Daily Archives: August 21, 2016
(Advocacy4Oromia) With the eyes of the world upon him, Oromo marathoner Feyisa Lilesa used the stage of Sunday’s Olympic marathon to daringly protest his own government back home.
As he neared the finish line and a silver medal, Lilesa raised his arms to form an “X.” The gesture is a peaceful protest made by the Oromo people, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and one that is facing a brutal response to widespread protests that began late last year.
Human Rights Watch estimated in June that 400 people have been killed and thousands more injured as the government attempted to stop the estimated 500 protests that the Oromo people staged to draw attention to systemic persecution by the government.
Lilesa is from Oromia, which is home to a large majority of the country’s 35 million Oromo. He didn’t back down from the protest after the race either, flashing the sign for cameras at a press conference and pledging to do it again during Sunday night’s closing ceremony.
Rule 50 of the Olympic charter bans political displays or protests, and the American duo of Tommie Smith and John Carlos was famously suspended by the USOC after the pair flashed the black power salute on the medal stand at the 1968 Summer Games.
Lilesa, however, has bigger things to worry about than the IOC response as such dissent puts his life in real danger if he returns to Ethiopia. He told reporters afterward that he would seek a visa to stay in Brazil or possibly come to the United States. He also said that his wife and two children are still back in Ethiopia.
Nobody has right to tell us about peace because we Oromo people are nation of peace, nation of democratic rule, nation of justice and equality. We are always against all injustices and we are ready to defend all kinds of violations.Nobody has right to tell us about generosity, because we are nation of love. We have helped and supporting innocent nations of Amhara’s, tiger’s when they come to our country to collect coffee or to work in the agriculture sector, we have treating them when they were sick, we have respected them as equal human being despite their social status, we are loving them us our families not as strangers.
Nobody has right to tell us about patriotism because we have nation of heroes, for century long there is no Ethiopian colonial rule survive without the patriotic act of Oromo sons and daughters. But our price was humiliation and death “when it comes to power and money Oromo’s are the last to touch the desk and when it comes to the human-right and equality Oromo’s are the first to be victim of the system”.
Now, when we say it is enough and it is time to build my country Oromia and regain my right as human being, individuals or groups with colonial system and mind have to setback and respect the demand of oppressed nations. Refusing this fact and try to create all kinds of analysis, tactics and strategies will leads the Ethiopian Empire, horn of Africa and world in general to the hell of 21st century.
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Date: 19 August 2016
Given the extremely alarming reports that emerged earlier this month about serious human rights violations in the Oromia and Amhara regions of Ethiopia, the High Commissioner reached out to the Ethiopian Government, seeking access for independent observers to the country to assess the human rights situation. We have now received a reply from the Government, indicating that they will launch an independent investigation into the events.
We welcome the decision to launch an independent investigation, and we urge the Government to ensure that the investigation has a mandate to cover allegations of human rights violations since the unrest in Oromia began in November 2015, that it is indeed independent, transparent, thorough and effective, with a view to establishing whether the use of excessive force occurred and with a view to bringing to justice the perpetrators of any human rights violations.
We stand ready to assist in ensuring that the investigation is undertaken in line with international human rights standards. We also reiterate our request for access to the affected areas, as the situation on the ground makes it very challenging for independent civil society actors to operate, particularly given the tense situation in parts of the Oromia and Amhara regions, where a large security presence has reportedly been deployed, and there are reports of ongoing arbitrary arrests, intimidation and harassment of people in the regions.
We call on the Government to ensure that the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression are protected and that those detained for exercising these rights are promptly released. Protests must be handled by security forces with full respect for international human rights laws and standards on the use of force.
We also call on the Government to work towards opening up the political and democratic space. This should include a comprehensive reform of the security sector, as well as legislative and institutional reforms.
We are very concerned about the continued, mounting constraints on the democratic space in Thailand, and call for a prompt return to civilian rule. Following the military coup in May 2014, severe restrictions on freedoms of expression and opinion and assembly have been in place through the use of criminal and military laws and orders. Leading up to this month’s Constitutional Referendum, these measures actually increased. Overall, at least 1,300 people have been summoned, arrested or charged, and 1,629 civilians have been tried before the military courts.
Since June, at least 115 people have been arrested or charged under military orders, criminal codes and the Constitution Referendum Act for expressing their opinion on the draft constitution or reporting human rights violations, including torture. Twelve individuals arrested in Chiang Mai Province in late July and a student activist who was arrested on 6 August remain in detention. The remaining have been released, but remain under investigation or have been charged.
We urge Thailand to immediately drop all charges against political activists and human rights defenders, and to release those jailed for voicing dissent on the draft charter in the run-up to the referendum. We also call on the authorities to suspend the use of military courts and military orders in cases involving civilians. These measures are now urgently needed as Thailand moves towards an election in 2017 aimed at restoring democracy, as proposed in the military government’s roadmap.
The election next year represents an opportunity for Thailand to meet the commitment it made at the UN Human Rights Council during its Universal Periodic Review in May 2016 to fully respect the freedom of expression, and therefore guarantee a more inclusive and participatory process that involves all political parties, civil society and the media in an open and non-threatening environment.
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