Advertisements
jump to navigation

Refugees walking from danger to danger: Members of Ethiopia’s largest national group, the #Oromo, which activists charge is systematically disenfranchised by the government are still heading to #Yemen September 17, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment
 ???????????
Walking into danger: migrants still head to Yemen
HARGEISA, 11 August 2015 (IRIN) – Qader and Abdi are two weeks into their journey. Carrying only one empty plastic water bottle each, flattened, with no liquid to return it to its cylindrical shape, the two men figure they will be walking for another month-and-a-half before they reach the sea. From there, they will take a smuggler boat the short distance to Yemen, where another 600-kilometre walk lies ahead before they may reach their final destination, Saudi Arabia.
The pair – members of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, which activists charge is systematically disenfranchised by the government – are walking along an uncrowded road connecting the capital of Somaliland, Hargeisa, to a northern port city. They walk because they cannot afford the roughly $150-200 that a series of smugglers would charge to take them from the Ethiopian border east through Somaliland to the port of Bosaso in the neighbouring semi-autonomous region of Puntland.“We will walk until we become weak,” said 30-year-old Qader, who withheld his last name to protect his identity. He and his 19-year-old companion are dressed in dirtied long-sleeve shirts to shield them from the early morning sun, which will become unbearable by midday. They have made it this far off the good will of Somalilanders who offer them small change or meals as they pass.There is a small risk they could be arrested so they veer off the paved road near checkpoints but quickly return so as not to lose their way. Although walking along roads in Somaliland – a self-declared nation that the international community still classifies as a region of Somalia – puts migrants like them at increased risk of robbery or assault, Somalilanders generally do not wish the duo ill will. Government officials have even been known to stop and provide food and drink to migrants despite their illegal status in the country.

When they reach Bosaso the help will likely come to an end and Qader and Abdi will have to pay. Unlike on land, which the destitute can traverse without charge as long as they can avoid arrest, the sea is only passable by ships operated by smugglers, who are more than happy to continue transporting people to war-torn Yemen for a fee.

Ever more dangerous journey

Migration to and through Yemen – historically the backdoor for migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa trying to reach Saudi Arabia – has always put people at risk of death and inhumane treatment. Last year, there were numerous drownings in the Gulf of Aden and Human Rights Watch released a report in 2014 documenting “torture camps” where smugglers held newcomers for ransom.

But a civil war, precipitated by the departure of Yemen’s internationally-recognised government and a Saudi Arabian-led bombing campaign to restore its legitimacy, has made an already perilous journey for migrants all the more death-defying.

“It’s very dangerous, and I cannot stress that enough,” said Teddy Leposky, an external relations officer for the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, in Yemen.

Not only has the war given smugglers license to act more ruthlessly than before, but also the ability of aid agencies to provide services to migrants and refugees has been severely compromised and the conflict’s violence has been indiscriminate. Five migrants were caught in shelling near the Saudi border in May and, at the end of March, a camp for displaced people camp was bombed, killing at least 45.

But as migrants and refugees know, the grinding poverty, political persecution or violence that typically push them out of the Horn of Africa, do not conveniently abate as wars break out in their path. So they continue to risk life and liberty and end up on Yemen’s shores. According to figures from UNHCR, more than 10,500 people have arrived in Yemen since March when the bombing campaign began. Although some of those might be part of the 51,000 who are now also leaving, as war in Yemen has created a circular flow in the region.

“I know it’s a high risk, but I will take it,” said Fila Aden, 24, in a café in Hargeisa. He is familiar with what lies ahead. This is the second time he left home in Ethiopia for work in oil-rich Saudi Arabia. Although he struggles to provide a precise timeline of events, he estimates he was deported from the kingdom about a month ago after working there for almost a year.Hiding the risks

Some aid officials believe that boat smugglers in Bosaso and Djibouti (for the Red Sea route to Yemen) may be downplaying the conflict in Yemen or flat-out lying to clients about the dangers they have seen.

Fila Aden in Hargeisa doesn’t doubt smugglers are sugarcoating forecasts, but he thinks the conflict in Yemen might actually work to his advantage. He is reassured by news that one of his friends just traversed Yemen and slipped unnoticed across the border with Saudi.

“We worry about Yemen. We could be accused of fighting [for a certain side] in the conflict. People are more paranoid now,” he said. “But looking at it from the Saudi perspective, they aren’t concerned about us. They are fighting a war in Yemen.”

As long as those like Aden are willing to go, there is money to be made. Several sources said the smugglers had doubled their asking price in Bosaso, which pre-war ran from $60 to $120 for the sea crossing. Omar, who asked that a pseudonym be used, smuggles Ethiopians from the border into Somaliland. He is fairly new, joining the ranks of the illicit business just five months ago. But the job has proven lucrative. He saw a drop in numbers around the time war broke out in Yemen, but Ramadan (which straddled June and July this year) was profitable, suggesting an uptick in those still willing to go to Yemen.

“People know damn well that they are taking a risk,” he said, when IRIN asked if smugglers were taking advantage of the war and luring clients under false pretenses. But he said smugglers too were taking extra risks, and more and more fearful of arrest. “I feel bad sometimes but what can I do? I have to make a living.”

No refuge any more

While Omar continues to facilitate a migrant march east, deteriorating conditions in Yemen have destroyed a refuge that many once sought.

Abdulqader Ahmed, a 17-year-old Ethiopian migrant, arrived in Yemen in March from Djibouti right as street battles began to erupt in the southern port city of Aden. He made his way to the UN-sponsored al-Kharaz camp nearby, too afraid to begin his journey north to Saudi Arabia. He watched as the camp ran short of food and water, with aid agencies unable to get supplies in. Finally, he managed to secure passage on a ship that evacuated him to Somaliland.

At a migrant response center in Hargeisa, where he was waiting to be repatriated back to Ethiopia, Ahmed said the war in Yemen had helped him reach the realisation that his goal of getting to Saudi Arabia would likely cost him his life. He now intends to return to farming with his father in Ethiopia, even though it will be almost impossible to earn a living.

For UNHCR’s Leposky, Yemen’s collapse is particularly concerning because of the country’s history of opening its borders to refugees and asylum seekers. He told IRIN that those arriving now in Yemen are making the costly journey across the sea only to find themselves in a similar situation, if not worse.

“It’s so unfortunate that a country that has provided protection and asylum to people for so many years is now in dire straits.”

http://m.irinnews.org/report/101848/walking-into-danger-migrants-still-head-to-yemen#.VfsJXNJVikq

Advertisements

Human rights organization appeals to UNHCR for lifesaving assistance to #Oromo refugees in Yemen. #Africa. #UN May 18, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Oromo Refugees in Yemen.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

???????????Oromo refugees in Yemen

Human rights organization appeals to UNHCR for lifesaving assistance to Oromo refugees in Yemen

Human rights League of the Horn of Africa

The following is a statement from the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA), “a non-political and nonpartisan organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the peoples of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. HRLHA is aimed at defending fundamental human rights, including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and organization. It is also aimed at raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It has intended to work on the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.”

——-

May 16, 2015

HRLHA’s Appeal to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Mr. Antonio Guterres
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR)
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Geneve 2 Depot Suisse
Emails: infoDesk@ohchr.org; GUTERRES@unhcr.org

Attention To:
Mr Amin Awad
Middle East and North Africa Bureau
UNHCR, Geneva

Dear Mr. Guterres,

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa/HRLHA is very concerned about the current humanitarian crisis in the Republic of Yemen following the internal conflicts and political instabilities that have broken down the social services in the country. Many nongovernmental and humanitarian organizations are reporting that the crisis in Yemen has highly affected refugees and asylum seekers who came from the Horn of Africa to Yemen to escape the volatile situations in Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and other places. Among the most vulnerable are Oromo refugees and asylum seekers residing in Sanaa, Aden and other areas in Yemen.

According to the letter disseminated by the Oromo refugee community in Aden-Yemen under the heading “Only Oromo refugees are still caught up under the fire and critical circumstance and also expecting an imminent danger”, Oromo refugees are desperately seeking attention and lifesaving assistance of the UNHCR. The UNHCR’s Middle East and North Africa branch office confirmed its commitment to providing life–saving assistance for the needy people under its strategy’s priority: “UNHCR’s strategic priorities in 2015 are: to deliver innovative operational responses, including lifesaving assistance; to ensure protection for all people of concern with a particular focus on the most vulnerable, especially those in urban areas; to seek durable solutions, including resettlement as a protection tool; and to continue to respond to ongoing emergencies.” (UNHCR, Middle East and North Africa – http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4a02db416.html)

Dear Mr. Guterres,

HRLHA, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have reported and are still reporting that the Oromos are fleeing their country to escape persecutions by the current Ethiopian government led by the TPLF/EPRDF. The recent research document released by Amnesty International – “Because I am Oromo” – Sweeping Repression in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia – exposes that how Oromos have been regularly subjected to arbitrary arrests, prolonged detentions without charges, enforced disappearances, repeated tortures and unlawful state killings since 1991, when the current Ethiopian government came into power, as part of the government’s incessant attempts to crush dissidents.

Dear Mr. Guterres,

Thousands from other nations and nationalities in Ethiopia have also been killed, kidnapped and arrested by the TPLF/EPRDF government because of exercising their fundamental rights or holding political opinions different from TPLF/EPRDF’s political agenda.

Therefore, the HRLHA politely urges the UNHCR to:

1. Provide food and shelter assistance to vulnerable Oromo and other refugees in Yemen

2. Move them to safer neighboring countries in the Middle East or beyond.

Sincerely,

Garoma B. Wakessa
Director, HRLHA

Contact Addresses:
– 994 Pharmacy Avenue, M1R 2G7 Toronto Ontario, Canada
– Tel:- (416) 492 2506 or (647) 280 7062
– E-Mail:- hrldirector@mail.org
– Web site:- www.humanrightsleague.org

Mediterranean Migrant Stories May 16, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Cara Davies | Sociologist

This article provides photos and personal stories of some of the many migrants risking the Mediterranean crossing to arrive in Europe. This dangerous undertaking would not be attempted if the situation they left behind was not so dire.

View original post

Urgent Concern for Oromo Refugees in Yemen, Libya and South Africa May 16, 2015

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

???????????Oromo refugees in Yemen

Urgent Concern for Oromo Refugees in

Yemen, Libya and South Africa

 

Date: May 14, 2015

Mr. António Guterres,
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt
Switzerland

Re: Urgent Concern for Oromo Refugees in Yemen, Libya and South Africa  

Your Excellency Mr. Guterres,

We, members of the Oromo Community Associations, civic and professional organizations in the United States write this urgent letter to you to bring to your attention and seek your immediate intervention on behalf of the Oromo refugees and asylums seekers currently stranded and exposed to violence in Yemen, Libya and South Africa. We are shocked by the news of barbaric execution of 28 Ethiopian refugees (including many Oromo) by ISIS in Libya on April 19, 2015.  We strongly condemn this inhuman act. We are also distressed by the news of hundreds of refugees who died last month while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to southern Europe. Many Oromo refugees are also caught up in the violent conflict in Yemen and the anti-immigrant violence in South Africa at the same time.

Like many immigrants, these Oromo refugees and asylum seekers have no safe place to return to.  They fled from their homes in Ethiopia due to political imprisonment and brutal killings. They were seeking relief from repression at home and hoping to reach a safe place. But now many of them are caught in another violent situation and continue to suffer without any support. Many have already died in transition or in refugee camps. Our heart is bleeding by the horror that our brothers and sisters are experiencing in Libya, Yemen and South Africa.

At the same time, their immediate relatives, including children and aged parents, are brutalized by a repressive regime in Ethiopia. The Oromo people have been subjected to widespread and systematic human rights violations and killings at home in Ethiopia for several years. Systematic and sustained repressive actions such as targeted killings, abductions and disappearances, unlawful imprisonments and torture against the Oromo people have been widespread for over two decades. The Ethiopian government denies the Oromo and other peoples the freedom of association, press and free expression, although these rights are enshrined in its constitution. Several members of opposition political groups and journalists, professors and students are routinely detained, imprisoned or ‘disappeared’ (killed in hidden detentions places). Oromo leaders who genuinely defend the rights of the community are marginalized and stifled in political decision-making process or intimidated, arbitrarily detained and subjected cruel treatments. Several international organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and International Crisis Group have widely documented and archived numerous cases of such state-sponsored atrocities over the years.

Dear Mr. Guterres,

We, the undersigned, members of the Oromo community associations, civic and professional organization in the United States, respectfully appeal to you for urgent intervention to save the lives of the suffering Oromo refugees in Libya, Yemen and South Africa. To alleviate their suffering and save their lives,

  • We request urgent relief supply to those stranded refugees in Libya and Yemen.
  • Urge the South African government to provide adequate protection to refugees and asylum seekers, and end the anti-immigrant violence immediately.

We would also like to draw your attention to the tragic political repression in Ethiopia that is contributing to the displacement of thousands of young people and their flight to refugee camps. To minimize the displacement of farmers, workers, students and professionals, we call upon you to use the diplomatic and political influence of your office and put adequate pressure on the government of Ethiopia:

  • To stop its intimidation, acts of violence, arrests and killing of innocent people, and respect their basic human and civil rights.
  • To establish an independent and credible commission of inquiry to investigate the violence perpetrated against students over the last year and recommend remedial measures to help the victims and their relatives.
  • To stop harassing and intimidating innocent citizens and end political repression and the violations of human rights.
  • To remove from office and bring to justice corrupt officials who threaten and intimidate the people and contribute to their displacement.
  • To release all journalists, student protestors and all political prisoners unconditionally.

We hope you will act promptly and save the lives of many refugees and asylum seekers, and urge Ethiopian government to change its repressive policy that is driving people from their homes to refugee camps.

 

Respectfully,

  1. The Oromo Community of Atlanta, Georgia
  2. The Oromo Community of Arizona
  3. The Oromo Community of Boston, MA
  4. The Oromo Community of Chicago, Illinois
  5. The Oromo Community of Columbus, Ohio
  6. The Oromo Community of Dallas, Texas
  7. The Oromo Community of Denver, Colorado
  8. The Oromo Community of Huston, Texas
  9. The Oromo Community of Kentucky
  10. The Oromo Community of Los Angeles, California
  11. The Oromo Community of Memphis, Tennessee
  12. The Oromo Community of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota
  13. The Oromo Community Association of Michigan
  14. The Oromo Community of Nashville, Tennessee
  15. The Oromo Community of New Jersey
  16. The Oromo Diaspora Association of New York
  17. The Oromo Community of Northern California
  18. The Oromo Community of Pennsylvania
  19. The Oromo Community of Portland, Oregon
  20. The Oromo Community of San Diego, California
  21. The Oromo Community of Seattle, Washington
  22. The Oromo Community of South Dakota
  23. The Oromo Community of Utah
  24. The Oromo Community Organization of Washington, DC Metropolitan Area

C.C:

E. Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General
The United Nations
New York. NY 10017
E-mail: Inquiries@UN.Org
Fax: 212-963-7055

Urgent Appeal on Behalf of Oromo Refugees Stranded in Yemen May 11, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia.
Tags: , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

OOromo refugees in Yemenoromomnoromomn

The following is a statement from the Oromo Community of Minnesota.

 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
94 rue de Montbrillant
Geneva, Switzerland

Subject: Urgent Appeal on Behalf of Oromo Refugees Stranded in Yemen

The Oromo Community of Minnesota (OCM) is sending an urgent appeal to all governmental, non-governmental and UN humanitarian agencies, on behalf of Oromo refugees stranded in Yemen due to the ongoing fighting in that country.

The Oromo in Minnesota, the largest Oromo community outside East Africa, is following the plight of refugees in Yemen with great trepidation. Our compatriots make the difficult decision to flee from their beloved homeland due to rampant and persistent persecution by successive Ethiopian regimes. Their choices are either to stay in their country and remain silent over the daily injustices or speak up and get sent to prisons for the simple reason of asserting their inalienable rights; dare to oppose violations of human rights and face disappearance, long incarceration without trial, and extra-judicially killings simply because, to use the words of Amnesty international’s recent report, they are Oromo.

These refugees had to cross through harsh environments to get to the Gulf of Aden and then board overcrowded boats. They took these risky steps to escape more serious dangers at home. As the situation in Yemen deteriorates, most of the Yemenis have moved out to the relative safety of the countryside, while other refugees have left to other countries. The only helpless ones still stranded in urban centers are Oromo refugees. We are gravely concerned for their safety.

Our urgent appeal is for the protection of their critically endangered lives based on humanitarian grounds and their evacuation to a safer country. We humbly request that repatriation to Ethiopia not be an option as they are going to face persecution by the Ethiopian government, which is what drove them to make the excruciating choice of becoming refugees in the first place.

Therefore, the Oromo Community of Minnesota is appealing to all humanitarian agencies and all individuals of goodwill to do all things in their means to assist our brothers and sisters caught up in the present tragic situation in Yemen. Our community is ready and on standby to cooperate with humanitarian agencies in their concerted efforts to save the lives of our people.

Sincerely,

The Oromo Community of Minnesota

CC:
– International Organization for Migration
– International Red Cross and Crescent Societies
– American Refugee Committee
– European Union
– US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
– American Red Cross Society
– MN Congressional Delegation
– Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

Related:

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/letter-to-un-from-oromo-community-in-seattle-on-plight-of-refugees-in-yemen-open-letter-to-unhcr-from-the-oromo-community-services-of-seattle-ocss-oromia-africa-un/