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HRW: joint letter from 9 organizations urging US Congress to vote HR 128 & show respect for human rights in #Ethiopia October 14, 2017

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistHRW

US Congress: Vote on H.Res 128

Support Respect for Human Rights in Ethiopia

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Oromia Media Network (OMN) 3rd Year Anniversary, Little Oromia (Minnesota), Minneapolis May 15, 2017

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OMN: Gratitude to German people & Government (Caamsaa 3, 2017)

 

OMN: Tumsa Hundeeffama waggaa 3ffaa OMN, Manchester, UK ( Caamsaa 8, 2017)

Women News Network: ETHIOPIA: Merciless land grab violence hits women who want peace April 13, 2017

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ETHIOPIA: Merciless land grab violence hits women who want peace

Ethnic Oromo students rally together as they demand the end of foreign land grabs marching with placards on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2014. Image: FlickrCC

(WNN FEATURES) ETHIOPIA, EAST AFRICA: She spoke to me with tears in her eyes describing the calculated execution of her own people.

Even though Atsede Kazachew feels relatively safe as an ethnic Amharic Ethiopian woman living inside the United States, she is grieving for all her fellow ethnic Ethiopians both Amharic and Oromo, who have been mercilessly killed inside her own country.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In spite of destructive crackdowns by the government against rural farming communities, numerous ethnic women living inside Ethiopia today are attempting to work toward peace in both the northern and southern regions of the country.

Under conditions of internal national and border conflict, ethnic Ethiopian women can often face pronounced stress under forced relocation, personal contact with unwanted violence including domestic abuse and rape, and discriminatory conditions for their family and children. These deteriorating conditions can also cause destabilization under food insecurity with greater malnutrition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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For over a decade United Nations panelist and human rights journalist Lys Anzia has reported news covering the latest on-the-ground conditions for global women. Her written and editing work has appeared on numerous publications including Truthout, Women’s Media Center, CURRENT TV, ReliefWeb, UNESCO, World Bank Publications, Alternet, UN Women, Vital Voices, Huffington Post World, The Guardian News Development Network and Thomson Reuters Foundation Trustlaw, among others. Anzia is also founder of Women News Network (WNN). To see more about global women and news check out and follow @womenadvocates on Twitter.

WMS students lend hands to Oromo Awareness Project March 11, 2017

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WMS students lend hands to Oromo Awareness Project

WORTHINGTON — Worthington Middle School students came together Friday afternoon to make bracelets as a way to support the Oromo Awareness Project.

 

The Oromo Awareness Project is an effort led by WMS student and Oromo eighth-grader Chaltu Uli, who hopes to bring awareness to the community about injustice happening in her home country of Ethiopia — specifically with the Oromo people.

The Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, have developed their own cultural, social and political system throughout history that differs from the rest of the country, which is governed by the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF). The TPLF has stepped over human rights and silenced any entity or individuals who don’t support its leadership, creating an environment of crisis in Ethiopia. There is constant confrontation currently taking place between the TPLF and the Oromo people that has resulted in significant loss of life.

Initially, Uli handed out letters during Worthington’s International Festival in which she shared her story and the situation in Ethiopia.

“The letter had a good response among some but she wanted to make it bigger, and so we thought, ‘What we can do to get the word out?’ said Kelly Moon, English immersion teacher at WMS. “And what actions do we want people to have in response to the letter?”

Moon was able to answer those questions while attending a student council leadership conference at which she connected with More Believe, a multimedia organization that helps companies promote their causes. Although the company agreed to produce the video for an affordable price, Moon still needed to come up with an idea to finance the video.

“The video is basically going to be about her story and what is happening in Ethiopia,” Moon said. “In order to make that video, we need the funds to create it.”

Uli and part of her family came to the United States in 2014 to flee the violence taking place in their country. However, her mother and youngest sister are still in Ethiopia.

“I have family there, so I am really concerned for them because there are really bad things happening there,” Uli said.

Despite the difficult situations she has had to overcome, Uli has been able to learn English and adapt to her new environment. She still worries, though, about the injustice happening in her native land.

Moon and Uli came up with the idea of creating bracelets and will sell them in the community to raise funds for the video. The student-made bracelets have four beads that represent the Oromo flag. Along with the bracelet, a short description of the meaning of each color is written on the back of the packaging.

Students will sell the bracelets, and a $500 goal has been set.

Moon explained that students are still deciding how to proceed after video is made. Possibilities include approaching legislators or donating funds to an organization, among others.

“We are still trying to figure out which avenues are going to be legitimate — like if it’s going to be donation, where is that money going to go where it will actually help and not just be incorrectly used,” Moon said.

Uli explained that her ultimate goal with the project is to bring awareness to government officials so they take action in helping the Oromo people.

“If they want they can donate money, but more importantly, we want them to contact the government and tell them about the Oromo people and what is happening in Ethiopia,” Uli said. “In the end, our goal is to make the government aware and to take action.”

Moon noted that although the project is focused on the Oromo, she hopes people will be more empathetic with refugees — or any individual who arrives in the country who is running from violence.

“I think when you know somebody’s story, it puts a face to the issue,” Moon said. “it’s not longer just an issue or problem “


 

Ethiopia on the brink? Politics and protest in the horn of Africa February 4, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

 

genocide-war-crimes-in-21st-century-is-conducted-by-fascist-tplf-ethiopia-regimeNo To Fascist TPLF Ethiopia's genocidal militarism and mass killings in Oromia, Ethiopia

Ethiopia on the brink? Politics and protest in the horn of Africa

Ethiopia is 12 months in to a political crisis which has seen at least 1,000 people killed. But unless the government introduces significant reforms, it will get worse.


By Andrea Carboni, Trans Conflict,  February 2017


An unprecedented wave of protests has shaken Ethiopia since November 2015. These protests have revealed the fragility of the social contract regulating Ethiopia’s political life since 1991, when the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition (EPRDF) overthrew the Derg and assumed power. This tacit agreement between the ruling coalition and the Ethiopian people offered state-sponsored development in exchange for limited political liberalisation. After twenty-five years of EPRDF rule, frustrated with widespread corruption, a political system increasingly perceived as unjust and the unequal gains of economic development, hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians have now descended into the streets, triggering a violent reaction from the state.

As we enter the twelfth month of the uprising, violence shows no sign of decreasing in Ethiopia. In its efforts to put down unrest, the government has allowed the security forces to use lethal violence against the protesters. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, more than one thousand people are estimated to have died as a result of violent state repression since last November. Thousands of people, including prominent opposition leaders and journalists, have been arrested and are currently detained in prison.

International concern

International institutions and non-governmental organisations have expressed major concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. The UN Human Rights Council called for “international, independent, thorough, impartial and transparent investigations” over the repression in Ethiopia, a request that was swiftly rejected by the government. Ethiopia’s Information Minister instead blamed “foreign elements” linked with the Egyptian and the Eritrean political establishments for instigating the rebellion and arming the opposition.

Rather than stifling dissent, state repression has contributed to escalating protests. Violent riots have increased after the events in Bishoftu on October 2, when a stampede caused by police firing on a protesting crowd killed at least 55 people. In the following days, demonstrators have vandalised factories and flower farms – including many under foreign ownership – accused of profiting from the government’s contested development agenda. An American researcher also died when her vehicle came under attack near Addis Ababa. Although protesters have largely remained peaceful and resorted to non-violent tactics, these episodes of violence raise concerns over escalating trends in the protest movement.

This map shows the number of reported fatalities in Ethiopia, November 2015 – October 2016. Image credit: Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset.

Unrest and repression

The geography of unrest is also telling of the evolving protest cycle in Ethiopia. The protests originated last November in the Oromia region, where the local population mobilised to oppose a government-backed developmental plan which would displace many farmers. The Oromo people, who constitute Ethiopia’s single largest ethnic group, accuse the EPRDF of discriminating against their community, and its local ally, the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO), as being a puppet in the hands of the Tigray-dominated ruling coalition.

Until mid-July, the unrest had largely remained confined to Oromia’s towns and villages. Local tensions around the northern city of Gondar inaugurated a new round of protests in the Amhara region, where regionalist demands joined the widespread discontent with state repression. In the following weeks, protests spread further into the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’, the native region of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, as local communities began to stage anti-government protests. Episodes of communal violence and attacks against churches have been reported in Oromia as well as in other ethnically mixed areas of the country.

Despite increasing dissent, the government seems unwilling to mitigate its repressive measures. Internet access was allegedly shut down in an attempt to hamper the protest movement, which uses online media and social networks to disseminate anti-government information. On October 9, the government introduced a six-month state of emergency, the first time since the ruling EPRDF came to power in 1991. At least 1,600 people are reported to have been detained since the state of emergency was declared, while the Addis Standard, a newspaper critical of the government, was forced to stop publications due to the new restrictions on the press.

Polarised politics: government and opposition

These decisions notwithstanding, it is unclear how the EPRDF can manage to restore the government’s authority and preserve investor confidence by adopting measures that continue to feed resistance. After pressure from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Hailemariam pledged to reform Ethiopia’s electoral system, which currently allows the EPRDF to control 500 of the 547 seats in Parliament. These limited political concessions are unlikely to satisfy the protesters’ demand for immediate and substantial change, since the proposed reform would only produce effects after the 2020 general elections.

According to the opposition, this is the evidence that the Tigray minority, which dominates the upper echelons of the government and the security apparatus, is unwilling to make any significant concessions in the short term. By labelling the opposition’s demands as racist and even denying their domestic nature, the government is leaving little room for negotiation and compromise and risks contributing to the escalation of the protests.

For over a decade, Ethiopia has been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Foreign investments – most notably from China – have funded large-scale infrastructure projects, including the recently inaugurated railway to the port of Djibouti.

The on-going unrest is likely to have a negative impact on Ethiopia’s economy, reducing the country’s considerable appeal among foreign investors and tourists. The demonstrations have revealed the growing discontent of the Ethiopian people, and especially of its disenfranchised youth, over the EPRDF’s authoritarian and unequal rule. The EPRDF therefore needs to implement far-reaching reforms and embrace dialogue with the opposition to prevent the current unrest from deteriorating.

Andrea Carboni is a Research Analyst at ACLED and PhD student at Sussex University.

This article was originally published by Insight on Conflict and is available by clicking here. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of TransConflict.

Africa: Gambia’s longtime autocratic leader finally leaves the country and go into exile January 22, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh finally left the country on Saturday evening local time after several days of negotiations with West African leaders and Gambia’s incoming government over the terms of his exit from office.

Locals were relieved that his departure managed to take place without a violent resolution as tension had built up while the protracted negotiations carried on. The erratic former leader left from capital city Banjul on a plane headed to Conakry, Guinea, and is expected to leave there to spend his time in exile in Equatorial Guinea.

Many Gambians believe that had Jammeh stayed in the country, he would never have actually relinquished power to the incoming government of president Adama Barrow. Jammeh’s departure brought an end to 22 years of eccentric and repressive rule over a small country which has not made much economic progress under his leadership. Instead, a disproportionately high number of young Gambians have left home to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach Europe.

Jammeh, 51, had agreed 24 hours earlier to step down nearly two months after losing a general election to Adama Barrow. Jammeh initially agreed to hand over peacefully soon after the elections only to change his mind. His final agreement to step down and leave the country only came after soldiers from neighbor Senegal crossed the border under the auspices of the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS).

The focus for Gambians has now turned to calling Jammeh to account for some of his alleged human rights abuses. A joint declaration issued on Saturday by ECOWAS, the African Union, and the United Nations sparked controversy among Gambians because it seemed to prevent Gambia’s new government leadership from seizing assets and property from Jammeh that he acquired while president, and to allow Jammeh return to the country whenever it suits him:

ECOWAS, the AU and the UN will work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that former President Jammeh is at liberty to return to The Gambia at any time of his choosing in accordance with international human rights law and his rights as a citizen of the Gambia and a former head of state.

Though the joint declaration is not likely to be legally binding, responding to it will still be a tough early test for president Barrow, who was sworn in on Jan. 19 at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, Senegal, after Jammeh refused to step down.

While many ordinary Gambians welcome the country’s first peaceful transition of power since independence in 1965, they also hope Barrow will investigate some of the claims against Jammeh, particularly human rights abuses. In an interview on Saturday with the BBC, Barrow said he was looking into creating a truth and reconciliation commission similar to one established in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid in 1994.

 

 

Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh finally left the country on Saturday evening local time after several days of negotiations with West African leaders and Gambia’s incoming government over the terms of his exit from office. Locals were relieved that his departure managed to take place without a violent resolution as tension had built up while…

via Gambia’s longtime autocratic leader finally leaves the country and go into exile — Quartz

Human Rights Watch: Ethiopia: Year of Brutality, Restrictions: Restore Rights, Address Grievances January 13, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

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Ethiopia: Year of Brutality, Restrictions


Restore Rights, Address Grievances

HRW

HRW, 12 January 2017


Languages Available In አማርኛ English

(Nairobi) – Ethiopia plunged into a human rights crisis in 2016, increasing restrictions on basic rights during a state of emergency and continuing a bloody crackdown against largely peaceful protesters, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017. The state of emergency permits arbitrary detention, restricts access to social media, and bans communications with foreign groups.

Ethiopian security hold back demonstrators chanting slogans during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016.

Ethiopian security hold back demonstrators chanting slogans during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016.

Security forces killed hundreds and detained tens of thousands of protesters in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Amhara regions during the year. Many of those who were released reported that they were tortured in detention, a longstanding problem in Ethiopia. The government has failed to meaningfully investigate security forces abuses or respond to calls for an international investigation into the crackdown.

“Instead of addressing the numerous calls for reform in 2016, the Ethiopian government used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to suppress largely peaceful protests,” said Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Vague promises of reform are not enough. The government needs to restore basic rights and engage in meaningful dialogue instead of responding to criticism with more abuses.”

In the 687-page World Report, its 27th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that a new generation of authoritarian populists seeks to overturn the concept of human rights protections, treating rights as an impediment to the majority will. For those who feel left behind by the global economy and increasingly fear violent crime, civil society groups, the media, and the public have key roles to play in reaffirming the values on which rights-respecting democracy has been built.

Protester anger boiled over following October’s Irreecha cultural festival, when security forces’ mishandling of the massive crowd caused a stampede, resulting in many deaths. In response, angry youth destroyed private and government property, particularly in the Oromia region. The government then announced the state of emergency, codifying many of the security force abuses documented during the protests, and signaling an increase in the militarized response to protesters’ demands for reform.

Government limitations on free expression and access to information undermine the potential for the inclusive political dialogue needed to understand protesters’ grievances, let alone address them, Human Rights Watch said.

The tens of thousands of people detained in 2016 include journalists, bloggers, musicians, teachers, and health workers. Moderates like the opposition leader Bekele Gerba have been charged with terrorism and remain behind bars, education has been disrupted, and thousands have fled the country.

The Liyu police, a paramilitary force, committed numerous abuses against residents of the Somali region in 2016, and displacement from Ethiopia’s development projects continued, including in the Omo valley.

The crackdown during 2016 followed years of systematic attacks against opposition parties, nongovernmental organizations, and independent media, effectively closing political space and providing little room for dissenting voices.


Oromia: Human Rights League New Year’s Message: “It always Seems Dark Until the Sun Rises” January 2, 2017

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 Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

Human rights League of the Horn of Africa


New Year’s Message from  HRLHA“It always Seems Dark Until the Sun Rises”December 31, 2016


The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) is delighted to be closing 2016. The organization is deeply grateful to its valued Board members, reporters, members, and supporters for their extraordinary  efforts to help the HRLHA continue to be the voice for the voiceless in the Horn of Africa in general and in Ethiopia in particular this year.

In 2016, the Horn of Africa Region remains one of the most volatile regions in the world. The civilian unrest in Ethiopia, the civil war in S. Sudan, and Somalia, the mass exodus from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia  to neighboring countries away from executions and famine, were some of the notable crucial problems in the region.

The year of  2016 has been a year of sorrows and chaos for nations  and nationalities in Ethiopia, due to the deplorable evil actions taken by Ethiopian government killing agents against peaceful Oromo, Amhara and Konso protests in which the Oromo, Amhara, Konso and other  nations and nationalities simply tried to exercise their fundamental rights to present their grievances. During the peaceful protests in Oromia, which have been going on for over one  year  in Amhara regional states and Konso Zone,  a number of citizens have been massacred, incarcerated, tortured and disappeared. Due to its mistreatment of its citizens, the government lost control over the country as  a whole and then declared a state of emergency to quell the dissent. Since the state of emergency was declared  on October 8, 2016,  many gross human rights violations have been registered- killings, abductions, and imprisonments. These continue to the present day among Oromo and Amhara nationals.

The staff members and reporters of HRLHA have worked  tirelessly to  expose the government of Ethiopia’s tyranny and defend and promote human rights in 2016; their work this year has been at its most intense than any of the past nine years. We gave maximum efforts to bring to light the atrocities in Ethiopia in a challenging environment characterized by administrative sanctions on mass media, including social media, email, telephone, sanctions designed to hide the atrocities the government killing agents were committing.

We are  greatly indebted to  HRLHA members, reporters and supporters who have shown courage and stood with us on this front to deliver their responsibilities of monitoring and reporting human rights abuses in Ethiopia under such difficult situations.

The HRLHA believes that 2016  was the darkest year in the history of the Oromo  nation. To give just one example, a mother and father lost their three sons in one night in their home to the government killing squad Agazi force. The mother was forced by the killers to sit on her son’s dead body. In other cases, women were raped in front of their husbands. These are just to mention  a few of the crimes known to have been perpetuated against Ethiopians by the dictatorial TPLF/EPRDF government crime groups. The HRLHA believes, however, that behind the darkness there is light for which we must continue fighting “It always Seems Dark Until the Sun Rises”.   It might seem that  the fight for our  basic and fundamental rights is over,  due to the repressions by the dictatorial TPLF/EPRDF government for  over the past twenty five years  since its formation in 1991. But it is not yet over, we should not give up, we must continue fighting for our rights until we win.

Therefore, in 2017, we must redouble the fight to protect human rights, democracy and equality by exposing  the dishonesty of the Ethiopian government to its ordinary citizens, and also to its political party members and government authorities.

The biggest fight of all, however, is the struggle for the well-being of all Ethiopians, for equality, and for the elimination of all forms of discrimination. It is also the most difficult because the present reality still hits hard at those who live through the anxiety and anguish of poverty and violence.

Finally, the HRLHA urges all peace, democracy and  human rights lovers, governments, government and non-government agencies to work together, so that the core values of peace, democracy, human rights, security and development will be restored in the Horn of Africa region in the incoming year of 2017.

“Let us strive together to make  all expectations and goals for each day be fulfilled on the day itself, to remove the darkness in the past  and to bring a brighter future in the incoming year of 2017 “

“We Fight For Human Rights!”

Happy New year for all!!

Garoma B. Wakessa
Director, HRLHA