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Cultural Survival: Human Rights of Ethiopia’s Oromo People Brought to Light in Rio September 25, 2016

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Human Rights of Ethiopia’s Oromo People Brought to Light in Rio

Cultural Survival, 23 September 2016


Photo courtesy of: ctj71081/ Flickr

On August 21st, in Brazil, Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa was awarded the silver medal for the Men’s Marathon in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Although this was perhaps one of the greatest sporting achievements of his life, this day will forever be remembered for the political protest he made just before the finish line.  While in the global spotlight,  Lilesa raised his hands above his head in an ‘X’ formation to stand in solidarity with the Oromo people of Ethiopia, who have suffered a crackdown at the hands of the Ethiopian government.

Lilesa is one of the thousands fighting for the rights of the Oromo people. In August 2016, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, called on Ethiopia to allow UN international observers to investigate the excessive use of force by the government’s security forces against peaceful protesters in the Oromo and Amhara regions of the country. There is a strong need for organized international pressure on the Ethiopian government. A credible and independent investigation into this country’s Human Rights offences is long overdue. This will be a huge and very welcome step for the people and the country as a whole.

More on Oromo Abuses Here

Human rights abuses have been prevalent throughout Ethiopia’s history, but for the last nine months, protests have erupted in Oromiya, the homeland of Ethiopia’s largest but historically marginalized ethnic group, the Oromo, of which Feyisa Lilesa belongs. The protests are have now spread north, to a second region, the Amhara.

Although these protesters from Oromo and Amhara have different backgrounds, cultures, and complaints, they share a growing fear and frustration with the rule of a third, minority ethnic group — the Tigrayans. As NPR reported, the Tigrayan elite has a “cartel-like grip on the government, military and the fast-growing economy.”  The Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) forcefully rose to power after the fall of the Soviet Union. Since then, there have been numerous human rights violations, with examples like the 2001 killing of forty Addis Ababa university students for simply demanding the academic freedom to publish a student newspaper, to the Killing of 200 Oromo in 2014, according to the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE).

Related: Learn more about the TPLF in Ethiopia here.

The right of peaceful assembly is protected in Ethiopian and International law. Ethiopia’s Constitution states “everyone shall have the freedom, in association with others, to peaceably assemble without arms, engage in public demonstration and the right to petition.” But, after Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 125 witnesses, victims, and government officials, a significant pattern of human rights violations during peaceful Oromo protests was revealed. Examples from late 2015 when the decision of authorities in Ginchi to clear a forest for an investment project triggered protests in at least 400 different locations across all the 17 zones in Oromia, until May 2016, and even into current times, prove there have been massive human rights violations. Numerous reports exposed that in many locations security forces have gone at night, arresting innocent and unsuspecting members of the community such as students and those accommodating students in their homes. Security forces also strategically target those seen as “influential members of the Oromo community, such as musicians, teachers, opposition members and others thought to have the ability to mobilize the community for further protests.” Even more shocking, is that many of those arrested and detained by the security forces were children of eighteen years and younger. Security forces have also been reported to open fire on, and kill peaceful protesters, as well as torture or beat many of the detained Oromo. Many of the females detained have reportedly been raped by security force personnel, while almost none of the detainees have had access to legal counsel, adequate food, or their family members.

An unnamed student said in an interview with HRW on January of 2016, said his friend “was shot in the stomach [at the protest], his intestines were coming out, he said, ‘Please brother, tie my [wound] with your clothes.’ I was scared, I froze and then tried to do that but I was grabbed and arrested by the federal police. Jamal died. They arrested me and took me to Bedeno police station.”

With ongoing events such as these, the people of Ethiopia have appeared to have reached their limit; the brutal force being used by the regime to deter an uprising is starting to backfire, creating new alliances between previously divided groups of Ethiopians such as the Oromo and the Amhara. The regime, struggling to find ways to retain domination, resorts to solutions like the exploitation of Ethiopian resources, land, and opportunities; but this too, is becoming a regime failure.

A press release from The Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE)notes, this is a regime, accustomed to using tools like manipulation to divide the people by ethnicity or other differences, furthering ethnic hatred, alienation and isolation, leaving a niche for the regime to squeeze into. It has allowed them to repeatedly commit fatal human rights atrocities against these groups with no fear of a united retaliation; but this is suddenly changing. These methods of turning selected ethnic groups against one another, is being scrutinized by Ethiopians; and previously rival groups are now unifying to challenge it. As SMNE said, “more killing, wounding and use of violence against unarmed civilians on the part of the regime’s security forces are strengthening, not weakening, the movement of the people,” but the movement is just beginning.

Ethiopia’s government has rejected the call for UN intervention and promised to launch its own investigation according to Al Jazeera. With the TPLF now facing a crack in the current power structure of the country,  the government’s resistance to UN intervention was to be expected. The fearful reality is, however, that the TPLF, power hungry, and corrupt, will continue to use illegal force in an attempt to maintain control. But this lack of legal and transparent investigation of human rights violations in Ethiopia strongly implies that the Ethiopian government’s investigation of the ongoing human rights crisis will not be independent, impartial and transparent, and according to Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. “It is time to step up efforts for an international and independent investigation in Ethiopia.”
For years the government has worked to project a “forward thinking, democratic, and economically progressive image” of Ethiopia to outsiders, while on the inside, achieving the total opposite. For example, laws such as the Charities and Societies Proclamation law (CSO) which is meant to appear as an advocacy network, actually has criminalized human rights and other kinds of advocacy work in Ethiopia, making an equal and  civil society impossible to maintain in Ethiopia. This makes the presence of an independent organization like the UN crucial for the protection of the Oromo people, who are practically inhibited from seeking protection themselves.

According to the Press Release from SMNE, “meaningful democratic reforms, restorative justice, and reconciliation for all the people of Ethiopia, including the current ruling party,” are the essential measures which need to be enacted if Ethiopia is to find peace and avoid total disaster. History shows that the government will not cooperate without pressure from key donor nations such as the the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada, Norway, Sweden etc., as well as from major international human rights organizations, to provide leverage critical in obtaining substantial changes for the rights of the Oromo people and governmental structure of Ethiopia as a whole.

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Oromia: Athletic Nation World Report: The Rio 2016 Paralympic: Athlete Tamiru Demisse showed solidarity with #OromoProtests against the tyrannic Ethiopia’s regime as he claimed a silver medal, following a protest gesture made by Olympic counterpart Fayyisaa Leellisaa (Feyisa Lilesa). Gootichi Oromoo Atleet Taammiruu Demisee Paralympic Riyoo tti tibba injifate mallattoo mormii Oromoo agarsiise. September 13, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Athletic nation.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist


Oromo athlete Tamiru Demisse has registered double victory in the Rio 2016 Paralympic as he stands with #OromoProtests on world stage.

Injifannoo dacha dachaa: Gootich Oromoo, Atleet Taammiruu Demisee Paralympic Riyoo irratti injifannoo irratti injifannoo galmeesse. Akkuma Fayyisaa Leellisaa FXG Oromoo Adunyaatti ibse.


Oromo Paralympian makes protest gesture on finish line – video



Oromo athlete Tamiru Demisse (Center) shows solidarity in the world stage with #OromoProtests after the final of men’s 1500m of the Rio 2016 Paralympic.He is the silver medal winner at the event. Tamiru Demisse is 22 years old ( Born October 7, 1993).



Silver medalist Tamiru Demisse also refused to sing #Ethiopia national anthem in protest against the oppressive regime


Oromo Oromo athletes Tamiru Demisse (C), Megersa Tasisa (L) and sport journalist Adugna Angasu (R) who are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Paralympic 2016 show solidarity in a world stage to #OromoProtests, 11 September 2016.


Atleetiin Oromoo Damiseee Taammiruu ‘RioParalympic’ (Oloompikii qaama miidhamtootaa) irratti Fiigicha meetra 1500 irratti sadarkaa 2ffaan  injifatee harka isaas waliin qaxxaamursee diddaa wayyaanee mul’isee injifannoo dachaa galmeessee jira.Kana kan raawwate Fulbaana 11 bara 2016 tti.  Atleet Damiseen qaama miidhamaa yoo tahu ijji isaa takk0 hin agartu.  Gootichi kun garuu addunyaa irratti  saba isaa, saba Oromoof injifannoo guddaa fi boonsaa galmeesse jira . Wanti nama ajaa’ibu garuu atileetiin kun 1ffaa bahuu ni danda’a ture. Yoo sarara seenuuf xiqqo hafuuf mallattoo fincila xumura garbummaa Oromoo mul’isuuf jedhee hanga inni harka isaa ol qabu duubaa dhufanii bira dabranii saba isaaf jedhee 2ffaa bahuuf dirqame.

Itti dabaleesi  Damisee Taammiruu yoo badhaasa fudhatuus alaabaan Itoophiyaa (wayyanee) akka ol hin baane dhoorkee yoo faaruun alaabaa Itoophiyaa faarfamtuus afaan qabatee jibba qabuuf mul’ise. Akkasumaas wayta baayyee harka isaa ol kaasuun mormii isaa irra deddeebi’ee mul’isaa ture. Atileetiin kun saba isaatiif jedhee wareegama qaalii injifannoo dachaa galmeesse. Innillee Itoophiyatti gale taanaan miidhaa hamaatu isa qunnama. Wayyaaneen aara Fayyisaa mara irratti dabalattee miiti. Kanaaf Oromoon addunyaarra jirtan akkuma inni daandii Fayyisaa Lalisaa baase irra deeme, nutiis daandii Fayyisaaf irra deemne irra haa deemnuuf. Isa waliin  ‘RioParalympic’  irra kan turan Atleet  magarsaa Taasisaa fi gazexeessaa Adunyaa Angaasuu isa waliin  mallattoo fincila xumura garbummaa agarsiisaniiru.


Quebec City Marathon winner, Oromo athlete, Ebisa Ejigu, replicates Rio Olympic medallist’s #OromoProtests. p2

Athlete Fraol Ebissa Won the Germany 10Km race and shows his solidarity with #OromoProtestsSeptember 2016. p2

Athlete Fraol Ebissa Won the Germany 10Km race and shows his solidarity with #OromoProtests. 4 September 2016. p2

Hariyaan Furii Kaffiyaaloo jettiin,maqaan isaa,Taammiruu Kaffiyaaloo Damiseeti.Taammiruun nama ganna 23ti.

Bara 2000 keessa fiigicha jalqabee bara 2003 keessa ammoo akka dansaa dorgommii jabeeffate.Eegii sunii asitti metirii 400, 800 fi 1,500 irratti dorgoma. Haga ammaatti medaaliyaa 45 caalaa badhaafame.

Taammiruun nama biyya keessaa fi biyya alaalleetti Paralympic dorgmuun beekama.Paralympic dorgommii namii cabaa-baqaa, naafaa fi qaamii akka akkaa irraa hirdhate ka doktoriin mirkanseef irratti dorgomu.

Atileeti Taammiruu Demissee,Rio Biraazil

Atileeti Taammiruu Demissee,Rio Biraazil

Dorgommii Paralympic ta bara, 2016 Fulbaana 7-18,bara 2016 Riyoo,Biraazilitti itti jiran.Atileetota 4000 caalanitti itti jira.

Itoophiyaan dorgommii tanaaf Taammiruu waliin nama shan ergatte.Taammiruun fiigicha metirii 1,500 guyyaa dheengaddaa dorgome irratti lammeessoo bahee mallattoo mormii Oromoo agarsiise.

“Wanta biyya keessatti godhamaa jiru addunyaatti akka beekamu. Dhiiga saba kiyyaatii ka dhangala’a jiru…kan gubachaa jiru saba kiyya waan taheef—namini meeqa akka du’e hin beekna,kanaaf mormii agarsiise,”jedha.

Kanaafuu jedha Taammiruun mallatoon tun mallattoo ummatii “Oromoo hidhamuu isaa, cunqurfamuu isaa agarsiisu waan taheef agarsiise,” jedha.

Atileeti Taammiruun mallattoo mormii Oromo tana yoo dorgommii jalqabe,yoo fixe,yoo badhaasa medaaliyaa fudhate mul’isee dirree keessa fiigaa agarsiisaa ture.Yoo waltajjii irratti alaabaa Itoophiyaa oli baasan afaan qabatee faarsuu dide.

Afaan qabachuun ammoo “ummatii Oromoo osoo waan hedduu qabuu ukkamamuu isaa,osoo wannuma hundaa gochuu dandahuu afaan qabee akka homaa hin dandeennetti ilaalamuu isaa agarsiisaa,” jedha.

Taammiruun mormii tana agarsiisuuf Fayyisaatti na durse malee eegachaa ture jedha.

“Tokkoffaa baheetoo rikordii nan cabsaa tureeyyuu.Oggaa ani harka oli qabu innii gadi jedhee seeneeyyuu.Innii rakkoo hin qabuu.Anaaf rakkoo hin qabu.”

Taammiruun dorgommii jara qaamii miidhamee Paralympic keessatti dorgomaa.Innii diqqeennaan ila tokko dhabee,iltii lammeessoolleen akka dansaa lafa hin agartu.

Taammiruun waltajjii dorgommii addunyaa irratti mallatoo mormii siyaasaa agarsiisuun ‘seera malee’ jedhanii yoo fkn seera sun cabsite jedhanii medaaliyaa sirraa fuudhan maan jetta jennaan “kaan lubbuu itti dhabaa medaaliyaa narraa fuudhuun rakkoo hin qabu,” jedha.

Mormii atileetotii Itoophiyaa dorgommii biyya alaa irratti harka mataa irratti oli qabatanii mallattoo mormii hiriira Oromiyaa agarsiisuu kana, Fayyisaa Leellisaatti jalqabe.

Fayyisaa Biraazilii bahee amma Amerikaa jira.

News Week: Ethiopian Paralympian Tamiru Demisse showed solidarity with Oromia protesters—who have clashed with the country’s government—as he claimed a silver medal, following a protest gesture made by Olympic counterpart Feyisa Lilesa.

Demisse, who competed in the men’s 1,500-meter T13 race for visually impaired runners, claimed a silver medal in the race on Sunday at the Olympic Station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As he crossed the finish line, Demisse crossed his arms above his head.The gesture has become widely adopted among members of the Oromo people, the country’s largest ethnic group. Oromo protesters have clashed with Ethiopian security forces in recent months, with Human Rights Watch claiming the unrest has seen more than 400 people killed.

Yahoo: Ethiopia’s Tamiru Demisse (C) reacts after the final of men’s 1500m of the Rio 2016 Paralympic.

The protest by Tamiru Demisse, the silver medalist in the men’s 1,500 m in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, comes after fellow Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa made headlines during the Olympics last month when he made a similar protest as he claimed silver in the men’s marathon.

The Independent: Ethiopian Paralympic athlete Tamiru Demisse in new finishing line protest against oppressive regime. 1500m runner echoes protest of fellow countryman Feyisa Lilesa.

Daily Mail: The protest by Tamiru Demisse, the silver medalist in the men’s 1,500 m in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, comes after fellow Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa made headlines during the Olympics last month when he made a similar protest as he claimed silver in the men’s marathon.

The gesture — a sort of X above the head — is a symbol of defiance against the Ethiopian government’s crack-down on anti-government protests that started in the Oromo region in November last year.

Africa News: An Ethiopian Paralympic athlete, Tamiru Demisse, crossed his arms above his head after finishing second in the Men’s 1500m race in Rio. He did same during the medal ceremony.

Tamiru finished behind Algeria’s Abdellatif Baka who took gold in the event. His gesture follows that of fellow athlete Feyisa Lilesa who also won silver in a marathon during the Olympic Games. Kenya’s Henry Kirwa won the bronze medal.

Crossing arms is a sign of protest against Ethiopian government’s treatment of the Oromo people, the largest ethnic group in the Horn of Africa. The protests were sparked after the government began extending the municipal boundary of the country’s capital, threatening parts of Oromia and the people’s land rights.

Leia mais:Prata nos 1.500 metros T13, Tamiru Demisse protesta contra governo etíope na chegada e no pódio

Answer Africa. One famous sight from Rio Olympics 1500m race finish line has found it’s way to that of the Paralympics thanks to Tammiru Demisse.

Silver medallist Tamiru Demisse of Oromia/ Ethiopia, gold medallist Abdellatif Baka of Algeria and bronze medallist Henry Kirwa of Kenya. 11 September 2016

Demisse, Tasisa, Angasu Support Fnd

Beneficiaries of this fund are Oromo athletes Tamiru Demisse, Megersa Tasisa and sport journalist Adugna Angasu who are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Paralympic 2016. Mr. Demisse won a Silver Medal in the T13 1500 meter race and declared his support for pro-democracy movement in Ethiopia by raising his arms above his head X-style which is the symbol of #OromoProtests. Mr. Bayisa, an athlete, and Mr. Angasu, a sport journalist, from Ethiopia are also in Barzil for the Paralympic 2016. The three men fear persecution for supporting #OromoProtests if they go back to Ethiopia and are seeking political asylum. All fund raised will be used to support the beneficiaries. Please donate whatever amount you can. Thank you. Click here to go to the site

Oromo Paralympic Athletes Support Team

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