January 16, 2007

Oromo: Refugees No Longer Safe in Somalia

Recent Ethiopian operations in Somalia have subjected Oromo refugees in the region to a new wave of persecution and harassment.

Below is an extract from a statement by the Oromo Relief Association released in 13 January 2007;

Over the last four decades thousands of Oromos who fled from successive repressive regimes in Ethiopia have sought refugee in Somalia. Some of them have settled successfully among the Somali population and many others continue to live in refugee camps.  After the collapse of the central Somali state and the subsequent withdrawal of the diplomatic community and UN agencies, the security and wellbeing of these refugees as well as the Somali people have been in grave danger. Many were killed, robbed and displaced by armed groups. Several were caught in the crossfire and lost their lives and livelihood.

Recent changes under TPLF-occupied Somalia have aggravated the already abysmal situation of these refugees.  The Tigrean-led minority government of Ethiopia is persecuting these same refugees who had fled from the gruesome atrocities committed under its administration.  (…)

The Oromo Relief Association (ORA) is extremely troubled by these sad incidents and concerned about the plight of the many refugees in Somalia.  While condemning these barbaric and short-sighted actions, we extend our gratitude to the brotherly people of Somalia for their courage in protecting these helpless refugees and urge the international community to take immediate action to save their lives.  Likewise, we urge the TFG and Puntland authorities to guarantee respect for the rights of refugees.