UNESCO: Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity – 2016
Description: Gada is a traditional system of governance of the Oromo people in Ethiopia developed from knowledge gained over generations. It regulates political, economic, social and religious activity serving as a mechanism for enforcing moral conduct, building community cohesion, and expressing culture. Gada is organized into five classes taught by oral historians, with each having to progress through a series of grades before it can take the leadership. Men, whose fathers are members, participate. Transmission occurs within families and at school.
(Oromedia, December 1, 2016)-The Gada system, the indigenous democratic socio-political system of the Oromo people, has been inscribed on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Its inscription was announced on November 30, 2016 at the 11th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which has been underway in Finfinnee,Oromia since last Monday.
The Gada system is a political, economic and social system with a long history with which the people of Oromo have been governing themselves in a democratic way.
This comprehensive system reflects the ways of living of the people and it has ensured the values and principles such as equality of mankind.
It incorporates the values and principles towards which the whole world has been striving such as: the respecting of the rights of women and children, conservation of environment, peaceful conflict resolution, mutual assistance, and the provision of asylum to seekers.
The values and principles which the people of Oromo have been putting into practice have contributed significantly to the efforts of ensuring unity and solidarity of the people.
Moreover, the system has played great role in enabling the flourishing of the language and culture of the Oromo people for so long to the present.
(Advocacy4Oromia, 1 December 2016) UNESCO has inscribed Gadaa System as Intangible World Heritage on 30th of November 2016 at its eleventh session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Finfinne, Oromia.
Gada system, an indigenous democratic socio-political system of the Oromo inscribed in 2016 (11.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee held its 11th session at ECA in the capital Finfinne.
Gada is a traditional system of governance used by the Oromo people in Ethiopia developed from knowledge gained by community experience over generations.
The system regulates political, economic, social and religious activities of the community dealing with issues such as conflict resolution, reparation and protecting women’s rights.
It serves as a mechanism for enforcing moral conduct, building social cohesion, and expressing forms of community culture. Gada is organized into five classes with one of these functioning as the ruling class consisting of a chairperson, officials and an assembly.
Each class progresses through a series of grades before it can function in authority with the leadership changing on a rotational basis every eight years. Class membership is open to men, whose fathers are already members, while women are consulted for decision-making on protecting women’s rights.
The classes are taught by oral historians covering history, laws, rituals, time reckoning, cosmology, myths, rules of conduct, and the function of the Gada system.
Meetings and ceremonies take place under a sycamore tree (considered the Gada symbol) while major clans have established Gada centres and ceremonial spaces according to territory.
Knowledge about the Gada system is transmitted to children in the home and at school.
(Advocacy4Oromia, 22nd of November 2016)– Australian MP Andrew Wilkie addresses the parliament speaking about the plight of Oromo people.
“On Tuesday 15th of November 2016, We the Australian Oromo Community of Tasmania invited our independent MP Honourable Andrew Wilkie & expressed the shocking truth of human rights abuse, massacre and mass incarceration & today he is standing in Solidarity with the Oromo people in the parliament of Australia we deeply appreciate for becoming avoic for the voiceless”
The new languages will be Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Gujarati, Igbo, Korean, Marathi, Pidgin, Punjabi, Telugu, Tigrinya, and Yoruba.
The first new services are expected to launch in 2017.
“This is a historic day for the BBC, as we announce the biggest expansion of the World Service since the 1940s,” said BBC director general Tony Hall.
“The BBC World Service is a jewel in the crown – for the BBC and for Britain.
“As we move towards our centenary, my vision is of a confident, outward-looking BBC which brings the best of our independent, impartial journalism and world-class entertainment to half a billion people around the world.
“Today is a key step towards that aim.”
‘Relevant as ever’
The plans include the expansion of digital services to offer more mobile and video content and a greater social media presence.
On Wednesday the BBC launches a full digital service in Thai, following the success of a Facebook-only “pop-up” service launched in 2014.
Other expansion plans include:
extended news bulletins in Russian, with regionalised versions for surrounding countries
enhanced television services across Africa, including more then 30 new TV programmes for partner broadcasters across sub-Saharan Africa
new regional programming from BBC Arabic
short-wave and medium-wave radio programmes aimed at audiences in the Korean peninsula, plus online and social media content
investment in World Service English, with new programmes, more original journalism, and a broader agenda
Fran Unsworth, the BBC’s World Service director, said: “Through war, revolution and global change, people around the world have relied on the World Service for independent, trusted, impartial news.
“As an independent broadcaster, we remain as relevant as ever in the 21st Century, when in many places there is not more free expression, but less.
“Today’s announcement is about transforming the World Service by investing for the future.
“We must follow our audience, who consume the news in changing ways; an increasing number of people are watching the World Service on TV, and many services are now digital-only.
“We will be able to speed up our digital transformation, especially for younger audiences, and we will continue to invest in video news bulletins.
“What will not change is our commitment to independent, impartial journalism.”
The new language services mean the BBC World Service will be available in 40 languages, including English.
Lord Hall has set a target for the BBC to reach 500 million people worldwide by its centenary in 2022.
(Advocacy4Oromia, 16 Novemebr 2016) Oromo journalist, Abdi Gada, went missing in Adama, Oromia since Nov 9, 2016.
According to our sources, the employee of OBS-Oromia Broadcast Service Television, Abdi Gada missed in Adama and his whereabouts is not known yet.
His family, friends and colleagues have been looking for him in all areas of detainees and prisoners including Ma’ikelawi, and Zeway (Batu).
Many of his family, friends and colleagues believe that Journalist Abdi Gada was kidnapped by Ethiopian security forces because thousands of Oromo people are missing and have been arrested in Ethiopia.
Journalist Abdi Gada was one among 20 Oromo (Ethiopian) journalists who were dismissed from the Oromia regional state owned media, Oromia Radio and Television Organization in 2014, in a single day.
More arrest and restrictions
On Nov. 11/2016 the security member of the command post established to oversee Ethiopia’s six-month State of Emergency have this morning re-arrested human rights activist and blogger Befeqadu Hailu.
According to information, two security officers who have identified themselves as members of the command post have taken Befeqadu around 6:00 AM this morning. He is now detained at a police station known as 06 here in the capital Addis Abeba.
Ethiopia’s six-month State of Emergency said last week that 11, 607 were detained in the wake of nationwide anti-government protests.
The Ethiopian government has also increased its efforts to restrict media freedom – already dire in Ethiopia – and block access to information in Oromia. In March, the government began restricting access to social media sites in the region, apparently because Facebook and other social media platforms have been key avenues for the dissemination of information.
State security forces in Ethiopia have used excessive and lethal force against largely peaceful protests that have swept through Oromia, the country’s largest region, since November 2015.
Ethiopian authorities have arrested over 11,000 people since Addis Ababa declared a state of emergency in early October following violent protests.
Taddesse Hordofa, the chairman of the State of Emergency Inquiry Board
“Some 11,607 individuals have so far been detained in six prisons, of which 347 are female, in connection with the state of emergency declared in the country,” said Taddesse Hordofa, the chairman of the State of Emergency Inquiry Board, in a statement broadcast by the EBC television on Saturday.
Ethiopia has been the scene of political crisis with numerous outbreaks of violence over the past year. Addis Ababa has been engaged in a bloody crackdown on anti-government demonstrations since last year.
The protests were triggered by a government plan to expand the municipal boundaries of the capital city into the central region of Oromia, a move that could result in farmers from the Oromo ethnic group being displaced and losing their land and property.
Oromia, with at least 27 million people, is the largest ethnic group and the most populous of the East African country’s federal states, surrounding the capital Addis Ababa on all sides. The demonstrations, however, were limited to Oromia and spilled into Amhara region, with at least 35 million people, in the north.
According to an August report by Human Rights Watch, over 500 people have been killed by security forces since November last year.
At least 55 people were also reportedly killed after clashes between protesters and police turned into a stampede in the town of Bishoftu in Oromia on October 2.
In a bid to curb the unrest, the current government, which has been in power for 25 years, declared on October 9 a six-month state of emergency, first of its kind, “because the situation posed a threat against the people of the country.”
In the Saturday statement, Hordofa also read a long list of alleged offenses committed by the arrested people, ranging from major crimes such as “attacking security forces using firearms” or “killing civilians and members of security forces” to the much more mundane “denying provision of public services” and “disrupting movement of vehicles.”
The announced figure of the detained protesters shows a huge rise in the 2,500 arrests announced by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in late October.
The Ethiopian security forces continued their unparalleled genocidal crimes of torturing, raping and killings, largely hidden from the eyes and ears of the international observers, embassies and the media. Records show that over two thousand Oromo civilians (students, farmers, teachers, civil servants, elders, leaders and members of the Oromo opposition party) were killed in the last one year from live bullets of the Ethiopian security forces. Witnesses out of Oromia show exceptional heinous crimes of killing that includes children from age 1 to the old men to the age of 80, pregnant women and mothers, a mother killed with her two sons, three siblings from the same parent. There are evidences of mothers and siblings ordered to sit on the dead body of their loved ones after being killed by the security forces. Wives and daughters were gang raped in front their husbands, loved ones and parents. Moreover, every independent Oromo person is routinely subjected to harassment, extrajudicial killings, imprisonment, rape and torture. Several thousands were wounded from live bullets and estimated over 50,000 were arrested in different detention camps in remote areas labeled as “terrorists” without convictions and/or rare trials.
The TPLF/EPRDF is still acting with impunity despite continued call for investigation into the genocidal crimes it commit by the renowned international human rights organizations, the UN Human Rights Council, African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights in the last several months. The western governments such as US, UK, Canada, Australia and others issued the statements of concern and travel warnings which may not be enough to curb the looming dangerous situation. The Ethiopian government had been major recipient of direct investment and economic aid earnings mainly from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), the US, UK and the EU used to further human sufferings. Western governments are requested to sanction, use their diplomatic leverage to pressure the Ethiopian government to allow an independent UN and African Commission investigations over the massacres, completely halt the state of emergency and remove command posts from the villages, unconditional release of Oromo politicians and civilians from detention camps. Furthermore, the perpetuators of the massacres must be brought before international tribune to curb the genocide in the making in Oromia.
The current situation in Ethiopia in general and in Oromia in particular is at an alarming stage. Unless intervened promptly, Ethiopia as a state will collapse and the human right crisis will be out of control. This will also have a chilling impact for the horn of Africa as a whole.
Noticing the impending crisis, Her Excellency, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Chairwoman of the African Union Commission, has recently called upon the Ethiopian government to engage in a serious dialogue with the protesters (http://www.au.int/en/pressreleases/31333/au-calls- restraint-encourages-dialogue- followingprotests-ethiopia). Unfortunately, I do not expect a different response from the Ethiopian government than what their response was to the UNHRC. It is, therefore, for this reason that I ask the UN, as a responsible international body, to promptly intervene to save lives in Ethiopia.
It is our strong belief that beyond creating further confusion among the Oromo people, the Atlanta convention will do little to help address the problem facing Oromia and millions of the Oromo people. A novel and timely effort would have been to work on mobilizing resources in support of our people who are doing the real fighting on the ground.
With or without convention, there is no doubt that the gallant Oromo people will defeat the ruthless enemy and free themselves from a century old yoke of subjugation and exploitation.One needs to remember, however, that history will never forget and forgive. It is not too late for all of us to do the right thing and rewrite our personal history.
Advocacy for Oromia was established in 2010 with the purpose of enabling and empowering Oromo people by providing accurate and timely information that will help to make better choices to create the kind of future in which they wish to live.
It also provides information focus on the major issues facing us in the 21st century and it is going to try and bring a balanced approach with factual information that is positive and solution based.
The website has been in operation for the last seven years with the mission of promoting and advancing causes of Oromo people through advocacy, community education, orientation and information, cultural performances, awareness raising and promotion.
The website is also the official site of Advocacy for Oromia Association in Victoria Australia Inc., a non-profit organisation, registered under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 in Victoria as April 2014.
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FGM Education Program
The FGM Education Program is a community based reproductive health programme set up in response to the rising number of FGM women settling in Victoria from Oromia, East Africa that practice FGM.
Advocacy for Oromia Mental Health Program
The aim of the program is to improving the mental health and well-being of Oromo community in Victoria. It aims to assist those experiencing, mental ill-health, their families and carers of all ages within this community to address the social determinants of mental health for Oromo community. It helps:
Identify and build protective factors,
Reduce stigma and discrimination
Build capacity for self-determination
Better understand mental wellbeing, mental ill-health and the impacts of trauma
The goal of the project is to increase mental health literacy of Oromo community that aims:
To assist people with mental health issues
To increase the capacity of mental health worker
To better understand mental wellbeing
To provide mental health education and information
To address the social and cultural causes of mental health issues
Advocacy for Oromia will organise information session, women performance, radio programs,
culturally adopted conversations on Oromo Coffee Drinking ceremony, providing training for
mental health guides and forum and producing educational materials on the selected groups
and geographical area.
Community Safety Program
The program aims to strengthen existing collaborations and identify opportunities for the development of partnerships aimed at community safety and crime prevention activities. This approach seeks to improve the individual and collective quality of life by addressing concerns regarding the wider physical and social environment. Importantly, community safety means addressing fear of crime and perceptions of safety as without this any actions to address the occurrence of crime and anti-social behaviour are of less value.