May 02, 2024

UNPO submits UPR Report to highlight ongoing human rights violations against the Oromo community in Ethiopia

The report is submitted by the UNPO on behalf of our Oromo member on the occasion of the upcoming 47th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in November 2024, during which Ethiopia will be under consideration. Despite recommendations made to the country during the previous UPR cycle, the UNPO’s members on the ground note that the human rights situation remains concerning with ongoing safety concerns for the wellbeing of ethnic minorities and political dissidents of the regime, who remain subject to arbitrary arrests and State-driven violence. Despite having been addressed in several previous alternative reports on Ethiopia and UPR sessions, issues regarding the rights of minorities, arbitrary arrests, and extrajudicial killings sadly remain. 

The UNPO’s submission to the UPR mechanism focuses on the issues of freedom of expression and the right to protest; arbitrary arrests and detentions; women’s rights; and the right to health with a particular focus on how the Oromo community and other ethnic minorities are affected by the Government’s current practices in each of these areas. For example, despite several Articles of the Ethiopian Constitution which ensure the right to liberty, protection against arbitrary arrest, prompt legal processes, equality before the law, and the right to have a judicial matter decided by a competent judicial power, the Ethiopian government continues to arbitrarily arrest Oromo activists detaining them indefinitely and incommunicado, often on fabricated charges of terrorism. Oromo students too have been detained and jailed without trial for their political beliefs and ethnicity. Moreover, on the subject of women’s rights, the UNPO expressed our deep concern over the continuing State-driven violence against women belonging to minority communities such as the Oromo and Ogaden. Specifically, Ethiopian Government forces are guilty of systematic rape and sexual violence in their continued oppression of the Ogaden people. 

Even though the Government can be praised for incorporating key international human rights obligations into the Ethiopian Constitution, the overall assessment of the human rights situation in Ethiopia indicates that more concrete and decisive steps need to be taken by the Government and relevant authorities in the areas of civil and political rights, in order to fulfil the country’s domestic obligations and international commitments. In our submission ahead of the upcoming UPR session, the UNPO made several recommendations to the Ethiopian Government, including a call to:

  1. Put an immediate end to the arbitrary detentions of all political opponents held without due process or adequate justification;
  2. Ensure a full and independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of any such persons and take appropriate measures to hold accountable those responsible for this repeated violation of the detainees’ rights;
  3. Bring Ethiopia’s laws, particularly those regarding the legal conditions of arrests, into conformity with the country’s commitments under international human rights law;
  4. Respect the state’s Constitution that protects the right to peaceful assembly (Article 30), and assume its obligations under international treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Ethiopia ratified in 1993;
  5. Take appropriate political, practical, and legal measures to prevent future arbitrary arrests or detention of political opponents. For example, create an independent mechanism to monitor prisons and detention centres or makeshift prisons, to prevent the ill-treatment and torture of imprisoned individuals;
  6. Implement recommendation 163.186 from the 2nd UPR cycle to ensure the independence of the judicial system and continue its efforts towards accountability for past atrocities;
  7. Recognise the double discrimination Oromo, Ogadeni, Somali, and other minority women face in a context of internal conflicts and social exclusion of their communities;
  8. Proactively work to bring an immediate end to the use of sexual violence and rape as weapons of war, especially in the Ogaden region.

We look forward to the consideration of our recommendations during the 47th UPR session, recognising the importance of addressing the precarious situation of human rights defenders and minoritised communities in Ethiopia. The UNPO remains committed to our efforts to raise awareness of the discrimination facing minoritised communities and advocate for their rights at the international level.