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UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VISITING ETHIOPIA April 24, 2018

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 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein began his second official visit to Ethiopia as of Sunday April 22, “at the invitation of the Government”, his office said in a statement. “During his visit, he will also take part in a high-level dialogue between the African Union and the UN Human Rights Office.”

High Commissioner Zeid last visited Ethiopia in May 2017, when he met the then Prime Minister, [Hailemariam Desalegn], and other high-ranking Ethiopian officials and civil society members to discuss the human rights situation in the country and the work of the UN Human Rights East Africa Regional Office. “The Government of Ethiopia earlier this year invited Zeid to conduct a follow-up visit to the country,” according to Zeid’s office.

“During his four-day visit, Zeid is due to meet with the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as well as other high-level officials, the Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives and the Chairperson of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, representatives of civil society and Government critics who have recently been released from prison.”

Ethiopia is currently a member of both the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council.  However, since 2007, the government consistently denied access to all UN special rapporteurs as well as the African Commission and European parliament for investigations into pervasive human rights abuse committed by the state.  In August 2016 Zeid himself urged Ethiopian authorities to allow international observers to conduct independent investigations into then ongoing killings of protesters by security forces.  It is not clear if the government’s invitation of High Commissioner Zeid signals a change in approach.

In addition to meeting with Ethiopian officials, on Tuesday April 24, “Zeid will deliver opening remarks and participate in the African Union-United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Human Rights,” the statement from his office further said.  AU Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and Zeid will also conduct a joint press briefing at the end of the dialogue. On the same day, he is expected to “deliver a lecture at Addis Abeba University.” OHCHR/AS


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Oromia: East Ethiopia – The forgotten crisis. -Relief Web March 30, 2018

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistThe UN is silent as over 45 million Oromo people are subjected to genocide

Some observers estimate the number of people who could need humanitarian assistance, displaced people and host communities included, at five to seven million. Very few people are paying attention to this crisis and not enough money has been allocated to it. The basic need for water, food, hygiene and facilities are only just being met. The support provided by funding bodies falls short of what’s needed.

East Ethiopia – The forgotten crisis

Published on 29 Mar 2018 View Original

The grazing regions of Oromia and Somali in southern and eastern Ethiopia have witnessed an escalation in inter-ethnic violence in recent months. Since last September, more than one million people have fled their villages and been displaced to hundreds of reception areas. HI is working to protect the most vulnerable individuals, primarily women and children. Fabrice Vandeputte, HI’s head of mission in Ethiopia, explains the causes of the crisis and how our team is responding.

How did the crisis begin?

For years, ethnic groups have been fighting over natural resources, especially water and pasture land in the regions of Somali and Oromia in southern and eastern Ethiopia. But the conflict has intensified due to long periods of drought and the famines that have followed them. A disagreement over where the border lies between the two regions also recently turned violent, when hundreds of thousands of people from Oromia living in Somali and even in neighboring Somaliland were forcibly removed to Oromia. The Oromia authorities expelled the Somali population in reprisal.

Where are the displaced people living?

More than one million displaced people, mostly women and children, are currently living in 400 reception areas, such as schools and public buildings, but also with families and the like, on a north-south line from the towns of Jigaga to Moyale, on the border between the Somali and Oromia regions. These population movements are putting a lot of pressure on host communities. For example, one woman we met recently has taken in 50 or so members of her close or extended family. You can imagine the day-to-day problems that causes in terms of sanitary facilities, food, and so on.

What are conditions like for displaced people?

They’re exhausted. Think about it: you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, when you’re suddenly surrounded by police who load you onto a vehicle, and transport you hundreds of miles away from your home region. That’s what’s happened to most displaced people. They’ve lost everything they own. A lot of children even get separated from their parents. Many suffer serious psychological distress.

What are NGOs doing?

Unfortunately, very few humanitarian actors are supported by funding bodies or are able to implement emergency programs. NGOs in the field are finding it hard to launch a response because displaced people are spread across lots of different sites, and you have to find them. Organizing aid for people scattered over a large area is not easy.

What is HI doing?

We’ve set up a program to protect women and children. When people are suddenly displaced in large numbers, and forced together in very poor conditions, it leads to tension and violence, and women and children are usually worst affected. There’s also a heightened risk of rape and child trafficking. In Babile and Kersaa, where we work, we’ve formed mobile teams whose job is to spot risky situations and vulnerable individuals and to refer them to the right services, such as health centers, social services, NGOs, and the like. We’re also opening areas for women and children where they can play or get psychosocial support.

How do you think the crisis will develop over the coming months?

Some observers estimate the number of people who could need humanitarian assistance, displaced people and host communities included, at five to seven million. Very few people are paying attention to this crisis and not enough money has been allocated to it. The basic need for water, food, hygiene and facilities are only just being met. The support provided by funding bodies falls short of what’s needed.

Humanity & Inclusion in Ethiopia

Present in the country since 1986, our team is working to provide support to the displaced as well as improve the quality of and access to physical rehabilitation and orthopedic-fitting services, livelihoods facilities for families of children with disabilities, and assistance for refugees and displaced people, and more.

Eritrea to Ethiopia: Deal with your security crisis, stop chasing scapegoats. Africa News March 20, 2018

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Eritrea to Ethiopia: Deal with your security crisis, stop chasing scapegoats

ERITREA

Eritrea says Ethiopia must move to deal with its chronic internal security crisis instead of finding scapegoats from outside.

This is the position of Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel in a response to an email query by the Bloomberg magazine. Ethiopian authorities were reported over the weekend to have said neighbouring Eritrea was partly to blame for its internal security headache.

“The regime is desperately trying to deflect attention from its intractable domestic crisis — of its own making — and find external scapegoats,” Yemane said describing the claims as false and one that did not merit a serious response.

The state-owned Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation late last week quoted the federal police chief as saying Eritrea was trying to destabilize the country by sponsoring anti-peace forces.

Ethiopia is currently under a six-month state of emergency imposed on February 16, 2018. It followed the resignation of Prime Minisiter Hailemariam Desalegn, barely 24-hours earlier.

The government said it was necessary in the wake of spreading violence across the country. The measure was controversially ratified by the parliament in early March in a vote fraught with claims of rigging.

It is not the first time that Ethiopia has accused Eritrea of such acts, neither is it the first time Eritrea is rejecting such claims. The two continue to trade blows over a border demarcation process which dates back to 2002.

Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of armed struggle. In 1998, the two neighbouring countries fought a two-year long war over their disputed border which claimed the lives of at least 70,000.

The two countries have had tense relations as a peace deal signed in 2000 to end the war has never been fully implemented.

Ethiopia-Eritrea borderline tensions puts regional stability at risk – EU | Africanews http://www.africanews.com/2017/04/13/ethiopia-eritrea-borderline-tensions-puts-regional-stability-at-risk-eu/ 

Ethiopia-Eritrea borderline tensions puts regional stability at risk – EU

On April 13, 2002, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) communicated its decision to officially demarcate the border between the State …

africanews.com


 

Ethiopian Government’s Promise to Release Political Prisoners & Close Notorious Jail Meaningless Without Political Freedoms January 5, 2018

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“For years, while donor countries like the US have turned a blind eye, thousands of Ethiopians have languished behind bars simply for speaking up against so-called development policies and related human rights abuses, all perpetrated by the Ethiopian regime. The acknowledgement of these political prisoners, their release, and the closure of the horrific Maekelawi police station, if actually carried through, are all long overdue, but not enough.”

Ethiopian Government’s Promise to Release Political Prisoners & Close Notorious Jail Meaningless Without Political Freedoms

The Oakland Institute, January 4, 2018

Kibish, Ethiopia. Credit: The Oakland Institute.

Media Contact: Anuradha Mittal
amittal@oaklandinstitute.org
+1 510-469-5228

Oakland, CA—Until yesterday, the Ethiopian government refused to even acknowledge the presence of scores of political prisoners in the country. Then on January 3, 2018, the government announced that it would release all of its political prisoners and close the notorious Maekelawi police station. The surprise announcement came after years of political suppression that saw the deaths of over 1,000 people and the arrest of over 26,000 in 2016-2017 alone, as well as the imposition of a 10-month state of emergency.

According to Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute, “For years, while donor countries like the US have turned a blind eye, thousands of Ethiopians have languished behind bars simply for speaking up against so-called development policies and related human rights abuses, all perpetrated by the Ethiopian regime. The acknowledgement of these political prisoners, their release, and the closure of the horrific Maekelawi police station, if actually carried through, are all long overdue, but not enough.”

The Oakland Institute has exposed human rights abuses linked to land grabs and failed development policies across Ethiopia for over a decade. This has included forced displacement, unlawful arrest, the stifling of basic human rights, and more. Journalists, opposition party members, religious and indigenous leaders, students, and land rights defenders have been imprisoned simply for speaking out against injustice in the country. The Institute has been closely involved in the cases of various land rights defenders and political prisoners, and has campaigned against Ethiopia’s draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.

“For years, the Ethiopian government has used its anti-terrorism law to criminalize basic human rights, stifle dissent, and lock up anyone who critiques its policies and actions,” explained Lewis Gordon, Executive Director of the Environmental Defender Law Center and editor of a joint report with the Oakland Institute about the law. “While today’s announcement has the potential to be a positive step forward for many in Ethiopia, it is also imperative that the government repeal the use of this repressive piece of legislation.”

While yesterday’s news has been heralded by many, questions remain about how the government intends to enact these sweeping changes.

“Who is considered a political prisoner? How and when will these releases take place and under what conditions? Going forward, what kinds of political freedoms will be allowed? The right to peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of the media? How will the perpetrators of crimes that have been committed against Ethiopian citizens be held accountable? These are all details that have not yet been released,” Mittal stated. “In the absence of these details, we remain cautious about this announcement.  We will remain vigilant in the days and weeks to come, and hold the Ethiopian government accountable to swiftly and fully follow through on its promises.”

###

Learn more about Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation in our report: Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Law: A Tool to Stifle Dissent.

Financial Times coverage of Mr. Okello’s sentence (registration required).

Obok’s letter to the Financial Times in response to their report.


Related (Oromian Economist sources):-

BBC: Ethiopia PM ‘misquoted’ over prisoners

Foreign Affairs Committee: Chairman Royce Statement on Ethiopia Political Prisoners Announcement,Press Release

The New York Times: Ethiopia Says It Will Close Notorious Prison and Free Some Inmates 

BBC Afaan Oromoo: ‘Nama malee manni nama hin dararu’ – Maa’ikalaawii

OPride: Ethiopia needs deeper reforms beyond release of jailed politicians and closure of Maekelawi

OPride: Here is what Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said and what he didn’t say

 

QZ: Ethiopia will have to do a lot more than release political prisoners to end repression

WHAT DOES UNREST IN OROMIA SIGNIFY? – IDA, Africa Watch December 25, 2017

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WHAT DOES UNREST IN OROMIA SIGNIFY?
By Dr. Stephanie M. Burchard*, The Institute for Defense Analyses , Africa Watch


In mid-December, a series of violent clashes between ethnic Oromo and ethnic Somalis in the Oromia region of Ethiopia resulted in at least 61 fatalities. This outbreak of violence followed the deaths
of 16 protesters who were shot by state security forces on December 12 in Chelenko, located east of Mulu in [Eastern] Oromia. Ethiopia was previously under a state of emergency from October 2016 to August
2017 in response to waves of protest that originated in Oromia and swept the country beginning in 2014. What is driving the recent spate of violence in Oromia, and is it indicative of potential larger unrest?

Origins of Unrest

Despite commonalities in language, religion, and culture, Oromo and ethnic Somalis have experienced
intermittent conflict for at least the past 25 years. Their two regional states, Oromia and Somali, share a border that is poorly demarcated. Much of the conflict between the Oromo and Somali groups has historically centered on access to resources and land.
Both ethnic groups complain about being marginalized by the Ethiopian government, which has been
dominated by the Tigray ethnic group. Ethiopia is ethnically heterogeneous, with more than 80 recognized ethnic groups. The Tigray are one of Ethiopia’s smaller ethnic groups, representing about 6 percent of the total population.
The members of the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, which comprises an estimated 35 percent to 40 percent of the population, feel particularly underrepresented by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.
Although tensions between the Oromo and ethnic Somalis are long-standing, the most recent conflict needs to be contextualized against the backdrop of previous unrest in Oromia that began in 2014. After the announcement of a development scheme in 2014 (detailed in the August 25, 2016, issue of Africa Watch) that would have enabled the government to incorporate parts of Oromia into the capital city, Addis Ababa, protests broke out across Oromia.
During the initial phases of the project, Oromo leaders accused the government of taking over land and forcibly evicting families. Protests continued and the grievances expanded to include concerns over human rights abuses, political representation, and limitations placed on freedom of expression. The government ultimately abandoned its expansion plan in January 2016 in response to the unrest, but anti-government protests continued to spread to the Amhara community, Ethiopia’s second largest ethnic group, and the capital. The government imposed a state of emergency in October 2016.
Current Conflict Details are sparse about the most recent clashes, but reports indicate that members from the Oromo ethnic group were killed first, which then triggered reprisal killings of ethnic Somalis. The clashes are alleged to involve the Somali Special Police, the Liyu. The Liyu are a paramilitary group created by the government in the mid-2000s to deal with a previous secessionist group located in the Somali region, the Ogaden National Liberation Front. The Liyu have been accused of using excessive force and engaging in extrajudicial killings. Coincidentally, in October, government forces
were accused of killing four people in Oromia who were protesting the delivery of a shipment of arms to the Liyu.
While some are attempting to define the recent clashes as primarily ethnic in nature, activists in Oromia claim that the involvement of the Liyu indicates that it is actually state-sponsored violence.
The opinions expressed in these commentaries are those of the authors and should not be viewed
as representing the official position of the Institute for Defense Analyses or its sponsors.
Links to web sites are for informational purposes only and not an endorsement.
The December 2017 clashes appear to be part of an escalation of violence and protest in the region. From
October 1 to November 30, around 118 violent events took place in Oromia, almost 50 percent of which were protests.
An estimated 200 fatalities occurred and tens of thousands are believed to have been displaced. This increase in violence follows a lull from April to July. Roughly 30 percent of all conflict activity in 2017 has involved the Liyu in some capacity; almost 50 percent has involved state security forces
(military or police).

Government Response to Unrest

The Ethiopian government responded to the 2014 Oromia security situation with a heavy hand. Ethiopian police were responsible for hundreds of deaths during protests from 2014 to 2016. In 2016, at the height of the conflict, more than 1,000 fatalities were reported in Oromia. The government arrested protesters en masse and attempted to control the flow of information into and out of Oromia. During the state of emergency, at least 29,000 persons were arrested, many of whom are still awaiting trial. The government arrested scores of journalists and frequently jammed nonstate news sources to prevent them from broadcasting. According to Human Rights Watch, the government also routinely cut cell phone service in areas where the military was deployed, presumably to prevent information about the military’s actions from being publicized widely.

Conclusion

The Ethiopian government announced in August 2017 that it was lifting the state of emergency due to an
improved security situation, but recent events suggest a resurgence of violence and protest in Oromia. The uptick in violence may signal the beginning of renewed unrest in Ethiopia. This should serve as a reminder that the core issues underlying the previous unrest, namely state repression and political representation, were never adequately addressed.

Click here to read more in PDF: WHAT DOES UNREST IN OROMIA SIGNIFY? Africa Watch, December-21-2017-vol17 (1)


*Dr. Stephanie M. Burchard is a Research Staff Member in the Africa Program at the Institute for Defense Analyses.

 


 

Oromia (Ethiopia): Bishoftu Massacre: #IrreechaMassacre: The day that changed the game November 10, 2016

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#OromoProtests image, Addis Standard

Addis-standard-special-edition-on-irreechaa-massacre-oct-2-2016

P. 5 – #IrreechaMassacre: The day that changed the game (By Addis Standard staffs)

“I saw people who had fallen inside ditches and deeper pits. I saw people who had no one to pick them up. I saw people suffocated by the smoke of the tear gas”

P.8 – A survivor’s account (By Bekel Atoma Boruu)

“Those who ran to save their lives from the teargas bombs and the gun shots pulled themselves and one another to the nearby 6 meters long ditch in front of the podium. The tear gas bomb thrown at the mass increased the number of people running to the ditch not seeing what is in front of them; besides they were blinded by the heavy smoke from tear gas”

P.10 – Irreecha is sacred! We cannot let them take it away (By Ayantu Ayana)

“I keep asking myself how dare they kill on sacred grounds and on a sacred day. How dare they? All those people muddied and bloodied in their beautiful and colorful clothes. All those lives lost. Should mourning be all we do these days? “

P. 13 – Into the heart of Irreecha: Why is it so important to the Oromo? (Buli Edjeta Jobir, Guest Writer)

“An amazing part of the Irreecha ceremony is its absolute orderliness, the reigning of absolute peaceful aura, the showering of love and mutual respect, the sense of oneness and unity. In all the Irreecha ceremonies recorded over the last two decades, after its first rejuvenation, there has never been a single stampede or injury recorded.”

P. 17 – Irreecha: A defining moment in a hallowed land (By Prof. Ezekiel Gebissa, Special to Addis Standard)

“In 2016, it was clear that the largest gathering of Oromos from Oromia’s all corners would be a scene of expression of anger in the wake of the government’s brutal crackdown of Oromo protests during the preceding ten months.

#OromoProtests, #OromoRevolution: The point of no return in Ethiopia October 26, 2016

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“We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.”  In Ethiopia, the government’s actions have left many people with no other option but to fight.


 

irreecha-oromo-2016-oromoprotests-bishoftu-horaa-harsadi
Screen grab of a video of Irreechaa protest, published by Jawar Mohammed via France24.


Hundreds of Ethiopians have been killed by their government this year. Hundreds. You might not have known because casualty numbers have been played down; “evil forces” and accidents are blamed rather than the soldiers that fired the bullets; we are even deprived of the ability to fully grasp the situation because journalists are not allowed to report on it and the Internet is periodically shut down by the government. (In fact, last week Ethiopia finally admitted to the deaths of more than 500 anti-government protestors. Protesters insist that more people have died.) Whatever we make of the government’s prevarication, the Irreechaa Massacre that took place at the beginning of this month was a point of no return.

Irreechaa is a sacred holiday celebrated by the Oromo people, when several thousands gather annually at the banks of Lake Hora Arasadi in the town of Bishoftu to give thanks. At this year’s Irreechaa celebration, a peaceful protest broke out after government officials tried to control who was allowed to speak at the large gathering. What happened next is unpardonable.

Video footage shows government forces shooting tear gas and live ammunition into the crowd. Panic erupts. Women, children and men who had come to celebrate flee for safety but many are trampled on, drown and fall to their deaths. The government claims only 55 were killed in the incident. Non-governmental sources, however, put that figure at over 300. Mainstream media has conveniently portrayed the cause of the tragedy as a stampede yet simple logic refutes this. “When you fire on a crowd of 3 million close to a cliff and adjacent to a lake, causing mayhem, that is not a stampede. It is a massacre,” says Dr. Awol Allo, a law lecturer at Keele University in the United Kingdom.

Frustrations and grievances in Ethiopia have been growing for years. In 2014, protests began over the Master Plan to expand the capital Addis Ababa into Oromia Region. This was just the spark. Though the Master Plan has been abandoned for now, thousands of people across Oromia and more recently Amhara regions have continued to protest against the government. Their demands are fairly basic: human rights, an end to authoritarian rule, equal treatment of all ethnic groups, and restoration of ancestral lands that have been snatched and sold oftentimes under the guise of development.

The government’s brutal response has only added fuel to the fire. Irreechaa is the most recent example of this. Within days of the massacre a wave of anti-government protests erupted across the country, mostly in the Oromia Region. People are coming out in larger and larger numbers. Fear is dissipating and giving way to determination. Many activists believe it is too late for reconciliation — that “the opportunity for dialogue was closed with Ireechaa”.

No one is to blame for this but the government itself. The EPRDF government in Ethiopia has been tragically recalcitrant and short-sighted in dealing with the legitimate concerns of its citizens. Externally it has touted its success in maintaining stability and spurring double digit economic growth rates as a source of legitimacy, while internally it shoved itself into the seat of power by eradicating any form of real opposition. But anyone who has been to Ethiopia knows precisely well that the image of “Africa’s rising star” is only a façade, which tries to cover up deep rooted social and economic inequalities, abject poverty and human suffering, ethnic patronage and corruption, and a weak economy that is overly reliant on foreign investment. In short, the political, economic and social situation in Ethiopia today is not, by any stretch of the imagination, stable, despite what the EPRDF’s self-interested allies like the United States would like to believe.

Over the years, various groups that have tried many ways to peacefully seek change in Ethiopia. In 2005, opposition groups tried to compete in elections. When they almost won, they were arrested and exiled. In 2012 Muslims across the country peacefully demonstrated for more liberties and autonomy. As their movement gained momentum, many of their leaders were labeled as terrorists and sent to prison. In 2014, Oromos began to protest against the government’s ill-conceived Master Plan and are now paying the price. Throughout this period, countless activists, journalists and students have been arrested, numerous independent media outlets have been shut down, and the space for civil society groups has shrunk almost to the point of nonexistence.

The great Frantz Fanon explained that, “we revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.”  In Ethiopia, the government’s actions have left many people with no other option but to fight. It is a country that has experienced much civil violence in the past, and is reluctant to return to it. However, the people’s patience is limited. Already, protestors are beginning to take more desperate measures. Some have torched foreign companies to send a message to the government and its foreign investors that their concerns and frustrations can no longer be brushed aside. From Eritrea, Dr. Berhanu Nega — who once ran as part of an opposition party in the 2005 elections — is preparing for a full-fledged guerilla war.

At this point the EPRDF only has two options: cut its losses, gradually cede power and make way for meaningful elections or dig its boots deeper into the ground, like a stubborn child, and hold out for as long as it can. The consequences of the second option will be more bloodshed and in the end a much greater fall for the regime. History has shown that when Ethiopians have had enough, they have overthrown even an imperial monarchy dating back centuries. The old Ethiopian proverb should be a warning: “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.”

Oromo lawyers group on #IrreechaMassacre, statement October 11, 2016

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Oromo lawyers group on #IrreechaMassacre, statement


International Oromo Lawyers Association (IOLA)

12711 Mankato Street NE Blaine, MN 55449 USA
Email: iola@oromolawyers.org
Website: http://www.oromolawyers.org
Phone: +1 571 331 83 30


UPDATE: IOLA Press Statement Regarding the Irreechaa Massacre of October 2016

October 7, 2016

On the 2nd of October 2016, Ethiopian security forces shot live ammunition into the massive crowd (estimated in millions) and fired tear gas during the Irreechaa Festival, the Oromo͛s thanks giving day. As we now understand, in a matter of 30 minutes, hundreds of unsuspecting celebrant͛s were killed and thousands have suffered severe injuries and mental trauma. According to the statement from the opposition political party, The Oromo Federalist Congress, up until the 3rd of October 2016, the death toll has passed 678. This figure has continued to increase and the number of those injured is not yet accounted for.

The Oromo͛s have been celebrating Irreechaa for many years peacefully, but it has never entertained such a tragedy. This year͛s festival was in fact different from the previous ones on several grounds. There was unusually massive security presence from the start. The hills behind the stage and surrounding lake were all occupied by heavily armed forces. Several armored vehicles were pointing their warheads at the crowd and gunship helicopter was deployed. As the Oromo Protest (#OromoProtests) and disagreement with the government continued, political cadres from the ruling party were assigned and took central stage at this event. Given the continued protest and ongoing killings, such gross disrespect of the revered Irreechaa ceremony by the government cadres further infuriated the mass who continued to chant slogans.

According to the information available to us, the Irreechaa celebration was going peacefully with a visible sign of protests, until the police started firing tear gas followed by live ammunition in the direction of the people. Gunship helicopter flew overhead simultaneously to create the deadly havoc, confusion and panic. According to eye witness account of Mr Milkessa Midega (Lecturer at Dire Dawa University), ͞When the gunfire started, and tear gases rained, everyone was shocked but the wave of crowd had little options to access the exit road. Even the narrow exit itself was near the gorge. To make an already bad situation worse, the deep gorge was covered by bushes, which means people could not even see the hole in front of them, and since the gunfire came from the opposite direction (left side of the stage), the festival goers had no choice but to run toward the cliff. This suggests that the military strategically devised the scheme knowing full well that those who run away to escape bullets being fired from behind would be finished in the gorge and ditches. This is why many in the country and those of us who were there believe the Irreechaa massacre was deliberately executed.”

According to Milkessa ͞The closing of the wider exit road on the left side and firing on a panicked crowd from the direction of the safest and more visible exit cannot be a simple case of recklessness. It was deliberately planned to absolve the government of responsibility and might have saved the military some bullets. It͛s a cold, calculated and inhumane military decision.͟ Several other eye witness account, intelligence reports, photo and video evidences also confirms similar pattern of events. According to some intelligence reports, the killing was conducted with the direct order of the higher Intelligence command officials.

This tragic event took place at a time of massive crackdown on peaceful Oromo protesters all over Oromia. The protest has claimed the lives of more than five hundred people, (according to some estimated the figures have passed over 1000) in less than eleven months. The protest is still going on. Being subjected to an unprecedented economic, political and social marginalization, and singled out for harsh systematic repression; the Oromo people have been peacefully demonstrating and demanding for the respect of their fundamental human, social, economic and political rights.

The protests and subsequent human rights violations is in fact not limited to the Oromo region. The Gambella, Sidama, Amhara, Somalia and Konso people͛s have peaceful protested to air their grievances and demand for respect of various legitimate rights. But almost in all occasions the government responded with mass killing, displacement and imprisonments.

In one out of thousands of recent incidents, one mother whose child was was killed by the ͚Agazi͛ forces were bitten for refusing to sit on her Childs dead body in town of Dambi Dollo (Oromiya region). The right to life as a core and one of the few non-derogable rights among the long list of human rights are enshrined in International Covenants to which the Ethiopian government is a party. As a signatory of these Covenants, it is bound to do all necessary steps to fulfill its obligations. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Parliament demanded a neutral investigation in to the Oromo Protests killings but TPLF led EPRDF government has so far refused to fulfill by its obligations.

As the tense atmosphere remains and the cycle of violence continues, IOLA calls up on:

1) International community for the establishment of International investigating commission into the Irreechaa killings and these happened during the entire Oromo Protest, and bring those responsible to justice;

2) The Ethiopian government to immediately let the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly and other specialized UN human rights experts to visit Ethiopia to report on these situations. We respectfully ask the UN Security Council to ensure this step is carried out by the Ethiopian government.

3) The Government of Ethiopia to release all political prisoners and ensure the rule of law, in which Freedom, Equality and Justice are uncompromised;

4) The Government of Ethiopia to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Union Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and association;

5) The Ethiopian government to stop suppressing the free flow of information, including by jamming media broadcasts, blocking of communication services and harassing media, including through intrusive surveillance programs, and facilitate access throughout Ethiopia for independent journalists and human rights monitors; IOLA would also like to reiterate its readiness to support any constructive initiatives in this regard. update-on-iola-press-statement-regarding-the-irreechaa-massacre-of-october-2016-click-here-to-read-pdf

The Executive Board of International Oromo Lawyers Association

Note:
International Oromo Lawyers Association (IOLA) is a non-profit, nonsectarian and non-politically professional association, registered in the United States.

Ethiopia: human rights defender condemns deadliest mass murder in Oromia. #IrreechaaMassacre #OromoProtests October 3, 2016

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

 

Human rights League of the Horn of Africa

 

 

ethiopia-regime-conducted-mass-killing-at-irreecha-cultural-festival-2nd-october-2016-bishoftu-oromia-irreeechamassacre

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


Ethiopia: Deadliest TPLF/EPRDF Mass Murder In Oromia

HRLHA Urgent Action


October 2, 2016


The HRLHA deeply condemn the mass murder by the Ethiopian government  sponsored killing squad Agazi force near Bishoftu, Oromia  where over 4,000,000 Oromos were gathered  to celebrate the Irrecha annual festival , the Oromo thanksgiving day on October 2, 2016.

The attack by the killing squad Agazi  which was supported by helicopter from the air has left at least 300 civilians dead on the spot and thousands  wounded and has been taken to hospitals in Bishoftu and Addis Ababa, 40 km away from the place of mass murder took place. According the HRLHA informants from the place, the dead bodies were everywhere on the ground around the Hora Arsadi, the area of the irrecha festival

The October 2, 2016 mass murder would be one of the highest tolls for a single day in Oromia  since 10 months the Oromo protest has begun in November 2015

The HRLHA calls on the world governments and donor organizations to condemn the barbaric acts of government sponsored killing squad Agazi force against Oromo civilians and put pressure on the TPLF/EPRDF government to allow swiftly neutral body to investigate this horrific action of this dictatorial government sponcered killing squads..

The HRLHA will continue updating the fast growing number of the victims from around  the  area.

Warning!!

Note: The following pictures are extremely graphics. Proceed with procuation

All photos were taken from social media, names are not identified

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Read Related at OE: 

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.