents attempted to lure them into illegal acts by calling and pretending to be representatives of groups–designated by parliament as terrorist organizations–interested in making financial donations.

The government reportedly used a widespread system of paid informants to report on the activities of particular individuals. Opposition members, journalists, and athletes reported ruling party operatives and militia members made intimidating and unwelcome visits to their homes and offices and intimidated family members. These included entry into and searches of homes without a warrant.

There were reports authorities dismissed opposition members from their jobs and that those not affiliated with the EPRDF sometimes had trouble receiving the “support letters” from their kebeles (neighborhoods or wards) necessary to get employment (see section 3, Political Parties and Political Participation).

Security forces continued to detain family members of persons sought for questioning by the government.

The national and regional governments continued to implement the policy of Accelerated Development (informally known as “villagization”) plans in the Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’, Oromia, and Somali regions, which might include resettlement. These plans involved relocation by regional governments of scattered rural populations from arid or semiarid lands vulnerable to recurring droughts into designated communities closer to water, services, and infrastructure. The stated purposes of accelerated development were to improve the provision of government services (health care, education, and clean water), protect vulnerable communities from natural disasters and attacks, and change environmentally destructive patterns of shifting cultivation. Some observers alleged the purpose was to enable large-scale leasing of land for commercial agriculture. The government described the program as strictly voluntary. The government had scheduled to conclude the program in 2015, but decided to continue it.

International donors reported assessments from more than 18 visits to villagization sites since 2011 did not corroborate allegations of systematic, grave human rights violations. They found delays in establishing promised infrastructure and inadequate compensation. Communities and families appeared to have agreed to move based on assurances from authorities of food aid, health and education services, and land; some communities were moved before adequate basic services such as water pumps and shelter were in place in the new locations. Follow-up visits suggested the government had done little to improve consultations with affected communities, and communities were not fully informed when consenting to cede their rights for land projects.

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:Share

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, however the state of emergency regulations included restrictions on these rights. Authorities harassed, arrested, detained, charged, and prosecuted journalists and others perceived as critical of the government, creating an environment of self-censorship.

Freedom of Speech and Expression: The state of emergency regulations contained several prohibitions that restricted freedom of speech and expression and resulted in detention or disappearance of numerous independent voices. The regulations prohibited any covert or overt agitation and communication that could incite violence and unrest (interpreted to include the popular Oromo protest sign of raising crossed arms over one’s head), any communication with designated terrorist groups or antipeace forces, storing and disseminating text, storing and promoting emblems of terrorist groups, incitement in sermons and teaching in religious institutions to induce fear or incite conflict, speech that could incite attacks based on identity or ethnicity, exchange of information by any individual with a foreign government in a manner that undermines national sovereignty and security, and any political parties from briefing journalists in a manner that is anticonstitutional and undermines sovereignty and security. Individuals self-censored as a result of these prohibitions.

Authorities arrested, detained, and harassed persons for criticizing the government. NGOs reported cases of torture of individuals critical of the government. The government attempted to impede criticism through intimidation, including continued detention of journalists and those who express critical opinions online and opposition activists, and monitoring of and interference in activities of political opposition groups. Some feared authorities would retaliate against them for discussing security force abuses. Authorities arrested and detained persons who made statements publicly or privately deemed critical of the government under a provision of the law pertaining to inciting the public through false rumors.

Press and Media Freedoms: The state of emergency prohibited listening to, watching, or reporting information from Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) and Oromo Media Network.

Independent journalists reported problems using government printing presses. Access to private printing presses was scarce to nonexistent.

In Addis Ababa, nine independent newspapers and magazines had a combined weekly circulation of 70,711 copies. Four independent monthly and biweekly magazines published in Amharic and English had a combined circulation of 21,500 copies. State-run newspapers had a combined circulation of 85,500 copies. Most newspapers were printed on a weekly or biweekly basis, except state-owned Amharic and English dailies and the privately run Daily Monitor. Addis Standard magazine temporarily suspended the print edition of its publication soon after the state of emergency was declared.

Government-controlled media closely reflected the views of the government and ruling EPRDF. The government controlled the only television station that broadcast nationally, which, along with radio, was the primary source of news for much of the population. Six private FM radio stations broadcast in the capital, one private radio station broadcast in the northern Tigray Region, and at least 19 community radio stations broadcast in the regions. State-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation had the largest broadcast range in the country, followed by Fana Radio, which was reportedly affiliated with the ruling party.

The government periodically jammed foreign broadcasts. The law prohibits political and religious organizations and foreigners from owning broadcast stations.

Violence and Harassment: The government continued to arrest, harass, and prosecute journalists. As of mid-December, at least 12 journalists remained in detention.

In December 2015 police detained Fikadu Mirkana, who worked as news anchor and senior reporter for Oromia State TV. He was released in April.

In December 2015 authorities detained journalist Getachew Shiferaw, editor in chief of a web-based opposition-affiliated newspaper. On May 19, authorities charged him with terrorism and his trial continued at year’s end.

The trial of two journalists affiliated with Radio Bilal whom authorities arrested in February 2015 and charged with terrorism continued at the Federal High Court.

Censorship or Content Restrictions: Government harassment caused journalists to avoid reporting on sensitive topics. Many private newspapers reported informal editorial control by the government through article placement requests and calls from government officials concerning articles perceived as critical of the government. Private sector and government journalists routinely practiced self-censorship. Several journalists, both local and foreign, reported an increase in self-censorship, especially after the October 8 implementation of the state of emergency. The government reportedly pressured advertisers not to advertise in publications that were critical of the government.

National Security: The government used the ATP to suppress criticism. Journalists feared covering five groups designated by parliament as terrorist organizations in 2011 (Ginbot 7, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the OLF, al-Qaida, and al-Shabaab), citing ambiguity on whether reporting on these groups might be punishable under the law.

INTERNET FREEDOM

The government restricted and disrupted access to the internet. It periodically blocked social media sites and internet access in areas of Oromia and Amhara regions, especially during protests. At times the government blocked access throughout the country. There were credible reports the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority. State-owned Ethio Telecom was the only internet service provider in the country.

On June 7, parliament passed the Computer Crime Proclamation. There were concerns its provisions were overly broad and could restrict freedom of speech and expression. This included, for example, a provision that provides for imprisonment for disseminating through a computer system any written, video, audio or any other picture that incites violence, chaos, or conflict among people, and another provision that provides for a prison sentence for intimidation.

In July officials blocked social media sites for days across the country until the national school examination concluded. The government stated blocking these sites was necessary to provide for an “orderly exam process.” In May the national exams were reportedly leaked on social media, causing the government to postpone the exams.

On August 6 and 7, the government imposed a nationwide internet blackout.

The state of emergency regulations included prohibited agitation and communication to incite violence and unrest through the internet, text messaging, and social media.

Starting in early October, the government shut down mobile access to the internet in Addis Ababa, most parts of Oromia Region, and other areas. Wired access to several social media and communication sites were also denied. These included social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber, news websites such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, and many other sites, including foreign university homepages and online shopping sites such as Amazon.

The government periodically and increasingly restricted access to certain content on the internet and blocked numerous websites, including blogs, opposition websites, and websites of Ginbot 7, the OLF, and the ONLF, and news sites such as al-Jazeera, the BBC, and RealClearPolitics. Several news blogs and websites run by opposition diaspora groups were not accessible. These included Ethiopian Review, Nazret, CyberEthiopia, Quatero Amharic Magazine, and the Ethiopian Media Forum.

Authorities monitored telephone calls, text messages, and e-mails. Authorities took steps to block access to Virtual Private Network providers that let users circumvent government screening of internet browsing and e-mail. There were reports such surveillance resulted in arrests. According to the International Telecommunication Union, 11.6 percent of the population used the internet in 2015.

In March 2015 Citizen Lab, a Canadian research center at the University of Toronto, reported on attempts in 2014 to infect the computers of U.S.-based employees of ESAT with spyware. ESAT is a diaspora-based television and radio station. According to Citizen Lab, its research suggested involvement of the government and that the attacker may have been the Ethiopian Information and Network Security Agency.

ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND CULTURAL EVENTS

The government restricted academic freedom, including student enrollment, teachers’ appointments, and curricula. Authorities frequently restricted speech, expression, and assembly on university and high school campuses. The state of emergency regulations prohibited strikes in educational institutions and closing them or damaging property, gives authorities the power to order educational institutions to take measures against any student or staff member who violates the prohibitions in the regulations, and provides law enforcement the authority to enter educational institutions and take measures to control strikes or protests.

The ruling party, via the Ministry of Education, continued to favor students loyal to the party in assignment to postgraduate programs. Some university staff members commented that students who joined the party received priority for employment in all fields after graduation.

Authorities limited teachers’ ability to deviate from official lesson plans. Numerous anecdotal reports suggested non-EPRDF members were more likely to be transferred to undesirable posts and bypassed for promotions. There were reports of teachers not affiliated with the EPRDF being summarily dismissed for failure to attend party meetings. There continued to be a lack of transparency in academic staffing decisions, with numerous complaints from academics alleging bias based on party membership, ethnicity, or religion.

A separate Ministry of Education directive prohibits private universities from offering degree programs in law and teacher education. The directive also requires public universities to align their curriculum with the ministry’s policy of a 70/30 ratio between science and social science academic programs. As a result the number of students studying social sciences and the humanities at public institutions continued to decrease; private universities focused heavily on the social sciences.

Reports indicated a pattern of surveillance and arbitrary arrests of Oromo university students based on suspicion of their holding dissenting opinions or participation in peaceful demonstrations. According to reports there was an intense buildup of security forces (uniformed and plainclothes) embedded on university campuses preceding student protests, especially in Oromia, and in response to student demonstrations.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY

The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly; the state of emergency regulations, however, prohibited demonstrations and town hall meetings that did not have approval from the command post, the entity that oversees the state of emergency. The government did not respect freedom of assembly and killed, injured, detained, and arrested numerous protesters throughout the year (see also sections 1.a., 1.b., 1.c., 1.d., and 1.e.). The majority of protests were in Oromia and Amhara regions. On August 13, HRW reported an estimate that security forces killed more than 500 protesters since November 2015. On January 21 and October 10, UN experts called on the government to end the “crackdown on peaceful protests.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights requested access to the regions, which the government did not provide. On November 9, Amnesty international estimated at least 800 had been killed.

On August 6 and 7, security forces reportedly killed approximately 100 persons in response to simultaneous demonstrations in major cities and towns across Oromia and Amhara regions (see section 1.a).

On October 2, dozens were reportedly killed at a religious festival in Bishoftu. Security forces’ response to agitation in the crowd, including the use of teargas and firing into the air, reportedly led to a stampede that left many dead. On October 7, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for an investigation and urged the government allow independent observers access to Oromia and Amhara regions. On October 10, a group of UN human rights experts highlighted the October 2 events and urged the government to allow an international commission of inquiry to investigate the protests and violence used against protesters since November 2015. The government-established EHRC conducted an investigation into the incident. The results of that investigation were unknown.

Prior to the state of emergency, organizers of public meetings of more than two persons or demonstrations had to notify the government 48 hours in advance and obtain a permit. Authorities could not refuse to grant a permit but could require the event be held at a different time or place for reasons of public safety or freedom of movement. If authorities determined an event should be held at another time or place, the law required organizers be notified in writing within 12 hours of the time of submission of their request. After the state of emergency, prior-issued permits were deemed invalid.

Prior to the state of emergency, the government denied some requests by opposition political parties to hold protests but approved others. Opposition party organizers alleged government interference in most cases, and authorities required several of the protests be moved to different dates or locations from those the organizers requested. Protest organizers alleged the government’s claims of needing to move the protests based on public safety concerns were not credible. Local government officials, almost all of whom were affiliated with the EPRDF, controlled access to municipal halls, and there were many complaints from opposition parties that local officials denied or otherwise obstructed the scheduling of opposition parties’ use of halls for lawful political rallies. There were numerous credible reports owners of hotels and other large facilities cited internal rules forbidding political parties from utilizing their spaces for gatherings. Regional governments, including the Addis Ababa regional administration, were reluctant to grant permits or provide security for large meetings. After the state of emergency, the prohibition on unauthorized demonstrations or town hall meetings limited the organization of meetings, training sessions, and other gatherings. For example, members of at least one opposition political party reported they were prevented from having a four-person meeting.

FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION

Although the law provides for freedom of association and the right to engage in unrestricted peaceful political activity, the government severely limited this right (see sections 3 and 5).

The state of emergency and the accompanying regulations restricted the ability of organizations to operate (see also section 5). The prohibitions relating to communication and acts that undermine tolerance and unity resulted in self-censorship of reports and public statements. The prohibition on unauthorized town hall meetings limited the organization of meetings, training sessions, and other gatherings. The prohibition on exchanging information or contact with a foreign government or NGOs in a manner that undermines national sovereignty and security reduced communication between local organizations and international organizations and others.

The state of emergency regulations also prohibited any political party “from briefing local or foreign journalists in a manner that is anticonstitutional and undermining sovereignty and security.”

The Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO) law bans anonymous donations to NGOs. All potential donors were therefore aware their names would be public knowledge. The same was true concerning all donations made to political parties.

A 2012 report by the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association stated, “The enforcement of these (the CSO law) provisions has a devastating impact on individuals’ ability to form and operate associations effectively.”

International NGOs seeking to operate in the country had to submit an application via the country’s embassies abroad, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs then submitted to the Charities and Societies Agency for approval.

c. Freedom of Religion

See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at www.state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/.

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

Although the law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, the state of emergency regulations restricted internal movement. The government also restricted freedom of internal movement and foreign travel.

The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern. At times authorities or armed groups limited the ability of humanitarian organizations to operate in areas of insecurity, such as on the country’s borders.

In-country Movement: The state of emergency regulations prohibited diplomats from travelling more than 25 miles outside of Addis Ababa without prior notification to and approval from the command post. The government lifted this restriction in early November. Security concerns forced a temporary halt of deliveries of food and other humanitarian assistance in limited areas in Amhara and Oromia regions.

Foreign Travel: A 2013 ban on unskilled workers travelling to the Middle East for employment continued. The ban did not affect citizens travelling for investment or other business reasons. The government stated it issued the ban to prevent harassment, intimidation, and trauma suffered by those working abroad, particularly in the Middle East, as domestic employees.

There were several reports of authorities restricting foreign travel, similar to the following case: On March 23, National Intelligence and Security Service officials at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa prevented Merera Gudina, chairman of the OFC, from departing the country. On June 15, Merera was permitted to leave. Authorities arrested him on December 1.

Authorities restricted travel of persons in the Zone 9 case. For example, authorities confiscated blogger Zelalem Kibret’s passport in November 2015 and prevented him from boarding his international flight. Airport security officials said he could not leave the country because he had previously been arrested. Authorities returned Zelalem’s passport on June 1, and he was later permitted to travel abroad.

Exile: As in past years, citizens including journalists and others remained abroad in self-imposed exile due to fear of government retribution should they return.

INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), there were 684,064 IDPs between August 2015 and August, including protracted and new cases, many of them due to the impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon. This was an increase compared with previous years.

Of the IDPs, 397,296 were displaced by flooding and conflict while 188,244 were displaced due to the effects of the drought related to El Nino. Another 33,300 were displaced due to resource-based competition. Most of those affected by El Nino returned to their places of origin.

IOM estimated 657, 224 individuals were considered “protracted IDPs,” meaning they lacked durable solutions such as local integration, internal resettlement, or return to home. The reasons for protracted displacements included interclan and cross-border conflict, natural disasters, political or community considerations in IDP resettlements, and lack of resettlement resources. Of these IDPs, 283,092 resided in Somali Region; 148,482 in Afar; 144,295 in Oromia; 47,950 in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region; 13,245 in Amhara; 2,290 in Dire Dawa; and 2,055 in Harar. An additional 15,815 individuals displaced by flooding were still on the move and thus could not be attributed to any one region.

IOM reported in August 41,316 individuals or 7,844 households were internally displaced in Amhara, Oromia, and Somali regions, due to conflict and flooding. From August 24 through mid-September, approximately 8,000 individuals moved from Amhara Region to northwestern Tigray Region. Many of the IDPs cited as the reason for their departure recent conflicts in the region and a generalized sense they could be targeted because of their ethnicity (Tigrayan). The federal government allocated six million birr ($266,361) to Tigray Region for the IDP response. The funds were distributed among Hemera, Axum, Mekele, and Shire, which were the towns with the greatest IDP influx. The largest volume of arrivals was in Shire, which received 2.6 million birr ($115,423) of the region’s total. The federal government established a committee led by the Tigray Regional Agriculture Department to seek permanent integration options for the IDPs.

The IOM estimated an April 15 attack in Gambella Region by Murle ethnic group from South Sudan displaced more than 21,000 individuals (see section 6, Other Societal Violence or Discrimination).

The government, through the Disaster Risk Management Food Security Sector (DRMFSS), continued to play an active role in delivering humanitarian assistance to IDPs. Federal and local DRMFSS officials coordinated with IOM and its partners in monitoring IDP populations.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

Access to Asylum: The law provides for granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. The state of emergency regulations prohibited entering the country without a visa.

According to UNHCR, the country hosted 743,732 refugees as of August. The majority of refugees were from South Sudan (281,612) and Somalia (254,277), with others from Eritrea (161,615), Sudan (39,317), and other countries. There were 1,554 registered Yemeni asylum seekers.

UNHCR, the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, and humanitarian agencies continued to care for Sudanese arrivals fleeing from conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile State, averaging 1,500 new arrivals per month, according to UNHCR. The government also extended support to asylum seekers from South Sudan, mostly arriving from Upper Nile and Unity states. Persistent conflict and food insecurity prompted the flow of South Sudanese refugees into the country; there were an estimated 2,712 arrivals during August.

Eritrean asylum seekers continued to arrive. Approximately 23 percent were unaccompanied minors. Many who arrived regularly departed for secondary migration through Egypt and Sudan to go to Europe and other final destinations.

Freedom of movement: The state of emergency regulations prohibited leaving refugee camps without permission from an authorized body. The government continued a policy that allowed some Eritrean refugees to live outside a camp. The government gave such permission primarily for persons to attend higher-education institutions, undergo medical treatment, or avoid security threats at the camps.

Employment: The government does not grant refugees work permits.

Durable Solutions: The government welcomed refugees to settle in the country but did not offer a path to citizenship or provide integration. The government supported a policy allowing some refugees to live outside camps and engage in informal livelihoods. Refugee students who passed the required tests could attend university with fees paid by the government and UNHCR.

Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political ProcessShare

The constitution and law provide citizens the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage. The ruling party’s electoral advantages, however, limited this ability.

Elections and Political Participation

Recent Elections: In May 2015 the country held national elections for the House of People’s Representatives, the country’s parliamentary body. In October 2015 parliament re-elected Hailemariam Desalegn prime minister.

In the May 2015 national parliamentary elections, the EPRDF and affiliated parties won all 547 seats, giving the party a fifth consecutive five-year term. Government restrictions severely limited independent observation of the vote. The African Union was the sole international organization permitted to observe the elections. Opposition party observers accused local police of interference, harassment, and extrajudicial detention. Independent journalists reported little trouble covering the election, including reports from polling stations. Some independent journalists reported receiving their observation credentials the day before the election, after having submitted proper and timely applications. Six rounds of broadcast debates preceded the elections, and for the most part they were broadcast in full and only slightly edited. The debates included all major political parties. Several laws, regulations, and procedures implemented since the 2005 national elections created a clear advantage for the EPRDF throughout the electoral process. In addition the “first past the post” provision, or 50 percent plus one vote required to win a seat in parliament, as stipulated in the constitution, contributed to EPRDF’s advantage in the electoral process. There were reports of unfair government tactics, including intimidation of opposition candidates and supporters. Various reports confirmed at least six election-related deaths during the period before and immediately following the elections. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) is politically dependent on the prime minister, and there is no opportunity for nonruling political parties to have a say in its decisions concerning party registration and candidate qualification. NEBE has sole responsibility for voter education and broadcast radio segments and distributed manuals on voter education in many local languages.

In a preliminary election assessment, the African Union called the elections “calm, peaceful, and credible” and applauded the government for its registration efforts. It raised concerns, however, regarding the legal framework underpinning the election. NEBE registered more than 35 million voters, and did not report any incidents of unfair voter registration practices.

Political Parties and Political Participation: The government, controlled by the EPRDF, unduly restricted political parties and members of certain ethnic groups, particularly the Amhara and Oromo, who stated they lacked genuine political representation at the federal level. The state of emergency regulations restricted political parties’ ability to operate. For example, the regulations prohibit any political party “from briefing local or foreign journalists in a manner that is anticonstitutional and undermining sovereignty and security.”

Authorities arrested and prosecuted political opposition members including under allegations of terrorism (see section 1.e., Political Prisoners). Government officials alleged many members of legitimate Oromo opposition parties were secretly OLF members and, more broadly, that members of many opposition parties had ties to Ginbot 7.

The OFC reported that authorities have kept OFC general secretary Bekele Nega under house arrest since December 30, 2015. Security personnel reportedly told him not to leave his house in Addis Ababa, use his phone, or give any interviews to media. Authorities also arrested other OFC leaders and members including Merera Gudina and Bekele Gerba (see section 1.e., Denial of Fair Public Trial, Political Prisoners and Detainees).

On October 11, authorities arrested Blen Mesfin and three other members of the registered Blue (Semayawi) Party. Blen Mesfin was charged with “inciting the public through false rumors.” Authorities ordered her release on bail. On the day scheduled for her release, authorities rearrested and detained her without charge. She was released on December 21, although it was unclear whether she still faced charges.

Constituent parties of the EPRDF conferred advantages upon their members; the parties directly owned many businesses and were broadly perceived to award jobs and business contracts to loyal supporters. Several opposition parties reported difficulty in renting homes or buildings in which to open offices, citing visits by EPRDF members to the property owners to persuade or threaten them not to rent property to these parties. There were reports authorities terminated the employment of teachers and other government workers who belonged to opposition political parties. According to Oromo opposition groups, the Oromia regional government continued to threaten to dismiss opposition party members, particularly teachers, from their jobs. There were reports unemployed youths not affiliated with the ruling coalition sometimes had trouble receiving the “support letters” from their wards necessary to get jobs.

Registered political parties must receive permission from regional governments to open and occupy local offices. Opposition parties reported difficulty acquiring the required permissions for regional offices, adversely affecting their ability to organize and campaign. Laws requiring parties to report “public meetings” and obtain permission for public rallies were also used to inhibit opposition activities.

Participation of Women and Minorities: No laws prevented women or minorities from voting or participating in political life, although highly patriarchal customs in some regions limited female participation in political life. Women were significantly underrepresented in both elected and appointed positions. As of the October change in cabinet assignments, women held three of the 22 federal government ministerial positions, including one of three deputy prime minister positions, and also held 212 of 547 seats in the national parliament. The Tigray Regional Council included the highest proportion of women nationwide, at 50 percent (76 of the 152 seats).

The government’s policy of ethnic federalism led to the creation of individual constituencies intended to provide for representation of all major ethnic groups in the House of Federation (one of the two chambers of parliament). There were more than 80 ethnic groups, and small groups lacked representation in the other chamber of parliament, the House of People’s Representatives.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in GovernmentShare

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials. Despite the government’s prosecution of some officials for corruption, many officials continued to engage in corrupt practices with impunity. Although the government cited fighting corruption as a high priority in its public statements, there were perceptions corruption increased in the government.

Corruption: Corruption, especially the solicitation of bribes, including police and judicial corruption, remained problems. Some government officials were thought to manipulate the land allocation process, and state- and party-owned businesses received preferential access to land leases and credit. The federal attorney general was mandated to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.

The government attributed some of the unrest in Oromia to corruption. For example, on June 9, authorities detained Zelalem Jemaneh, former head of the Oromia Regional State Agriculture Bureau with the rank of deputy chief administrator, on allegations of corruption.

The trial of Wondimu Biratu Kena’a, former head of the Revenues Bureau of Oromia Region who was arrested in August 2015 on allegations of grand corruption and embezzlement, continued at year’s end.

On May 17, the High Court sentenced former intelligence deputy chief Woldeselassie Woldemichael, who authorities arrested in 2013, to 10 years in prison and a fine of 50,000 birr ($2,220) after convicting him of abuse of power and generation of wealth from unknown sources.

Financial Disclosure: The law requires all government officials and employees to register their wealth and personal property. The law includes financial and criminal sanctions for noncompliance. The president and prime minister registered their assets. The Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) reported it registered the assets of 26,584 appointees, officials, and employees between July 2015 and April. The commission also carried out reregistration of previously registered assets in the stated period. As of November 2015, 95,000 officials had registered their assets as required by law.

The FEACC held financial disclosure records. By law any person who seeks access to these records may make a request in writing; access to information on family assets may be restricted unless the FEACC deems the disclosure necessary.

Public Access to Information: The law provides for public access to government information, but access was largely restricted. The law includes a narrow list of exceptions outlining the grounds for nondisclosure. Responses generally must be made within 30 days of a written request, and fees may not exceed the actual cost of responding to the request. The law includes mechanisms for punishing officials for noncompliance, as well as appeal mechanisms for review of disclosure denials. Information on the number of disclosures or denials during the year was not available.

The government publishes laws and regulations in its national gazette, known as the Federal Negarit Gazeta, prior to their taking effect. The Government Communications Affairs Office managed contacts between the government, the press, and the public; the private press reported the government rarely responded to its queries.

Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human RightsShare

A few domestic human rights groups operated but with significant government restrictions. The government was generally distrustful and wary of domestic and international human rights groups and observers. State-controlled media were critical of international human rights groups such as HRW.

The CSO law prohibits charities, societies, and associations (NGOs or CSOs) that receive more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources from engaging in activities that advance human and democratic rights or promote equality of nations, nationalities, peoples, genders, and religions; the rights of children and persons with disabilities; conflict resolution or reconciliation; or the efficiency of justice and law enforcement services. The law severely curtails civil society’s ability to raise questions of good governance, human rights, corruption, and transparency and forced many local and international NGOs working on those issues to either cease advocacy, or reregister and focus on activities other than rights-based advocacy.

Some human rights defender organizations continued to register either as local charities, meaning they could not raise more than 10 percent of their funds from foreign donors but could act in the specified areas, or as resident charities, which allowed foreign donations above 10 percent but prohibited advocacy activities in those areas.

The state of emergency and the accompanying regulations restricted the ability of organizations to operate. The prohibitions relating to communication and acts that undermine tolerance and unity resulted in self-censorship of reports and public statements. The prohibition on unauthorized town hall meetings limited the organization of meetings, training sessions, and other gatherings. The prohibition on exchanging information or contact with a foreign government or NGOs in a manner that undermines national sovereignty and security reduced communication between local organizations and international organizations and others. Curfews in certain areas impeded human rights investigations. The obligation of all organizations to give information when asked by law enforcement raised concerns regarding confidentiality of information.

In July, August, and October, authorities arrested seven members of HRCO. On October 23, authorities dispersed a fundraising event celebrating HRCO’s 25th anniversary. Authorities claimed the organization did not seek additional approval from the command post for the gathering, though it had sought and received approval for the event prior to the start of the state of emergency. As of November 27, at least three members of HRCO remained in detention.

The government denied most NGOs access to federal prisons, police stations, and undisclosed places of detention. The government permitted a local NGO that has an exemption enabling it to raise unlimited funds from foreign sources and to engage in human rights advocacy to visit prisoners. Some NGOs played a positive role in improving prisoners’ chances for clemency.

Authorities limited access of human rights organizations, media, humanitarian agencies, and diplomatic missions in certain areas.

The government continued to lack a clear policy on NGO access to sensitive areas, leading regional government officials and military officials frequently to refer requests for NGO access to the federal government. Officials required journalists to register before entering certain regions or denied access. There were reports of regional police or local militias blocking NGO access to particular locations on particular days, citing security concerns.

The United Nations or Other International Bodies: The government did not cooperate with requests for investigations from the OHCHR or UN experts. In August the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the government to allow independent observers into Oromia and Amhara regions. The commissioner reportedly said allegations of excessive use of force across the two regions must be investigated. The government dismissed the request through its spokesperson, who, on August 11, told an international media the United Nations was entitled to its opinion, but the government was responsible for the safety of its own citizens. The spokesperson stated the government would launch its own investigation. On October 7, following the deaths at the religious festival in Bishoftu, the OHCHR reiterated the request the government allow independent observers access to Oromia and Amhara regions. On October 10, a group of UN human rights experts urged the government to allow an international commission of inquiry to investigate.

Requests from the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment to visit the country remained unanswered.

Government Human Rights Bodies: The EHRC reportedly investigated hundreds of human rights complaints, organized field investigations, conducted prison visits to provide recommendations on improving prison conditions, and produced annual and thematic reports. On June 10, the EHRC reported to parliament that it counted 173 deaths in Oromia, including 28 of security force members and officials, and asserted security forces used appropriate there. The EHRC also asserted Amhara regional state special security had used excessive force against the Kemant community in Amhara Region. The commission did not publicly release its report. The EHRC also investigated the September 3 fire in Kilinto prison. The commission operated 112 legal aid centers in collaboration with 22 universities and two civil society organizations, the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association, and the Ethiopian Christian Lawyers Fellowship.

The Office of the Ombudsman has authority to investigate complaints of administrative mismanagement by executive branch offices. From July 2015 to June, the office received 2,849 complaints; the ombudsman opened investigations into 1,231 (including 209 cases from the previous year) and referred 1,827 cases outside its mandate to other offices. Of the 1,231 cases the office investigated, it reported resolving 1,010 (82 percent); 221 remained pending. The majority of complaints investigated dealt with land, administration of public service, delay in service delivery, unjust decisions, social security, and access to information.

Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in PersonsShare

Women

Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape and provides for penalties of five to 20 years’ imprisonment, depending on the severity of the case. The law does not expressly address spousal rape. The government did not fully enforce the law, partially due to widespread underreporting. Recent statistics on the number of abusers prosecuted, convicted, or punished were not available.

Domestic violence is illegal, but government enforcement of laws was inconsistent. Domestic violence, including spousal abuse, was a pervasive social problem. Depending on the severity of damage inflicted, penalties range from small fines to up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Although women had recourse to police and the courts, societal norms and limited infrastructure prevented many women from seeking legal redress, particularly in rural areas. The government prosecuted offenders on a limited scale.

Domestic violence and rape cases often were delayed significantly and given low priority. In the context of gender-based violence, significant gender gaps in the justice system remained, due to poor documentation and inadequate investigation. Gender-based violence against women and girls was underreported due to cultural acceptance, shame, fear of reprisal, or a victim’s ignorance of legal protections.

“Child friendly” benches hear cases involving violence against children and women. Police officers were required to receive domestic violence training from domestic NGOs and the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs. There was a commissioner for women and children’s affairs on the EHRC.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C is illegal, but the government did not actively enforce this prohibition or punish those who practiced it. According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 74 percent of women and girls had undergone FGM/C. The penal code criminalizes the practice of clitoridectomy, with sentences of imprisonment of at least three months or a fine of at least 500 birr ($22). Infibulation of the genitals is punishable by five to 10 years’ imprisonment. No criminal charges, however, have ever been filed for FGM/C.

The prevalence of FGM/C was reportedly declining. UNICEF cited a 2011 Welfare Monitoring Survey as finding 23 percent of girls between birth and age 14 had undergone FGM/C. Although statistics on FGM/C varied, one report from 2013 cited Afar, Somali, and Dire Dawa regions as having the highest prevalence of FGM/C. It was less common in urban areas.

The age at which FGM/C is performed depends on the ethnic group, type of FGM/C performed, and region. In the north FGM/C tended to be performed immediately after birth; in the south, where FGM/C is more closely associated with marriage, it was performed later. Girls typically had clitoridectomies performed on them seven days after birth (consisting of an excision of the clitoris, often with partial labial excision) and infibulation (the most extreme and dangerous form of FGM/C) at the onset of puberty. The government’s strategy was to discourage the practice through education in public schools, the Health Extension Program, and broader mass media campaigns rather than to prosecute offenders. International bilateral donors and private organizations were active in community education efforts to reduce the prevalence of FGM/C, following the government’s lead of sensitization rather than legal enforcement.

Other Harmful Traditional Practices: Marriage by abduction is illegal, although it continued in some regions despite the government’s attempts to combat the practice. Forced sexual relationships accompanied most marriages by abduction, and women often experienced physical abuse during the abduction. Abductions led to conflicts among families, communities, and ethnic groups. In cases of abduction, the perpetrator did not face punishment if the victim agreed to marry the perpetrator.

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment was widespread. The penal code prescribes penalties of 18 to 24 months’ imprisonment, but authorities generally did not enforce harassment laws.

Reproductive Rights: Individuals and couples generally have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; manage their reproductive health; and to have access to the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence. Traditional practices such as marriage by abduction in which forced sex occurred limited this right in practice. According to a 2016 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), the maternal mortality rate declined to 412 deaths per 100,000 live births. An article surveying maternal mortality listed obstructed labor/uterine rupture, hemorrhage, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, and sepsis/infection as the top four causes from 2000 to 2012. The 2016 DHS found a modern contraceptive prevalence rate of 35 percent nationwide among married women and 55 percent among sexually active unmarried women. For married women the rate increased compared with that found in previous DHS surveys. According to the 2016 DHS, the percentage of births delivered by a skilled attendant increased to 28 percent and those that occurred in a health facility increased to 26 percent. Abortion is illegal but with numerous exceptions. The incidence of illegal, unsafe abortions had declined since legislation changed, which accounted in part for the drop in maternal mortality. All maternal and child health services were provided free of charge in the public sector; however, challenges persisted in accessing quality services in more remote areas of the country due to transportation problems.

Discrimination: Discrimination against women was a problem and was most acute in rural areas, where an estimated 80 percent of the population lived. The law contains discriminatory regulations, such as the recognition of the husband as the legal head of the family and the sole guardian of children more than five years old. Courts generally did not consider domestic violence by itself a justification for granting a divorce. Irrespective of the number of years a marriage existed, the number of children raised, and joint property, the law entitled women to only three months’ financial support if a relationship ended. There was limited legal recognition of common-law marriage. A common-law husband had no obligation to provide financial assistance to his family, and consequently women and children sometimes faced abandonment. Traditional courts continued to apply customary law in economic and social relationships.

The constitution states ownership of land and natural resources “is exclusively vested in the State and in the peoples of Ethiopia.” Both men and women have land-use rights that they may pass on as an inheritance. Land law varies among regions, however. All federal and regional land laws empower women to access government land. Inheritance laws also enable widows to inherit joint property they acquired during marriage.

In urban areas women had fewer employment opportunities than men did, and the jobs available did not generally provide equal pay for equal work. Women’s access to gainful employment, credit, and the opportunity to own or manage a business was limited by their generally lower level of education and training and by traditional attitudes.

Children

Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from one’s parents. The law requires all children to be registered at birth. Children born in hospitals were registered; most of those born outside of hospitals were not. The overwhelming majority of children, particularly in rural areas, were born at home. During the year the government initiated a campaign to increase birth registrations.

Education: The law does not make education compulsory. As a policy primary education was universal and tuition free; however, there were not enough schools to accommodate the country’s youth, particularly in rural areas. The cost of school supplies was prohibitive for many families. The number of students enrolled in schools expanded faster than trained teachers could be deployed. The net primary school enrollment rate was 90 percent of boys and 84 percent of girls

Child Abuse: Child abuse was widespread. Uvula cutting, tonsil scraping, and milk tooth extraction were amongst the most prevalent harmful traditional practices. The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2013, published by the African Child Policy Forum, found the government had increased punishment for sexual violence against children. “Child friendly” benches heard cases involving violence against children and women. There was a commissioner for women and children’s affairs in the EHRC.

Early and Forced Marriage: The law sets the legal marriage age for girls and boys at 18; however, authorities did not enforce this law uniformly, and rural families sometimes were unaware of this provision. In several regions it was customary for older men to marry girls, although this traditional practice continued to face greater scrutiny and criticism. The government strategy to address underage marriage focused on education and mediation rather than punishment of offenders.

According to a 2015 UNICEF report, 16 percent of women ages 20-24 were married before age 15 and 41 percent before age 18. According to the 2011 DHS, the median age of first marriage among women between ages 20 and 49 who were surveyed was 17.1 years, compared with 16.5 years in 2005.

In Amhara and Tigray regions, girls were married as early as age seven. Child marriage was most prevalent in Amhara Region, where approximately 45 percent of girls marry before age 18, and the median first marriage age was 15.1 years, according to the 2011 DHS, compared with 14.7 years in 2005. Regional governments in Amhara and, to a lesser extent, Tigray offered programs to educate girls, young women, parents, community leaders, and health professionals on problems associated with early marriage.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): Information is provided in the women’s section above.

Sexual Exploitation of Children: The minimum legal age for consensual sex is 18, but authorities did not enforce this law. The law provides for three to 15 years in prison for sexual intercourse with a minor. The law provides for one year in prison and a fine of 10,000 birr ($444) for trafficking in indecent material displaying sexual intercourse by minors. The law prohibits profiting from the prostitution of minors and inducing minors to engage in prostitution; however, commercial sexual exploitation of children continued, particularly in urban areas. Girls as young as age 11 were reportedly recruited to work in brothels. Customers often sought these girls because they believed them to be free of sexually transmitted diseases. Young girls were trafficked from rural to urban areas. They also were exploited as prostitutes in hotels, bars, resort towns, and rural truck stops. Reports indicated family members forced some young girls into prostitution.

Infanticide or Infanticide of Children with Disabilities: Ritual and superstition-based infanticide, including of infants with disabilities, continued in remote tribal areas, particularly South Omo. Local governments worked to educate communities against the practice.

Displaced Children: According to a 2010 report by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, approximately 150,000 children lived on the streets, of whom 60,000 were in the capital. The ministry’s report stated the inability of families to support children due to parental illness or insufficient household income exacerbated the problem. Research in 2014 by the ministry noted rapid urbanization, illegal employment brokers, high expectations of better life in cities, and rural-urban migration were adding to the problem. These children begged, sometimes as part of a gang, or worked in the informal sector. A large number of unaccompanied minors from Eritrea continued to arrive in the country (see section 2.d.).

Institutionalized Children: There were an estimated 4.5 million orphans in the country in 2012, according to statistics published by UNICEF. The vast majority lived with extended family members. Government and privately run orphanages were overcrowded, and conditions were often unsanitary. Due to severe resource constraints, hospitals and orphanages often overlooked or neglected abandoned infants. Institutionalized children did not receive adequate health care.

International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.

On April 15, members of the Murle ethnic group from South Sudan reportedly abducted more than 100 children from Gambella Region (see section 6, Other Societal Violence or Discrimination).

Anti-Semitism

The Jewish community numbered approximately 2,000 persons. There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.

Trafficking in Persons

See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

Persons with Disabilities

The constitution does not mandate equal rights for persons with disabilities. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment and mandates access to buildings but does not explicitly mention intellectual or sensory disabilities. It is illegal for deaf persons to drive.

The law prohibits employment discrimination based on disability. It also makes employers responsible for providing appropriate working or training conditions and materials to persons with disabilities. The law specifically recognizes the additional burden on women with disabilities. The government took limited measures to enforce the law, for example, by assigning interpreters for deaf and hard of hearing civil service employees (see section 7.d.). The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the Public Servants Administration Commission are responsible for the implementation of the Proclamation on The Rights of Disabled Persons to Employment.

The law mandates building accessibility and accessible toilet facilities for persons with physical disabilities, although specific regulations that define the accessibility standards were not adopted. Buildings and toilet facilities were usually not accessible. Property owners are required to give persons with disabilities preference for ground-floor apartments, and this was respected.

Women with disabilities were more disadvantaged than men with disabilities in education and employment. The 2010 Population Council Young Adult Survey found young persons with disabilities were less likely to have ever attended school than those without disabilities. The survey indicated girls with disabilities were less likely than boys to be in school: 23 percent of girls with disabilities were in school, compared with 48 percent of girls and 55 percent of boys without disabilities. Overall, 48 percent of young persons with disabilities surveyed reported not going to school due to their disability. Girls with disabilities also were much more likely to suffer physical and sexual abuse than girls without disabilities. Of sexually experienced girls with disabilities, 33 percent reported having experienced forced sex. According to the same survey, approximately 6 percent of boys with disabilities had been beaten in the three months prior to the survey, compared with 2 percent of boys without disabilities.

There were several schools for persons with hearing and vision disabilities and several training centers for children and young persons with intellectual disabilities. There was a network of prosthetic and orthopedic centers in five of the nine regional states.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs worked on disability-related problems. The CSO law continued to affect negatively several domestic associations, such as the Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, the Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf, and the Ethiopian National Association of the Physically Handicapped, as it did other civil society organizations. International organizations and some local CSOs were active, particularly on issues concerning accessibility and vocational training for persons with disabilities.

The right of persons with disabilities to vote and otherwise participate in civic affairs is not restricted by law, although lack of accessibility can make participation difficult. In the May 2015 national elections, African Union observers reported voters requiring assistance were always provided with assistance, either by a person of their choice or by polling staff. Most polling stations were accessible to persons with disabilities, and priority was given to them as well as to the elderly, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The country has more than 80 ethnic groups, of which the Oromo, at approximately 35 percent of the population, is the largest. The federal system drew boundaries approximately along major ethnic group lines. Most political parties remained primarily ethnically based, although the ruling party and one of the largest opposition parties are coalitions of ethnically based parties.

HRCO reported that a few Oromo protesters in Ameya, South West Shoa Zone of Oromia, burnt down homes and property of Amhara residents on December 12, 2015. According to the HRCO report, the attack displaced several hundred farmers and destroyed more than 800 homes. A number of Amhara farmers reportedly retaliated by burning down homes of 96 Oromo farmers. The two communities held joint meetings and condemned the attacks on both sides. They were working together to rebuild the destroyed houses.

Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable by three to 15 years’ imprisonment. No law prohibits discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals. There were some reports of violence against LGBTI individuals; reporting was limited due to fear of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. There are no hate crime laws or other criminal justice mechanisms to aid in the investigation of abuses against LGBTI individuals. Individuals did not identify themselves as LGBTI persons due to severe societal stigma and the illegality of consensual same-sex sexual activity. Activists in the LGBTI community stated they were followed and at times feared for their safety. There were no updates on reports of persons incarcerated for allegedly engaging in same-sex sexual activities.

The AIDS Resource Center in Addis Ababa reported the majority of self-identified gay and lesbian callers, most of whom were men, requested assistance in changing their behavior to avoid discrimination. Many gay men reported anxiety, confusion, identity crises, depression, self-ostracism, religious conflict, and suicide attempts.

HIV and AIDS Social Stigma

Societal stigma and discrimination against persons with or affected by HIV/AIDS continued in the areas of education, employment, and community integration. Persons with or affected by HIV/AIDS reported difficulty accessing various services. There were no statistics on the scale of the problem.

Other Societal Violence or Discrimination

Violence occurred, including in Gambella Region and during protests.

On April 15, armed men from the Murle ethnic group from South Sudan who crossed into the country reportedly killed more than 200 women and children in three woredas of Nuer Zone in Gambella Region. The attackers also reportedly abducted more than 100 children and stole thousands of cattle. The Murle attack added to the instability of the region, which was already under pressure because of interethnic clashes between Nuer and Anuak groups that started on January 20.

On April 21, South Sudanese refugees living in Jewi camp in Gambella Region reportedly killed 10 Ethiopians contracted by an international NGO to build a secondary education facility. The violence was triggered when an NGO-contracted truck hit and killed two refugee children. Authorities detained 53 refugees suspected of the killings and, on August 15, filed criminal charges against 23 of them. According to the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, the government provided two public defenders to represent the refugees at their trial. The UNHCR Protection Unit as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross had access to the detainees and monitored the legal process.

On June 29, residents of Hana Mariam, Furi, and Mango Cheffe localities of Nifas Silk Laphto Subcity in Addis Ababa clashed with police and killed two police officers and a local official during the start of the city government’s operation to evict residents forcibly. Both Addis Ababa Police Commission and Government Communication Affairs Office confirmed the killings.

Section 7. Worker RightsShare

a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining

The constitution and law provide workers, except for civil servants and certain categories of workers primarily in the public sector, with the right to form and join unions, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively, although other provisions and laws severely restrict or excessively regulate these rights. The law specifically prohibits managerial employees, teachers, health-care workers, judges, prosecutors, security-service workers, domestic workers, and seasonal and part-time agricultural workers from organizing unions.

A minimum of 10 workers is required to form a union. While the law provides all unions with the right to register, the government may refuse to register trade unions that do not meet its registration requirements including because of a nonpolitical conviction of the union leader within the previous 10 years and the presence of illegal union objectives. The government may unilaterally cancel the registration of a union. Workers may not join more than one trade union per employment. The law stipulates a trade union organization may not act in an overtly political manner. The law allows administrative authorities to appeal to the courts to cancel union registration for engaging in prohibited activities, such as political action.

Other laws and regulations that explicitly or potentially infringe upon workers’ rights to associate freely and to organize include the CSO law, Council of Ministers Regulation No. 168/2009 on Charities and Societies to reinforce the CSO law, and the ATP. The International Labor Organization (ILO) Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations noted the CSO law gives the government power to interfere in the right of workers to organize, including through the registration, internal administration, and dissolution of organizations’ processes.

While the law recognizes the right of collective bargaining, this right was severely restricted. Negotiations aimed at amending or replacing a collective agreement must be completed within three months of its expiration; otherwise, the provisions on wages and other benefits cease to apply. Civil servants, including public school teachers, have the right to establish and join professional associations created by the employees but not to negotiate better wages or working conditions. Arbitration procedures in the public sector are more restrictive than those in the private sector. The law does not provide for effective and adequate sanctions against acts of interference by other agents in the establishment, functioning, or administration of either workers’ or employers’ organizations.

Although the constitution and law provide workers with the right to strike to protect their interests, the law contains detailed provisions prescribing extremely complex and time-consuming formalities that make legal strike actions difficult. The law requires aggrieved workers to attempt reconciliation with employers before striking and includes a lengthy dispute settlement process. These provisions apply equally to an employer’s right to lock workers out. Two-thirds of the workers concerned must support a strike before it is authorized. If a case has not already been referred to a court or labor relations board, workers retain the right to strike without resorting to either of these options, provided they give at least 10 days’ notice to the other party and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and make efforts at reconciliation.

The law also prohibits strikes by workers who provide essential services, including air transport and urban bus service workers, electric power suppliers, gas station personnel, hospital and pharmacy personnel, firefighters, telecommunications personnel, and urban sanitary workers. The list of essential services exceeds the ILO definition of essential services. The law prohibits retribution against strikers, but it also provides for civil or penal penalties against unions and workers involved in unauthorized strike actions. Violation of this procedure is an offense punishable with a fine not exceeding 1,200 birr ($53) if committed by a union or of 300 birr ($13) if committed by an individual worker. If the provisions of the penal code prescribe more severe penalties, the punishment laid down in the code becomes applicable. The government may dissolve unions for carrying out strikes in “essential services.”

The informal labor sector, including domestic workers, was not unionized and was not protected by labor laws. Workers are defined as persons in an employment relationship. Lack of adequate staffing prevented the government from effectively enforcing applicable laws for those sectors protected by law. Court procedures were subject to lengthy delays and appeals.

Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining were respected, but some legal problems remained. The ILO was critical of the government’s alleged use of the antiterrorism law to punish ringleaders, organizers, or commanders of forbidden societies, meetings, and assemblies. The government refused for the fourth year to register the National Teachers Union (NTA) on grounds a national teachers’ association already existed and that the NTA’s registration application was not submitted in accordance with the CSO law. In 2013 an ILO mission made a working visit and signed a joint statement with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, stating the government was committed to registering the NTA. The ILO’s Ethiopia office reiterated this message and characterized the dispute as an administrative issue focused on naming rights and diaspora membership.

While the government allowed citizens to exercise the right of collective bargaining, enterprise unions are allowed to negotiate wages only at the plant level. Unions in the formal industrial sector made some efforts to enforce labor regulations.

Antiunion activities occurred but were rarely reported. Despite the law prohibiting antiunion discrimination, unions reported employers terminated union activists. There were unconfirmed reports that some major foreign investors generally did not allow workers to form unions, often transferred or dismissed union leaders, and intimidated and pressured members to leave unions. Lawsuits alleging unlawful dismissal often took years to resolve because of case backlogs in the courts. Employers found guilty of antiunion discrimination were required to reinstate workers dismissed for union activities and generally did so. The law prohibits retribution against strikers, and there were no reported cases of violations. Labor officials reported that high unemployment, fear of retribution, and long delays in hearing labor cases deterred workers from participating in strikes or other labor actions.

b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

In August 2015 the federal government enacted a comprehensive overhaul of its antitrafficking penal code. The code prescribes harsh penalties of up to life imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 birr ($22,197) for human trafficking and exploitation, including slavery, debt bondage, forced prostitution, and servitude.

Although the ban on labor migration to the Gulf States remained in effect, in February the government enacted the Revised Overseas Employment Proclamation (Proclamation No. 923/20 16), a major precondition for lifting the labor migration ban.

The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor but permits courts to order forced labor as a punitive measure. Slavery, even in disguised form, is punishable with five to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine. The government did not effectively enforce the law, and forced labor occurred. Police at the federal and regional levels began to receive training focused on human trafficking and exploitation. Both adults and children were forced to engage in street vending, begging, traditional weaving, or agricultural work. Children also worked in forced domestic labor. Situations of debt bondage also occurred in traditional weaving, pottery making, cattle herding, and other agricultural activities, mostly in rural areas. Girls were exploited in domestic servitude and prostitution in neighboring African countries. Ethiopian women who migrated for work or fled abusive employers in the Middle East were also vulnerable to sex trafficking. Men and boys migrated to the Gulf States and other African nations, where some were subjected to forced labor.

The government sometimes deployed prisoners to work outside the prisons for private businesses, a practice the ILO stated could constitute compulsory labor.

Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

By law the minimum age for wage or salary employment is 14. The minimum age provisions, however, apply only to contractual labor and do not apply to self-employed children or children who perform unpaid work. The law prohibits hazardous or night work for children between 14 and 18. The law defines hazardous work as any work that could jeopardize a child’s health. Prohibited work sectors include passenger transport, work in electric generation plants, factory work, underground work, street cleaning, and many other sectors. The law expressly excludes children under age 16 attending vocational schools from the prohibition on hazardous work. The law does not permit children between ages 14 and 18 to work more than seven hours per day, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., or on public holidays or rest days.

Child labor remained a serious problem. The small number of trained labor inspectors and a lack of enforcement resources resulted in numerous violations. Occupational safety and health measures were not effectively enforced, and significant numbers of children worked in prohibited work sectors, particularly construction.

School enrollment was low, particularly in rural areas. To underscore the importance of attending school, joint NGO and government-led community-based awareness-raising efforts targeted communities where children were heavily engaged in agricultural work. The government invested in modernizing agricultural practices and constructing schools to combat the problem of child labor in agricultural sectors.

In both rural and urban areas, children often began working at young ages. Child labor was particularly pervasive in subsistence agricultural production, traditional weaving, fishing, and domestic work. A growing number of children worked in construction. Children in rural areas, especially boys, engaged in activities such as cattle herding, petty trading, plowing, harvesting, and weeding, while other children, mostly girls, collected firewood and fetched water. Children worked in the production of gold. In small-scale gold mining, they dug mining pits and carried heavy loads of water. Children in urban areas, including orphans, worked in domestic service, often working long hours, which prevented many from attending school regularly. Children also worked in manufacturing, shining shoes, making clothes, parking, public transport, petty trading, as porters, and directing customers to taxis. Some children worked long hours in dangerous environments for little or no wages and without occupational safety protection. Child laborers often faced physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at the hands of their employers.

Also see the Department of Labor’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor at www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/findings/.

d. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin nationality, gender, marital status, religion, political affiliation, political outlook, pregnancy, socioeconomic status, disability, or “any other conditions.” The law specifically recognizes the additional burden on pregnant women and persons with disabilities (see section 6). Sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV-positive status are not specifically protected. The penalty for discrimination on the above grounds is a fine of 1,200 birr ($53). The government took limited measures to enforce the law.

Discrimination in employment and occupation occurred with respect to women, who had fewer employment opportunities than did men, and the jobs available did not provide equal pay for equal work.

Discrimination against migrant workers also occurred (see section 7.e.).

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no national minimum wage. Some government institutions and public enterprises set their own minimum wages. Public-sector employees, the largest group of wage earners, earned a monthly minimum wage of approximately 420 birr ($19). The official estimate for the poverty income level was 315 birr ($14) per month.

Only a small percentage of the population, concentrated in urban areas, was involved in wage-labor employment. Wages in the informal sector generally were below subsistence levels.

The law provides for a 48-hour maximum legal workweek with a 24-hour rest period, premium pay for overtime, and prohibition of excessive compulsory overtime. The country has 13 paid public holidays per year. The law entitles employees in public enterprises and government financial institutions to overtime pay; civil servants receive compensatory time off for overtime work. The government, industries, and unions negotiated occupational safety and health standards. Workers specifically excluded by law from unionizing, including domestic workers and seasonal and part-time agricultural workers, generally did not benefit from health and safety regulations in the workplace.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ inspection department was responsible for enforcement of workplace standards. In 2015 the country had 423 labor inspectors and, according to the ministry, they completed 37,500 inspections in 2015. The labor inspectors did not enforce standards effectively. The ministry’s severely limited administrative capacity; lack of an effective mechanism for receiving, investigating, and tracking allegations of violations; and lack of detailed, sector-specific health and safety guidelines hampered effective enforcement of these standards. Maximum penalties for different types of violations range from 300 birr ($13) to 1,000 birr ($44), which by themselves are insufficient to deter such violations

Compensation, benefits, and working conditions of seasonal agricultural workers were far below those of unionized permanent agricultural employees. The government did little to enforce the law. Most employees in the formal sector worked a 39-hour workweek. Many foreign, migrant, and informal-sector workers worked more than 48 hours per week.

Workers have the right to remove themselves from dangerous situations without jeopardizing their employment; there were no reports that workers exercised this right. Hazardous working conditions existed in the agricultural sector, which was the primary base of the country’s economy. There were also reports of hazardous and exploitative working conditions in the construction and industrial sectors, although data on deaths and injuries were not available.

Forbes: Ethiopia’s Cruel Con Game March 3, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in