Monthly Archives: November 2016
Ethiopian authorities have arrested over 11,000 people since Addis Ababa declared a state of emergency in early October following violent protests.
“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.
Source: 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.
Chairman, Oromo liberation Front National Council