The Ethiopian Government should be part of the World Community Against Coronavirus by Respecting Human Rights of the Citizens
(Monday, March 16, 2020, Open Letter) We, the Oromo Civic, Professional and Faith-based organizations in Diaspora write this open letter calling upon the Ethiopian government to restore all communication services immediately i.e. phones, cellphones, and internet services in all Oromia and release all political prisoners as the means to reduce the risk of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Releasing prisoners is part of the steps countries are taking in the fight against this pandemic.
COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory virus previously unknown. Our knowledge about this virus is limited, and the only tool public health has is educating its prevention, such as social distancing, hand-hygiene, travel restrictions, limiting flights to and from hot spots of the virus, and advising the public to avoid large public gatherings of more than 50 people and to keep at least 6 feet between people at any time.
We believe, it is in the interest of the international community to stop the spread of Coronavirus anywhere in the world. Therefore, we call upon all Human Rights Defenders, Global Health Institutions, international organizations and concerned governments to engage the Ethiopian government to take the following measures immediately:
1. Restore internet and telephone communications in the Regional State of Oromia to facilitate information dissemination to mitigate and stop the spread of coronavirus
2. Release political prisoners from the unhygienic overcrowded jails to contain and mitigate the spread of the pandemic Coronavirus
3. Lift the martial law in the Oromia Regional State to enable the citizens to lead stable life and fight against Coronavirus
4. Stop harassing and threatening independent mass media in Oromia including Oromia Media Network and Oromia News Network to enable information flow in Oromia on coronavirus.