April 2, 2017

Ethiopia: Will Extending the State of Emergency Solve the Grievances of Citizens?

Photo courtesy of Andrew Heavens @Flickr.com

On 30 March 2017, the Ethiopian government announced that the state of emergency initially declared for a whole semester in the state of Oromia would be extended for four months. As over 400 Oromos have already been killed by the Ethiopian military forces over three months, human rights defenders in the region are now afraid that this extension might be a synonym of the renewal of the government's "license to kill". The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa calls on Western powers to step up and voice the systematic repression of the Oromos' fundamental rights on the Ethiopian soil.

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

The Ethiopian government has reaffirmed to the world community once again its strong commitment to killing and kidnapping citizens by extending the state of emergency- declared on October 8, 2016- by four more months. The Ethiopian leaders have been very busy in the past months of the state of emergency in eliminating youths, men and women, those the government calls "Tsere Limat Hyiloch", literally antidevelopment forces. The government is accusing of terrorists Oromos and Amharas, the two major nations and other nationalities, who have simply staged peaceful protests against the land grab which left millions of citizens without their livelihoods. Through its government controlled mass media, the Ethiopian government produces confusing news every day regarding the restoration of peace in the country. It says that security in the country has been improved and that things are returning to normal.

On the contrary the same media outlets EBC [Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation] declared on March 30, 2017 that the killing license of the government has been renewed for another four more months. The Defense Minister and leader of the Commands Post, Siraj Fergessa, declared to the Ethiopian lawmakers "government-conducted nationwide polls have significantly demanded the extension of the state emergency". This dishonest statement clearly indicates the Ethiopian dictator government's plan to continue indefinitely to eliminate the opposition under the pretext of public pressure.

The Ethiopian government must understand that the Ethiopian nations and nationalities are committed to continue to demand their basic and fundamental rights. They are demanding their alienable rights which include "life, liberty.." and fundamental rights which include "freedom of expression and association", rights that are enshrined in the Ethiopian constitution of 1995 Chapter III articles (13-44) . To bring about a sustainable peace, the Ethiopian government should respect and implement all domestic, regional and international human rights standards that it signed and ratified. Instead, the Ethiopian government behaves as an occupying foreign government that rules citizens at gunpoint. Dividing the nations and instigating war among the neighboring states has become one of the ways the Ethiopian government is using to weaken the states.

Currently the Ethiopian government military force is leading a cross- border war against Oromo Nation in the east, in the south by the Somali Regional State "Liyu Police", in the north with the Afar Regional State militia, and in the west with Gambela Regional State militia; all these conflicts against the Oromo people have continued unabated over three months in which over 400 innocent Oromos, mostly women and children, have been killed, and properties plundered. It is clear that the Federal Government of Ethiopia is plotting war between nations and nationalities in the country.

The Oromia Regional State is bleeding from internal and external attacks by Ethiopian Federal governmentsponsored killing squads. The external attackers are Liyyu Police commanded by the federal military from the neighboring Regional State of Somali and internally by the Agazi killing squad deployed in every corner of community villages in Oromia.

Oromo youths have been the most heavily targeted from the start of the nationwide popular Oromo nation protests. The Federal killing squad took revenge actions under the cover of the state of emergency against Oromos where the protests strongly condemned the atrocity of the EPRDF against the protesters. Among several zones and districts severely harmed by the Agazi killing squad are the west Arsi zones of Munessa, Negelle, Dodola and Alage district villages and in the Bale zone, Belto and Sawena districts are some of them.

The recent report by the HRLHA received from its informants in the Oromia Regional State indicates that similar to the central Investigation Center Maikelaw, torture center has been created in Adama City, in the "Police Training College", where outstanding Oromo men and women including intellectuals of different professions, university teachers and students have been taken. They are from all over Oromia Regional state corners. According to our informant, over 200 Oromos have been exposed to this inhuman and degrading action which constitutes an atrocity against the Oromo younger generation designed to put the future of Oromo people at risk.

The second notorious torture center has been created in the capital city of Oromia Regional State where the Oromiya President Lamma Megerssa is preaching about Economic Revolution in Oromia day and night.

The HRLHA informant managed to get the names of the following Oromo prisoners in " Adama Police Training College" in Adama whose lives are at risk

#

Name

Gender

Occupation

1

Abubakar Haji Wariyo

M

Veterinarian

2

Kadiro Dhaqabi Badhaso

M

Student

3

Kadiro galgalo Bonkiye

M

Student

4

Quri gabi godana

M

-

5

Musxafa Dalu Urgessa

M

-

6

Shale Ana

M

-

7

Shale Baya Tufa

M

-

8

Haji Darasa

M

-

9

Halkane Dadafo

M

-

10

Kadir Haji Dafi

M

-

11

Jamal Gatiso Shashe

M

-

12

Haji Kasim Hirko

M

-

13

Idiris Aman Ana

M

-

Recently the Ethiopian government has also extended its attacks into Oromo special zones in Amhara Regional State. According to the report HRLHA received from those zones, the Oromos in special zones of Wollo Kemise town, a separate district /woreda in north-eastern Ethiopia, have been attacked by Agazi killing squads in which many Oromos youths have been killed and others injured . The administrative center of the Oromia Zone of the Amhara Region, and Oromos living in Metekel south west of Amhara Regional State and west north of Oromia Regional State are also victims. Several Metekel Oromo nationals have been picked up from their homes and taken to Maikelawi in March 2017.

The HRLHA informant managed to get the names of the following Metekel Oromo prisoners in Maikelawi:

1. Kefyalew Nigatu Badhasso, 2. Habtamu Bayisa Amante, 3. Jabessa Dheressa Kebede, 4. Bilisumma Dhaba Tadesse, 5. Abdisa Dhinsa, 6. Dhugassa Bekele, 7. Hundasa Hailu, 8. Fikiru Zeleke wirtu, 9. Jabessa Akuma, 10. Fayisa Oljira, 11. Tesfaye Abebe Geneti.

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) remains highly concerned about the safety and well-being of tens of hundreds of Oromo Nationals and other nations and nationals in Ethiopia who were arrested by the Ethiopian security forces and placed in different concentration camps including military camps in general and at Maikelawi and Adama Police Training College (a new torture center in Adama) in particular.

The HRLHA is confident that World Communities are fully aware of the vicious human rights atrocities taking place in Ethiopia in general and in Oromia Regional State in particular judging by the outcries from human rights agencies and international media reports as well from government agencies such as EU and the UN human rights rapporteur including the UN human rights Commisioner who have written about human rights concerns in Ethiopia releases ever since the popular peaceful protests began in Oromia in November 2015.

The HRLHA is deeply concerned that if International Communities fail in responding to the merciless killings presently taking place in Oromia Regional State, this could lead to a genocide comparable to those in Darfur Sudan (2003), in Rwanda (1994), and in Yugoslavia (1998). The world community needs to take timely preventative actions against the dictatorial governments who are committing genocide against its citizens.

Therefore, the HRLHA respectfully demands that governments of the west, especially allies of the Ethiopian government, to break their silence about the TPLF/EPRDF hidden agenda of committing systematic genocide against the Oromo and other nations in Ethiopia and act as swiftly as possible to halt the atrocities in Ethiopia.

You can download the press release by clicking here.