January 13, 2014

Oromo: HRLHA Calls for Ending Violence and Discrimination

The HRLHA published a press release on Sunday exposing the violence and discrimination long suffered by the Oromo people at the hand of the Ethiopian Government and it called for a joined international effort against it. 

Below is a press release published by the Human Rights League Of The Horn Of Africa:

 In the past twenty two years, the peoples of Ethiopian and the outside world have witnessed the EPRDF Government’s incarceration of hundreds of thousands of Oromo Nationals from all walks of life in jails, unofficial detention centers and concentration camps simply for allegedly being members or supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), whom the ruling party has deemed a terrorist group, and some other opposition political organizations. Due to the inappropriate and inhuman treatments by the government security members,   hundreds of Oromos died, suffered from physical disabilities resulting from tortures, and most of those who were taken to court were given harsh sentences including life in prison and capital punishments or death penalty. Oromo intellectuals, Businessmen, and the members of legally operating Oromo parties (for example the Oromo People`s Congress (OPC) and Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM)) have been among the victims of the EPRDF/TPLF Government’s suppressive political system. The most worrisome is that the Oromo youth, who were even born after the EPRDF/TPLF government came to power, have become the major victims of the Government’s brutalities under the same allegations of supporting and/or sympathizing with Oromo opposition political organizations. In the past decade or so, thousands of young Oromo students of universities, colleges, high schools and intermediate academic institutions have been criminalized for allegedly being member or sympathizers of the Oromo Libration Front. A lot of them have killed, tortured, and thousands are still languishing behind bars, while thousands others have been banned from being part of any level of educational  opportunities; and, as a result,  have became jobless, homeless, etc. Tenth of thousands have fled their homeland and become refugees in neighboring countries.

In the same manner and for the same reasons, the most recent cases of arrests and imprisonments have taken place in Gujjii Zone of Oromia State. According to the HRLHA’s informant in Gujii, more than 45 Oromo nationals have been arrested by the Federal police forces without court warrant at different times since August 25, 2013 to December 2013. This was mainly in the districts of Gorodolo, Girja and Bore of Guji Zone. Most of the victims of these most recent extrajudicial actions have reportedly been taken a detention centre in Negele Town. Victims of this particular operation include members of the legally operating opposition Oromo political party of the Federalist Congress (OFC), as well as high school teachers, students of elementary and high schools, college and university students in various parts of the Guji Zone.

According to reports obtained by HRLHA, on August 25, 2013, the federal police arrested 8 college students from Harekello Town in Goro-Dola destrict; and on the following day, police searched  houses of many residents of the town  without court warrant, and arrested another 3 more people. Among them was a high school teacher called Gobena Gemeda. The alleged reason for the arrest, detention, and search of homes in this particular campaign was the distribution and posting of leaflets in the town  with contents condemning the discrimination of the government against the Guji Oromos. Among those who were arrested and detained, 6 people, including kedir A/bundha, Gobena Gemeda and Shako Bura were released after a week; while the following five students are still in detention center in Negele Prison, according to the information HRLHA has obtained.

 

No

Name

Sex

Education

1

Galgalo Chuluke

M

Negele Vocational college

2

Khoraarayu Kanc

M

Ardayita Agricultural College

3

Ejersa Shako

M

Negele Health College

4

Nanno Chamari

M

Grade Ten

5

Xume Shanko

F

Grade Ten

 

The legally registered Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC)  officials and cadres, who were genuinely working for their people on behalf of their party, were also accused of allegedly being sympathizers of Oromo Libration Front (OLF) and arrested in Adolla town in Gujii and in Bule Hora  district of Borana Zone.  Among them was Mr. Borama Jano, elected parliament   member  from the districts of Bore and Anna-Sorra. He was arrested on November 15, 2013, and is still detained at Adolla Police Station. Two OFC organizing cadres – Mr  Hirbaayyee Galgalo and  Uturaa Adulaa – were arrested in  Bulehora Wereda of Borena Zone in December 2013.

 

 The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern over the safety and well-being of these Oromo nationals who have been picked up arbitrarily from different places at different times and are being held at various detention centers. The Ethiopian government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were suspected of supporting, sympathizing with and/or being members of the opposition political organizations. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian official prisons and other secret detention centers.      The HRLHA calls upon the Ethiopia Government to refrain from systematically eliminating the young generation of Oromo nationals and respect all international human rights standards in general, and of civil and political rights of the citizens it has signed in particular. HRLHA demands that the Ethiopian Government unconditionally release those most recent as well as other political detainees.

HRLHA also calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand the immediate halt of such kinds of extra-judicial actions against one’s own citizens, and release the detainees without any preconditions.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to the Ethiopian Government and its concerned government ministries and/or officials as swiftly as possible, both in English and Ahmaric, or your own language:

v  Expressing concerns regarding the apprehension and fear of torture of the citizens who are being held in different detention centers including the infamous Ma’ikelawi Central Investigation Office; and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;

v  Requesting to refrain from  detaining, harassing, discriminating against Oromo  the Nationals

v   Urging the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that these detainees would be treated in accordance with the regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners

v  Also send your concerns to diplomatic representatives in Ethiopia who are accredited to your country.