October 10, 2006

Oromo: Children of Ethiopian Minorities Ignored

The Committee on the Rights of the Child concerned by failure to consider minorities in recent Ethiopian report to the Committee

The 43rd Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child was held from 11 to 29 September 2006. The Committee is a UN Human Rights Treaty Body constructed to monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. All ratifying States must submit regular written reports to the Committee, which examines and responds to these, making recommendations where necessary.

The last session of the Committee considered amongst others the report of Ethiopia. Though noting some areas of recent progress with respect to the rights of Ethiopian children, the Committee also notes with some concern that issues relating to minority groups remain entirely ignored. The Committee draws particular attention to the persecution and stigmatisation of Oromo children:

 

Children belonging to a minority or indigenous group

79. The Committee notes the absence of information on ethnic minorities in the State Party’s report and is concerned over the situation of children belonging to minorities, in particular Oromo and Anuak, as they suffer stigmatisation and persecution by the armed forces, including torture, rape and killings, due to the presence of opposition groups within their territories.”

“80. The Committee urges the State party to;

(a) respect the life of the members of minorities groups and in particular that of children, taking into due account the humanitarian law principle of protecting civilians;

(b) pay due attention to children of ethnic minorities in the next periodic report.”


The Oromo in Ethiopia are represented by the Oromo Liberation Front, an organisation aiming to address this prevailing reality in many areas of Ethiopian society, including the rights of children. They have been members of UNPO since 2004.