December 5, 2007

Oromo: Appeal for Refugees Handed to Ethiopia

The Oromia Support Group in Australia appeals to the Sudanese authorities to pressure on Ethiopia to release the fifteen refugees returned to the Ethiopia authorities after a short stay in Sudan.

The Oromia Support Group in Australia appeals to the Sudanese authorities to pressure on Ethiopia to release the fifteen refugees returned to the Ethiopia authorities after a short stay in Sudan.

Below is an appeal published by the Oromia Support Group in Australia:

Dear Ambassador:

Foremost, we wish to express our appreciation to the people of the Republic of Sudan for their generosity and kindness towards thousands of Oromo refugees who have escaped severe government persecutions in Ethiopia and now living in Sudan. From under successive Ethiopian regimes –Haile Sellassie, Dergue and now TPLF - thousands of our compatriots have run away from arbitrary detentions, degrading tortures, violent killings in Ethiopia to seek refuge in relative peace of Sudan.

Oromia Support Group in Australia and, in fact, Oromos everywhere are alarmed by the report we received on the handing over of 15 Ethiopian refugees, the majority if not all of them were Oromo by the Sudanese authorities against their will to the Ethiopian regime. Most of these refugees were refugees who were legal resident in Sudan for a number of years and some carried UNCHR IDs. In July [2007] this year several Oromo refugees living in Khartoum and El Damazin were arrest and detained in Kobor prison in Khartoum. When Kobor prison became over crowded they were transferred to unknown destination to friends, most probably to the prison around Shendi. Around September 25, 2007, they were taken from their prison cells and transported to the border town of Metama and handed over in shackles to Ethiopian security and military forces on September 26, 2007.

These facts have been documents by UNCHR in document in which they condemned the Sudanese authorities’ action.

The Sudanese authorities deported the Oromo refugees without going through the due process of law. The refugees were never taken to a court of law. Thus, the authorities have failed to respect their own constitution on this matter. The dreadful action of deportation taken by the Sudanese government constitutes violation of basic human rights and the fundamental principles of the 1951 UN’s Convention on refugees. Under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, refoulement - or forcibly returning individuals to their country of origin where they could face persecution - is prohibited. Also, the Sudanese authorities broke Sudan’s longstanding tradition of providing protection to those who flee persecution and victimization.

Your Excellency,

The Oromia Support Group in Australia and Oromo living other parts of the Australia are disheartened by the Sudanese government action. By this action the lives of outstanding young men were put in a considerable danger. These individuals will face certain torture and death in the hands of the Ethiopian regime. We appeal to the Sudanese government and all human rights organizations to demand the Ethiopian government to safe the lives of these Oromo brothers and to set them free. We also appeal to the Sudanese authorities to assure Oromo refugees in Sudan, who are obviously frightened, that such action will not be repeated in the future.