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Daily Maverick: How Ethiopia exploits AU role to suppress international criticism January 29, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, Africa Union.
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 Odaa OromooObama Ethiopia visit Africa Union

 

 

The restrictions imposed on media and NGOs have the very real consequence of minimising negative news and information coming out of Ethiopia. This is one element of a censorship regime that is working. Recently, this was apparent in the coverage – or lack thereof – of the huge Oromo protests, where affected communities demonstrated against government plans to expand Addis Ababa. An estimated 140 people were killed, but the situation barely made international news, unlike, for example, the global headlines generated by the Marikana massacre in South Africa, even though the Marikana protest was smaller and far fewer people died.

Still, for an unabashedly authoritarian government, the ability to control information flow is the most significant advantage to hosting the headquarters of the AU. Just like that shiny AU building distracts the eye from the relative poverty of the suburb around it, so hosting the AU in Addis Ababa helps to disguise and obscure the darker elements of the Ethiopian growth story. DM

 

 

How Ethiopia exploits AU role to suppress international criticism

BY  SIMON ALLISON,  DAILY MAVERICK, 28 JANUARY 2016

 

 

Photo: Delegates listen to remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Media and civil society at the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa face a stark choice: avoid criticising Ethiopia, or risk being denied access to the continental body. SIMON ALLISON reports on how the Ethiopian government uses its role as gatekeeper to the AU to keep journalists, researchers and activists in check.

ADDIS ABABA – The African Union headquarters, 24-storeys of clean lines and soaring glass, is Addis Ababa’s tallest building. It looks all wrong in the context of its dusty, low-rise surroundings (although increasingly less so, as the city develops furiously around it). It’s almost like it was accidentally transplanted from Shanghai or Beijing, which, in a way, it was – China paid for and built it. But there’s no question that it belongs. The building is Africa’s diplomatic centre, and Addis is the continent’s diplomatic capital. There’s nowhere else it could be.

The city’s starring role in continental politics began in 1963, when Ethiopia brokered a truce between two rival African blocs with different ideas of what a continental body should look like. The breakthrough conference in 1963, where the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was declared, took place in Addis Ababa, and it was only natural that the new institution should establish its headquarters there too.

Not that there wasn’t a fight. Togo spent $120 million – that was half its annual budget at the time – on a lavish new hotel and conference centre in Lomé, complete with 52 presidential villas, in an effort to persuade the OAU to move its headquarters. The bid failed, and the complex turned into a ludicrously expensive white elephant, abandoned and left derelict for decades.

Togo’s attempt to steal Addis Ababa’s thunder was only crazy because it failed. Had it worked, the investment would have looked like a small price to pay. As Ethiopia well knows, the benefits – both financial and political – far outweigh any costs associated with hosting the AU.

Let’s start with the obvious. The AU rakes in hard currency for Ethiopia. There’s the $2,000-plus a month rentals for staff villas; the restaurants, hotels and conference venues built to cope with the regular influx of summit delegates; the thousands and thousands of flight bookings – often first or business class – which have helped Ethiopian Airlines become the largest airline in Africa. The AU is a cash cow, and Ethiopia has been milking it for more than 50 years.

It’s not just about the AU itself. Almost every African country has an embassy in Addis, because they’ve all got ambassadors to the AU (Why else would the likes of beleaguered Mali, for example, maintain a mission here?). This applies to non-African countries too: Addis Ababa’s status as a diplomatic hub means it attracts more foreign representation than other African capitals of a similar size, including another vast international organisation: the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. These missions all rent offices and houses, employ local staff, and shop in local stores, as do the research organisations and NGOs who trail in their wake.

While there’s no doubt that the AU is good for the local economy, it’s also true that hosting the AU inflates Ethiopia’s influence over AU decisions. Unlike many African countries, Ethiopia is able to attend every meeting, and, as host, it is given the floor whenever it wishes. It is able to send high-level representation with ease, which can play a major factor in smaller meetings outside of summits. So far, so normal for any major diplomatic city, be it Brussels, Geneva or New York. But Ethiopia takes things even further, using its role as gatekeeper to the AU to protect itself from international scrutiny and criticism, and to monitor those who deal with the continental body.

Non-governmental organisations are particularly affected. In order to open an AU liaison office in Addis, foreign NGOs must first be registered by the Ethiopian government. This registration can be withdrawn at any time, and with it, access to the AU. Several senior staff at international NGOs and civil society organisations told the Daily Maverick that this arrangement is premised on a tacit understanding: as long as you don’t criticise Ethiopia, your registration remains intact, and you are free to interact with the AU. On occasion, this includes hiring a local employee with known links to national intelligence.

“We are very, very careful with what we say about Ethiopia. They are very sensitive, and the AU comes first for us,” said one senior NGO official, speaking on condition of anonymity – for obvious reasons.

A similar arrangement applies to journalists, who cannot receive AU accreditation without first obtaining an Ethiopian press card; the arrangement is slightly different during AU summits, although visiting journalists must still register with the government communications office. Effectively, this means that Ethiopia, a country that is notorious for its tight grip on independent media, controls who can and cannot report on the AU. Again, this forces journalists to make a trade off: either report on the AU, and stay quiet on sensitive issues in Ethiopia, such as human rights violations; or report accurately on Ethiopia and risk deportation and losing access, perhaps permanently, to the AU.

Several prominent NGOs and research organisations, such as Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group, have declined to open an office in Addis for fear of working in such sensitive conditions, and base their offices that deal with the AU, elsewhere. Likewise, most foreign correspondents choose to work from Johannesburg or Nairobi rather than Addis, even though Addis – with all its diplomatic activity and excellent air links – is a natural base. This not only protects the Ethiopian government from criticism, but weakens scrutiny of the AU itself.

The extent to which Ethiopia’s state security agency is involved in monitoring and screening people who work or visit the AU becomes obvious at the January summits held in Addis Ababa. Their involvement is so blatant, in fact, that the National Intelligence and Security Service actually produces the badges given to all attendees:

The message is unmistakeable: we are watching you.

An Ethiopian government spokesman did not respond to a request to comment for this story.

The restrictions imposed on media and NGOs have the very real consequence of minimising negative news and information coming out of Ethiopia. This is one element of a censorship regime that is working. Recently, this was apparent in the coverage – or lack thereof – of the huge Oromo protests, where affected communities demonstrated against government plans to expand Addis Ababa. An estimated 140 people were killed, but the situation barely made international news, unlike, for example, the global headlines generated by the Marikana massacre in South Africa, even though the Marikana protest was smaller and far fewer people died.

In some ways, the suppression of information about Ethiopia is a missed opportunity. The country is growing at a tremendous rate, and has made huge strides in the provision of healthcare and education. It desperately needs to improve its international image, which (unfairly) remains rooted in the famine reporting of the 1980s. There are good news stories that aren’t being told, as well as bad.

Still, for an unabashedly authoritarian government, the ability to control information flow is the most significant advantage to hosting the headquarters of the AU. Just like that shiny AU building distracts the eye from the relative poverty of the suburb around it, so hosting the AU in Addis Ababa helps to disguise and obscure the darker elements of the Ethiopian growth story. DM

Photo: Delegates listen to remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2016-01-28-how-ethiopia-exploits-au-role-to-suppress-international-criticism/#.Vqs4se2LRdg

OROMIA: OROMO PROTESTS: MARKING THE NEXT ETHIOPIAN POLITICAL CHAPTER January 25, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo.
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Odaa Oromoo#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in Ethiopia#OromoProtests, Qabosoon itti fufa jedhu aayyoleenOromo students Protests, Western Oromia, Mandii, Najjoo, Jaarsoo,....

OPINION: OROMO PROTESTS: MARKING THE NEXT ETHIOPIAN POLITICAL CHAPTER

#OromoProtests Special coverage


 

By Henok Gabisa, Addis Standard,  25 January 2016


 

The current situation in Oromiya and wider Ethiopia is blusterous. In the words of an anonymous commentator on the ground, “Oromiya is a war zone; we are under effective military control.” From this characterization, I gather that the government security forces’ merciless firing of live ammunition at peaceful protestors has turned the situation into a popular civil rebellion in all of Oromiya. As a matter of fact, protest actions have taken place in more than 170 Oromo cities, towns and villages. As of this writing, Oromo activists have verified and documented the killing of over 100 Oromo persons, the majority of whom are students and farmers. The Associated Press reports that 80 Oromo protestors were killed. Oromo mothers and female students are being kidnapped and transported to unknown locations.

 

Effective December 15, the Oromo nation has fallen under the administrative jurisdiction of a “Command Post”, an entity chaired by the Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. “Counter-Terrorism Task Force”, which is assembled for this particular purpose is also deployed. It remains a major legal question whether the “military administration” constitutes the same effect as declaration of emergency situation-executive decree which should have followed a procedure of its own as under article 93 of the constitution. However, as of now, what we know is that the inception of the “command post” already has obliterated any semblance of legality because it unconstitutionally suspended the bodies that administer (i.e., the State Parliament and the Executive) of the State of Oromiya and the nominal political party in charge there.
On December 16, the federal government released something very close to a national decree. It was read on a national TV during prime time broadcast service. A joint venture of the “Command Post” and “Anti-Terrorism Special Task Force”, the decree’s content was considered by many as amounting to a declaration of war against the Oromo in general. The following day, the communication minister, Getachew Reda, followed up the decree with a presser, in which he described Oromo protesters as “devils”, “demons”, “satanic”, “witches” and “terrorists”, who need special military operation “to be put back in their place”. In his cantankerous statements, Getachew cleared up what many observers already suspected: the deep-seated and systematized dehumanization project of the Oromo by the regime and beyond. Again, PM Hailemariam Dessalegn, in an exclusive interview with the national TV, menacingly vowed for a “merciless” national response against the Oromo protesters if they don’t stop protesting. Now, we are observing synchronized, condescending and patronizing melodrama being translated into collective punishment against the Oromo. Getachew’s sordidly loaded press communication in fact reminded me of Seif-Al Islam Gaddafi’s last taunting moment in one of the notorious TV broadcast in which he called the Libyan protestors “rats” who had to be annihilated. The current military control in Oromiya exactly resembles the famous Nazi Law known as The Third Reich of 1933 that Nazified all German law in order to grant arbitrary power to Hitler to detain and convict Jews. In a similar way, ours is also a regime that has unequivocally and arrogantly displayed that it is not only the enemy of the people, but also of itself.

 

Why the plan is the reincarnation of perennial Oromo question?
The protest, now turned into an unarmed popular uprising or movement, is a renewed call from Oromo people to object to and demand the unconditional and permanent termination of the implementation of the Addis Abeba Master Plan, which is designed to incorporate surrounding Oromo lands into the capital against the will of owner-operators. The complete absence, on the part of the government, to solicit public consultation or participation since the start of the plan’s preparation in 2009 did not only make it a surreptitious political scheme, but also flagged major questions as to the substantive intent and content of the plan itself. In fact, the plan was viewed among the Oromo as an existential threat to the people and their land. The Oromo see the plan as a danger to their identity, language, culture, environment, and most importantly, their right to property/land security and the right to a sustainable development.
The government’s initial attempt to foist the plan in 2014 faced a stiff resistance from Ambo University students and all corners of Oromiya, triggering a massive crackdown by the government that killed unknown number of Oromo students in April and May of the same year. No judicial investigation or commission of inquiry was established, nor did anyone government official was hold accountable.

 

Completely disrespecting the peoples’ persistent objection against the plan, as of November 2015, the government came back with an imperious determination to implement the infamous master plan. At this juncture, the Oromo people, indisputably, were convinced of the federal government’s long-term scheme to end the meager economic and political presence, of the Oromo in central Addis Abeba and its surroundings.
The Master Plan, which the regional government said was scarped all together, is an epitome of the major political and economic injustices that have lingered on unresolved for far too long. Political subordination and denial of self-governance, rising poverty and increasing unemployment rate among Oromo households because of the policy of land eviction and language discrimination, are some of the fundamental questions. The ongoing movement is an expression of demand for an international scrutiny towards the Ethiopian regime’s system of wealth distribution and economic regulation in the ethnically structured federal system of the country.

 

Over the last quarter of century, the Oromo people have been ruthlessly targeted for their identity, falling prey to one of the authoritarian regimes in the continent. For example, various reports indicate that about 90% of the political prisoners in Ethiopian prison are exclusively made up of the Oromo. Not only did this create a deep-seated grievance among the Oromo, but also displayed the inept political leadership of the incumbent, potentially risking long-term stability of the region. The condensed account of political and economic discrimination based on identity, language and culture, the widespread and systematic violation of fundamental rights to property, crumbling land security, complete non-existence of freedom of assembly and of the press are some of the rudiments that are heating up the recent Oromo civil movement. These questions are as old as the coming into power of the current regime itself, or well beyond. The surreptitiously designed Addis Master Plan is the latest iteration of the long-standing policy of dispossessing the Oromo from their property, this time under the shibboleth of “urbanization” and “development.”

 

Humanitarian Crises: regime’s breach of common Article 3 of Geneva Convention
With the civilian protestors facing a regime that has no hesitation to use the national military force, a humanitarian crises has unfolded at an alarming rate. In some cases the government has deployed military helicopters to transport military personnel to the protest sites. We have witnessed that the regime’s military response doesn’t have moral boundary. I suspect the regime is oblivious to the fact that the whole world is watching.
Material breach-by the regime’s military force-of humanitarian obligation also continues to take place in several other forms. For example, in Wallaga, reports indicate that medical professionals are being beaten and arrested for treating wounded protesters. In Najjo town, Ambo and Burayu, security forces have occupied hospital compounds and other medical facilities in order to detain, deny and refuse admittance of the fatally injured protesters. In fact, the same type of cruelty has been witnessed during the 2014 Oromo protest. Of course, this kind of material breach of international humanitarian duty could also be considered as a constitutive element of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

 

Furthermore, the regime’s moral revulsion against the protestors is well indicated in the pervasive and horrifying acts of group rapes allegedly committed by members of the military  in a number of villages and university campuses. Some reports also reveal a disturbing account of a wife who was raped at night in front of her husband. It is clear that rape has always been used as a tool of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in different countries at different times. That is why International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) developed a legal theory under which an act of rape could give rise to a joint criminal conviction for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Any viable solution?
The movement is an expressed demand for sustainable peace, justice, democracy, equality and true development that had been lacking in the country over the last 25 years. Apparently, the existing model of governance couldn’t extend to the greater public beyond the elites and a few members of a group who are affiliated with the regime. In fact, that is why Ethiopia is on the brink of famine with over 20 million Ethiopian people in need of urgent food, the majority of the affected being the Oromo. The number of Ethiopian youths that very frequently perish in the Mediterranean Sea while running away from home should put the lie to the government’s claim of the double digit growth. The stories thousands of our sisters living in an almost slavery-like situation in the Middle East should be a sufficient indication of how the travesty of the assertion Ethiopia’s fast economic growth.

 

 

The recent movement filled with ultimate self-sacrifice is the latest episode in Oromo’s quest for a better future and legitimate self-governance. The movement understands that unchecked state power in Ethiopia has been the problem and not the solution to economic development. The movement is an ultimate negation of the regime’s grandiloquent declaration of the recent 100% parliamentary win. It is the movement that is guarding and protecting the constitution from the government that was supposed to defend it. At the end of the day, the movement is a demand for reconfiguration and restructuring of the politics of the country. Of all, the movement is a plea for the permanent removal of the metastasized political cancer that that has diminished the lives and existence of the Oromo.
So, it is possible that the movement will soon culminate in being a sole driving force for the emergence of a new Ethiopia that all can call home. Oromo children’s blood gushing like a river on every street of Oromo city is a timely proof for a well-deserved moral leadership in the country. Over the last two months, the incumbent regime has conveyed a message to the Oromo and all other Ethiopians that it cannot lead the country; that its moral integrity is already corrupted, busted and politically bankrupt. The regime didn’t cash in on the benefit of the doubt it was granted 25 years ago. Now, it is a prime time for the people to step up their games by owning and showing the right leadership. That is the only way out.


 

 

Ed’s Note: Henok Gabisa is Visiting International Law Fellow based at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia. He can be reached at GabisaH@wlu.edu. The opinions expressed in this article are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect Addis Standard’s editorial guideline.

 

Opinion: Oromo Protests: Marking the next Ethiopian political chapter

Foreign Policy In Focus: Ethiopia’s Invisible Crisis. #OromoProtests January 23, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethnic Cleansing, Oromia, Oromo.
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Odaa Oromoooromoprotests-tweet-and-share1Say no to the master killer. Addis Ababa master plan is genocidal plan against Oromo peopleAgazi security forces beating Oromo women, children)

Ethiopia’s Invisible Crisis

Hailemariam_Desalegn_and_Barack_Obama_in_2013

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn confers with President Barack Obama

“Badessa” was a third-year engineering student in western Ethiopia in April 2014 when he and most of his classmates joined a protest over the potential displacement of ethnic Oromo farmers like his family because of the government’s plan to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, into the farmland.

The night of the first protests he was arrested and taken to an unmarked detention center. Each night he heard his fellow students screaming in agony as one by one they were tortured by interrogators. “I still hear the screams,” he told me later. Eventually his turn came to be interrogated. “What kind of country is it when I voice concern that my family could lose their farm for a government project and I am arrested, tortured, and now living as a refugee?”

Since mid-November, large-scale protests have again swept through Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region, and the response from security forces has again been brutal. They have killed countless students and farmers, and arrested opposition politicians and countless others. On January 12, the government announced it was cancelling the master plan, but that hasn’t stopped the protests and the resultant crackdown.

Although the protest was initially about the potential for displacement, it has become about so much more. Despite being the biggest ethnic group in Ethiopia, Oromos have often felt marginalized by successive governments and feel unable to voice concerns over government policy. Oromos who express dissent are often arrested and tortured or otherwise mistreated in detention, accused of belonging to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a group that has long been mostly inactive and that the government designated a terrorist organization.

The government is doing all it can to make sure that the news of these protests doesn’t circulate within the country or reach the rest of the world. Ethiopia’s allies, including governments in the region and the African Union, have largely stood by as Ethiopia has steadily strangled the ability of ordinary Ethiopians to access information and peacefully express their views, whether in print or in public demonstrations. But they should be worried about what is happening in Oromia right now, as Ethiopia — Africa’s second most-populous country and a key security ally of the US — grapples with this escalating crisis.

This may prove to be the biggest political event to hit Ethiopia since the controversial 2005 elections resulted in a crackdown on protesters in which security forces killed almost 200 people and arrested tens of thousands .

Although the government focuses its efforts on economic development and on promoting a narrative of economic success, for many farmers in Oromia and elsewhere economic development comes at a devastating cost. As one Oromo student told me “All we hear about is development. The new foreign-owned farms and roads is what the world knows, but that just benefits the government. For us [Oromos] it means we lose our land and then we can’t sustain ourselves anymore.”

It has become almost impossible for journalists and human rights monitors to get information about what is happening, especially in smaller towns and rural areas outside Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is one of the most restrictive environments for independent investigation, reporting, and access to information, earning the country a top-10 spot in the global ranking of jailers of journalists. For the past decade, the government has limited access to information by regularly threatening, imprisoning, and prosecuting individual activists, bloggers, and journalists and sending a clear public message that the media must self-censor and that dissent or criticism of government policy will not be tolerated.

Independent media have dwindled—more than 70 journalists have fled the country since 2010 and five of the last independent publications closed down before the May elections. Meanwhile the state-run media parrot the government line, in this case claiming that the Oromo protesters are linked to “terrorist groups” and “anti-peace elements” who are “aiming to create havoc and chaos.”

Very few international journalists are based in Ethiopia. Those who have attempted to cover events on the ground since the protests began have braved threats and arrest, but these are a few lone voices.

Given restrictions on local and international media, you might think that ordinary citizens, local activists, and nongovernmental organizations would fill the gaps and document the events in Oromia. But Ethiopia’s human rights activists and independent groups have been crushed by draconian legislation and threats, and even ordinary people are often terrified to speak out. People who dare to speak to international media outlets or independent groups have been arrested. The government taps phone lines and uses European-made spyware to target journalists and opposition members outside the country.

Since the protests began, the restrictions have become even harsher. Authorities have arrested people, including health workers, for posting photos and videos or messages of support on social media. The state-run telecom network has also been cut in some areas, making it much more difficult to get information out from hotspots.

Radio and satellite television outlets based outside Ethiopia, including some diaspora stations, play a key role disseminating information about the protests within Oromia, as they also did in 2014 during the last round of protests. Last year numerous people were arrested in Oromia during the protests merely for watching the diaspora-run Oromia Media Network (OMN).

The government has frequently jammed foreign stations in the past, violating international regulations in the process. When the government is unable to jam it puts pressure on the satellite companies themselves. Throughout the protests government agents have reportedly been destroying satellite dishes.

Yet despite the clear efforts to muzzle voices, information is coming out. Some protesters are losing their fear of expressing dissent and are speaking openly about the challenges they are facing. Social media plays a key role in disseminating information as people share photos and videos of rallies, of bloodied protesters, and of expressions of peaceful resistance in the face of security forces using excessive force.

In the coming days and weeks Ethiopia’s friends and partners should condemn the use of excessive force by security forces that is causing tragic and unnecessary deaths. But they should also be clear that Ethiopia needs to ensure access to information and stop disrupting telecommunications and targeting social media users. The world needs to know what is happening in Oromia—and Ethiopians have a right to know what is happening in their country.

Felix Horne is the Ethiopia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

http://fpif.org/ethiopias-invisible-crisis/

Oromia:Ethiopia (All Africa): Update – European Parliament Adopts Powerful Ethiopia Resolution January 23, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, EU, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo.
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Odaa OromooEU

Ethiopia: Update – European Parliament Adopts Powerful Ethiopia Resolution

The 751 Members of the European Parliament, the only directly-elected body of the European Union (EU), have debated and adopted a powerful motion presented to them on the current situation in Ethiopia. The motion included detailed descriptions about the Oromo protests that have rocked the nation from all corners, the country’s frequent use of the infamous Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to stifle “even mild criticism”, and the pervasive displacement and abuse of millions of Ethiopians in the name of development.

The debate and vote by the European Parliament took place yesterday during a first reading at a plenary session. “Ethiopia resolution adopted by EP plenary without amendments to the text supported by 7 Groups. Only extreme right wing voted against”, reads a tweet from Ana Gomez, a member of the European parliament.

Authored by more than 60 individual members of the European Parliament together with the Socialists and Democrats, S&D Group, the centre-left political group in the Parliament which has 191 members from all 28 EU countries, and supported by seven groups, the motion detailed a disturbing prevalence of human right abuses in Ethiopia perpetrated by the government.

Biggest crisis

The motion describes the recent Oromo protests as “the biggest crisis to hit Ethiopia since the 2005 election violence” and said “security forces used excessive lethal force and killed at least 140 protesters and injured many more.” It also accuses authorities in Ethiopia of arbitrarily arresting “a number of peaceful protesters, journalists and opposition party leaders in the context of a brutal crackdown on the protests in the Oromiya Region,” and “those arrested are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.”

The motion specifically mentions the arrest on December 23 of Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) Oromiya’s largest legally registered political party. It noted that Bekele was taken to a prison known for torture and other ill-treatment practices and “shortly after he was reportedly hospitalized”. It mentioned that the whereabouts of Bekele Gerba, were “now unknown, raising concerns of an enforced disappearance.” “The government [has] labeled largely peaceful protesters as ‘terrorists’ deploying military forces against them.”

The motion connects the current Oromo protests with “the bloody events of April and may 2014, when federal forces fired into groups of largely peaceful Oromo protesters, killing dozens; at least hundreds more students were arrested, and many remain behind bars.”

In an email interview with Addis Standard, a diplomat who is working at an EU member state embassy here in Addis Abeba, said the motion was “the strongest, detailed and straight forward motion that describes the current situation in Ethiopia.” The diplomat, who wishes to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak, further said that reports from various embassies on the ground have helped inform member states about the “fragility” of the situation in Ethiopia.

Asked to comment on whether the Parliament is likely to pass the motion or reject it, the diplomat said, without specifics, that “the current situation in Ethiopia calls for a careful reading of events on the ground and this motion, more likely than less, is Ethiopia as we know it today.”

The motion blames Ethiopia’s government of accusing people who express “even mild criticism of government policy of association with terrorism,” and mentions the dozens of journalists, bloggers, protesters, students and activists who have been prosecuted under the country’s draconian 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. “Numerous prisoners of conscience, imprisoned in previous years based solely on their peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression and opinion, including journalists and opposition political party members, remained in detention.”

The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won all 547 parliamentary seats in the May 2015 elections, the motion says, “due in part to the lack of space for critical or dissenting voices in the election process; May’s federal elections took place in a general atmosphere of intimidation, and concerns over the lack of independence of the National Electoral Board.”

However, the motion says, Ethiopia enjoys political support from western donors and most of its regional neighbors, “mostly due to its role as host of the African Union (AU) and its contribution to UN peacekeeping, security and aid partnerships with Western countries.” Ethiopia receives more aid than any other African country – close to $3bn per year, or about half the national government budget. But “the current political situation in Ethiopia and the brutal repression of dissent put a serious risk to the security, development and stability in the country.”

Call for action

In light with the detailed human rights violations by the government, the motion included a fifteen point recommendations including a call on the EU to “effectively monitor programs and policies to ensure that EU development assistance is not contributing to human rights violations in Ethiopia, particularly programs linked to displacement of farmers and pastoralists, and develop strategies to minimize any negative impact of displacement within EU funded development projects.”

The motion also condemns the recent use of excessive force by the security forces in Oromiya and “in all Ethiopian regions, the increased cases of human rights violations and abuses, including violations of people’s physical integrity, arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions, the use of torture, and violations of the freedom of the press and of expression, as well as the prevalence of impunity.”

The motion further for the immediate release of all those jailed for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including students, farmers, opposition politicians, academics, bloggers and journalists. It also calls on the government in Ethiopia to carry out a credible, transparent and impartial investigation into the killings of protesters and other alleged human rights violations in connection with the protest movement and to fairly prosecute those responsible, regardless of rank or position. It also urges the government to “immediately invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly and other UN human rights experts to visit Ethiopia to report on the situation.”

But whether Ethiopia could heed the calls and recommendations remains to be seen.

Members of the European Parliament are elected once every five years by voters right across the 28 Member States of the European Union on behalf of Europe 500 million citizens.

Read more at:

Resolutionallafrica.com/stories/201601221289.html

European Parliament adopts 19-point resolution on the human rights situation in Oromia/ Ethiopia January 22, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoo

                European Parliament adopts

                19-point resolution

                on the situation  in Ethiopia


EU

 

Situation in Ethiopia

Parliament strongly condemns the recent use of violence by the security forces and the increased number of cases of human rights violations in Ethiopia. It calls for a credible, transparent and independent investigation into the killings of at least 140 protesters and into other alleged human rights violations in connection with the protest movement after the May 2015 federal elections in the country. It also calls on the Ethiopian authorities to stop suppressing the free flow of information, to guarantee the rights of local civil society and media and to facilitate access throughout Ethiopia for independent journalists and human rights monitors. The EU, as the single largest donor, should ensure that EU development assistance is not contributing to human rights violations in Ethiopia,

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/pdfs/news/expert/infopress/20160115IPR10195/20160115IPR10195_en.pdf

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/pdfs/news/expert/infopress/20160115IPR10195/20160115IPR10195_en.pdf

http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I114947&sitelang=en&videolang=EN

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Ethiopia (2016/2520(RSP))

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Ethiopia and to the most recent plenary debate on the matter, of 20 May 2015,

– having regard to the statement of 23 December 2015 by the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson on recent clashes in Ethiopia,

– having regard to the joint statement of 20 October 2015 by Federica Mogherini, Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), and Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,

– having regard to the press release on the meeting of 13 January 2016 between the VP/HR, Federica Mogherini, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Tedros Adhanom,

– having regard to the statement of 27 May 2015 by the EEAS spokesperson on the elections in Ethiopia,

– having regard to the declaration of 10 July 2015 by the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, on the release of Ethiopian journalists,

– having regard to the latest Universal Periodic Review on Ethiopia before the UN Human Rights Council,

– having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

– having regard to the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia adopted on 8 December 1994, and in particular the provisions of Chapter III on fundamental rights and freedoms, human rights and democratic rights,

– having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

– having regard to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by Ethiopia in 1994,

– having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

– having regard to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

– having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the most recent general elections were held on 24 May 2015, in which the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) remained the ruling party and won all the seats in the national parliament, owing in part to the lack of space for critical or dissenting voices in the election process; whereas May’s federal elections took place in a general atmosphere of intimidation and concerns over the lack of independence of the National Electoral Board; whereas the EPRDF has been in power for 24 years, since the overthrow of the military government in 1991;

B. whereas over the past two months Ethiopia’s largest region, Oromia, home of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, has been hit by a wave of mass protests over the expansion of the municipal boundary of the capital, Addis Ababa, which has put farmers at risk of being evicted from their land;

C. whereas, according to international human rights organisations, security forces have responded to the generally peaceful protests by killing at least 140 protesters and injuring many more, in what may be the biggest crisis to hit Ethiopia since the 2005 election violence; whereas, on the contrary, the government has only admitted the deaths of dozens of people as well as 12 members of the security forces;

D. whereas on 14 January 2016 the government decided to cancel the disputed large-scale urban development plan; whereas, if implemented, the plan would expand the city’s boundary 20-fold; whereas the enlargement of Addis Ababa has already displaced millions of Oromo farmers and trapped them in poverty;

E. whereas Ethiopia is a highly diverse country in terms of religious beliefs and cultures; whereas some of the largest ethnic communities, particularly the Oromo and the Somali (Ogaden), have been marginalised in favour of the Amhara and the Tigray, with little participation in political representation;

F. whereas the Ethiopian authorities arbitrarily arrested a number of peaceful protesters, journalists and opposition party leaders in a brutal crackdown on protests in the Oromia Region; whereas those arrested are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment;

G. whereas the government has labelled largely peaceful protesters as ‘terrorists’, applying the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (Law No 652/2009) and deploying military forces against them;

H. whereas on 23 December 2015 the authorities arrested Bekele Gerba, Deputy Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Oromia’s largest legally registered political party; whereas Mr Gerba was taken to prison and reportedly hospitalised shortly afterwards; whereas his whereabouts are now unknown;

I. whereas other senior OFC leaders have been arbitrarily arrested in recent weeks or are said to be under virtual house arrest;

J. whereas this is not the first time that Ethiopian security forces have been implicated in serious human rights violations in response to peaceful protests, and whereas it is known that the Ethiopian Government is systematically repressing freedom of expression and association and banning individuals from expressing dissent or opposition to government policies, thereby limiting the civil and political space, including by carrying out politically motivated prosecutions under the draconian anti-terrorism law, decimating independent media, dismantling substantial civil society activism and cracking down on opposition political parties;

K. whereas in December 2015 leading activists such as Getachew Shiferaw (Editor-in-Chief of Negere Ethiopia), Yonathan Teressa (an online activist) and Fikadu Mirkana (Oromia Radio and TV) were arbitrarily arrested, although they have yet to be charged by the Ethiopian authorities;

L. whereas the Ethiopian Government imposes pervasive restrictions on independent civil society and media; whereas, according to the 2014 prison census conducted by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Ethiopia was the fourth-worst jailer of journalists in the world, with at least 17 journalists behind bars, 57 media professionals having fled Ethiopia in the previous five years and a number of independent publications having shut down as a result of official pressure; whereas Ethiopia also ranked fourth on the CPJ’s 2015 list of the 10 most-censored countries;

M. whereas numerous prisoners of conscience imprisoned in previous years solely on the basis of the legitimate exercise of their freedom of expression and opinion, including journalists and opposition political party members, remain in detention; whereas some of them have been convicted in unfair trials, some face ongoing trials and some continue to be detained without charge, including Eskinder Nega, Temesghen Desalegn, Solomon Kebede, Yesuf Getachew, Woubshet Taye, Saleh Edris and Tesfalidet Kidane;

N. whereas Andargachew Tsege, a British-Ethiopian citizen and leader of an opposition party living in exile, was arrested in June 2014; whereas Mr Tsege had been condemned to death several years earlier in his absence, and has been on death row practically incommunicado since his arrest;

O. whereas Ethiopia’s Charities and Societies Proclamation law requires organisations engaged in advocacy to generate 90 % of the funding for their activities from local sources, which has led to a decrease in action by civil society organisation (CSOs) and to the disappearance of many CSOs; whereas Ethiopia rejected recommendations to amend the Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, made by several countries during the examination of its rights record under the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of May 2014;

P. whereas the Ethiopian Government has de facto imposed a widespread blockade of the Ogaden region in Ethiopia, which is rich in oil and gas reserves; whereas attempts to work and report from the region by international media and humanitarian groups are seen as criminal acts punishable under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; whereas there are reports of war crimes and severe human rights violations perpetrated by the army and government paramilitary forces against the Ogaden population;

Q. whereas Ethiopia, the second-most-populated country in Africa, is reportedly one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, with an average growth rate of 10 % in the past decade; whereas it nevertheless remains one of the poorest, with a per capita GNI of USD 632; whereas it ranked 173rd out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index for 2014;

R. whereas Ethiopia plays a key role in the region and enjoys political support from Western donors and most of its regional neighbours, mostly owing to its role as host of the African Union (AU) and its contribution to UN peacekeeping, security and aid partnerships with Western countries;

S. whereas, as economic growth continues apace (along with significant foreign investments, including in the agriculture, construction and manufacturing sectors, large-scale development projects, such as hydroelectric dam building and plantations, and widespread land-leasing, often to foreign companies), many people, including farmers as well as pastoralists, have been driven from their homes;

T. whereas Article 40(5) of Ethiopia’s constitution guarantees Ethiopian pastoralists the right to free land for grazing and cultivation and the right not to be displaced from their own lands;

U. whereas Ethiopia is a signatory to the Cotonou Agreement, Article 96 of which stipulates that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is an essential element of ACP‑EU cooperation;

V. whereas Ethiopia is experiencing its worst drought in decades, leading to increasing food insecurity, severe emaciation and unusual livestock deaths; whereas nearly 560 000 people are internally displaced owing to floods, violent clashes over scarce resources and drought; whereas the Ethiopian Government estimates that 10.1 million people, half of them children, are in need of emergency food aid owing to the drought;

W. whereas Ethiopia is faced with permanent influxes of migrants and is a host country for approximately 700 000 refugees, mainly from South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia; whereas on 11 November 2015 a Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM) was signed by the EU and Ethiopia to reinforce cooperation and dialogue between the two parties in the area of migration;

[=======]

1. Strongly condemns the recent use of excessive force by the security forces in Oromia and in all Ethiopian regions, and the increased number of cases of human rights violations; expresses its condolences to the families of the victims and urges the immediate release of all those jailed for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression;

2. Reminds the Ethiopian Government of its obligations to guarantee fundamental rights, including access to justice and the right to a fair trial, as provided for in the African Charter and other international and regional human rights instruments, including the Cotonou Agreement and specifically Articles 8 and 96 thereof;

3. Calls for a credible, transparent and independent investigation into the killings of protesters and into other alleged human rights violations in connection with the protest movement, and calls on the government to fairly prosecute those responsible before the competent jurisdictions;

4. Calls on the Government of Ethiopia to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter, including the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and association; urges the government to immediately invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and other UN human rights experts to visit Ethiopia to report on the situation;

5. Welcomes the government’s decision to completely halt the special zone master plan for Addis Ababa and Oromia; calls for an immediate, inclusive and transparent political dialogue which includes the government, opposition parties, civil society representatives and the local population, to prevent any further violence or radicalisation of the population;

6. Stresses that free and independent media are essential in order to guarantee an informed, active and engaged population, and calls on the Ethiopian authorities to stop suppressing the free flow of information, including by jamming media broadcasts and harassing media, to guarantee the rights of local civil society and media and to facilitate access throughout Ethiopia for independent journalists and human rights monitors; acknowledges the recent release of ‘Zone 9’ bloggers and of six journalists;

7. Requests that the Ethiopian authorities stop using anti-terrorism legislation (Anti‑Terrorism Proclamation No 652/2009) to repress political opponents, dissidents, human rights defenders, other civil society actors and independent journalists; calls also on the Ethiopian Government to review its anti-terrorism law in order to bring it into line with international human rights law and principles;

8. Condemns the excessive restrictions placed on human rights work by the Charities and Societies Proclamation, which denies human rights organisations access to essential funding, endows the Charities and Societies Agency with excessive powers of interference in human rights organisations and further endangers victims of human rights violations by contravening principles of confidentiality;

9. Calls on the Ethiopian authorities to prevent any ethnic or religious discrimination and to encourage and take action in favour of a peaceful and constructive dialogue between all communities;

10. Welcomes Ethiopia’s 2013 human rights action plan and calls for its swift and complete implementation;

11. Urges the authorities to implement, in particular, the recommendation of the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and to release British national and political activist Andargachew Tsege immediately;

12. States that respect for human rights and the rule of law are crucial to the EU’s policies to promote development in Ethiopia and throughout the Horn of Africa; calls the AU’s attention to the political, economic and social situation of its host country, Ethiopia;

13. Calls for the EU, as the single largest donor, to monitor programmes and policies effectively to ensure that EU development assistance is not contributing to human rights violations in Ethiopia, particularly through programmes linked to the displacement of farmers and pastoralists, and to develop strategies to minimise any negative impact of displacement within EU-funded development projects; stresses that the EU should measure its financial support according to the country’s human rights record and the degree to which the Ethiopian Government promotes reforms towards democratisation;

14. Calls on the government to include local communities in a dialogue on the implementation of any large-scale development projects; expresses its concerns about the government’s forced resettlement programme;

15. Expresses deep concern about the current devastating climatic conditions in Ethiopia, which have worsened the humanitarian situation in the country; calls for the EU, together with its international partners, to scale up its support to the Ethiopian Government and people; welcomes the contribution recently announced by the EU and calls on the Commission to ensure that this additional funding is provided as a matter of urgency;

16. Recalls that Ethiopia is an important country of destination, transit and origin for migrants and asylum seekers, and that it hosts the largest refugee population in Africa; takes note, therefore, of the adoption of a Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility between the EU and Ethiopia which addresses the issues of refugees, border control and the fight against human trafficking; calls also on the Commission to monitor closely all projects recently initiated within the framework of the EU Trust Fund for Africa;

17. Is extremely concerned about the economic and social situation of the country’s population – in particular women and minorities, and refugees and displaced persons, whose numbers continue to increase – in view of the crisis and the instability of the region; reiterates its support for all humanitarian organisations operating on the ground and in neighbouring host countries; supports calls by the international community and humanitarian organisations to step up assistance to refugees and displaced persons;

18. Stresses that major public investment plans are required, particularly in the education and health fields, if the Sustainable Development Goals are to be attained; invites the Ethiopian authorities to make an effective commitment to attaining these goals;

19. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Ethiopia, the Commission, the Council, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the ACP-EU Council of Ministers, the institutions of the African Union, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the Pan-African Parliament.

 

 

 

Oromia: Funeral ceremonies for Oromo’s finest, the youth, killed by Fascist Ethiopian government January 19, 2016

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Odaa Oromooagazi-fascist-tplf-ethiopias-forces-attacking-unarmed-and-peaceful-oromoprotests-in-baabichaa-town-central-oromia-w-shawa-december-10-20151

#OromoLivesMatters!

Dhufeeraa Engineering Waggaa 4ffaa Yuniverstii Haromaayaa Loltoota Wayyaaneen Ajjeefame.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US-Rw7kHIdI

 

See more at:-

Videos: Funeral ceremonies for Oromo’s finest, the youth, killed by Ethiopian government

  Finfinne Tribune, Gadaa.com,  Amajjii/January 18, 2016

 

The lethal actions against peaceful Oromo protesters – being undertaken by the Ethiopian government, mean that, with each passing day, the number of Oromo population, which is affected by the government’s heavy-handed response to the Oromo protests, continues to grow. An observer noted that, for each person the government’s bullets take away, a community of hundreds and thousands is impacted with the only memory of the deceased being the banner they held up at their last breath. The affected community moves forward with a resolute to press the banner of their martyr forward to its victory. At the tens of solemn funerals so far held for Oromo’s finest, its youth, in churches and mosques across Oromia, funeral-goers express this resolute to press forward through speeches, placards and slogans. On and off the funeral grounds, they continue their protests against the Ethiopian government’s persistent denial of Oromo’s self-rule (of which the Master Plan is just a symptom), and against the unabated killing, maiming and arresting of young students, farmers and other sections of the Oromo society. The following are a few of the funeral services held for Oromo students and farmers this year. According to one observer, Oromo’s finest leaving this world at this too young age is one pain the Oromo people will cope with forever through their memories; however, the government’s cruelty, which the deceased had faced during their last moments on this world, is one pain the Oromo people, the other Ethiopian people and the international community can stop — the deceased can not come back, but the injustice unleashed on them can be stopped, must be stopped, and will be stopped.

January 18, 2016: Funeral service for Biruk (Tolassa) Dhufera, a 4th-year Engineering student at Haromaya University – who was killed two days earlier. His funeral service took place at the local Orthodox church in his birth place of Abuna Gindeberet (West Shawaa) …

 

January 15, 2016: Funeral service for Lencho Dinkessa, a high-school Oromo student, in Dike village, near Waddessa (West Shawaa). He was killed in Ambo three days earlier while attending a funeral service for another martyr Abdata Olansa. His family was denied the right to bury him in Ambo; hence, it was forced to take his body to the countryside …

 

January 13, 2016: Funeral service for Chala Mohammed, a young farmer who was gunned down a day before in his farm in Haromaya (east Oromia) because he hesitated to turn off the engine of his water pump when the Ethiopian armed forces came to the area, according to media reports …

 

January 5, 2016: Funeral service for Abbas Abdulrahman who was martyred a day before in Masala (West Hararghee) …

 

On Oromo Protests, UN Had No Response to ICP, Now Cites Dialogue in Ethiopia January 16, 2016

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#OromoProtests,Solidarity rally infront of UN, New York 15 January 2016Oromo Demonstration in New York Demands UN to take a Firm Stand against Ethiopian Government, on 15 january 2016

On Oromo Protests, UN Had No Response to ICP, Now Cites Dialogue in Ethiopia

OVERVIEW

Despite the UN having offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it had nothing to say about the crackdown that has led to the killing, reportedly, of over 140 Oromo people, when Inner City Press on January 11 asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Video here.On January 15, there was a large Oromo demonstration across First Avenue from the UN. Inner City Press broadcast it live on Periscope, with interviews, putting it on YouTube, here.Then Inner City Press went in and asked UN Spokesman Dujarric


UNITED NATIONS, January 15 — Despite the UN having offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it had nothing to say about the crackdown that has led to the killing, reportedly, of over 140 Oromo people, when Inner City Press on January 11 asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Video here.

On January 15, there was a large Oromo demonstration across First Avenue from the UN. Inner City Press broadcast it live on Periscope, with interviews, putting it on YouTube, here.

Then Inner City Press went in and asked UN Spokesman Dujarric,video here,transcript here:

Inner City Press: it seems inevitable to ask you. There’s a big protest in front of the building by Oromo people saying that more than 140 of them have been killed by Ethiopia. So I’d asked you about it on Monday. You said you don’t have anything but you’d check. What does the UN know given that it has an office in Addis about these killings?

Spokesman Dujarric: On the protests, we’re obviously very much aware of the protests not only going on outside but in Ethiopia itself. I think the Secretary-General would call on the Government and the groups concerned to hold a constructive and peaceful dialogue and also to ensure that all those who want to protest are able to express themselves freely and free of harassment as it is their right.

 


Spokesman Dujarric: soldiers from any nationality, as you know, for serving in DPKO, in peacekeeping missions, they go through a screening policy to ensure that the individuals and the units themselves are free of any human rights violations.

We’ll have more on this. For now, note that the UNSC’s upcoming trip, from which Inner City Press was Banned, goes through Addis Ababa. Will anything be said about Oromo?

The UN report on rapes in the Central African Republic, released on December 17, found that UN Peacekeeping’s Under Secretary General Herve Ladsous “illustrate[s] the UN’s failure to respond to allegations of serious human rights violations in the meaningful way.”

Ladsous has yet to take any questions about the report. Now the Office of the UN Spokesperson refuses Press questions on reports that “peacekeepers” from Burundi, France, Gabon and Morocco paid fifty cents for sex with children in CAR. On the morning of January 12, Inner City Press asked three separate UN spokespeople, in writing:

“In light of the Jan 11-12 Washington Post report that “ in interviews, U.N. officials said the peacekeepers were from Gabon, Morocco, Burundi and France. The prostitution ring they allegedly used was run by boys and young men who offered up girls ‘for anywhere from 50 cents to three dollars,’ according to one official,” please state the current status of these ‘peacekeepers’ from Morocco, Gabon, France and Burundi – and the status of the waiver USG Ladsous gave to the Burundian contingent.

By the morning of January 15, no answer, nothing…

https://www.beaconreader.com/matthew-russell-lee/on-oromo-protests-un-had-no-response-to-icp-now-cites-dialogue-in-ethiopia

 


 

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2016/01/15/hiriira-mormii-new-york/

UNPO: Oromo Demonstration in Brussels Demands European Union to take a Firm Stand against Ethiopian Government January 16, 2016

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Odaa OromooUNPO#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in Ethiopia

Oromo Demonstration in Brussels Demands European Union to take a Firm Stand against Ethiopian Government

UNPO, January 15, 2016

 

Oromo Demonstration in Brussels Demands European Union to take a Firm Stand against Ethiopian Government. 15 january 2016

On 14 January 2016, Oromo communities based in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany staged a demonstration in front of the European Parliament to protest against the brutal crackdown on dissent in Oromia. In light of the harshest repression waged by the Ethiopian regime in the region since 2005, protestors urged the European Union to withhold financial aid to Addis Ababa until the Ethiopian government complies with its human rights obligations.  

Despite adverse weather conditions, more than a hundred demonstrators from the Oromo diaspora in Europe gathered at Place du Luxembourg, outside the European Parliament in Brussels, to express their condemnation of the most recent terror campaign launched by the Ethiopian regime against its own people. Since December 2015, massive anti-government peaceful demonstrations against the Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan erupted in towns across Oromia. Fearing land grabbing and further repression, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Oromo took the streets to protest against the urban plan that allegedly would integrate infrastructure development in the capital with that of surrounding towns in Oromia. Notwithstanding the legitimate and non-violent nature of the manifestations, the Ethiopian security forces responded with heinous atrocities to punish unarmed civilians.

Oromo Demonstration in Brussels Demands European Union to take a Firm Stand against Ethiopian Government, on 15 january 2016

The demonstrations on 14 January 2016 in Brussels echoed the growing despair of the Oromo community towards the lack of a firmer stand of the EU against the Ethiopian government. A representative of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), member of the UNPO and one of organizations involved in the demonstration, expressed the need to raise awareness of the gross human rights violations committed by the Ethiopian regime. Despite facing merciless killings, massive imprisonments, severe beatings and torture, the Oromo community remains committed to a peaceful struggle to achieve the full exercise of self-determination, democratic rights and peace for all the nations and peoples in Ethiopia.

While the death toll reached 160 only in the last eight weeks, Ethiopian security forces remain shamelessly engaged in terrorizing the civilians. Against this challenging backdrop, demonstrators demanded that the EU withhold aid money to Addis Ababa and send a monitoring mission to Oromo to freely investigate the human rights situation.

Oromo Demonstration in Brussels Demands European Union to take a Firm Stand against Ethiopian Government, on 15 january 2016. p2

UNPO strongly condemns the actions of the Ethiopian regime and calls upon the EU to ensure that Addis Ababa is held accountable for its crimes in accordance with international law. UNPO will continue to support the peaceful actions of the Oromo in their struggle to end decades of systemic and structural marginalization in Ethiopia.

http://unpo.org/article/18844


 

Video: Oromo Demonstration in Brussels Demands European Union to take a Firm Stand against Ethiopian Government. #OromoProtests global rally in solidarity with Oromia. 14 January 2016

Hiriira Mormii Hawaasni Oromoo Biyyoota Awurooppaa Waajira EU Belgium Brussels fuulleetti Taasisan.(Amaj 15,2016)

 

 

 

Atlanta Black Star: #OromoProtests: What You Need to Know About Ethiopia’s Crisis That No One Is Talking About January 12, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in Ethiopia

Oromia at Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia, January 3, 2016 p2Oromo are  ancient people Africa (Oromia, kemet)

Hanna doja. Oromo child, 1st grade student in Kombolcha, Horroo Guduruu, Oromia. Attacked  by Ethiopian regime fascist  forces on 31st December  2015

 #OromoProtests: What You Need to Know About Ethiopia’s Crisis That No One Is Talking About

Oromia at Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia, January 3, 2016 p6

 

 

 

 

 

(Atlanta Black Star) — The Oromo protests in Ethiopia.  The issue has received little attention in global mainstream media, but it is one that demands our attention.  The latest news coming out of the East African nation is troubling, with at least 140 protesters killed in the past few months, according to Human Rights Watch. This represents the greatest bloodshed facing the East African nation since 2005, when 200 people died in post-election violence.  Moreover, based on data from #EthiopiaCrisis, 2,000 reportedly have been injured, 30,000 arrested and 800 disappeared.

As Al Jazeera reported, police were accused of opening fire and killing dozens of protesters in April and May of 2014.

With the largest population of any of the federal states in Ethiopia, Oromia has a population of about 27 million—40 percent of the country’s population.  The nation’s largest ethnic group, Oromians have their own language, Oromo, which is separate from the official language, Amharic.

At issue in the current conflict is the convergence of ethnic strife, land and economics, beginning with the expansion of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. As NPR reported, the larger picture is that the world is growing, and there is a big demand for food and arable land.  Africa has 60 percent of the usable farmland, and in Ethiopia, the government, which owns all of the nation’s land, has leased large parcels of land to foreign investors from China, India and the Mideast.

In November, protests were set off when a forest was being cleared for development, as part the “master plan” by the Ethiopian government to expand the capital city into surrounding farmland in Oromia.  Supporters of greater urbanization, known as the Integrated Regional Development Plan for Addis Ababa, note that the nation faces a food shortage. They believe the nation is susceptible to famine because too many Ethiopians live in rural areas and depend on agriculture.  However, people in Oromia claim they are being displaced from their ancestral lands.

As VOA reported, the government plans to develop the farmland outside Addis Ababa into a new business zone.  Protesters claim the plan will result in marginalization and reduced autonomy for the Oromo people living outside the nation’s capital.  Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government claims the development project on the farmland will lead to new business and benefits to all groups.

As the Washington Post recently reported, President Obama has expressed concern over the events in Ethiopia, while also saying the “United States has consistently applauded Ethiopia for being a model and a voice for development in Africa.”

The nation has been hailed by the U.S. for its economic growth and engaging in the war against al-Shabab, the Somali terrorist group.  And Ethiopia has reportedly received substantial aid from the U.S. in this regard.  At the same time, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front regime has been accused of silencing protest and dissent.  For example, Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress—Oromia’s largest registered political party—was arrested.  In addition, the government also allegedly arrested and beat Oromo singer Hawi Tezera, who has a song about the protests.

Further, there are reports of the Ethiopian government clamping down on media outlets covering the protests. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the nation is one of the leading jailers of journalists.  Authorities have reportedly arrested journalists such as Getachew Shiferaw, editor in chief of the Negere Ethiopia news site, under terrorism charges, and Fikadu Mirkana of Oromia Radio and TV.  Further, according to the Post, the government jammed the broadcasting satellite of the U.S.-based television channel ESAT, which has been reporting on the demonstrations by students and farmers.

Although the most recent catalyst for recent protests is the development plan to expand Addis Ababa into Oromia—of which millions of farmers fear displacement—there have been tensions and grievances developing for quite some time.  The Oromo have expressed a sense of marginalization and being pushed out of  mainstream national life.

According to the group Global Voices, of the nearly 140 peaceful protesters killed in Ethiopia since November, most were killed at close range.  More than 70 percent of the dead are reportedly male students, with male farmers accounting for around 20 percent of the deaths.  Also among the victims are women and school teachers, including one seven-month pregnant woman and her sister-in-law, who were killed while attempting to escape arrest.  Further, at least 10 people were reportedly tortured and killed while in prison, according to Global Voices.

Meanwhile, this round of protests is believed to be unprecedented because of broad-based support and participation—with inter-ethnic coalitions despite the ethnic lines marking the country, including a number of non-Oromo civic groups and political organizations. They are also employing tactics of civil disobedience such as lunch boycotts, sit-ins and roadblocks.

However, the Ethiopian government has characterized its response as being part of the war on terror.  Authorities accuse protesters of having links to terrorist groups, according to the Sudan Tribune, and announced that the nation’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force would be leading the response.

“By treating both opposition politicians and peaceful protesters with an iron fist, the government is closing off ways for Ethiopians to nonviolently express legitimate grievances,” said Felix Horne of Human Rights Watch, according to Al Jazeera. “This is a dangerous trajectory that could put Ethiopia’s long-term stability at risk,” he warned.

#OromoProtests: What You Need to Know About Ethiopia’s Crisis That No One Is Talking About

 

#OromoProtests: Ethiopian Protesters Use Social Media to Bring Attention to Deadly Government Crackdown on Dissent