Oromia: Protest Crackdown Killed Hundreds; Detained Thousands-HRLHA
(Advocacy for Oromia, 7 August 2016) The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)* says the long Oromo nation’s protest against the TPLF/EPRDF- led dictatorial government, which has been going on for the past eight months, expanded its scope on August 6, 2016.
According to the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) press release over 190 Oromia cities and towns including the capital city of Addis Ababa participated in the grand rally of Oromo nation to present grievances and demand fundamental human rights.
In this region- wide August 6 protest , in which for the first time the residents of the capital city participated, over 70 Oromos were recklessly brutalized and beaten and over 800-1000 Oromos were taken to prison according to the HRLHA informants in Oromia Regional State.
During the eighth round of the protest on August 6, 2016 the most devastated zones of Oromia were Awaday and Haromaya in East Hararge, Asasa in West Arsi , Dodola and Robe in Bale, Ambo and Walso in West Showa,and Naqamte in East Walaga among others.
Since the protest started in November 2015, the government of Ethiopia has mercilessly killed over 670 Oromos and detained over 50,000. Among the dead, the majority are university and high school students, young children, pregnant women, and seniors. The killing squad Agazi force killed people not only on the streets, but in their homes during the night time by breaking down their doors. Many people were taken from their homes and arrested, then taken to police stations, military camps and concentration camps.
The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) and other human rights organizations have widely reported on the protests in Oromia in order to make the world community aware of the real scope of the protests.
However, the world communities have chosen to remain silent and a few government agencies have responded to the horrific human rights crisis in Oromia Regional State.
It was in such circumstances and with outcries from human rights organizations that Ethiopia was elected on June 28, 2016 to a UN Security Council member seat ” one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for the maintenance of International Peace”. The HRLHA expressed its disappointment at this election to the president of the UN General Assembly in its appeal on July 4, 2016 “ THE ETHIOPIAN GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT BE REWARDED FOR MASSACRING ITS PEOPLE”
From 2011 to the present, Ethiopia has been a member of the UN human rights councilwith the responsibility of protecting and promoting human rights globally.
Backgrounds of the Oromo grievances:
Since the TPLF/EPRDF government came to power in 1991, several documents have been created, including the 1995 Constitution. These documents, however, are designed only for show, to make the government look good to foreign eyes. Here is the truth:
From day one when the TPLF/EPRDF assumed power, the Tigrigna People Liberation Front (TPLF) members have focused on diminishing the political capability of the nations and nationalities of Ethiopia, groups that the government regards as its political opponents.
The TPLF created PDOs (Peoples’ Democratic Organizations) such as Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization (OPDO) and present them as the representatives of the people of Ethiopia.
The TPLF, which represents only 5-6% of the total population of Ethiopia, monopolized political and economic power, ignoring the rights of the other 95% of the Ethiopian population.
The OPDO has no power, but serve as messengers and translators for the TPLF to penetrate into Oromia.
TPLF- owned companies such as the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigrai (EFFORT) and Mesfin Engineering took all opportunities to control businesses in Oromia and other regions. This made the TPLF members, including the military commanders, millionaires while the area’s business community members were left powerless
The resources of Oromo, Gambela and Benshangule people have been exploited not only by the TPLF members, but also by TPLF partner foreign government. For example, for Hasen Guleid , the Djibouti president over 1000 hectares of Oromo land from Bale,Dodola has been granted for
Tens of thousands of hectares of Oromo, Gambela and Benshangule lands have been leased to foreign investors at cheap prices without consent and consultations with the land owners. Millions have been evicted from their livelihoods and became homeless, jobless and beggars.
- The UN Security Council member states- of which Ethiopia is one-should hold the Ethiopian government accountable for its arbitrary arrests, killings and tortures of Oromo’s peaceful protesters
- The UN Human Rights Council, of which Ethiopia is a member, should hold the Ethiopian government accountable for its arbitrary arrests, killings and tortures of Oromo’s peaceful protesters
- Both UN Councils, of which Ethiopia is a member, must ask Ethiopia to immediately allow a neutral body to enter Ethiopia and investigate the crimes against humanity that the Ethiopian Government is committing against Oromo
*The HRLHA is a non-political organisation that attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works to defend fundamental human rights, including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works to raise the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and those of others. It encourages respect for laws and due process. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.
HRLHA Press Release: UN – Councile, HRLHA – Urgent Action