April 16, 2007

Oromo: Parliamentarians Speak Out

The Oromo Parliamentary Group appeals to the international community to investigate the deteriorating human rights conditions in Ethiopia which they are confronted with in Ethiopia’s political forum.

Below is an article published by Sudan Tribune:

To: European Union, UNO, USA Congress, Human Rights Watches, Amnesty International, ICRC, and UNHCR.

Dear Sirs:

I am writing you behalf of the Oromo Parliamentary Group. The Oromo Parliamentary Group (OPG) is made up of Oromo members of Ethiopia federal parliament and the parliament of the regional sate [state] of Oromia and as representative of Oromo people and Ethiopian people as whole. We had high hopes and aspiration that by participating in the legal political forum of Ethiopia we would contribute to the democratisation process and bring stability, peace and development. It was with strong belief that the constitution will be respected and supremacy of law will prevail, that we decided to join the legal political system.

Following assurances by the international community, particularly the European Union and USA government. We took this courageous decision of trying to secure the legitimate rights of our suffering population through the ballot box mostly because of the urging of the international community.

Although we were discouraged by the experience of gross violations of human rights that we witnessed on the ground, we belied the advice of the international community that participation in the legal political process offered the best way to win the rights of our population who have been facing massive violations of human rights.

Our hope was that we would be able to use our presence and position in the parliament to speak against violations of the political, economic, and social rights of our population. Although many of the ordinary citizens who spoke against these violations ended up in detention, where they routinely faced torture, we believed our parliamentary immunity would spare us from facing a similar fate. Today, there is no peace, stability, democracy and rule of law in Ethiopia. The regime carried out mass killing of civilians, thousands are detained for long period without charges and tortured, tens of thousands are forced to flee their country fearing harassment and intimidation. An elected member of the federal parliament was killed in Arsi Nagell, the others are tortured, and 10 of Oromo parliamentarians are forced to flee the country Dr. Getachew Jigi, Abiyot Kabada, Tshome Badhasa, Gizanyi Baqala, Tafara Legasa, Caala Baqala, Labata Fufa, Siraji Husen, Akasa Keesi, Ms. Sara Mamo.

The international community that gave us assurances to partake in the election is today not ready to defend us now when we are clearly become victim of so called democracy. Our families live under constant terror.

Having no means to provide them the support they need, with out any defence from world community for there lives. As a result the millions of voters who voted us into parliament and tens millions our supporters are being disenfranchised. The people in Ethiopia believed in Western pronouncements about respect for human rights, democracy, good governance, and accountability. But as these ideals are flagrantly violated in broad daylight, the international community remains silent.

I am appeal to you to kindly request your assistance in facilitating the holding of a hearing at the European Union, UNO, USA congress, Human Rights Watches, Amnesty international to look into the desperate situation of Oromo parliamentarians and the human rights situation in Ethiopia in general and in Oromia regional state in particular. It is my sincere hope our appeal will be favourably received.

Sincerely,

Dr. Getachew Jigi Demeksa MP, Chairman of Oromo Parliamentary Group