Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: #OromoProtests, Africa, Ethiopia, Genocide Against Oromo People, Genocide against the Ogaden People, Human rights violations, Indigenous People, Ogaden, Oromia, Oromo, Tyrannic TPLF Ethiopia, UNPO
Those living in the Ogaden and Oromia regions are most vulnerable to the State-sponsored persecution. Protests in Oromia were violently repressed by the government since they started in April 2014, and continue to be. “Jail Ogaden” holds thousands of prisoners of conscience in overcrowding conditions and unhygienic facilities. Rape is systematically used as a weapon by the government and local polices such as the Liyu Police, combined with other forms of torture. And those are just a handful of examples. UNPO Report, Human Rights in Ethiopia
Photo courtesy of Andrew Heavens @Flickr
UNPO has released a report on human rights in Ethiopia, shedding light on the worrying situation of the Oromo and Ogadeni peoples. While international partners tend to hail Ethiopia as an African democratic role model and a beacon of stability and hope in an otherwise troubled region, the fundamental rights of the country’s unrepresented continue to be violated on a daily basis. With the support of major international donors such as the European Union, Addis Ababa increasingly prioritises strong economic growth, development and a high degree of enforced political stability at the expense of human rights and civil liberties.
Ethiopia’s economy has been growing steadily in recent years, boasting a small emerging middle class and receiving continuously-increasing foreign investment. The country is seen as a key ally by Western powers in the fight against terrorism and the regulation of international migration. Meanwhile, Ethiopia remains one of the world’s poorest countries, with a third of the population living in abject poverty and the country’s regime is also one of the African continent’s most authoritarian in character, cracking down mercilessly on those who voice dissent.
Those living in the Ogaden and Oromia regions are most vulnerable to the State-sponsored persecution. Protests in Oromia were violently repressed by the government since they started in April 2014, and continue to be. “Jail Ogaden” holds thousands of prisoners of conscience in overcrowding conditions and unhygienic facilities. Rape is systematically used as a weapon by the government and local polices such as the Liyu Police, combined with other forms of torture. And those are just a handful of examples.
As of March 2017, 300 people have died of hunger and cholera in the Ogaden region, because of the restrictions imposed by the Ethiopian government. Limitations on freedom of movement bars access to healthcare facilities and the trade embargo causes critical food shortages. UNPO calls on the international community to play its role in safeguarding human rights by putting an end to the financial flows fueling the Ethiopian State’s oppression and intimidation of the most vulnerable among its population.
To view and download the report, please click here. UNPO Report, Human Rights in Ethiopia
Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: #OromoProtests, #OromoRevolution, Africa, Against Tyranny, Ethiopia, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethnic cleansing Against Oromo People, Genocide, Genocide against Ogaden People, Genocide Against Oromo People, Indigenous People, Ogaden, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo - Somali Solidarity, The colonization of Oromia and the violence against Oromo people, Unity of the Oppressed
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
Nagessa Oddo Dube
Dahabe M. Abdella
Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: #OromoProtests, #OromoRevolution, Africa, Bishoftu Massacre, Ethiopia, Ethiopia's colonizing structure and development problems in Oromia and Omo Valley, Genocide Against Oromo People, Indigenous People, Land grab, Oromia, Oromo, Slow Food
A story told all too often, especially in Africa. Tear gas, rubber bullets, police charges: the State’s answer to public protest. Nor has the latest wave of murders come suddenly or unexpectedly; it is simply the latest in a catalogue of incidents stretching back to last November, when the Ethiopian government first made public its plans to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, into the surrounding countryside, displacing a significant number of farmers. While those plans appear to have been shelved temporarily, the danger is far from over.
On Sunday in Bishoftu, in the Oromia region, just 40km south-east of the capital, the protests grew out of the traditional Irrecha religious festival, where an estimated two million people were gathered. Community elders seen as being allied to the government were prevented from speaking, and the police responded violently, causing a stampede which saw dozens of protestors fall to their deaths from cliffs.
While in many media outlets, the focus is on ethnic tensions between the Oromo people (the single largest ethnicity in the country) and the Tigrayan minority, this doesn’t give us the full picture. The reality in Ethiopia is one of extreme food insecurity, which has been made worse this year by failed rains, with between 50 and 90 per cent of crops lost in some regions. The government itself estimated that 4.5 million people were in need of emergency food assistance in August, while UNICEF puts the total figure of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the country at over 10 million.
The importance of agriculture to the Ethiopian economy cannot be underestimated: over 80% of the workforce are directly employed in it, and it account for a similar amount of the country’s exports. The desire to increase the latter at the expense of the former threatens to make matters much worse. The government would particularly like to increase sugar production, and has announced its desire to be one of the top-ten sugar producers in the world by 2023. Such plans could mean more mass displacement of indigenous peoples, further exacerbate interethnic tensions and cause further migration out of the country.
One of the drivers in this new direction for the Ethiopian government is Chinese investment, which totals more than $20 billion since 2005. The Chinese-built railway linking the capital to the port of Dijibouti has been built for freight, not passengers: it’s for taking Ethiopian exports out of the country. Making a profit from industrial agriculture will require a large-scale shift in the economy (read: land grabbing), as 95% of agriculture in the country is still run by small-scale family farms, though this figure is being slowly eroded over time as the government seeks to sell off land to foreign investors. As part of its so-called development program, the government has earmarked more than 11 million hectares of land for foreign investment, talking of it as “potential land” as if it were not being currently used by pastoralists.
The government’s official line is that foreign investment will lift the population out of poverty, but the truth is that many will be denied access to their ancestral lands, and forced to work for the new owners in order to stay there. The Ethiopian government has the backing of the UK, the European Union and the World Bank in this endeavor, which the BBC reports will create “100,000 jobs” on two new industrial parks. But at what cost?
At the men’s marathon in the Olympic games in Brazil, the silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa crossed his arms above his head both as he crossed the finish line and again at the medal ceremony, in protest at the government’s actions. “The Ethiopian government are killing the Oromo people and taking their land and resources so the Oromo people are protesting and I support the protest as I am Oromo. My relatives are in prison and if they talk about democratic rights they are killed. I raised my hands to support with the Oromo protest.” After the games, Lilesa did not return to Ethiopia, and is seeking political asylum in the United States.
Slow Food believes that the land belongs to the people who work it with love and care. We will continue our work to support small-scale farmers in Ethiopia through our Presidia in the country and 129 gardens helping people to grow their own food, and speak out in support of people who are fighting for their right to live and work the land in peace.
The Oakland Institute: Miracle or Mirage? Manufacturing Hunger and Poverty in Ethiopia
Ethiopian Investment Commission
Washington Post: Ethiopia has a lot riding on its new Chinese built railroad to the sea
BBC New story: Refugee criss: Plan to create 100,000 jobs in Ethiopia
UNICEF Document on Humanitarian Requirements in Ethiopia, 2016
Human Rights Watch: Ethiopia: Forced Relocations Bring Hunger, Hardship
Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: #OromoProtests, #Rio2016, #Rio2016 Olympic Marathon: Oromo athlete Fayyisaa Lalisaa has demonstrated his Solidarity to #OromoProtests as he wins silver medal, Africa, Cultural Survival, Fayyis Leellisaa, Indigenous People, Olympic Games, Oromia, Oromo, Rio 2016 Paralympics, Tamiru Demisse
Cultural Survival, 23 September 2016
Photo courtesy of: ctj71081/ Flickr
On August 21st, in Brazil, Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa was awarded the silver medal for the Men’s Marathon in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Although this was perhaps one of the greatest sporting achievements of his life, this day will forever be remembered for the political protest he made just before the finish line. While in the global spotlight, Lilesa raised his hands above his head in an ‘X’ formation to stand in solidarity with the Oromo people of Ethiopia, who have suffered a crackdown at the hands of the Ethiopian government.
Lilesa is one of the thousands fighting for the rights of the Oromo people. In August 2016, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, called on Ethiopia to allow UN international observers to investigate the excessive use of force by the government’s security forces against peaceful protesters in the Oromo and Amhara regions of the country. There is a strong need for organized international pressure on the Ethiopian government. A credible and independent investigation into this country’s Human Rights offences is long overdue. This will be a huge and very welcome step for the people and the country as a whole.
More on Oromo Abuses Here
Human rights abuses have been prevalent throughout Ethiopia’s history, but for the last nine months, protests have erupted in Oromiya, the homeland of Ethiopia’s largest but historically marginalized ethnic group, the Oromo, of which Feyisa Lilesa belongs. The protests are have now spread north, to a second region, the Amhara.
Although these protesters from Oromo and Amhara have different backgrounds, cultures, and complaints, they share a growing fear and frustration with the rule of a third, minority ethnic group — the Tigrayans. As NPR reported, the Tigrayan elite has a “cartel-like grip on the government, military and the fast-growing economy.” The Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) forcefully rose to power after the fall of the Soviet Union. Since then, there have been numerous human rights violations, with examples like the 2001 killing of forty Addis Ababa university students for simply demanding the academic freedom to publish a student newspaper, to the Killing of 200 Oromo in 2014, according to the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE).
Related: Learn more about the TPLF in Ethiopia here.
The right of peaceful assembly is protected in Ethiopian and International law. Ethiopia’s Constitution states “everyone shall have the freedom, in association with others, to peaceably assemble without arms, engage in public demonstration and the right to petition.” But, after Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 125 witnesses, victims, and government officials, a significant pattern of human rights violations during peaceful Oromo protests was revealed. Examples from late 2015 when the decision of authorities in Ginchi to clear a forest for an investment project triggered protests in at least 400 different locations across all the 17 zones in Oromia, until May 2016, and even into current times, prove there have been massive human rights violations. Numerous reports exposed that in many locations security forces have gone at night, arresting innocent and unsuspecting members of the community such as students and those accommodating students in their homes. Security forces also strategically target those seen as “influential members of the Oromo community, such as musicians, teachers, opposition members and others thought to have the ability to mobilize the community for further protests.” Even more shocking, is that many of those arrested and detained by the security forces were children of eighteen years and younger. Security forces have also been reported to open fire on, and kill peaceful protesters, as well as torture or beat many of the detained Oromo. Many of the females detained have reportedly been raped by security force personnel, while almost none of the detainees have had access to legal counsel, adequate food, or their family members.
An unnamed student said in an interview with HRW on January of 2016, said his friend “was shot in the stomach [at the protest], his intestines were coming out, he said, ‘Please brother, tie my [wound] with your clothes.’ I was scared, I froze and then tried to do that but I was grabbed and arrested by the federal police. Jamal died. They arrested me and took me to Bedeno police station.”
With ongoing events such as these, the people of Ethiopia have appeared to have reached their limit; the brutal force being used by the regime to deter an uprising is starting to backfire, creating new alliances between previously divided groups of Ethiopians such as the Oromo and the Amhara. The regime, struggling to find ways to retain domination, resorts to solutions like the exploitation of Ethiopian resources, land, and opportunities; but this too, is becoming a regime failure.
A press release from The Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE)notes, this is a regime, accustomed to using tools like manipulation to divide the people by ethnicity or other differences, furthering ethnic hatred, alienation and isolation, leaving a niche for the regime to squeeze into. It has allowed them to repeatedly commit fatal human rights atrocities against these groups with no fear of a united retaliation; but this is suddenly changing. These methods of turning selected ethnic groups against one another, is being scrutinized by Ethiopians; and previously rival groups are now unifying to challenge it. As SMNE said, “more killing, wounding and use of violence against unarmed civilians on the part of the regime’s security forces are strengthening, not weakening, the movement of the people,” but the movement is just beginning.
Ethiopia’s government has rejected the call for UN intervention and promised to launch its own investigation according to Al Jazeera. With the TPLF now facing a crack in the current power structure of the country, the government’s resistance to UN intervention was to be expected. The fearful reality is, however, that the TPLF, power hungry, and corrupt, will continue to use illegal force in an attempt to maintain control. But this lack of legal and transparent investigation of human rights violations in Ethiopia strongly implies that the Ethiopian government’s investigation of the ongoing human rights crisis will not be independent, impartial and transparent, and according to Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. “It is time to step up efforts for an international and independent investigation in Ethiopia.”
For years the government has worked to project a “forward thinking, democratic, and economically progressive image” of Ethiopia to outsiders, while on the inside, achieving the total opposite. For example, laws such as the Charities and Societies Proclamation law (CSO) which is meant to appear as an advocacy network, actually has criminalized human rights and other kinds of advocacy work in Ethiopia, making an equal and civil society impossible to maintain in Ethiopia. This makes the presence of an independent organization like the UN crucial for the protection of the Oromo people, who are practically inhibited from seeking protection themselves.
According to the Press Release from SMNE, “meaningful democratic reforms, restorative justice, and reconciliation for all the people of Ethiopia, including the current ruling party,” are the essential measures which need to be enacted if Ethiopia is to find peace and avoid total disaster. History shows that the government will not cooperate without pressure from key donor nations such as the the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada, Norway, Sweden etc., as well as from major international human rights organizations, to provide leverage critical in obtaining substantial changes for the rights of the Oromo people and governmental structure of Ethiopia as a whole.
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Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: #KonsoProtests, #OromoProtests, Africa, Governance: Ethiopia's clampdown on dissent tests ethnic federal structure. #KonsoProtests #OromoProtests, Indigenous People, Konso, Land Grabs, WHAT WAS TROUBLING KONSO?
The current fascist Ethiopia’s regime also known as TPLF (Woyane), a criminal group from minority Tigray tribe, in northern Ethiopia is conducting genocidal mass killings against Konso people. TPLF has occupied Konso land, killing the people and burning the entire town and villages. The Konso are one of the very ancient people in East Africa and their historical villages are UNESCO World Heritage.
Agazi’s new tactic, burn homes to ground along inhabitants. This was done to Konso people in Aylota-Dokatu & Lulito towns yesterday September 13, 2016. Hundreds homes were destroyed and death is reported. All the Konso people are asking to be granted zonal status which their right enshrined within the constitution. The federation council accepted their appeal last week yet the federal army in burning their homes. Jawar Mohammed
SORRY BUT THE KONSO UNESCO REGISTERED WORLD HERITAGE SITE HAS BEEN BURNT TO ASHES
Xiixaa Buubaa Sardaa• with Darajjee M. Billii
Yesterday, we heard (Listen to VOA Amharic & Afaan Oromoo, transmitted on 9/15/2016 17:30-19:00 GMT), over the past 1 month, both the elected local Konso District leaders & leaders of the Regional State of Southern Ethiopian Peoples Nations & Nationalities (SEPNN) are counter-blaming one another for what they call “genocide on the Konso people”. The Konso People speak Afaan Oromo in its other southern Ethiopian Kushites accent/dialects and still retain the ancient Gada Socio-politico-theological System and Qaalluu Ancestral Spirituality. Moreover, they retain the eschatology of preserving in sarcophagus of the Spirits of the dead that we know in Ancient Kemet/Egyptian turned to a battle ground, the Konso District’s UNESCO registered world heritage site was burned into ash by government security forces of Ethiopia. Konso Cultural Landscape is a 55km2 arid property of stone walled terraces and fortified settlements in the Konso highlands of Ethiopia. It constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to its dry hostile environment. The landscape demonstrates the shared values, social cohesion and engineering knowledge of its communities. Stone steles in the towns express a complex system of marking the passing of generations of leaders.
On April 2016, William Davidson wrote on the guardian as Protests sparked by the arrest of Konso leader Kala Gezahegn underlined growing tensions between Ethiopia’s central govelrnment and many ethnic populations. Now it has been over a period of 7 months since the Konso people has started protesting against the injustice and maladministration by the forcefully established Zone- Segen Area People’s Zone. The Konso people who were formerly administered under a Special District status in SNNPRS, had been unconstitutionally forced to form a zone with other neighboring ethnic groups, dropping from a ‘Special District’ status to a District in the newly formed zone. That sparked complaints from the people but no one gave an ear to the people that time. The zone government then grabbed three Kebeles from Konso to create a new city structure in Sagan town. This was also followed by the deduction of annual budget allocated to Konso District without being approved by the District council representing the people. This gave momentum to the silent and peaceful popular protests in every corner in Konso since then. Despite the loyalty of the people to the constitution of the country, the government in power at all levels has failed to give a constitutional answer to the people appeal for establishing a self-governed Zone as per the law of the country.
Now, the Konso people is under military siege some months ago. No freedom of movement, no education for children… all offices closed. Worst the innocent farmers are being shot to death by security forces. Konso cultural landscapes tell the incremental story of human progression—how regular people have taken the sum total of their knowledge and applied it to living in their natural surroundings. They are another way in which history comes alive through the built environment, and their importance is recognized by UNESCO. Beside their ten months long protests the indigenous people of Konso now lost both their life and heritage. After 400 years of conservation now Konso-world heritage site is destroyed with fire set by security forces of Ethiopian government, world community have to take part in identifying the cause and take measures on guilty body.
Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: 'BECAUSE I AM OROMO’: SWEEPING REPRESSION IN THE OROMIA, Africa, Ethiopia's colonizing structure and development problems in Oromia and Omo Valley, Indigenous People, Oromia, Oromo, The Indigenous World 2016, The tyrannic Ethiopia
The Ethiopian government’s lack of a specific policy or programme to address indigenous peoples’ special needs and status has further aggravated their situation. Ethiopia, is a key political actor in Africa, and the second most populous country on the continent. It is a glaring omission that such a significant political actor has not attempted—in consultation with the country’s indigenous peoples and their representative institutions—to develop policies and programmes that are in accordance with guidelines from the UN and other relevant bodies and which would bridge the social and economic gaps that are currently causing such distress. The Ethiopian government is thus failing to address widely reported concerns regarding the human rights of indigenous people in Gambela, the lower Omo Valley, Benishangul Gumuz, Afar, Somali and Oromia regions—all areas that have been part of the government’s land lease policy and villagization programme. The Oromia region has been the site of significant protests since late 2015 when protests began over plans to expand the capital, Addis Ababa. In what was seen as an attempted “land grab”, Oromo farmers argued that expanding Addis Ababa would lead to their displacement and the loss of arable land. Although plans were subsequently dropped, protests continued, leading to what activists reported as the deaths of around 200 people so far, and heightened tensions in the area.
PP. 394- 408
The indigenous peoples of Ethiopia make up a significant proportion of the country’s estimated 95 million population. Around 15 percent are pastoralists who live across Ethiopia, particularly in the Ethiopian lowlands, which constitute around 61 percent of the country’s total landmass. There are also a number of hunter-gathering communities, including the forestdwelling Majang (Majengir) who live in the Gambela region. Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in Africa, a significant amount of which is concentrated in pastoralist communities living on land that in recent years has become the subject of high demand from foreign investors. The political and economic situation of indigenous peoples in Ethiopia is a tenuous one. The Ethiopian government’s policy of villagization has seen many pastoralist communities moved off of their traditional grazing lands, and indigenous peoples’ access to healthcare provision and to primary and secondary education remains highly inadequate. There is no national legislation that protects them, and Ethiopia has neither ratified ILO Convention No. 169, nor was present during the voting on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Anti-terror law: a threat to indigenous peoples’ rights The situation for indigenous peoples in Ethiopia suffered a significant deterioration in 2015. There was no improvement in national legislation that could offer protection to indigenous peoples, and Ethiopia continues to fail in its obligations under the international human rights mechanisms it has ratified, e.g., the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which calls for special attention to be paid to indigenous peoples, a situation regarding which a number of human rights organizations—including the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Minority Rights Group International (MRGI)—have expressed concern. Moreover, this lack of compliance must also be seen within the context of wider concerns regarding the Ethiopian government’s alleged use of anti-terror laws to curtail freedom of speech. Concerns about the latter intensified in April 2014 with the arrest of six members of the Zone 9 blogging group and three other journalists, while the situation with regard to indigenous peoples’ rights became even more acute in March 2015 with the arrest in Addis Ababa of seven activists heading to a workshop on food security in Nairobi. Although four of them were eventually released, on 7 September 2015, after six months in detention, the remaining three activists, Pastor Omot Agwa, Ashinie Astin, and Jamal Oumar Hojele, were charged under Ethiopia’s counter-terrorism laws, and now face the possibility of extended prison terms if found guilty (Omot faces a sentence of 20 years to life). This has caused widespread concern amongst human rights defenders inside and outside the country, as well as a number of leading human rights organizations.
Land grabbing and policy of villagization A key element in the deteriorating situation of indigenous peoples in Ethiopia is the ongoing policy of “land grabbing” where companies lease large tracts of land from the Ethiopian government in return for significant levels of foreign investment. Since 2008, when widespread concern about the possibility of a potentially global food crisis increased demand for agricultural land, the Ethiopian government has leased millions of hectares of land throughout the country to agricultural investors, both foreign and domestic. The Ethiopian government says that such investments are important for guaranteeing food security. The policy is also seen as an important element in Ethiopia’s development strategy because it means that land that is categorized as “under-utilized” can be used productively. However, much of this land is in reality not under-utilized but is used by pastoralists, whose customary rights to the land are being consistently violated. Moreover, the way in which the land is used under the new leasing arrangements arguably does little for food security as there is little food produced. Instead, land is chiefly being used for an array of non-food products such as flowers, or for growing food products destined for the export market. Interestingly, at the very end of 2015, the Ethiopian Agriculture Ministry’s land investment agency notified Karuturi Global Inc., one of the first and largest external investors, that its lease was being cancelled because of a lack of “development”. Karaturi had used only 1,200 ha of land out of the 100,000 originally allocated to it, and so the Agriculture Ministry has stated that the rest will return to a “land bank” for future investment. The Ethiopian government continues to highlight the employment opportunities of such investment for those living in lowland areas, but much of the employment in these areas has gone to “highlanders” from the central and northern areas of Ethiopia who have moved there to find work. The latter has also increased the possibilities of ethnic tensions, something that has been seen in the Gambela region and in the lower Omo Valley in particular. In the latter case, the building of the Gibe III Dam, which significantly impacts upon water security in the Omo Valley region, has meant a heightened threat to food security and in turn increased conflict over existing resources. For example, there have been reports that cattle herders have moved their animals into Mago National Park to find grass, and have been met with violence from government soldiers who are protecting the park and its wildlife. Reports from external sources have said that the lives of those indigenous peoples living in the region have been “fundamentally and irreversibly” changed by the building of the dam. It will make it very difficult for the half a million indigenous people whose lives and livelihoods depend upon the Omo River to continue living in the area and sustaining their traditional livelihoods. According to the Dam’s Public Consultation and Disclosure Plan, only 93 members of four indigenous communities were consulted and this happened only after construction of the dam had already begun. In addition, part of the Ethiopian government’s policy on land management includes the pursuit of a policy of villagization, which aims to resettle those who live in rural areas—often indigenous peoples—into communities with improved access to basic amenities, such as clean water, medical services and schools. In reality, however, such amenities have not been provided, and many of the communities have too little food for the population that now exists there. Many people find that when they try and return to the land that they have left in order to resume their previous way of life the land has been leased and they no longer have access to it.
Indigenous communities thus find themselves displaced and deprived of their traditional livelihoods and of access to their natural environment, including access to water, grazing and fishing grounds, arable lands and forest resources. The Ethiopian government’s lack of a specific policy or programme to address indigenous peoples’ special needs and status has further aggravated their situation. Ethiopia, is a key political actor in Africa, and the second most populous country on the continent. It is a glaring omission that such a significant political actor has not attempted—in consultation with the country’s indigenous peoples and their representative institutions—to develop policies and programmes that are in accordance with guidelines from the UN and other relevant bodies and which would bridge the social and economic gaps that are currently causing such distress. The Ethiopian government is thus failing to address widely reported concerns regarding the human rights of indigenous people in Gambela, the lower Omo Valley, Benishangul Gumuz, Afar, Somali and Oromia regions—all areas that have been part of the government’s land lease policy and villagization programme. The Oromia region has been the site of significant protests since late 2015 when protests began over plans to expand the capital, Addis Ababa. In what was seen as an attempted “land grab”, Oromo farmers argued that expanding Addis Ababa would lead to their displacement and the loss of arable land. Although plans were subsequently dropped, protests continued, leading to what activists reported as the deaths of around 200 people so far, and heightened tensions in the area.
Considering the future for indigenous peoples’ rights in Ethiopia, it therefore remains important that there be a country-wide, inclusive and participatory movement in the country that would be able to ensure that the concerns of pastoralists and agro-pastoral peoples are taken into account as part of key government policies and programmes. The country’s lack of formal mechanisms in which to consider such issues, as well as legal restrictions on freedom of association and speech, appear to preclude this. This is despite the fact that the Ethiopian constitution—though lacking in clear provisions directly related to indigenous peoples —does include a provision for dealing with the development needs of pastoralist communities. However, the overall outlook for a nationwide indigenous peoples’ movement is promising. Consensus is underway amongst various groups that— with the support of international organizations and a more positive government view—could enable the country’s marginalized communities to face a more positive future.
Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, Oromia, Oromo.
Tags: #OromoProtests: What You Need to Know About Ethiopia’s Crisis That No One Is Talking About, Africa, Ethiopia Human Rights Project, Genocide, Indigenous People, Newsweek, Oromia, Oromia: #OromoProtests: Gabaasa Fincila Xumura Garbummaa (FXG) Oromiyaa 2016, Oromo Protests – 100 days of Public Protest, OromoProtests2016
Oromo Protests – 100 days of Public Protest
By Ethiopia Human Rights Project, March 2016
Oromia, the largest regional State in the Ethiopian Federation, has been rocked by series of protests in the past 100 days since mid-November 2015. The protests began with the aim of having the proposed Master Plan of the capital, Addis Ababa, officially referred as the ‘Addis Ababa–Finfinne Integrated Development Plan’ (‘Master Plan’) scrapped. The Master Plan was designed by Addis Ababa City Administration in collaboration with the government of Oromia Regional State and introduced early in 2014. The protestors opposed the Master Plan, which covers 1.1 million hectare of land (approximately twenty fold the current size of Addis Ababa), saying that its implementation will result in the eviction of millions of farmers and families from their land. The first protests against the Master Plan were held mainly by students of Oromia regional State in April/May/June 2014 which resulted in deaths, injuries and imprisonment of many people all over the state. The protests erupted again in November 2015 and continued up until now.
The ‘second round protests’, as it is called by activists, took wider area and longer time than its antecedent. Police brutality have reached its climax and deaths, injuries, mass arrest, kidnapping have tragically been reported in the State. In only the first hundred days of these protests, hundreds of towns and villages have witnessed mass incidents. In addition, death tolls have reportedly reached more than four hundred, thousands of people were injured and tens of thousands people were briefly arrested. Even though the Master Plan has been officially been scrapped by OPDO, ruling party in the regional State, on 13 January, 2016, fifty four days after the second round of the protest erupted, the third round of the protests have continued with a new momentum; what has started as an opposition to the Master Plan seems to end up looking for answers of political questions that have grown in the past two decades.
The Ethiopia Human Rights Project (EHRP) has actively followed the first 100 days of the protests and summarized the issues, causes, and the human rights violations perpetrated by government security forces in response to the protests in Oromia region. Click the next line to read the full report:-
Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, Because I am Oromo, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromo.
Tags: Africa, Because I am Oromo, Continued Massacre in State of Oromia by the Tyrannical TPLF Government in Ethiopia: Appeal Letter Submitted to UN, Ethiopia, Genocide Against Oromo People, Indigenous People, Oromia, Oromo, OromoProtests2016, The Oppressed
Oppressed and marginalized people have a shared experience: their oppressors invent a “mythical portrait” of the oppressed . Through this “mythical portrait”, the oppressed is depicted as uncivilized, savage, lacking self-control, irrational, unable to govern themselves, dangerous to themselves and to those in their midst, etc. On the other hand, the oppressor invents the opposite “mythical portrait” for itself.
This ugly portrait of the oppressed creates a mythical basis to keep the oppressed in perpetual misery. It creates a sense of fear that separates one oppressed group from another. This “mythical portraits” also helps garner support for the oppressive system from its base and outside the base as it makes the system as guarantor of the societiy’s well-being.
The successive Ethiopian government, particularly in the last 25 years, have created Oromo-phobia by inventing a mythical portrait of the Oromo. Consequently, the emancipation of the Oromo from their oppression is seen as destabilizing to Ethiopia and detrimental to the very existence of non-Oromo people in Ethiopia. Such a portrait has worked so well in the last 25 years that even those who are marginalized under the current government are unable to align their common interest with the Oromo people. The oppressive minority regime creates conflicts between oppressed groups and then portrays itself as the only rational and arbiter, thereby deserving to rule the “barbaric” others. This machination of the Ethiopian government, however, seems to be falling apart recently.
Since the eruption of the current Oromo revolution (#OromoProtests), the oppressive Ethiopian government left no stone unturned to further distort the “mythical portrait” of the Oromo people. The Communication Minister Getachew Reda called the peaceful #OromoProtests “devils” that must be dealt with , and the Prime Minister threatened to take “merciless action” labeling the unarmed and peaceful protesters “terrorists”. Once this “mythical portrait” is created, they not only justify their actions but leaves them with no choice but to intensify the repression. That is exactly what the regime has been doing since Novermber 12, 2015. What they did not manage to do this time around is to incite inter-ethnic and inter-religion conflict- despite their best effort.
Why is the Ethiopian oppressive minority regime failing to incite conflict between Oromo and others, and to incite inter-faith conflict in this time of revolt? A lot of credit should go to the tactics employed by the #OromoProtests movement, and their pre-emptive outreach to all Ethiopians and their transparent revolution.
True to the Oromo culture, the elders gathered the revolutionary youth to undertake an Oath taking ceremony during which they promulgated:
- The minority groups living in Oromia should not be harmed/should be protected. They emphasized that no one but the regime is their enemy. They admonished the youth that if any one considers others as enemy because of their ethnicity, it will tarnish the good Oromo name and goes counter to the principle of Oromummaa (Oromoness)
- No properties should be damaged
- Any one who harms minorities and/or damage properties, is in violation of Oromo-norms and is considered enemy of the Oromo people and obstacle to the peaceful struggle against tyranny.
We have heard the same voice of reason during the early weeks of the protest in West Shewa. Obviously this expression of tolerance is not a culture that just emerged now; it’s centuries old culture that is simply captured on video at this historical time. I share this video with pride to other Ethiopians and I hope it gives them hope and understanding about the Oromo people.
The #OromoProtests movement is shattering the “mythical portrait” of the Oromo people and replacing it with a true portrait of the Oromo people that is loving, caring and welcoming. The time when the rest of Ethiopians and the Oromo people join hands in good faith is the beginning of the era for the true liberation of the multi-nation federation we call Ethiopia. There is hope and the #OromoProtests is the fountain of such hope.
Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: Africa, Indigenous People, Indigenous People and Language, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo Represented at International Indigenous Terra Madre-2015 in Shillong
International Indigenous Terra Madre-2015 (an international gathering of indigenous cultural communities organized by Indigenous Partnership) started in Shillong University, India. It brings over a 100 national groups and tribes from 58 countries across the world-already kicked off on 3rd November 2015 in Shillong, Meghalaya, India. The event will run till 7th of November 2015. Oromo representatives from Ethiopia and Kenya among the cultural crew showcasing their ingenious heritages on the international event.
600 International Delegates at Indigenous Terra Madre 2015, Including Ethiopian Tribes and Communities
23 Oct 15
Representatives of Ethiopian tribes and communities will contribute to the event by sharing their knowledge and experiences
A large delegation of representatives of indigenous communities from the Slow Food Terra Madre network and beyond will be participating in Indigenous Terra Madre (ITM 2015), which will take place from November 3 to 7, 2015 in Shillong (Meghalaya, India). The event is the result of a collaboration between Slow Food, the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (Indigenous Partnership) and the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society(NESFAS).
International representatives will be coming to the event from five continents, from 14 Africancountries, 17 Asian countries, 8 European countries, 12 American countries and 7 Oceaniancountries.
Representatives from several Ethiopian communities will be attending:
– the Konso community (south-central Ethiopia). The origins of Konso culture are intertwined with the domestication of the moringa tree and its introduction in the highlands. Moringa leaves have joined the Slow Food Ark of Taste. The trees provide shade for coffee, the most valuable cash crop in the highlands. In fact the association of the two plants, moringa and coffee, exists only in the Konso area as it is a specific cultural expression of the deep link between the Konso and their ecosystem.
– the Hor tribe (southwest Ethiopia, north of Lake Stephanie Basi). An agro-pastoral community with a population of 6,000, mainly pastoralists and fishers. They plant different type of sorghum and raise sheep, goats and cattle, acting as custodians of rare local varieties.
– the Guji-Oromo community (Guji zone in the Oromia region). They are among the indigenous Oromo tribes sharing borders with the Sidama, Gedeo and other ethnic groups in southeastern part of the country. The Guji people are pastoralists in lowland areas and farmers in the highlands. In the highlands they produce honey, coffee, cereals and other crops, whereas in lowland they raise camels, sheep, goat and cattle. They govern themselves using the Gada system.
– the Gedeo community (southern Ethiopia between the Sidama and Boran zone of the Oromia region). They are sedentary cultivators, focusing on a food crop, ensete (Ethiopian banana), and a cash crop, coffee. They are unique among the ensete-growing peoples, as they plant the ensete, elsewhere largely a homestead crop, in the fields. They are the only people to intercrop their ensete with coffee. The Gedeo are also renowned for their conservation of natural resources. Using ensete, the Gedeo are able to produce food, livestock feed and wood from the same plot.
– the Hadiya community. Mainly shifting cultivators.
– the Gamo community. They are agro-pastoralist people and grow cereals, root crops and livestock on a mountain landscape.
Representatives of several groups and organizations from Ethiopia will also attend the event, including the Woyera-Moringa Suppliers Association (a cooperative which unites mostly female members of the Konso community who work with moringa leaves); the Baaboo (a local NGO which focuses on ensete development—planting, processing, and marketing—and on Gedeo ensete cuisines; the Tena Agar Traditional Foods and Utensils Protection and Promotion Association (established in 2011, it studies, documents, promotes and supports the production, preparation, supply and distribution of traditional foods and drinks and their utensils); the Daanchee Gedeo Ensete Cuisines Baaboo Development & Relief Association (whose mission is to promote Gedeo ensete cuisines through food shows, cultural events and its mobile kitchen) and Addis Ababa University.
You can find the program of the event here: http://bit.ly/1LWZaxh
Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 gratefully acknowledges funding support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), The Christensen Fund and the Government of Meghalaya. Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 is also thankful for the contributions made by Tamalpais Trust, Swift Foundation,AgroEcology Fund, Bread for the World and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Terra Madre is a worldwide network, launched by Slow Food in 2004, which unites small-scale producers from 163 countries involved in the sustainable production of food. Among these, to date the Indigenous Terra Madre Network comprises 372 indigenous food communities, 41 indigenous Presidia projectsand308 indigenous Ark of Taste products. For more information:http://slowfood.com/international/149/indigenous-terra-madre-network
Discover the stories of Indigenous Peoples from around the world on Slow Food website in the ‘Indigenous Voices’ section! http://www.slowfood.com/international/food-for-thought/slow-themes/260987
For further information, please contact the Slow Food International Press Office:
Paola Nano, +39 329 8321285 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ajay Nayak, +91-9820535501 email@example.com
Slow Food involves over a million of people dedicated to and passionate about good, clean and fair food. This includes chefs, youth, activists, farmers, fishers, experts and academics in over 158 countries; a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide (known as convivia), contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize; and over 2,500 Terra Madre food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.