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Ethiopia is following the path of failed states in the Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Middle East January 31, 2018

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Ethiopia is following the path of failed states in the Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.

Ethiopia faces a high risk of failure due to continued political and social instability in the country, the Fund for Peace reported in its Fragile States Index Annual Report 2017.

Over the past few years, months, weeks and days, security officers have killed anti-government protesters, resulting in more anti-government protests. The latest point in this vicious cycle occurred on January 20 when Ethiopian security forces shot and killed at least seven protesters. According to news reports, the protesters were celebrating a religious festival. Then they started chanting anti-government slogans and hurling stones at security officers, who responded by firing bullets.

Reports say the weekend clash was followed by a week of more violent clashes, which resulted in the death of at least 20 civilians.

Much of this bloodshed in Ethiopia is based on ethnic differences and territorial disputes between ethnic regions within the nation.

“Limited attention has been given to outbreaks of violence in Ethiopia, as anti-government protests, particularly in the Amhara and Oromia regions, led to a declaration of a [10-month] state of emergency in October 2016,” the Fund for Peace wrote in its report. “The state of emergency was also used as a tool to crack down on political opponents and media.”

Activists say that more than 700 Oromia residents were killed when security officers clashed with people from the Oromo ethnic group during a thanksgiving festival in October 2016. A similar incident happened in October last year when security forces killed about 10 people who were protesting food shortages. In December, military officials reportedly killed 15 protesters in Oromia.

“Ethiopia’s overall Fragile States Index (fsi) score has been incrementally worsening over the past decade, moving from 95.3 in 2007, to a score of 101.1 in [last] year’s 2017 index, with Ethiopia—along with Mexico—being the most-worsened country over [2016],” wrote the Fund for Peace. Foreign Policy wrote on January 11 that “Ethiopia Is Falling Apart.”  Click here to read more….


 

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ONLF and OLF Holds the Ethiopian government and its ruling Coalition Parties as solely responsible for the mass killings of Oromo and Somali peoples December 22, 2017

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ONLF and OLF Holds the Ethiopian government and its ruling Coalition Parties as solely responsible for the mass killings of Oromo and Somali peoples

Joint Statement by Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)

December 21, 2017

The Ethiopian government has been systematically instigating conflict between and within nations in Ethiopia to divert the attention of the stakeholders from its failing rule for the last two years. Although, the Ethiopian government has continually employed divide-and-rule tactics across the country by systematically instigating and promoting civil war among the nations; such war is specifically orchestrated between the Ogaden Somali and the Oromo nations, under the stage management of both Federal government security apparatus, and agents of both regional states.

Such Machiavellian policies of the ruling regime and its regional collaborators has costed both communities, countless lives, and it is affecting not only Oromo people and Somali people in Ethiopia, but also spreading across borders in the Horn of Africa, from Djibouti to Somalia and Kenya. Today, the situation is rapidly deteriorating as hundreds of civilians are massacred. Left unaddressed, the conflict will undoubtedly lead the two fraternal communities to a horrific civil war. Furthermore, if the
Ethiopian regime is left to succeed, such a war inevitably will cost millions of lives with dire consequences for both communities and the communities of wider Horn of Africa.

Cognizant of the fact that, the unfolding tragedies are meticulously masterminded and implemented under the leadership of the regime with the objective of staying in power, employing divide and rule methods as means of governance; the ONLF and OLF holds the Ethiopian regime and the ruling EPRDF party as solely responsible for the crimes committed against both peoples and the wider peoples of Ethiopia. Therefore, we urge the regime to unconditionally and immediately stop such criminal practices.

Furthermore, both fronts request the AU, EU the UN and the international community to urgently start an independent international investigation into the unfolding tragic and continuous massacres of civilians in both sides; that is to date worsening in the entire Somali-Oromia borders including, the other parts of Ethiopia; to be able to bring those responsible for such abhorring crimes to an international tribunal.

The OLF and ONLF call upon the Somali and Oromo people, to stop being used as agents of EPRDF regime to aide it to commit crimes against each other. ONLF and OLF further call upon the traditional elders, civil society, religious leaders, political organisations and intellectuals of both communities to come together and fight this menace against the wellbeing of both nations. ONLF and OLF also call upon all organisations, civil societies and communities in Ethiopia to condemn the current barbarous acts and desist from talking part in it.

OLF and ONLF also call upon media sources to both locally and internationally to expose this heinous crime and avoid fanning the conflict further and report responsibly.
The Oromo, Somalis and the other nations of the Horn of Africa will always remain neighbours; hence those who want to destroy the centuries old fraternal relationships between all communities in the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia are doomed to fail.

Finally, instigating ghastly killings and decapitation of the Civilians in Ogaden Somali and Oromia will never compromise our fraternity and never deviate us from our struggle for Freedom and Self-Determination.

Peace shall prevail!
Issued by The OLF and ONLF on December 21, 2017


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Ethiopian government’s attempt to blame the victims (the Oromo people) unravels TPLF’s war plans on Oromo people


It has now been more than a year since the Ethiopian government, controlled by the Tigrai People Liberation Front (TPLF), clearly and openly declared a war on Oromo people. In addition, the TPLF government has also promoted conflict between the Oromo people and its neighbors, which have lived together in peace, love and mutual respect for decades.

This TPLF orchestrated conflicts has caused a huge crisis on the life, property and overall wellbeing of hundreds-of-thousandth of Oromo people. In fact, the Ethiopian military generals and leaders have planned, trained and deployed the Somali special forces (aka Liyu Police) to carry-out the killings of the Oromo people and destruction of their homes. As a result of this war, hundredthof-thousandth of Oromos were either killed, wounded, their homes and properties were completely destroyed or displaced. While these all heinous acts have been taking place on Oromo farmers, the TPLF government has never had any saying.

The war currently declared on the Oromo people by TPLF and the Somali regional government is a well-researched and planned war for a long time. To make sure that their plans are being executed, first, they disarmed the Oromo farmers and made them defenseless. After they disarmed the Oromo farmers, TPLF ordered their well-trained and armed Liyu police to carry-out the killings, including kids and women, destroying their homes and confiscating their properties.

As one might recall that Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has exposed the secret plan of TPLF to open war on Oromos from Eastern to all the way to the Southern Oromia border, which covers a
distance of over 1000km. Not only OLF exposed TPLF’s plan, it has also warned those who were playing political games to stop their evil act before it resulted in such a tremendous crisis. We have also pre-informed the secret plan of TPLF to the world community as well as to the Ethiopian people.

The main purpose of TPLF’s current war is to weaken the Oromo, stop the Oromo Youth-led movement for freedom and overall the Oromo people’s struggle for Freedom and justice. In addition, this is a strategy to divert the real demand of the people and maintain their power and continue their exploitation. Therefore, TPLF and their agents are the main actors of these conflicts. Nonetheless, TPLF’s strategy of promoting conflict between the regions will neither bring a shortterm nor a long-term peace to the country as well as to the region.

While conflicts were taking place in the Eastern, South Eastern and Southern Oromia for over a year, the Ethiopian government has never taken any action to resolve the issue. Contrary to this, TPLF government has trained, armed and deployed the Somali region special forces to perpetrate havoc on the Oromo farmers along the border. Though the Oromo People living along the border have requested the government to secure their peace and defend them against the perpetrators, the Ethiopian government instead continues to support Liyu police with military equipment as well as logistics. As a result, over 700,000 Oromos were displaced from their lands and their homes were burned down. The Ethiopian government did not offer any support to these displaced people.

Perhaps, the burden was left to the Oromo people themselves. Similarly, when many Oromo were massacred at Calanqo, Daaroo Labuu at a place called Hawwii Guddinaa and in many more places, we haven’t heard any press release or any condemnation of the perpetrators from the Ethiopian government, further confirming that the life of the Oromo people worth nothing for the Ethiopian government.

Contrary to these war crimes taking place on Oromo people, we have observed when the Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariya Dessalegn in his December 17, 2017 press statement, trying to make the Oromo people accountable for the crimes that their military force and Liyu police have done. The Prime minister’s attempt to blame the victims here instead of the killer, Liyu police and military forces, is rather disgraceful. The prime minister would have asked himself, before reading his shameful statement, questions such as who started this war? Where was the war started and why? and try to get the answers.

As head of a state, the prime minister should have rather admitted the crisis and assure the people that the perpetrators will be brought to justice. At the same time, he should have also assured the Oromo people that his government will maintain their peace. But the prime minister’s statement was completely the opposite, trying hard to make the Oromo people accountable for the heinous crime done by the Liyu Police. Such Ethiopian government’s betrayal of the Oromo people has been observed on multiple occasions and thus, we should expect neither any justice nor any support from the Ethiopian government.

Therefore; The Oromo people must understand that it is their right to defend themselves from the war currently declared on them from multiple fronts by TPLF government and its agents. While admiring the generous support that the Oromo mass was giving to its fellow citizens, OLF wants to stress that there is no one for Oromo other than Oromo and nothing is more evident for this than what is currently happening in Oromia. Therefore, such support for our people must be strengthened and continue.

OLF also call upon all Oromo in diaspora to feel the pains and the crisis that the Oromo people are going through in Oromia and work hard to expose the evil acts of TPLF to the international community, and also continue to support our people. It is equally important to make sure that the support that you contribute is in fact reaches the people in need.

The Oromo people and the Somali people have lived together for so long without any issues. However, now the Liyu police and the TPLFgovernment are orchestrating a conflict between these people. We want to renew our call to our brotherly Somali people to let work together to thwart the TPLF’s evil plan.

Lastly, trying to blame the Oromo people, victims of the Liyu police, instead of the perpetrators will never solve the problems. Furthermore, the heinous killings and displacement taking place on Oromo people will not stop by simply blaming on the so-called corruption and illegal trading (contraband) that is taking place in the country. These excuses will never let the Ethiopian government be free from accountability. OLF strongly condemns those who are involved in planning, organizing, and commanding the military and Liyu police forces to open war on Oromo people, those who involved in the killings and displacement of peaceful Oromo and the Somali people. 

In addition, the international community should know that ethnic cleaning is taking place in Oromia by the Ethiopian government and its surrogate Somali National government. Keeping silent, in another term, is giving a license for the Ethiopian government to continue killing and displacement of the Oromo people. Thus, OLF call upon the international community to immediately take appropriate action to stop the ethnic cleaning, establish independent enquiry to the killings and attacks that is taking place right now in Oromia-Ethiopia before it is too late.

Victory to the Oromo People

Oromo Liberation Front

December , 2017


 

UNPO: PAFD Press Release: TPLF/EPRDF’s Regime Must Unconditionally Stop Its Plot to Indirectly Implement Addis-Masterplan in Oromo land July 4, 2017

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PAFD Press Release: TPLF/EPRDF’s Regime Must Unconditionally Stop Its Plot to Indirectly Implement Addis-Masterplan in Oromo land

 

On 30 June 2017, the People’s Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD) issued a press statement denouncing the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)’s violation of the rights of the Oromo in the framework of the expansion of Addis Ababa. The “masterplan” aiming at expanding the capital into surrounding Oromia, thus threatening of eviction a number of Oromo farmers, had sparked the protests that led the ruling party to impose a state of emergency in the country back in October 2016. While the power in place has officially made a U-turn, cancelling the plan after months of peaceful demonstrations in Oromia and beyond, the PAFD today fears that the masterplan will be indirectly implemented, thus overlooking the rights of the region’s inhabitants.

Below is a press statement published by the PAFD:

Article 49 (5) of the current Ethiopian constitution recognizes the Oromia’s special interest in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa). According to these rights, Oromia should have had the said interests honored, decades ago. However, in the past 26 years, TPLF’s regime has repeatedly denied these and the other fundamental rights; instead displacing tens of thousands of Oromo peasants from the environs of Finfinnee and the other neighboring villages and districts, as the capital rapaciously expands. Tens of thousands of Oromo civilians have been murdered by the security and armed forces of the incumbent for demanding these rights to be honored. Tens of thousands become destitute beggars in their own ancestral lands; whereas TPLF and its affiliates exponentially increase their wealth in Oromo land, including in Finfinnee.

Furthermore, between 70 and 80, 000 unlawfully incarcerated Oromo’s noncombatant civilians including prominent politicians, academics, peasants, students of all categories, are to date languishing in various substandard prison cells and discreet torturing chambers. To this date, TPLF works hard to continue with its confiscation of the Oromo land, the current fake, the ‘Oromo interest in Finfinnee’ mantra is, a continuation of its plots to further displace millions.

As we speak, TPLF pretends to be caring for the Oromo nation’s interests in their own soil, despite it has continually brutalized the nation for the last 26 years for demanding these. TPLF’s pretense on legalizing the special interest for Oromo nation in Finfinnee is nothing other than; firstly, a plot to deceive the Oromo nation, and secondly separate them from their fellow non-Oromo country men and women with whom they have peacefully coexisted for centuries, with the said systematically masterminded plots. Thirdly and ultimately, the regime aims at indirectly implementing its Addis-Master plan under whose name, the regime has mass murdered Oromo civilians; for abhorring crimes, no one held into account to date.

Therefore, TPLF demonstrates its inaptness when, it erroneously asserts that, the Oromo nation doesn’t know its malicious plots against the Oromo’s national interest. The fact is that, the level of Oromo national consciousness is beyond TPLF’s comprehension; the reason why it recklessly plans for further bloodshed. From this time onwards, the Oromo nation never allow TPLF’s barbaric regime to continually milk its wealth peacefully. The Oromo is not stagnating with the level of the 18th century mentality of subservience. If TPLF begs the subservience of the Oromo nation and the rest peoples of Ethiopia after this period, it plays fatal game. The time of innocence and subservience is over. We would like to reiterate that, TPLF’s brutal regime must know that, the sons and daughter of the Oromo nation have already shaken its foundation since October 2015 Oromo revolution. This is clear to both friends and foes, including the incumbent. It was the Oromo revolution coupled with lately joined Amhara, that has obliged TPLF’s regime to impose ‘State of Emergency’ since October 2016. It must be crystal clear to TPLF and its Oromo quislings that, the Oromo nation never surrenders its rights. The nation with likeminded nations and peoples of the country fights, to the last drop of blood. This must be unambiguously clear.

We strongly believe that, the owner of the land in Finfinnee and its environs is the Oromo nation, but no one else. TPLF can’t give Oromo’s land to Oromo people. Instead, TPLF must lease the Oromo land from the Oromo people. It can’t be other way around. Therefore, the current maliciously masterminded, fake Oromo ‘special interests’ lies and deceits brings no benefit to the Oromo people. The Oromo nation unequivocally knows this unshakable fact, as do its allies and the entire peoples of Ethiopia. TPLF’s reckless plots, rather will be extremely dangerous, as it is unfolding whilst the regime is ruling the country under State of Emergency.

Finally, disregarding the outcries and bloods of thousands of Oromo people, who have been gunned down in broad day lights by the army and security forces of this very regime, whilst demanding their fundamental rights, the ongoing TPLF’s attempts only exacerbates, already volatile situation. It further angers the Oromo nation and their allies, thus prepare them for further bitter struggle. It must be clear to TPLF’s from Oromia, and the other regions’ looted wealth intoxicated generals and politicians that, the Oromo nation never allow its land to be further graveyards for its sons and daughters whilst enriching TPLF and its affiliates. We strongly believe and reiterate that, the said special interest are better rationed to those who have settled in Oromo land including in Finfinnee, for all including TPLF and its bandit-generals, by the legitimate owners of the land, the Oromo nation. TPLF’s minority regime has no legitimate rights to overtake the land of the Oromo whose population constitute over 40% out of 104 million. The actions and policies of TPLF’s minority regime is indefensible, thus, we wholly condemn it with all possible words, and urge it to uncondti0nally stop it.

PAFD, Executives, June 30, 2017


Click here to read the  PAFD Statement in PDF 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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Ethiopia: The most significant human rights problems were security forces’ use of excessive force and arbitrary arrest in response to the protests, politically motivated prosecutions, and continued restrictions on activities of civil society and NGOs.


Ministriin Dhimma alaa Yunaayitid Isteetis Gabaasa Mirga Dhala Namaa Haaraa Baase

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

 


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

The most significant human rights problems were security forces’ use of excessive force and arbitrary arrest in response to the protests, politically motivated prosecutions, and continued restrictions on activities of civil society and NGOs.

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

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

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

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

There were numerous reports the government and its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings. Security forces used excessive force against protesters throughout the year, killing hundreds. The protests were mainly in Oromia and Amhara regions. A March 14 report from the independent Ethiopian NGO Human Rights Council (HRCO) covering 33 districts in Oromia from November 2015 to February 20 described more than 100 extrajudicial killings. On June 10, the government-established EHRC reported to parliament that it counted 173 deaths in Oromia, including 28 of security force members and officials, and asserted security forces used appropriate force there. The EHRC also asserted Amhara regional state special security had used excessive force against the Kemant community in Amhara Region. The EHRC did not publicly release its report. On August 13, HRW estimated security forces killed more than 500 protesters.

On August 6 and 7, security forces reportedly killed approximately 100 persons in response to demonstrations in major cities and towns across the Oromia and Amhara regions. Political opposition groups reported government forces killed more than 90 protesters in Oromia. The Amhara regional government reported seven deaths; other sources reported more than 50 were killed in Amhara Region.

b. Disappearance

Individuals reportedly arrested by security forces as part of the government’s response to protests disappeared. In a June report on the government’s response to Oromo protests, HRW reported hundreds of persons were “unaccounted for” including children.

Due to poor prison administration, family members reported individuals missing who were in custody of prison officials, but whom the families could not locate.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Although the constitution and law prohibit such practices, there were reports security officials tortured and otherwise abused detainees.

In its June report, HRW reported security force members beat detainees, including minors. Security force members used wooden sticks, rubber truncheons, and whips to do so. According to the report, several students stated they were hung by their wrists and whipped, four said they received electric shocks to their feet, and two had weights tied to their testicles. Several female detainees reported security force members raped them. The report stated, “Most of the individuals interviewed by HRW who were detained for more than one month described treatment that appeared to amount to torture.”

Mistreatment reportedly occurred at Maekelawi, official detention centers, unofficial detention centers, police stations, and in Kilinto federal prison. There were reports police investigators used physical and psychological abuse to extract confessions in Maekelawi, the federal crime investigation center in Addis Ababa that often held high-profile political prisoners. Interrogators reportedly administered beatings and electric shocks to extract information and confessions from detainees. HRW reported abuses, including torture, that occurred at Maekelawi. In a 2013 report, HRW described beatings, stress positions, the hanging of detainees by their wrists from the ceiling, prolonged handcuffing, pouring of water over detainees, verbal threats, and solitary confinement. Authorities continued to restrict access by diplomats and NGOs to Maekelawi, although some NGOs reported limited access.

The United Nations reported that during the year (as of December 20) it received one allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse against Ethiopian peacekeepers for an incident alleged to have occurred during the year. The allegation, against military personnel deployed to the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, was investigated by the Ethiopian government and found to be unsubstantiated.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison and pretrial detention center conditions remained harsh and in some cases life threatening. There were reports that authorities beat and tortured prisoners in detention centers, military facilities, and police stations. Medical attention following beatings reportedly was insufficient in some cases. Prisoners died in fires.

The country had six federal and 120 regional prisons. During the state of emergency, effective since October 8, the government announced detention centers in Awash, Ziway, and Dilla and stated suspects could be detained at various police stations in Addis Ababa. There also were many unofficial detention centers throughout the country, including in Dedessa, Bir Sheleko, Tolay, Hormat, Blate, Tatek, Jijiga, Holeta, and Senkele. As part of the government’s response to the protests, persons were also detained in military facilities, local administration offices, and makeshift government-owned sites.

A local NGO supported model prisons in Adama, Mekelle, Debre Birhan, Durashe, and Awassa; these prisons had significantly better conditions than those in other prisons.

Pretrial detention often occurred in police station detention facilities, where conditions varied widely, but reports indicated poor hygiene and police abuse of detainees.

Physical Conditions: Authorities sometimes incarcerated juveniles with adults. Prison officials generally separated male and female prisoners, although mixing occurred at some facilities.

Severe overcrowding was common, especially in prison sleeping quarters. The government provided approximately nine birr ($0.40) per prisoner per day for food, water, and health care, although this amount varied across the country. Many prisoners supplemented this amount with daily food deliveries from family members or by purchasing food from local vendors. Other reports noted officials prevented some prisoners from receiving food from their families. Medical care was unreliable in federal prisons and almost nonexistent in regional ones. Prisoners had only limited access to potable water. Water shortages caused unhygienic conditions, and most prisons lacked appropriate sanitary facilities. Many prisoners had serious health problems but received little or no treatment. There were reports prison officials denied some prisoners access to needed medical care. In 2012 the Ministry of Health stated nearly 62 percent of inmates in jails across the country experienced mental health problems due to solitary confinement, overcrowding, and lack of adequate health-care facilities and services.

The June HRW report on government response to Oromo protests stated detainees reported overcrowding, inadequate access to food and water, and solitary confinement, including in military camps. The report stated men and women were not held in the same cells in most locations, but children were detained with adults.

Fires in prisons occurred in Gondar in December 2015, in Ambo on February 19, in Debretabor on September 1, and, on September 3, at Kilinto Prison where at least 23 inmates died.

Visitors of political prisoners and other sources reported political prisoners often faced significantly different treatment compared with other prisoners. Allegations included lack of access to proper medication or any medical treatment, lack of access to books or television, and denial of exercise time. In at least one case, when such complaints were openly raised in a court of law, the presiding judges referred the complaints to the prison administration, which had already refused to look into the complaints.

Administration: Due to the lack of transparency regarding incarceration, it was difficult to determine if recordkeeping was adequate. There were reports prisoners mistreated by prison guards did not have access to prison administrations to complain. Prisons did not have ombudspersons to respond to complaints. Legal aid clinics existed in some prisons for the benefit of prisoners, and at the regional level had good working relations with judicial, prison, and other government officials. Prison officials allowed detainees to submit complaints to judicial authorities without censorship. Courts sometimes declined to hear such complaints.

The law permits prisoners to have visitors. According to the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP), a lawyer is permitted to visit only one client per day, and only on Wednesdays and Fridays. Authorities allegedly denied family members access to persons charged with terrorist activity. There were also reports authorities denied the accused visits with lawyers or with representatives of the political parties to which they belonged. In some cases police did not allow pretrial detainees access to visitors, including family members and legal counsel.

After the September 3 fire in the federal prison at Kilinto, attorneys reported visitation for several prisoners was restricted to closely prison visits by family members only. Conversations could not touch on subjects such as trials, politics, and allegations of abuse. This was reported in the prisons in Kilinto, Shewa Robit, and Ziway. These restrictions also applied to political prisoners.

Officials permitted religious observance by prisoners, but this varied by prison, and even by section within a prison, at the discretion of prison management. There were allegations authorities denied detainees adequate locations in which to pray. Prisoners could voice complaints regarding prison conditions or treatment to the presiding judge during their trials.

Independent Monitoring: During the year the International Committee of the Red Cross visited prisons throughout the country as part of its normal activities. The government did not permit access to prisons by other international human rights organizations.

Regional authorities had allowed government and NGO representatives to meet with prisoners without third parties present. By September such allowances were severely curtailed, however. Prison officials reportedly denied access to prisoners for civil society representatives and family members, including in undisclosed locations. The government-established EHRC, which is funded by parliament and subject to parliamentary oversight, monitored federal and regional detention centers and interviewed prison officials and prisoners in response to allegations of widespread human rights abuses. An NGO continued to have access to various prison and detention facilities around the country.

Improvements: The government constructed two new prisons.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention; however, the state of emergency regulations allowed law enforcement to arrest and detain individuals without a court warrant. There were thousands of reports of arbitrary arrest and detention related to protests. Security forces arbitrarily arrested and detained protesters, professors, university students, musicians, businesspersons, health workers, journalists, children, and others. Security forces went door-to-door after protests to conduct arrests and arbitrarily detained opposition party members and supporters, accusing them of inciting violence.

ROLE OF THE POLICE AND SECURITY APPARATUS

The Federal Police report to the Office of the Prime Minister and are subject to parliamentary oversight. The oversight was loose. Each of the nine regions has a state or special police force that reports to regional civilian authorities. Local militias operated across the country in loose and varying coordination with regional and federal police and the military. In some cases these militias functioned as extensions of the ruling party. The military played a significant role in responding to the protests. The constitution provides for the military to perform duties assigned to it under a state of emergency.

Impunity remained a serious problem, including impunity for killings of and violence against protesters. The internal mechanisms used to investigate abuses by federal police were not known. On June 10, the government-established Ethiopian Human Rights Commission reported to parliament on the protests, stating it confirmed 173 deaths in Oromia, including 28 security force members and officials, and asserted security forces used appropriate force there. The EHRC also asserted Amhara regional state special security had used excessive force against the Kemant community in Amhara Region. The commission did not publicly release its report. The government rarely publicly disclosed the results of investigations into abuses by local security forces, such as arbitrary detention and beatings of civilians.

The government continued to support human rights training for police and army personnel. It continued to accept assistance from NGOs and the EHRC to improve and professionalize its human rights training and curriculum by including more material on the constitution and international human rights treaties and conventions.

ARREST PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DETAINEES

The constitution and law require detainees be brought to court and charged within 48 hours of arrest or as soon thereafter as local circumstances and communications permit. Travel time to the court is not included in the 48-hour period. With a warrant, authorities may detain persons suspected of serious offenses for 14 days without charge and for additional and renewable 14-day periods if an investigation continues. The courts allowed security officials to continue investigations for more than 14 days without bringing formal charges against suspects.

Under the ATP police may request to detain persons without charge for 28-day periods, up to a maximum of four months, while an investigation is conducted. The law permits warrantless arrests for various offenses including “flagrant offenses.” These include offenses in which the suspect was found committing the offense, attempting to commit the offense, or just completing the offense. The ATP permits a warrantless arrest when police reasonably suspect a person has committed or is committing a terrorist act.

The law prohibits detention in any facility other than an official detention center; however, local militias and other formal and informal law enforcement entities used an unknown number of unofficial local detention centers. As part of the government’s response to the protests, persons also were detained in military facilities.

A functioning bail system was in place. Bail was not available for persons charged with terrorism, murder, treason, and corruption. In most cases authorities set bail between 500 and 10,000 birr ($22 and $444), which most citizens could not afford. The government provided public defenders for detainees unable to afford private legal counsel but only when cases went to court. There were reports that while some detainees were in pretrial detention, authorities allowed them little or no contact with legal counsel, did not provide full information on their health status, and did not allow family visits. There were reports officials held some prisoners incommunicado for weeks at a time, and civilians were also placed under house arrest for an undisclosed period of time.

The constitution requires authorities under a state of emergency to announce the names of detainees within one month of their arrest. In practice, the names of those detained under the state of emergency were generally announced. The names were not always made available within 30 days and civilians were not always able to locate the rosters of names of those imprisoned.

Arbitrary Arrest: Authorities regularly detained persons arbitrarily, including protesters, journalists, and opposition party members. There were thousands of reports of arbitrary arrest by security forces in response to protests. The March 14 HRCO report listed 84 individuals under “illegal detention,” with four having subsequently been released.

On March 8, authorities detained 20 students from Addis Ababa University and charged them under the criminal code with inciting the public through false rumors, holding an illegal demonstration, and encouraging the public to disobey the ATP. On August 1, the Federal First Instance Court acquitted nine of the students and reduced the charges against the 11 others, whose trial continued at year’s end.

The government continued to arbitrarily arrest journalists and those who express views that oppose the government (see section 2.a.). On March 3, federal police temporarily detained a foreign correspondent, a freelance journalist, and their translator near Awash Town. Police reportedly took their phones and identification cards and then escorted them back to Addis Ababa. On March 4, authorities released them without giving any explanation for their detention.

In December 2015 police arrested and detained former Blue Party spokesperson Yonatan Tesfaye. On May 4, the federal attorney general charged Yonatan with incitement of terrorism through posts under a pseudonym on Facebook, citing article 4 of the ATP. The court hearing the trial changed the charges to article 6, which pertains to encouragement of terrorism and carries a lesser sentence. Yonatan’s trial continued at year’s end.

There were developments in the case of three individuals detained in March 2015 at Bole International Airport while on the way to Nairobi. In mid-November a court reduced the charges against Omot Agwa Okwoy to the criminal code and dropped the charges against Ashinie Astin Titoyk, and Jemal Oumar Hojele, who were both released.

Pretrial Detention: Some detainees reported being held for several years without charge or trial. The percentage of the inmate population in pretrial detention and average length of time held was not available. Lengthy legal procedures, large numbers of detainees, judicial inefficiency, and staffing shortages contributed to frequent trial delays. The state of emergency regulations allow authorities to detain a person without a court order until the end of the state of emergency.

Detainee’s Ability to Challenge Lawfulness of Detention before a Court: The law provides for detainees to be informed of the nature of their arrest. It also provides persons accused or charged of a crime the ability to appeal. During the year there were no reported cases of a court ruling that a person was unlawfully detained. The law does not provide for persons who are unlawfully detained to receive compensation.

Amnesty: In September, in keeping with a long-standing tradition of issuing pardons at the Ethiopian New Year, the government released more than 12,000 prisoners, including prisoners convicted under the ATP such as Abubeker Ahmed Mohamed and other members of the Muslim Arbitration Committee. Of those, 757 were released from federal prisons and more than 11,000 from regional prisons.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for an independent judiciary. Although the civil courts operated with a large degree of independence, criminal courts remained weak, overburdened, and subject to political influence. The constitution recognizes both religious and traditional or customary courts.

TRIAL PROCEDURES

By law accused persons have the right to a fair public trial “without undue delay”; a presumption of innocence; the right to legal counsel of their choice; the right to appeal; the right not to self-incriminate; and the right to present witnesses and evidence in their defense, cross-examine prosecution witnesses, and access government-held evidence. In practice, however, detainees did not always enjoy all these rights, and as a result, defense attorneys were sometimes unprepared to provide an adequate defense. Defendants were not always presumed innocent, able to communicate with an attorney of their choice, provided timely free interpretation as necessary from the moment charged through all appeals, or provided access to government-held evidence. Defendants were often unaware of the specific charges against them until the commencement of their trials. There were reports of detainees being subjected to torture and other abuse while in detention to obtain information or confessions.

The federal Public Defender’s Office provided legal counsel to indigent defendants, but scope and quality of service were inadequate due to the shortage of attorneys, who in some cases may individually handle more than 100 cases and many more individual clients at the same time. Numerous free legal aid clinics, based primarily at universities, provided services. In certain areas of the country, the law allows volunteers, such as law students and professors, to represent clients in court on a pro bono basis.

Many citizens residing in rural areas had little access to formal judicial systems and relied on traditional mechanisms for resolving conflict. By law all parties to a dispute must agree to use a traditional or religious court before such a court may hear a case, and either party may appeal to a regular court at any time. Sharia (Islamic law) courts may hear religious and family cases involving Muslims if both parties agree to use a sharia court before going to trial. Sharia courts received some funding from the government and adjudicated a majority of cases in Somali and Afar regions, which are predominantly Muslim. Other traditional systems of justice, such as councils of elders, continued to function. Some women stated they lacked access to free and fair hearings in the traditional court system because local custom excluded them from participation in councils of elders and because of strong gender discrimination in rural areas.

POLITICAL PRISONERS AND DETAINEES

The number of political prisoners and detainees at years’ end was not known. The government detained journalists and political opposition members.

Police arrested Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of recognized political party the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), and 21 others in November and December 2015. On April 22, the attorney general charged them under the ATP. Authorities reportedly mistreated Bekele and others, including denying adequate medical care and access to visitors, including legal counsel. Their trial continued at year’s end.

Police arrested other leaders and members of political parties during the year, including Merera Gudina on November 30 (see also section 3, Elections and Political Participation, Political Parties and Political Participation).

There were further updates in the cases of 10 persons including opposition party leaders and others whom police detained in 2014. On May 10, the Federal High Court sentenced Zelalem Workagegnehu to five years and four months in prison, Tesfaye Teferi to three years and 11 months, and Solomon Girma to three years and seven months in prison. The other two defendants in the same trial, Yonatan Wolde and Bahiru Degu, were acquitted and released on April 15. Separately, the prosecution appealed the August 2015 Federal High Court acquittal of Habtamu Ayalew, Yeshiwas Assefa, Daniel Shibeshi, Abraha Desta, and Abraham Solomon. On December 2, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s acquittal of Habtamu Ayalew, Yeshiwas Assefa, and Abraham Solomon but remanded to the High Court the cases of Daniel Shibeshi and Abraha Desta.

There were also developments in cases of the Zone 9 blogging collective. In October 2015 the Federal High Court acquitted Natnael Feleke, Atnaf Berahane, Abel Wabella, and Soleyana Shimeles Gebremichael (in absentia) and reduced the charges against Befekadu Hailu. The prosecution’s appeal of the acquittals continued at the Supreme Court, and the Federal High Court continued to hear the trial of Befekadu Hailu. On October 4, Natnael Feleke was arrested again. He was later released on bail and charged with “inciting the public through false rumors” in relation to having made critical remarks regarding the government during a private conversation at a restaurant. On November 11, authorities arrested Befekadu Hailu again. On December 21, he was released without charge.

CIVIL JUDICIAL PROCEDURES AND REMEDIES

The law provides citizens the right to appeal human rights violations in civil court. Citizens did not file any such case during the year.

f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The law generally requires authorities to obtain court-issued search warrants prior to searching private property, however, after the state of emergency, prior court approval for searches was suspended. In an amendment to the state of emergency provisions, security officials had to provide a reason, an official identification card, and be accompanied by someone from the community before conducting a search. The law also recognizes exceptions for “hot pursuit,” in which a suspect enters premises or disposes of items that are the subject of an offense committed on the premises, and when police have reasonable suspicion evidence of a crime punishable by more than three years of imprisonment is concealed on or in the property and that a delay in obtaining a search warrant would allow the evidence to be removed. Moreover, the ATP permits warrantless searches of a person or vehicle when authorized by the director general of the Federal Police or his designee or a police officer has reasonable suspicion a terrorist act may be committed and deems a sudden search necessary.

Opposition political party leaders and journalists reported suspicions of telephone tapping, other electronic eavesdropping, and surveillance, and they alleged government agents attempted to lure them into illegal acts by calling and pretending to be representatives of groups–designated by parliament as terrorist organizations–interested in making financial donations.

The government reportedly used a widespread system of paid informants to report on the activities of particular individuals. Opposition members, journalists, and athletes reported ruling party operatives and militia members made intimidating and unwelcome visits to their homes and offices and intimidated family members. These included entry into and searches of homes without a warrant.

There were reports authorities dismissed opposition members from their jobs and that those not affiliated with the EPRDF sometimes had trouble receiving the “support letters” from their kebeles (neighborhoods or wards) necessary to get employment (see section 3, Political Parties and Political Participation).

Security forces continued to detain family members of persons sought for questioning by the government.

The national and regional governments continued to implement the policy of Accelerated Development (informally known as “villagization”) plans in the Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’, Oromia, and Somali regions, which might include resettlement. These plans involved relocation by regional governments of scattered rural populations from arid or semiarid lands vulnerable to recurring droughts into designated communities closer to water, services, and infrastructure. The stated purposes of accelerated development were to improve the provision of government services (health care, education, and clean water), protect vulnerable communities from natural disasters and attacks, and change environmentally destructive patterns of shifting cultivation. Some observers alleged the purpose was to enable large-scale leasing of land for commercial agriculture. The government described the program as strictly voluntary. The government had scheduled to conclude the program in 2015, but decided to continue it.

International donors reported assessments from more than 18 visits to villagization sites since 2011 did not corroborate allegations of systematic, grave human rights violations. They found delays in establishing promised infrastructure and inadequate compensation. Communities and families appeared to have agreed to move based on assurances from authorities of food aid, health and education services, and land; some communities were moved before adequate basic services such as water pumps and shelter were in place in the new locations. Follow-up visits suggested the government had done little to improve consultations with affected communities, and communities were not fully informed when consenting to cede their rights for land projects.

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:Share

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, however the state of emergency regulations included restrictions on these rights. Authorities harassed, arrested, detained, charged, and prosecuted journalists and others perceived as critical of the government, creating an environment of self-censorship.

Freedom of Speech and Expression: The state of emergency regulations contained several prohibitions that restricted freedom of speech and expression and resulted in detention or disappearance of numerous independent voices. The regulations prohibited any covert or overt agitation and communication that could incite violence and unrest (interpreted to include the popular Oromo protest sign of raising crossed arms over one’s head), any communication with designated terrorist groups or antipeace forces, storing and disseminating text, storing and promoting emblems of terrorist groups, incitement in sermons and teaching in religious institutions to induce fear or incite conflict, speech that could incite attacks based on identity or ethnicity, exchange of information by any individual with a foreign government in a manner that undermines national sovereignty and security, and any political parties from briefing journalists in a manner that is anticonstitutional and undermines sovereignty and security. Individuals self-censored as a result of these prohibitions.

Authorities arrested, detained, and harassed persons for criticizing the government. NGOs reported cases of torture of individuals critical of the government. The government attempted to impede criticism through intimidation, including continued detention of journalists and those who express critical opinions online and opposition activists, and monitoring of and interference in activities of political opposition groups. Some feared authorities would retaliate against them for discussing security force abuses. Authorities arrested and detained persons who made statements publicly or privately deemed critical of the government under a provision of the law pertaining to inciting the public through false rumors.

Press and Media Freedoms: The state of emergency prohibited listening to, watching, or reporting information from Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) and Oromo Media Network.

Independent journalists reported problems using government printing presses. Access to private printing presses was scarce to nonexistent.

In Addis Ababa, nine independent newspapers and magazines had a combined weekly circulation of 70,711 copies. Four independent monthly and biweekly magazines published in Amharic and English had a combined circulation of 21,500 copies. State-run newspapers had a combined circulation of 85,500 copies. Most newspapers were printed on a weekly or biweekly basis, except state-owned Amharic and English dailies and the privately run Daily Monitor. Addis Standard magazine temporarily suspended the print edition of its publication soon after the state of emergency was declared.

Government-controlled media closely reflected the views of the government and ruling EPRDF. The government controlled the only television station that broadcast nationally, which, along with radio, was the primary source of news for much of the population. Six private FM radio stations broadcast in the capital, one private radio station broadcast in the northern Tigray Region, and at least 19 community radio stations broadcast in the regions. State-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation had the largest broadcast range in the country, followed by Fana Radio, which was reportedly affiliated with the ruling party.

The government periodically jammed foreign broadcasts. The law prohibits political and religious organizations and foreigners from owning broadcast stations.

Violence and Harassment: The government continued to arrest, harass, and prosecute journalists. As of mid-December, at least 12 journalists remained in detention.

In December 2015 police detained Fikadu Mirkana, who worked as news anchor and senior reporter for Oromia State TV. He was released in April.

In December 2015 authorities detained journalist Getachew Shiferaw, editor in chief of a web-based opposition-affiliated newspaper. On May 19, authorities charged him with terrorism and his trial continued at year’s end.

The trial of two journalists affiliated with Radio Bilal whom authorities arrested in February 2015 and charged with terrorism continued at the Federal High Court.

Censorship or Content Restrictions: Government harassment caused journalists to avoid reporting on sensitive topics. Many private newspapers reported informal editorial control by the government through article placement requests and calls from government officials concerning articles perceived as critical of the government. Private sector and government journalists routinely practiced self-censorship. Several journalists, both local and foreign, reported an increase in self-censorship, especially after the October 8 implementation of the state of emergency. The government reportedly pressured advertisers not to advertise in publications that were critical of the government.

National Security: The government used the ATP to suppress criticism. Journalists feared covering five groups designated by parliament as terrorist organizations in 2011 (Ginbot 7, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the OLF, al-Qaida, and al-Shabaab), citing ambiguity on whether reporting on these groups might be punishable under the law.

INTERNET FREEDOM

The government restricted and disrupted access to the internet. It periodically blocked social media sites and internet access in areas of Oromia and Amhara regions, especially during protests. At times the government blocked access throughout the country. There were credible reports the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority. State-owned Ethio Telecom was the only internet service provider in the country.

On June 7, parliament passed the Computer Crime Proclamation. There were concerns its provisions were overly broad and could restrict freedom of speech and expression. This included, for example, a provision that provides for imprisonment for disseminating through a computer system any written, video, audio or any other picture that incites violence, chaos, or conflict among people, and another provision that provides for a prison sentence for intimidation.

In July officials blocked social media sites for days across the country until the national school examination concluded. The government stated blocking these sites was necessary to provide for an “orderly exam process.” In May the national exams were reportedly leaked on social media, causing the government to postpone the exams.

On August 6 and 7, the government imposed a nationwide internet blackout.

The state of emergency regulations included prohibited agitation and communication to incite violence and unrest through the internet, text messaging, and social media.

Starting in early October, the government shut down mobile access to the internet in Addis Ababa, most parts of Oromia Region, and other areas. Wired access to several social media and communication sites were also denied. These included social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber, news websites such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, and many other sites, including foreign university homepages and online shopping sites such as Amazon.

The government periodically and increasingly restricted access to certain content on the internet and blocked numerous websites, including blogs, opposition websites, and websites of Ginbot 7, the OLF, and the ONLF, and news sites such as al-Jazeera, the BBC, and RealClearPolitics. Several news blogs and websites run by opposition diaspora groups were not accessible. These included Ethiopian Review, Nazret, CyberEthiopia, Quatero Amharic Magazine, and the Ethiopian Media Forum.

Authorities monitored telephone calls, text messages, and e-mails. Authorities took steps to block access to Virtual Private Network providers that let users circumvent government screening of internet browsing and e-mail. There were reports such surveillance resulted in arrests. According to the International Telecommunication Union, 11.6 percent of the population used the internet in 2015.

In March 2015 Citizen Lab, a Canadian research center at the University of Toronto, reported on attempts in 2014 to infect the computers of U.S.-based employees of ESAT with spyware. ESAT is a diaspora-based television and radio station. According to Citizen Lab, its research suggested involvement of the government and that the attacker may have been the Ethiopian Information and Network Security Agency.

ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND CULTURAL EVENTS

The government restricted academic freedom, including student enrollment, teachers’ appointments, and curricula. Authorities frequently restricted speech, expression, and assembly on university and high school campuses. The state of emergency regulations prohibited strikes in educational institutions and closing them or damaging property, gives authorities the power to order educational institutions to take measures against any student or staff member who violates the prohibitions in the regulations, and provides law enforcement the authority to enter educational institutions and take measures to control strikes or protests.

The ruling party, via the Ministry of Education, continued to favor students loyal to the party in assignment to postgraduate programs. Some university staff members commented that students who joined the party received priority for employment in all fields after graduation.

Authorities limited teachers’ ability to deviate from official lesson plans. Numerous anecdotal reports suggested non-EPRDF members were more likely to be transferred to undesirable posts and bypassed for promotions. There were reports of teachers not affiliated with the EPRDF being summarily dismissed for failure to attend party meetings. There continued to be a lack of transparency in academic staffing decisions, with numerous complaints from academics alleging bias based on party membership, ethnicity, or religion.

A separate Ministry of Education directive prohibits private universities from offering degree programs in law and teacher education. The directive also requires public universities to align their curriculum with the ministry’s policy of a 70/30 ratio between science and social science academic programs. As a result the number of students studying social sciences and the humanities at public institutions continued to decrease; private universities focused heavily on the social sciences.

Reports indicated a pattern of surveillance and arbitrary arrests of Oromo university students based on suspicion of their holding dissenting opinions or participation in peaceful demonstrations. According to reports there was an intense buildup of security forces (uniformed and plainclothes) embedded on university campuses preceding student protests, especially in Oromia, and in response to student demonstrations.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY

The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly; the state of emergency regulations, however, prohibited demonstrations and town hall meetings that did not have approval from the command post, the entity that oversees the state of emergency. The government did not respect freedom of assembly and killed, injured, detained, and arrested numerous protesters throughout the year (see also sections 1.a., 1.b., 1.c., 1.d., and 1.e.). The majority of protests were in Oromia and Amhara regions. On August 13, HRW reported an estimate that security forces killed more than 500 protesters since November 2015. On January 21 and October 10, UN experts called on the government to end the “crackdown on peaceful protests.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights requested access to the regions, which the government did not provide. On November 9, Amnesty international estimated at least 800 had been killed.

On August 6 and 7, security forces reportedly killed approximately 100 persons in response to simultaneous demonstrations in major cities and towns across Oromia and Amhara regions (see section 1.a).

On October 2, dozens were reportedly killed at a religious festival in Bishoftu. Security forces’ response to agitation in the crowd, including the use of teargas and firing into the air, reportedly led to a stampede that left many dead. On October 7, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for an investigation and urged the government allow independent observers access to Oromia and Amhara regions. On October 10, a group of UN human rights experts highlighted the October 2 events and urged the government to allow an international commission of inquiry to investigate the protests and violence used against protesters since November 2015. The government-established EHRC conducted an investigation into the incident. The results of that investigation were unknown.

Prior to the state of emergency, organizers of public meetings of more than two persons or demonstrations had to notify the government 48 hours in advance and obtain a permit. Authorities could not refuse to grant a permit but could require the event be held at a different time or place for reasons of public safety or freedom of movement. If authorities determined an event should be held at another time or place, the law required organizers be notified in writing within 12 hours of the time of submission of their request. After the state of emergency, prior-issued permits were deemed invalid.

Prior to the state of emergency, the government denied some requests by opposition political parties to hold protests but approved others. Opposition party organizers alleged government interference in most cases, and authorities required several of the protests be moved to different dates or locations from those the organizers requested. Protest organizers alleged the government’s claims of needing to move the protests based on public safety concerns were not credible. Local government officials, almost all of whom were affiliated with the EPRDF, controlled access to municipal halls, and there were many complaints from opposition parties that local officials denied or otherwise obstructed the scheduling of opposition parties’ use of halls for lawful political rallies. There were numerous credible reports owners of hotels and other large facilities cited internal rules forbidding political parties from utilizing their spaces for gatherings. Regional governments, including the Addis Ababa regional administration, were reluctant to grant permits or provide security for large meetings. After the state of emergency, the prohibition on unauthorized demonstrations or town hall meetings limited the organization of meetings, training sessions, and other gatherings. For example, members of at least one opposition political party reported they were prevented from having a four-person meeting.

FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION

Although the law provides for freedom of association and the right to engage in unrestricted peaceful political activity, the government severely limited this right (see sections 3 and 5).

The state of emergency and the accompanying regulations restricted the ability of organizations to operate (see also section 5). The prohibitions relating to communication and acts that undermine tolerance and unity resulted in self-censorship of reports and public statements. The prohibition on unauthorized town hall meetings limited the organization of meetings, training sessions, and other gatherings. The prohibition on exchanging information or contact with a foreign government or NGOs in a manner that undermines national sovereignty and security reduced communication between local organizations and international organizations and others.

The state of emergency regulations also prohibited any political party “from briefing local or foreign journalists in a manner that is anticonstitutional and undermining sovereignty and security.”

The Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO) law bans anonymous donations to NGOs. All potential donors were therefore aware their names would be public knowledge. The same was true concerning all donations made to political parties.

A 2012 report by the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association stated, “The enforcement of these (the CSO law) provisions has a devastating impact on individuals’ ability to form and operate associations effectively.”

International NGOs seeking to operate in the country had to submit an application via the country’s embassies abroad, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs then submitted to the Charities and Societies Agency for approval.

c. Freedom of Religion

See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at www.state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/.

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

Although the law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, the state of emergency regulations restricted internal movement. The government also restricted freedom of internal movement and foreign travel.

The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern. At times authorities or armed groups limited the ability of humanitarian organizations to operate in areas of insecurity, such as on the country’s borders.

In-country Movement: The state of emergency regulations prohibited diplomats from travelling more than 25 miles outside of Addis Ababa without prior notification to and approval from the command post. The government lifted this restriction in early November. Security concerns forced a temporary halt of deliveries of food and other humanitarian assistance in limited areas in Amhara and Oromia regions.

Foreign Travel: A 2013 ban on unskilled workers travelling to the Middle East for employment continued. The ban did not affect citizens travelling for investment or other business reasons. The government stated it issued the ban to prevent harassment, intimidation, and trauma suffered by those working abroad, particularly in the Middle East, as domestic employees.

There were several reports of authorities restricting foreign travel, similar to the following case: On March 23, National Intelligence and Security Service officials at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa prevented Merera Gudina, chairman of the OFC, from departing the country. On June 15, Merera was permitted to leave. Authorities arrested him on December 1.

Authorities restricted travel of persons in the Zone 9 case. For example, authorities confiscated blogger Zelalem Kibret’s passport in November 2015 and prevented him from boarding his international flight. Airport security officials said he could not leave the country because he had previously been arrested. Authorities returned Zelalem’s passport on June 1, and he was later permitted to travel abroad.

Exile: As in past years, citizens including journalists and others remained abroad in self-imposed exile due to fear of government retribution should they return.

INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), there were 684,064 IDPs between August 2015 and August, including protracted and new cases, many of them due to the impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon. This was an increase compared with previous years.

Of the IDPs, 397,296 were displaced by flooding and conflict while 188,244 were displaced due to the effects of the drought related to El Nino. Another 33,300 were displaced due to resource-based competition. Most of those affected by El Nino returned to their places of origin.

IOM estimated 657, 224 individuals were considered “protracted IDPs,” meaning they lacked durable solutions such as local integration, internal resettlement, or return to home. The reasons for protracted displacements included interclan and cross-border conflict, natural disasters, political or community considerations in IDP resettlements, and lack of resettlement resources. Of these IDPs, 283,092 resided in Somali Region; 148,482 in Afar; 144,295 in Oromia; 47,950 in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region; 13,245 in Amhara; 2,290 in Dire Dawa; and 2,055 in Harar. An additional 15,815 individuals displaced by flooding were still on the move and thus could not be attributed to any one region.

IOM reported in August 41,316 individuals or 7,844 households were internally displaced in Amhara, Oromia, and Somali regions, due to conflict and flooding. From August 24 through mid-September, approximately 8,000 individuals moved from Amhara Region to northwestern Tigray Region. Many of the IDPs cited as the reason for their departure recent conflicts in the region and a generalized sense they could be targeted because of their ethnicity (Tigrayan). The federal government allocated six million birr ($266,361) to Tigray Region for the IDP response. The funds were distributed among Hemera, Axum, Mekele, and Shire, which were the towns with the greatest IDP influx. The largest volume of arrivals was in Shire, which received 2.6 million birr ($115,423) of the region’s total. The federal government established a committee led by the Tigray Regional Agriculture Department to seek permanent integration options for the IDPs.

The IOM estimated an April 15 attack in Gambella Region by Murle ethnic group from South Sudan displaced more than 21,000 individuals (see section 6, Other Societal Violence or Discrimination).

The government, through the Disaster Risk Management Food Security Sector (DRMFSS), continued to play an active role in delivering humanitarian assistance to IDPs. Federal and local DRMFSS officials coordinated with IOM and its partners in monitoring IDP populations.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

Access to Asylum: The law provides for granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. The state of emergency regulations prohibited entering the country without a visa.

According to UNHCR, the country hosted 743,732 refugees as of August. The majority of refugees were from South Sudan (281,612) and Somalia (254,277), with others from Eritrea (161,615), Sudan (39,317), and other countries. There were 1,554 registered Yemeni asylum seekers.

UNHCR, the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, and humanitarian agencies continued to care for Sudanese arrivals fleeing from conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile State, averaging 1,500 new arrivals per month, according to UNHCR. The government also extended support to asylum seekers from South Sudan, mostly arriving from Upper Nile and Unity states. Persistent conflict and food insecurity prompted the flow of South Sudanese refugees into the country; there were an estimated 2,712 arrivals during August.

Eritrean asylum seekers continued to arrive. Approximately 23 percent were unaccompanied minors. Many who arrived regularly departed for secondary migration through Egypt and Sudan to go to Europe and other final destinations.

Freedom of movement: The state of emergency regulations prohibited leaving refugee camps without permission from an authorized body. The government continued a policy that allowed some Eritrean refugees to live outside a camp. The government gave such permission primarily for persons to attend higher-education institutions, undergo medical treatment, or avoid security threats at the camps.

Employment: The government does not grant refugees work permits.

Durable Solutions: The government welcomed refugees to settle in the country but did not offer a path to citizenship or provide integration. The government supported a policy allowing some refugees to live outside camps and engage in informal livelihoods. Refugee students who passed the required tests could attend university with fees paid by the government and UNHCR.

Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political ProcessShare

The constitution and law provide citizens the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage. The ruling party’s electoral advantages, however, limited this ability.

Elections and Political Participation

Recent Elections: In May 2015 the country held national elections for the House of People’s Representatives, the country’s parliamentary body. In October 2015 parliament re-elected Hailemariam Desalegn prime minister.

In the May 2015 national parliamentary elections, the EPRDF and affiliated parties won all 547 seats, giving the party a fifth consecutive five-year term. Government restrictions severely limited independent observation of the vote. The African Union was the sole international organization permitted to observe the elections. Opposition party observers accused local police of interference, harassment, and extrajudicial detention. Independent journalists reported little trouble covering the election, including reports from polling stations. Some independent journalists reported receiving their observation credentials the day before the election, after having submitted proper and timely applications. Six rounds of broadcast debates preceded the elections, and for the most part they were broadcast in full and only slightly edited. The debates included all major political parties. Several laws, regulations, and procedures implemented since the 2005 national elections created a clear advantage for the EPRDF throughout the electoral process. In addition the “first past the post” provision, or 50 percent plus one vote required to win a seat in parliament, as stipulated in the constitution, contributed to EPRDF’s advantage in the electoral process. There were reports of unfair government tactics, including intimidation of opposition candidates and supporters. Various reports confirmed at least six election-related deaths during the period before and immediately following the elections. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) is politically dependent on the prime minister, and there is no opportunity for nonruling political parties to have a say in its decisions concerning party registration and candidate qualification. NEBE has sole responsibility for voter education and broadcast radio segments and distributed manuals on voter education in many local languages.

In a preliminary election assessment, the African Union called the elections “calm, peaceful, and credible” and applauded the government for its registration efforts. It raised concerns, however, regarding the legal framework underpinning the election. NEBE registered more than 35 million voters, and did not report any incidents of unfair voter registration practices.

Political Parties and Political Participation: The government, controlled by the EPRDF, unduly restricted political parties and members of certain ethnic groups, particularly the Amhara and Oromo, who stated they lacked genuine political representation at the federal level. The state of emergency regulations restricted political parties’ ability to operate. For example, the regulations prohibit any political party “from briefing local or foreign journalists in a manner that is anticonstitutional and undermining sovereignty and security.”

Authorities arrested and prosecuted political opposition members including under allegations of terrorism (see section 1.e., Political Prisoners). Government officials alleged many members of legitimate Oromo opposition parties were secretly OLF members and, more broadly, that members of many opposition parties had ties to Ginbot 7.

The OFC reported that authorities have kept OFC general secretary Bekele Nega under house arrest since December 30, 2015. Security personnel reportedly told him not to leave his house in Addis Ababa, use his phone, or give any interviews to media. Authorities also arrested other OFC leaders and members including Merera Gudina and Bekele Gerba (see section 1.e., Denial of Fair Public Trial, Political Prisoners and Detainees).

On October 11, authorities arrested Blen Mesfin and three other members of the registered Blue (Semayawi) Party. Blen Mesfin was charged with “inciting the public through false rumors.” Authorities ordered her release on bail. On the day scheduled for her release, authorities rearrested and detained her without charge. She was released on December 21, although it was unclear whether she still faced charges.

Constituent parties of the EPRDF conferred advantages upon their members; the parties directly owned many businesses and were broadly perceived to award jobs and business contracts to loyal supporters. Several opposition parties reported difficulty in renting homes or buildings in which to open offices, citing visits by EPRDF members to the property owners to persuade or threaten them not to rent property to these parties. There were reports authorities terminated the employment of teachers and other government workers who belonged to opposition political parties. According to Oromo opposition groups, the Oromia regional government continued to threaten to dismiss opposition party members, particularly teachers, from their jobs. There were reports unemployed youths not affiliated with the ruling coalition sometimes had trouble receiving the “support letters” from their wards necessary to get jobs.

Registered political parties must receive permission from regional governments to open and occupy local offices. Opposition parties reported difficulty acquiring the required permissions for regional offices, adversely affecting their ability to organize and campaign. Laws requiring parties to report “public meetings” and obtain permission for public rallies were also used to inhibit opposition activities.

Participation of Women and Minorities: No laws prevented women or minorities from voting or participating in political life, although highly patriarchal customs in some regions limited female participation in political life. Women were significantly underrepresented in both elected and appointed positions. As of the October change in cabinet assignments, women held three of the 22 federal government ministerial positions, including one of three deputy prime minister positions, and also held 212 of 547 seats in the national parliament. The Tigray Regional Council included the highest proportion of women nationwide, at 50 percent (76 of the 152 seats).

The government’s policy of ethnic federalism led to the creation of individual constituencies intended to provide for representation of all major ethnic groups in the House of Federation (one of the two chambers of parliament). There were more than 80 ethnic groups, and small groups lacked representation in the other chamber of parliament, the House of People’s Representatives.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in GovernmentShare

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials. Despite the government’s prosecution of some officials for corruption, many officials continued to engage in corrupt practices with impunity. Although the government cited fighting corruption as a high priority in its public statements, there were perceptions corruption increased in the government.

Corruption: Corruption, especially the solicitation of bribes, including police and judicial corruption, remained problems. Some government officials were thought to manipulate the land allocation process, and state- and party-owned businesses received preferential access to land leases and credit. The federal attorney general was mandated to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.

The government attributed some of the unrest in Oromia to corruption. For example, on June 9, authorities detained Zelalem Jemaneh, former head of the Oromia Regional State Agriculture Bureau with the rank of deputy chief administrator, on allegations of corruption.

The trial of Wondimu Biratu Kena’a, former head of the Revenues Bureau of Oromia Region who was arrested in August 2015 on allegations of grand corruption and embezzlement, continued at year’s end.

On May 17, the High Court sentenced former intelligence deputy chief Woldeselassie Woldemichael, who authorities arrested in 2013, to 10 years in prison and a fine of 50,000 birr ($2,220) after convicting him of abuse of power and generation of wealth from unknown sources.

Financial Disclosure: The law requires all government officials and employees to register their wealth and personal property. The law includes financial and criminal sanctions for noncompliance. The president and prime minister registered their assets. The Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) reported it registered the assets of 26,584 appointees, officials, and employees between July 2015 and April. The commission also carried out reregistration of previously registered assets in the stated period. As of November 2015, 95,000 officials had registered their assets as required by law.

The FEACC held financial disclosure records. By law any person who seeks access to these records may make a request in writing; access to information on family assets may be restricted unless the FEACC deems the disclosure necessary.

Public Access to Information: The law provides for public access to government information, but access was largely restricted. The law includes a narrow list of exceptions outlining the grounds for nondisclosure. Responses generally must be made within 30 days of a written request, and fees may not exceed the actual cost of responding to the request. The law includes mechanisms for punishing officials for noncompliance, as well as appeal mechanisms for review of disclosure denials. Information on the number of disclosures or denials during the year was not available.

The government publishes laws and regulations in its national gazette, known as the Federal Negarit Gazeta, prior to their taking effect. The Government Communications Affairs Office managed contacts between the government, the press, and the public; the private press reported the government rarely responded to its queries.

Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human RightsShare

A few domestic human rights groups operated but with significant government restrictions. The government was generally distrustful and wary of domestic and international human rights groups and observers. State-controlled media were critical of international human rights groups such as HRW.

The CSO law prohibits charities, societies, and associations (NGOs or CSOs) that receive more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources from engaging in activities that advance human and democratic rights or promote equality of nations, nationalities, peoples, genders, and religions; the rights of children and persons with disabilities; conflict resolution or reconciliation; or the efficiency of justice and law enforcement services. The law severely curtails civil society’s ability to raise questions of good governance, human rights, corruption, and transparency and forced many local and international NGOs working on those issues to either cease advocacy, or reregister and focus on activities other than rights-based advocacy.

Some human rights defender organizations continued to register either as local charities, meaning they could not raise more than 10 percent of their funds from foreign donors but could act in the specified areas, or as resident charities, which allowed foreign donations above 10 percent but prohibited advocacy activities in those areas.

The state of emergency and the accompanying regulations restricted the ability of organizations to operate. The prohibitions relating to communication and acts that undermine tolerance and unity resulted in self-censorship of reports and public statements. The prohibition on unauthorized town hall meetings limited the organization of meetings, training sessions, and other gatherings. The prohibition on exchanging information or contact with a foreign government or NGOs in a manner that undermines national sovereignty and security reduced communication between local organizations and international organizations and others. Curfews in certain areas impeded human rights investigations. The obligation of all organizations to give information when asked by law enforcement raised concerns regarding confidentiality of information.

In July, August, and October, authorities arrested seven members of HRCO. On October 23, authorities dispersed a fundraising event celebrating HRCO’s 25th anniversary. Authorities claimed the organization did not seek additional approval from the command post for the gathering, though it had sought and received approval for the event prior to the start of the state of emergency. As of November 27, at least three members of HRCO remained in detention.

The government denied most NGOs access to federal prisons, police stations, and undisclosed places of detention. The government permitted a local NGO that has an exemption enabling it to raise unlimited funds from foreign sources and to engage in human rights advocacy to visit prisoners. Some NGOs played a positive role in improving prisoners’ chances for clemency.

Authorities limited access of human rights organizations, media, humanitarian agencies, and diplomatic missions in certain areas.

The government continued to lack a clear policy on NGO access to sensitive areas, leading regional government officials and military officials frequently to refer requests for NGO access to the federal government. Officials required journalists to register before entering certain regions or denied access. There were reports of regional police or local militias blocking NGO access to particular locations on particular days, citing security concerns.

The United Nations or Other International Bodies: The government did not cooperate with requests for investigations from the OHCHR or UN experts. In August the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the government to allow independent observers into Oromia and Amhara regions. The commissioner reportedly said allegations of excessive use of force across the two regions must be investigated. The government dismissed the request through its spokesperson, who, on August 11, told an international media the United Nations was entitled to its opinion, but the government was responsible for the safety of its own citizens. The spokesperson stated the government would launch its own investigation. On October 7, following the deaths at the religious festival in Bishoftu, the OHCHR reiterated the request the government allow independent observers access to Oromia and Amhara regions. On October 10, a group of UN human rights experts urged the government to allow an international commission of inquiry to investigate.

Requests from the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment to visit the country remained unanswered.

Government Human Rights Bodies: The EHRC reportedly investigated hundreds of human rights complaints, organized field investigations, conducted prison visits to provide recommendations on improving prison conditions, and produced annual and thematic reports. On June 10, the EHRC reported to parliament that it counted 173 deaths in Oromia, including 28 of security force members and officials, and asserted security forces used appropriate there. The EHRC also asserted Amhara regional state special security had used excessive force against the Kemant community in Amhara Region. The commission did not publicly release its report. The EHRC also investigated the September 3 fire in Kilinto prison. The commission operated 112 legal aid centers in collaboration with 22 universities and two civil society organizations, the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association, and the Ethiopian Christian Lawyers Fellowship.

The Office of the Ombudsman has authority to investigate complaints of administrative mismanagement by executive branch offices. From July 2015 to June, the office received 2,849 complaints; the ombudsman opened investigations into 1,231 (including 209 cases from the previous year) and referred 1,827 cases outside its mandate to other offices. Of the 1,231 cases the office investigated, it reported resolving 1,010 (82 percent); 221 remained pending. The majority of complaints investigated dealt with land, administration of public service, delay in service delivery, unjust decisions, social security, and access to information.

Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in PersonsShare

Women

Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape and provides for penalties of five to 20 years’ imprisonment, depending on the severity of the case. The law does not expressly address spousal rape. The government did not fully enforce the law, partially due to widespread underreporting. Recent statistics on the number of abusers prosecuted, convicted, or punished were not available.

Domestic violence is illegal, but government enforcement of laws was inconsistent. Domestic violence, including spousal abuse, was a pervasive social problem. Depending on the severity of damage inflicted, penalties range from small fines to up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Although women had recourse to police and the courts, societal norms and limited infrastructure prevented many women from seeking legal redress, particularly in rural areas. The government prosecuted offenders on a limited scale.

Domestic violence and rape cases often were delayed significantly and given low priority. In the context of gender-based violence, significant gender gaps in the justice system remained, due to poor documentation and inadequate investigation. Gender-based violence against women and girls was underreported due to cultural acceptance, shame, fear of reprisal, or a victim’s ignorance of legal protections.

“Child friendly” benches hear cases involving violence against children and women. Police officers were required to receive domestic violence training from domestic NGOs and the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs. There was a commissioner for women and children’s affairs on the EHRC.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C is illegal, but the government did not actively enforce this prohibition or punish those who practiced it. According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 74 percent of women and girls had undergone FGM/C. The penal code criminalizes the practice of clitoridectomy, with sentences of imprisonment of at least three months or a fine of at least 500 birr ($22). Infibulation of the genitals is punishable by five to 10 years’ imprisonment. No criminal charges, however, have ever been filed for FGM/C.

The prevalence of FGM/C was reportedly declining. UNICEF cited a 2011 Welfare Monitoring Survey as finding 23 percent of girls between birth and age 14 had undergone FGM/C. Although statistics on FGM/C varied, one report from 2013 cited Afar, Somali, and Dire Dawa regions as having the highest prevalence of FGM/C. It was less common in urban areas.

The age at which FGM/C is performed depends on the ethnic group, type of FGM/C performed, and region. In the north FGM/C tended to be performed immediately after birth; in the south, where FGM/C is more closely associated with marriage, it was performed later. Girls typically had clitoridectomies performed on them seven days after birth (consisting of an excision of the clitoris, often with partial labial excision) and infibulation (the most extreme and dangerous form of FGM/C) at the onset of puberty. The government’s strategy was to discourage the practice through education in public schools, the Health Extension Program, and broader mass media campaigns rather than to prosecute offenders. International bilateral donors and private organizations were active in community education efforts to reduce the prevalence of FGM/C, following the government’s lead of sensitization rather than legal enforcement.

Other Harmful Traditional Practices: Marriage by abduction is illegal, although it continued in some regions despite the government’s attempts to combat the practice. Forced sexual relationships accompanied most marriages by abduction, and women often experienced physical abuse during the abduction. Abductions led to conflicts among families, communities, and ethnic groups. In cases of abduction, the perpetrator did not face punishment if the victim agreed to marry the perpetrator.

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment was widespread. The penal code prescribes penalties of 18 to 24 months’ imprisonment, but authorities generally did not enforce harassment laws.

Reproductive Rights: Individuals and couples generally have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; manage their reproductive health; and to have access to the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence. Traditional practices such as marriage by abduction in which forced sex occurred limited this right in practice. According to a 2016 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), the maternal mortality rate declined to 412 deaths per 100,000 live births. An article surveying maternal mortality listed obstructed labor/uterine rupture, hemorrhage, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, and sepsis/infection as the top four causes from 2000 to 2012. The 2016 DHS found a modern contraceptive prevalence rate of 35 percent nationwide among married women and 55 percent among sexually active unmarried women. For married women the rate increased compared with that found in previous DHS surveys. According to the 2016 DHS, the percentage of births delivered by a skilled attendant increased to 28 percent and those that occurred in a health facility increased to 26 percent. Abortion is illegal but with numerous exceptions. The incidence of illegal, unsafe abortions had declined since legislation changed, which accounted in part for the drop in maternal mortality. All maternal and child health services were provided free of charge in the public sector; however, challenges persisted in accessing quality services in more remote areas of the country due to transportation problems.

Discrimination: Discrimination against women was a problem and was most acute in rural areas, where an estimated 80 percent of the population lived. The law contains discriminatory regulations, such as the recognition of the husband as the legal head of the family and the sole guardian of children more than five years old. Courts generally did not consider domestic violence by itself a justification for granting a divorce. Irrespective of the number of years a marriage existed, the number of children raised, and joint property, the law entitled women to only three months’ financial support if a relationship ended. There was limited legal recognition of common-law marriage. A common-law husband had no obligation to provide financial assistance to his family, and consequently women and children sometimes faced abandonment. Traditional courts continued to apply customary law in economic and social relationships.

The constitution states ownership of land and natural resources “is exclusively vested in the State and in the peoples of Ethiopia.” Both men and women have land-use rights that they may pass on as an inheritance. Land law varies among regions, however. All federal and regional land laws empower women to access government land. Inheritance laws also enable widows to inherit joint property they acquired during marriage.

In urban areas women had fewer employment opportunities than men did, and the jobs available did not generally provide equal pay for equal work. Women’s access to gainful employment, credit, and the opportunity to own or manage a business was limited by their generally lower level of education and training and by traditional attitudes.

Children

Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from one’s parents. The law requires all children to be registered at birth. Children born in hospitals were registered; most of those born outside of hospitals were not. The overwhelming majority of children, particularly in rural areas, were born at home. During the year the government initiated a campaign to increase birth registrations.

Education: The law does not make education compulsory. As a policy primary education was universal and tuition free; however, there were not enough schools to accommodate the country’s youth, particularly in rural areas. The cost of school supplies was prohibitive for many families. The number of students enrolled in schools expanded faster than trained teachers could be deployed. The net primary school enrollment rate was 90 percent of boys and 84 percent of girls

Child Abuse: Child abuse was widespread. Uvula cutting, tonsil scraping, and milk tooth extraction were amongst the most prevalent harmful traditional practices. The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2013, published by the African Child Policy Forum, found the government had increased punishment for sexual violence against children. “Child friendly” benches heard cases involving violence against children and women. There was a commissioner for women and children’s affairs in the EHRC.

Early and Forced Marriage: The law sets the legal marriage age for girls and boys at 18; however, authorities did not enforce this law uniformly, and rural families sometimes were unaware of this provision. In several regions it was customary for older men to marry girls, although this traditional practice continued to face greater scrutiny and criticism. The government strategy to address underage marriage focused on education and mediation rather than punishment of offenders.

According to a 2015 UNICEF report, 16 percent of women ages 20-24 were married before age 15 and 41 percent before age 18. According to the 2011 DHS, the median age of first marriage among women between ages 20 and 49 who were surveyed was 17.1 years, compared with 16.5 years in 2005.

In Amhara and Tigray regions, girls were married as early as age seven. Child marriage was most prevalent in Amhara Region, where approximately 45 percent of girls marry before age 18, and the median first marriage age was 15.1 years, according to the 2011 DHS, compared with 14.7 years in 2005. Regional governments in Amhara and, to a lesser extent, Tigray offered programs to educate girls, young women, parents, community leaders, and health professionals on problems associated with early marriage.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): Information is provided in the women’s section above.

Sexual Exploitation of Children: The minimum legal age for consensual sex is 18, but authorities did not enforce this law. The law provides for three to 15 years in prison for sexual intercourse with a minor. The law provides for one year in prison and a fine of 10,000 birr ($444) for trafficking in indecent material displaying sexual intercourse by minors. The law prohibits profiting from the prostitution of minors and inducing minors to engage in prostitution; however, commercial sexual exploitation of children continued, particularly in urban areas. Girls as young as age 11 were reportedly recruited to work in brothels. Customers often sought these girls because they believed them to be free of sexually transmitted diseases. Young girls were trafficked from rural to urban areas. They also were exploited as prostitutes in hotels, bars, resort towns, and rural truck stops. Reports indicated family members forced some young girls into prostitution.

Infanticide or Infanticide of Children with Disabilities: Ritual and superstition-based infanticide, including of infants with disabilities, continued in remote tribal areas, particularly South Omo. Local governments worked to educate communities against the practice.

Displaced Children: According to a 2010 report by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, approximately 150,000 children lived on the streets, of whom 60,000 were in the capital. The ministry’s report stated the inability of families to support children due to parental illness or insufficient household income exacerbated the problem. Research in 2014 by the ministry noted rapid urbanization, illegal employment brokers, high expectations of better life in cities, and rural-urban migration were adding to the problem. These children begged, sometimes as part of a gang, or worked in the informal sector. A large number of unaccompanied minors from Eritrea continued to arrive in the country (see section 2.d.).

Institutionalized Children: There were an estimated 4.5 million orphans in the country in 2012, according to statistics published by UNICEF. The vast majority lived with extended family members. Government and privately run orphanages were overcrowded, and conditions were often unsanitary. Due to severe resource constraints, hospitals and orphanages often overlooked or neglected abandoned infants. Institutionalized children did not receive adequate health care.

International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.

On April 15, members of the Murle ethnic group from South Sudan reportedly abducted more than 100 children from Gambella Region (see section 6, Other Societal Violence or Discrimination).

Anti-Semitism

The Jewish community numbered approximately 2,000 persons. There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.

Trafficking in Persons

See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

Persons with Disabilities

The constitution does not mandate equal rights for persons with disabilities. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment and mandates access to buildings but does not explicitly mention intellectual or sensory disabilities. It is illegal for deaf persons to drive.

The law prohibits employment discrimination based on disability. It also makes employers responsible for providing appropriate working or training conditions and materials to persons with disabilities. The law specifically recognizes the additional burden on women with disabilities. The government took limited measures to enforce the law, for example, by assigning interpreters for deaf and hard of hearing civil service employees (see section 7.d.). The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the Public Servants Administration Commission are responsible for the implementation of the Proclamation on The Rights of Disabled Persons to Employment.

The law mandates building accessibility and accessible toilet facilities for persons with physical disabilities, although specific regulations that define the accessibility standards were not adopted. Buildings and toilet facilities were usually not accessible. Property owners are required to give persons with disabilities preference for ground-floor apartments, and this was respected.

Women with disabilities were more disadvantaged than men with disabilities in education and employment. The 2010 Population Council Young Adult Survey found young persons with disabilities were less likely to have ever attended school than those without disabilities. The survey indicated girls with disabilities were less likely than boys to be in school: 23 percent of girls with disabilities were in school, compared with 48 percent of girls and 55 percent of boys without disabilities. Overall, 48 percent of young persons with disabilities surveyed reported not going to school due to their disability. Girls with disabilities also were much more likely to suffer physical and sexual abuse than girls without disabilities. Of sexually experienced girls with disabilities, 33 percent reported having experienced forced sex. According to the same survey, approximately 6 percent of boys with disabilities had been beaten in the three months prior to the survey, compared with 2 percent of boys without disabilities.

There were several schools for persons with hearing and vision disabilities and several training centers for children and young persons with intellectual disabilities. There was a network of prosthetic and orthopedic centers in five of the nine regional states.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs worked on disability-related problems. The CSO law continued to affect negatively several domestic associations, such as the Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, the Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf, and the Ethiopian National Association of the Physically Handicapped, as it did other civil society organizations. International organizations and some local CSOs were active, particularly on issues concerning accessibility and vocational training for persons with disabilities.

The right of persons with disabilities to vote and otherwise participate in civic affairs is not restricted by law, although lack of accessibility can make participation difficult. In the May 2015 national elections, African Union observers reported voters requiring assistance were always provided with assistance, either by a person of their choice or by polling staff. Most polling stations were accessible to persons with disabilities, and priority was given to them as well as to the elderly, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The country has more than 80 ethnic groups, of which the Oromo, at approximately 35 percent of the population, is the largest. The federal system drew boundaries approximately along major ethnic group lines. Most political parties remained primarily ethnically based, although the ruling party and one of the largest opposition parties are coalitions of ethnically based parties.

HRCO reported that a few Oromo protesters in Ameya, South West Shoa Zone of Oromia, burnt down homes and property of Amhara residents on December 12, 2015. According to the HRCO report, the attack displaced several hundred farmers and destroyed more than 800 homes. A number of Amhara farmers reportedly retaliated by burning down homes of 96 Oromo farmers. The two communities held joint meetings and condemned the attacks on both sides. They were working together to rebuild the destroyed houses.

Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable by three to 15 years’ imprisonment. No law prohibits discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals. There were some reports of violence against LGBTI individuals; reporting was limited due to fear of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. There are no hate crime laws or other criminal justice mechanisms to aid in the investigation of abuses against LGBTI individuals. Individuals did not identify themselves as LGBTI persons due to severe societal stigma and the illegality of consensual same-sex sexual activity. Activists in the LGBTI community stated they were followed and at times feared for their safety. There were no updates on reports of persons incarcerated for allegedly engaging in same-sex sexual activities.

The AIDS Resource Center in Addis Ababa reported the majority of self-identified gay and lesbian callers, most of whom were men, requested assistance in changing their behavior to avoid discrimination. Many gay men reported anxiety, confusion, identity crises, depression, self-ostracism, religious conflict, and suicide attempts.

HIV and AIDS Social Stigma

Societal stigma and discrimination against persons with or affected by HIV/AIDS continued in the areas of education, employment, and community integration. Persons with or affected by HIV/AIDS reported difficulty accessing various services. There were no statistics on the scale of the problem.

Other Societal Violence or Discrimination

Violence occurred, including in Gambella Region and during protests.

On April 15, armed men from the Murle ethnic group from South Sudan who crossed into the country reportedly killed more than 200 women and children in three woredas of Nuer Zone in Gambella Region. The attackers also reportedly abducted more than 100 children and stole thousands of cattle. The Murle attack added to the instability of the region, which was already under pressure because of interethnic clashes between Nuer and Anuak groups that started on January 20.

On April 21, South Sudanese refugees living in Jewi camp in Gambella Region reportedly killed 10 Ethiopians contracted by an international NGO to build a secondary education facility. The violence was triggered when an NGO-contracted truck hit and killed two refugee children. Authorities detained 53 refugees suspected of the killings and, on August 15, filed criminal charges against 23 of them. According to the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, the government provided two public defenders to represent the refugees at their trial. The UNHCR Protection Unit as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross had access to the detainees and monitored the legal process.

On June 29, residents of Hana Mariam, Furi, and Mango Cheffe localities of Nifas Silk Laphto Subcity in Addis Ababa clashed with police and killed two police officers and a local official during the start of the city government’s operation to evict residents forcibly. Both Addis Ababa Police Commission and Government Communication Affairs Office confirmed the killings.

Section 7. Worker RightsShare

a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining

The constitution and law provide workers, except for civil servants and certain categories of workers primarily in the public sector, with the right to form and join unions, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively, although other provisions and laws severely restrict or excessively regulate these rights. The law specifically prohibits managerial employees, teachers, health-care workers, judges, prosecutors, security-service workers, domestic workers, and seasonal and part-time agricultural workers from organizing unions.

A minimum of 10 workers is required to form a union. While the law provides all unions with the right to register, the government may refuse to register trade unions that do not meet its registration requirements including because of a nonpolitical conviction of the union leader within the previous 10 years and the presence of illegal union objectives. The government may unilaterally cancel the registration of a union. Workers may not join more than one trade union per employment. The law stipulates a trade union organization may not act in an overtly political manner. The law allows administrative authorities to appeal to the courts to cancel union registration for engaging in prohibited activities, such as political action.

Other laws and regulations that explicitly or potentially infringe upon workers’ rights to associate freely and to organize include the CSO law, Council of Ministers Regulation No. 168/2009 on Charities and Societies to reinforce the CSO law, and the ATP. The International Labor Organization (ILO) Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations noted the CSO law gives the government power to interfere in the right of workers to organize, including through the registration, internal administration, and dissolution of organizations’ processes.

While the law recognizes the right of collective bargaining, this right was severely restricted. Negotiations aimed at amending or replacing a collective agreement must be completed within three months of its expiration; otherwise, the provisions on wages and other benefits cease to apply. Civil servants, including public school teachers, have the right to establish and join professional associations created by the employees but not to negotiate better wages or working conditions. Arbitration procedures in the public sector are more restrictive than those in the private sector. The law does not provide for effective and adequate sanctions against acts of interference by other agents in the establishment, functioning, or administration of either workers’ or employers’ organizations.

Although the constitution and law provide workers with the right to strike to protect their interests, the law contains detailed provisions prescribing extremely complex and time-consuming formalities that make legal strike actions difficult. The law requires aggrieved workers to attempt reconciliation with employers before striking and includes a lengthy dispute settlement process. These provisions apply equally to an employer’s right to lock workers out. Two-thirds of the workers concerned must support a strike before it is authorized. If a case has not already been referred to a court or labor relations board, workers retain the right to strike without resorting to either of these options, provided they give at least 10 days’ notice to the other party and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and make efforts at reconciliation.

The law also prohibits strikes by workers who provide essential services, including air transport and urban bus service workers, electric power suppliers, gas station personnel, hospital and pharmacy personnel, firefighters, telecommunications personnel, and urban sanitary workers. The list of essential services exceeds the ILO definition of essential services. The law prohibits retribution against strikers, but it also provides for civil or penal penalties against unions and workers involved in unauthorized strike actions. Violation of this procedure is an offense punishable with a fine not exceeding 1,200 birr ($53) if committed by a union or of 300 birr ($13) if committed by an individual worker. If the provisions of the penal code prescribe more severe penalties, the punishment laid down in the code becomes applicable. The government may dissolve unions for carrying out strikes in “essential services.”

The informal labor sector, including domestic workers, was not unionized and was not protected by labor laws. Workers are defined as persons in an employment relationship. Lack of adequate staffing prevented the government from effectively enforcing applicable laws for those sectors protected by law. Court procedures were subject to lengthy delays and appeals.

Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining were respected, but some legal problems remained. The ILO was critical of the government’s alleged use of the antiterrorism law to punish ringleaders, organizers, or commanders of forbidden societies, meetings, and assemblies. The government refused for the fourth year to register the National Teachers Union (NTA) on grounds a national teachers’ association already existed and that the NTA’s registration application was not submitted in accordance with the CSO law. In 2013 an ILO mission made a working visit and signed a joint statement with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, stating the government was committed to registering the NTA. The ILO’s Ethiopia office reiterated this message and characterized the dispute as an administrative issue focused on naming rights and diaspora membership.

While the government allowed citizens to exercise the right of collective bargaining, enterprise unions are allowed to negotiate wages only at the plant level. Unions in the formal industrial sector made some efforts to enforce labor regulations.

Antiunion activities occurred but were rarely reported. Despite the law prohibiting antiunion discrimination, unions reported employers terminated union activists. There were unconfirmed reports that some major foreign investors generally did not allow workers to form unions, often transferred or dismissed union leaders, and intimidated and pressured members to leave unions. Lawsuits alleging unlawful dismissal often took years to resolve because of case backlogs in the courts. Employers found guilty of antiunion discrimination were required to reinstate workers dismissed for union activities and generally did so. The law prohibits retribution against strikers, and there were no reported cases of violations. Labor officials reported that high unemployment, fear of retribution, and long delays in hearing labor cases deterred workers from participating in strikes or other labor actions.

b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

In August 2015 the federal government enacted a comprehensive overhaul of its antitrafficking penal code. The code prescribes harsh penalties of up to life imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 birr ($22,197) for human trafficking and exploitation, including slavery, debt bondage, forced prostitution, and servitude.

Although the ban on labor migration to the Gulf States remained in effect, in February the government enacted the Revised Overseas Employment Proclamation (Proclamation No. 923/20 16), a major precondition for lifting the labor migration ban.

The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor but permits courts to order forced labor as a punitive measure. Slavery, even in disguised form, is punishable with five to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine. The government did not effectively enforce the law, and forced labor occurred. Police at the federal and regional levels began to receive training focused on human trafficking and exploitation. Both adults and children were forced to engage in street vending, begging, traditional weaving, or agricultural work. Children also worked in forced domestic labor. Situations of debt bondage also occurred in traditional weaving, pottery making, cattle herding, and other agricultural activities, mostly in rural areas. Girls were exploited in domestic servitude and prostitution in neighboring African countries. Ethiopian women who migrated for work or fled abusive employers in the Middle East were also vulnerable to sex trafficking. Men and boys migrated to the Gulf States and other African nations, where some were subjected to forced labor.

The government sometimes deployed prisoners to work outside the prisons for private businesses, a practice the ILO stated could constitute compulsory labor.

Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

By law the minimum age for wage or salary employment is 14. The minimum age provisions, however, apply only to contractual labor and do not apply to self-employed children or children who perform unpaid work. The law prohibits hazardous or night work for children between 14 and 18. The law defines hazardous work as any work that could jeopardize a child’s health. Prohibited work sectors include passenger transport, work in electric generation plants, factory work, underground work, street cleaning, and many other sectors. The law expressly excludes children under age 16 attending vocational schools from the prohibition on hazardous work. The law does not permit children between ages 14 and 18 to work more than seven hours per day, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., or on public holidays or rest days.

Child labor remained a serious problem. The small number of trained labor inspectors and a lack of enforcement resources resulted in numerous violations. Occupational safety and health measures were not effectively enforced, and significant numbers of children worked in prohibited work sectors, particularly construction.

School enrollment was low, particularly in rural areas. To underscore the importance of attending school, joint NGO and government-led community-based awareness-raising efforts targeted communities where children were heavily engaged in agricultural work. The government invested in modernizing agricultural practices and constructing schools to combat the problem of child labor in agricultural sectors.

In both rural and urban areas, children often began working at young ages. Child labor was particularly pervasive in subsistence agricultural production, traditional weaving, fishing, and domestic work. A growing number of children worked in construction. Children in rural areas, especially boys, engaged in activities such as cattle herding, petty trading, plowing, harvesting, and weeding, while other children, mostly girls, collected firewood and fetched water. Children worked in the production of gold. In small-scale gold mining, they dug mining pits and carried heavy loads of water. Children in urban areas, including orphans, worked in domestic service, often working long hours, which prevented many from attending school regularly. Children also worked in manufacturing, shining shoes, making clothes, parking, public transport, petty trading, as porters, and directing customers to taxis. Some children worked long hours in dangerous environments for little or no wages and without occupational safety protection. Child laborers often faced physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at the hands of their employers.

Also see the Department of Labor’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor at www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/findings/.

d. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin nationality, gender, marital status, religion, political affiliation, political outlook, pregnancy, socioeconomic status, disability, or “any other conditions.” The law specifically recognizes the additional burden on pregnant women and persons with disabilities (see section 6). Sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV-positive status are not specifically protected. The penalty for discrimination on the above grounds is a fine of 1,200 birr ($53). The government took limited measures to enforce the law.

Discrimination in employment and occupation occurred with respect to women, who had fewer employment opportunities than did men, and the jobs available did not provide equal pay for equal work.

Discrimination against migrant workers also occurred (see section 7.e.).

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no national minimum wage. Some government institutions and public enterprises set their own minimum wages. Public-sector employees, the largest group of wage earners, earned a monthly minimum wage of approximately 420 birr ($19). The official estimate for the poverty income level was 315 birr ($14) per month.

Only a small percentage of the population, concentrated in urban areas, was involved in wage-labor employment. Wages in the informal sector generally were below subsistence levels.

The law provides for a 48-hour maximum legal workweek with a 24-hour rest period, premium pay for overtime, and prohibition of excessive compulsory overtime. The country has 13 paid public holidays per year. The law entitles employees in public enterprises and government financial institutions to overtime pay; civil servants receive compensatory time off for overtime work. The government, industries, and unions negotiated occupational safety and health standards. Workers specifically excluded by law from unionizing, including domestic workers and seasonal and part-time agricultural workers, generally did not benefit from health and safety regulations in the workplace.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ inspection department was responsible for enforcement of workplace standards. In 2015 the country had 423 labor inspectors and, according to the ministry, they completed 37,500 inspections in 2015. The labor inspectors did not enforce standards effectively. The ministry’s severely limited administrative capacity; lack of an effective mechanism for receiving, investigating, and tracking allegations of violations; and lack of detailed, sector-specific health and safety guidelines hampered effective enforcement of these standards. Maximum penalties for different types of violations range from 300 birr ($13) to 1,000 birr ($44), which by themselves are insufficient to deter such violations

Compensation, benefits, and working conditions of seasonal agricultural workers were far below those of unionized permanent agricultural employees. The government did little to enforce the law. Most employees in the formal sector worked a 39-hour workweek. Many foreign, migrant, and informal-sector workers worked more than 48 hours per week.

Workers have the right to remove themselves from dangerous situations without jeopardizing their employment; there were no reports that workers exercised this right. Hazardous working conditions existed in the agricultural sector, which was the primary base of the country’s economy. There were also reports of hazardous and exploitative working conditions in the construction and industrial sectors, although data on deaths and injuries were not available.

How should the US react to human rights abuses in Ethiopia? February 16, 2017

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H.Res.128 – Supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia.115th Congress (2017-2018)


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

By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, 16 February 2017

 

The US capitol building. Credit: Orhan Cam/Shutterstock.

The US capitol building. Credit: Orhan Cam/Shutterstock.

 One member of Congress is hoping for a “serious policy review” by the Trump administration of the United States’ relationship with Ethiopia, citing human rights abuses by the government there.

“To truly stop violence abroad, Ethiopia must stop violence at home,” Rep. Chris Smith, chair of the House subcommittee on Africa and global human rights, stated at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

“Since 2005, untold thousands of students have been jailed, have been shot during demonstrations or have simply disappeared in the last 11 years,” Smith stated Feb. 15. “Ethiopia’s next generation is being taught that the rights that democracy normally bestows on a country’s citizens don’t apply in their country.”

Smith and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) introduced a House resolution (H. Res. 128) Wednesday “highlighting the crisis in Ethiopia due to government violations of the human rights of its citizens,” Smith stated.

“With this resolution, we are showing that the United States remains committed to universal respect for human rights, and that we will not tolerate continued abuse of those human rights by Ethiopian security forces,” Coffman said.

There has been a “steady erosion” of democracy in Ethiopia since 2005, the congressmen maintained.

Government dissidents have been jailed, citizens have been tortured and killed by the government’s security forces, and freedom of the press has been infringed upon. Ethnic groups have been the victims of violence perpetrated by the government.

Peaceful protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions of the country were met with hundreds of killings and tens of thousands of arrests by security forces in 2016, Human Rights Watch said in its recent report on the country. Citizens released from jail claimed they were tortured while in custody.

“Instead of addressing the numerous calls for reform in 2016, the Ethiopian government used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to suppress largely peaceful protests,” Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, stated in the report released in January.

One protest in the Oromia region resulted in the police using tear gas, rubber bullets, and rounds fired into the air to break it up, claiming that the crowd was getting out of hand. An ensuing stampede killed 50. The Inter-religious Council of Ethiopia, on which Catholic leaders sit, called for prayer and peace amid the protests and asked government leaders to listen to the people.

The recent protests in the Amhara region of the country have showed a sense of “identity” on the part of embattled citizens, and their “need to survive,” Tewodrose Tirfe of the Amhara Association of America, a refugee who came to the U.S. in 1982, noted.

“The U.S. and the West cannot sympathize with a government that kills people,” Seenaa Jimjimo, a human rights advocate who was born and grew up in Ethiopia, insisted in her statement at Wednesday’s press conference.

Amidst protests, a state of emergency was declared by the state in October and is “being used as a method to crack down even further on basic human freedoms,” Coffman said.

Thus, the resolution is the “first step by our representatives to let the Ethiopian government know that the U.S. policy is changing, that their continued human rights violations on innocent civilians will not be tolerated,” Tirfe stated.

“We invoke the Global Magnitsky Act,” Gregory Simpkins, staff director of the House subcommittee on Africa, said on Wednesday of the law which enables sanctions against specific “entities and persons who violate the human rights of people.”

Ethiopia has acted as a key ally in fighting international terrorism, Smith noted, but if it fails to protect human rights at home then extremism could fester within its own borders.

“What Congressman Smith and I are asking is for the Congress of the United States to join together and pass this resolution condemning the Ethopian government for its human rights abuses,” Coffman stated.

“And I think it’s important for all Americans to care about human rights to encourage their member of Congress to co-sponsor this resolution so that we can pass it in the Congress.”


Related:-

Mana-maree Yunaayitid Isteetsitti, dura-taa’aa Koree-birkii Dhimma Fayyaa fi Mirgawwan Dhala-namaa Sadarkaa Addunyaa fi Dhaabbatoota Sadarkaa Addunyaa ka ta’an – bakka-bu’aan Niwujeersii, Kiris Ismiiz, har’a “Seeraa Haaraa Mirgawwan Dhala-namaa Itiyoophiyaa Lakkoobsa 128 ” kaleessa yeroo gazexeessotaaf ibsa kennanitti ifa godhaniiru.

Wixineen seeraa kun, “Kabajaa mirgawwan dhala-namaaf kennamu deggeruu fi Itiyoophiyaa keessatti bulchiinsi hunda hammate akka jiraatu jajjabeessuu” ka jedhu.

Gabaasa guutu kana cuqaasuun dhaggeeffadhaa


Congressman Chris Smith submit again His Resolution HR861 of Ethiopia Govt Human Rights Violation

Ethiopia: War Crimes Against the Oromo Nation in Ethiopia January 23, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethnic Cleansing, Human Rights.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

Human rights League of the Horn of Africa

 

Ethiopia: War Crimes Against the  Oromo Nation in Ethiopia

HRLHA  Urgent Action  22nd January 2017


The Oromo nation is under severe coordinated internal  and external attacks  by TPLF/EPRDF- sponsored mechanized killing squads. In the past three months, since  the state of emergency was declared on October 8, 2016, the  Ethiopian TPLF/EPRDF  government  has  deployed  its killing squad Agazi force all over Oromia  and massacred over 1200 Oromo youths, mothers and fathers  in their homes and in the streets, imprisoned tens of thousands, committed rape, and disappeared other  thousands .  Over seventy thousand Oromos  from all walks of life have been arbitrarily detained- under the pre-text of rehabilitation (Tehadiso)- picked up from their homes, workplaces, streets and taken to concentration Camps of  Xolya, Huriso, Diddessa  and also to  unidentified concentration camps.  In these concentration camps, tens of thousands Oromos have suffered and died  from torture, communicable diseases, and malnutrition without receiving medical treatment.

The external attacks have been perpetuated against Oromos by TPLF/EPRDF trained special force (Liyu Police) from the Somali regional state in  the eastern  boundary. The Liyu Police is a special killing squad of the TPLF/EPRDF government in the Ogaden Region, a group  established in 2008 under the pretext of  protecting the people of the region  from the opposition political organization, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) fighting for the self determination of Somali people in Ethiopia.

The Liyu police has routinely conducted heinous massacres in Ogaden villages ever since its formation and committed genocide against its own family members in the past eight years.

According to The Guardian, published  Thursday, 10 January 2013  , millions of pounds of Britain’s foreign aid budget were spent on training an Ethiopian paramilitary security force that stands accused of numerous human rights abuses and summary executions. The Guardian has  also mentioned in its news that  an internal Department for International Development document formed part of a tender to train security forces in the Somali region of Ogaden, as part of a five-year £13m–15m “peace-building” program has recently been discovered.

In its Urgent Action on May 2013 HRLHA reported that the Liyu Police had illegally  crossed into  Oromia in 2013 and attacked  the defenceless people; 700 different types of cattle and other valuable possessions were  reported to have been looted  and over 20,000  Oromos from Rasa Harre, Marfata, Qillee, Mulqee, Dirraa, Waldayyaa, Biqqoo and Libee community fled to the highland areas in Eastern Hararge Zone.

Since then, the TPLF/EPRDF- sponsored Liyu Police periodically has repeatedly attacked the neighboring Oromia districts in Bale, in Eastern Harge zones. The attack of the Liyu police  has escalated into invasions all over Oromia’s neighboring districts multiple times in the past one and half months.

According to the HRLHA informants,  this is the part of  internal and external  coordinated plan of TPLF /EPRDF government to  totally eliminate the Oromo nation  by using paramilitary Liyu Police. (synonym for Janjaweed militia which loosely translates to ‘devils on horseback’) . Janjaweed militia were group  of  killers deployed by Sudan government against the Darfur people in 2003 in which over 480,000 people were massacared and over 2.8 million have been displace)

Acording to the report we received  from our informants, overr 150  Oromos have been killed and many wounded during the war between  Liyu Police and the Oromo civilian in  Gursum, Qunbi, Babile, Chiksan, Gursum, and Jarso (Eastern Hararge),  Seweyena, Meda Welabu, Dawe Sarariti and Raytu (Bale Zone),  Liban and Laga Dawa (Guji Zone), Funanagrsu and Elele (Borana Zone) of Oromia.

The TPLF/EPRDF is committing war crimes against the Oromo nation  by deploying its highly trained killing squads from the internal Agazi Force  and by the external Liyu Police funded by foreign governments. The World Community should not remain silent and witness when such systematic war crimes are  taking place  against the Oromo Nation in Ethiopia, crimes that are similar to those committed in Rwanda and Darfur.

The TPLF government and the TPLF surrogate and the so- called Oromo  People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) must be held accountable by the world community for their systematic war crimes against  the Oromos.

The 2003/2004 Genocide against Darfur in Sudan is a striking lesson; the people there were killed indiscriminately and, more sadly, the perpetrators would go unpunished until it culminated in a full genocide. What is happening in Oromia regional state today resembles more or less what happened at the embryonic stage of the Darfur genocide in Sudan.

Even the AU, whose headquarters is in the center of Oromia/Addis Ababa, remain actionless after thousands of Oromo children, seniors, men and women have been massacred by the TPLF/EPRDF killing squads in the past year. The donor governments such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia  and government agencies (African Commission  on Human and Peoples’ Rights, EU Human Rights Commission and  UN Human Rights Council) have not found the courage to take concrete action, other than expressing  their concerns.  Such inaction doesn’t reflect the AU’s  and the UN’s obligation under their own Constitutive Act, which provides for intervention inside a member state against genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

This is a cosmopolitan ideal of protecting people inside states against mass atrocities as a matter of common obligation. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P), coined in 2001 under the leadership of the Canadian government and adopted by 150 heads of states and governments in 2005, obliges the international community to intervene to stop atrocities.

As a matter of principle, a state shoulders the primary responsibility to prevent and protect its own citizens against horrific acts, but if it is unable or unwilling to prevent and protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, the responsibility is thus shifted to the international community. The R2P states, “ when a state is unable or unwilling to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, the international community has the responsibility to intervene”.

The UN Charter’s first and most essential aim is to “maintain international peace and security”. However, when the UN was first created, it was an enormous undertaking based on hope.

Today, one critical question on everyone’s lips is whether the United Nations is living up to its mandate, more particularly, of maintaining international peace and security. Amid ongoing human rights crises in Ethiopia it is hard to figure out what exactly the UN & AU have done to uphold their responsibilities. Nevertheless, it is not too late to act today.  

Recommendation:

For the Ethiopian human rights crisis, two ways can be helpful in restoring peace and stability. In this, the international communities and agencies (AU, EU & UN) can play a decisive role:

  • Major donor governments, including the USA, the UK & Canada, Sweden, Norway and Australia should stop funding the authoritarian TPLF/EPRDF government
  • Put pressure on the TPLF/EPRDF government to allow neutral investigators to probe into the human rights crisis in the country as the precursor to international community intervention

The HRLHA therefore calls, yet again, upon the international community to act collectively in a timely and decisive manner – through the UN Security Council and in accordance with the UN charter on a case-by – case basis to stop the human tragedy in Oromia.

Copied To:

  • UN Human Rights Council
    OHCHR address:
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  • Africa Union (AU)
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    Tel: (251) 11 551 77 00 | Fax: (251) 11 551 78 44
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The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Ethiopia November 24, 2016

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356: Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia – ACHPR/Res. 356(LIX) 2016

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 59thOrdinary Session held from 21 October to 4 November 2016 in Banjul, Islamic Republic of the Gambia;

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in Africa under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter);

Mindful of the obligations of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia as a Member State of the African Union, and State Party to the African Charter and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance as well as other regional human rights instruments;

Recalling that one of the objectives of the African Union is to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter, and to promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance;

Reaffirming the provisions of Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 19 of the African Charter which guarantee the right to be protected from discrimination, the right to equal protection of the law, the right to life, the right not to be subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, the right to personal liberty and protection from arbitrary arrest,  the right to a fair trial, the right to receive information and to freedom of expression, the right of assembly, the right to participate freely in government and the right to equality of all peoples;

Further reaffirming the standards and principles stipulated in the Guidelines and Measures for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Africa, the Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention in Africa, General Comment No. 3 on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Right to Life, the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, and the Report of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Study Group on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa;

Deeply concerned by the deterioration of the human rights situation in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia following the protests which began in November 2015;

Concerned by the use of excessive and disproportionate force to disperse protests, resulting in the deaths and injuries of several protestors, as well as the arbitrary arrest and detention of many others;

Alarmed by reports of a fire outbreak in Qilinto Prison in Addis Ababa, on 4 September 2016, leading to the deaths and injuries of a number of inmates, including detainees;

Deeply concerned by reports that more than fifty-five people were killed and several hundreds injured in a stampede, following police attempt to disperse the crowd in a break-out protest, at a religious festival on 2 October 2016;

Concerned by allegations relating to the arbitrary arrest and detention of members of opposition parties and human rights defenders;

Alarmed by the loss of lives and the destruction of property resulting from violence perpetrated by some protestors;

Concerned by the declaration of a state of emergency on 9 October 2016, which restricts fundamental human rights and freedoms;

Further concerned by restrictions on movement, assembly, media access, internet services as well as the arbitrary arrest and detention of many people following the state of emergency declaration;

Noting reports of the release of 2, 000 persons who were detained on suspicion of engaging in protests;

The Commission:

  1. Condemns the deteriorating human rights situation in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, in particular the undue restrictions on fundamental human rights and freedoms resulting from the state of emergency.
  2. Calls on the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to:
  1. ensure that fundamental human rights and freedoms are respected and upheld during the state of emergency;
  2. lift the ban on movement, assembly, media access, and internet services;
  3. ensure due process of law for persons arrested and detained in connection with protests, in accordance with regional and international standards, and release persons arrested and detained without charge;
  4. refrain from the use of excessive and disproportionate force against protestors and, more generally, take the necessary measures to guarantee the security and safety of its population;
  5. initiate prompt and impartial investigations into these alleged human rights violations and ensure that the perpetrators of these violations are held accountable and subjected to appropriate sanctions reflecting the gravity of the offences, in accordance with relevant international and regional standards;
  6. comply with the letter and spirit of the African Charter and other regional and international human rights instruments to which it is a party and, more particularly, the instruments referred to in this Resolution;
  7. ensure that victims of the above violations and their families obtain full and adequate redress, including restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition; and
  8. authorise the Commission to undertake a fact-finding mission to Ethiopia.
  1. Calls on protestors to exercise their rights with due regard to the law and the rights of others;
  2. Calls on all actors, particularly leaders and members of opposition parties, other stakeholders and the population in general, to refrain from any form of incitement and all other acts of violence.

Done in Banjul, Islamic Republic of the Gambia, on 4 November 2016

Genocide in the making in Oromia November 15, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomistmilitary-grade-humvee-inside-the-civilian-perimeter-at-the-2nd-october-2016-irreecha-festivalin-bishoftu-why-was-the-soldieed-against-oromo-irreecha-participants-on-2nd-october-2016-bishoftu-massacr#OromoProtests in Yabello, Borana, Oromia, July 20, 2016 p2fascist-ethiopias-regime-forces-are-conducting-rape-and-mass-killings


Genocide in the making in Oromia

 Brief account on the Oromo protest from Nov. 2015 – Nov. 2016

By Tarekegn Chimdi (PhD)


Background

The Oromo people constitute over 40% of the total population and a single largest national group in Ethiopia. Since the date of colonization by the Abyssinians at the end of 19th century, their political, economic, social and cultural life was undermined. Historians noted that after more than three decades of fierce wars of resistance their demographics were reduced from 10 million to 5 million. They were faced with cruel subjugation, exploitation, discrimination and marginalization; forced to slavery and servitude. Their egalitarian and democratic system of governance known as Gadaa was abolished. Successive regimes in Ethiopia had been furthering their subjugation and repression through heavy-handed cruel, inhumane policies (be it under the guise of democracy or socialism). The current Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) led totalitarian regime is the worst the Oromo people witnessed.

The TPLF dominated authoritarian regime ruled for a quarter of century with complete control on political, economic and social life in Ethiopia after toppling over a century old Amhara hegemony in 1991. Currently, it controls 80% of the economy through its conglomerate the Endowment Fund For the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), 98% of the military and security leadership controlled by the TPLF membership, 100% of the parliament controlled by the TPLF and its puppet People’s Democratic Organisation (PDO)s remotely operated. As a result, the TPLF elites and PDO operatives amassed billions of dollars from trading on the natural resources under their control; restricting the ownership of businesses and industries, sprawling real estates and mansions in big cities; foreign direct investment, aid and leasing millions of hectares of lands to foreign investors. The TPLF operatives benefitted from the illicitly maintained economic, political and security power without observance of the rule of law.

On the other hand, the Oromo people were faced with rampant human rights abuses and systematic repressions that were repeatedly reported by international human rights organizations and yet largely ignored. Untold sufferings and systematic repressions in the last 25 years include extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, raping and torture. However, the Ethiopian government champions itself for being the fastest growing economy and key ally in the fight against terrorism to hide its genocidal character against the Oromo people. The reality on the ground shows that the Oromo people are targeted on the basis of their racial origin. As a result, over 95% of the prison cells in Ethiopia are filled with the Oromos and Afan Oromo has become the official language in prisons.

Land grabbing as a trigger to peaceful protest in Oromia

Land grabbing negatively affected the livelihood of millions of farmers and forcibly evicted from small subsistence farming, pastoral and grazing areas. Forced eviction and relocation in the name of investment that was orchestrated by internal and foreign actors, has evicted over 1.5 million Oromo farmers without their consent and compensation from around Finfinne (Addis Ababa) in the past ten years. Millions of hectares of arable land was confiscated mainly by agribusinesses from foreign multinational companies and the ruling regime (TPLF) cadres and their operatives resulted in the uprooting and destitution of the millions that led in part to further the starvation of the ten millions of peoples in Ethiopia. Such unethical and inequitable investment had been observed to yield abysmal poverty, food insecurity, broken communities, loss of identity and culture and aggravated environmental degradation. Above all the Oromo people in and around Finfinne (Addis Ababa) became the epicenter of the episode and in a way it reflects the way the Oromo people were conquered, robbed off their land and properties, reduced to serfs and slaves, and kept under inhumane subjugation.

The dynamics of the land grabbing that was aimed to expand Finfinne (Addis Ababa) by ~2000% from the current 54,000 ha to 1.1 million ha started with the horticulture industry, mainly the cut flower plantations. In less than a decade, several dozens of cut flower investments from within and abroad mushroomed within the radius of 80km surrounding Finfinne (Addis Ababa) to takeover the land from subsistence farmers that fed millions before the change of ownership. The establishment of these plantations and the expansion of real estate within the peripheries were the stepping stone to establish the boundary of Finfinne Special Zone of Oromia which later to be incorporated into the infamous “Addis Ababa and the Surrounding Oromia Special Zone Integrated Development Plan” or shortly “Master Plan”, in 2014. Similarly, Midroc’s and Karturi’s farms were meant to benefit and export crop produces into their countries of origin; jatropha, castor oil and sugar cane plantations were not established on non-arable terra nulis land, but on small subsistence farms whose owners were forcibly evicted without (with small) compensation and the security to their livelihood deprived. In general, the Oromo people are deprived of their livelihood by the Ethiopian successive regimes. As a result of deep historical and current grievances, suffering from oppression, exploitation and persecution for years, the students staged peaceful protests over Oromia for years and the response were being quelled heavy-handedly by the security forces of the Ethiopian government. The announcement of the infamous “master plan” further triggered the already deep-rooted grievances to explode. The plan was opposed by the Oromos from all walks of life: Oromo political parties, civic organisations, students, farmers, etc. for several reasons as it was unconstitutional, not inclusive and without the consent of the people. Moreover, it was deliberated to destroy the identity, livelihood, culture and language of the Oromo people.

War on Unarmed Oromo Protesters

In May 2014, the Oromo students from different universities, secondary schools and the general public from all over Oromia engaged the Ethiopian government in a peaceful protest in tens of thousands to denounce the “master plan” and voice their legitimate concerns. In the demonstration that started at Ambo, 100km from the capital, more than 50 civilians were shot and killed by the Ethiopian government security forces. In total over 80 unarmed civilians were killed in different parts of Oromia the same momth. Several hundreds of unarmed civilians were injured and thousands were arrested. The Ethiopian government shelved the implementation for a while until it issued final version of its master plan in the last quarter of 2015.

On November 12, 2015, peaceful student protest broke at the town of Ginchi, 80km from the capital to the West of Addis Ababa, against the sale of Ginchi stadium to an investor and the clearing of Chilimo forest. The government security forces killed two students and the population were angered. As a result, peaceful protests engulfed all parts of Oromia within two weeks. In order to legitimize its discriminatory policies, the Ethiopian Government issued a decree for Oromia to be ruled under martial law from the end of December 2015. Over 50,000 regular and special army was deployed under the command post led by the Prime Minister, Head of Army, Police and Security Chief to stop the protest mercilessly.

In Figure 1, the maps in the years 2015 (upper) and 2016 (bottom) show the distribution of protests from November 2015 – November 2016. In the last one year, peaceful demonstrations were staged mainly by the students and farmers across almost all Oromia districts at least once. They were all peaceful until turned violent by the heavy-handed measures of the Ethiopian security forces. As shown in Figure 1, 2015 (upper) in the last quarter of 2015, there were sporadic protests in Oromia that matured to cover all parts of Oromia intensively, some parts of Amhara and other southern regional states after July 2016.

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Figure 1: the maps of the distribution of protests in 2015 (upper) and 2016 (bottom)

Table1 below shows the scale of fatalities over one year period across the states in Ethiopia. The total number of fatalities from November 12, 2015 to December 31, 2015 was 137 in total, with Oromia at 102. In the year 2016, violent crackdown from the Ethiopian security forces spread all over Oromia and a total of 1855 persons were killed in the last ten months. The security forces also reacted violently against protesters in Finfinne (Addis Ababa), Amhara, Dire Dawa, Somali and Southern Nations and Nationalities (SNNP). In the Amhara state, the protests that started in July 2016, in Gondar, was triggered by the opposition of the inclusion of Welkait district into the Tigray state. Over 233 persons were killed in this state in the last five months in Gondar, Bahir Dar etc in relation to peaceful protests. Similarly, in Konso and Gedeo districts of the Southern Nation and Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) state dozens of protesters were killed. The data shows the cause of fatalities in the Gambela, Somali, Harari and Tigray different from peaceful protests. In general, the scale and distribution of the protests and fatalities in Oromia over the other states indicate the degree of harshness and discriminatory measures carried out by the Ethiopian government and the genocide is in the making against the Oromo people.

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Table1: the scale of killings over one year period (Nov.12, 2015 Oct. 29, 2016)

By definition the killings of over 1000 people from the same social group in a year qualifies the term “genocide” and killings of unarmed civilians in mass also refers to “massacre”. The graph in figure 2 shown below covers the daily fatalities across Oromia and Finfinne (Addis Ababa) where those killed are from the Oromo national group. In the graph the killing from the beginning of August 2016 to the end of October 2016 was covered. The first peak corresponds to the killings on the Oromia grand protest staged all over Oromia on the 6th of August 2016 and over 188 people were killed by the Ethiopian security forces. On this particular day, peaceful protests were held in over 200 towns and cities across Oromia and Finfinne (Addis Ababa) (see figure 3) and tens of thousands were arrested from all over Oromia and Finfinne in inhospitable remote malaria infested Tolay, Awash Arba, Huriso and Dhedhessa military camps.

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Figure 2: the scale of killings by the security forces in Oromia and Finfinne (Aug. Oct.2016)

The second peak corresponds to the killings at Qilinto maximum-security prison located in the southern part of Finfinne (Addis Ababa) on September 3, 2016. A local newspaper    Addis    Fortune    reported    that    the    government    security    forces indiscriminately shot at the prisoners after fire broke on the premises. The government sources report 23 prisoners died of suffocation from fire. However, the Ethiopian Human Rights Project (EHRP) put the figure to 67 and the Oromia Media Network also reported additional two killings. Local sources alleged the Ethiopian government sources for starting the fire and indiscriminately shooting the prisoners.

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Figure 3: the map showing the geographical coverage of protests in Oromia on August 6,2016

The third peak in Figure 2 corresponds to the Irreechaa massacre at Hora Arsadi of Bishoftu town, 40km to the East of the capital that occurred on October 2, 2016. On the Irreechaa annual thanksgiving festival, over 2 million Oromos from all over Oromia were gathered to celebrate. The Ethiopian government agitated and provoked the festival by installing its close operatives and cadres to takeover the stage from the legitimate leader of Gadaa (Abba Gadaa) who is in charge of the event. The celebrants were angered and started chanting slogans and crossing wrists above head – the popular sign of Oromo protest. The security forces deliberately started roaring Humvee in the crowd, hovering helicopter in the sky, firing the tear gas and bullets to suffocate the people on a narrow space. Most of the people perished in the ditch and the lake. Some sources put the death toll at 55 and above citing the cause of death simply as a deadly stampede. However, local and opposition sources put the figure of the death toll to at least 678. It is the responsibility of the government to protect the people away from the ditch through fencing and/or soil filling; avoiding any provocative acts, unblocking the safe exit and panicking the population on narrow space unless it deliberated and planned to cause massacre.

After the Irreechaa massacre, the Oromo people reacted with deep sorrow and responded through difference means of peaceful resistance against the Ethiopian government. The roads to different parts of the Oromia and Ethiopia were blocked, the economic boom of the TPLF elites was devastated. In a week to Irreechaa massacre, the Ethiopian government declared state of emergency that applies to the other states as well. The security forces reportedly killed more that 283 people (see figure 2, the fourth peak) in one week of the state of emergency.

Summary

The Ethiopian security forces continued their unparalleled genocidal crimes of torturing, raping and killings, largely hidden from the eyes and ears of the international observers, embassies and the media. Records show that over two thousand Oromo civilians (students, farmers, teachers, civil servants, elders, leaders and members of the Oromo opposition party) were killed in the last one year from live bullets of the Ethiopian security forces. Witnesses out of Oromia show exceptional heinous crimes of killing that includes children from age 1 to the old men to the age of 80, pregnant women and mothers, a mother killed with her two sons, three siblings from the same parent. There are evidences of mothers and siblings ordered to sit on the dead body of their loved ones after being killed by the security forces. Wives and daughters were gang raped in front their husbands, loved ones and parents. Moreover, every independent Oromo person is routinely subjected to harassment, extrajudicial killings, imprisonment, rape and torture. Several thousands were wounded from live bullets and estimated over 50,000 were arrested in different detention camps in remote areas labeled as “terrorists” without convictions and/or rare trials.

The TPLF/EPRDF is still acting with impunity despite continued call for investigation into the genocidal crimes it commit by the renowned international human rights organizations, the UN Human Rights Council, African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights in the last several months. The western governments such as US, UK, Canada, Australia and others issued the statements of concern and travel warnings which may not be enough to curb the looming dangerous situation. The Ethiopian government had been major recipient of direct investment and economic aid earnings mainly from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), the US, UK and the EU used to further human sufferings. Western governments are requested to sanction, use their diplomatic leverage to pressure the Ethiopian government to allow an independent UN and African Commission investigations over the massacres, completely halt the state of emergency and remove command posts from the villages, unconditional release of Oromo politicians and civilians from detention camps. Furthermore, the perpetuators of the massacres must be brought before international tribune to curb the genocide in the making in Oromia.

References

  1. The data for this analysis was extracted from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) database http://www.acleddata.com/
  2. Tarekegn Chimdi “Systematic repression and rampant human rights abuses against the Oromo People in Ethiopia (2008) ” presented at AFSAAP conference, “The Oromo People and Finfinne (2004) ” intervention at the UN office of High Commission for Human Rights http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/IPeoples/WG/IGFM1-oromo-4b.doc
  3. Addis Fortune newspaper on Qilinto prison indiscriminate killings 4. Human Rights Watch, Society for Threatened Peoples and Amnesty
  4. International reports in 2015 and 2016
  5. Press releases from the UN Human Rights Council, African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights, foreign offices and governments
  6. News from Oromia Media Network, Al Jazeera, VOA, DW and others

The Final Desperate Emergency Martial Law of Ethiopia and its Implications November 8, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomistan-oromo-youth-hero-shanted-down-down-woyane-on-the-face-of-mass-killers-tplf-agazi-at-bishoftu-2nd-october-2016-oromoprotestsNo To Fascist TPLF Ethiopia's genocidal militarism and mass killings in Oromia, EthiopiaFascist TPLFAgazi forces shooting #Oromprotsters in Babbile town, East Hararge . 14 March 2016

The Final Desperate Emergency Martial Law of Ethiopia and its Implications

By Ibsaa Guutama


Emergency declaration simply means government issuing laws that could enable it control natural or man made crisis by suspending certain provisions of civil rights and/ or personal liberties for a given time and surrounding. Empire Ethiopia claims to have laws all through its existence. But it has been abusing human rights as if it was permanently under emergency situation. From among them the last twenty five years were those we tasted and are wounding our memories. Wala’ita, Sidaamaa, Ugadeen, Mazhangir, Benii Shangul, Afar and Koonsoo can be cited among those subjected to genocide. Once, Wayyaanee leader said that he can take measures simply for not liking someone’s eye colors. It has been about a year since the Oromo started uninterrupted peaceful protest because such arrogance and abuses became more burdensome and painful than ever. The energy released is so great that it has already shaken government of Wayyaanee from the foundation, attracted attention of world community and caused great devastation to human life and property. The Oromo are sure to at least end their subjugation by aliens. Protest later expanded to Amaaraa centers of Goojjam and Gondar. When they felt TPLF is losing grip over the empire many groups started to rally to get a share in the result as well as to stop Oromo national movement from dictating the outcome. Some want to share power with Wayyaanee, others want to totally replace it and still others to liberate their nations. Many look forward for the day and are making preparations, to participate in 1991 type transitional arrangement. It is like the saying, “Hearing someone saying Porridge Creek all women went out with stirring rod”. Claiming to suppress this protest, TPLF has issued what seems its last emergency declaration to enable it control the crisis itself created. This declaration is a martial law that puts the whole country under military rule. All constitutional rights are suspended. Major intentions of this declaration are continued occupation of Oromiyaa and hindering Amaaraa from getting the opportunity to replace Tigree.

The paradox is TPLF declaring that, wearing the mask of Kawa Xoonaa, the last king of free Wala’ita who was wounded and taken captive during 1884 colonial war in which half the population of the kingdom perished. This living captive mask seems to have come as harbinger of something final as the war was for Xoonaa. Southern Peoples and Oromiyaa will rise together as fallen together despite the quisling bait to derail their drive to freedom. Oromiyaa’s having rich natural resources, big manpower, intelligent and industrious population, the capacity to absorb aliens is a source of envy for so many. It is also different from the colonizers in nationality, language, culture and history that too had stayed scaring them. Therefore Oromo cannot ask “Why do they hate us?” They hate them because of what they have and who they are as well as the beacon of hope Oromo could be for all under colonial oppression. This deep sited feeling never seems to go away. A single utterance of an Oromoo nationalist at a conference they heard eavesdropping from afar had brought out all their ill wishes for Oromiyaa.

They have already taken solidarity placard at Amaaraa rally as a magic wand that has taken away Oromo aspirations for freedom and damped Oromo question once and for all. Solidarity with the abused is a righteous step of a humane society. But when it is attached to sinister motives and fail, it could create frustration among the unaware audience. There was no agreement between the two communities and so no betrayal as cried. They did not even notice that majority Oromoo have no vision for Ethiopia. Even taking it further they dared to question Lawyers’ Association leaders why they made separate meetings, “Are you not Ethiopians? They know that among them there are those that have decadent ideas like theirs but they crossed the red line because of their contempt for Oromummaa in those people. Be that as it may under the circumstance how can one come together with open heart? The so called “Forces of unity” as baseless as they are contribute to divisiveness rather than understanding among peoples.  It is better to keep them at bay so that their hate does not generate harm.  Contact with homeland Amaaraa and other peoples can continue if there is good faith.

The peoples generally called Habashaa stood together after crossing the Red Sea for advantage it gives them over people that were different from them in culture and language; otherwise they had never submitted to common constitution; their bond was that of marriage of convenience. They grabbed the name Ethiopia gradually from Greeks reference to peoples of Kuusaa and other African blacks and started using it off and on until Haayila Sillaasee officially declared it in 1941. It is a stolen name that replaced Kush in all records, spiritual and temporal. By adding all recorded history of Kush Itophiyaa they enriched their own. That helped them march under one mythological name, against their other African peoples. It was observable that whenever they get the opportunity they can even marginalize or push out each other from overseas relations. Without doing research on “The Book” he is carrying an opportunist Pentecostal priest who is saying people should listen to what he is thinking not to what he says, is heard meddling in nature of Ethiopia without knowing how it was formed. Ethiopia is not made in heaven but in Greek language.

The Amaaraa, leading in raids and battles in the past had taken other peoples and tried to impose on them by force Ethiopianism and their language, culture, religion, and history though not fully successful. Even that was reversed in i991 by recognition of TPLF of the right of nations and nationalities to be free. Pseudo Amaaraa organized as Ethiopian faced difficult after the fallout from power when it found it was not wholly Amaaraa. Those still are organized around the name “Ethiopia”. That is why Mallaa Amaaraa Party could not pick up because the “forces of unity” are halfhearted though more inclined to Amaara. They are mostly the “forces of unity” that formed Mallaa Amaaraa party. The gray area between Amaaraaness and Ethiopianism of “forces of unity” is blurring the cause of the Amaaraa and its relations with others. Expressing and exhibiting photo of Oromo prisoners at Amaaraa rally is a blessed deed and same was also expressed from the counterpart; but “force of unity” desecrated it. They tried to harass those with different opinion from them showing contempt for the nation. Freedom of expression is basic requirement in a democratic relation. They tried to hijack the good gesture between two struggling peoples for their own wicked end.

Tigree didn’t mix much with others but marched under the name Ethiopia without giving up own identity. Therefore when its chance set in it did not face problem but mounted the saddle under TPLF, with one army, one language and one culture betraying long standing Habashaa tradition. Old Nafxanyaa were disoriented when they dismounted from the saddle; therefore to get back to own identity came out as a test for them. It doesn’t seem Amaaraa and Tigree Nafxanyaa has ever disagreed as this time. What under lies their present quarrel is control of the empire accelerated by territorial infringement. Even the difference in banner that they made much fuss about is not difference in colors but about emblem. All past regimes had different emblems but had never been a point of dissension as the present. Historically use of flags with emblems is limited, most subjects use only green yellow red colors without emblems. Since the reign of Minilik, now for the first time Amaaraa and Tigree do not have one flag while Amaaraa and “forces of unity” seem to entertain the same.

Tigree has broken a covenant but it may not be something to complain about for they had come doing that on each other. Unlike the rift with colonies like Oromiyaa that are alien, theirs is internal contradiction emanating from TPLF’s greed, which seems momentary. From Amaaraa view, their boundary line is violated, their emblem with lion is replaced, and covenant of Habashaaness betrayed by Tigree. Oromo lost a country, identity threatened, life endangered and Oromo unity came under question. That is why transnational solidarity being fanned could be a source of misunderstanding because it is spontaneous and no agreement made as to its depth and breadth.  Amaaraa grievance is between Tigray and Amaaraa and so internal Ethiopian problem. Oromoo grievance is against Ethiopian ruler at this time, the TPLF. The solution for Amaaraa is accepting Takkazee as the border line between Amaaraa and Tigray and fair power sharing in future Habashaa government. Both Amaaraa and Oromo are asking respect for their rights from TPLF; they both were answered with bullets. Therefore they can probe how to coordinate their operation for the moment to stop it. This does not change the context that Oromo and Amaaraa are sovereign and equal people that can freely determine their destiny. As free people and good neighbors they can be great together.

As for fundamental question of Oromo it will be answered when right of nations to national self-determination is implemented for them. Whoever does not accept those cannot be their partner. The Oromo nation has the largest population in the Horn of Africa. Who have the authority to tell them how to lead their lives? The only thing they asked is for the occupation by minority to end. The world is in the process of forming a new world order which hopefully will offer justice to the so far suppressed. Its mission is to bring the world closer for economic purposes not to erase national identity as some want to mistakenly interpret it. Look at Quebec, Scotland, Catalina and Britain, were they running away from their union or were they welding it?  Can Ethiopian empire remain in the way it was, as aggressor? If Oromo youth says Oromiyaa is for Oromo, who can deny this legitimate demand. If you think their question is not legitimate let us put that to Oromo referendum? If you have any reasonable suggestion for the Oromo put it on the table not on the forum of insults and threats from those that call themselves “forces of unity”. These so called “forces of unity” are floating self-fabricating community of Old Nafxanyaa leftovers, who do not want to join where they legally or originally belong. These should not be confused with children of foot soldiers that lived integrated with the people even before land proclamation of 1974.  The most vocal of them are from garrison centers turned towns. Still the loudest are those in Diaspora that are already citizens of another country. It is only direct discussion between peoples that could create harmony and bring to an end centuries of mistrust not those baseless “forces of unity”.

However because people do not tell each other on the face some smart Alek can create confusion so that clear demands on the other side is not understood. For example, majority Oromo don’t want to be called Ethiopians or Habashaa. Since they believe Oromiyaa belongs to the Oromiyaans any one that wants to occupy her has to cross over their dead bodies. Victories Ethiopia registered at different battles on which individuals with Oromo blood had shown heroic deeds are not taken as their own.  They do not believe intermarriage and interbreeding can create political unity. They see country and individual relations separately. To treat their neighbors with respect and love is their culture. Oromo support strong union to be formed between peoples of Africa based on the will of each nationality. If a people try to put another under it without the other’s will and abuse, Oromo will stand with the abused. All relations with Oromo youth have to be based on points listed above. Don’t get surprised, after more than a century of oppression and dehumanization you have failed to break Oromo will, let alone in this era of advanced technology. If you have anything to negotiate about, base yourself on said stand. Be those neighbors or those born and brought among them, only proper and respectful approach, not insults as they used on their serfs are acceptable.

Under present treacherous situation, descendents of the Amaaraa that did not join the great colonial campaign but remained in their country are struggling to sort out themselves from myriad of peoples and assert their identity and unity.  However there is now a strange breed “forces of unity” claiming to be Amaaraa after colonial campaign leaders. The campaign recruited from peoples it captured on its way as soldiers and christened and Amaaraanized them. Those are their descendant calling themselves “Forces of unity” and want status of Oromiyaa as a colony to continue. They also intend to take towns in Oromiyaa including Finfinnee as Nafxanyaa Island in Oromiyaa Sea if they cannot control the whole country. Actually their regrets are discovering being from groups they have been despising so far. They do not want to integrate with them but curb their own territory in the mindset of Oromiyaa.  That will remain a dream for there shall never be half way liberation for Oromiyaa. They are also manipulating Oromo born from different ethnic groups as if they were aliens belonging to no group but ambassadors to Ethiopia from Mars. They always cite their marrying into each other, as an entitlement to the colonies. In that case Oromo have many in-laws in the world to claim Oromiyaa.

Not focusing on basic problem does not bring sustainable solution. Unlike the feudal system the capitalist system does not spend time and energy on vain glory but material benefit. These run away must realize that there is more benefit by investing as Oromiyaans than fighting the Oromo to be Ethiopian. Problems for the region are the empire system and elites with colonialist mind set.  The Empire has to get uprooted and thrown away for all peoples to be free. It has been a moral burden for many thoughtful peace loving ordinary Ethiopians who could have advanced their civilization rather than wasting time suppressing other peoples and become obstacles for their freedom and progress. Maintaining colonies are no more acceptable under the new world order.  It is possible to talk of the next phase between those that agree on this.  Abyssinians have to be satisfied with their own territory which includes Amaaraa country and Tigray collectively called Ethiopia. The dream of Imperial Ethiopia as theorized by ancient Egyptian monks will only remain a dream. The campaign to realize it has come to the end after about one and a half century and has to march back home.

With conquest of Oromiyaa the Nafxanyaa, enriched themselves with produces and natural resources, land and man power but did not plough back to their mother country like the Tigreans are now doing; majority of its descendents didn’t even visit their ancestor’s land. In 1974 they came to realize their mistake of abandoning the mother country which they could have escaped to, but it was too late.  Though it may be hard on them to get down from the pinnacle of power and live as equals with their tenants still where they were born is their country. In this case unless it is a mental problem there is no one that has no country. It is individual’s choice; but Oromiyaa will not remain under occupation for their sake. The matter did not emanate from being mix or lack of country but the desire to deny Oromo nationhood and sovereignty over Oromiyaa. This is how a mind formed by propaganda of over seven centuries thinks. The paradox of Amaaraa colonialism is thus, if not psychologically, the motherland did not get material benefit from colonial army exploits like classical colonialism or like present day Tigray, from wrong perception of pioneer Nafxanyaa.   As for relations of the Ethiopian Empire and the colonies it was not different from those of the Italians, French and British except their crudeness, level of technological development and similarity of their skins.

Those that call themselves “mix” are not from different races but black begot black. They were not born into white, yellow or red races. Those that fan this issue are narrow minded segregationist with chauvinist outlook and self-created identity crisis.  Because a child is born from Italians or Chinese, Oromiyaa will not become these countries. Ethiopians have codes to differentiate them and the colonies one is “Nitsu Etiyophiyaawii” (pure Ethiopian) and the other “minamintee” to mean the impure.  When Oromo youth started to wash off the impurity to become pure Oromo it was taken as treachery. Oromo purity is not that of blood but that of outlook. There are youth that are of non-Oromo ancestry but Oromiyaans that are involved in Oromo struggle and are paying no less sacrifice than others. Oromo born from different ethnic groups are among the top liberation heroes Oromo have. The majority, “colonial hopefuls” instead of standing with the oppressed class started to trace DNA. They became “force of unity” and those to whom injustice was done were branded “traitors, secessionist, narrow nationalists, divisive” for fighting for independence. The most ethnically eclectic nation by policy are Oromo.  It needs to be a visionary and self-confident, to recognize the right of nations to national self- determination.

Ethiopia is not a people but a myth and curtain to hide behind. It has served its purpose during colonial days. With colonial period de facto gone with its privilege for colonial hordes, Ethiopia can go back to her precolonial territory.  The matter concerns Amaaraa and Tigree. As their simpletons used to write, if Oromo are considered as “ciisanyaa” (tenants) with no country, it means peace is not desired and so the struggle will continue and truth shall prevail. Peoples that lost their history, culture, tradition and flag to colonialism are now coming out raising their resistance banner to claim their proper place among nations of the world. No one can tell them you are this or that without their will, but have to be treated as equals.

Oromo do not have any problem in forming any types of relation at any level as siblings and in equality with freed peoples. Since they have identical experience in life under oppression and contempt what they require to reconstitute themselves are similar. “Forces of unity” have to take note that calling Oromo gosa (tribe) which they are not is offensive. Ethnic also means a societal group that has similar culture, language and similar experiences not “gosa”. Gosa is a division of society above family lower than “qomoo”. Oromiyaa is a nation of several ethnic groups; even if it were single ethnic nation there is nothing wrong for such a great civilization and should not be presented as if natural law was broken. One chooses what one wants to be and no one has the right to impose own will on another. Who are they that want to ensnare over forty million people?

Wayyaanee is an outlaw that originated from the people of Tigray.  Its ancestors conquered Oromiyaa when it was not in a situation to defend itself. And it is now replacing them to accomplish their mission of destruction and add something of its own. Now the situation in the surrounding and in the world has changed. For this reason unless TPLF goes back to its den peacefully, it will be inevitable for it to leave by force, in the manner it came. Oromiyaa is for the Oromo, on what basis does Tigree or anybody claim to rule over them?  It happened from fire power imbalance at certain point of history a little more than a century ago. Now there is no moral or legal justification for continuation of the occupation. So far TPLF and those before it have ruled threatening with gun, and frightening with imprisonment and killings.

Now being numbed by abuses and fear of sufferings gone, peoples from all corners have risen saying enough is enough to the Wayyaanee. Instead of trying to abandon inherited tradition of oppression it is issuing laws to strengthen it. It has realized that its fall is nearing and that it cannot escape from the axe of justice.  For that reason TPLF has declared emergency Martial Law to cover crimes to be committed henceforth as if crimes of the last twenty five years will be forgotten. Measures it is going to take will not be different from the past in quality; number of actors and their concentration and frequency of action may change.

Free measures (netsa irmijaa) to incapacitate, loot, search, rape, kill and imprison without any consideration are going to be sanctioned, just like in their established tradition. The Oromoo had survived to the present even from the most unimaginable cruelty on human standard committed by their rulers starting from Teedros until this day.  Like them all, this one also has been trying to erase the Oromo from this planet. The Oromo have sprouting stumps that no amount of cutting can stop them sending out new shoots that can continue the fight for independence replacing the fallen ones. It is over a century since Oromiyaa totally came under military occupation. The present law may be taken as a psychological war to disrupt the revolutionary momentum that has almost crippled TPLF. Even though it is deploying all war machines it acquired as dependent of foreign powers to massacre the population in a desperate move, it cannot revive but can create damage with the last kick for life, which indeed are nowadays being reported daily.

From now on home burglaries, confiscations of communication and writing materials, gold, cash and live animals and materials of high value are going to be the norm. Torture, killings and rapes are going to be committed with higher rate unseen before not by will of soldiers involved alone, but as standing policy of TPLF government. Already it is told that thousands of snitches are employed to be paid lucrative amount for any piece of information on violation of emergency law. It is tempting for many to get the payment even if it were fabricating information against innocent compatriot, which has already started to be told. Under cover of emergency many institutions and machineries are going to be moved to safety of Tigray to be used after Wayyaanee retreat. So far protesters had imposed on themselves disciplinary limitation but henceforth it should not be expected under the emergency one. Culturally Oromo gives protection for unarmed peaceful persons that do not collaborate with the enemy and those that are war captives. It should not be a surprise if they also issue a proclamation countering enemy’s emergency declaration. Everyone has to be careful that it will be difficult to live with each other if one favors the enemy, give it comfort, or serve it as snitch. The situation demands to stand with the people at this time when injustice is being done, otherwise keeping silent could be considered as being an enemy collaborator. Both the war and its outcome are going to affect many relations.

Peoples started protest against Wayyaanee when the oppression reached intolerable level. The level so reached is one that made dying fending off preferable rather than live being tortured by it. Organizations operating under people’s name did not reach out for them for unknown reasons. For this reason they rose on their own. They started unarmed protest to give TPLF a chance to rethink its policy of genocide. They showed there crossed arms in front of them to show they were unarmed. But the response they got was rain of bullets. TPLF rather burned prisons with prisoners. It even disrupted religious celebration by scaring the crowd with helicopters, bombs and guns, killing many by stampede in addition to those that fell with gun shots. TPLF crimes are no less that Laurent Gbagbo who is now in Dan Haag had the world do not have double standards. TPLF caused peaceful struggle not to work for that country. As a result it seems protests are starting to changing colors. For this TPLF is solely responsible no one else; its abuses, like killing imprisonment, lootings, humiliations and suppressions are the cause for it.

Wayyaanee is making noise against this transparent movement saying there are foreign hands like those of Eritrea and Egypt involved through local political organizations without presenting any believable evidence. This is peoples’ movement and belongs to no organization. No one would have disliked if organizations have the ability to lead. It is the expectation of all that they strengthen themselves and give the movement a pattern. But instead they seem to have been conditioned to going around and socializing with adversaries of their nation to satisfy personal egos. TPLF ‘s Agaazii and federal police are all over Oromiyaa and Somalee Special Force in Eastern Oromiyaa are raining havoc over the people but no one is seen coming for the rescue. Had the movement got foreign support as alleged those blamed were African countries. Is it not on countries outside Africa that Wayyaanee depends for most of its administrative budget including those for armaments, training and management of its army? Are not Agaazii and police that mow down the peoples in particular foreign trained?  Do they believe foreign aid is blessed only for Tigrean warlords even today, like the British did after the battle of Maqadalla, when they denied captured armaments to Oromo forces that defeated Teedros with them and gave it to Tigrean outlaw? Since Oromiyaa is a country occupied by force she has all the right to defend herself with all means. The baboon sitting on its own bald butt points to another baboon’s and says look at his bald butt; Wayyaanee sits on its own bald butt and points to others’ butt that is even not bald at all.

Had Wayyaanee got the brain, it should not have opened its mouth about foreign interference in the empire’s affairs.  Wayyaanee thinks it has to use all the accusations on others that Darg used against it twenty five years ago. Most part of what Darg used to say were not totally false as that of the Wayyaanee; they were true. Oromo culturally do not like lies; and they do not hide the truth. Even if their own people lie they despise and reject them. It doesn’t mean there are no persons that changed their behavior because of sniffing around with aliens like the heifer that spent a day with the donkey. Such are dregs of Oromummaa. Any one that wants to befriend the Oromo should not lie or try to cheat the Oromo if they want to be partners in peace with them. As for foreign aid if help comes from anywhere it is welcome.

Oromo protest has put Wayyaanee out of balance. The emergency declaration it put out is only to give legal coverage for what it was doing unconstitutionally just yesterday. In the short days remaining to it in power, it is going to use the declaration as a cover to loot individuals’ property and to further humiliate the peoples. It is going to go away even without taking into consideration the fate of its PDOs, which it set against their own people. It wants to rub all its dirt on other countries rather than looking around for own redemption. Like its past practice it may perform criminal acts and prepare a drama to have caught foreign agents with evidence. OLF as usual is going to be the main character in the drama. OLF as formulated by the pioneer liberation fighters is the one that is self-reliant and independent. This is what continues haunting Oromo enemies; OLF the beacon of Oromo freedom. Look for the real not the impersonation. Our people have to watch what is going on around them and get prepared physically and temperamentally.  Our struggle is to win but must also be ready to accept win, win situation.

Oromo have produced many knowledgeable. But their level of political consciousness is still lagging behind that of the people. It is worrying to see some young persons ready to give up their rights before they get them. The winning Oromo outlook is that listed by the initial objective principle or Kaayyoo. That is why great value is attached to the name OLF by the Oromo even under situation of organizational weakness. Oromo intellectuals moving as professional or activists are expected to enrich and advance not emaciate it. It will be helpful if they function as people’s cadre not politicians. The recent efforts to bring together Oromo of different political views are a good beginning. From the first we learn that such meeting should stay private and no public broadcast allowed. Views raised by participants were taken out of context and some wounding words were thrown by the cacophonous “forces of unity”. It also exposed deviations in Oromo camp. It will be a step forward if such convention could achieve consensus on common rules of Safuu for all Oromo to observe. For now better keep ongoing Oromo deliberations stay within the Oromo audience until official statements are given. Any convention has to be guided from the home and reflect national aspirations not that of diaspora alone which live in freedom and have choices. Their messages have to be transparent showing clear stand and vision of the Oromo for Oromiyaa and its neighbors. What must be known is that at the end it is the Oromo people alone that can determine its future not TPLF, “Forces of unity” or even Oromo organizations. Enemy agent among cadres should be watched out.

Cadres of the people have to be the vanguard revolutionaries, courageous enough to challenge the status quo. With years of struggle the Oromo have forced the empire state to accept series of rights like those in the last constitution issued by TPLF/EPRDF government.  Nothing less than that is to be considered. It is the time when only the revolutionaries can produce result not tail wagging reactionaries. Oromo struggle is a national struggle and its priority is strengthening and enabling Oromo to get ready for emancipation and also to face third parties in unison. The blood of Oromoo children that spilled is not for deceptively hogtying the nation and throwing into enemy camp. Therefore those that are waging sincere struggle to empower their people have to watch out as not to be deceived by pusillanimous spineless Oromo Ethiopianists who are openly and clandestinely conspiring to sabotage Oromo struggle.

Even though Oromo organizations are many all claim in one way or other to have objectives to make Oromo life better and different from the past. Some might has slipped from the initial objective that Oromo struggle mapped out fifty years ago. That mission is not yet accomplished. Because some slipped into opposite camp before reaching the goal, the wheels will not turn back. Unless deviants can turn the wheel of Oromo revolution back, they are of no use to “forces of unity” however much they swear loyalty and being cosmopolitans. Presence of Oromo organizations that say we are there for you must be felt in the surrounding not from far off. Leadership is one that leads and not be led. It is how such vacuum is filled and consensus on minimum rules of Safuu that Oromo conventions have to try finding panacea for.

Criticizing or praising past or present actors discriminately, is an unproductive diversion that could harm the struggle; and so needs caution as not to create rift between freedom fighters at this time of national crisis. That doesn’t mean we will pass glaring sabotages on our struggle without exposing but we have to know the right place, time and audience. Oromo at home are dying on each other to bring about freedom and justice for all. It is a mass movement that no particular group could claim except the Oromo people. Any effort to advance Oromo revolution should be supported unconditionally. There are many that are trying to have access to the field of struggle denying this is arrogance and unproductive. Rather how to coordinate all efforts that will strengthen Oromo capabilities must be sought.  If wrongs are observed they have to be pointed out internally. Any negative information is of value only for the enemy.

Wayyaanee has renewed the over a hundred years campaign and declared genocidal war on the Oromo. Nafxanyaa descendants are wiggling to detract Oromo struggle for which millions were sacrificed from its right course denying the sovereignty of Oromo over Oromiyaa. To build support they are seen trying to agitate Oromo children born from non-Oromo parents to break safuu and join them. With contempt they want us to wave their flag, which they carried when they broke us and want us to applaud their rulers that committed genocide on us and suppressed our freedom and they praised our galtuu as if they are representatives we sent them. Knowing all this there are Oromo elites that trot after them like dogs conditioned to leftovers. The heroes they praise at every occasion are Teedros, Yohaanis, Minilik and other avowed enemies of Oromo. They do not realize that at least we have liberated our minds and the way we relate to them is not as before that of slave and master. The can no more impose their will on Oromiyaa and no more will Oromo bow for aliens. It is only with this understanding that they ought to approach the Oromo, their benevolent host. They always talk of Ethiopian unity which no Oromo opposes as long as that doesn’t include Oromiyaa in it. If they want unity with Oromo it is not impossible but the approach has to change. There is no one in this world that speaks for Oromiyaa except the Oromo. Let alone with preconditions to meet or talk to, Oromo are not willing to talk to any one that rejects the right of nations to national self-determination. That is also a test for Oromummaan.

Amaaraa in homeland and Oromo have no grudges between them. They have led similar life of destitution under Nafxanyaa tyrants. From Amaaraa generation of the colonial campaign era, before a century and half there were persons that participated as rank and file in those campaigns. Probably if not psychological boost they benefited them nothing but imposed on them rule of tyrants. Both have countries they love in which they bring up offspring, pursue their faith, resources, and culture and bury their dead in.  These peoples if they desire, they have the opportunity to deliberate on African unity, security of Horn of Africa and the protection of their mutual interest. To overcome the danger facing them directly today, they can also coordinate their operations. Normally, peoples want their boundary, security and their identity and interest not to be abused; not one to get dominance over the other. Dominance is the usual desire of those with autocratic mindset. Oromo do not have the culture and interest to deny other people are their freedom or conduct campaign against them. The advantages Oromo have in that region include having rich natural resources, having the biggest man power and their people being intelligent and industrious. Those are also what put them in disadvantage. Rulers of empire Ethiopia are one enemy. They want to monopolize their resources, deny their freedom and keep them suppressed. The group that calls itself “force of unity” also wants to get back to past oppressive system from which it was overthrown and do the same thing. Oromo give priority to peaceful resolution for problems in that region. If one comes with violence they will not give up without defending themselves. To bring peace to the region Oromo and Amaaraa in the homeland can play a great role.  Sane people know war is devastating and so do not hurry to say, “Bring it on!” There is no doubt that those that fight for birth right and justice shall overcome. Unless one sticks to national kaayyoo, there is no way to win trust from compatriots. That is why many run to the unknown rather that live in suspense with one that wavers at every turn. This problem has to be overcome in order to wage a victorious struggle. The solution may be to reexamine and put ones house in order so that there will be trust among freedom fighters and no enemy agent is implanted in their mindset. They have to be self-reliant and ready to pay necessary sacrifice until victory. The blood of our kids, mothers, fathers and siblings will not remain spilt in vain. The struggle shall continue until it germinates freedom! Oromiyaa shall be free! Justice to all human beings!


Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our fore parents!

Ibsaa Guutama

November 2016


 

Human Rights League: Ethiopia: How Many More Must Die Before there is an Intervention? November 6, 2016

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomistoromoprotests-image-from-financial-timesFascist TPLFAgazi forces shooting #Oromprotsters in Babbile town, East Hararge . 14 March 2016oromo-youth-murdered-by-fascist-ethiopias-agaziforces-in-arsi-kokosaa-dstrict-on-17-october-2016Oromo child murdered by Fascist TPLF Ethiopia forces in Jimma, Oromia on 16 May 2016 p2

 


Ethiopia: How Many More Must Die Before there is an Intervention?

HRLHA  Calls for  International Intervention to end Human Tragedy in Ethiopia


November 6, 2016

As is well known, the current state of volatility in Ethiopia  was sparked off  when the Killing squad “Agazi special force” started shooting directly at  the Oromo high school students  peacefully protesting in Ginchi town in Oromia on November 12, 2015.

The crisis that followed has been characterized by senseless killings, torture, abduction and unwarranted imprisonments in concentration camps of those who vehemently opposed the actions of the government force against peaceful protests by those demanding that the government of Ethiopia stop its injustices against the Oromo people and respect their fundamental rights.

This reckless action of TPLF/EPRDF against protestors reignited the grievances of injustice and inequality the Oromo population has faced for over two decades from minority Tigrian elites. In the next few days, the protest quickly spread all over the Oromia regional state. Since then, the protests have included Oromos from all walks of life. After nine months of protests  in Oromia Regional State, the Amhara Regional State joined the protest.  Meanwhile, the special force Agazi has continued killing indiscriminately the people of both regional states.

International and regional human rights organizations have continued to shed light on the killings, torture, detentions and abductions in Oromia and Amhar Regional States  while the world community has remained silent.

The massacre on October 2, 2016 at Irecha, an Oromo Thanksgiving festival  where over 1000 Oromos were massacred and thousands wounded- on the ground and from gunships in the air- has changed the situation dramatically. The peaceful protests have turned violent and several government owned properties have been destroyed and more killings and detentions have followed.

On October 8, 2016, the TPLF/EPRDF government declared a State of Emergency to cool down the situation. As the actions of the government show, the State of Emergency was introduced as a cover to continue the killings, torture and detain in concentration camps more Oromos and Ahmaras instead of cooling down the situation. After the State of Emergency was declared, thousands of Oromos  and Amharas have been killed and tens of thousands arrested.

The HRLHA  has received from its informants  a partial list of those picked up from different  showa zones (centeral Oromia) from October 8 – November 2, 2016 and held in Tolai Military camp .

The following are the numbers of abducted Oromo youths detained in Tolai Military Camp presently.

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The following are the names of Oromos,  mostly youths  among the abducted and their whereabouts are unknown

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The 2003/2004 Genocide against Darfur in Sudan is a striking lesson; the people there were killed indiscriminately and, more sadly, the perpetrators would go unpunished until it culminated in a full genocide. What is happening in Oromia and Ahmara  regional states today resembles more or less what happened at the embryonic stage of the Darfur genocide in Sudan.

Even the AU, whose headquarters is in the center of Oromia/Addis Ababa, gave late voice after thousands of Oromo children, seniors, men and women had been massacred by the TPLF/EPRDF killing squads.

The donor governments such as USA, UK, Canada and government agencies (African Commission  on Human and Peoples’ Rights, EU Human Rights Commission and  UN human rights council) have expressed  their concerns without taking  any concrete actions. Such inaction doesn’t reflect the AU’s  and the UN’s obligation under their own Constitutive Act, which provides for intervention inside a member state against genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

This is a cosmopolitan ideal of protecting people inside states against mass atrocities as a matter of common obligation. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P), coined in 2001 under the leadership of the Canadian government and adopted by 150 heads of states and governments in 2005, obliged the international community to intervene to stop atrocities.

As a matter of principle, a state shoulders the primary responsibility to prevent and protect its own citizens against horrific acts, but if it is unable or unwilling to prevent and protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, the responsibility is thus shifted to the international community.  It states, “ when a state is unable or unwilling to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, crime against humanity and ethnic cleansing, the international community has the responsibility to intervene”.

The UN Charter’s first and most essential aim is to “maintain international peace and security”. However, when the UN was first created, it was an enormous undertaking based on hope.

The most immediate motivation for the creation of the UN was to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, just the kind of war in which Allied powers were then embroiled, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights which were being so fragrantly and brutally violated by the Axis powers.

Today, one critical question on everyone’s lips is whether the United Nations is living up to its mandate, more particularly, of maintaining international peace and security. Amid ongoing human rights crises in Ethiopia it is hard to figure out what exactly the UN & AU have done to uphold their responsibilities. Nevertheless, it is not too late to act today.  

For the Ethiopian human rights crisis, two ways can be helpful in restoring peace and stability. In this, the international communities and agencies (AU, EU & UN) can play a decisive role:

  • Major donor governments, including USA, UK & Canada, should stop funding the authoritarian TPLF/EPRDF government
  • Put pressure on the TPLF/EPRDF government to allow neutral investigators to probe into the human rights crisis in the country as the precursor to international community intervention

Therefore, the HRLHA again calls upon the international community to act collectively in a timely and decisive manner – through the UN Security Council and in accordance with the UN charter on a case-by – case basis to stop the human tragedy in thiopian.

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  • International Committee of the Red Cross
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  • UN Security Council
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    Tel: +1 212 963 2671
    E-mail: ombudsperson@un.org
  • UN Human Rights Council
    OHCHR address:
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  • African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
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  • The US Department of State Secretarate Secretary
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    Email: hammondp@parliament.ukDepartmental
    Street,
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  • Minister for Foreign Affairs (Sweden)
    Her Excellency Margot Wallström
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  • Minister of Foreign Affairs (Normway)
    His Excellency BørgeBrende
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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    Phone: + 47 23 95 00 00
    Address: 7. juniplassen 1, N-0032 Oslo

Oakland Institute: After Irreechaa Tragedy, the US Must Take Action for Human Rights in Ethiopia October 4, 2016

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

 

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ethiopia-regime-conducted-mass-killing-at-irreecha-cultural-festival-2nd-october-2016-bishoftu-oromia-irreeechamassacreover-4-million-oromo-people-attended-irreecha-birraa-2016-celebration-at-bishoftu-town-horaa-harsadii-oromia-on-october-2016-p2

 


Oakland Institute

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


October 4, 2016

Irreechaa Holiday 2016: Protests and Tragedy

The annual Irreechaa festival is a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the Oromo people of Ethiopia. After the hardship of the winter months, the festival welcomes the spring and attracts millions to the town of Bishoftu in one of the largest cultural and spiritual celebrations of the year.

But instead of jubilation, this year’s festival was met with bloodshed. Between 55 and several hundred anti-government protesters were killed when Ethiopian security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition on crowds, triggering a stampede.

Protest for Human Rights in Ethiopia, Oakland, CA Credit: Elizabeth Fraser
Protest for Human Rights in Ethiopia, Oakland, CA. Credit: Elizabeth Fraser

The exact details of this atrocity are difficult to confirm—Ethiopian authorities routinely jail journalists and bloggers for critiquing the government and internet and cell phone reception in the Bishoftu region has reportedly been cut off. But regardless of the exact details, this is the latest in a series of events that signal increasing state violence.

State Violence Mounting in Ethiopia

For almost a year, protests have erupted in the Oromo and now also the Amhara regions of Ethiopia. They originated in response to a “Master Plan” that was set to expand the boundaries of Addis Ababa and take land away from farmers in the region, but have grown into larger calls for democracy and human rights in the country. Between November 2015 and January 2015, at least 400 people—mostly students—were killed by security forces in Oromo in the start of these protests. In August, nearly 100 more were killed in similar events in Oromo and Amhara. In September, a fire in the prison holding political prisoners and anti-government protesters in September took the lives of 23.

The trend is clear: state violence and repression in Ethiopia is mounting, and the international community is doing little to stop it.

Over the past eight years, the Oakland Institute has extensively researched, monitored, and reported on land and human rights abuses in Ethiopia. We started this work by examining detrimental land investments. This work led us to document the widespread human rights violations and repression of critics and opponents of the government’s development plans that were grabbing land and resources from its own citizens. In the wake of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation that led to the arrest of students, land rights defenders, journalists, indigenous leaders, opposition politicians, religious leaders, and more for exercising basic freedoms; in the wake of the villagization program that set out to forcibly relocate up to 1.5 million people to make their land available for foreign investment; in the wake of this year’s anti-government protests that have seen hundreds, if not thousands, killed by security forces—our work has expanded and our appeals for justice have grown.

Today, as we all reel from this latest tragedy, we say enough is enough. The US—as the largest bilateral donor to the country—must take a firm stand for human rights, democracy, and justice in Ethiopia.

House Resolution 861—Human Rights in Ethiopia

In September, Resolution 861—“Supporting Respect for Human Rights and Encouraging Inclusive Governance in Ethiopia”—was introduced in the House of Representatives, thanks to the courageous leadership of Representative Chris Smith. To date, it has been publically co-sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH). The resolution summarizes and condemns the massive abuses taking place in Ethiopia; calls on numerous US departments and agencies to review their financing of the Ethiopian government; and “stands by the people of Ethiopia and supports their peaceful efforts to increase democratic space and to exercise the rights guaranteed by the Ethiopian constitution.” The resolution’s support is growing, with news received last week that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) will also be signing on.

The US Must Act Now

The US and Ethiopia have a unique relationship: the US has relied on Ethiopia in its war on terrorism in the region, while Ethiopia relies on the US as a primary aid contributor. Because of this relationship, the position of the US is vital. A strong statement from the US would not only cause the Ethiopian authorities to take heed, but could inspire other world leaders to stand up for human rights in the country as well.

Over the past year, nearly one thousand people have lost their lives because they stood up for justice and human rights. How many more innocent lives need to be lost before the US is willing to take a stand?

All eyes are on us. The time to act is now.

Oromia: #OromoProtests Alerts! Crimes Against humanity:Fascist Ethiopia’s regime has continued with mass killings of Oromo children: “They made me sit on my son’s dead body & tortured me” said a mother: Reeffa Mucaa Koo Irra Taa’i Naan Jedhanii Achi Irratti Na Tuman: Haada Mucaan Duraa Ajjeefame September 9, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoo

OromianEconomist#OromoLivesMatters!

 

ethiopias-regime-tplfs-crime-against-humanity-a-mother-was-forced-to-sit-on-a-dead-body-of-her-child-killed-by-tplf-forces-and-tortured-7-september-2016-in-dambi-doollothis-is-hailu-efrem-16-year-old-oromo-teenager-murdered-by-fascist-ethiopias-regime-on-7-september-2016-in-dambi-doollo

This is just sickening to hear what is coming out of Ethiopia. 16 years old Hailu Efram working as daily laborer in Dambi Dollo, Wallega, Oromia. He was shot by security forces. Kids run to his mom with bad news. She runs to see his lifeless body. She was carrying her daughter crying on her only son lifeless body.
He was working daily bringing home what he gets to feed his mother and younger sister. Security forces came and told this mother to stand on her sons dead body. They pointed gun at her daughter. She kneeled down crying not to shoot her daughter. She was beaten in her back with back of the their guns? She was on her knees begging this barbaric forces to spare her daughter.

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Kun Boggee (Haayilu Efreem) kan waggaa 16tti waraana Agaaziin Dambii Doollootti ajjeefame. Haati isaanii isaa fi obboleessa isaa abbaa malee rakkattee guddifte. Haati takka wayyaa namaaf miiccaa, takka qoraan namaaf guuraa, takkammoo yoo argate buddeena mana nyaatatii toolchaa guddiste.
Haaluma kanaan Aanaa Anfilloo ganda Heenachee jadhamtu keessaatti jiraachaa turani. Booddana Boggeen gaafa guddatu haadha isaa waliin gara Magaalaa Dambi Dollootti galan.
Yeroo ammas kana haaati Boggee barbaree qooraa namaaf tumtee daaksisteefii waan argattuun jiraatti. Boggeenis haadha isaa hojiisheen hojjettus gargaaraa biraanis wantoot kaan yoo argates hojjettaa haadha isaa jiraachisa ture.
Garuu, amma mootummaa ummata oromoof gara jabina tokko ilee hin qabneen ajjeefame. Kan isa ajjeesan caalas, haadha isaa reeffa irra teessisanii tuman. Kana caala jiraa du’uun eessa jira?
Amma haalli kun haadha Haiyluu fi obbolaa isaatif hedduu ulfaataa jira; hedduu gaddisiisaadhas. kan dandaé akka nama tokkotti maatii kana jajabeessuu fi bayyanachiisuun barbaachisaa dha.
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Garuu, kun ummata Oromoo daran kan jabeesuu dha; daran akka qabsoo waliigalaatti gamtaan seenan kan godhuudha.
Namuu bakak jirutti, waan kufaatii sirna kanaa ariifachiisu irratti xiyyeeffatee akka hojajtu dhaamsa Oromummaa dabarsinaaf!! Rakkoo kana keessaa tokko tokkoon akn baanuu miti; rakkoo garbummaa kana kan irra aannus furmaata gamtaatiin kan dhufu, Bilisummaa Oromoo dhugoomsuun ta’a!
Gamtaan haa qabsoofnu; hojjannu, ni Bilisoomnaa!

 


Reeffa Mucaa Koo Irra Taa’i Naan Jedhanii Achi Irratti Na Tuman: Haadha Mucaan Duraa Ajjeefame, Dambi Dolloo irraa

Godina Kelem Walaggaa magaalaa Dambi Dolloo keessatti kaleessa galgala namoonni lama rasaasa humnoota mootummaa biraa dhuka’een ajjeefamuu jiraattonni nuuf ibsanii jiru.

Namoota nagaa daandii irratti kaan immoo mooraa mana ofii keessatti itti dhukaasuun ajjeesan jedhu jiraattonni kun.

Kanneen dhukaasa magaalattii bakka garaagaraa keessatti baname jalaa utuu miliquu yaalanii rasaasaan dha’ame jedhan dargaggoo Haayiluu Efreem yoo ta’u ka biraan Ibsaa Rundee namni jedhamu immoo mana isaa cinatti ajjeefamuu dubbatu.

Haati Haayiluu mucaa koo ajjeesanii erga diriirsanii booda iyyaa ennaan achi ga’u intala koo durbaa waliinan ture jedhan. Achuman reeffa mucaa koo irra taa’i naan jedhanii intala koo illee ajjeesuuf natti dhaadatan jedhan. San booda miilla isaanii jala daa’imeetan maaloo ilmoo koo na jalaa hin ajjeesinaa inni du’ee ciisus kanuma kootii jedheen oolfadhe. Anaan garuu reeffa mucaa koo irratti na tuman jechuun imimmaaniin nuuf ibsasn.

Gaabaasa sagaleetif kana cuqaasaa

 

“የገደሉት ልጄ አስከሬን ላይ ቁጭ በይ ብለው ደበደቡኝ” ደምቢ ዶሎ የተገደለ ወጣት እናት

 

The following are  Oromo youths (Mohamamd Usmaan, Eebbaa Waaqjiraa, Kabbadaa Fayyisaa, Hailu Ephrem fi Ibsa Rundee) who were murdered by fascist Ethiopia’s regime in the 1st week of September 2016.

these-4-oromo-youths-mohamamd-usmaan-eebbaa-waaqjiraa-kabbadaa-fayyisaa-hailu-ephrem-fi-ibsa-rundee-were-murdered-by-fascist-ethiopias-regime-in-the-1st-week-of-september-2016

 

Abbaan Irree Wayyaanee TPLF Godina Arsii Aanaa Dododaa Magaala Dodolaa Ummata Nagaa Rasaasaan Goolaa Jira.FXGs Itti Fufe.

Godina Arsii Aanaa Dodolaa Magaalaa Dodolaatti humnootni abbaan irree Wayyaanee dargaggoo Qeerroo Oromoo Kan maqaan isaa Abdullaxiif Sanbatoo jedhamu 4/9/2016 rasaasan naannoo masgiida fatihii gamoo muniir biratti rasaasa lamaan rukuttee hospitaala Dodolaatti yaalamaa jiruun yaalcha baqaqsanii hodhuutin rasaasni qaama isaa keessaa bahuun himamee jira.Sababuma kanaan ummanni magaalaa Dodolaa guyyaa har’aa hospitaala duratti yaa’un deeggarsa isaaf qaban agarsiisanii jiru jedha gabaasni Qeerroo Dodolaa14203241_1093995064019195_3656063882813952635_n14233035_1093994994019202_6625600833057223318_n


 

 

 

 

 

Over 100 prisoners at Qilinto dead from gunshots.Oromo Voice Radio sources confirmed that more than 60 died on the spot.

Our police sources said they witnessed 60 unidentified bodies in the compound. Hospital sources also confirmed that they have received over 60 bodies from Qilinto prison on Saturday.

All of the victims died from gunshot wounds. Their bodies were riddled with bullets.

Fire broke out at the Qilinto prison outside the capital Addis Ababa on Saturday sending a shockwave to the entire nation on the safety of several political prisoners held at the notorious dungeon. Prison sources said the fire was started as a cover up for the extrajudicial killings at the prison.

The majority were shot dead by snipers from the rooftop as they run away from the engulfing flames to save their lives. Some actually were shot and killed as they try to dowse the fire that broke out in one quarter of the maximum security prison

A visit by families of hundreds of prisoners at the various other prisons where the remaining prisoners were reportedly transferred were to no avail as security forces would not tell them if their loved ones were in those prisons.

A total of 50 bodies were reported at the Abiyot Hospital and the Defence Hospital. Some bodies were transferred from Abiyot Hospital to undisclosed location.

Some families of prisoners who went to the Qaliti prison on Monday run into the guards who work at Qilinto and asked them if their loved ones were alive and transferred there. The guards told them to come back after five days.

An estimated 3000 prisoners of conscience, mostly Oromo opposition figures and Ethiopian Muslims who demanded political and religious freedoms were being held at the notorious dungeon when fire broke out on Saturday and most of them are the political prisoners.

This is the third time in a span of short period when a prison filled with political prisoners catches fire. A prison in Gondar and Debretabor caught fire as the brutal forces of the TPLF shot at inmates who were trying to run away from the fire.

A fire that broke out at the Qaliti prison nine years ago killed at least 150 prisoners in November 2005.

Fulbaana 4,2016 Guyyaa kalessaa Manni Hidhaa Qilinxoo kan Haayyootni Oromoo qaroo uummataa ta’an keessatti hidhamanii jiran ibiddaan barbadaa,uu gabaasaa kan turre fi kallatti hedduun gabaafama kan türe, Waraanni wayyaanee ilmaan Oromoo Balaa ibiddaa jalaa akka of hin olchineef dhukaasaa irratti banuun ibiddaa fi rasaasa gidduutti ittisaa kana tureen ilmaan Oromoo ammaf lakkofsi isaanii hin beekamiin dhukaasaa irratti banameen wareegamuu fi hedduun madeeffamuun kallattii hedduun ibsame.

Halkan edaa Hıdhamtootni  Oromoo fi ilmaan Cunqurfamoo hedduun Mana hidhaa Qilinxoo irraa gara manneen hidhaa Biyyatti Kanneen akka Shaggar Roobıtı, fi  Zıwaayitti kanneen kumootaan lakka’aman konkolaataa 80 oliin fe’amanii guuramaa jiraachuu maddeen gabaasaan kanneen lakkoofsii isaanii 500 irraa hin caallee immoo Mana hidhaa Qaallittitti akka geeffamani hidhaman ibsamee jıra.  Mootummaan Wayyaanee yakka dalagaa jıruuf itti gaafatamadha!! ,

                  Qabsa’aan Wareegamuufı Hiraarfamuus Qabsoon İttı Fufa!!


Qilinto Prison Massacre Update: The death toll continue to raise. In addition to 22 bodies taken to Paulos hoospital, 13 death reported at Tor Hahloch Hospital and 14 at Police Hospital. Death reported among those taken to Turunesh Beijig hospital as well.


3 September 2016, fascist Ethiopia’s regime set Qilinto Prison on fire.

Yeroo Ammaa Kanatti Manni Hidhaa Qilinxoo Abiddaan Gubachaa Jiraachuun Gabaafame.

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Fulbaana 3,2016 #Qeerroo_NewsYeroo Ammaa Kanatti Manni Hidhaa Qilinxoo Magaalaa Finfinnee Kan Hidhamtootni İlmaan Oromoo fi Sabootni Cunqurfamoon biyyatti walumaagalatti 7000 Olitti Lakkaa,aman keessatti argaman İbiddaan Barbadeeffamaa jiraachuu Maddeen Keenya Gabaasan!!
Uummatni Maatiin Hidhamtootaas Akka Gara ilmaan isaanii fi Firootta isaanii hidhamanii jiranitti Darbanii hin baraarreef dhorkamaa jiru, Waraanni wayyaanees dhukaasaa guddaa banaa jira , Waraanni guddaan Bishooftuu irraa Gara Finfinneetti Socho,aa jiraachuu Maddeen Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromoo Finfinneerraa Gabaasan. Gabaasaa Guutuun Walitti deebina!!

Partial list of Oromos that have been killed as a result of Excessive force by Ethiopian Government armed forces during Peacful demonstration on August 6,2016, Oromia, Ethiopia

partial-list-of-oromos-that-have-been-killed-as-a-result-of-excessive-force-by-ethiopian-government-armed-forces-aug-2106. Click here to read

Oromia: #OromoProtests Alerts! Crimes Against humanity: Fascist Ethiopia’s regime has continued with mass killings of Oromo children, mass arrests and genocide against Oromo people