February 14, 2006

Oromo: Protect the Defenceless in Ethiopia

The Diaspora Community is alarmed by the continuing reports of random killings, torture, detentions and arbitrary arrests of students, farmers, and political activists by the Ethiopian Government authorities
Feb 10, 2006 — The continuing reports of arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture and random killings of students, farmers, and political activists by the Ethiopian Government authorities in Ogaden, Gambella, Sidama, and Oromiya regions of Ethiopia alarms the Diaspora Community from the respective Regions. It is also reported that those in custody are imprisoned in remote prisons located in malaria infested areas and deprived the fundamental rights established by international law and incorporated in the Ethiopian constitution. The Diaspora Community notes its concern that the systematic, and wide spread human rights abuses, rapes, arsons, beatings, harassment, disappearances, and intimidation of defenseless and leaderless civilians continues to escalate aided by deployment of additional military and security forces by the Ethiopian authorities. According to recent reports about 50,000 military personnel have been stationed in different parts of Sidama both in rural as well as urban areas and another 50,000 to 75,000 in various parts of Ogaden, Gambella, and Oromiya.

The Ethiopian authorities are also engaged in a well-organized plan to draw sovereign neighboring nations to be complicit in the violations of international law. Factions of the Sudan’s People"s Liberation Army (SPLA) based in the area have assisted the Ethiopian authorities in military operations, using helicopter gunships and jet fighters deployed from Kigile airfield in Sudan, against the civilian populations in the Western Wollega, Oromiya, and Gambella, near the Sudanese border. The Diaspora Community is mindful of the indiscriminate killings of Southerners and Easterners by Ethiopian authorities, including the documented crimes of genocide perpetrated against the Annuak in Gambella, and widely reported to the international community by notable international human rights organizations. Genocide Watch confirmed that the genocidal massacres of Anuak people in and around Gambella, Ethiopia in December 2003 was led and carried out by Ethiopian government forces in uniform. The United States Department of State also confirmed the crime of genocide perpetrated by Ethiopian authorities and protested these massacres at the highest level of the Ethiopian government.

On January 20, 2006, the Ogaden Human Rights Committee (OHRC) called upon the international community to censure the government of Ethiopia and the administration of the breakaway republic of Somaliland for mass killings, disappearances, torture and other forms of inhumane treatment being suffered on Ethiopian Southerners in both countries. The Ethiopian authorities continue to induce the breakaway Republic of Somaliland to the arrest and refoul Southern Ethiopian refugees in Somaliland, in exchange for weapons and arms in direct violation of international law and the international sanctions imposed on Somalia.

The Diaspora Community of the respective Regions has appealed to the Gambella Liberation Front (GLF), the Sidama Liberation Front (SLF), and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and the Front for Independent Democratic Oromiya (FIDO), to convene a summit to devise and coordinate defensive measures for the protection of the innocent unarmed civilian populations in their Regions.

Source: Sudan Tribune