July 17, 2012
Last week, Oromos from all over Europe gathered in the Netherlands on the occasion of a two-day community event, combining a political demonstration as well as a seminar.
On Friday 13 July a large crowd gathered in a demonstration in front of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, in order to raise awareness of the human rights violations facing Oromo people in Ethiopia. The protesters had gathered in front of the ICC, brandishing Oromo flags and chanting ‘’Support the Oromo struggle for freedom and democracy’’. Attention was brought to such issues as land grabbing, political prisoners, sponsoring of Ethiopia by donor countries, and the situation of Oromo refugees in third countries. The demonstrators demanded to bring the current Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, to the ICC due to the continuous human rights violations committed by the government in the Oromia Region. An official letter was submitted to the ICC to file a criminal case and to condemn the systematic and persistent violations of human rights, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide committed by Mr. Meles Zenawi, against the Oromo, Gambella, Ogaden, Sidama and other nations of Ethiopia. The case is based on Article 5 of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC, which criminalizes the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.
On the following day, on Saturday 14 July the Annual Public Meeting and Seminar of Oromo Communities in Continental Europe was held in Haarlem, the Netherlands. People coming from all over Europe attended this event. The seminar addressed academic and political perspectives on the Oromo struggle for the respect of their human rights, as well as the strategic directions taken by different Oromo organizations. Prominent Oromo activists were present at the event, and reflected on the significance of the Oromo struggle and the need to continue defending their human rights. The seminar was followed by a night of cultural performances by Oromo artists.