November 30, 2006

Oromo: Youth Appeal Sudan to Halt Deportation of Refugees

International Oromo Youth Association recently appealed the International Community to take action for Oromo refugees in Sudan who are facing deportation to Ethiopia.

Below is an appeal of the International Oromo Youth Association, published on the Sudantribune website:

 International Oromo Youth Association

An Appeal against the Arrest and Forced Deportation of Oromo Refugees from Sudan!

Nov 28, 2006 — The ruling minority regime in Ethiopia, namely the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), led by dictator Meles Zenawi has for the past 15 years proven to be tyrannical by ruthlessly killing, torturing, and imprisoning innocent citizens for peacefully expressing dissent and for a mere reason of consolidating power.

The TPLF government is engaged in denial of basic human rights to its citizens by resorting to violence in attempt to conceal political problems. As we speak Oromo youth and elders are being killed for demanding their basic rights defined as the right to life, liberty and security of person, the right to get an education, freedom of speech, and the right to a fair trial. These are inalienable rights which every human being are entitled to by birth but are denied to Oromos. Although these rights are clearly written in the Ethiopian constitution, Meles Zenawi has never abided by them. Accordingly Meles’ government has chosen to intensify a new wave of repression using deadly force against thousands of Oromo students who have been peacefully demanding their rights since the beginning of November 2005. This has led thousands of Oromos to flee and seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Taking all of this into consideration, The International Oromo Youth Association is asking the International Community to take action by showing support for Oromo refugees in Sudan who are facing deportation to Ethiopia. The current government in Ethiopia is notorious for its harsh behavior towards its refugees who have been deported back to the country. Numerous human right groups have published reports detailing the human rights violations occurring in the country. Oromos in particular are facing persecution by the government, which leads to the high rates of refugees in neighboring countries. Sudan being one of the bordering countries attracts a large amount of people who seek refuge. The few, who were lucky enough to make it safely to Sudan, have a greater chance of survival despite the reality of their situation. Oromia and the Oromo people have hosted with tremendous hospitality, thousands of Sudanese refugees in the past decades and deserve to receive similar treatment from the Sudanese people and government. Deporting Oromo refugees who fled their homeland due to fear of torture and prosecutions is a violation the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention.

Sadly, since November 15, 2006 the Sudanese government has started a new wave of deportations against Oromo refugees. Hundreds of refugees have already been forcefully deported back to Ethiopia and hundreds are waiting in court for their fate. Due to the torture, tormenting, starvation and exhaustion they faced in prison and on the way back to Ethiopia, many of them have died. An Oromo refugee by the name Kadir is one of those who lost their lives.

Deporting innocent people that are in detention back to Ethiopia will only make the situation worse. These people do not have any place to go once they are deported. They would be prone to more persecution, arrests, torture or killings. This regime is one that elects to stay in power by killing innocent people. Furthermore, the ruling party has no regard whatsoever for the basic human and democratic rights, despite its once being considered a model for democracy in Africa by Western governments including the United States. By bringing this information to light we are calling up the International community take immediate action towards this issue before it is too late.

We call upon the International Community, particularly the government of Sudan and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, to investigate the cases of the individuals who have been arrested in Sudan with the risk of deportation to Ethiopia. We appeal to the Sudanese government to immediately stop the deportation of these and other Oromo refugees to Ethiopia. We also ask the UNHCR to stop turning a blind eye on the plight of Oromo refugees who are begging to be accepted in to the refugee camps and to provide them with shelter, security and any other humanitarian assistance they might need.

Below is a list of some of the individuals who are waiting to be deported to Ethiopia.

  1. Salmaa Abbaa Tamaam 2. Tamaam Dilbatoo 3. Muftaah Xaahir 4. Kamaal Nashaa 5. Muusxafaa 6. Abdullaxiif 7. Jeeylaan 8. Abdulqaadir 9. Muktaar 10. Nasraddiin 11. Zahraa 12. Abdullaakim.

Lastly, we call upon Oromo communities, civic associations and political organizations, to join hands to raise awareness about the systematic ethnic cleansing of the Oromo people by the current minority regime and the difficult situation Oromo refugees are facing in the neighboring countries. We, the Oromo youth living in different parts of the world, would like to assure our brothers and sisters who are suffering in prison, refugee camps and battlefields that we share your pain and suffering, and are committed to support you with whatever means possible and to air your voice to all concerned organizations and communities around the world.

Justice for Oromo People and Justice for All!!