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WHO Director General Nominee Tedros Adhanom Represents Ethiopia’s Repressive Regime. #WHA70 May 5, 2017

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AP News: UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF: ETHIOPIA BLOCKED ACCESS TO PROTEST AREAS

For Opponents, WHO Director General Nominee Tedros Adhanom Represents Ethiopia’s Repressive Government

Some Ethiopians are fiercely campaigning against Tedros Adhanom, Ethiopia’s candidate to replace Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, as director general of World Health Organization, just a few weeks before member states are set to vote on the final three candidates.

Tedros, a former Ethiopian foreign and health minister, along with Pakistan’s Sania Nishtar and the UK’s David Nabarro are the three director-general nominees who made the cut from a larger pool of candidates in January.

Tedros, who is running a well-funded campaign, is considered as a prime contender in the race. His candidacy was endorsed by the African Union, and just last week he picked up an endorsement of Andrew Mitchell, the UK’s former international development secretary.

However, he is facing unrelenting opposition from his own citizens.

Ethiopians who feel marginalized by their country’s government are campaigning hard against him online, arguing he should not be elected because he represents the interests of Ethiopia’s autocratic ruling elites and not the people.

The irony is beyond tragic. The person who is responsible for the crimes against humanity in is running for !

They have set up online petition pages against Tedros and produced a documentary film detailing what they consider to be his failures and his alleged mismanagement of funds while he was Ethiopia’s health minister.

Tedros Adhanom presided and participated in the biggest financial corruption scandal of misusing Global fund in Ethiopia.

They have organized Twitter campaigns under a hashtag #NoTedros4WHO to organize conversations surrounding the topic. To make his Ethiopian government profile at the top of the public’s consciousness, his opponents have share detailed research that accuses Tedros of inefficiencies, misreporting, and exaggerations of his achievements when he used to serve in Ethiopia.

However, amid fears that the campaign might diminish his chances, government groups are also running a parallel campaign supporting his candidacy. They have downplayed the opposition as unpatriotic, mean-spirited and trivial jealousy.

Since April 2014, a popular protest movement in Ethiopia has challenged the government, which has responded brutally. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 800 people have died, and thousands of political opponents and hundreds of dissidents have been imprisoned and tortured. Since October 2016, authorities have imposed some of the world’s toughest censorship laws after it declared a state of emergency.

The role of ethnic politics

Some of Tedros’ detractors say they oppose his candidacy because of his alleged incompetence. But a big part of what drives the fierce opposition to Tedros is the logic of ethnic politics.

Tedros holds a Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham in community health. He studied biology at Asmera University before he completed a master’s degree in immunology of infectious diseases in London.

When people hear his name, as qualified as he may be, his opponents associate him with a repressive Ethiopian government that has killed people, jailed thousands of political opponents, and imprisoned and tortured dissidents.

His meteoric rise to power started soon after he finished his Ph.D. in 1999 when he was tasked to lead the Tigray region’s health department. After two short years in Tigray, he was promoted to Ethiopia’s minister for health by the late prime minister Meles Zenawi, a Tigrayan himself. In 2012 when Meles Zenawi died, Tedros became Ethiopia’s foreign minister.

Tigray is one of the nine regional states that are federated based on ethnolinguistic compositions.

Over the past 26 years, the Tigrayan elites have taken center stage in Ethiopia’s political affairs, largely due to their control of the military, security and the economy of Ethiopia. Though accounting for only 6% of Ethiopia’s population, all senior positions of country’s military and security and the most meaningful positions in state institutions are packed by Tigrayan elites. This has always been a sore point with the elites of the Oromo and Amhara ethnicities, who together comprise 65% of Ethiopia’s population.

Ethiopia’s government has used authoritarian tactics against its people and the country’s politic space is a closed one; however, it enjoys the support of powerful countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

Domestic disputes on a global platform

The vigorous opposition to the Tedros candidacy suggests that Ethiopians political struggle has spilled over into the international arena. In some sense, it also suggests that these global platforms have become a substitute for a repressed domestic political space.

Since Ethiopia’s local political institutions and communications infrastructure are controlled by the government, diaspora groups, however sporadic and uncoordinated their efforts may be, have used the opportunity to shed light on the human rights violations using Twitter campaigns.

A twitter campaign on today April 28th Europe Time 18:00 And 12:00 PM Washington DC USA Time 17:00 Uk time Key tags &

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Ethiopia: human rights defender condemns deadliest mass murder in Oromia. #IrreechaaMassacre #OromoProtests October 3, 2016

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

 

Human rights League of the Horn of Africa

 

 

ethiopia-regime-conducted-mass-killing-at-irreecha-cultural-festival-2nd-october-2016-bishoftu-oromia-irreeechamassacre

Ethiopia: human rights defender condemns deadliest mass murder in Oromia #IrreechaaMassacre  #OromoProtests


Ethiopia: Deadliest TPLF/EPRDF Mass Murder In Oromia

HRLHA Urgent Action


October 2, 2016


The HRLHA deeply condemn the mass murder by the Ethiopian government  sponsored killing squad Agazi force near Bishoftu, Oromia  where over 4,000,000 Oromos were gathered  to celebrate the Irrecha annual festival , the Oromo thanksgiving day on October 2, 2016.

The attack by the killing squad Agazi  which was supported by helicopter from the air has left at least 300 civilians dead on the spot and thousands  wounded and has been taken to hospitals in Bishoftu and Addis Ababa, 40 km away from the place of mass murder took place. According the HRLHA informants from the place, the dead bodies were everywhere on the ground around the Hora Arsadi, the area of the irrecha festival

The October 2, 2016 mass murder would be one of the highest tolls for a single day in Oromia  since 10 months the Oromo protest has begun in November 2015

The HRLHA calls on the world governments and donor organizations to condemn the barbaric acts of government sponsored killing squad Agazi force against Oromo civilians and put pressure on the TPLF/EPRDF government to allow swiftly neutral body to investigate this horrific action of this dictatorial government sponcered killing squads..

The HRLHA will continue updating the fast growing number of the victims from around  the  area.

Warning!!

Note: The following pictures are extremely graphics. Proceed with procuation

All photos were taken from social media, names are not identified

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Read Related at OE: 

Irreecha Massacre: Bishoftu Massacre: Fascist Ethiopia’s regime (TPLF) has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Oromia (Ethiopia) on the peaceful Irreecha ceremony- Oromo thanksgiving day, 2nd October 2016 where over 4 million celebrating the Oromo National Cultural Day at Horaa Harsadii, Bishoftu, Oromia.

Ethiopia Human Rights Abuses Spark U.S. Congressional Action October 1, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

grand-oromo-rally-in-solidarity-with-oromo-protests-in-oromia-oromoprotests-29-september-2016

Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado in solidarity with Oromo protests at the global Solidarity Rally in Denver, USA. 29 August 2016

Ethiopia Human Rights Abuses Spark U.S. Congressional Action


Lima Charlie News Published on September 30, 2016 by J. David Thompson


U.S. Representatives push for legislation targeting Ethiopia after Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch document human rights abuses.


A bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives has proposed legislation targeted at the government of Ethiopia, after Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documented hundreds of cases of alleged human rights abuses. House Resolution 861, titled “Supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia,” was introduced by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Al Green (D-TX), Mike Coffman (R-CO), and Eliot Engel (D-NY).

“It is an abomination when any country tortures its own citizens,” said Rep. Smith, at a September 13th press conference on Capitol Hill. The human rights abuses, waged primarily against the Oromo and Amhara populations, have come to light despite Ethiopian authorities efforts preventing independent screeners from conducting transparent investigations.

The Resolution condemns the killing of peaceful protesters, the arrest and detention of students, journalists, and political leaders, and the stifling of political dissent under the guise of “counterterrorism.”

Ethiopia is a strategic ally of the United States. The country headquarters the 54 nation African Union, and, critical to U.S. interests, assists in counterterrorism efforts against al-Shabab, an Al-Qaeda aligned jihadi terrorist group based in Somalia. Ethiopia is also host to a staggering 750,000 refugeesfrom the war torn region.

image ethiopia

In a press statement Rep. Ellison said, “While Ethiopia is an important ally for the United States, continuing to let the Ethiopian government oppress its own people will only further destabilize the region. We must do all we can to ensure that the human rights of all Ethiopians are respected.” Rep. Smith added, “A valuable contributor to global peacekeeping missions, growing unrest in Ethiopia in reaction to human rights violations by the government threaten to destabilize a nation counted on to continue its role on the international scene”.

Resolutions, like the one proposed, tend to be more of an opinion that often do little in themselves because they lack the political leverage to prompt much action. They often fail to hold allied nations to a standard of conduct, as countries and international organizations are hesitant to regulate how other nations behave within their own borders.

The bill expressly calls on the government of Ethiopia to end the use of excessive force by security forces; hold security forces accountable after a full, credible, transparent investigation; release dissidents, activists, and journalists who have been imprisoned for exercising constitutional rights; respect freedom of assembly and freedom of the press; engage with citizens on development; allow theUnited Nations to conduct independent examinations; repeal certain proclamations limiting inclusive growth; and investigate shootings and a fire on September 3, that killed 23 people at a prison housing high-profile politicians.

Noteworthy, is that the bill also seeks to apply financial and other pressure towards the government, by calling for the Secretary of State to “conduct a review of security assistance to Ethiopia” and “improve transparency” with respect to such assistance, and to “improve oversight and accountability of United States assistance to Ethiopia”.

Image Ethiopia protest
OROMO AND AMHARA PROTESTERS CALL FOR EQUITABLE RIGHTS, AUGUST 6, 2016. REUTERS/TIKSA NEGERI

Despite the good intention of the bill, critics highlight that it doesn’t go far enough. Henok Gabisa, a visiting Academic Fellow and faculty member at Washington and Lee University School of Law, stated in a personal interview:

“H.RES.861 is generally a good gesture from the United States Congress. It is very specific in a sense that it points out the consistent and constant patterns of corrosion of civil and economic liberties in the country. It also seems to give scrupulous attention to the marginalized groups who remain on the receiving end of the pain. That is really great. Nonetheless, owing to the mammoth financial aid transported to Ethiopian government by the U.S. under their bilateral security partnership, H. RES. 861 failed to deploy the political leverage of the [United States Government], and as a result it is nowhere nearer to fulfilling the goal it promises. In fact, Resolutions by merit are just declaratory statements or positions of a government. They may not be considered law in a positivist school of law. Yet again, H.RES.861 has no teeth to bite those who fail to comply the soft obligations it enumerated under the last sections 3-6.”

Experts give the bill a 32% chance of getting past the Foreign Affairs Committee and a 29% chance of being agreed to completely. Comparatively, from 2013-2015, 46% of simple resolutions made it past committee.

In a country of over 86 million, Oromos and Amharas constitute the two largest ethnic groups, combining for over 61% of the population. Yet, they are the most politically marginalized andeconomically disenfranchised. In 2015 Ethiopia’s ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, won every seat in parliament despite little ethnic diversity. The EPRDF has remained in power since the overthrow of Ethiopia’s military government in 1991.

Lima Charlie News, by J. David Thompson

J David Thompson (US Army) is a Juris Doctor candidate at Washington & Lee University School of Law focusing on International Human Rights Law. He is a Veterans in Global Leadership Fellow, and brings experience on human rights, international relations, strengthening civil society, refugee issues, interagency collaboration, and countering violent extremism. Prior to Washington & Lee, he served in the US Army as a Military Police officer and Special Operations Civil Affairs with multiple deployments to Afghanistan and one to Jordan—receiving a Bronze Star amongst other decorations. In Jordan, David worked at the US Embassy in countering violent extremism, strengthening civil society, and refugee response with other United States Government organizations, the United Nations, and various non-governmental organizations.


 

AS: ETHIOPIA’S GRADUAL JOURNEY TO THE VERGE OF CRISIS September 28, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

Addis Standard

“What is being seen right now is that people come out to protest, EPRDF kills. It is trying to govern by the force of arms, but the Ethiopian people are not going to accept that. If things continue this way, we are getting into a very dangerous road. Talking about development while refusing to protect the rights and freedoms of the people, who are the main instruments of development, is both insanity and an embarrassment. Any dictatorial regime can build infrastructure but development, in its essence, is intertwined with the rights and freedoms of the people who benefit from it. Unless EPRDF tries to seek its legitimacy from respecting these rights and freedoms, it is taking the country in a wrong way, to a very dangerous place where there might be carnages.”

ETHIOPIA’S GRADUAL JOURNEY TO THE VERGE OF CRISIS


gebru-asrat

Gebru Asrat

(Addis Standard) — Born in Mekelle, the Capital of the Tigray regional state in the north, Gebru Asrat became one of the early members of the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), Ethiopia’s all too powerful member of the governing coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). But Gebru left EPRDF in early 2000 following a major split within TPLF in the wake of the 1998-2000 war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Prior to that Gebru served as the president of the Tigray Regional State from 1991 – 2001 and was one of the top executive members of the TPLF’s politburo as well as the executive member of EPRDF. After leaving EPRDF, Gebru established the opposition Arena Tigray and became its chairman in 2007. Today Arena Tigray is one of the member parties of the larger opposition block, MEDREK.  In 2014, Gebru has published an acclaimed book: “LualawinetEna Democracy Be Ethiopia” (Sovereignty and Democracy in Ethiopia).  Addis Standard’s

Addis Standard – In your 2014 book “Democracy and Sovereignty in Ethiopia” you argued that TPLF’s culture of secrecy had helped its eventual triumph in overthrowing the militarist Derg and most of the party’s followers were indoctrinated with the propaganda of Stalinist determination. What’s the context of that culture, if you will, in light of the current situation in the TPLF-dominated-EPRDF led Ethiopia?

 GebruAsrat – TPLF was initially formed to pursue a political struggle. In order to meet that political goal through military means, it had established an army. This is one of its features. In its early days TPLF was a Marxist Leninist party. An army needs prudence [and] caution; secrets are not needed to be passed to the opposing group or to the enemy. But there is also fierce centralism which comes from the Marxist Leninist ideology.

These two factors [contributed to TPLF’s culture of secrecy] and helped it for the success of the armed struggle. But later on, after the armed struggle came to an end [with victory] TPLF denounced the Marxist Leninist ideology, and its militarist approach was seemingly replaced by a political program. But what TPLF did was to remove the flesh from its Stalinism structure, not the bone and the skeleton.  It kept the skeleton so that it would help it to rule the people of Ethiopia. It did so by using the fundamental principles of centralism; there is the rule of one party, which now they call the dominant party under the guise of revolution ary democracy.  The party kept its culture of secrecy and its centralism principle because they are convenient to rule [with an iron first].All the talks about democracy, justice, equality and the rule of law were eventually abandoned. Although it somehow shifted the gear to Capitalism during the early days of its rule the transition was not clear either. The party didn’t completely abandon the old Marxist Leninist ways; it selected what it needed to rule, to maintain its power and sustained them. Transparency was lost and a highly centralized one party dominated system was established. This secretive nature of the dominant TPLF and its refusal to be open to the public has impacted the democratization process of the country. More than that the features it has brought from the Marxist Leninist ideology like centralism, the concept of a dominant party and revolutionary democracy has eventually hampered the road to democracy and gave way to our reality today in which one party does whatever it wants.

 AS – There are people who argue that TPLF betrayed its initial noble goals, which were its foundations, after it assumed power. But judging from what you just said above (its culture of secrecy and its loyalty to an out-of-date ideology) one could say that the formation of TPLF was essentially flawed from the very beginning. And it seems that the problems we are witnessing today are the manifestations of those flaws. Am I correct?

GA – We have to clarify this in two ways: there are those who argue that TPLF’s noble goals could have only been attained through [the guiding principles of] Marxist Leninist ideology. I was one of those who believed in this. I used to fully believe that other ways of democratization were wrong; that it would not bring equality, liberty and justice. It was a mixture of belief, philosophy and ideology. So people who saw [the party’s last minute conversion to capitalism] felt they were betrayed. Many of the old guard (the old cadres), were carved in this way, so they clearly felt betrayed. On the other hand there were those even in that time who asked [if TPLF] shouldn’t have to be a democratic organization in which a marketplace of ideas were entertained. People who saw things from this perspective felt like the Marxist Leninist ideology, in its essence, could not have brought democracy. These were people who felt betrayed from the very beginning. At the end both of them have lost. There is no democracy; and there was no Marxist Leninist as it was envisioned in the beginning. Those ardent Marxist Leninist ideology supporters were betrayed because at the dawn of victory when the rebel soldiers entered into the capital the ideology was not even to be mentioned. And those who yearned for democracy were also betrayed because we ended up having a system of one dominant party rule.

AS – In chapter two of your book you explained the rocky relationship that often existed between TPLF and other armed groups that were operating in the country during the armed struggle. As someone who has been in the inner circles of the TPLF both during the armed struggle and afterwards, how do you characterize this nature of TPLF as a party vis a vis its relationship with the other sister parties within the governing coalition of EPRDF?

 GA – Yes I have written that TPLF often ended its relationships with other armed groups, which did not identify with it, by force and war. That was during the time of the armed struggle. Now, these four parties that make up the EPRDF are sister parties. More than that they say they have the same program and objective. But even in that case, there is something that must be known:  these parties are not unified and it is not clear why. If they do not have a program difference, if they have similar national visions, if they do not have a principle or ideology difference, as they claim, they should have been one national party [or] should have formed a unity. But this didn’t happen because there is this notion that EPRDF can keep the interests of each party, so it stayed this way for 25 years.

As it is known, of the four parties the one with the highest influence and the most veteran is TPLF. The amount of influence TPLF has, or we should rather say had, on other parties is not a minor one. This is not visible during eventless and peaceful times. But when there is a problem, things start to surface. For example in 2000, when EPRDF as a governing coalition was hit by a serious crisis, the value of these parties began to be measured by their loyalties to the late MelesZenawi, or TPLF. The leaders of some of these parties have even found themselves in dangerous positions.  Senior party members who have a sense of independence were kicked out and were replaced by others. This is to say that during the times of peace, the parties appear to be equal. Gradually this led the umbrella party to become what we can call a one man tyranny. As a result every party or member, who is not loyal, has faced difficulties.

But now there appear to be changes following the death of MelesZenawi, which had a very big tactical implication to EPRDF. The late Meles was a leader who managed to control and rule all the parties as well as the army. After his death all the parties within EPRDF, or rather senior leaders within those parties, have nominated him/herself to be the next Meles, showing visible signs of an increasing distance between the four parties.

AS  – In the past intra-party or intra-region conflicts which are common in federal states like Ethiopia were effectively managed by TPLF/EPDRF. This was attributed to the absence of the role of opposition parties in any of the regions. Since EPRDF governs all the regions, it has found it to be easier to manage potential intra-party or intra-region conflicts. But recent regional squabbles, for example between the Amhara and Tigray regions, seem to be on the rise. These are not simply expressions of discontent by the people of the two regions.  They are rather conflicts between the two parties governing the two regions. What is at the bottom of this? These are two parties under the same umbrella. What does this say about the two parties which are seemingly loyal to the principles of the mother party EPRDF?

GA – We can call these parties one and at the same time four. They are one because they have a common program and a national vision. On the other hand they are parties formed to maintain the interests of their individual regional interests. So this problem, even if it was not as accentuated as now, was seen before, especially in border issues. There were problems about border demarcation between Tigray and Amhara in two particular places; one in Wolkait, specifically in the place called Dansha; the second around Agaw, in the area called Abergede. There were conflicts. At the end of the day what are these parties loyal to? Their own regions or the country in general? It is not clear. Even if we see them as members of one party, they are also four different entities. So they give precedence   for their respective regions. This in itself creates conflicts; here it is expressed in the form of border conflict. It might as well be expressed in a different form. In benefits, in budget, for instance.So it can stem from the regional interest each party is trying to pursue. But essentially the Wolkait situation can be resolved by following the dictates of the Constitution. The same with Addis Abeba and Oromia. They can be solved following the Constitution. But the questions raised by the public go beyond that. They are questions of basic rights and liberties. They are questions of justice. They are questions of governorship. But in EPRDF’s Ethiopia whenever there is a problem, there is a tendency to externalize the sources. They point fingers at others. They are even saying that the public movement we are seeing now is the doing of the Eritrean government, the doings of our enemies from abroad. I think it is pure insanity to assume that millions are bought by the enemy; it is insane to assume that the Eritrean government has the power, in our country, to mobilize all these people. This externalization is also visible in other ways; whenever there is a problem in Oromia, the others see it as the fault line of OPDO. Whenever there is a problem in Amhara, the others point their fingers at ANDM and so on. They do not see it as a national problem. So when big problems, like we are witnessing now, occur, they tend to pull each other. We have seen it in 2000. It was triggered by the Eritrean question and how sovereignty was handled. There are problems within one party, let alone a front of four parties that are not unified.

 

AS – Ethiopia is experiencing frequent protests almost in every corner. With that in mind some prominent veterans say TPLF/EPRDF is at a crossroads and they are calling for a reform from within. What is your take on that? Do you agree that their prescription of reform within the TPLF/EPRDF is what a better Ethiopia needs now?

In my view TPLF was at the crossroads for a long time now. It’s been a long time but now it is very clear. It is failing to even manage the situation in its own backyard. There are demonstrations, for example the one in Embasenet. There is public discontent. There are questions of absence of good governance and democracy, and the presence of rampant corruption. These problems, through time, have penetrated into the party itself. Last year in August and September when the TPLF held its convention, the questions were raised from within the party. Party members were saying that the party was not in the right track. They criticized TPLF for being so weak that it can’t even manage its own region properly let alone impact the wider country. These questions are still alive.  Now the situation is very critical. For an entire year, there have been public gatherings, public meetings by members of civil servants and the society at large. But as [Albert] Einstein said it well it’s insanity to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.  They have tried it for more than twenty years without a change. And now we have reached at a tipping point. This problem cannot be solved in a similar way unless there is a fundamental change in the country. So these people, my older comrades, appear to be concerned by this reality. I agree with the analyses they give about the presence of a critical situation in the country.  I see their initiation to do this as a much needed positive move. However, when we come to solutions they subscribed, I must say that, they have said what I have said personally and as a member of Arena Tigray Party, which is also a member of the larger Medrek. We, as a party, have long put what we saw as the solutions to the problems in Ethiopia on several occasions. Fundamental democratic change is needed, much different from what EPRDF is following right now. If there is no democratization in Ethiopia, the problems will keep on escalating and they will put the country in a very dangerous situation. So I agree with some of what they had to say personally. But there are also suggestions that revolutionary democracy is still right. I disagree with that. It is not right. It hasn’t been right. It never worked. It cannot be a means to cultivate democracy. In fact it chokes it to death. And those commentators are saying that they agree with the principles of the developmental state. This is a scheme to put the entire economy in the hands of the state; to put the land, the budget, the country’s wealth in the hands of the state to oppress the others more easily. So I don’t agree. I do not have any problem with the government putting its hand in the economy. But like the way it is now, when the government controls everything, it becomes wrong. But the main thing is they have seen it that the country is in a critical state. And there are some solutions they suggested, like mass public discussions. But I don’t have the naiveté to believe that EPRDF is capable of reforming itself. I don’t believe that. To be fair, these are not the only solutions they suggested. They also recommended the party to have a dialogue with other opposition parties and to open the political space, which I agree with. If EPRDF reforms itself it might be useful for it. However I, as an opposition, and as someone who is a member of a party representing an alternative way,  I say, as long as democracy is not practiced in its entirety, I don’t see a way out of this quagmire for Ethiopia. There will not be justice. A fundamental change is what is needed; not a mending reform.

AS – But do you believe TPLF/EPRDF is capable of reforming itself? The language of reform has been applied for over 15 years. It’s been that long since the late MelesZenawi himself admitted EPRDF was ‘rotten’ inside out. Can TPLF/EPRDF reform itself or is the fear that if it does it might bring in its own demise takes precedence? Which one do you believe in: is it the unwillingness or the incapacity to reform that’s holding it back?

In my view reform can come in two ways; from the forces within or from the outside public. In TPLF/EPRDF when they talk about reform, it is all about keeping the status quobecause on many of the important questions the party falters.  They believe any change must happen over the graves of the party. They say they are ready to debate but they are not open for debate because they are afraid; they work from the assumption that any change on the status quo will be dangerous for them.  They tried it after the split in 2000 and during elections in 2005, but the results became overwhelming. So they used all means to close until they ended up taking a 100 per cent of the parliamentary seats. They have managed to have eight million members in an attempt to control every village. The recent statement by Prime Minister HailemariamDesalegn can be read in this light. For over a year, he has been saying they have problems of all sorts. But recently he resorted to force as a means to relinquish these pubic demands. All he said was they have the military power and they can control the situation forcefully.  He didn’t solicit political legitimacy. He didn’t see democratization as a solution, unless nominally. So far the way TPLF/EPRDF follows is guided by the principle that it controls the army, the police and the intelligence to rule the country with an iron fist. So the pressures witnessed from within are not making TPLF/EPRDF to reform. Now we have to wait and see how the public demands are pressurizing them into having a reform.

AS – Perhaps getting into the bottom of the party’s way of governing the county may help us understand on whether or not applying the language of reform could yield any result. You have, for instance, served as the president of the Tigray Regional state for about ten years. And one of the long standing problems of TPLF/EPRDF is its failure to implement the federal system as stipulated in the constitution. You had a chance to see how exactly that was played out during your presidency. How do you evaluate, for example, the fault lines in the federal-regional nexus? And what’s its contribution to the current crisis?

GA – This is a good question. Constitutionally speaking Ethiopia is a federated country. There are authority levels and limitations between the Federal government and the Regional governments. But the Constitution is not functioning. EPRDF is not practicing the Constitution. The fundamental rights and freedoms stipulated in the constitution are not respected. They are being muzzled. Human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of organization, are to mention few. My opinion is that the government is not operating following the Constitution.  It must be known that EPRDF is a highly centralized party which has and follows its own program outside of the Constitution. There is nothing like revolutionary democracy in the Constitution; it is a liberal constitution. There is no centralism in the Constitution. The Constitution is designed in such a fabulous manner only to appease the public and the wider world. But what is practiced is EPRDF’s party program. The party releases so many regulations and directives and that is what is used to govern the county. Almost all these papers are written to ensure the hegemony of one party. And all the cadres are guided by these papers. The ‘shared-rule’ and ‘self-rule principles of federalism cannot work in a highly centralized party.  Let me make myself an example. [In 2000] the split within TPLF occurred. When the split occurred, I was the President of Tigray Regional government. I was elected by the Tigray people. But I was sacked by the central government.  This means that the people have no right at all. The party ousts, sacks anybody that it wants to. The regional government, the regional entity has no power at all. This didn’t happen only to me. Abate Kisho, the president of the Southern regions was sacked in a similar manner. In Benishangul and Gambella and Somali regional states the leaders are changed frequently by the order from the EPRDF office. This flawed operation of the Federal system is just one example. But it works in all aspects. The justice system suffers from similar fate as is the military. EPRDF’s central hand is stretched in every aspect.

AS – Often time people talk about first 2000 and then 2005 being the turning points or the downward spiral in the country’s democratic experiment. The implications of these assertions are that all was well before 2000. You were the President of a Regional government before the first turning point in 2000. Do you believe that the country was on the right track before that?

GA– There are two things here: on the one hand I was the President of a regional state, on the other I was a member of EPRDF’s central committee as part of TPLF’s Executive Committee. Decisions were always made not by the regional parliament but by the party’s Executive committee. After that happened, the decision was taken to the public. In what I mentioned earlier as democratic centralism, it is not possible to refuse this. Even if it was wrong, you can’t refuse it. Of course there are possibilities to convince the committeeby raising arguments but it was up to the committee, not the public. One of the flaws of the system, I believe, is this. The party members are everywhere. They are in the Federal system. They are in the civil service structure. And they decide based on the instructions that they receive from above, from the party. Not according to what the public demand and need in every aspect. It must be known that the cause of public resentment, especially now, is this. What the people need is one thing, the party’s interest is another. There is a gap. When I look back at what was happening in the party then, there were arguments and dialogues but when it comes to the relationship between the Federal government and regional states, the dominance lies within the party. It makes the decisions.

 

AS – Despite these blatant failure of the ruling party to implement the federalism arrangement many people, including some opposition parties, point their fingers at the ethnic (some call it linguistic) federalism to be the main cause of the problem the country finds itself today. What is your opinion of that? Do you think the federalism arrangement is something that is worth protecting or something to blame for the country’s problems today?

GA – I don’t agree with such accusations. Federalism can be arranged in various ways. Now, what we have here in Ethiopia is an ethnic Federalism arrangement. There can also be a Federal arrangement based on geography. But the main thing is not this; the main thing is whether there is a condition for the pubic to choose these freely. Is there a condition to protect the people’s rights and freedoms? I believe that is the fundamental thing. As long as there is no democracy, there is going to be a problem. I mean, if there is a democratic system, those things can be debated upon. If the people don’t like them, the people can change them. But in the absence of democracy, there can’t even be a debate. So what I say is the source to all problems is lack of democratic practices, rights and freedoms by and for the public. As I said earlier the current federalism is not practiced rightly.  It’s just nominal. Yes, people work in their own languages, they celebrate their cultures. But when it comes to essential decisions, the Federal arrangement is not functioning at all. As long as there is a dominance of one party, federalism, ethnic or geographical, cannot function. I don’t think the root of Ethiopian problems is this arrangement. Problems were there long before the system came in place.  TPLF and OLF and others started armed struggle in the absence of this arrangement. It was the lack of democracy. In fact what I believe is that, the structuring of the current system has lessened ethnic resentments.  What the Ethiopian people, including intellectuals should focus on is the absence or presence of democracy. Rights and freedoms must be respected. Without doing this all the attempts will be futile. What I am saying is that this is not the root cause of all problems the country is facing today. It is the dominance of one party and the lack of basic democratic practices.

AS When you say the dominance of one party, are you saying EPRDF in general or TPLF’s dominance over EPRDF?

 GA – To make it clear, I don’t think EPRDF is a non-existent entity. Their level of power might be different but OPDO is an existing party. ANDM is an existing party. I don’t think those parties are free from taking responsibilities from whatever is happening in the country. I don’t think they have no influence on what is going on. TPLF used to be the most influential one; I doubt if it is like this now. It’s not clear. When I see what is going on and ask if TPLF has the level of influence it used to have, I have [doubts].  But even if TPLF is the most influential party, the other three cannot be exempted from taking the blame.

 AS – What do you mean when you say TPLF might not have the level of influence it once has?  The protests in Oromia throughout the year and quite recently in Amhara have laid bare not only the level of public discontent, but also the deep seated dissatisfactions by the two parties representing the two regions, the OPDO and ANDM against the all too powerful TPLF. Do you agree with that?

 GA – I find it difficult to answer this question with full certainty. However I tried to explain it earlier. Whenever there is a problem, pointing fingers is very common. In my opinion, for the lack of democracy in the country, for the muzzling of rights and freedoms, and for the rampant corruption all member parties of the EPRDF are blameworthy. They participated in the thievery; they have participated in the oppression so they can’t claim innocence. But as I said earlier pointing fingers is very common. TPLF points its fingers at others. It says it has been betrayed as the recent article on Aigaforum claims. It is nothing more than casting blame on others. And the fact is in a union that was not formed in a democratic way, this is inevitable.  Because whenever individuals or groups become stronger the others develop a sentiment of antipathy. When I see TPLF and others, I don’t think the lower level party members think like the leadership. I don’t think the leadership has enough control, influence, on its own members, like it used to have. It’s weak now. Each party has more than a million members. Those members can’t even control what’s going on in oneKebele, or in one Woreda. So when this happens, instead of saying this happens because of us, because of the roads we follow, they say it’s all about failed implementation, even worse, they say it’s because some betrayed us. It’s an inevitable accusation.

AS – What do you think is the best way to address the country’s not only political and economic but also historical crisis without causing a regrettable outcome? What do you see as prescription for redemption, if you will? 

GA– As I see Ethiopia is a country at the verge of crisis. In this regard I agree with what my previous comrades have written about. The crisis is created. In this reality, there are things not just politicians but also the general public must think about. The first one is that in Ethiopia there is lack of one strong guiding vision. So the main thing, I think, is to have a consensus of vision for the country. When I say this I am not denying the fact that each party has its own vision. But it has become a country without a vision which can gather people around. So in order to salvage the country out of this crisis, we must have more dialogues, more ideas. We need ideas, strong ideas that can gather the public together. But since ideas are not enough, strong institutions are needed. Strong parties are needed.  By this I don’t mean dominant party.I think Ethiopia lacks strong national parties that can gather people of all spectrums together. Some of them incline too much to their region. Some others deny the questions of nations and ethnicity; they claim to be national but their influence doesn’t transcend from one region. So I don’t see alternatives in which strong parties with strong vision can be created. We evaluate EPRDF on many parameters and we understand that the party is finding it difficult to bring forth solutions to the problems the country is facing. Or we are saying the party is in crisis. But we must also ask does the alternative certainly has principles and organizations that can bring forth change? We can’t bring in change using the same ideas. What Ethiopia needs is a change of ideas. Besides that there is yet another question that must be raised. Before now, during the Derg and Imperial regimes, there were problems in the country such as lack of democracy, lack of justice, lack of equality. But the country somehow survived these problems and stayed as one. We should be careful that the current situation isn’t any different.  What I see now dominantly, among the radical opposition and EPRDF alike, is the proliferation of racial or ethnic hatred. We can see that in the state owned and affiliated media there is a proliferation of mixing the ruling party with the people. This will lead us to irrevocable conflicts. There is no weak area in this regard, even if it is small. But sadly EPRDF is using it to its advantage. To put it bluntly, TPLF is doing a lot of mobilization saying to the [Tigray] people that chauvinists are going to invade them and they should gather around it. It is trying to make the [Tigray] people believe that all the critiques it is receiving are critiques not against the party but against the [Tigray] people. This is very dangerous. Similarly there are others who mix up the party and the people and spread rumors that the Tigayans are about to do this or that to this or that people. The opposition finds it easy to collect followers by telling people that what’s happening to them is done to them by Tigrayans. The ruling party is doing the same. They have been doing it for quite a long time actually. Every time an election approaches they tell the people in Tigray that chauvinist Amharas are going to engulf them.  And they tell the Amhara that narrow Oromos are coming to destroy them. And for the Oromo they say the chauvinists are going to sabotage them. This is an age old way of the party. And I believe that it has contributed to what is going on now. If religious leaders in this country were not followers and executers of EPRDF’s program who never slide an inch from the party’s dictates, they would have been important in looking for solutions for the country’s problems. The intellectuals and religious leaders must be part of the solution. So what I see as a strategy to get out of this quagmire is there must be an organization with a strong vision which can be an alternative to the EPRDF and which can gather the people of Ethiopia around this vision.

 

AS – Owing to this monumental failure to uphold the rule of law, many people say the ruling party in Ethiopia has forced its relationship with the people of Ethiopia to become violent. Your own party Arena Tigray has been pushed left and right to a point where peaceful politicking has become virtually impossible. This is leading many people to say that the idea of armed struggle is now becoming the last resort to deal with EPRDF. As a party which is denied the means to a peaceful struggle, do you see Arena Tigray responding to EPRDF’s dominance in what many say is the only means EPRDF understands: armed struggle?

 GA – Your question is right. EPRDF is pushing the people, especially the youth, to the extreme. It made me recall a Central Committee member we once had. He raised an argument that with EPRDF in power it’s impossible to have a peaceful struggle. But we said we have to use the political space that is available, as narrow as it can be, and conduct a peaceful struggle. Otherwise the other way is going to unleash calamity. He finally moved to Eritrea to join TIMIHT. This man represents a way of thinking among the youth. And the narrower the space gets, the more the youth are pushed to pick up armed struggle because they see what they see; they believe peaceful struggle is just getting to jail. But I don’t believe in that; I believe the current movements [the protests in various parts of the country] are essentially peaceful. I have a belief that it is possible to force the government to change. I also believe that it is possible to execute policy in a peaceful way.

Right after the election [in 2015] we have three of our members killed including a member of our central committee here in Addis Abeba. Another of our member was poisoned to death and we have about twenty members in jail. Incidents like this make peaceful struggle difficult. But paying the prices requires us to continue the peaceful struggle. And the protests we are seeing now, I count them as part and parcels of peaceful struggle. Other than that I don’t see anything but bloodshed from armed struggle.

AS – Where is EPRDF taking Ethiopia to?

gebru-asrat

 GA – This is a very difficult question. A hard one. In its own book, it is taking the country to development, to wealth, to job creation, to the providing of health services and what have you. That’s what it says. Of course there are some changes in some regards. This is undeniable. Access to health and education is better than what it used to be. There are foreign and domestic investments. But this cannot be a source of legitimacy for a regime. The main thing is: is there democracy? Are the rights and freedoms of people protected? A person who owns a cart feeds the horse that pushes the cart but it doesn’t mean that he gives the horse freedom. And humans are different from horses, from animals. Freedom is the main foundation and element of development. What is being seen right now is that people come out to protest, EPRDF kills. It is trying to govern by the force of arms, but the Ethiopian people are not going to accept that. If things continue this way, we are getting into a very dangerous road. Talking about development while refusing to protect the rights and freedoms of the people, who are the main instruments of development, is both insanity and an embarrassment. Any dictatorial regime can build infrastructure but development, in its essence, is intertwined with the rights and freedoms of the people who benefit from it. Unless EPRDF tries to seek its legitimacy from respecting these rights and freedoms, it is taking the country in a wrong way, to a very dangerous place where there might be carnages.


Click here to read related article: The Conflict between the Ethiopian State and the Oromo People

Freedom House: WhatsApp, Facebook blocked in Ethiopia after protestors killed by security forces. August 9, 2016

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

Freedom House

Viber, twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp Are strictly forbidden in Fascist regime (TPLF) Ethiopia

WhatsApp, Facebook blocked in Ethiopia after protestors killed by security forces

Ethiopian migrants, all members of the Oromo community of Ethiopia living in Malta, protest against the Ethiopian regime in Valletta, 21 December 2015
Ethiopian migrants, all members of the Oromo community of Ethiopia living in Malta, protest against the Ethiopian regime in Valletta, 21 December 2015

REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

This statement was originally published on freedomhouse.org on 8 August 2016.

In response to Ethiopian security forces killing dozens of protesters in the Amhara and Oromia regions during protests on August 6-7, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The government of Ethiopia should immediately end its murderous violence targeting citizens demanding equitable distribution of resources and open government,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Africa programs. “Authorities should respect citizens’ constitutional right to peacefully assemble and express their views, and should meet their demands for greater democracy.”

Background:

Ethiopia security forces have detained thousands of demonstrators and killed hundreds of citizens in the clashes that occurred between November 2015 and July 2016, in response to protests in Oromia that began late last year. In July 2016, the protests spread to the Amhara region, where dozens of protestors have died.

Detailed, independently-verified information remains difficult to obtain due to the government’s suppression of independent media and rights monitoring groups. In recent days, the government blocked social media message applications, including Facebook, Twitter, Viber and WhatsApp.

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.


https://www.ifex.org/ethiopia/2016/08/08/protestors_killed/


 

#Oromoprotests: Open Letter regarding the carnage in Oromia and possible next steps August 2, 2016

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist#OromoProtests, 2nd August 2016 and continuesNo To Fascist TPLF Ethiopia's genocidal militarism and mass killings in Oromia, Ethiopia


By #OromoProtests


To:
Obbo Abbaa Duulaa Gemeda, Speaker of the House of Representatives, FDRE.
Obbo Muktar Kedir, President of the National Regional State of Oromia
Ibrahim Haji, Commissioner of Oromia Police
All City Councils in charge of Matters pertaining to Public Political meetings and Peaceful Demonstrations
CC.
Obbo Teshome MUlatu, President, FDRE
Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister, FDRE; Chair of the Command Post currently governing Oromia
General Samora Yunus, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, FDRE
Ato Asefa Abiyu, Commissioner of the Federal Police
Central Committee of EPRDF
Executive Committee of OPDO


Subject: Open Letter regarding the carnage in Oromia and possible next steps


Dear Sirs,

It is to be recalled that the Oromo people have been expressing their total and complete discontent with the administration over the last eight months and a half. This expression has taken the form of peaceful protest (‪#‎Oromoprotests‬) forcing the government to rethink the Addis Ababa Master Plan, amend the Oromia Urban Development Proclamation, reschedule the Ethiopian School leaving Exam and, more recently, to stop dumping waste in the Sandaafa area. Much to our disappointment and to the disappointment of the entire Oromo nation, this peaceful popular protest has been consistently met with overt violence from the Government’s security forces.

According to our estimates, over 6oo Oromos are killed. (It is to be noted that the Human Rights Watch had reported earlier that over 400 are murdered by government security officers arbitrarily. Even the regime has admitted that there were 173 killings and hundreds of incidents of injury to civilians, arbitrary arrests, and other forms of abuses, and yet there was no attempt on the part of the government to take political and legal responsibility for this.) Targeted killings have been going on even in the absence of any public demonstrations in Shashemene and the towns in the wider W Arsi district. The Government has so far not done its part to investigate the cause and bring the perpetrators to justice. Even as we write this letter today, the killing continues in Awaday. Few weeks ago, several arbitrary killing of children and other civilians was witnessed and burning of a building has also been observed while the local officials were watching the fire to the point of self-entertainment with the sight. Today, we have noticed the killing of protestors by snipers who targeted Oromo lives.

In the last eight months and a half, hundreds of peoples suffered wounds and other forms of bodily injury from shooting. Over 5000 Oromos were shot and injured by the Security Forces, mainly the Agazi. Tens of thousands have been victims of mass arrest and are suffering arbitrary detention and torture in prisons large and small in various parts of the country. Oromo leaders are detained and tortured as political prisoners. Hundreds are reported to be missing and are victims of forced disappearance. All this has been unaccounted for thus far as there was no independent commission of inquiry established to inquire into the matter. Nor has the government invited international investigators such as the UN’s Special Rapporteurs on Arbitrary Execution, Forced Disappearance, or the Committee of Experts.
The dispossession and displacement of Oromo farmers and residents including those in the suburbs of Addis Ababa) continues uninhibited so far. The civil administration of Oromia is still not restored in full. The Oromia National Regional State (ONRS) is still under the military rule that governs through a Task Force from a Command Post. Oromia is virtually under the rule of the Agazi. The fundamental demands of Oromo people remain unaddressed. Discrimination is rife. Economic disempowerment, political marginalization, total loss of voice is patent. Oromos are disproportionately represented in the statistics about the Ethiopian prison population. (It is reported that the prison population has risen from 86% to 95 % within the last nine months.) Oromo political leaders such as Bekele Gerba, Olbana Lelissa, Dejene Tafa, Addisu Bulala, and almost all of the OFC leadership are imprisoned for no legally justified reasons. They are subjected to abuses as political prisoners.
The state of basic social services is deteriorating from day to day. Health, road, and water services infrastructure have all collapsed to the point of crisis. There is virtually no semblance of governance in the region except the terrorizing of the civilian population through a heavy military presence across the region.
All these brutal killings, maimings, forced disappearances, and other forms of abuse were taken to be acts of a repressive dictatorial regime that is hateful of its peoples. Developments in recent days (especially those that transpired in the Amhara region) and the way the regime treated their demands presented a contrast that seemed to suggest to our people that these extraordinarily violent responses are reserved only for Oromos. In Oromia, when school children demonstrated unarmed and peacefully (to present their just demands for their rights), they were massacred in a torrent of bullets that rained on them from the Agazi Forces. Elsewhere, even people that are fully armed with guns stage a protest, present their demands, and come home safely. And that is as it should be. Few hours after the Gonder protest was peacefully concluded, the regime was conducting a campaign of sniper shooting in Awaday town (of West Hararghe Zone of Oromia) where 6 persons were killed and about 26 were shot and wounded. This shows that the regime have different modes of treatment to different peoples of the country. It sends a message that indicates that Oromos, unlike others, are enemies to be eliminated at every opportunity. It also sends the message that there is a difference between the Amhara and Oromo parties (i.e. ANDM and OPDO, which form the coalition of the EPRDF) operating in the respective regions. ANDM openly supports the protest in Amhara region while in contrast the OPDO in Oromia is nowhere to be seen around the people (except as informers and co-killers). The media in Oromia is busy denouncing and demonizing the Oromo Protest whereas in other regions, the media publicly announces its support for the people’s demands.
Consequently, it has become clear even to casual observers that Oromo lives don’t matter in Ethiopia. In this regard, the regime has continued in the tradition of devaluing and undervaluing Oromo lives starting from the days of imperial conquest of the Oromo nation.
We believe that you are acutely aware that this condition is unsustainable. We believe that the only way forward is to arrest the people’s unnecessary suffering and bringing this crisis to a positive end. We believe that the continued perpetuation of misery, targeting the Oromo people as a people, is forcing them to reach for desperate measures that this government can’t eventually manage to control.
We, as concerned children of Oromia, are writing to you to make this last call for you to wake up to this fast changing phase of the Oromo Protest. If the government does not properly respond to the peaceful demands of the people for their rights in a just social order, the Oromo people will be obliged to start taking drastic measures that have serious repercussions both for the regime and for the country.
Our people are asking what brought about this apparently endless tragedy to them, including this recent different valuation of peoples and their rights. The answer seems to be in the following:
1. The Oromo people had so far chosen to conduct their protest peacefully. Oromo political leaders, activists, and intellectuals have all been consistently advising against violence and encouraging people to avoid all forms of violence. This was in line with the principle of primacy of peace and wellbeing (nagaaf nageenya) in the Oromo tradition and their way of being in general. This choice has been viewed as weakness and cowardice. The TPLF regime seems to have chosen to utilize the Oromo commitment to peace as an instrument of perpetuating its repressive politics.
2. In the last nine months, our people have taken extraordinary care not to harm other people living among them, especially those who, being from Tigray, support, benefit from, and collude with the regime. This care seems to be mistaken for naiveté and weakness.
However, it should be clear to all that patience has its limits. Anger and resentment is overflowing among our people. Before patience completely runs out, it has now become necessary for the regime to be given a last chance to change the course of its behaviour. In order to ensure that the regime treats our people with the same respect it accords to other peoples of Ethiopia, it has become necessary to take the following measures:
1. On Saturday, 6 August 2016, there will be a grand protest demonstration across the Oromia region including in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. The Protest, like all other preceding protests shall be completely peaceful. Its demands include:
a. STOP KILLING OROMOS;
b. FREE ALL OROMO AND OTHER POLITICAL PRISONERS WITHOUT ANY PRECONDITION;
c. END THE AGAZI RULE IN OROMIA;
d. ALLOW OROMOS COMPLETE SELF-GOVERNANCE
e. And other similar demands.
2. There shall be no request for permit from the government. According to the constitution and the relevant law (Proclamation No 3/1991), people who seek to stage public political meetings and peaceful demonstrations have a mere duty of notification.

This letter shall have served as a letter of notice to the relevant State and Federal institutions.

If Oromia’s and Federal Security Forces try to prevent the protest rallies or to abuse people otherwise during and before the demonstrations, from that moment on, the Oromo Protest will immediately have entered a new phase with new mission and strategy.

It shall start taking measures commensurate to the needs of the times.

TPLF leaders and Oromo collaborators shall take full responsibility for any and all negative consequences.
Desperate times demand desperate measures.
We call upon the regime to end our people’s sufferings immediately.
We also call upon the Ethiopian people to pay attention to this notice, to bear witness, and to stand in solidarity with its Oromo brethren and sisters.
We call upon our people to understand this situation and stand with the usual resolve and determination as they stand in unison to demand their just and God-given rights in their own land.
Kind Regards,
#OromoProtests


 

The good diagnosis leads to the perfect treatment July 24, 2016

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

The good diagnosis leads to the perfect treatment


By Dr. Baaroo Keno Deressa


In medical terminology diagnostic means the act of identifying a disease, illness, or problem by examining someone or something. Diagnosis is a statement or conclusion that describes the reason for a disease, illness, or problem. Treatment is the remedie to cure the disease.

The Oromo people are the forefront champion of peace and nonviolent nation in Ethiopian empire. The powerful evidence of these fact is the way of life that Oromo people exercise: Oromo means peace, Oromo means love, Oromo means equality, Oromo means democracy, Oromo means generosity, Oromo means honesty, Oromo means transparency, Oromo means happiness, Oromo means OLF, OLF means Oromo. Despite all unhuman atrocities against the Oromo people by Ethiopian colonialist leaders, the Oromo nation committed to defend his qualities. The Oromo people paid/paying enormous sacrifice to be free in his own country and free from brutality of the colonizers to exercise his golden gifts (mentioned above).

To mention some of the Oromo people struggle to defend his qualities:

  • Raya and Azebo during 1928-30
  • Bale revolt led by hero of the Oromo people general Waqo Guutu in 1960th
  • Mecha-Tulema movement led by hero of the Oromo people general Tadesse Biru in 1965
  • OLF leadership with popular mass movement and imprinting Oromummaa
  • Qube generations supported by Qeerroo leadership with historic mobilization of the Oromo people.

This paper try to explore the current ongoing peace movement led by some Oromo political organization:

My question is who deny the peace?

Who reject the democracy?

Who promote hate?

Who is mother of greediness? ….the answer to all this question is the Ethiopian empire leaders. If really the Ethiopian empire elite try to implement the true peace for all oppressive nation they have to come to the Oromo people and other nations with reconciliation and peace plan (because they are the master of the disaster). But, the Oromo leaders has to concentrate further mobilization of Oromummaa to defend his qualities instead of touring around the western world to promote Ethiopianst agenda. So, the history teach Oromo people, the way of the Ethiopian empire approach brought us again and again death award before the war is started.

The Ethiopian empire (TPLF majesty) Constitution is theoretically sweat but in practice its bitterness is remarkable:

  • It says federalism: but act in a unitary fashion by brushing aside all the divisions of powers between different levels of federation.
  • Federation resource and power control is according to the constitution in the hand of regional state but in practice in the hand of TPLF junta.
  • Constitutionally respect of democracy. While most of Oromo’s support the principles of democracy such as the forming of government based on the will of the majority, respect for the rule of law, and respect for basic freedoms of citizens, the fact remains that in practice, we have tended to have TPLF military rule.
  • Sharing power at the different levels of government from all nations are constitutionally guaranteed, but in practice all key powers are in the hands of TPLF militia’s.

The essential difference between Ethiopian empire leaders and Oromo people is:

One of the greatest challenges of Ethiopian empire leaders is fail to understand the Oromo people. Oromo people is a nation who was created by God for good. A nation who believe in managing political and social disputes peacefully, without lapsing into conflict, or sustain economic growth without creating huge inequalities and respect the rule of law. To do that, setting the rules; hiring persons with the technical expertise and moral competence to interpret the rules or implement the goals of the organizations; and ensuring that the institutions inspire public confidence by being transparent, fair and consistent. But the Ethiopian elite assume this golden gift of Oromo people as ignorance and naïve. That is why the play dirty game always when the Oromo people struggle come to the boiling point.

The real question is why has the task of consensus-building been so difficult among Oromo leaders in order to build our nation. The Oromo people have enormous human and natural resources, patriotic aspirations, let us look at three critical areas:

1-Threats and challenges posed by colonizers and international force: Colonizers claim that there were no Oromo nations exist before and there is no future existence. International force acknowledge that Oromia is the heart of Ethiopia, so their fear is that, if the existence of Oromia become real the imminent death of Ethiopia is guaranteed.

2) The quality of leadership that has confronted these challenges: Our leaders are changed/changing their tactic and strategy time to time due to the enormous pressure by internal and external forces.

3) The fragility of the Oromo political organizations: Some of the Oromo political Organizations are structurally weak, historically poor, their determination is measured by their personal happiness, ego and pocket instead of promoting their people interest; vision less and guided by dormant leaders.

Nations are an important part of a modern society. Nations just don’t happen by historical accident; rather they are built by men and women with vision and resolve. Nation-building is therefore the product of conscious statecraft, not happenstance. Nation-building is always a work-in-progress; a dynamic process in constant need of nurturing and re-invention. Nation-building never stops and true nation-builder never rest because all nations are constantly facing up to new challenges. Nation-building is therefore about building the tangible and intangible threads that hold a political entity together and gives it a sense of purpose.

What is to be done?

Historical experience teaches us that a successful struggle against a colonial state depends on the linking of the socio-economic struggles that engage the attention of the masses with the pro-democracy, freedom fighters, intellectuals with diverse professionalism.

Yes I agree with respected hero of the Oromo people Mr Bekele Gerba who says we have to persistent in demanding and defending our right in our land and in our backyard. So dear brothers and sisters at this critical point instead of continuing this aspiration of our hero at this boiling point, touring in the western country in the name of peace, it seems to me ignoring historic quality of Oromummaa.

Here is my proposition:

-Call our mothers to take her cooking material and come to the Finfinnee palace

-Call our brothers and sisters to take their torture signs on their body and come to the Finfinnee palace

-Call our students to take their pen and paper to come to the Finfinnee palace

-Call our farmers to take their farming tools and come to the Finfinnee palace

-Call our doctors to take their white coat and come to the Finfinnee palace

-Call our lawyers to take the article of respect the rule of law and come to the finfinne palace

-Call our nurses to take the infusion material and come to the Finfinnee palace

-Call our politicians to take the truth of Oromo people and their deeds in defending

their people to Finfinnee palace

-Call our rich people to take their heart and mind and throw their fear in the garbage and come to the Finfinnee palace

-Call all defenders of human rights and peace lovers to take flag of peace and come to the Finfinnee palace.

-Call our elderly and sick people to lay down in front of their doors

If we are working to this end we will unify the fighting forces and peace movement and unity of our people to enhance our freedom and freedom of all oppressive nations.

I would like to end my letter by reiterating that nations are built by men and women who have the will and vision to accomplish greatness, not for themselves, their immediate families and friends, but for their country. I believe that if we can find the will to offer such a leadership, and support it by strong and dependable political and economic institutions, we will find a way to our national greatness.

Victory to the Oromo people!


Dr. Baaroo Keno Deressa is a medical doctor studied internal medicine. Specialized in gastro-hepatology disease. He can be reached: bkderessa@gmail.com


 

Oromia Today July 23, 2016

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Odaa OromooNo To Fascist TPLF Ethiopia's genocidal militarism and mass killings in Oromia, Ethiopia


Already the Oromo are subjected to genocide under Tigray Tigriny gang rule, a crime that is condemned by the world body and many culprits from different countries with lesser magnitude had been brought to justice at international courts. But that of the Oromo, Sidaamaa, Mazhangir, Gambeela is overlooked for not publicly declared reason, though the Oromo suspects it is part of the conspiracy that led to Oromiyaa’s colonization. Therefore the youth has to remember the Oromo saying about the snake that said “Abbaatu of maraa” (it is up to one to coil oneself) when suggested cutting it because it is too long. It is they that take the initial step for survival; help will come depending on their continued determination and commitment for human cause.


 

 

Oromia Today

By Obbo Ibsaa Gutamaa


The continued colonial status of Oromiyaa cannot be understood without understand the nature of the colonizer, the Abyssinian state. The power struggle within that state has lived not only creating tension to the Habashaa but also affecting the peaceful life of its neighbors in one way or other, more so since an era known as The Scramble for Africa. The catalyst in it, international conspiracy that started early is also still actively engaged exasperating the misery. Since then much had changed in structure and function of Habashaa state not for the colonies. Now suffice to try and see the relation of Eritrea and Ethiopia in context of Tigray Tigriny in the eyes of a mute observer.

Eritrean highland known as Kabasaa is occupied by Tigrinya speaking population similar to those in present Tigray sate. Both together are referred to as Tigray Tigriny and are majority population in Eritrea while minority in Abyssinia and Ethiopian Empire. Their last king that ruled both at the same time were Yohannis IV, (1872-1889) who was able to extend his rule over the rest of Abyssinian state and also sanctioned colonization of Oromiyaa by Shawaan king. Part of Tigray Tigriny and the whole present Eritrea fell to Italy after the battle of Adwa, 1896. It was transferred to Ethiopian empire in 1956. It is now an independent country. Its independence did not come easily. It has taken so many lives among who were gallant, brilliant and intimate friends of this writer with who they have experienced the ups and downs of student life at Haile Sillaasee I University. The dead also include his compatriots who were mobilized by the opposite side. This writer shall cherish the memory of his friends and never forgets the victimized compatriots as long as he lives. Let their soul rest in peace.

The Tigray Tigrinys are now in power in both Ethiopia and Eritrea. They are historically and culturally interconnected for thousands of years. Their country is a land mass bordered by Amaaraa, Agawu, Oromo, Saahoo, Afar, Kunaamaa and Beejjaa, almost all Kuusaa people’s land. In short they are the heart lands of Abyssinia mostly sharing the same political, social and economic life. For the first time they were politically separated when a part became Italian colony. It is historical accidents that separated them and when another similar accident brought them together megalomania of their leadership could not keep them together. From experience there is no win, win position in dealings of their elites. One has always to win by force or deceit. There cruelty against anyone challenging them has no bounds.

Their king Yohannis IV pulled out eyes of the Agawu king before him who was his brother in law and cut tongues of Oromo in Walloo from hate; he betrayed the trust of people like Waldamicha’el, chief of Bahiree Nagaash and killed them. TPLF is a copy of him. Because of such traditional lack of moral inhibition and democratic political culture problems were observed between the two comrades in arms. They overthrew the most brutal tyrant but did not to bring fundamental change to the system and liberate the peoples but to replace him in exploiting the colonies. Tyranny got more fertile ground in them. Both groups have their eyes on the colonies’, in particular Oromiyaa’s precious metals and cash crops and raw material for their presumed industries. During the Transitional Tigrean Government their combined force overpowered Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and massacred gallant Oromo heroes and sent thousands to concentration camps to advance this ambition of theirs. Oromo are better than the steer that licks the hand of one that drives it to slaughter house to forget this. However, their authoritarian personality did not permit them to enjoy their victory together.

Since then we have seen against all expectations, how they went to the most devastating war few years after their shared victory over OLA. The devastation was of course mostly on recruits from other peoples, majorly Oromo not on their kin. So they did not feel the pinch much. During the emperor and the Darg the Army was dominated by Amaaraa core officers with few assimilado. In the present government it is totally Tigrinya dominated officer core for they had no assimilado to trust. They did not also trust their cousins, the Amaaraa whom they were rather out to break their morale. In both Habashaa periods the army belonged to the dominant group, though Amaaraa have given them some representation.

The previous army was loyal to the regime that ruled the empire, but separately organized from the civilian leadership up to the Darg. The Tigray Tigriny army is the regime; it is the total guerrilla force composed of one nationality. Historically no Habashaa rebel has dismissed the whole army of the vanquished like TPLF did but was embraced by the victor and remained army of the Habashaa. “We are the dead and also the leaving, so follow us” was their transitional slogan. Tigray Tigriny on both sides of Marab agreed on the dismissal. They changed that code and established all Tigray Tigriny army. They also agreed on short transitional arrangement in which different Organizations other than those of the Amaaraa will participate. But with understanding that power will be monopolized by TPLF in Ethiopia and Eritrea will be declared independent. No genuine Amaaraa independent parties will ever raise their head as long as the Tigrinyaas are in power. The new rulers had a policy that the empire will be geared towards supplying the needs of Tigray Tigrinys.

Though both Amaaraa and Tigray Tigrinys are called Habashaa after their place of origin in Yemen, they claim separate territory and language despite being political partner since they crossed the Red Sea. As a senior partner Amaaraa has led them to grandeur and victories over the neighboring peoples. It was the Amaaraa that pushed the Kuusaa people to farther south and expanded their boundary to Shawaa. It is Amaaraa that renewed the myth of Sheba to give Habasha ideological basis. Unlike Tigray Amaaraa have been growing by assimilating other nationalities as a result of which some have started to say there are no people called Amaara. In reality that is what is making them cling to the ancient civilization, Ethiopia, to cover ethnographic weakness. It is that weakness that the Tigrinyaa hammered on to reduce them to Amaaraa ethnicity and ending their disguising under the name Ethiopia. Without the assimilado their number will not be much greater than Tigray Tigriny as it seems. Now the assimilado and the opportunist who together call themselves “forces of unity” (FU) (euphemism for Amaaraa) are making the most noise against Oromo liberation; the assimilado remember the disgraceful chasing out from Gondar by Teedros of Ejjuu warlords branded as aliens after years of service to Habashaa Crown, in which they improved the system of justice in a way never seen. They are afraid the same might happen to them if colonies are gone.

Be that as it may, rulers of Tigray Tigrinys have deprived the Amaaraa of all their gains of the last century including the hard won colonies, three thousand year extension to empire Ethiopia, and sea outlets. Demanding from all individuals to register their ethnic identity, the assimilado which comfortably passed for Amaaraa, claiming to be Ethiopian now could not find roots to attach to. The lost sheep is back to its owner. Except the few that have nostalgia for the old Nafxanyaa days many appreciated regaining their lost identity. Thus Amaaraa is trimmed down numerically and psychologically. Amaaraa activists now are of two types; remnant of ancient occupying army (Nafxanyaa) and Amaaraa from the homeland. Most Nafxanyaa remnants residing in the rural towns except for calling themselves Amaaraa for being Orthodox Christians, cannot tell from where their ancestors were recruited or if they are really ethnically Amaaraa. Even if the family had mentioned a country of origin those that went to investigate will not be that much. The truth is they know only the countries they are born, brought up and live in. If not moles, they have equal rights with the natives.

But some of the remnants may not feel comfortable without super imposed Ethiopia in spite of the natives showing them love and tolerance on many occasions. Despite that there are those that feel the pain of oppression and identify with natives and believe only what they personally experienced not scare mongers’ tales. Some others yet feel insecure from their racist mentality and fear of retaliation for abuses they heard their forebears committed on the natives. Such have nostalgia for the past they never lived and will have a hard time to adjust. It is from these that “FU” recruit their vocal members. They are dangerous for any peace efforts that Amaaraa may try to make with the Oromo, because they are neither Oromo nor Amaaraa. Oromo means people, Oromiyaa knows no discrimination no hate, and any one that cries foul will be ashamed. Incidents could happen here and there but that could not be a reason to smear the good name of their generous hosts. It is against basic Oromo tradition to harm any human being, it is a safuu. Oromiyaa supports all peoples whoever they are that struggle for their liberation without any string attached.

The Habashaa from homeland had come into contact with the Oromo in schools, in particular high schools and colleges. Some did not believe their eyes Oromo having normal physical features different from the monstrous one they well told back home. Except for childhood racist bias which they had opportunity to correct, they had no direct physical confrontation as colonizer and colonized. That doesn’t mean childhood brainwashing did not leave stigma on their memory about the colonized. The psychologically formed glory of greater Ethiopia by propaganda of monks, daftaraas and opportunist historians doesn’t go easily. Those concerned have to find a way out to bright and peaceful future. Since they cannot revers what years of revolution by the down trodden has done to the empire, they have to accept the fact and try to heal existing wounds rather than rubbing salt on them.

Therefore, it is hoped they will be wiser than crying over spilt milk. Ethiopia is not the only country that lost colonies and adjusted themselves to their new size geographically, psychologically, as well as economically. Only self-reliance pulling back to their original holding can make one independent and proud. The Nafxanyaa days are long gone. Just like the Boer is not problem of Holand Nafxanyaa descent should not be Habashaa or Amaaraa problems; they are problems of the colonies. Unless they have intention of continuing dominating Oromiyaa further, they have to fight for their own liberation not claiming those Nafxanyaa decendants as excuse for their hidden agenda. The shrinking of the British Empire and recent UK withdrawal from EU can be a harbinger for future possibilities.

The Tigray Tigriny has at least recognized on paper that the colonial people have separate history and identity from the colonizers. This was criticized by Amaaraa elites and later by some Tigrinyaa elites. Though they have historical and blood relations Eritrean elites had fought for the right of nations to national self-determination and got it. It is surprising to hear them saying that for Oromiyaa is a distortion of history and blamed TPLF despite their earlier concurrence with it when they were buddies, in accepting that the empire was only a century old. No one can easily turn this back and retain the colonies under domination. They won it not as a charity from any Habashaa group but by their own sweat and blood. It is the culmination of century old struggle. It is what brought down the emperor and the Darg. Not realizing they are losing Abyssinia itself Amaaraa elites are growling about the loss of an empire. Tigray Tigriny, despite showing deceptive face now will eventually unite for wider hegemonic venture. Their saying, “Ya qooxuun awurd bilaa ya bibbituwaan xaalech” (To get more from the raft she lost what was in her arm pit) is happening to the Amaaraa.

Amaaraa have all the potentials to stand on their own. They have the resources; demography and experience to enable them do that. Therefore they are an entity to reckon with in that region. With Oromia they are neighbors with extensive boundary line. They are the vanguard of the Habashaa expedition that colonized Oromiyaa and so nearest enemy which if reformed can become strategic friends. Both can guarantee freedom peace, stability and prosperity for the region if they can stand together as equals. For both the initial priority must not be relation within Ethiopia but friendship as independent neighboring countries. Amaaraa should beware of organizations with baseless power mongering Nafxanyaa influence. Amaaraa’s longtime partner the remaining part of Tigray Tigriny is almost gone. The empire had no control over them for over twenty five years. TPLF is building its power base as never seen. Infrastructures for all activities are laid down. Social and economic institutions are built. They are at stage to declare independence or merger with Tigray Tigriny in Eritrea. No propaganda or appeal to history of “FU” can stop them. Amaaraa has to make peace with itself before trying to make peace with others. It is not easy to get rid of the illusion of being custodian of Ethiopianism that has rusted in subconscious.

The Oromo do not see their country as a periphery of Ethiopia but as its neighbor and a country with its own peripheries. Oromo do not feel marginalized in relation to Habashaa power but as occupied and deprived of their freedom by them. They are not complaining of being denied participation in their authoritarian system but of their loss of freedom. Thinking otherwise undermines how Oromo view themselves and all the sacrifices Oromo patriots paid and are paying to liberate their nation from occupation. It is disgusting when some Oromo claim expertise and air opinion contrary to vision of majority population only to be embraced by Habasha peers. The Oromo is determined that no Habashaa group can any more present itself as dictator on the life of other nations and nationalities in the region albeit as a neighbor with equal rights Distracting suggestions about Oromo rights and democracy are pouring from Ethiopianist Organizations. But no nationalist will be moved by those suggestions as long as Oromiyaa is under occupation and cannot freely express its will.

It now seems for the moment that only the two Tigray Tigriny rivals seem to be the only leading bulls in Abyssinian kraal. They mobilize all nations and nationalities under them to serve as cannon fodders in their senseless wars of dominating the kraal. For the Oromo such wars do not bring any material or spiritual benefit. Whoever wins Oromo remains the loser. The boarder points they are taking as pretexts for clashes now are all in Tigray Tigriny land. Though legally international, in reality it is a domestic Tigrinya affair. Now, for all nations and nationalities in the horn a task of liberating and developing themselves is awaiting them. The hegemonic plan of Tigray Tigriny groups for the Horn of Africa has to be stopped. The border issue is their own problem, no others should any more sacrifice their youth for others interest. Their fight will go on until one bull remains to head the kraal and that should be taken as their own business not of the colonies. Every other people in the empire are responsible not to serve force of tyranny dangerous to pan Africanism.

Tigray Tigriny was broken up when their partner, the Amaaraa colonized countries to its south like Oromiyaa. Their leader, Minilik probably did not want to risk his newly gained colonies when he agreed with another colonizer not to cross the Marab creek. Minilik was a proxy partner in conspiracy for the Scramble for Africa. Tigray elites had no power to challenge their new king but gave up on their siblings and part of their domain for which only few years ago Yohannis and Aluulaa were engaged in battles with Egypt and Italy in its defense. Despite Tigrinya leaders not supporting independence of Oromiyaa, Minilik’s colonies are on their way to freedom. The Tigrinya do not seem to give up on Amaaraa holdings as the Amaaraa gave up on theirs in the 19th century but will try to replace them as colonial masters and superpowers in Abyssinia and the Horn. This should be thwarted by all means. The time now has come to reorganize The Horn of Africa under a new order.

Instead of making peace with their nearest neighbor the Oromo, Amaaraa elites preferred to go after their vanguard organization, the OLF with smear campaign. They think they can win the Oromo by attracting some misguided unreliable renegade activists. The objective or “kaayyoo” articulated by the OLF were those in the hearts and minds of each free thinking Oromo, which even defecting of some of the founding fathers did not erase. That shows whether OLF is there or not the Oromo independence movement cannot be stopped. Therefore to address the concern will be to advantage of all sides. Any among the Habasha groups that respects Oromo interest can be a friend and partner for peace and freedom. Oromo have no special preference between them. Both together had caused Oromo people suffer for over a century. Now their falling apart means nothing as long as one remains confronting them. They want to be free and independent.

The overall changing world order as a result of technological revolution, do not tolerate old and archaic colonial relations to continue. The colonies likewise have awakend and demanding for their rights. Habashaa internal and colonial relations are cracking. The last two centuries had brought big fundamental change to Amaaraa than on Tigrinya. As a result it is imperative for Tigray Tigrinys to rethink and get reorganized for enduring security. Their internal conflict will be there only as long as guerrilla leaders of TPLF and EPLF are around. Their present quarrel in addition to power struggle between guerilla leaders is majorly over the booty of war that is left over from what they shared initially. They have no intention to destroy each other. As minority more inclined to group interest than Ethiopianism they have more chance of getting support from big powers. This follows the same logic of history of the British that left strengthening Yohannis IV of Tigray Tigriny with gift of arms favoring him over Oromo chieftains, Warqit and Mastawat of Walloo that defeated Teedros for them.

The seeming quarrel with one and friendliness with the other of big powers are not more than a temporary leer on kids. There is no country in the world that does not violate human rights but vary in degree. One Tigray Tigriny government have no less count in abuses than the other but there is double standard judgement by big powers. One is favored against the other to force it submit to their dictates and has nothing to do with alleged abuses. They are overlooking even genocide being committed when it comes to TPLF. Tigray Tigriny area is seen as strategic zone for global interests. Today we might think it to be at a distance because we are not feeling the strength and they are not taking Oromiyaa as a nation of interest. Even then any change in the territorial, political and religious formation in Middle East and in particular around the Red Sea is going to affect Oromo interest. If the Amaaraa stop whining about lost imperial glory and join the others in defense of the region then only can a fair and new political game start in the Horn of Africa.

When we talk about Habasha we cannot help to right away talking about their leadership that had been crooked, cruel, passionless and greedy all the time. But we don’t talk about the common Habasha people who are bigger than that. They are one of the kindest, humble, passionate, and generous and God fearing peoples of the region. This is what this writer who had travelled around in their country can attest. They can have biases against the colonized peoples from brainwashing of the leaders and lack of information. However they are as oppressed as the colonized people by those thugs and need fundamental reform. How did such snakes come out of dove’s eggs is so far an answered question. They have been sacrificing innocent farmers senselessly for their group’s glory from time immemorial. Over and above that, those leaders have brainwashed them to praise and be proud of those that subjected them to wretched life for centuries. That empty pride from ignorance and lack of information has made many to develop the attitude of being superior to peoples of the colonies. But people of the oppressor nation, have no excuse to go on keeping silent when crime is committed in their name.

In the present world the struggle for survival has prominence over the rule of law. Human beings had been trying to put rein over greed that could be detrimental to survival of the race if left unchecked. That is why civilizations had emphasized the rule of law for peaceful coexistence. There is no civilization that gave prominence to rule of law than Oromoo civilization. But when they encountered those that believe in rule of the muscles they became at disadvantage. The word “law” has especial place in their thought so they revered alien laws as if they were their own. But when they realized they were devoid of safuu (ethical considerations) they rejected them. That is Habashaa tradition carried down to this day as exemplified by TPLF elections.

Democracy is said to be government of the people for the people by the people. TPLF claiming to implement what culturally it has no clue for ended up forming, government of itself, for itself, by itself. Somehow the Oromo survived colonizers greed and cruelty for over a century. Now with increased challenge to survival, Oromo nation has no choice but fight back hard until independent Republic Oromiyaa, is formed.

Peaceful struggle for over six months did not bear fruit. Few voices from democratic centers have tried to make the voice of the voiceless Oromo to be heard. But those that could stop the tragedy gave more attention to self-interests’ strategic advantage and rather continued building abusive capacity of the dictators rather than alleviating human suffering. During the last six months conservatively estimating more than five hundred have died but TPLF argues that number is exaggerated as if killing any number is justified. They have made killing style of administration, forgetting its criminal dimension even when they talk in public. Unlike the old Nafxanyaa these can do anything to build their national capacity and destroy that of the colonies. The old Nafxanyaa developed a theory that all the land up to Lake Victoria was theirs, part of the motherland. So, most of their exploit were not invested in Amaaraa homeland. Tigray Tigriny are classical colonialist, they are not only taking the resources but even had dismantled factories, and removed all moveable even soil and taken them away just like colonizers did to Eritrea. They have now superb infrastructures, hydroelectric power, sea ports etc. that could give them capacity for self-reliance if they were reunited or even if they make peace. That is done at the expense of Oromiyaa with its raw material and market in their mind for their fledgling industries. Is it not said, “The wise cuts wood for yoke from the threshold of a fool”?

The Oromo, including those who think are lodged in alien court comfortably, must realize that their identity is under threat. Trying to stabilize what struggling oppressed people have put out of balance is to dig ones grave. It is only revolutionary Oromiyaa that could keep them afloat. Hegemony of any group of colonizer will strive more to turn them into individuals that it could turn around at will. If that happens, individual rights and “one man one vote” will be emphasized and peoples’ rights pushed down to the level of self-help organization. No true child of the Oromo will give up on the sovereignty of the nation for a second class right of Ethiopian citizenship. After destroying their national (group) identity all the injurious defamatory and derogatory references will come back to dehumanize them as usual. So far those have affected self-confidence and determination of most of them. Unless it is cleansed, the nation will turn to a nation of quitters and swindlers. Only better offer than the Tigray Tigriny constitution is henceforth acceptable and that is independence.

Already the Oromo are subjected to genocide under Tigray Tigriny gang rule, a crime that is condemned by the world body and many culprits from different countries with lesser magnitude had been brought to justice at international courts. But that of the Oromo, Sidaamaa, Mazhangir, Gambeela is overlooked for not publicly declared reason, though the Oromo suspects it is part of the conspiracy that led to Oromiyaa’s colonization. Therefore the youth has to remember the Oromo saying about the snake that said “Abbaatu of maraa” (it is up to one to coil oneself) when suggested cutting it because it is too long. It is they that take the initial step for survival; help will come depending on their continued determination and commitment for human cause.

It cannot also be forgotten that thousands of Oromo youth have been butchered between Eritrea and Amaaraa junta run Ethiopia, in wars that did not concern them. They never got proper burial for they were the concern of no body. Now also the same history is repeating itself under Tigray Tigriny gang domination. Fresh bones are scattered from Bure to Aqordaat added to the older ones from Ambaalagee to Qaaroora. The same is happening in Somalia. Henceforth, no self-respecting, patriotic Oromiyaan should participate on either side, they have own country called Oromiyaa to die for. Let the Tigray Tigriny kill each other for theirs if they wish. Oromo youth have to resist all temptations and coercions for recruitment. It will be a blessing if their carrion were fed by hyenas and vultures of Oromiyaa rather than alien scavengers. Colonization has left on Oromiyaans scar that cannot easily wished away with continued exasperation of the misery just like its beginning. They have come so far dying, dodging and humiliating themselves to survive. They can no more continue like that. Tigray Tigriny rule has to be the end of all abuses they can bear. Oromiyaa’s patriots like American liberation activist Henry Patrick of 1775, are saying “Give me liberty, or give me death!”. Henceforth no one could tell the Oromo what they want unless they ask for it. There is no turn back from the path of liberation. After seeing how a part of Tigray Tigrinys gang subjected them to untold misery it will not be hard to imagine what their prolonged combination could do. They are hungry vultures that know no consideration. To fear death facing extinction and humiliation is not Oromo way. The clandestine plan of Tigray Tigriny to extend colonial rule further, not only replacing but destroying the Amaaraa if not today will happen tomorrow. Readiness to combat it is imperative, because whatever happens to them could affect their interest, Oromo have to watch out their neighborhood.

Long Live free and independent Oromiyaa! Victory to the oppressed! Justice shall prevail!

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

Obbo Ibsaa Guutamaa; goota Afaan Oromoo Oromiyaa keessatti bobeesse nama jabaafi seenaan barabaraan yaadatudha!

Freedom House: Ethiopia: Attack on Civil Society Escalates as Dissent Spreads. #OromoProtests July 22, 2016

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Odaa OromooFreedom House

 

#OromoProtests in Yabello, Borana, Oromia, July 20, 2016 p2#OromoProtests continues in Oromia, 19 July 2016.


Ethiopia: Attack on Civil Society Escalates as Dissent Spreads


Freedom House 22 July 2016

by Yoseph Badwaza, Program Officer, Africa and
Jennifer Charette, Senior Program Associate, Africa


Amid discontent, sometimes violent protests, and a drought of historic proportions that has left more than 15 million Ethiopians in need of urgent food aid, the Ethiopian government is tightening its stranglehold on domestic politics.

In the wake of the large-scale protests that rocked the Oromia region from November to March, the government, led by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has taken a number of measures aimed at stifling dissent. While consistent with EPRDF’s authoritarian posture, these steps are a devastating blow to the country’s independent media and civil society.

Protests in Oromia and growing ethnic tensions in the Amhara and South regions are viewed as indications that EPRDF’s model of governing through complete control over all levels of political and economic life could soon reach its breaking point. The government’s intolerance of alternative political views is pushing the country’s diverse ethnic and political communities to take to the streets to air their grievances.

While the initial trigger for the protests in Oromia was opposition to an unpopular government development plan, the scale and persistence of the protests in the country’s largest and most populous region point to a deeper ethnic discontent after years of misrule. These developments are even more worrisome as deadly protests began to emerge in several parts of the country less than six months after EPRDF and its allies claimed to have won all 547 parliamentary seats in the latest general elections in May 2015.

Ethiopia’s perceived stability and its much-touted role in the global fight against terrorism in the Horn of Africa are at stake if EPRDF continues to ignore the dangers of suppressing citizens’ legitimate demands for inclusive and accountable governance. Any economic progress can only be sustained with a genuine commitment to political reform that adequately responds to the demands of Ethiopia’s diverse political, ethnic, and religious groups for participation at all levels of public life.

Tools of repression tightened

The protests brought a violent response from authorities. In addition toextrajudicial killings of hundreds of protesters in the Oromia and Amhara regions, security forces arrested thousands of students, social media activists, and opposition party leaders and supporters. As protests continue in some parts of Oromia, authorities have filed criminal charges against dozens of Oromo students and political activists under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP). Hundreds more remain in custody without charges.

In response to the role social media played in publicizing human rights violations perpetrated during the protests in Oromia, Ethiopia’s parliament rushed through a cybercrimes law in June. The law stipulates serious penalties for a wide range of online activities and gives authorities greater surveillance and censorship powers that will limit access to information on digital platforms. The adoption of this law followed a shutdown of Facebook, Viber, and WhatsApp in parts of the Oromia region. Authorities also cited social media posts as evidence in criminal charges brought against digital activists. These social media posts were images, videos, and audio recordings made during the protests that documented numerous incidents of heavy-handed response to peaceful demonstrators.

Last week the government publicly stated for the first time that it is blocking these social media applications nationwide, claiming that they are adistraction to students taking university entrance exams.

Civil society under renewed attack

In June, the Charities and Societies Agency, the government body that regulates nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), announced that it hadshut down more than 200 NGOs in the last nine months. The agency cited failure to comply with numerous requirements of the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP) and lack of funding as reasons for the closures. The announcement followed the agency issuing a directive that seeks to impose penalties for noncompliance with the CSP. By issuing this directive, the agency effectively gave itself quasi-judicial powers in criminal proceedings.

Although it is not clear what triggered this latest directive, the move exacerbates the harsh conditions under which civil society organizations are operating. By paving the way for increased imposition of penalties, the Charities and Societies Agency will further undermine civil society’s ability to operate independently. Furthermore, these measures suggest a reversal of the willingness that the government had shown in the past few years to engage in a dialogue aimed at revising some of the directives previously issued by the agency.

Citizen support for civil society remains strong

While the government continues to take measures that undermine civil society, popular support for civil society remains strong. According to arecent online survey conducted by Freedom House, two-thirds of those polled believe that civil society organizations should engage in human rights and democracy promotion. The survey also found that Ethiopians are unaware of the significant challenges facing civil society and of the crippling effects of the CSP. The survey findings underscore how a blackout of information from independent sources and constrained civic space curtail citizens’ ability to organize and participate in matters that affect their daily lives.

Years of government attacks, relentless smear campaigns, and extremely cumbersome rules and regulatory frameworks have crippled Ethiopia’s civil society. NGOs are denied access to resources and the ability to network with each other and mobilize support. As demand for democratic reforms in Ethiopia gains momentum, a vibrant civil society will be essential. It is therefore critical that, despite the challenges they are facing, NGOs move beyond mere survival and focus on making themselves more accessible, relevant, and accountable to the public, and that their allies at home and abroad support these efforts to build strong constituencies and press ahead for a democratic opening in Ethiopia.

Genocide: The rogue regime in Ethiopia Poising Rivers and Water wells in Oromia. #OromoProtests. @hrw #Africa July 17, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo

 

The fascist Ethiopia’s regime (TPLF) poising the Oromo people through rivers and water wells.

Fascist Ethiopia's regime poisoning Oromo people through water wells and rivers. Report of 17 July 2016

Recently it has been found and reported that in  Qaachan district of Oromia’s  Baalee zone, the fascist Ethiopia’s regime has poisoned the water well in the locality of Gola Qararrii. As a result, five Oromo nationals  were died instantly after drinking water from the poisoned well.


Faashistootni TPLF waan mormii siyaasaa fi lola kamuu keessatti akkaan dhorkamaa fi heera mootumoota waltahannii keessatti yakka ool aanaan nama gaaffachiisuu hojjachuun ishii muranii TPLF kun murana faashistootaa itti gaafatamnii namoomaa itti hin dhagahamneen guutamuudha mirkanneessa. Waan ta’eefis, lageen, Horaa fi bishaan dhugaatti osoo hin dhugiin of irraa dhugaatiif toluu isaa mirkanneeffatuun dirqii ta’ee jira. Beekttootni Oromoo dhimma kanatti beekumsa qabanniis karaa danda’an hundaa bishaan dhugaatti ummata isaannii kana qulqulluu fi dhugaatiif toluu isaa jala deemuun ummata isaanniif bifa danda’annii fi isaaniif toluun beeksiisuun dirqama dhalootaa fi dirqama barnoota isaannii akka ta’ees ni hubatu. Mootummaan faashistoota TPLF dhimma kana irratti yeroo sadaffaaf yakka kana hojjachuu isaati. Darguun al tokko yakka kana hojjate. Loli Kaaba warra Habashaa gidduutti ta’ee hedduu dha. Hanga haraatti yakka bishaan summeesu kana wal irratti hin hojjanne. Oromoo irratti maaliif hojjatuuu gaafii jedhuuf deebbiin herreegu qabaadhuu illee ammaaf isinumaaf dhiisa.

 

Global Voices: Ethiopia Locks Down Digital Communications in Wake of #OromoProtests July 15, 2016

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Odaa OromooGlobalVoicesViber, twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp Are strictly forbidden in Fascist regime (TPLF) Ethiopiatweet tweet #OromoProtestsOromo students Protests, Western Oromia, Mandii, Najjoo, Jaarsoo,....

Ethiopia Locks Down Digital Communications in Wake of #OromoProtests

By Endalk, Global Voices, 14 July 2016


When students in Ginchi, a small town 75 km west of Addis Ababa, organized a demonstration in November 2015, US-based opposition media activist Jawar Mohammed, began posting minute-to-minute ‘live’ updates of the protest on his massively popular Facebook page, which has over 500k followers.

What started as a small-scale student protest over Ethiopian government’s plan to expand Addis Ababa into adjacent farm lands of Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest constitutionally autonomous state, evolved into a series of largest and bloodiest demonstrations against Ethiopian government in a decade leaving at least 400 people killed, many more injured, and thousands jailed.

Along with Jawar’s live updates about the protests on Facebook, netizens saw a flood of digital photos, videos, blog posts, and tweets on other social media platforms coming from inside Ethiopia, mostly under the hashtag #OromoProtests.

For over a decade, the Ethiopian government has been violently cracking down on protesting students in Oromia, but these incidents have never garnered the online attention they did this time around. With scant coverage by foreign media from the front lines, and silence and misinformation coming from Ethiopia’s largely pro-government media outlets, the Internet emerged as the main channel used to disseminate information about protests. Jawar’s Facebook page and Twitter feedbecame the official-yet-unofficial story of the protest, leading diaspora writers to identify Jawar as a key shaper of public opinion on the events.

Though these networked communication dynamics are commonplace in many parts of the world, they are novel in Ethiopia, where Internet penetration hovered just below 5% in 2013, which is the last time that Internet access data was collected there by the International Telecommunication Union, a UN agency.

The steady stream of #OromoProtests content triggered various attempts by the government to limit digital traffic and block telecom services in Oromia.

In a bid to quell the growing role of social media in magnifying the stories of protests and to regain the upper hand, Ethiopia’s state-owned telecommunication monopoly EthioTelcom blocked social media platforms including Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger in Oromia for at least two months. Around the same time, EthioTelecom also announced plans to begin charging customers for using popular voice over internet protocol (VoIP) applications such as Viber, Facebook messenger, Skype, and Google hangouts.

According to local media reports, EthioTelecom plans to enforce a new price scheme for VoIP data usage by deploying technologies that will more heavily regulate data plans and what kinds of apps operate on devices of each subscriber active on EthioTelecom network. In an unprecedented move, EthioTelecom also announced a plan to track, identify and ban mobile devices that are not purchased from the Ethiopian market. This move will allow EthioTelecom to keep a track of exactly what data is being sent to and from each subscriber active on the network. It remains unclear exactly how this technology will work, but it unquestionably demonstrates EthioTelecom’s intention to take full political advantage of its monopoly.

Despite being one of the poorest countries in terms of Internet penetration in Africa, #OromoProtests garnered wall-to-wall coverage by the US based Ethiopian diaspora satellite television stations, particularly OMN and ESAT. Both stations picked various stories of #OromoProtests from social media and rebroadcast them to millions of Ethiopians living off the grid of mobile phone infrastructure.

To top all this off, on the heels of the protests, the parliament passed a stringent computer crimes law that looks very much like an effort to criminalize protest-related online speech and to more effectively utilize digital communication as a tool of public surveillance.

In a critical piece about the new law, the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote,

Ethiopia’s prosecutors have long demonized legitimate uses of technology, claiming in court that the use of encryption, and knowledge of privacy-protecting tools is a sign of support for terrorists….By criminalizing everyday actions it ensures that anyone who speaks online, or supports online free expression, might one day be targeted by the law…. [This regulation] will intimidate ordinary Ethiopian citizens into staying offline, and further alienate Ethiopia’s technological progress from its African neighbors and the rest of the world.

According to reports, the new legislation further limits already-diminished digital rights such as freedom of expression and privacy, criminalizing and levying severe punishments for defamatory speech online. The legislation also obliges service providers to store records of all communications along with their metadata for at least a year.

 

The Record: a compilation of reports of victims of the Ethiopian government violence against its own citizens. #OromoProtests July 11, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo#OromoLivesMatters!Freedom for Oromo People, #OromoProtestsSay no to the master killer. Addis Ababa master plan is genocidal plan against Oromo peopleStop TortureNo To Fascist TPLF Ethiopia's genocidal militarism and mass killings in Oromia, Ethiopia


The Record is a compilation of reports of victims of the Ethiopian government violence against its own citizens in general and the Oromo in particular for peacefully protesting lethal government policies or expressing a general political dissent.

The Record is prepared by compiling reports of victims from human rights organizations, reliable social media activists and media outlets.

The names of the Martyrs is taken from the June 2016 report of Human Rights Watch. And the source of most of the social media reports is the Facebook page of political activist Jawar Mohammed of Oromia Media Network and other activists.

The Record now has four pages: Martyrs, Injuries, Incarcerated and Political Trials.

Martyrs page lists the names [and pictures if available] of the Heroes and Heroines whose lives are cut short by the Ethiopian government forces.

Injuries page lists the names and pictures of a few selected victims who are ruthlessly beaten, tortured, bullet wounded or have lost their limbs.

Incarcerated page lists the names [and pictures if available] of a few people who are arbitrarily arrested and detained or whose whereabouts is unknown.

Political Trials page shows the detail of the political trials of a few incarcerated people who are charged by government prosecutors before their kangaroo court. [This page is under construction]

Unless specified, all the Heroes and Heroines in the above four categories are of Oromo national [ethnic] group or victims of the Oromo Cause, and are from Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia.

Human Rights (Oromia/UN): The Ethiopian Government Should Not Be Rewarded for Massacring its People July 5, 2016

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Odaa OromooHuman rights League of the Horn of Africa

The Ethiopian Government Should Not Be Rewarded for Massacring its People

 Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa,  3 July  2016


HRLHA’s  Appeal  and Request for immediate ActionAppeal to:H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft

The President of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

UN Headquarters, 405 East 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10017
Tel: +1-212-963-1234
http://www.un.org/pga/70/contact-us/
UN GA President
@UN_PGA
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Dear Mr President Lykketoft,

First of all, using this opportunity, let me Introduce to you the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)

“The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) was originally founded in Ethiopia in 1996      by the name “Human Rights League (HRL)”,  it was silenced at the outset by the Country’s authoritarian regime. It was then re-launched from the Diaspora in 2007 by exiled founders and members of the HRL.  It was then re-named the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA), and registered as a non – profit and non – political organization in Ontario, Canada on the 14th of June 2007.

HRLHA aims to defend fundamental human rights,  including freedoms of thought, expression and assembly or organization. It also works to raise the awareness of individuals regarding their own basic human rights and those of others. It insists on the observances of international and regional treaties, protocols, covenants, instruments, agreements, etc. on human rights as well as due processes of related laws. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies”

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa wants to express its deep concern about what it regards as the wrong decision made by the members of UN General Assembly- headed by you- in electing Ethiopia on June 28, 2016 for the position of a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC) The government of Ethiopia makes a lot of noise about the flourishing of democracy in that country. The reality on the ground shows that the undemocratic behavior of the government has been overshadowed by the apparently “democratic” and anti-terrorism façade that the government has demonstrated for the past twenty-five years. During those years, thousands of citizens were killed, kidnapped, or imprisoned by this government because they simply tried to exercise their fundamental rights to free speech and expression, freedom of association and religion. University students, journalists, human rights activists, opposition political party members and their supporters, and farmers have been the major victims in Ethiopia.

Contrary to the EPRDF/TPLF’s promises when it seized power in 1991 and the constitution of the country, the current Ethiopian government is one of the most vicious human rights violators in the world. In the recent crackdowns in Oromia Regional State, which started in November 2015 and still continue, more than 550 peaceful protestors from age 7 to 80 have been cold- bloodedly dealt with. Over 30,000 were arrested and many thousands have been abducted, forcefully disappeared and tens of thousands forced to flee their country of birth because of persecution. The main reasons for the peaceful protests in Oromia Regional State are social exclusion or marginalization; the Oromo people have been systematically blocked by the TPLF/EPRDF government from: Mr. President Lykketoft, There are credible reports from independent human rights organizations and government agencies that show that brutal killings, torture, and disappearances are taking place in Oromia.

Appeal to UNSC President Info Kit – Updated 10-04-16 (1)

AS: ANALYSIS: MA’EKELAWI! WHY IS ETHIOPIA STILL RUNNING A ‘TORTURE CHAMBER’ FROM THE PAST? June 28, 2016

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Odaa OromooAddis Standard

 


In Piassa, an area many consider to be the heart of Addis Abeba, rests the Ethiopian Federal Police Force Central Bureau of Criminal Investigation, otherwise known by its Amharic name, Ma’ekelawi (Amharic for central). Notorious for the sever torture detainees are subjected to inside its enclosures, Ma’ekelawi is a time defying institution which has been in use for more than half a century in Ethiopia, sadly for the same purpose.

During the dark days of the Marxist Derg regime between 1974 and 1991, Ma’ekelawi served as a place where thousands of dissenters were exposed to cruelties including disquieting torture and arbitrary killings. More than three decades down the line many of those who survived Ma’ekelawi live a life overshadowed by what happened when they were incarcerated, struggling to fully overcome the experience as they carry the burden of the darkest chapters in their lives.

Today nowhere is that history of horror visibly displayed than at the Red Terror Martyr’s Museum around MesqelSquare in central Addis Abeba. The Museum’s motto, “Never Ever Again”, speaks volumes about the atrocities committed inside Ma’ekelawi throughout the 17 years in power of the Derg regime.

The Red Terror Martyr’s Museum was built by the current regime in Ethiopia in honor of the people who perished during its predecessor’s infamous Red Terror campaign of 1977-1978. An estimated number of more than half a million Ethiopians were killed during that brutal campaign; and many of the victims have gone through the terrible experience of life at Ma’ekelawi.

For the survivors of the campaign, the Red Terror Martyr’s Museum is a place where solace and comfort can be sought. Some survivors who were approached by this magazine found talking about the horrendous experience they had gone through inside the fortress of Ma’ekelawi too much to bear, rendering our attempts to get their stories futile.

Fast forward, decades later and a completely different government that has ‘democratic’ written all over it, and that waged a civil war against a regime which partially depended on what happened inside Ma’ekelawi to extend its grip on power, the story of Ma’ekelawi remained intact.

 

 

Wofe-Lala – Derg’s favorite torture method

 

Wofe-Lala – Derg’s favorite torture method

 ‘Chambers of horror’

Other than its frightening name, a great number of present-day Ethiopians know little about either the physical structure or the torture techniques applied inside Ma’ekelawi. But a 2013 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report titled:“They Want a Confession: Torture and Ill treatment in Ethiopia’s Ma’ekelawi Police Station,” revealed a chilling account. It documented in detail the scale of human rights abuses, unlawful investigation tactics, and detention conditions practiced between the years of 2010 and 2013. It accuses investigators of using coercive methods including several ways of torture to extract confessions, statements, and other information from detainees. Depending on their compliances with the demands of investigators, the report said, detainees are punished or rewarded with denial or access to water, food, light, and other basic needs.They are also subjected to sever physical tortures involving beatings and punishments by stressful positions such as hanging them with their wrists tied to ceilings, or being made to stand with their hands tied above their heads for several hours.

The US State Department’s annual Human Right Report on Ethiopia, which was released in April this year, also admits that “there were credible reports police investigators used physical and psychological abuse to extract confessions inMa’ekelawi. Interrogators reportedly administered beatings and electric shocks to extract information and confessions from detainees.”

Both reports have been corroborated by several detainees (past and present) who were interviewed by Addis Standard for this story. (See selected stories here and here).

Many of them refer to Ma’ekelawi as “chambers of horror.”

Ethiopia's chambers of horror

 

“For many of the detainees Tawla Bet is a place of heartache, guilt and moral dilemma”

Inside the ‘Chambers of horror’

Ma’ekelawi has three different blocks with conditions significantly differing amongst them. Based on the locations and the facilities inside; the three blocks are known as Siberia, Tawla Bet & Sheraton.

‘Siberia’

The worst of the three blocks is called Siberia for none other than the cells’ freezing temperature.  Siberia alone has between seven and 10 cells at a time, all ranging from 16 to 25 square meters in size. (The number of the cells can go up and down depending on the number of detainees received at a time. And when detainees overwhelm the block, the management converts rooms that serve as storage places or communal rooms into detention centers).

One of the cells in Siberia, cell number 8, is partitioned into four separate cells and is used to keep detainees in solitary confinement. The rooms are just big enough to accommodate a mattress to sleep and a bucket to urinate on. They have no window and no light inside, which is why they are called “Chelema Bet” (Amharic for Dark House).

The rest of the Siberia block hosts communal cells, which are lined up along a long corridor facing one another. They do share similar features with “Chelema Bet”: the rooms are naturally dark except for a dim fluorescent light hanging on a barred, small window near each ceiling. The metal doors have small peepholes, often covered on cardboard, and are kept locked for 24 hours. Detainees inside these communal cells are allowed to have just 10 minutes of access to daylight per day.  The only other stuffs in each communal cell are mattresses, a bucket and a few food bowls. Up to 20 detainees (sometimes more) are forced to share each of the communal cells, which are not more than 4X5 square meters in size.

At one end of the corridor there are five filthy toilets and a shower located adjacent the toilets, all for communal use. While showering is allowed once a week, accessing the toilet is restricted to 15 minutes at a time, twice a day; and as if that is not enough discomfort the toilets don’t have doors to give detainees the privacy they need.

‘Tawla Bet’

Tawla Bet (Amharic for wooden house), is where those who are coerced to testify against fellow detainees are kept as prosecutors’ key witnesses. For many of the detainees Tawla Bet is a place of heartache, guilt and moral dilemma;  many of them are brought into a point of mental breakdown to testify against fellow detainees under sever duress.

Tawla Bet is also where female detainees are kept. Although most of the regulations are similar with Siberia, the doors in Tawla Bet cells can stay open during daytime, allowing detainees to sit at their doorstep and sometimes move from one cell to the other, a precious asset inside the two blocks.

‘Sheraton’

Named after Ethiopia’s luxurious hotel, Sheraton is a block in which detainees are indulged with a movement as well as access to lawyers and relatives. They can also watch television – mainly broadcast of the state TV programs – at daytime.  Detainees who went through interrogations in Siberia and Tawla Bet and are waiting to be officially charged are the primary occupants of the Sheraton block.

The political element

Amha Mekonen, a prominent defense attorney who has represented some of the high profile defendants in recent years – including the much publicized case of Zone9 bloggers – is no stranger to the stories of Ma’ekelawi detailed in the HRW report. “Defendants who are detained at Ma’ekelawi often complain that they are subjected to inhuman treatments,” he tells this magazine. “Some of the defendants even manage to convince courts that they indeed have been abused and assaulted.”

One key problem Amha sees with Ma’ekelawi is that “the division initiates investigation without actually having any real ground to suspect that there is a crime that warrants an investigation. Many say this happens when the case is politically motivated. I am not sure whether that is true or not. What I am sure is the fact that there are instances when the division begins investigation without having sufficient evidence,” he says.

But for the HRW’s report the political element in Ma’ekelawi’s conduct is not easy to miss. The facility is the first stop for the majority of the country’s opposition politicians, journalists, protest organizers, and alleged supporters of ethnic insurgencies once all are taken into police custody, the report says.

Article 6/1 of the Ethiopian Federal Police Commission Establishment Proclamation 720/2011 gives the Federal Police the duty to prevent and investigate any threat and acts of crime against the Constitution and the constitutional order, security of the government and the state and human rights offenses. As a result the majority detainees in Ma’ekelawiare suspected of committing Federal offenses.

Furthermore, Ethiopia’s introduction in 2009 of the infamous Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) has made Ma’ekelawian important site for the detention and investigation of most of the politically sensitive cases, according to the HRW report. The provisions included in Ethiopia’s ATP seriously undermine basic legal safeguards against prolonged pre-charge detentions. Thus, once accused of offenses under this law, the facilities at Ma’ekelawi automatically become home to the majority of detainees in preparation for their trials, according to the report.

As of late the facility is overcrowded, Amha says. “I heard that they are transferring some of the detainees to Addis Abeba Police Commission nearby,” he says. “This shows that they are overwhelmed with cases. It might be criminal cases or something else. It might be something the government wants to suppress. It can be politically motivated,” Amha opines, but Tsegaye Ararssa, a Melbourne-based legal scholar, is unambiguous in his assertion: “the fact that the larger proportion of detainees are political prisoners and prisoners of conscience indicates that something is wrong with the way the politics is run in that country,” he told this magazine in a written interview.

One of the factors that made living conditions inside Ma’ekelawi hellish has always been the disproportionately big numbers of people forced to stay in a single room. “We hear that around 12 sometimes up to 15 people are detained in a cell which is no wider than 4 meter square,” says Amha.

Recently, Bekele Gerba, first secretary general of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) – and who is going through life at Ma’ekelawifor the second time –  made a passionate plea at a federal court that he and 21 other detainees were forced to stay at a “4×5 meter cell that included a toilet”.

The Constitution: Ma’ekelawi’s first victim

The operations inside Ma’ekelawi are not only against basic human rights but are at odds with the Supreme Law of the land, the constitution, as well as other laws the country governs itself by, according to Amha.  For Tsegaye the essential purpose of Ma’ekelawi is “regime security not human security” and as such it has become an institution that flouts the rights and security of citizens that are otherwise guaranteed in the country’s constitution.

Article 19 (2/5) of the Ethiopian Constitution, for example, asserts that people under police custody should not be forced to make confessions or make admissions which could be “used in evidence against them”. It nullifies any evidence obtained under coercion as inadmissible in the court of law. And article 24 of Proclamation No. 720/2011 prohibits the police from committing, “any inhuman or degrading treatment or act.”

In addition, regulation on the Treatment of Federal Prisoners 138/2007 (art. 3/1) clearly states that “no discrimination on grounds of gender, language, religion, political opinion nation/nationality, social status or citizen,” while art. 3/2 of the same Regulation guarantees “respect to [the detainees’] human dignity unless restricted by the penalties imposed on them.”

Nonetheless detainees at Ma’ekelawi are not only refused access to lawyers and relatives, but are subjected to tortures. “[Similar] tortures we have been hearing in the Derg period such as hanging a bottle of water on male genitals, electric shock, beating, being forced to stand for a long time, and other forms of prolonged interrogations,” are committed against detainees, says Amha, adding that defendants also experience self-incrimination and coercion to testify against co-defendants.  “What is more astonishing is the level of details and [organized narratives] we find on those confessions. It is as if they were [composed] by someone with a literary background. No one in his right mind incriminates himself in that manner,” Amha says.

Tsegaye reinforces Amha’s point. “In Ethiopian detention centers fact is not found, or discovered, as such; they are made. They are created in the course of the ‘investigation’”.

Many detainees are brought from remote areas all over the country. For them the pain is twice as much. “They are separated from their social background and support system. There might even be a language barrier. I am not sure ifMa’ekelawi is equipped with proper translation mechanism during interrogations,” says Amha. “And what is worse is after having gone through painful and life-altering months or even years at Ma’ekelawi, they might be acquitted and walk free,” he adds.

According to Tsegaye, “the fact that detainees come from afar disconnects them from their family and their support system thereof. But more importantly such distance from one’s place of residence becomes a barrier to access to justice. Physical distance, cultural distance, and linguistic distance are the three major barriers to access to justice,” Tsegaye said, adding that when a detainee is far removed from his/her own place of residence it “makes it more difficult to gather evidence even for the investigator.”  But because the main focus is on “infliction of pain on the ‘suspect’ rather than finding facts, often this fact is neglected.”

To ease this problem, if not to solve it, Amha suggests that other criminal investigation facilities should be established in regional states. Further explaining on this, Tsegaye says that in principle regional states can – and perhaps should – have their own system of criminal investigation. But their power would be confined to the crimes over which they have jurisdiction. (The States have legislative competence over criminal matters that are not covered by the federal criminal code.)

As per Proclamation No. 25/1996 (and its amendments since), the State Supreme Courts have jurisdiction over cases that were meant to appear in the Federal High Court, according to Tsegaye. “State High Courts would adjudge cases that are normally under the jurisdiction of the Federal First Instance Court. This practice suggests that, to this extent, the Ethiopian federal system is merely an executive/administrative federal system. (That is to say, it is a federal system where the federal government has a legislative power whereas the States have an executive/administrative power. The State institutions enforce or execute federal laws), Tsegaye explains.


Ethiopia, prisoners items in Ma'ikelawi (Torture chamber).

Back to a lingering past

On February 26, 1977 44 prisoners were picked from Ma’ekelawi and were taken to the outskirts of the city where they were executed and buried in a mass grave, Babile Tola, a survivor of Ma’ekelawi, recounts in his book, “To Kill a Generation: the Red Terror in Ethiopia.” The youngest of the 44 was only 17 while many of them were aged between 17 and 26. The story of the secret mass execution was brought to light thanks to two prisoners who managed to jump and escape out of the police van on their way to their execution. One of them was the young Hilawi Yosef, who subsequently joined the armed struggle against theDerg regime.

After putting the stories during the armed struggle behind him Hilawi Yosef served in several senior positions in the incumbent’s government. Asked by this magazine to relate his story of the Ma’ekelawi Hilawi, who is currently serving as Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Israel, declined to return our email, but his story was narrated in Babile Tola’s historical book, as well as Girmaye Abraha’s “Yemiyanebu Egroch” (Amharic for “The feet that weep”), an apparent reference to the tortures that leave detainees’ feet bleeding.

In addition to Ambassador Hilawi Yosef, several other officials in the current government have been, at one point or another, detained at Ma’ekelawi during the Derg regime. It is a fact that leaves Ma’ekelawi’s current victims mystified and in endless search for answers on the logic of keeping and running an institution that many died fighting against.

So why is Ma’ekelawi still running?

For Tsegaye, the core reason for its existence as the prime source of state terror is the fundamental insecurity of the Ethiopian state. “There lacks to be a political will to demolish this prime example of the apparatus of state repression,” he says. The US state department report revealed that majority of mistreatments happen in “Ma’ekelawi and police stations rather than federal prisons.”

Amha carefully points at the existence of other facilities as a viable alternative to (at least) replace the deteriorating physical infrastructure of Ma’ekelawi, but agrees with Tsegaye that lack of political will is what is holding the change back. “You can find the evidence to that within a walking distance. The newly built Addis Abeba Police Commission has a much better criminal investigation block and facility. If there was a political will, the same improvements could have been done to Ma’ekelawi.

However, Amha says he doesn’t have any problem with the existence of a Federal Criminal Investigation facility. “My problem is with how it is being operated. [Also] for symbolic reasons, I would prefer it if it is somewhere else because of the horrible memories associated with that place.”

Tsegaye argues that the structure and even the name of Ma’ekelawi should have been altered to “reflect the changed politico-administrative structure of the country. Taking account of the federal set up, the name could have changed into ‘Federal Bureau of Criminal Investigation’. That it hasn’t changed even in name already betrays the virtually non-federal political culture and the political practice of the country to date.”

Tsegaye is of the view that if there was a serious thinking into it, such a change – the change from a unitary system to a federal one – would have offered an “opportunity to move away from the dastardly, imperial, and barbaric practices that [Ma’ekelawi] represents and is a symbol of.”

One obstacle that hindered this change, according to Tsegaye, is the fact that Ma’ekelawi has never been put to the light of political and legal accountability. “It has never been publicly criticized (for its misdeeds) in representative political institutions (such as Parliamentary Oversight Committees); its power, finance, and personnel have never been put to a transparent audit system; the legal foundation of that institution, its competence (such as the matters it has jurisdiction over), its jurisdiction, and its responsibility framework has never been publicly accounted for.”

Aside from the visible lack of political will (see our editorial here), lack of skill in crime investigation is yet another factor that contributes to the brutal handling of detainees under police custody, Tsegaye adds. “Criminal investigation is a science, a profession in its own right. Detection requires a distinct set of skills that have to be put to use in the investigation of a particular crime.” From his stint as a lecturer at the Police College, Tsegaye remembers “being told that no one was trained in criminal investigation.”

Tsegaye is under no illusion that judging from its ultimate purpose as a tool of repression, its ideal location in the heart of Piassa (comforted by a general silence), and the total information blackout on the purpose and everyday conduct of the injustice inside its fortress, the current government is, unfortunately, poised to continue running Ma’ekelawi,despite it being a  “monument of state barbarity” and a “primary institution that serves as the true face of the repressive regimes – past and present.”


Analysis: Ma’ekelawi! Why is Ethiopia still running a ‘Torture Chamber’ from the past?

UNPO: Ogaden: Documentary Sheds Light on Ethiopia’s ‘Hidden Shame’ June 26, 2016

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Odaa OromooEthiopia's regime crimes in OgadenOgaden, Ethiopia's hidden shame

 

Ethiopia is often hailed as an African role model and a beacon of stability and hope in an otherwise troubled region. The developmental community is smitten by the country’s alleged progress in areas such as GDP growth, school attendance and provision of public healthcare. As British journalist and filmmaker Graham Peebles points out in his documentary, however, the reality for most of the people in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia is radically different from the sugar-coated image put forth by the Ethiopian government. Scores of Ogadenis flee their home region to escape state-sponsored violence and abuse, while the international community turns a blind eye to their plight.

 

Below is an article published by Dissident Voice:

Ethiopia is regularly cited as an African success story by donor nations; the economy is growing they cry, more children are attending school and health care is improving. Well GDP figures and millennium development statistics reveal only a tiny fraction of the corrupt and violent picture.

What development there is depends, the Oakland Institute relate, on “state force and the denial of human and civil rights”; the country remains 173rd out of 187 countries in the UN Human Development Index and around 40% of the population live below the extremely low poverty line of US-$1.25 a day, – the World Bank worldwide poverty line is $2 a day.

The ruling party, the EPRDF, uses violence and fear to suppress the people and governs in a highly centralised manner. Human rights are ignored and a methodology of murder, false imprisonment, torture and rape is followed.

The ethnic Somali population of the Ogaden, in the southeast part of the country, has been the victim of extreme government brutality since 1992. It is a familiar story of a region with a strong identity seeking autonomy from central government, and the regime denying them that democratic right.

In 2013 and again in 2014 I visited Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and met a number of people who had fled state persecution in the Ogaden. Men and women told of false imprisonment, murder and torture. All the women I spoke with relayed accounts of multiple rape, and sexual abuse; defected military men confessed to carrying out such appalling crimes.

We filmed the meetings and put together a short documentary, Ogaden: Ethiopia’s Hidden Shame. Most people have never heard of the region and know nothing of what is happening there.

The purpose of the film is to raise awareness, of what human rights groups describe as a genocidal campaign, and to put pressure on the primary donors – America, Britain and the European Union. Countries that collectively give around half of Ethiopia’s federal budget in various aid packages, and whose neglect and indifference amounts to complicity.

The film records the distressing stories of three extraordinary young women, Anab, Maryama and Fatuma.


http://unpo.org/article/19281

UNPO: Oromo: HRW Report Highlights Ethiopian Government’s Excessive Use of Force in the #OromoProtests June 20, 2016

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Odaa OromooUNPO#OromoProtests iconic picture#OromoProtests solidarity rally in Brusells, Beligium, 3 June  2016 p2

Oromo: HRW Report Highlights Ethiopian Government’s Excessive Use of Force in the Oromo Protests

UNPO, 16  June 2016

Freedom for Oromo People, #OromoProtests

A report published by Human Rights Watch [June 2016] reveals that the Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 by using excessive and unnecessary lethal force in the peaceful protests in the Oromia region, since November 2015. Many have also been arrested and mistreated in prison, and have been restricted in access to information by the Ethiopian government in order to supress the protest movement. Human Rights Watch urges the Ethiopian government to immediately free those who have been wrongfully detained and to start an independent investigation to hold the security forces accountable for abuses. 

Below is an article published by Human Rights Watch

 

(Nairobi) – Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 protesters and others, and arrested tens of thousands more during widespread protests in the Oromia region since November 2015. The Ethiopian government should urgently support a credible, independent investigation into the killings, arbitrary arrests, and other abuses.

The 61-page report. “‘Such a Brutal Crackdown’: Killings and Arrests in Response to Ethiopia’s Oromo Protests,” details the Ethiopian government’s use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force and mass arrests, mistreatment in detention, and restrictions on access to information to quash the protest movement. Human Rights Watch interviews in Ethiopia and abroad with more than 125 protesters, bystanders, and victims of abuse documented serious violations of the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly by security forces against protesters and others from the beginning of the protests in November 2015 through May 2016.

“Ethiopian security forces have fired on and killed hundreds of students, farmers, and other peaceful protesters with blatant disregard for human life,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should immediately free those wrongfully detained, support a credible, independent investigation, and hold security force members accountable for abuses.”

Human Rights Watch found that security forces used live ammunition for crowd control repeatedly, killing one or more protesters at many of the hundreds of protests over several months. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have identified more than 300 of those killed by name and, in some cases, with photos.

The November protests were triggered by concerns about the government’s proposed expansion of the capital’s municipal boundary through the Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan. Protesters feared that the Master Plan would displace Oromo farmers, as has increasingly occurred over the past decade, resulting in a negative impact on farm communities while benefiting a small elite.

As protests continued into December, the government deployed military forces for crowd-control throughout Oromia. Security forces repeatedly fired live ammunition into crowds with little or no warning or use of non-lethal crowd-control measures. Many of those killed have been students, including children under 18.

The federal police and military have also arrested tens of thousands of students, teachers, musicians, opposition politicians, health workers, and people who provided assistance or shelter to fleeing students. While many detainees have been released, an unknown number remain in detention without charge and without access to legal counsel or family members.

Witnesses described the scale of the arrests as unprecedented. Yoseph, 52, from the Wollega zone, said: “I’ve lived here for my whole life, and I’ve never seen such a brutal crackdown. There are regular arrests and killings of our people, but every family here has had at least one child arrested.”

Former detainees told Human Rights Watch that they were tortured or mistreated in detention, including in military camps, and several women alleged that they were raped or sexually assaulted. Some said they were hung by their ankles and beaten; others described having electric shocks applied to their feet, or weights tied to their testicles. Video footage shows students being beaten on university campuses. Despite the large number of arrests, the authorities have charged few individuals with any offenses. Several dozen opposition party members and journalists have been charged under Ethiopia’s draconian anti-terrorism law, while 20 students who protested in front of the United States embassy in Addis Ababa in March were charged with various offenses under the criminal code.

Access to education – from primary school to university – has been disrupted in many locations because of the presence of security forces in and around schools, the arrest of teachers and students, and many students’ fear of attending class. Authorities temporarily closed schools for weeks in some locations to deter protests. Many students told Human Rights Watch that the military and other security forces were occupying campuses and monitoring and harassing ethnic Oromo students.

There have been some credible reports of violence by protesters, including the destruction of foreign-owned farms, looting of government buildings, and other destruction of government property. However, the Human Rights Watch investigations into 62 of the more than 500 protests since November found that most have been peaceful.

The Ethiopian government’s pervasive restrictions on independent human rights investigations and media have meant that very little information is coming from affected areas. The Ethiopian government has also increased its efforts to restrict media freedom. Since mid-March [2016] it has restricted access to Facebook and other social media. It has also restricted access to diaspora television stations.

In January, the government announced the cancellation of the Master Plan. By then, however, protester grievances had widened due to the brutality of the government response.

While the protests have largely subsided since April, the government crackdown has continued, Human Rights Watch found. Many of those arrested over the past seven months remain in detention, and hundreds have not been located and are feared to have been forcibly disappeared. The government has not conducted a credible investigation into alleged abuses. Soldiers still occupy some university campuses and tensions remain high. The protests echo similar though smaller protests in Oromia in 2014, and the government’s response could be a catalyst for future dissent, Human Rights Watch said.

Ethiopia’s brutal crackdown warrants a much stronger, united response from concerned governments and intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch said. While the European Parliament has passed a strong resolution condemning the crackdown and a resolution has been introduced in the United States Senate, these are exceptions in an otherwise severely muted international response to the crackdown in Oromia. The UN Human Rights Council should address these serious abuses, call for the release of those arbitrarily detained and support an independent investigation.

“Ethiopia’s foreign supporters have largely remained silent during the government’s bloody crackdown in Oromia,” Lefkow said. “Countries promoting Ethiopia’s development should press for progress in all areas, notably the right to free speech, and justice for victims of abuse.”

http://unpo.org/article/19259

https://news.google.com/news/story?ncl=d4_xn4bk4l06q6McJFJIf_tmtpcBM&q=oromo&lr=English&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj9mY-Cz7bNAhWFF8AKHWFFAPMQqgIIKDAA

Icciitii wayyaanee B. Gen/Hayluu Gonfaa saaxile keessaa muraasa. June 19, 2016

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Odaa OromooB. Gen. Hayluu Gonfaa

TPLF  Ethiopia’s regime Hospital in Mekelle, Tigray harvests and  exports human organs, senior military  exposes.

Icciitii wayyaanee B. Gen/Hayluu Gonfaa saaxile keessaa muraasa.


1. Hospitaalli magaalaa Maqaleetti ijaarame qaama dhala namaa keessattuu kan raayyaa ittisaa filee “export” gochaa jiraachuu.
Akka Gen/Hayluun jedhanitti Tigiraayi keessatti waggaa tokko keessatti yoo xiqqate miseensota raayyaa ittisa biyyattii 1000 tuu dhukkuba adda addaa qofaa du’a. Reeffi kun hundi qaamni isaanii filamee biyya alaatti gurguramaa jira.
2.Maatii raayyaa ittisa mishinii (ergama) UN dhaaf bobbaafamanii du’aniif UN’n beenyaa tokkoo tokkoon nama dhu’eef $1,000,000 ykn qar. 22,000,000 kaffala. Qarshii kana garuu maatii wareegamtootaa utuu hintaane generaalota TPLF tuu addaan qooddata.
3.Mootummaan Tigree waraanni Ethio-Eritira akka badus akka ho’us hin barbaadu. Sababini isaas:
a, baajanni waggaa raayyaa ittisaa qar. biliyoona 20-30 dabalata bajata kanaan naannoo Tigiraayitu ittiin misooma, achitti waan dhangala’uuf.
b, Raayyaan ittisaa humnasaatiin hojii misooma naannichaa hojjechaa waan jiruuf
c, Daldaltoonniifi kontiraakteroonni naannichaa gabaa argataniin faayidaa guddaa argataa waan jiraniif.
4.Generaalonni TPLF qajeelcha ajajaa muummichaan (muummicha minstiraan) utuu hintaane waan sammuun isaanii ajaje qofa akka hojjetan. Kanaafuu yakka kamuu yoo dalagan akka itti hin gaafatamneefi ajaaan muummichaa (H/Maariyaam) kan hinbeekne ta’uu isaa saaxilaniiru.

read more at:-

#OromoProtests, June 19, 2016

HRW: Ethiopia: Protest Crackdown Killed Hundreds. #OromoProtests June 16, 2016

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HRW: Ethiopia: Protest Crackdown Killed Hundreds

Free Wrongfully Held Detainees, Independent Inquiry Needed

“Such a Brutal Crackdown, killings and arrests in response to Ethiopia’s Oromo Protests (1)

Haleellaa gara jabeenyaa dorgommi hinqabne


Languages: Available In አማርኛ English Français Deutsch Oromo


(Nairobi) – Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 protesters and others, and arrested tens of thousands more during widespread protests in the Oromia region since November 2015. The Ethiopian government should urgently support a credible, independent investigation into the killings, arbitrary arrests, and other abuses.

The 61-page report. “‘Such a Brutal Crackdown’: Killings and Arrests in Response to Ethiopia’s Oromo Protests,” details the Ethiopian government’s use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force and mass arrests, mistreatment in detention, and restrictions on access to information to quash the protest movement. Human Rights Watch interviews in Ethiopia and abroad with more than 125 protesters, bystanders, and victims of abuse documented serious violations of the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly by security forces against protesters and others from the beginning of the protests in November 2015 through May 2016.

Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 protesters and others, and arrested tens of thousands more during widespread protests in the Oromia region since November 2015.

“Ethiopian security forces have fired on and killed hundreds of students, farmers, and other peaceful protesters with blatant disregard for human life,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should immediately free those wrongfully detained, support a credible, independent investigation, and hold security force members accountable for abuses.”

Human Rights Watch found that security forces used live ammunition for crowd control repeatedly, killing one or more protesters at many of the hundreds of protests over several months. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have identified more than 300 of those killed by name and, in some cases, with photos.

Interview:

Interview:

Ethiopia’s Bloody Crackdown on Peaceful Dissent, an interview with Ethiopia researcher Felix Horne

The November protests were triggered by concerns about the government’s proposed expansion of the capital’s municipal boundary through the Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan. Protesters feared that the Master Plan would displace Oromo farmers, as has increasingly occurred over the past decade, resulting in a negative impact on farm communities while benefiting a small elite.

 

As protests continued into December, the government deployed military forces for crowd-control throughout Oromia. Security forces repeatedly fired live ammunition into crowds with little or no warning or use of non-lethal crowd-control measures. Many of those killed have been students, including children under 18.

The federal police and military have also arrested tens of thousands of students, teachers, musicians, opposition politicians, health workers, and people who provided assistance or shelter to fleeing students. While many detainees have been released, an unknown number remain in detention without charge and without access to legal counsel or family members.

 

Witnesses described the scale of the arrests as unprecedented. Yoseph, 52, from the Wollega zone, said: “I’ve lived here for my whole life, and I’ve never seen such a brutal crackdown. There are regular arrests and killings of our people, but every family here has had at least one child arrested.”

Former detainees told Human Rights Watch that they were tortured or mistreated in detention, including in military camps, and several women alleged that they were raped or sexually assaulted. Some said they were hung by their ankles and beaten; others described having electric shocks applied to their feet, or weights tied to their testicles. Video footage shows students being beaten on university campuses.

Despite the large number of arrests, the authorities have charged few individuals with any offenses. Several dozen opposition party members and journalists have been charged under Ethiopia’s draconian anti-terrorism law, while 20 students who protested in front of the United States embassy in Addis Ababa in March were charged with various offenses under the criminal code.

Ethiopian security forces have fired on and killed hundreds of students, farmers, and other peaceful protesters with blatant disregard for human life.

Leslie Lefkow

deputy Africa director

Access to education – from primary school to university – has been disrupted in many locations because of the presence of security forces in and around schools, the arrest of teachers and students, and many students’ fear of attending class. Authorities temporarily closed schools for weeks in some locations to deter protests. Many students told Human Rights Watch that the military and other security forces were occupying campuses and monitoring and harassing ethnic Oromo students.

There have been some credible reports of violence by protesters, including the destruction of foreign-owned farms, looting of government buildings, and other destruction of government property. However, the Human Rights Watch investigations into 62 of the more than 500 protests since November found that most have been peaceful.

The Ethiopian government’s pervasive restrictions on independent human rights investigations and media have meant that very little information is coming from affected areas. The Ethiopian government has also increased its efforts to restrict media freedom. Since mid-March it has restricted access to Facebook and other social media. It has also restricted access to diaspora television stations.

In January, the government announced the cancellation of the Master Plan. By then, however, protester grievances had widened due to the brutality of the government response.

While the protests have largely subsided since April, the government crackdown has continued, Human Rights Watch found. Many of those arrested over the past seven months remain in detention, and hundreds have not been located and are feared to have been forcibly disappeared. The government has not conducted a credible investigation into alleged abuses. Soldiers still occupy some university campuses and tensions remain high. The protests echo similar though smaller protests in Oromia in 2014, and the government’s response could be a catalyst for future dissent, Human Rights Watch said.

Ethiopia’s brutal crackdown warrants a much stronger, united response from concerned governments and intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch said. While the European Parliament has passed a strong resolution condemning the crackdown and a resolution has been introduced in the United States Senate, these are exceptions in an otherwise severely muted international response to the crackdown in Oromia. The UN Human Rights Council should address these serious abuses, call for the release of those arbitrarily detained and support an independent investigation.

“Ethiopia’s foreign supporters have largely remained silent during the government’s bloody crackdown in Oromia,” Lefkow said. “Countries promoting Ethiopia’s development should press for progress in all areas, notably the right to free speech, and justice for victims of abuse.”

More Reading

Reports

https://www.hrw.org/africa/ethiopia

 

IBTimes: There is a violent repression in Ethiopia – so why is the UK government silent about it? #OromoProtests June 16, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo

 

There is a violent repression in Ethiopia – so why is the UK government silent about it?


By David Mepham By David Mepham, IBTimes  June 16, 2016


 

London, Oromo Peaceful rally in solidarity with #OromoProtests in Oromia against TPLF Ethiopian regime's ethnic cleansing (Master plan), December   10, 2015

Oromo community protest in London over ‘ethnic cleansing’

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/there-violent-repression-ethiopia-so-why-uk-government-silent-about-it-1565781
Ethiopia: Oromo community protest in London over ‘ethnic cleansing’ IBTimes UK

 


The Ethiopian government is engaged in its bloodiest crackdown in a decade, but the scale of this crisis has barely registered internationally. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 people, including many children, have been killed by the country’s security forces in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region, with lethal force unleashed against largely peaceful, student-led protests.

For the past seven months, security forces have fired live ammunition into crowds and carried out summary executions. While students were first on the streets, many others have joined them, including teachers, musicians, opposition politicians and healthcare workers. Tens of thousands of people have been arrested, some of whom remain in detention without charge, and there are credible reports that detainees have been tortured or beaten – some of them in public. Hundreds of other people have been forcibly disappeared.

In normal circumstances, a crackdown on this scale would generate large-scale media attention and prompt strong international censure. But global media coverage has been very limited, in part because of Ethiopia’s draconian restrictions on media reporting and the difficulties journalists face in accessing the region. The response of governments internationally, including the British government, has also been extremely muted.

The reason for this is not a lack of information: diplomats in the country have a fairly good idea of what is going on in Oromia. Instead, it appears to be a flawed political calculation that the UK’s massive investment in Ethiopia’s development efforts (over 300 million pounds of aid is provided annually) would be undermined by public criticism or greater pressure on the government to rein in its abusive security forces.

The other obstacle is Ethiopia’s acute food crisis, where a severe drought – the worst since the famine of 1984-85 – has left 18 million people in need of aid. Global attention on this issue has led many governments around the world to overlook or downplay the other very urgent crisis unfolding in Oromia.

But these trade-offs are short-sighted and counter-productive. Ethiopia’s repression and its deepening authoritarianism hinder, rather than help, the country to combat food insecurity, promote development and tackle a range of other challenges. And they create the conditions for further instability and polarisation.

 

Ethiopia is struggling with its worst drought for 30 years. 2016

Ethiopia
Ethiopia is struggling with its worst drought for 30 years, with millions in dire need of life-saving aidGetty Images
Indeed, it was the very lack of respect for rights in the Ethiopian government’s approach to development that first triggered unrest in Oromia last November. The early protests were a response to the so-called ‘Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan’, which proposed a 20-fold expansion of the municipal boundary of the capital.

Protesters objected that this top-down initiative from the government, introduced without meaningful consultation or participation of the affected communities, would displace thousands of ethnic Oromo farmers from land around the city. Those displaced by similar government initiatives over the past decade have rarely received compensation or new land on which to rebuild their lives – and protesters feared a repeat of this experience on a larger scale.

Mersen Chala, brother of Dinka Chala, who was killed by Ethiopian forces for protesting, but his family says he was not involved ,December 17, 2015, Oromia.

Dinka Chala
Mersen Chala, brother of Dinka Chala, who was killed by Ethiopian forces for protesting, but his family says he was not involved ,December 17, 2015, Oromia.Getty Images
Concerns were also expressed about mining and manufacturing projects in Oromia and their impact on the environment and access to water. In mid-January 2016, the government announced it had “cancelled” the Master Plan. But despite this, the government does not seem to have changed its approach (it is still marketing land to investors, for example), there has been no let-up in the repression, and the protests continue. The government’s violent response and the rising death toll have further inflamed the situation and decades of historic Oromo grievances around cultural, economic and political marginalisation have come to the fore.

With or without the plan, the forced displacement of farmers looks likely to continue – as it has in many parts of Ethiopia – unless the Ethiopian government fundamentally changes its approach to development. That would mean treating communities as genuine partners in the development process, meaningfully consulting them, and allowing them to shape development projects. And it should mean opening up space for peaceful dissent and political opposition, as well as independent media.

In the short-term, the Ethiopian government could ease tensions by releasing all those arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned, establishing a credible independent investigation into the killings and other violations – with those responsible for abuses held to account – and it could start a dialogue with the Oromo community about their legitimate grievances that have fuelled these protests.

But given the awful rights record of the government in Addis this seems highly improbable without stronger international pressure. As a major development partner to Ethiopia – including support for work in the Oromia region itself – the British government should use its leverage more assertively and help galvanise a concerted international response – one which highlights, to the Ethiopian government, the cost of its ongoing repression. And it should press the Ethiopians to pursue a development strategy that respects human rights, rather than tramples all over them.


David Mepham is UK Director of Human Rights Watch


http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/there-violent-repression-ethiopia-so-why-uk-government-silent-about-it-1565781


Human Rights Watch: Peaceful Protesters Gunned Down in Ethiopia. #OromoProtests June 16, 2016

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#OromoProtests iconic picture


Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 protesters and others, and arrested tens of thousands more during widespread protests in the Oromia region since November 2015. Human Rights Watch interviews in Ethiopia and abroad with more than 125 protesters, bystanders, and victims of abuse documented serious violations of the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly by security forces against protesters and others from the beginning of the protests in November 2015 through May 2016.The Ethiopian government should urgently support a credible, independent investigation into the killings, arbitrary arrests, and other abuses. –   By HRW,  Jun 15, 2016


 


Hiyumaan Raayit Wochiin gabaasa har’a baasen, humnoonni nageenyaa Itiyoophiyaa yeroo mormiin Oromiyaa keessatti baldhinaan gaggeeffamen Sadaasa 2015 eegalee namoota 400 ol kan ajjeesan yoo ta’u kan kuma kudhaniin lakkaawwaman immoo hidhanii jiru. Mootumman Itiyoophiyaa ragaa amanama ta’en akka utubu, qaama bilisa ta’e tokko hundeesun waayee namoota ajeefamanii akka qoratu, waayee namoota badii tokko malee hidhamaniifii dhiitamuu mirga namaa adda addaa gabaasa akka dhiheesu. HRW June 15, 2016


Ethiopia: Politics of devolution from fibrosis to cirrhosis. #OromoProtests June 11, 2016

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Odaa OromooSay no to the master killer. Addis Ababa master plan is genocidal plan against Oromo people

People like TPLF leaders are those who never change no matter how much one tries to explain to them about the brutality of their ruling system and barbaric actions of their military and special commandos. This article expose the failed policy of the TPLF and their new destructive plan to slow-down the Oromo people movement for freedom.


Politics of devolution from fibrosis to cirrhosis


By Dr. Baaroo Keno Dheressa


BaarooThe Oromo people are survived the lethal colonialist rule of previous one (they change the Oromo name from Tolesa and Gemechu to Getnet and Gebremeskel and they change the name of our town namely Finfinnee to Addis Abeba, bishoftu to dabrezeit and adama to nazret). The current colonialist TPLF elite plays in multiple cards and faces (mixing up the definition of Oromo people goal self-determination, statehood, sovereignty, and democracy, and creating dysfunctional organization like OPDO to distract the real goal of the struggle). But We Oromo people have to be proud to be an Oromo by challenging all those obstacles and keeping our determination intact for freedom with limited resources and absence of external assistance.

African countries today face greater challenges to peace and stability than ever before with a volatile mix of insecurity, instability, corrupt political institutions and poverty. Alarmingly, most of these countries lack the political will to make and maintain peace agreements, and thus have fallen prey to continuous armed ethnic conflict. (Monty Marshall, 2003) This is partly due to ineffective conflict management.

The Ethiopian government (TPLF) try to teach us and also try to follow the path of South Africa and Nigeria. South Africa is made up of whites, indigenous Africans, coloreds, and Indians.  The blacks form the majority of the population with about 30 million people, the whites 5 million, and the coloreds and Indians share 3 million. The country has about 11 linguistic groups, but English is the official language. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with about 120 million people. It is home to 250 linguistic groups, but English is also Nigeria’s chosen official language Although most of the ethnic groups are very tiny, three ethnic groups constitute somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of the population. The Hausa-Fulani ethnic groups count for 30 percent of the population, the Yorubas about 20 per cent and the Igbos about 18 percent.

Both countries (Both Nigeria and South Africa) bear the responsibility to steer the continent away from the repression of authoritarian governments towards a path of social and economic development and good governance. Interestingly, the two countries are also driven by a similar political strategies to manage conflict through national reconciliation, consensus building and economic development. The dual processes of transition and transformation need nothing less than a vibrant economy in which the basic needs of citizens are taken care of.

TPLF is sending his cadres to Nigeria and south Africa to learn about those political transformation in order to  cheat western world to enhance cash flow and internally oppressing all types of opposition, silencing critical voices like Mr. Bekele Gerba, killing, torturing and imprisoning innocent civilians. The TPLF is also try to tell us about the economic growth of the country (I think they are mixing millionaires of TPLF elite with the country) while millions of peoples in Ethiopian empire facing imminent famines.  Wake up TPLF leaders it is 21st century (what does it mean is homework for you).

People like TPLF leaders are those who never change no matter how much one tries to explain to them about the brutality of their ruling system and barbaric actions of their military and special commandos. This article expose the failed policy of the TPLF and their new destructive plan to slow-down the Oromo people movement for freedom.

Medical definition of fibrosis and cirrhosis is: Hepatic fibrosis occurs in response to chronic liver injury. The response to liver injury includes collapse of hepatic lobules, formation of fibrous septae, and hepatocyte regeneration with nodule formation. Hepatic fibrosis is reversible. Cirrhosis represents a late stage of progressive hepatic fibrosis characterized by distortion of the hepatic architecture and the formation of regenerative nodules. It is generally considered to be irreversible in its advanced stages, at which point the only treatment option will be liver transplantation or death.

TPLF is now arrived on the top of the decisive treatment option (identical process of cirrhosis). The OPDO and other artificial organization mission is failed, traitors and collaborators are fail to fulfill their mission, military and security forces are demotivated because of fierce resistance from freedom fighters like Qeerroo and WBO, awareness of the people is much greater than TPLF kitchen cabinet policy, international community are fade-up of the pathological lies of TPLF leaders, media information is faster than colonialist destructive actions, innocent civilians are daily the primary victim of the TPLF policy….etc.  So the best remedy to save the TPLF from death will be transplantation, but the problem is there is no matched organ is/will found. So, the TPLF is now hospitalized in palliative center and awaiting unpleasant death. Unfortunately the TPLF is still working hard from dying bed to defend his destructive policy through his loyalist (traitors and collaborators) instead of participating in the restoration of historical justice for the respect of human rights for all human beings and to safe his Seoul.

According to my tangible information the TPLF government  are investing  40 million dollars to implement his last mission. The main core of the mission is to destroy unity among Oromo’s . According to the insiders the short and long term enemy of the TPLF power is the force behind the unity of Oromo people.  Again the insiders expose the taxonomy of government plan to implement his mission.

  • Strengthen the TPLF messengers by any means possible (in the name of Oromo diaspora, in the name of investment, by recruiting individuals from diaspora through special accommodation like house in the capital city, free movement between foreign countries and homeland ).
  • Maximizing the destructive propaganda of the Oromo unity through available medias (by hiding their real name behind pal talk, through fake name of Facebook, by sending indirect message through TV and radio to demoralize the real fighters and dedicated individuals).
  • Eradicating OLF as an organization, as an ideology and as an individual member of the OLF. According to insiders to fulfill this special mission the government is ready to put extra bonus for every single mission accomplished.  The government emphasizes again on the protocol of accomplishment (redirecting the goal of Oromo people from freedom fighter to economical survivors,  blackmailing their leaders and members, denying any activities of the organization, distributing and exaggerating  the failurity of the organization and minimizing their achievement).
  • Maximizing the economical imbalance between the Oromo people. Supporting by any means possible the trustful individual and force them to influence the poor majority to respect the system and abide by their master colonialist law.
  • Strict control of all Oromo intellectuals activities inside and outside the country.  If they are remain on the uncompromised path they have to be humiliated and destroyed (Bekele Gerba was mentioned as an example-information according to insider).
  • Creating weak political organizations as much as possible to enhance the confusion among Oromo’s. The content of organization has to be (opportunistic leader without dedication but tendency to individual economic thirsty, record less individuals in the history of struggle against colonialism and malignant opponent of OLF stand).
  • Full and Faster reaction to the peoples demand to calm the Oromo movement and to create big confusion about the definition of freedom among Oromo’s. But the demand has to be listed in the external-core-category.

Core category demands are:

  • Military and agazi forces has to leave Oromia.
  • Our question is full freedom sooner than later, but not remote controlled OPDO state.
  • Oromo’s has to be the master of their resources and polices and stop importing and expanding shadow Oromummaa in the name of OPDO.
  • The Doctor of Oromia is Oromummaa but not tigruma.
  • Stopping harassing Oromo’s in their country, work place and home.
  • The prisoners has to be free
  • Stopping hunting Oromo intellectuals and promoting brain drain.

None of us on the earth choose to be born where we are born but once born, for example in my case, as an Oromo, there is no way I can change it. Unlike religion, behavior and attitudes towards nature, ethnic belongingness cannot be changed. That is why I cannot stop reminding at every chance I got the international community, TPLF elite and their puppet collaborators that as an Oromo, I am oppressed and I want my freedom and equality. The collaborators and traitors proposing us to give our left cheek after TPLF slap us on the right, but my answer is first I will never let you slap me and if at all it happens, I will slap you back even harder. That is a simple formula of defending our right but not through mutilated OPDO ways, incapacitated and nihil individual propaganda or buying ground or house around Finfinnee and every year visiting  colonialist sky-reach building.

When TPLF fought to colonize Oromo’s and other nations in Ethiopian empire not through investment plan and lousy approach to Mengistu Hailemariam.  They colonize Oromo’s and other nations “through total destruction tactic and strategy”, their nick name was “ dildy afrash”.  So Yesterday TPLF was master of destruction and currently they call themselves surprisingly champion of development. My message to the traitors of Oromo people and collaborators of TPLF stop sending and propagating enemy destructive message and stand for freedom and equality at any cost.

We the Oromo people are  a victim of the system which the TPLF trying to defend at all cost on the international stage and protect by his mechanized military around Oromia and therefore TPLF and their collaborators will be disappointed with my analysis. That is not what I enjoy to do but I have no choice because the TPLF government is violating our fundamental human rights. The Oromo leaders and the Oromo people simply want to enjoy their fundamental human rights be it civil and political, economic, social and cultural among which the right to self-determination is the most advocated.

Let me clear again: Everybody who are defending the TPLF ruling system are our enemy (TPLF itself, collaborators, traitors). While the old elites are trying to restore the dead oppressive system once again and the TPLF is try to protect and prevail the current totally destructive and unhuman oppressive system, the Oromo’s are still fighting for the same question of 100 years ago that is total freedom. Now tell me dear TPLF-junta and collaborators, on what ground could you think the possibility of developing love for this ugly ruling system (killers and torturers)  and plan to live with you in peace?

TPLF elite are different from other previous colonialist in the sense that they tried to use spices in contrast to the previous colonialist to justify their democratic nature, allowing  afaan oromo as the official language of courts and of instruction at schools and recognition of the Oromia state. For recognition of our country Oromia and using our language (afaan oromo) in our country is not a gift. To accomplish that we Oromo people fought a bloody fight and we sacrifice enormous life of brave sons and daughters of Oromo people.  Come on TPLF junta your disease is worsening by confusing you (brain damage), I think you are developing “ammoniacal encephalopathy” because of your decompensated cirrhosis (decaying politics like dealing with mutilated OPDO and nonproductive collaborators).

I and my fellow Oromo people are not against any nation, I am sure in any nation there are a good  person, leaders, intellectuals who  care for equality, democracy, human rights, loving and a caring family man and women but when it comes to the defence of my right, I will not give you credit for being a good person, leader, intellectuals or family person.  No one, including TPLF elite accept domination and exploitation and there is no reason on earth why the Oromo’s should be expected to give up fighting for freedom from oppression and dancing and building house with you on the grave of our hero’s.

The Oromo’s paid a heavy price to build Ethiopia but when it comes to power and money they are the last to touch the desk and when it comes to the human-right and equality they are the first to be victim of the system.  But now the time of abuses was passed and Oromo people are getting aware of the reality and starting to build their home (Oromia). We Oromo people have no intention whatsoever to violate anybody rights to the contrary we will fight for them to be respected and we expect the same from other nations those we fight for their freedom.

Victory to the Oromo people!

Dr. Baaroo Keno Deressa,

First medical degree in internal medicine and second medical degree specialized  in gastro-hepatology disease

Ethiopian Army Wantonly Massacres 51 Civilians in Ogaden June 9, 2016

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Odaa OromooONLF

Namoonni 51 ol Ogaden keessattii wayyaaneen ajjesamuuni gabaafame. Kan ajjeefamani keessa baayyeen dubartoota fi daa’imman ta’uun beekame.


(ONLF, 8 June 2016) — The Ethiopian Army wantonly massacred 51 civilians in Jama’ Dubad village near Gashamo town on June 5, 2016. The army indiscriminately opened fire on unarmed civilians in the village centre,  shooting everybody in sight, not sparing women, children or the elderly. After the army started the massacre, many villagers run to the local mosque, hoping that they may be spared there. However, the Ethiopian army followed them there, shooting and killing them all. Then, the army torched the village,  destroying all property, food and the water supplies of the village.

Many wounded civilians who managed to run away to the fields, are scattered and hiding in the fields. Some of the villages and many children are still unaccounted for. In addition,  the Ethiopian army has abducted more than ten elders whose whereabouts are still unknown. The Ethiopian army has sent reinforcements and are currently occuppying  villages along the border. This is an indication that the army intends to commit more massacres in order to create fear and stem any reaction from the local communities.

Just two months ago, the Ethiopian army massacred civilians in Dhaacdheer and Gaxandhaale villages near Galadi town in Wardheer region, killing scores of civilians. In Febraury 2016, the Ethiopian army and the  Liyu Police militia destroyed Lababar village near Shilabo, killing more than 300 civilains and destroying the whole community in order to clear areas near the Jeexdin (Calub) Gas fields.  In  similar aggression the Ethiopian army killed many civilians near Bur-Ukur,  Ferfer, Beledwayne and Hudur areas at the end of last year.

After committing crimes intended to extinguish the spirit and the humanity in Ogaden, Oromia and  all communities in Ethiopia, the regime is now increasingly targeting other peoples along its borders and other neighbouring countries, specially those along the Somalia and Kenyan borders.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front categorically condemns the action of the Ethiopian regime and calls upon all peoples and parties in the Horn of Africa and the international community to condemn this heinous act  and come to the aid of the affected innocent civilians.

Issued by

Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)

NPR: Ethiopia Stifles Dissent, While Giving Impression Of Tolerance, Critics Say June 8, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo

Ethiopia Stifles Dissent, While Giving Impression Of Tolerance, Critics Say

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (left), walks alongside President Obama during the U.S. president's visit to the African nation last July. Critics say Ethiopia has cracked down hard on the opposition, but makes modest gestures to give the impression it tolerates some dissent.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (left), walks alongside President Obama during the U.S. president’s visit to the African nation last July. Critics say Ethiopia has cracked down hard on the opposition, but makes modest gestures to give the impression it tolerates some dissent.

SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images


The Oromo Federalist Congress, an opposition party in Ethiopia, represents the largest ethnic group in the country, the Oromo.

Yet its office in the capital Addis Ababa is virtually deserted, with chairs stacked up on tables. A chessboard with bottle caps as pieces is one of the few signs of human habitation. In a side office, the party’s chairman, Merera Gudina, explains why the place is so empty: Almost everyone has gone to prison.

The deputy chairman? Prison. The party secretary general? House arrest. The assistant secretary general? In prison. Six members of the party’s youth league? All in prison.

Critics of the Ethiopian government regularly land in prison. So why isn’t Merera Gudina, the chairman of the party and an outspoken critic of the regime, also behind bars?

The reason, he says, is what he calls “the game of the 21st century.” Less-than-democratic regimes are getting more sophisticated, and instead of completely crushing dissent, they seek to create the appearance of tolerance or even a multiparty democracy, explains Merera. (Ethiopians go by their first names).

In the case of Ethiopia, a strategy was laid out by the late former prime minister, Meles Zenawi, after the 2005 election, in which opposition parties won 32 percent of parliament and appeared poised to challenge the government.

“Wait for the opposition to grow legs,” Meles said in a meeting with top party officials. “And then cut them off.”

Merera says he is the current example of that strategy. He describes himself as a “floating head,” while the legs of his party — all his deputies, his candidates, his organizers — are either imprisoned or threatened.

Criticism On Human Rights

Human rights groups are extremely critical of Ethiopia, but it is a member of the international community in good standing.

“We are very mindful of Ethiopia’s history, the hardships that this country has gone through,” Obama said. “It has been relatively recently in which the Constitution that was formed, and elections put forward a democratically elected government.”

A number of human rights groups criticized Obama, saying he should have pressed much harder.

Shortly before Obama’s visit, Ethiopia released several noted opposition journalists and politicians. The deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, Bekele Gerba, was among those freed, and he promptly flew to Washington to sound an alarm bell.

“Every one of us is in a very high risk,” he told NPR’s Michele Kelemen. “Because anybody who criticizes the government is always a suspect.”

Bekele said his wife, a high school teacher, was also forced out of her job because of his politics. Bekele declined to use this trip to the U.S. to stay and apply for asylum. Instead, he said, he was determined to go back to Ethiopia, no matter what would happen.

Opposition Figure Re-Arrested

Soon after his return, Bekele was arrested again, and remains in prison today. Bekele is considered a moderate and he counsels nonviolence. He used his free time in prison to translate the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Merera, the party leader, says that targeting Bekele has a boomerang effect.

“When you are suppressing the moderate voice, then what you get is the radical voice,” he warns.

The arrest of moderates inside the country may be amplifying more radical rhetoric in the diaspora, such as rhetoric about “government overthrow” that Ethiopian officials are quick to highlight.

Genenew Assefa, a government spokesman, points out that Ethiopian opposition “tends to be extremist,” but also takes his own Justice Ministry to task for arresting so many opposition members.

“And then we put them in jail, and then it’s a vicious circle,” he says with a sigh. “And this is how it works. I personally, you know, would like to deal with this differently.”

He says that he would like Ethiopia to counter criticism with politics, not with police.

But Ethiopian politics appears to be moving away from democratic freedoms, not toward them. In last year’s election, the ruling party won 100 percent of the seats in parliament. Even the “floating heads” no longer have a token parliamentary seat.

Merera says that the Ethiopian strategy isn’t working.

“You can’t arrest everybody,” he says. He says that what is brewing is “an intifada (uprising), an Ethiopian intifada — even now, they don’t need leadership.”

Last November, ethnically Oromo regions of the country erupted in popular protests. Activists say 350 people have been killed, and thousands more arrested. There’s a growing fear that Ethiopia’s “cut off the legs” strategy is splitting the country.


http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/06/08/481266410/ethiopia-stifles-dissent-while-giving-impression-of-tolerance-critics-say?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social

UNPO: Oromo: Procedural Delay for Students Prosecuted for March Protest in front of US Embassy. #OromoProtests June 8, 2016

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Procedural Delay for Students Prosecuted for March 2016 Protest in front of US Embassy#OromoProtests, Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) University students, 8 March 2016

 

The status of the Oromo students whose US Embassy protest in March was deemed unlawful by the Ethiopian authorities has remained unchanged due to a delay in proceedings. Their dire situation is seen by many as an example of the harsh treatment handed out to the Oromo ethnic minority within Ethiopia, as well as an attempt to crush resistance to damaging policies from the governing body in Addis Ababa, such as the Addis Ababa Master Plan. The protests in Oromia and the authorities’ violent repression attracted some international attention in the past few months and led, among others, to a European Parliament Resolution.

Below is an article published by Ayyaantuu News

The 20 Oromo students of Addis Ababa University who were arrested for protesting in front of the US embassy last march were brought to court today. The court having been summoned to hear recorded testimonies of witnesses against the students was required to delay proceedings because of the clerk responsible for transcribing the recorded material is on vacation.

Dozens of Oromo students protested in front of the US Embassy in March denouncing the brutal actions of the Ethiopian government against the Oromo protesters who are demanding greater constitutional rights (self-rule, control over resources & democracy) for the last for months.

The students made the demonstrations to bring the situation in Oromia to the attention of the US government, the leading donor to the Ethiopian government. The students were, however, attacked by the security forces, and the demonstration was dispersed. In connection with the demonstrations, 11 Oromo students have been detained and their whereabouts are still not known.

Photo Courtesy of Ethiopian Human Rights Project

http://unpo.org/article/19237

Human Rights League: Ethiopia- Gross Human Rights Violations: Human rights situations that require the UN Human Rights Council’s attention May 31, 2016

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Odaa OromooHuman rights League of the Horn of Africa

Ethiopia- Gross Human Rights Violations

 

Submission to:  Human Rights Council – 32nd Session UN,

13 June – 1 July 2016, Geneva, Switzerland

Item 4 –  Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

May 29, 2016


(HRLHA) – Ever since November of 2015 and still going on are serious human rights violations in Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia. Peaceful protestors against the so-called  ” Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan”  came to the streets in Oromia in November to express their grievances about the “Addis Ababa Integrated Master plan” and were met with brutal crackdowns. An estimated 500 plus Oromos have been killed by the Ethiopian Government force. The Ethiopian Government deployed its military and applied excessive force against the unarmed civilians to quell the dissent. The Oromo nation protested against  the “Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan” because:

  • It is a plan which did not consult the stakeholders and aimed to annex 36 small towns in Oromia to the capital city to expand it by 20 fold, thereby evicting  over two million farmers
  • In the past 15 years, over 150,000 Oromo farmers from suburban towns of Addis Ababa have been forcefully evicted from their livelihoods and their land has been sold to investors for a low price, and given to the government authorities for free. Land owners have become beggars on the street.
  • Many farmers in Oromia Regional Zones have been forcefully removed from their ancestral lands and their lands sold cheaply to investors for flower plantations.

The  recent deadly violence against Oromo peaceful demonstrators staged against the so called “Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan”- violence that has already claimed over 500 lives, including children and senior citizens  along with more than 20,000 –  30,000 imprisoned and more disappeared- has also attracted the attention of many donor countries such as the USA whose Department of State has condemned the excessive military force against the peaceful demonstrators, (see in table 1)

Various organizations, including government agencies ( EU parliament, UN Experts), international, regional and domestic human rights organizations  (HW, AI, HRLHA) and international mass media such as BBC, CNN, France 24 have reported on the  recent violations in Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia, (see in Table 2)

Table 1 – Government Agency’s Report

Reporter Report Description Report Date
The White House Office of the Press Secretary Statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price on the Arrest of Journalists in Ethiopia December 30, 2015
US Department of State The United States Concerned By Clashes in Oromia, Ethiopia December 15, 2015
EU Parliament European Parliament resolution on the situation in Ethiopia  January 21, 2016
UN Experts UN Experts Urge Ethiopia to halt violent crackdown —  January 21, 2016

Table 2- Human Rights Organizations’ Report

Reporter Organization Report Description Reported Date
HRW  Using Courts to Crush Dissent in Ethiopia May 9, 2016
HRW Deafening Silence from Ethiopia April 12, 2016
HRW Ethiopia’s Invisible Crisis January 22, 2016
Government Backs Down, But Will Protests End in Ethiopia? January 15, 2016
HRW Ethiopia: Lethal Force Against Protesters, Military Deployment, Terrorism Rhetoric Risk Escalating Violence December 18, 2015
HRW Yet Again, a Bloody Crackdown on Protesters in Ethiopia December 5, 2015
AI Ethiopia: Anti-terror rhetoric will escalate brutal crackdown against Oromo protesters December 16, 2015
AI Ethiopia: Ethnic Oromos arrested, tortured and killed by the state in relentless repression of dissent October 16, 2014
HRLHA Ethiopia: Oromia Regional State Under Siege Dececember 15, 2015
HRLHA Ethiopia: Extreme Cruelties Against Oromo Children and Youths Dececember 8, 2015
HRLHA Oromia/Ethiopia: Region-Wide, Heavy-Handed Crackdown on Peaceful Protesters December 5, 2015
BBC Ethiopia says Oromia protests crackdown claims are ‘lies’ February 22, 2016
BBC (BBC vidio) Ethiopian Government Criticized Over Oromo Protests November 2015
BBC BBC World News reports on Oromo Protest against Addis Ababa Master Plan May 2, 2014
CNN Ethiopia crackdown on student protests taints higher education success May 22, 2014
France 24 Video: Anger among Ethiopia’s Oromo ethnic group boils over March 30, 2016

Recommendation:

Recalling that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of person, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful demonstration and assembly,

Recalling further that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary arrest and detention,

The HRLHA urges  the United Nations Human Rights Council to raise concerns about the serious human rights abuses presently taking place in Oromia.

The HRLHA also calls upon the UN Human Rights Council:

  • To create an international commission of inquiry to investigate the recent serious violations of international customary law and international human rights law by the Ethiopian Government
  • To use its mandate to put pressure on the Ethiopian Government:
  • To immediately bring to justice those military members who cold-bloodedly attacked the peaceful demonstrators
  • To unconditionally free all Oromo prisoners of conscience and  others arbitrarily detained, including those held before for no reason and  during the peaceful protests of April-March 2014 and November – December 2015 against the ” Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan “
  • To refrain from reprisals against aromos who have taken part in peaceful demonstrations

Ethiopia: British government ‘deeply concerned’ by treatment of Oromo May 29, 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

Featured Image -- 10781

 

This is the answer to a Parliamentary Question about the Ethiopian government’s response to the Oromo protests and the credibility of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission into the way in which these were handled.

Martin

Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL29):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is a credible body to investigate human rights violations committed by the Ethiopian security forces in their response to the Oromo protests. (HL29)

Tabled on: 18 May 2016

Answer:
Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the handling of demonstrations in Oromia and the reported deaths of a number of protestors, and has repeatedly made representations to the Ethiopian Government over the ongoing situation in Oromia. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and raise our concerns with the Ethiopian Government, including on the use of force.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has been appointed to look into the handling of the protests in Oromia. We will not pre-judge the outcome of their investigation and we await the publication of their report. We will continue to urge the EHRC and the Government of Ethiopia to ensure that their report is credible, transparent and leads to concrete action. We will take a view on what further lobbying, if any might be appropriate following the publication of the EHRC report.

Date and time of answer: 26 May 2016 at 15:27.

martinplaut

This is the answer to a Parliamentary Question about the Ethiopian government’s response to the Oromo protests and the credibility of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission into the way in which these were handled.

Martin

Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL29):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is a credible body to investigate human rights violations committed by the Ethiopian security forces in their response to the Oromo protests. (HL29)

Tabled on: 18 May 2016

Answer:
Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the handling of demonstrations in Oromia and the reported deaths of a number of protestors, and has repeatedly made representations to the Ethiopian Government over the ongoing situation in Oromia. We will continue to monitor…

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Urgent call to all Oromo people and international community Health care is the fundamental human rights and not a tool of war May 25, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo

Urgent call to all Oromo people and international community Health care is the fundamental human rights and not a tool of war

 

By Baaroo Keno Deressa, Dr.

Concerning this issue my letter to United nations and European commission will be published soon.

Dr Baro KenoAfter twenty-seven years in power, the TPLF-elite dare to tell us that Rome was not built in a day. Are they ignorant or arrogant??? Twenty-seven years is quite a long time to bring changes in the lives of all people. When the TPLF moved to Dadabit telling the world that Mengistu did not bring any change. But Mengistu remain in power 17 years and TPLF is now 27 years in power, number of days in one year then and now are still 365 and I don’t understand why  twenty-seven years of their palace life should not be considered a long time? Yes they bring many changes in Tigray region (in military technology, medical science, economic empowerment….etc). But the mother of all cash flow and life-oxygen my beloved Oromia and generous people of Oromo are:

  • Bleeding day and night in the hands of TPLF special commandos and security forces,
  • Suffering from torture and ill-treatment of TPLF government
  • killing future generations of our nations (university students).
  • Detaining millions of innocent Oromo peoples and Oromo intellectuals
  • Limiting free movement of our people in their home town
  • Promoting brain drain of mother land Oromia.
  • Harassment and hunting down capable Oromo individuals to inhibit the development of mother land Oromia.
  • Countless atrocities are committed against Oromo people

Mostly government statements are based on “kitchen cabinet” (TPLF junta) and Oromo people no matter what the truth is, they must accept it. The TPLF commandos are always right because they have the gun and the system supporting them. The stronger can always tell the wrong and force the weaker to accept it as the right. Trying to prove that the “stronger” is wrong is tantamount.

Whatever their power we Oromo people have to stand firmly with full commitment and confront it this barbaric act.

Let me put some facts with evidence based manner:-

urgent-call-to-all-oromo

AI: Heading the Wrong Way: The Ever Closing Political Space in Ethiopia May 24, 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 EthiopiaAmnesty International

Heading the Wrong Way: The Ever Closing Political Space in Ethiopia

, Amnesty International USA, 22 May 2016

 

Ethiopia human rights protest

By Adotei Akwei,Managing Director for Government Relations and Kayla Chen, Government Relations and Individuals at Risk Intern at Amnesty International USA

Sub-Saharan Africa is facing a growing trend of evaporating political space. Non-governmental organizations are being heavily and often violently restricted, and newspapers, bloggers and other voices of dissent or criticism are being silenced or intimidated into exile.

In some countries such as Uganda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, heads of state are rewriting their constitutions to eliminate term limits, in the process using security forces to squash protests from both political opposition and civil society. In other countries such as in Angola, the governments make use of their control over their judiciariesto intimidate or bury critics and youth activists in legal processes that cripple them financially or trap in never ending trials. Elsewhere, governments invoke the specter of terrorism and threats to national security as justification for passing sweeping laws whose interpretation empowers them to impose draconian penalties on oppositional parties and civil society, with little regard for international standards of due process or international and regional rights standards on freedom of expression, association and assembly.

In several countries government authorities have cracked down on nonviolent protests with violence. On Monday May 17, the Kenyan security forces brutally beat nonviolent demonstrations organized by the opposition Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD), led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, to demand the dismissal of the members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

TOPSHOT - Protestors run from water canons after Kenya's opposition supporters demonstrated in Nairobi, on May 16, 2016. Opposition protestors led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga had gathered outside the Indepedent Electoral and Boundaries Comission building to demand the dismissal of IEBC commissioners from office citing alleged bias towards the ruling Jubillee Alliance Party. / AFP / CARL DE SOUZA        (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

On the 6th of May the Ugandan police beat demonstrators who had gathered after it was announced that opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye would face the death penaltyfor charges of treason.

Ethiopia has been at the forefront of this wave of violent intolerance. Members of the Oromo ethnic group are facing a brutal crackdown following initially peaceful protests that started in the fall of 2015. Some estimates place the number of persons killed at the beginning of 2016 at over 400. Thousands have been detained and hundreds of homes and businesses have been destroyed. The violent crackdown is consistent with the violent security force crackdowns in Oromia in 2014 and in Konso in March 2016 as well as against other protests.

Closing of Political Space in Ethiopia

This is the reality facing Ethiopians whom the  government  designates opponents of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The government heavily restricts freedom of expression and association, and severely constrains political space, especially for civil society organizations.

In the 2015 elections, the EPRDF and its allies claimed all of 547 seats in Parliament amid concern over the lack of conditions for free and fair elections. It has become virtually impossible to question, challenge or protest against any action of the government.  According to the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index,  Ethiopia ranks 91 out of 102 countries with severe constraints on government powers and fundamental rights.  Freedom House also rated the country “not free”. Ethiopia scores 6 out of 7, on a scale of 1-7 from free to not free, on both civil liberties and political rights. Civil society organizations have been forced to close, thousands of political prisoners are languishing in prisons, and human rights defenders who dare to speak out are forcibly imprisoned and beaten.

The use of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation Act continues to be used to silence journalists and other critics who dare to speak out. People like noted journalist Eskinder Nega, Oromo leader Bekele Gerba, and Anuak Land rights activist Okello Akway Ochalla are all behind bars and charged with terrorism for opposing the government policies. They are just three individual stories of many who are suffering under the Ethiopian government’s crackdown on human rights.

Eskinder Nega was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2012 for fulfilling his role as a journalist and questioning the use of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to arrest those that criticized the government.  This was not the first time Eskinder had faced unjust retaliation due to his refusal to be silenced.  Eskinder’s son Nafkot was born in prison in 2005 when both Eskinder and hjs wife Serkalem were imprisoned for criticizing the government’s killing of nearly 200 people in post-election protests in 2005. Four years later after he was unjustly convicted and imprisoned once again, Eskinder Nega still languishes behind bars and more convictions have been handed down using the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.

Bekele Gerba, a prominent leader of the Oromo Federalist Party, visited the United States last August after his release prior to President Obama’s visit to Ethiopia. He told NPR that Obama’s visit to Ethiopia last summer was a trip that sent the wrong message of solidarity to a repressive government with very little support from its own people. He also expresseduncertainty in regards to his freedom when he returned back to Ethiopia. A few months after his return Bekele was arrested on December 23, 2015 and held in a 4m X 5m cell with 21 others.  Bekele and his counterparts were charged on April 22, 2016 with various provisions  set forth in the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.  This charge is clearly meant to silence him and others who dare to criticize and oppose the current regime.

Okello Akway Ochalla, a Norwegian citizen, was abducted from Juba, South Sudan, two years ago and ended up in an Addis Ababa court where he was sentenced to nine years in prison on April 27, 2016. Okello was the governor of the Gambella region, a key location of land grabbing and forced relocation by the Ethiopian Government, before escaping the country following a massacre of his people, the Anuaks, in 2003.  Abducted from South Sudan in 2014 and brought back to Ethiopia, Okello was charged under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation for speaking to the international media about the massacre of his people and the ongoing struggle of the people of Gambella. Rights groups are alarmed that the primary evidence used to convict Okello was a confession obtained while Okello was in solitary confinement. There have been reports that Okello was beaten and tortured. His trial highlights serious failures of due process and the rule of law in the Ethiopian courts.

More laws are being drafted by the Ethiopian government that confirm it will continue to suppress opposition and dissent. Current government policies of making access to education, government jobs and services contingent on party membership, forcing citizens to undergo “policy trainings” of indoctrination, and widespread monitoring of all public spaces has created an environment of fear with no room for public debate.

Despite all this, the ruling ERPD still enjoys support from the international community.  The United States recently renewed a new defense and security cooperation agreement with Ethiopia, which is being trumpeted as U.S. support of the Ethiopian government’s policies, including the military’s excessive use of force. Ethiopia also continues to receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the United States, the European Union and other countries in development and humanitarian aid.

It is crucial that governments that commit human rights violations be held to the spotlight and pressed to be accountable. Countries that provide assistance to those governments need to prioritize respect for, and protection of human rights for several reasons.

First, grave human rights violations can further stymy development and it potentially drives voices of dissent to abandon non-violence.

Second, supporting an oppressive regime for the sake of regional security will only further destabilize a region already ravaged by conflict, unclear borders, poverty and lack of respect for the rule of law, all in the pursuit of short term stability.

The Ethiopian people deserve better than that.


http://blog.amnestyusa.org/africa/heading-the-wrong-way-the-ever-closing-political-space-in-ethiopia/

THE INDIGENOUS WORLD – 2016: The indigenous peoples of Ethiopia May 22, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo

The Indigenous World 2016

The Ethiopian government’s lack of a specific policy or programme to address indigenous peoples’ special needs and status has further aggravated their situation. Ethiopia, is a key political actor in Africa, and the second most populous country on the continent. It is a glaring omission that such a significant political actor has not attempted—in consultation with the country’s indigenous peoples and their representative institutions—to develop policies and programmes that are in accordance with guidelines from the UN and other relevant bodies and which would bridge the social and economic gaps that are currently causing such distress. The Ethiopian government is thus failing to address widely reported concerns regarding the human rights of indigenous people in Gambela, the lower Omo Valley, Benishangul Gumuz, Afar, Somali and Oromia regions—all areas that have been part of the government’s land lease policy and villagization programme. The Oromia region has been the site of significant protests since late 2015 when protests began over plans to expand the capital, Addis Ababa. In what was seen as an attempted “land grab”, Oromo farmers argued that expanding Addis Ababa would lead to their displacement and the loss of arable land. Although plans were subsequently dropped, protests continued, leading to what  activists reported as the deaths of around 200 people so far, and heightened tensions in the area.

 

http://www.iwgia.org/publications/search-pubs?publication_id=740

PP. 394- 408


The indigenous peoples of Ethiopia make up a significant proportion of the country’s estimated 95 million population. Around 15 percent are pastoralists who live across Ethiopia, particularly in the Ethiopian lowlands, which constitute around 61 percent of the country’s total landmass. There are also a number of hunter-gathering communities, including the forestdwelling Majang (Majengir) who live in the Gambela region. Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in Africa, a significant amount of which is concentrated in pastoralist communities living on land that in recent years has become the subject of high demand from foreign investors. The political and economic situation of indigenous peoples in Ethiopia is a tenuous one. The Ethiopian government’s policy of villagization has seen many pastoralist communities moved off of their traditional grazing lands, and indigenous peoples’ access to healthcare provision and to primary and secondary education remains highly inadequate. There is no national legislation that protects them, and Ethiopia has neither ratified ILO Convention No. 169, nor was present during the voting on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Anti-terror law: a threat to indigenous peoples’ rights The situation for indigenous peoples in Ethiopia suffered a significant deterioration in 2015. There was no improvement in national legislation that could offer protection to indigenous peoples, and Ethiopia continues to fail in its obligations under the international human rights mechanisms it has ratified, e.g., the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which calls for special attention to be paid to indigenous peoples, a situation regarding which a number of human rights organizations—including the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), Human Rights Watch  (HRW) and Minority Rights Group International (MRGI)—have expressed concern. Moreover, this lack of compliance must also be seen within the context of wider concerns regarding the Ethiopian government’s alleged use of anti-terror laws to curtail freedom of speech. Concerns about the latter intensified in April 2014 with the arrest of six members of the Zone 9 blogging group and three other journalists, while the situation with regard to indigenous peoples’ rights became even more acute in March 2015 with the arrest in Addis Ababa of seven activists heading to a workshop on food security in Nairobi. Although four of them were eventually released, on 7 September 2015, after six months in detention, the remaining three activists, Pastor Omot Agwa, Ashinie Astin, and Jamal Oumar Hojele, were charged under Ethiopia’s counter-terrorism laws, and now face the possibility of extended prison terms if found guilty (Omot faces a sentence of 20 years to life). This has caused widespread concern amongst human rights defenders inside and outside the country, as well as a number of leading human rights organizations.

Land grabbing and policy of villagization A key element in the deteriorating situation of indigenous peoples in Ethiopia is the ongoing policy of “land grabbing” where companies lease large tracts of land from the Ethiopian government in return for significant levels of foreign investment. Since 2008, when widespread concern about the possibility of a potentially global food crisis increased demand for agricultural land, the Ethiopian government has leased millions of hectares of land throughout the country to agricultural investors, both foreign and domestic. The Ethiopian government says that such investments are important for guaranteeing food security. The policy is also seen as an important element in Ethiopia’s development strategy because it means that land that is categorized as “under-utilized” can be used productively. However, much of this land is in reality not under-utilized but is used by pastoralists, whose customary rights to the land are being consistently violated. Moreover, the way in which the land is used under the new leasing arrangements arguably does little for food security as there is little food produced. Instead, land is chiefly being used for an array of non-food products such as flowers, or for growing food products destined for the export market. Interestingly, at the very end of 2015, the Ethiopian Agriculture Ministry’s land investment agency notified Karuturi Global Inc., one of the first and largest external investors, that its lease was being cancelled because of a lack of “development”. Karaturi had used only 1,200 ha of land out of the 100,000 originally allocated to it, and so the Agriculture Ministry has stated that the rest will return to a “land bank” for future investment. The Ethiopian government continues to highlight the employment opportunities of such investment for those living in lowland areas, but much of the employment in these areas has gone to “highlanders” from the central and northern areas of Ethiopia who have moved there to find work. The latter has also increased the possibilities of ethnic tensions, something that has been seen in the Gambela region and in the lower Omo Valley in particular. In the latter case, the building of the Gibe III Dam, which significantly impacts upon water security in the Omo Valley region, has meant a heightened threat to food security and in turn increased conflict over existing resources. For example, there have been reports that cattle herders have moved their animals into Mago National Park to find grass, and have been met with violence from government soldiers who are protecting the park and its wildlife.  Reports from external sources have said that the lives of those indigenous peoples living in the region have been “fundamentally and irreversibly” changed by the building of the dam. It will make it very difficult for the half a million indigenous people whose lives and livelihoods depend upon the Omo River to continue living in the area and sustaining their traditional livelihoods. According to the Dam’s Public Consultation and Disclosure Plan, only 93 members of four indigenous communities were consulted and this happened only after construction of the dam had already begun. In addition, part of the Ethiopian government’s policy on land management includes the pursuit of a policy of villagization, which aims to resettle those who live in rural areas—often indigenous peoples—into communities with improved access to basic amenities, such as clean water, medical services and schools. In reality, however, such amenities have not been provided, and many of the communities have too little food for the population that now exists there. Many people find that when they try and return to the land that they have left in order to resume their previous way of life the land has been leased and they no longer have access to it.

Indigenous communities thus find themselves displaced and deprived of their traditional livelihoods and of access to their natural environment, including access to water, grazing and fishing grounds, arable lands and forest resources. The Ethiopian government’s lack of a specific policy or programme to address indigenous peoples’ special needs and status has further aggravated their situation. Ethiopia, is a key political actor in Africa, and the second most populous country on the continent. It is a glaring omission that such a significant political actor has not attempted—in consultation with the country’s indigenous peoples and their representative institutions—to develop policies and programmes that are in accordance with guidelines from the UN and other relevant bodies and which would bridge the social and economic gaps that are currently causing such distress. The Ethiopian government is thus failing to address widely reported concerns regarding the human rights of indigenous people in Gambela, the lower Omo Valley, Benishangul Gumuz, Afar, Somali and Oromia regions—all areas that have been part of the government’s land lease policy and villagization programme. The Oromia region has been the site of significant protests since late 2015 when protests began over plans to expand the capital, Addis Ababa. In what was seen as an attempted “land grab”, Oromo farmers argued that expanding Addis Ababa would lead to their displacement and the loss of arable land. Although plans were subsequently dropped, protests continued, leading to what  activists reported as the deaths of around 200 people so far, and heightened tensions in the area.

Considering the future for indigenous peoples’ rights in Ethiopia, it therefore remains important that there be a country-wide, inclusive and participatory movement in the country that would be able to ensure that the concerns of pastoralists and agro-pastoral peoples are taken into account as part of key government policies and programmes. The country’s lack of formal mechanisms in which to consider such issues, as well as legal restrictions on freedom of association and speech, appear to preclude this. This is despite the fact that the Ethiopian constitution—though lacking in clear provisions directly related to indigenous peoples —does include a provision for dealing with the development needs of pastoralist communities. However, the overall outlook for a nationwide indigenous peoples’ movement is promising. Consensus is underway amongst various groups that— with the support of international organizations and a more positive government view—could enable the country’s marginalized communities to face a more positive future.


 

HRW: Dispatches: Using Courts to Crush Dissent in Ethiopia. #OromoProtests May 11, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo

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Dispatches: Using Courts to Crush Dissent in Ethiopia

(HRW) — For the past six months, thousands of people have taken to the streets in Ethiopia’s largest region, Oromia, to protest alleged abuses by their government. The protests, unprecedented in recent years, have seen Ethiopia’s security forces use lethal force against largely peaceful protesters, killing hundreds and arresting tens of thousands more.

The government is inexorably closing off ways for Ethiopians to peacefully express their grievances, not just with bullets but also through the courts. In recent weeks, the Ethiopian authorities have lodged new, politically motivated charges against prominent opposition politicians and others, accusing them of crimes under Ethiopia’s draconian counterterrorism law.

Just last week, Yonatan Tesfaye Regassa, the head of public relations for the opposition Semayawi Party (the Blue Party), was charged with “planning, preparation, conspiracy, incitement and attempt” of a terrorist act. The authorities citied Yonatan’s Facebook posts about the protests as evidence; he faces 15 years to life in prison, if convicted.

#OromoProtests in Oromia, December 2015

In April, Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Oromia’s largest registered political party, and 21 others, including many senior OFC members, were charged under the counterterrorism law, four months after their arrest on December 23, 2015. Bekele is accused of having links with the banned Oromo Liberation Front, a charge frequently used by the government to target ethnic Oromo dissidents and others. Deeply committed to nonviolence, Bekele has consistently urged the OFC to participate in elections despite the ruling party’s iron grip on the polls. Bekele and the others have described horrible conditions during their detention, including at thenotorious Maekalawi prison, where torture and other ill-treatment are routine.

The authorities also charged 20 university students under the criminal code for protesting in front of the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa in March, 2016. The “evidence” against them included a video of their protest and a list of demands, which included the immediate release of opposition leaders and others arrested for peaceful protests, and the establishment of an independent body to investigate and prosecute those who killed and injured peaceful protesters. They face three years in prison if convicted.

The Ethiopian government is sending a clear message when it charges peaceful protesters and opposition politicians like Bekele Gerba with terrorism. The message is that no dissent is tolerated, whether through social media, the electoral system, or peaceful assembly.


ODUU

Itoophiyaan Uummata mirga isaa gaafatu jumlaan akka hiituu fi ajjeestu Saaxilame.

OMN:Oduu Caamsaa 11,2016 Qorataan mirga dhala namaa kan gaanfa Afrikatti Qorannoo geggeessan Filex Horne dhiheenna kana ibsa baasaniin, mootummaan Itiyoophiyaa mormii biyyattii keessatti geggeeffama jiru dhaabsisuuf jecha, hidhaa filannoo taasifatee jira jedhan.

Qorataa waa’ee mirga dhala nama  ka ta’e Felix Horne, qorannoo isaa ta gaafa Afirkatti taasisee Caamsa 09, bara 2016 baasen, mormii ji’oota ja’an dabran geggeeffame irratti mootummaan Itiyoophiyaa lammiilee nagaa irratti tarkaanfii ajjeechaa raawwachuu dubbata.

Humnootii tikaa mootummaa tarkaanfii ajjeechaa geggeessaniin, namoonni dhibba hedduu yoo ajjeefaman, kumootatti kan laakkawaman ammoo hidhamuu isaanii Flex gabaasa isaa kanaan mirkaneessee jira.

Akka gabaasa kanaatti, mootummaan Itoophiyaa mormii guutuu Oromiyaa keessatti geggeeffame dura dhaabbachuuf jecha, tarkaanfii gara jabeennaa kana raawwachuun isaa sirrii akka hin taane Filex gabaasa isaa kanaan ibsee jira.

Dhiyeenna kana immoo dubbiin bifaa jijjiirattee, mormii tana dhaabsisuufi nama hidhuun filannoo duraa ta’uu dubbata.

Akka Filex jedhutti, torbaanuma dabree kana keessa paarti mormituu Blue Party jedhamutti, dura taa’aa hariiroo uummata kan ta’e obbo Yonaataan Tesfaaye Reggaasa, gochoota shororkeessumma karoorsuu, qindeessuu fi nama kakaasuu yaali gootee jechuun seera farra shororkeessummaatin himatan.

Akkaa ragaatti wanni irratti dhiyaate facebook irratti waa’ee mormi maxxansitee ka jedhuu yoo ta’uu, yakki kun ka isaa taanan hidhaa gannaa kudhan shaniitti(15) isa eeggata jedhaa Felix.

Ji’aa Eblaa ka dabre keessa hoogganoota paarti kongirasii Federalistii Oromoo kan ta’an, Obbo Beqalaa Garbaa fi, miseensota Paarti isaanii namoota 21fi daraggoota hedduu dabalatee, eegi murtii tokko malee ji’aa afur hidhamanii duubatti, seeraa shororkeessummaatiin himatamuu dubata.

Akka Felix Horne  gabaaasa qorannoo isaa irraatti tuqetti, obboo Baqqalaa Garbaa ka ittin himatamee, yakka walitti dhuffeenna Addaa Bilisummaa Oromootiin walin qabdan, ilaalcha uummanni Oromoo biyyitti keessatti hacuucaatu irra ga’a ka jedhuu fi, waan akkaa akkaatiin himatamee jedha.

Hata’uu malee obbo Baqqalaan adoo mootummaan biyya bulchaa jiru qawwee qabatee lammiitti roorrisaa jiruu, paartiin isaanii karaa nagaayaan filannoo geggeessu akka qabu gadi faggeennaan mormaa turee jedha.

Yoo mana hidha keessaa turanitti obbo Baqqalaa fi miseensonni isaalleen haala suukaneessaa keessaa jirachu, dubbachu isaanii himee, kun ammoo dhaanichaa fi dararamiinsa hamaa akka ofi keessa qabu ibsan.

Gamaa biraatiin mootummaan Itoophiyaa barattoota University namoota 20, gaafa baatii Bitotteessa bara 2016, Embassy United State ka Finfinnee jiru duratti mormii geggeesitan jechuun, seera yakkaatin himachuu isaallee dubbata.

Akkaa ragaatti wanni irratti dhiyaate, video mormii ka hoggantoota mormitoota fi namoota  nagaa ka hiriiraa bahuun hidhaman hatattamaan akka gadi dhiifaman gaafatuu fi, qaamni walaba hundeeffamee dhimma mormiin irratti ka’ee akka qorannoo geggeessu, gaafachuu isaanii dubbata.

Akka Felix Horne jedhutti, yoo yakki kun ka  isaanitti murtaa’u ta’ee, ijoollee tana tokko tokkoo isaanii hidhaa gannaa sadiittu eegata jedha.

Dhuma irratti mootummaan Itoophiyaa kana taasisuun isaa ergaa ifaa dabarsaa jedha felix.

Kun immoo, ammaan eegi karaa midiyaa hawaasaatiin ta’ee, kara sirna filannoo yokaan karaa nagaatilleen gurmaa’an mormuun, ka hin danda’amne ta’uu argisiisaa jedha.

Liiban Halaketiin.

Itoophiyaan Uummata mirga isaa gaafatu jumlaan akka hiituu fi ajjeestu Saaxilame.

AS: OROMIA: FOUR MISSING OROMO FEDERALIST CONGRESS MEMBERS, CO-DEFENDANTS APPEAR IN COURT THIS MORNING. #OromoProtests April 26, 2016

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Odaa OromooAddis StandardBekele Gerba translated Martin Luther King’s book  ‘I HAVE A DREAM’  into Oromo language while he was in prison.Free Bekele Gerba#OromoProtests in Bosaso, 7 April 2016

#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


FOUR MISSING OROMO FEDERALIST CONGRESS MEMBERS, CO-DEFENDANTS APPEAR IN COURT THIS MORNING


Twenty two defendants, including four missing senior members of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) have appeared at the Federal High Court 19th Criminal Bench this morning. The court adjourned the next hearing, which will be a defense hearing, until May 10th.

 

Federal prosecutors have charged 22 members of the OFC on Friday April 22nd with several articles of Ethiopia’s infamous Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP). On the same day the court ordered the police to transfer all the 22 detainees from the notorious Ma’ekelawi, where they have been kept incommunicado for most of the last four months, to Qilinto, a prison cell south of the city’s outskirt under the administration of the Addis Abeba Prison Authority.

 

Following their transfer on Friday, however, news emerged that four of the 22: Bekele Gerba , first secretary general of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), OFC members Adisu Bulala, Gurmesa Ayano and Dejene Tafa, have disappeared after refusing to take “unknown pills” administered to them by prison authorities upon their arrival in Qilinto.

 

This morning, Bekele Gerba told the court that the four of them were “kept in an isolated, dark room for the last four days for refusing to take pills which we didn’t know about.”  Bekele also told the court they have been denied access to their family members and legal counsel. He then requested the court to arrange for public hearing as per their constitutional rights so that “journalists and family members can attend court hearings.” Dejene Tafa on his part said that he now fears for his safety and the safety of the 21 co-defendants.

 

All the 22 were arrested in connection with the recent #OromoProtestes that gripped the nation for the last five months. Unconfirmed reports put the number of people killed during the five month protests to more than 400, a figure the government disputes.

This morning a further 16 individuals, all from the Oromia regional state, and were detained at Ma’ekelawi were also brought to the same court. The court adjourned the hearing until this afternoon. It is expected that like the 22, the 16, under the file name of Tesema Regasa, will be charged with the ATP. According to lawyer Wondimu Ebbissa, who is representing the 22 defendants, so far 83 defendants, including Bekele Gerba et al, are held in Qilinto and a further 97 are believed to be either at Ma’ekelawi or the Addis Abeba police prison facility near Ma’ekelawi.

 

Among the charges the prosecutors have brought on defendants include statements that the defendants have participated in the recent #OromoProtests against the implementation of the Addis Abeba Master Plan, the immediate cause for the widespread protests within the Oromia regional states, the largest of the nine regional states that constitute Ethiopia.

However, a month after protests have erupted, in a rare gesture of concession to public demand, both the federal government and the Oromia regional state have said they withdrew the plan, something the federal prosecutors seem to negate with some part of their charges that indicted defendants for participating in the protest.

In Ethiopia, a Mix of Regulations and Repression Silence Independent Voices January 30, 2016

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Odaa OromooEthiopia's scores in freedom in the world 2016, freedom House World Report, January 2016.
Journalist Fikadu Mirkana, Oromia TV and Radio

Two of the Zone 9 Bloggers at Irreecha in bishooftu, after their release from jail

(Resurgent Dictatorship) — After a tense year marked by widely-criticized elections in which Ethiopia’s ruling party won 100 percent of parliamentary seats, 2015 concluded with yet more repression in the East African nation. During the last weeks of December, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported the arrests of two journalists, while five Zone 9 bloggers who had been acquitted of terrorism charges in October were summoned back to court as state prosecutors appealed their earlier acquittal.

These detentions occurred amid widespread protests in Oromia state, Ethiopia’s largest region. Human Rights Watch reported that since the protests began in mid-November 2015, police and security forces had killed 140 protesters and wounded many others, while hundreds of demonstrators and activists have been jailed; Ethiopian government officials have only publicly acknowledged five deaths.

The trigger for this recent crisis was the Integrated Regional Development Plan for Addis Ababa. Commonly known as “The Addis Ababa Master Plan,” its implementation would have expanded the capital city into parts of the neighboring Oromia region, potentially displacing a large number of local farmers, threatening their constitutionally-protected right to livelihood, and eroding local authority. One Ethiopia analyst, Tsegaye R. Ararssa, noted that the Master Plan violated Articles 39 and 105(2) of Ethiopia’s Constitution, which authorize alterations to state boundaries only by a referendum of self-determination or a constitutional amendment. Although the government recently decided to scrap the Master Plan, the decision was made primarily to silence the protests and falls short of addressing the protestors’ underlying concerns about the lack of good governance, access to information, and freedom of expression in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian government prides itself on having one of the world’s fastest growing economies (the International Monetary Fund ranks the country among the top five globally). But the authorities often promote growth at the expense of citizens’ basic human rights, and many citizens feel that they have not benefitted from the country’s economic growth. The United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index ranks Ethiopia 174 out of 187 countries, and despite the government’s growth plans, 29 percent of Ethiopia’s population lives below its national poverty line.

The recent Oromia protests are a clear indication of what happens when the population feels that development is being imposed. If the government genuinely believes in inclusive economic growth, its plans would benefit from better communication with the people. Instead, the authorities have closed most venues for two-way communication and use state media to control media narratives and disseminate propaganda about their development plans.

In my January 2016 Journal of Democracy article, I describe how Ethiopia’s authorities have used legal and economic methods to suppress civil society and independent media. Ethiopia’s criminal code and press law, which have long been highly restrictive, have tightened significantly in the years since Ethiopia’s 2005 general elections, when mass protests erupted over vote-rigging allegations. Media repression became even more organized and systematic in 2009 after Ethiopia adopted the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP). Ostensibly intended to counter security threats, since its adoption the ATP has only ever been used to bring charges against political activists and members of independent media.

The Civil Society Proclamation (CSP), adopted in 2009 around the same time as the ATP, has also curtailed the efforts of most human rights organizations. Restrictions on foreign funding and regulations which limit how much a civil society organization (CSO) can dedicate toward its administrative and operations costs make it extremely difficult for CSOs to survive. According to onestudy, the number of federally-registered local and international CSOs in Ethiopia dropped by 45 percent (from 3,800 to 2,059) between 2009 and 2011. Ethiopia’s Charities and Societies Agency (CSA) claimed in 2014 that 3,174 CSOs were registered in Ethiopia, but a 2014 study by the joint European Union’s Civil Society Fund (EU-CSF II) found that of the total number of CSOs registered by Ethiopia’s Civil Society Agency, only 870 were actually operational. USAID’s 2014 CSO Sustainability Index for Sub-Saharan Africa noted that the impact of CSOs in Ethiopia is limited by national policies, funding restrictions, and a lack of government interest.

As a result of policies like these, platforms which normally serve to facilitate communication and feedback between government and citizens, such as media and civil society organizations, have been silenced by heavy government censorship and the criminalization of dissent. The lack of accountable communication channels makes the population feel alienated from the government, and the only remaining avenue for the public to express its concerns—peaceful demonstration—typically results in a harsh crackdown, as the last few months have shown.  In December, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn appeared on state television to defend the government’s use of physical repression against Oromia protestors, saying the government will take “merciless legitimate action against any force bent on destabilizing the area.”

These remarks betray the authorities’ insecurity. The increased intensity of repression against independent media, associations, and civil society organizations reflect a government that feels threatened by independent voices. Like most authoritarian regimes, Ethiopia’s government worries that the more informed and connected the people are, the more empowered they will be to hold the government to account. In other words, Ethiopia’s attempt to gag the media and choke civil society is not a sign of the government’s strength, but rather of its weakness.

Simegnish “Lily” Mengesha is a visiting fellow and former Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies. A seasoned journalist, media consultant, and translator, she previously served as director of the Ethiopian Environment Journalists Association.

The views expressed in this post represent the opinions and analysis of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for Democracy or its staff.

http://www.resurgentdictatorship.org/in-ethiopia-a-mix-of-regulations-and-repression-silence-independent-voices/

http://www.ned.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/JoD-Jan-2016-Ethiopia-Silencing-Dissent-Mengesha.pdf

 

JoD-Jan-2016-Ethiopia-Silencing-Dissent-Mengesha

Torture: a word commonly associated with Oromo political prisoners August 18, 2015

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???????????Stop Tortureb9267-kalitti-273x300

A word commonly associated with Ethiopian political prisoners, alias prisoners of conscience. The feeling is so different when you hear a personal account from the very person tortured in Makelawi. An Oromo gentleman tells me his bad experience in that torturing gulag of Ethiopia. He was imprisoned in 2004 on opposing the shift of the Capital City of Oromia from Shager/Addis to Adama. He was 20 years old and a second year of student at Addis Ababa University. In protest to the decision to change the Capital city, thousands of university and high school students demonstrated. In the process, more than 300 students were illegally—merely for political reasons–dismissed from the University. While they were detained at Kolfe Police Training Center for two days, they heard about their dismissal from their university studies from ETV news.

This gentleman remembers how federal police make them walk on their elbows and knees on crooked stone roads. After he was released, it was the Mecha and Tulema Association which rented rooms for the students who had nowhere else to go once they were dismissed from their university campuses. He was residing there for a while until he was rearrested and subsequently taken away to Makelawi. Prior to the re-arrest, while following the university administration’s decision over their case (as they had petitioned for a review of the decision!), he had in the meantime also gone to Ambo to help his relatives with work, intending also to make some money before going back to Addis. At that same time, there was turmoil in Ambo. People were opposing the government. His job in Ambo was to take and bring back his uncle’s children to and from school.

In Ambo, he remembered two high school boys, Jagama Bedane and Kebede Bedasa, shot and killed by a sniper. These students were known for taking active part in leading and organizing the opposition of the Ambo high school students. He told me, when they were killed selectively, they were on normal activity. They were not taking part in any mass protest. They were killed days after the mass protest. And at the time, the school was closed.

Hearing personal stories such as this, apart from learning about the injustice young people of my own generation live with, reminds me of the well-known story of Assefa Maru and the student leaders of the 1960s, who were deliberately aimed at to be killed on the street.

This young man was followed by securities that day. He was informed by an insider, someone who is also a member of the OPDO, that he would be shot by the sniper like the other two on that same day. But thankfully, he was going to the kindergarten to collect the children. But later in the day, the Ambo police called him for ‘interrogation’. And he was forced to spend the night in prison. Because of the insistence of his uncle, they convinced the police to release him the next day after which he immediately left for Addis. That evening, the federal police took him to Makelawi. The charge was that he organized people to initiate a conflict in his village when he was visiting his family. The usual…

In Maekelawi, he told me, there are three type of prison cells: Chelema, Tawila, and Sheraton. Prisoners that are just transferred from other prisons are often sent to Chelema cells. Chellema prison is a house that has smaller cells within. He doesn’t know the exact number of these cells. The cell has the size of a man which is not possible to sit in. He knows there are cells that fit merely the size of one man and those that fit the size of two. He was in both dark cells chained and standing for a 24 hours cycle. He was sharing two people size cell with a man named Guta. He doesn’t know what Guta looks like or who is he. The Chellema prison cellmates usually don’t share information about each other. This is because, they are afraid the cellmate might misinform during the torture interrogation or the cellmate might be a spy assigned by the inspectors. All that time in the dark they chose not to communicate, only sharing their name. He is allowed to go to the toilet only once in 24 hours. Throughout the day, but especially during the nights, he hears the wailing and screaming of other prisoners who cry in agony under the severity of the tortures. The agony is often expressed in Afaan Oromo. He was also taken to other rooms to be beaten every now and then.

In Maikelawi, his first prison was the Tawula room. Where he was summoned for interrogation that involves kicking and insults targeted to break the spirit. He told me, their beating in the middle of the interrogation is not intended to get what they want to hear, it’s simply targeted to hurt. His torturer, named Alemayehu, kicked him on the genitals for no reason. He also told me how Monie Mengesha kicked him on the sheen and left him unconscious. When he wakes up, he found out that he had made his pants wet with urine. Such an interview was conducted after standing for so long hours in the dark room and going back and forth in the cell. And when he feels about to sleep taking him back to the torture room. He told me, he was forced to watch a man of his hands and ankles tied together and hanged on a rod and kicked by different instruments every part of him specially the inside foot ( the style of hanging a sheep).

While they were doing that, the man named Nasser Abdo, hoisted like a sheep and kicked, was having a fluid coming out of his mouth. There was a prison director that was watching when Nasser Abdo was tortured. His name is Taddesse, now he is working as a national bank security and logistic director. There is another torturer named Reta, but his assigned investigator is Alemayehu. He told me, other than the known torturers, there were night time torturers that he couldn’t see their face. This same person Alemayehu was also his prosecutor in the court.

Nasser passed away a week after he was released from prison. The gentleman that I’m telling the story of was sharing a room in Sheraton with Nasser and others. He told me Nasser Abdo’s stamina was so strong. Nasser, whenever he got the time, he was keeping himself busy in studying for high school exam preparation hoping that when he gets released, he will finish his studies, which were interrupted by the arrest. He said when I think of it, this man knows the people that were torturing him, weren’t a human being to think and value what they said at all. At the time, Nasser was encouraging this gentleman not to be affected by the insult they foist upon him, though he couldn’t controls the physical damage the torturer caused. I’m just wondering how many people like Nasser Abdo was keeping their integrity and political stand in that dark suffering cell till the last day and not known by so many including people that share the same belief.

There were also old people that are also a victim of torture and still keep strong in terms of morale. Regarding this he especially remembers a man called Obbo Legese Deti. Obbo Legese Deti now lives in the US. The young man remembers Obbo Legese. On some mornings, he saw Obbo Legese chained, sitting outside in morning sun. This man knows someone in the Tawula room is looking at him from inside via small cracks, so the old man passes a strength and unity sign by making a two hand fist while in chain. He said, while I was in that Tawula room knowing I was noticed by another person gave me strength. He met Oromo individuals from different professions and backgrounds in Maikalawi. Shiferaw Ensamo and Dhabessa Wakjira (now in Australia) were journalists he met there. I wonder if anyone knows where journalist Shiferaw Ensamo is currently. I wonder if he is still in prison or has been released since.

When I asked him in general what he feels now, he said he is tired. And doesn’t care that much about things around him.

Friends, very capable and influential Oromo individuals are in Ethiopian prison! All our LOVE and RESPECT are extended to them. We know they are fighting for each of us and we stand in solidarity with them. Please share what you know about these heroes and heroines still alive or have paid for their cause by giving the ultimate. We thank so much, the gentleman who has shared his story with us!

Read more at:-

http://advocacy4oromia.org/witnesses/torture-a-word-commonly-associated-with-oromo-political-prisoners/

Africa: Obama’s Visit To Ethiopia Sparks Controversy, Concerns Nigeria Was Snubbed July 2, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Corruption in Africa, Free development vs authoritarian model.
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President of the United States Barack Obama

Activists and some media organizations have expressed concern that President of the United States, Barack Obama, will visit Ethiopia but not Nigeria during his Africa trip next month. Many have pointed out that Nigeria just experienced an historic democratic transfer of power while Ethiopia has a deplorable human rights record.

In addition to the recent democratic transfer of power Nigeria plays a crucial role in African security and is the US’s largest trading partner on the continent. The US also announced a 5 million dollar commitment to Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.

According to Nii Akuetteh, an independent Africa analyst, who spoke with SaharaReporters, people should not see President Obama’s decision as “a huge slap in the face to Nigeria.”

Mr. Akuetteh said that “planning a presidential trip abroad is extremely cumbersome” and “one month is too short notice to prep a major trip like this.” He also said that “many in Washington DC would not admit it but they are happy that [former President] Jonathan is no longer in power” and that Obama would not have planned for a trip to Nigeria if he was in power.

President Obama plans to visit Kenya, the country of his father’s birth, for a global entrepreneurship summit before flying to Ethiopia. It should also be noted that Kenya has an abysmal human rights record, with police death squads and ethnic discrimination against Somali communities routine.

Mr. Akuetteh stated that “as an activist I am not happy when the United States supports dictators or that President Obama is visiting the Ethiopian regime” however “my reading of the trip is that President Obama is going to meet with African Union leaders, which happens to be located in Addis Ababa.”

The White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, said something similar that Obama “will build on the success of the August 2014 U.S. – Africa Leaders Summit by strengthening ties with our African partners and highlighting America’s longstanding commitment to investing in Africa.”

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, will visit President Obama in mid-July during his first official visit as President to the United States. It is expected that President Obama and President Buhari will discuss security, terrorism, and trade between the two countries.

http://saharareporters.com/2015/07/01/obama%E2%80%99s-visit-ethiopia-sparks-controversy-concerns-nigeria-was-snubbed

Africa: Of the AU’s Itchy Bottom and Smelly Fingers November 3, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Ethnic Cleansing, Free development vs authoritarian model, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Groups at risk of arbitrary arrest in Oromia: Amnesty International Report, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Jen & Josh (Ijoollee Amboo), The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Mass Massacre & Imprisonment of ORA Orphans.
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???????????Land grab inOromiaBecause I am Oromo

Africa: Of the AU’s Itchy Bottom and Smelly Fingers

OPINION

http://allafrica.com/stories/201411020126.html?

Listen to this African Union – if you go to bed with dogs then you will wake up with flies!

Africans revere wise-saying and proverbs. I am African and the AU is as African as it can get. So, surely the regional body must listen up when I introduce my ranting with yet another popular saying – He who goes to bed with an itchy bottom wakes up with smelly fingers.

Does the AU have smelly fingers?

Yes! I will tell you why.

The majestic African Union, formerly the Organisation of African Unity has been sitting in the bosom of the tyrant, quietly hiding its shame from the world as one of its very own perfects the art of torture and repression.

The AU sits in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It glows and gloats about being the regional master for a liberal and fairly democratic Africa while its host, the Ethiopian regime has thrived over decades stifling descent and beating to a pulp the people of Oromia region.

The Oromo from Ethiopia’s Oromia region are a sad story of cruelty and gross human rights violations that has persisted unabated for years.

There is no sugar-coating the testimonies of brutality that flow from generations of Oromo descent.

As you read this, you may need to quickly grab a copy of a report that has just been released by Amnesty International on the plight of the Oromo of Oromia region in Ethiopia.

The report Because I am Oromo is a summary of human ruthlessness at its worst. It reads like a rendition from the slavery years when Africa was wilting under the colonialism invasion, only that this time, the perpetrator is African.

It is a scenario that is all too familiar with the region. A regime in power aspires to stay in power and clamps down on any voice of dissent especially from within. If the dissenter is a community, then woe unto them because the regime will victimise the community from generation to generation and make it a crime to be born in such.

And to imagine that this is something that the African Union is aware of and has been aware of ever since and yet still persists is sacrilegious to say the least.

Because I am Oromo is a painful walk into the reality of the sufferings of one of the biggest ethnic communities in Ethiopia for the mere reason of dissenting with the government.

This reality is beyond comprehension because sadly, torture to the Oromo almost comes as second nature, thanks to an oppressive regime.

“We interviewed former detainees with missing fingers, ears and teeth, damaged eyes and scars on every part of their body due to beating, burning and stabbing – all of which they said were the result of torture,” said Claire Beston of Amnesty International.

Claire was referring to the myriads of real-life testimonies given to the researchers on condition of anonymity.

In Oromia it seems, almost every house-hold of the Oromo has experienced the wrath of torture and police brutality.

In the streets and in the village squares in the Oromia region sits the shadows of men and women who have been physically brutalised and maimed while emotionally and psychologically scarred for life in the hands of Ethiopian security forces.

When I speak of torture, I speak of state-sanctioned gang rapes to both men and women, electrical shocks, water-barding, thorough beatings, detentions without trial, forced disappearances and arbitrary killings that continue with shocking impunity. And this list is not exhaustive of the actual violations as detailed in the report.

The profiles of brutality are vast in Because I am Oromo. Infact, Amnesty International says they spoke to more than 240 victims of this brutality in a period of one year.

It is these heart-wrenching testimonies and the impunity of how the violation is meted that leaves a real bad taste in my mouth when I think of the AU sitting pretty in its headquarters in Addis Ababa as if absolutely nothing wrong is going on in its backyard.

The truth is that the people of Oromia region have been under siege for almost three decades now. The OAU knew this and the AU knows it too for they are one and the same, right?

So when the AU focusses the world’s attention to the many wonderful things that the continent seems to be getting right and totally ignores the situation of the Oromo people its pretence stinks to the high moon of repression.

Somebody please tell the AU that with every sip of Ethiopian coffee they take from their air-conditioned Chinese-built headquarters, the blood of the Oromos is spilling on the floor under their feet, enlivened by the silence they have mastered over the atrocities committed by the Ethiopia government against the Oromo community.

Somebody tell the AU that its emblem and its flag, and its national anthem means absolutely nothing to the children of the continent for as long as the children of Oromia weep at the graves of their executed fathers and quiver at the feet of their physically tortured and traumatised mothers.

Somebody tell the AU, that the Clarion call – ” Oh sons and daughters of Africa, flesh of the sky and flesh of the sun, let us make Africa the tree of life” is utterly nonsensical if it does not flinch as the sons and daughters of Oromia are crushed under the whims of repression.

Somebody, please remind the AU that Africa’s children do not give up on liberty struggles. They, as member states, never gave up on the colonial liberation struggles so why do they imagine that the people of Oromia are any different?

Like I have said, there is blood on the floor of the AU as Africa’s leaders meet to deliberate and panel beat the continent to shape and as they do it sleeping on the bed of the hospitality of the Ethiopian government, they know that they sleep with an itch in their bottoms which they cannot ignore for they will surely wake up with smelly fingers!

Read more @ http://allafrica.com/stories/201411020126.html?fb_action_ids=10202895379612299%2C868268729858897&fb_action_types=og.shares

 

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/amnesty-internationals-report-because-i-am-oromo-a-sweeping-repression-in-oromia/