March 5, 2012

Ogaden: Demonstration To Denounce Killings

As tension flares up in the Ogaden region, the diaspora in London gathered to protest a meeting at the Ethiopian embassy.

Below is an article published by Ogaden Online:

On Sunday March 04th, 2012, hundreds of members of Ogaden Community in UK staged a well organized protests in front of the Ethiopian Embassy in London where a delegation led by Ethiopian Ambassador in London and others said to be visiting from Ethiopia was holding a meeting. The meeting was billed as a ‘meeting of the minds’ to discuss investment opportunities inside Ethiopia. This is not the first time Ethiopian regime used such propaganda.

Several of the protestors carried banners accusing the Ethiopian regime of having perpetrated genocide in Ogaden. Some even had banners accusing the UK  government and other Western donors of having supporting genocidal regime in Ethiopia. Some of the protesters stood the major intersections to distribute fliers some of which were titled “Highlighting the Hidden Genocide in Ogaden"

With temperatures dropping and freezing rain falling, regardless of cold weather, protesters were prepared to deal such a punishing weather. "I welcome the challenge of this cold weather," said young girl in her twenties who declined to provide her name, who has been attending every protest against Ethiopian regime in Europe. "This is like war, and I don't mind being a voice of the voiceless"

The Ogaden people are fighting for self-determination. Extra-judicial killings, rape, disappearances, destruction of livelihood and the displacement of thousands of Ogaden people are the daily norm in Ogaden.

Thousands have been displaced and killed in Ogaden Region since 1994 and concern has grown since the Ethiopian government rejected a proposal in 2007 for a UN independent investigation into the human rights situation. Ethiopia has also restricted the journalists and organizations who are able to operate in the region, severely hindering both humanitarian access and dissemination of information about the reality on the ground.

The Ethiopian government has sealed off the Ogaden region to international humanitarian NGOs, human rights defenders and the international press to operate freely in the region, which is currently affected by cycle of violence perpetrated by Ethiopian government.