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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing – December 1, 2016: Oromo Federal Congress chairman Dr. Merera Gudina has been detained by the Ethiopian Government. December 4, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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QUESTION: Back to Africa. The chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress opposition group in Ethiopia has been arrested. Gudina is well known, I think, in this building; has had meetings here and on Capitol Hill in the past; allegedly has met with or communicated with banned terrorist organizations.

MR TONER: Yep.

QUESTION: Any information on that?

MR TONER: Yeah, we do, actually. We’re obviously aware that, as you noted, Oromo Federal Congress chairman Dr. Merera Gudina has been detained by the Ethiopian Government. We’re concerned about this report. We strongly encourage the government to make public any charges it has brought against Dr. Merera. If true, this arrest is yet another example of increasing restrictions on independent voices in Ethiopia and, frankly, further reinforces our view that Ethiopia’s declared state of emergency is perhaps being used to silence dissent and deny the constitutionally protected rights of Ethiopia’s citizens. And that’s contrary, I would say, to the promises of political reform made by the Ethiopian Government when the state of emergency was announced, so we’re watching it very closely.


Related Article:-


U.S. Senator Cardin Statement on Arrest of Dr. Merera Gudina in Ethiopia

Senator calls for immediate release Oromo People’s Congress leader, opening up of political space in Ethiopia.

 

Friday, December 2, 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement Friday after Dr. Merera Gudina, leader of the Oromo People’s Congress and one of Ethiopia’s opposition leaders, was arrested earlier this week after returning home following his testimony to the European Union parliament on the current political crisis in the country:

“Dr. Gudina’s arrest appears to be based solely based on the fact that he is a member of the opposition who has spoken out publicly against the regime, and as such he should be immediately released.  He is not the only member of the opposition to be arrested for speaking out, and his detention signals a disturbing lack of commitment to the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Ethiopian constitution.

“The government’s crackdown on Oromo protesters over the past year have resulted in very troubling allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings by security forces with little in the way of meaningful accountability.

“The Ethiopian government should release all journalists, members of the opposition and civil society activists who have been detained, and take meaningful actions to open political space, starting with lifting current restrictions on social media.

“Ethiopia and the United states are close partners.  As such, I call upon the government to take actions which demonstrate that it is sincere about making political reforms toward an inclusive, truly representative government.”

Background:

Senator Cardin introduced a bipartisan Senate resolution in April that condemns government crackdowns on and violence against civil society, opposition leaders and the media, as well as asks the Secretary of State to conduct a review of U.S. security assistance to Ethiopia.


 

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Press Statement: The United States is deeply concerned by the Government of Ethiopia April 30, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, Oromia.
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Press Statement

John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
April 29, 2016

The United States is deeply concerned by the Government of Ethiopia’s recent decision to file terrorism charges against Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) First Vice-Chairman Bekele Gerba and others in the Oromia region who were arrested in late 2015.

We again urge the Ethiopian government to discontinue its reliance on the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation law to prosecute journalists, political party members, and activists, as this practice silences independent voices that enhance, rather than hinder, Ethiopia’s democratic development.

We commend Ethiopian officials for pledging to address legitimate grievances from their citizens and acknowledging that security forces were responsible for some of the violence that took place during the protests in Oromia; however, the government continues to detain an unknown number of people for allegedly taking part in these protests and has not yet held accountable any security forces responsible for alleged abuses. This undermines the trust and confidence needed to produce lasting solutions.

We urge the Ethiopian government to respect due process of those detained by investigating allegations of mistreatment, by publicly presenting the evidence it possesses against them, and by distinguishing between political opposition to the government and the use or incitement of violence. We reaffirm our call on the government to protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of its citizens, including the right to participate in political parties, and we urge the Government to promptly release those imprisoned for exercising these rights.


http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/04/256745.htm