September 13, 2011

Ogaden: San Diego Diaspora Press for Humanitarian Assistance

The Ogaden American Community of San Diego reports that due to Ethiopia’s media blockade the international community has yet to fully grasp the urgency caused by ongoing drought and violence in the region.  The community urges non-governmental organizations and international bodies alike to urge the Ethiopian government to allow humanitarian groups unrestricted access to the area to provide much needed assistance to local peoples.

Below is a statement released by Ogaden Online:

Millions of people today face the worst humanitarian crisis in East Africa due to consistent drought, lack of food, medical care and ongoing violence. The international community has recognized the dire situation in Somalia, however, has failed to recognize how critical the situation in the Ogaden has become. Tens of thousands of people have fled the region into northern and central Somalia and Kenya for safety and much needed humanitarian assistance. Hundreds of Thousands more in the region are facing starvation and government repression. However due to the Ethiopian governments illegal blockade of the Ogaden much of the world is unaware of how dire the situation has become. The Ethiopian government has sealed off the entire region from humanitarian organizations and human rights groups, and has denied access to all media organizations. In order to conceal what many human rights organizations are calling “Genocide”. In addition, the Ethiopian government has begun sponsoring militias known as “Liyuu Police” these militias are similar to the Janjaweed militias in Darfur and are indiscriminately targeting civilians.

Atrocities ranging from the destruction and relocation of entire villages, mass rape, torture, and the indiscriminate killings and detention of civilians are widespread in Ogaden

The illegal arrest of two Swedish journalists - Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson - is a prime example of the Ethiopian government’s callous campaign and attempt to conceal the suffering and human rights violations taking place in the Ogaden.

We call upon the international community to take immediate action and provide immediate humanitarian relief to the people of Ogaden. We call upon donor nations, non-governmental organizations, and the U.N Security Council to immediately urge the Ethiopian regime to provide unhindered access to all humanitarian organizations so that they could affectively assist the people of Ogaden.

The international community has responded swiftly to the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, we urge the U.S. government and the international community to take the same actions in addressing the man-made humanitarian crisis in the Ogaden.