June 28, 2017

UNPO’s XIII General Assembly Adopts Resolution on the Oromo

On 27 June 2017, a representative of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) presented its resolution to the UNPO General Assembly. Dr Shigut Geleta raised dire situation of the Oromos in Ethiopia, especially in the context of the current state of emergency and of Addis Ababa's expansion masterplan. The UNPO General Assembly adopted the resolution calling Ethiopia to put an end to its persecution of the Oromo.

The UNPO General Assembly,

Having met at the XIII UNPO General Assembly in Edinburgh, Scotland from 26-28 June 2017; Concerned about the Ethiopian government’s extension, on 30 March 2017, of its six-month nationwide state of emergency, for another four months and hailing it as successful in restoring stability after almost a year of popular protests and crackdowns that cost hundreds of lives;

Underlining the persistent violations of human rights in Oromia, Ethiopia that include wanton killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrests, detention without charge, torture, life-threatening prison conditions, lengthy pre-trial detentions, violations of privacy  including illegal searches, eviction from land without compensation, the abolition of freedom of assembly and association and freedom of expression and movement, Internet shutdown, violence and discrimination against women being inflicted upon the Oromos and other nations and nationalities in Ethiopia;

Having regard to the universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Union Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

Noting that Ethiopia's Civil Society Law (CSO No. 621/2009), Anti-Terrorism law (No.652/2009), the Freedom of the mass Media and Access information proclamation (No, 590/2009), the Political Parties registration proclamation (No. 573/2008), 5) the Amended Electoral Law (No, 532/2007) and the Electoral code of conduct for political parties (No. 662/2009) are designed as a tool to stifle dissent. All of them are used by the Ethiopian Government to silence its critics. The Anti-Terrorism laws are being used by the Ethiopian government not against the terrorists, but to curb the human rights of its own citizens. The Anti-Terrorism Proclamation led to the arrest of students, land rights defenders, artists, journalists, indigenous leaders, opposition politicians, religious leaders and more for exercising basic freedoms;

Considering the persistent and systematic act of State violence and repression in Ethiopia by shooting peaceful protestors to insure the political hegemony of EPRDF,

Emphasising that if the international community remains passive regarding the situation in Ethiopia, it could lead the Horn of Africa toward a major international disaster, thus posing grievous peril to the international community. The situation in Oromia-Ethiopia could easily turn into a civil chaos that could threaten the region's economic and political security, since Oromos are demographically and geographically at the centre of Ethiopia;

Aware that Ethiopia is one of the largest recipients of US and western development aid;

Fully believing in the need for development aid, especially during major humanitarian crises like the current drought in Ethiopia. Yet it is counterproductive if donor aid is supporting the destruction of natural resources on which the poor directly depend and enables projects that lead to human rights abuses;

Appreciating that the AU and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights both issued statements expressing concern, while the European parliament released a strong resolution on 18 May 2017 (2017/2682(RSP), and resolutions were introduced in the US Senate and House of Representatives (H.RES 128). The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Nations human rights experts publicly stressed the need for an international and independent investigation into human rights violations on the Ethiopian soil;

Condemning the ever more frequent attacks of armed forces, police, and security agents on peaceful demonstrators.

Deploring the murderous crackdown by security forces on civilians during the annual Irreecha festival on 2 October 2016 in Bishoftu, Oromia region, which caused the death of several hundreds of participants in the festival.

Expressing concern regarding the Ethiopian government’s lack of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of the media and freedom of conscience;

 

Therefore, we, the UNPO General Assembly:

1.Solemnly reaffirm that the government of Ethiopia systematically commits massive human rights violations against the Oromo people and other nations and nationalities in Ethiopia;

2. Call the Ethiopian Government for an immediate end to violence, human rights violations and political intimidation, persecution and the release of political prisoners who have been languishing in prisons for many years;

3.Urge the international community to press the Ethiopian government to carry out a credible, transparent, and impartial investigation into the killings of protesters and other alleged human rights violations perpetuated against protests and to fairly prosecute those responsible, regardless of rank or position;

4. Request the international community to take swift action to denounce the state of emergency and the continuous repression of basic human rights in the country;

5. Call on the EU, the UN, the AU, and democratic governments to reconsider their approach to Ethiopia if no progress is made towards compliance with the essential elements of various international agreements on core human rights issues, the access of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to prisons and the release of innocent political prisoners, among other things;

6. Deplore the unlawful use of lethal force by the government security forces. Sexual aggressions that destabilise the families and the eviction of Oromos from their ancestral land are designed to uproot the indigenous peoples.

7. Insist that the AU, IGAD, UN, USA, European Union, and the international community participate in resolving the political problem of the country

8. Urge the Ethiopian authorities to review the press law, Civil Society Law and Anti-Terrorist proclamation adopted in 2009

9. Insist for the government to immediately invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly and other UN human rights experts to visit Ethiopia to report on the situation;

10. Instruct UNPO, its President and General secretary to forward this resolution to the Ethiopian government, to the Council, the Commission, and Parliament of EU, to the Pan-African Parliament and the Executive Council of the African Union, to UN and some democratic governments.

11. Encourage the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, EU parliament, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Nations human rights experts, US Congress, Legislative bodies of Member States of the EU to urge their respective Executive bodies to call for the above-mentioned political changes in Ethiopia.

To take a look at the Oromo resolution, please click here.