Monthly Archives: June 2017

New Prison Complex Nears Completion

The prison cost an estimated 900m Br and can accommodate 6,000 prisoners

Mana Hidhaa Haaraa Finfinnee

The Federal Prisons Administration Commission (FPAC) is in the final stage to complete the construction of a new prison complex with an estimated project cost of 900 million Br from the government coffers.

Located at Aba Samuel River, Aqaqi Qaliti District, the new jail is planned to replace the current Qilinto prison that is more than a decade old. It can house 6,000 inmates.

The new complex has better facilities than the previous one, according to a source close to the case.

Lying on 5,000sqm of land, the construction of the complex began in June 2014, after awarding the project to 13 local contractors.

The then Ministry of Urban Development & Housing (MoUDH) selected the contractors depending on their previous track record in different construction projects.

The Ministry awarded the companies based on a fixed rate system based on the market prices, according to the same source.

The Construction Design Enterprise designed the complex and conducted the preliminary and feasibility study of the project.

The prison site has five blocks of two-storey buildings, with the capacity of accommodating 1,200 prisoners each.

It also has a two-storey building as an isolation room. Each cell can enclose ten detainees in the 54sqm area. A single room can accommodate five double beds.

Work on the prison has reached 95pc of completion rate, expected to be accomplished in the next three months, according to sources.

Currently, security devices including CCTV cameras are installed by the Information Network Security Agency (INSA).

The project encompasses different facilities including a library, game rooms, workshops (metal, wood, and handicraft), administrative buildings, family mansions, video conference rooms, two storey TVET and high school buildings, babysitting rooms and kitchens.

This year, similar prison constructions have been completed at Shoa Robit, Ziway and Dire Dawa. The two prisons in Shoa Robit and Dire Dawa have four blocks each with the capacity of holding 4,800 prisoners whereas the five block buildings of Ziway and Addis Abeba prisons accommodate 6,000 prisoners.

Reta Abebe (Com.), the superintendent to FPAC, refrains from disclosing when the prison will be relocated to the new complex by citing the earliness of the issue.

Currently, FPAC administers three prisons outside Addis Abeba, in Shewa Robit, Amhara Regional State, 225km north of the capital, in Zeway, 163km south of the capital in Oromia Regional State and Dire Dawa city, 515km east of the capital.

Currently, Qilinto prison is found in the vicinity of Addis Ababa Science & Technology University (AASTU).

Qilinto is a remand prison, where people can be held for three years or more as they await trial. The prison is divided into several zones made up of brick walls and corrugated sheet roofed cells.

The prison hosts 3,000 inmates at a time who are held in cells. Each cell holds between 90 and 130 inmates.

Source: Addis Fortune

Advertisements

OSG in collaboration with other Oromo organisations is holding a two-day conference in London

 

Oromia Support Group

Oromia Support Group (OSG) in collaboration with other Oromo organisations is holding a two-day conference on the burning issue of the state of human rights and on strategies for advocacy and campaigning for the rights of the millions of people held as victims. In spite of the creation of the state of Oromia in 1991, under a false pretext of new political arrangement, the Oromo people are subjected to unprecedented socio-cultural, economic and political repression.

Constitutional guarantees that were declared to ensure the respect of people’s rights were silenced and very often conversely used and mobilised to justify repression. Over years thousands have been killed in their purist of seeking justice, such killing continues and happens everyday in broad daylight.  There is no sign of improvement of the state of human rights in Ethiopia.

The Oromia Support Group (OSG) has documented gross human rights violations for more than 20 years. The world seems to have noticed the stark reality during the recent Oromo protests. The memory of the world is short. It can’t remain focused on this single issue. This is primarily an Oromo concern, that has to be dealt with by Oromo people.

OSG believes, now is the time to devise a more robust and effective method of dealing with such endless tragedy, a human rights calamity. Actions include but not limited to advocacy and campaigning for respect for the rights of Oromo people and their neighbours.

This conference offers a platform for discussion on how to make this possible. Researchers and experts from human rights organisations, Oromo intellectuals and activists are among those invited to provide some perspectives on the current state of affairs and on the way forward. Particular focus will be given to:

  1. Sustainable/strategic campaigning and advocacy on human rights by the diaspora community and beyond.
  2. The role of civic society organisations and the media in advancing human rights norms and values and reporting incidences of violations of human rights.
  3. Strategic litigation on human rights and the possibilities of legal action will be assessed.

Individuals who want to present papers or speak on the above topic are most welcome. Interested persons shall email a short biography of their background and abstract of their presentation to.  oromiasg@gmail.com 

When: 8-9 July 2017 (10 AM to 17PM)

Where: Resource for London

356 Holloway Road,
London, N7 6PA
Contact us:  oromiasg@gmail.com

Oromian community rallies around one of their own

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Teresa Fekensa got support from the local Oromian community during the Manitoba Marathon. </p>
TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSTeresa Fekensa got support from the local Oromian community during the Manitoba Marathon.

Although Teresa Fekensa has never been to Winnipeg before this weekend, he felt right at home at the Manitoba Marathon.

The 35-year old, who immigrated to Toronto two years ago, won the men’s full marathon with an impressive time of 2:38:03.2. Despite travelling from out of town for the event, Fekensa may have had the biggest cheering section. Members of the Oromo Association of Manitoba came out to support him, as nearly 20 local Oromians proudly waved their flags as Fekensa crossed the finish line. Oromia is a region in Ethiopia, where Fekensa is originally from.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Manitoba Marathon winner Teresa Fekensa with the flag of Oromia. </p>
TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSManitoba Marathon winner Teresa Fekensa with the flag of Oromia.

None of them had any relation to Fekensa or really knew him before he made the trip for the marathon, but when they heard one of their own were coming in to compete, they wanted to show their support and make him feel comfortable.

“Today is a win for everyone in our community,” says Aliya Balo, president of the Oromo Association of Manitoba.

Fekensa immigrated to Toronto because he felt he wasn’t getting the right training, but more importantly, because he was protesting against the government. Thousands of protesters in the Oromia region have been killed, so for his safety and passion for running, he had to leave.

“I came to Canada to run,” says Fekensa, who trains at the Toronto Olympic Club. “Because of the situation in my country, I protested and didn’t want to stay there.”

Members of the Oromo Association of Manitoba say their people back home have no freedom and are under military control. To show their support for the protests, they cross their arms above their heads, which is exactly what Fekensa did when he crossed the finish line at the Manitoba Marathon.

“If people do that (in Oromia), the (government) will shoot you,” says Yoseph Gobena, an Oromo Association of Manitoba board member who immigrated to Winnipeg in 2006. “We’re not allowed to freely share our interests and express our freedom.”

Fekensa’s achievement shows that Oromian’s can not only participate in the Canadian community, but also succeed, Gobena says. He hopes Fekensa can open the door for more Oromian runners to come to Canada and is thankful to the Canadian government for giving his people freedom.

Fekensa, who was happy to have the support of local Oromians, says he plans to return to Winnipeg next year to defend his title. But that’s not his only goal for the future.

“My goal is to run for Canada and win for Canada, in any marathon,” he says.

Emily Ratzlaff, a local physiotherapist, was the first woman to cross the finish line in the women’s full marathon. It was her second time competing at the Manitoba Marathon and her first time running the full marathon.

“I’m surprised that I won,” says the 31-year old who finished the race in 3:14:38.8.

When she was four miles away from the finish line, she was told she was the leader and she couldn’t believe it, she says.

“I was excited, but I was also in pain so I just needed to keep running and finish,” says Ratzlaff who has competed in the Boston Marathon twice.

In the half marathon races, it was a pair of Bisons that stole the show.

University of Manitoba Bisons’ track athlete Daniel Heschuk, 20, finished first in the men’s half marathon and 26-year-old former Bisons’ track athlete Jaclyn Adamson was the winner in the women’s half marathon.

Adamson came into the Manitoba Marathon with some extra confidence from winning a marathon in Fargo last month.

“I thought Fargo was a fluke, so I was happy with how today went,” she says. “I went into it with no expectations and didn’t know any ladies running.”

Adamson was surprised she ran this quick at the Manitoba Marathon because of the weather conditions. It was hard to get traction with the roads being slippery and that her clothes quickly felt heavy from all the rain, she says.

It was a difficult race for Heschuk, who is originally from Neepawa. Heschuk was unable to make it to the medal ceremony as he needed medical attention after the race.

“Honestly there was a couple times during the race where I thought I couldn’t do this anymore,” he says.

Heschuk says what got him through those tough stretches was thinking of his uncle Mark Cameron, who died last year at the age of 40 from complications in a surgery. His uncle went through a lot, as he lived with a learning disability and survived a leukemia diagnosis at the age of five. He says his uncle was a huge fan of Terry Fox and participating in the Terry Fox run, so he wanted to dedicate this year’s race to him.

“If he can go through all this pain growing up, I can go through one hour of pain in this marathon,” Heschuk says.

Source: Winnipeg free Press  

OMN holds live discussion on Oromia Support Group activities its coming London Conference

(Advocacy for Oromia, 12 June 2017) Mr Girma Gutema of OMN holds a wonderful discussion with the leading scholars and human right activists, Dr Trevor Truman and Dr Mohamed Hassen  where the history of Oromia Support Group, its activities and Oromia Human Rights abuses by the current and previous governments were discussed in details.