Category Archives: Human Right

The oromo people are subjugated to inhuman treatement by successive Ethiopian regime. This page is dedicated for dcoumenting and advocating for the oromo people.

What does it mean to be a Proud Oromo Nationalist?

harun oooo

Oromo nationalism is the base in which the Oromo man kind (the Oromo nation) is identified. Like any other nation of the world, the Oromo nation has its own language, culture and history. At the same time like any other nation of the world, the Oromo nation wants to keep and develop its own language and culture. Moreover the Oromo nation wants to insure self-respect and sovereignty and be identified by the international community and the neighbors as an independent state and sovereign nation. In order to protect its identity, self-respect and political power from danger, the Oromo nation need to have the understanding, meaning and values of libration knowledge and a free organization. But this free organization should advocate and focus the all rounded political struggle to insure the freedom and independence of the Oromo nation and the socio-political aspiration of the Oromo people. This free organization should also show the Oromo struggle practically on the ground to advance this grand aspiration.

In my view, we can see knowledge in to two ways, the first one is a knowledge used by the Abyssinian colonizers to make others fool and spoil their way of thinking about themselves for the reason of colonization or domination. Consequently, those who are made to be fool, spoiled and changed their way of thinking are ashamed of their own identity and hence easily dominated. The second one is the knowledge which bases on truth. With out the knowledge of truth and freedom Oromo nationalism never prospers and develops. The knowledge of truth and freedom clearly analyses and shows where and how the Oromo nation in the past was and existed, in which situation do we get this nation at present and what the destiny of this nation in the future. The true knowledge advocates that the Oromo nation lived under the governance of the Gada democratic system. Besides it educates that the Gada system is the origin of the Oromo culture and history. It also educates that Oromia is built from that. It appropriately teaches Concerning the Oromo world views, philosophy and origin of the Oromo religion. Without understanding this crucial issues, to have Oromo nationalism deep rooted in our society would be difficult.

In addition to this the oromo history notifies what has happened before, like the Abyssinian colonizers misled the westerns to cooperate with them and did the whole sort of possible brutal and arrogant oppression on the Oromo people which begins a century ago and still going on. Analyzing and understanding the overall oromo history and the destiny of the oromo nation will enable Oromo nationalism to prosper and develops in all oromos across the globe. A well equipped tactics and techniques help us fight for our libration and freedom, as the same time it will open a road how Oromia will be restructured when librated. It educates that leading a life under the political domination of our colonizers and oppressors mean a very disregarding and dehumanizing course which is translated to lack of socio-political and economical opportunity while to have a sovereign state with freedom and democracy gives every single Oromo full of opportunity, self respect and pride.

Knowledge of libration enables all Oromo nation to set them free from disregarding themselves and avoid pretending to be the identity which doesn’t denominate them. Besides it gives the understanding that the Oromo people are not under others domination. As the same time it teaches that the Oromo nation is not under the habasha or the white nation’s domination. The history of the Oromo nation testifies that the Oromo culture and religion is not by any means less than the culture and religion of other nation, the Oromo nation have its own culture and religion which is full by it self. A proud Oromo shows us how he respects himself, his identity and how he respects his people.

An Oromo which doesn’t identify himself as an Oromo and is not proud to be an Oromo will never respect himself and his nation. This kind of Oromo has a daily activity of pretending to be someone else and for his personal gains would never retreat to be a tool for our oppressors. Therefore any Oromo with no national pride can never be the right citizen for his country and for his nation. Such Oromos have been cooperating and becoming a tool for Amhara and TPLF elites in the process of colonization, arrogant subjugation, oppression and brutal slavery. These days the ruling TPLF regime has organized such Oromos in the name of OPDO. They still live for their personal interests and are doing the same activities. Such Oromos who live to fulfill their personal interest always never retreat to serve our enemies. Those Oromos, when the Oromo nationalism develops and the struggle of libration comes to victory the days for these Oromos will be dark and their destiny will also be disgraceful.

The unified Oromo who had the knowledge of libration was the one who in the 1960th established the Mecha and Tulema self help association and the OLF in the 1970th. Any free Oromo association and organization takes the Oromo culture, language and history out of grave and lets to flourish and develops. It reestablishes the on lost Oromo nationalism. It teaches about the land ownership to the Oromo nation. It unifies and reorganizes those Oromo people being fragmented and having problems having among them. If Oromos are ideally and physically fragmented then it will expose them for the slavery life. It also shows the meaning and understanding of own history, speaking with own language, developing own culture, maintaining own unity, strengthening own identity practically.

Through the road which the Mecha and Tulema self help association and Oromo libration front made, the Oromo language started to be written in letters, the history and the culture of the Oromo nation is taken out of the grave and let to be developed. A lot of Oromos understood who they are and started to contemplate about Oromia and land ownership which consequently lead them to fight for it. That is why these days many Oromo youths started a very difficult and bitter struggle.

Very less Oromos in number have established the Mecha and Tulema self-help Oromo association and the Oromo liberation front. Many of them for liberating Oromia and nation of the Oromo people have passed away during the struggle. Those who till now are alive are also continued the struggle. Thousands of Oromo martyrs have passed away and sacrificed themselves in this bitter liberation fight. Therefore the Oromo youths should ask themselves saying ‘what is our part? ‘And give an immediate answer (duty and responsibility).

To be a proud Oromo nationalist is shown by keeping the interest of the Oromo nation ahead and working day and night to answer ‘what is the interest of the Oromo nation? The following ten points can be taken as a base:

  1.  Self-Unification and taking part bravely in the liberation struggle to let the Oromo nation free from TPLF and any other of colonizer interest.
  2. Maintaining and keeping the unity of the Oromo nation
  3. Maintaining and keeping the self-respect and humanity of the Oromo nation
  4. For liberating Oromia working day and night, working on awareness development , unifying and standing for our own right
  5. Working on how the Oromo democratic Gada system will be newly established
  6. Working on the Oromo liberation struggle to make the base of the struggle is based on truth, equality and democracy
  7. Making a clear discussion and giving an immediate solution for any kind of problems which exist and created among the Oromo nation
  8. Gaining liberation knowledge which leads to the eradication (uprooting) of an arrogant and oppressive knowledge from the roots
  9. Analyzing, understanding and developing the Oromo language, history and culture
  10. In all possible ways supporting the Oromo community and liberation struggle

In order to make it true and full fill the Oromo people’s interest, the Oromo youths by organizing themselves should work hard for the liberation of their nation. Those who are learning in school or university should learn hard and besides that learning the history of the Oromo struggle is a very crucial responsibility and duty of the Oromo youths. It is someone who is well educated can bear something good for his nation and country, but any kind of education having no national pride and proud Oromo nationalism is being egoistic. Some Oromos simply learn for their personal interest (popularity). These Oromos never retreat to be a tool for Tigre ruling regime. Such Oromos are the one who have no national pride and Oromo nationalism. It is always important to be curies and carful for the Oromo youths from this countries spoiled mentality which poisons and divides the unity of Oromo. The Oromo youth has to carefully avoid division based on region, religion and clan or other dividing reasons. These days there are a lot of such Oromos practicing this issue deliberately or unknowingly. Teaching those doing unknowingly and protesting those Oromos deliberately dividing the Oromo nation should be our historical duty and responsibility.

These days Oromo young generation should understand that tens of thousands of the Oromo martyrs passed away for building the Oromo nation and nationalism. Just to name some of these martyrs, Hailemariam Gemeda, Mamo Mezemir, Elemo Kiltu, Megersa Beri, Baro Tumsa, Muhe Abdo, Nadhi Gemeda, Gutema Hawas, Sartu Yusuf, Ibsitu Marga and others have sacrificed their life for building the Oromo nation and nationalism.

Hence these days Oromo young generation have the historical duty and responsibility of advancing the struggle what these and other unmentioned martyrs started and bring forth to the goal. It is clear that mentioning the whole Oromo martyrs in this piece of papers would be impossible. What I have listed above are just few of them from thousands. The developed Oromo nationalism what we all see today is the result of these martyrs blood. The Oromo nationalism which was brought forth in 1991 to the Oromo nation is not the result of a comfortable struggle but it is the result of so many sacrifices, imprisonment, torture, killing and other brutal human right violations committed on those Oromo martyrs. Here it was not an easy task to restore it back again the mentality which was ruined and spoiled by the Abyssinian imposers and colonizers. Surprisingly this task is not just completed. And because the organization of the Oromo liberation movement established this task to be done is on the right course, it is taken as a base for the struggle of the Oromo nation against oppressors like TPLF.

It is the duty and responsibility of the whole Oromo nation to strengthen and find a fine tuning for problems in this organization. What we all need to understand here is that this organization doesn’t belong to those who are on the leading position but it belongs to the whole Oromo nation. To be part of the struggle, finding a fine tuning for problems and building awareness about this organization should be a crucial responsibility of this generation. And we don’t want any leaders in the Oromo liberation movement to be like those of the habesha leaders which we are fighting. The Gada democratic and equality should be always implemented practically. Starting from today on wards we need to maintain and keep the merits and work hard on the weakest side. What we talk should be seen practically. The whole law should be based on the Oromo and Gada value which in turn is the building block of Oromo nationalism. Through participating in the libration struggle we need to work hard and rectify our mistakes. Standing out of the struggle and criticizing would not be a solution. The Oromo young generation should recognize this importantly.

The Oromo liberation which those many Oromo martyrs were dreaming is coming to be a reality. The many Oromo young generations are implementing it practically. Those who are with and without military weapon through participating directly or indirectly are igniting the struggle. Nations who understood and organized himself have a clear awareness and vision with no hinders from fighting for his right and his nation freedom. This is well known by the ruling government. The Oromo youths should understand this and stand firm in the struggle. Obviously speaking the Oromo liberation is getting closer and closer but even to make it true in a very closer time we need to struggle day and night.

Finally what I would like to stay to the union of the Oromo students in Germany, the Oromo community across the globe and the entire Oromo nation. God bless you!! Let god help us in all our journey of struggle. Make sure that supporting the movement of the Oromo students would be our all responsibility. Thanks for reading! This is what I wanted to address.

Let god help us that our Gada to be the Gada of liberation!

Victory to the Oromo Nation!

You can contact the writer @ Harun Kalil Bati harunkalil@yahoo.com

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Amnesty International’s Report: “Because I Am Oromo”: A Sweeping Repression in Oromia

SUMMARY: REPRESSION OF DISSENT IN OROMIA
“I was arrested for about eight months. Some school students had been arrested, so their  classmates had a demonstration to ask where they were and for them to be released. I was accused of organising the demonstration because the government said my father supported the OLF so I did too and therefore I must be the one who is  organising the students.”
Young man from Dodola Woreda, Bale Zone1

AmnestyFullReport2014

The anticipation and repression of dissent in Oromia manifests in many ways. The below are some of  the numerous and varied individual stories contained in this report:
A student told Amnesty International how he was detained and tortured in Maikelawi Federal Police detention centre because a business plan he had prepared for a competition was alleged to be underpinned by political motivations. A singer told how he had been detained, tortured and forced to agree to only sing in praise of the government in the future. A school girl told Amnesty International how she was detained because she refused to give false testimony against someone else. A former teacher showed Amnesty International where he had been stabbed and blinded in one eye with a bayonet during torture in detention because he had refused to ‘teach’ his students propaganda about the achievements of the ruling political party as he had been ordered to do. A midwife was arrested for delivering the baby of a woman who was married to an alleged member of  the Oromo Liberation Front. A young girl told Amnesty International how she had successively lost both parents  and four brothers through death in detention, arrest or disappearance until, aged 16, she was left alone caring  for two young siblings. An agricultural expert employed by the government told how he was arrested on the  accusation he had incited a series of demonstrations staged by hundreds of farmers in his area, because his  job involved presenting the grievances of the farmers to the government.

In April and May 2014, protests broke out across Oromia against a proposed ‘Integrated Master Plan’ to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, into Oromia regional territory. The protests were led by students, though many other people participated. Security services, comprised of  federal police and the military special forces, responded to the protests with unnecessary and excessive force, firing live ammunition on peaceful protestors in a number of locations and  beating hundreds of peaceful protestors and bystanders, resulting in dozens of deaths and  scores of injuries. In the wake of the protests, thousands of people were arrested.
These incidents were far from being unprecedented in Oromia. They were the latest and  bloodiest in a long pattern of the suppression – sometimes pre-emptive and often brutal – of even suggestions of dissent in the region.  The Government of Ethiopia is hostile to dissent, wherever and however it manifests, and also shows hostility to influential individuals or groups not affiliated to the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) political party. The government has used arbitrary arrest and detention, often without charge, to suppress suggestions of dissent in many parts of the country. But this hostility, and the resulting acts of suppression, have  manifested often and at scale in Oromia.  A number of former detainees, as well as former officials, have observed that Oromos make up  a high proportion of the prison population in federal prisons and in the Federal Police Crime  Investigation and Forensic Sector, commonly known as Maikelawi, in Addis Ababa, where  prisoners of conscience and others subject to politically-motivated detention are often detained when first arrested. Oromos also constitute a high proportion of Ethiopian refugees.  According to a 2012 Inter-Censal Population Survey, the Oromo constituted 35.3% of  Ethiopia’s population. However, this numerical size alone does not account for the high  proportion of Oromos in the country’s prisons, or the proportion of Oromos among Ethiopians  fleeing the country. Oromia and the Oromo have long been subject to repression based on a widespread imputed opposition to the EPRDF which, in conjunction with the size of the  population, is taken as posing a potential political threat to the government. Between 2011 and 2014, at least 5,000 Oromos have been arrested as a result of their actual or suspected peaceful opposition to the government, based on their manifestation of  dissenting opinions, exercise of freedom of expression or their imputed political opinion. These included thousands of peaceful protestors and hundreds of political opposition members, but also hundreds of other individuals from all walks of life – students,  pharmacists, civil servants, singers, business people and people expressing their Oromo cultural heritage – arrested based on the expression of dissenting opinions or their suspected opposition to the government. Due to restrictions on human rights reporting, independent journalism and information exchange in Ethiopia, as well as a lack of transparency on detention practices, it is possible there are many additional cases that have not been reported or documented. In the cases known to Amnesty International, the majority of those arrested were detained without charge or trial for some or all of their detention, for weeks, months or years – a system apparently intended to warn, punish punish or silence them, from which justice is often absent.
Openly dissenting individuals have been arrested in large numbers. Thousands of Oromos have been arrested for participating in peaceful protests on a range of issues. Large-scale arrests were seen during the protests against the ‘Master Plan’ in 2014 and during a series of  protests staged in 2012-13 by the Muslim community   in Oromia and other parts of the  country against alleged government interference in Islamic affairs. In addition, Oromos have  been arrested for participation in peaceful protests over job opportunities, forced evictions,  the price of fertilizer, students’ rights, the teaching of the Oromo language and the arrest or extra-judicial executions of farmers, students, children and others targeted for expressing  dissent, participation in peaceful protests or based on their imputed political opinion. Between 2011 and 2014, peaceful protests have witnessed several incidents of the alleged use of unnecessary and excessive force by security services against unarmed protestors. 
  Hundreds of members of legally-registered opposition political parties have also been arrested in large sweeps that took place in 2011 and in 2014, as well as in individual incidents. 

In addition to targeting openly dissenting groups, the government also anticipates dissent  amongst certain groups and individuals, and interprets certain actions as signs of dissent.  Students in Oromia report that there are high levels of surveillance for signs of dissent or political activity among the student body in schools and universities. Students have been  arrested based on their actual or suspected political opinion, for refusing to join the ruling party or their participation in student societies, which are treated with hostility on the  suspicion that they are underpinned by political motivations. Hundreds of students have also been arrested for participation in peaceful protests.

Expressions of Oromo culture and heritage have been interpreted as manifestations of  dissent, and the government has also shown signs of fearing cultural expression as a potential catalyst for opposition to the government. Oromo singers, writers and poets have been arrested for allegedly criticising the government and/or inciting people through their work. People wearing traditional Oromo clothing have been arrested on the accusation that this demonstrated a political agenda. Hundreds of people have been arrested at Oromo traditional festivals.

Members of these groups – opposition political parties, student groups, peaceful protestors, people promoting Oromo culture and people in positions the government believes could have influence on their communities – are treated with hostility not only due to their own actual or perceived dissenting behaviour, but also due to their perceived potential to act as a conduit  or catalyst for further dissent. A number of people arrested for actual or suspected dissent  told Amnesty International they were accused of the ‘incitement’ of others to oppose the government.

The majority of actual or suspected dissenters who had been arrested in Oromia interviewed  by Amnesty International were accused of supporting the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – the armed group that has fought a long-term low-level insurgency in the region, which was proscribed as a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian parliament in June 2011. The accusation of OLF support has often been used as a pretext to silence individuals openly  exercising dissenting behaviour such as membership of an opposition political party or  participation in a peaceful protest. However, in addition to targeting demonstrators, students, members of opposition political parties and people celebrating Oromo culture based on their  actual or imputed political opinion, the government frequently demonstrates that it  anticipates dissenting political opinion widely among the population of Oromia. People from all walks of life are regularly arrested based only on their suspected political opinion – on the  accusation they support the OLF. Amnesty International interviewed medical professionals, business owners, farmers, teachers, employees of international NGOs and many others who  had been arrested based on this accusation in recent years. These arrests were often based on suspicion alone, with little or no supporting evidence.

Certain behaviour arouses suspicion, such as refusal to join the ruling political party or  movement around or in and out of the region. Some people ‘inherit’ suspicion from their  parents or other family members. Expressions of dissenting opinions within the Oromo party  in the ruling coalition – the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) – have also been responded to with the accusation that the dissenter supports the OLF. Family members have also been arrested in lieu of somebody else wanted for actual or suspected dissenting behaviour, a form of collective punishment illegal under international law. 

In some of these cases too, the accusation of OLF support and arrest on that basis appears to be a pretext used to warn, control or punish signs of ‘political disobedience’ and people who have influence over others and are not members of the ruling political party. But the constant  repetition of the allegation suggests the government continues to anticipate a level of  sympathy for the OLF amongst the Oromo population writ large. Further, the government  appears to also believe that the OLF is behind many signs of peaceful dissent in the region.

However, in numerous cases, the accusation of supporting the OLF and the resulting arrest  do not ever translate into a criminal charge. The majority of all people interviewed by  Amnesty International who had been arrested for their actual or suspected dissenting behaviour or political opinion said that they were detained without being charged, tried or  going to court to review the legality of their detention, in some cases for months or years. Frequently, therefore, the alleged support for the OLF  remains unsubstantiated and unproven. Often, it is merely an informal allegation made during the course of interrogation. Further, questions asked of actual or suspected dissenters by interrogators in detention also suggest that the exercise of certain legal rights  –for example, participation in a peaceful protest – is taken as evidence of OLF support.  A number of people interviewed by Amnesty International had been subjected to repeated arrest on the  same allegation of  of being  anti-government or   of OLF support, without ever being charged. 

Amnesty International interviewed around 150 Oromos who were targeted for actual or  suspected dissent. Of those who were arrested on these bases, the majority said they were subjected to arbitrary detention without judicial review, charge or trial, for some or all of the period of their detention, for periods ranging from several days to several years. In the majority of those cases, the individual said they were arbitrarily detained for the entire duration of their detention. In fewer cases, though still reported by a notable number of interviewees, the detainee was held arbitrarily – without charge or being brought before a court – during an initial period that again ranged from a number of weeks to a number of  years, before the detainee was eventually brought before a court.

A high proportion of people interviewed by Amnesty International were also held  incommunicado – denied access to legal representation and family members and contact with the outside world – for some or all of their period of detention. In many of these cases, the detention amounted to enforced disappearance, such as where lack of access to legal counsel and family members and lack of information on the detainee’s fate or whereabouts placed a detainee outside the protection of the law. them again. The family continued to be ignorant of their fate and did not know whether they  were alive or dead.Many people reported to Amnesty International that, after their family members had been arrested, they had never heard from.

Arrests of actual or suspected dissenters in Oromia reported to Amnesty International were  made by local and federal police, the federal military and intelligence officers, often without  a warrant. Detainees were held in Kebele, Woreda and Zonal3 detention centres, police stations, regional and federal prisons. However, a large proportion of former detainees interviewed by Amnesty International were detained in unofficial places of detention, mostly  in military camps throughout the region. In some cases apparently considered more serious, detainees were transferred to Maikelawi in Addis Ababa. Arbitrary detention without charge or trial was reported in all of these places of detention.

Almost all people interviewed by Amnesty International who had been detained in military camps or other unofficial places of detention said their detention was not subject to any form of judicial review. All detainees in military camps in Oromia nterviewed by Amnesty International experienced some violations of the rights and protections of due process and a high proportion of all interviewees who had been detained in a military camp reported torture, including rape, and other ill-treatment.
Actual or suspected dissenters have been subjected to torture in federal and regional detention centres and prisons, police stations, including Maikelawi, military camps and other  unofficial places of detention. The majority of former detainees interviewed by Amnesty  International, arrested based on their actual or imputed political opinion, reported that they had been subjected to treatment amounting to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in most cases repeatedly, while in detention or had been subjected to treatment that amounts to torture or ill-treatment in and around their homes. Frequently reported methods of torture were beating, particularly with fists, rubber batons, wooden or metal sticks or gun butts, kicking, tying in contorted stress positions often in conjunction with beating on the soles of the feet, electric shocks, mock execution or death threats involving a gun, beating with electric wire, burning, including with heated metal or molten plastic, chaining or tying hands or ankles together for extended periods (up to several months), rape, including gang rape, and extended solitary confinement. Former detainees repeatedly said that they  were coerced, in many cases under torture or the threat of torture, to provide a statement or confession or incriminating evidence against others.
Accounts of former detainees interviewed by Amnesty International consistently demonstrate that conditions in detention in regional and federal police stations, regional and federal prisons, military camps and other unofficial places of detention, violate international law and  national and international standards. Cases of death in detention were reported to Amnesty  International by former fellow detainees or family members of detainees. These deaths were  reported to result from torture, poor detention conditions and lack of medical assistance.  Some of these cases may amount to extra-judicial executions, where the detainees died as a result of torture or the intentional deprivation of food or medical assistance. 

There is no transparency or oversight of this system of arbitrary detention, and no independent investigation of allegations of torture and other violations in detention. No independent human rights organizations that monitor and publically document violations have access to detention centres in Ethiopia.

In numerous cases, former detainees interviewed by Amnesty International also said their release from arbitrary detention was premised on their agreement to a set of arbitrary  conditions unlawfully imposed by their captors rather than by any judicial procedure, and  many of which entailed foregoing the exercise of other human rights, such as those to the freedoms of expression, association and movement. Failure to uphold the conditions, detainees were told, could lead to re-arrest or worse. Regularly cited conditions included: not participating in demonstrations or other gatherings, political meetings or student activities; not meeting with more than two or three individuals at one time; not having any contact with certain people, including spouses or family members wanted by the authorities for alleged dissenting behaviour; or not leaving the area where they lived without seeking permission from local authorities. For a number of people interviewed by Amnesty International, it was the difficulty of complying with these conditions and the restricting impact they had on their  lives, or fear of the consequences if they failed to comply, intentionally or unintentionally, that caused them to flee the country.

The testimonies of people interviewed by Amnesty International, as well as information received from a number of other sources and legal documents seen by the organization, indicate a number of fair trial rights are regularly violated in cases of actual or suspected  Oromo dissenters that have gone to court, including the rights to a public hearing, to not be  compelled to incriminate oneself, to be tried without undue delay and the right to presumption of innocence. Amnesty International has also documented cases in which the lawful exercise of the right to freedom of expression, or other protected human rights, is cited as evidence of illegal support for the OLF in trials. Amnesty International also received dozens of reports of actual or suspected dissenters being
killed by security services, in the context of security services’ response to protests, during the  arrests of actual or suspected dissidents, and while in detention. Some of these killings may  amount to extra-judicial executions. A multiplicity of both regional and federal actors are involved in committing human rights violations against actual or suspected dissenters in Oromia, including civilian administrative  officials, local police, federal police, local militia, federal military and intelligence services, with cooperation between the different entities, including between the regional and federal levels.

Because of the many restrictions on human rights organizations and on the freedoms of  association and expression in Ethiopia, arrests and detentions are under-reported and almost no sources exist to assist detainees and their families in accessing justice and pressing for  remedies and accountability for human rights violations.

The violations documented in this report take place in an environment of almost complete impunity for the perpetrators. Interviewees regularly told Amnesty International that it was either not possible or that there was no point in trying to complain, seek answers or seek justice in cases of enforced disappearance, torture, possible extra-judicial execution or other violations. Many feared repercussions for asking. Some were arrested when they did ask about a relative’s fate or whereabouts.

As Ethiopia heads towards general elections in 2015, it is likely that the government’s efforts to suppress dissent, including through the use of arbitrary arrest and detention and other  violations, will continue unabated and may even increase. The Ethiopian government must take a number of urgent and substantial measures to ensure no-one is arrested, detained, charged, tried, convicted or sentenced on account of the peaceful exercise of their rights to the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, including the right to peacefully assemble to protest, or based on their imputed political opinion; to end unlawful practices of arbitrary detention without charge or trial, incommunicado detention without access to the outside world, detention in unofficial detention centres, and enforced disappearance; and to address the prevalence of torture and other ill-treatment in Ethiopia’s detention centres. All allegations of torture, incidents involving allegations of the unnecessary or excessive use of force by security services against peaceful protestors, and all suspected cases of extra-judicial executions must be urgently and properly investigated. Access to all prisons and other places of detention and to all prisoners should be extended to appropriate independent, non-governmental bodies, including international human rights bodies.

Donors with existing funding programmes working with federal and regional police, with the military or with the prison system, should carry out thorough and impartial investigations into allegations of human rights violations within those institutions, to ensure their funding is not contributing to the commission of human rights violations. Further, the international community should accord the situation in Ethiopia the highest possible level of scrutiny. Existing domestic investigative and accountability mechanisms have proved not capable of carrying out investigations that are independent, adequate, prompt, open to public scrutiny and which sufficiently involve victims. Therefore, due to the  apparent existence of an entrenched pattern of violations in Ethiopia and due to concerns over the impartiality of established domestic investigative procedures, there is a substantial
and urgent need for intervention by regional and international human rights bodies to conduct independent investigations into allegations of widespread human rights violations in Oromia, as well as the rest of Ethiopia. Investigations should be pursued through the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry, fact-finding mission or comparable procedure, comprised of independent international experts, under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council or the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 

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Libya: Thousands of Refugees in Life-Threatening Situation

HRLHA Urgent Action

September 24, 2013

For Immediate Release

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) has learnt through its correspondents that hundreds of thousands of refugees in Libya, most of whom were from the Horn of African countries, such as Ethiopia and Eritrea, are in a very dangerous situation after they had been evicted from their original refugee camps in Benghazi, Libya, where they stayed for the past three years. The eviction took place following the infiltration and assault of the refugees by those who were described as workers of the Libyan Red Crescent on the 13th of September, 2013. The assault included beating and stabbings by knives. Those who broke out of the shelters to run away from the assaults were met with the Libyan armed forces, that were stationed around the camps, prior to the starting of the assault. Then, the refugees were forced out of the camp on allegations that they attempted to instigate disturbances in the city, and taken to a remote area known as Alshatti.

According to HRLHA correspondents, about 500 refugees are now held in what was known to be a private detention centre in Alshatti, located on the Sahara Desert border with no adequate supply of basic necessities. HRLHA has also learnt that the very adverse weather condition at Alshatti has worsened the situation to the refugees. Even two expecting women, who delivered after arriving in Alshatti and their newly born infants, were not treated differently. The fact that the refugees are now held in isolation where they are not visited by international agencies like the UN High Commission for Refugees and the ICRC until this Urgent Action is documented, as they used to when they were sheltered in Benghazi, added to the very unfriendly living condition has raised their frustrations. The refugees, who were contacted by HRLHA, also mention that there have been detachments and disconnections among refugees who had acquaintances and/or relationships with each other. Most of the refugees, who were taken to Alshatti, are originally from Ethiopia and Eritrea, HRLHA correspondents have added.

The HRLHA managed to obtain the names of the following 33 refugees:
[* for the list of names, please visit HRLHA’s website @ http://humanrightsleague.com * ]

HRLHA is highly concerned about the safety and future fates of those asylum seekers and refugees in such an isolated and disconnected socio-political environment. Therefore, HRLHA calls up on the Libyan Government, first of all, to ensure the safety and well being of the refugees and asylum seekers by providing full protection against any kind of attacks from any side or angle, and allow access to the new location to the representatives of regional and international UN and humanitarian agencies as well as media organizations so that they could receive all the supports they need, especially to bring their refugee lives to an end.

The HRLHA also urges all national, regional and international human rights groups, donor countries and organizations to join hands in putting pressure on the Libyan government so that it abides by the international norms, the 1951 International Convention of the Refugees and Asylum Seekers and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 14 (1) “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”

Recommendation:
Please send appeals to the Libyan Government, concerned Libyan officials and to diplomatic representatives of Libya who are accredited to your country as swiftly as possible, in English, in Berber or Libyan Arabic language, or in your own language expressing:

Your concern regarding the mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees in Libya, and they should be treated according to the 1951 International Convention of the Refugees and Asylum Seekers, and other international norms of refugee and asylum seekers rights.

Appeal to:

1. His Excellency Dr. Ali Zidan, Prime Minster of Libya
Tel: +218(21) 444 3700
Fax: +218 (21) 360 0889

2. His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Abdul-Aziz, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Libya
Tel: 22 – 2921 340 21 218

Copied To:
– UNHCR Main Office Geneva, Switzerland
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt
Suisse.
Tel: +41 22 739 8111

– Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson, 52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 917 9656
Mail: civilsocietyunit@ohchr.org

– African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul, The Gambia
Tel: (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 – 23
Fax: (220) 4390 764
E-mail: achpr@achpr.org

– Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE
Tel: + 33 (0)3 88 41 34 21
Fax: + 33 (0)3 90 21 50 53

– U.S. Department of State
Laura Hruby
Ethiopia Desk Officer
U.S. State Department
HrubyLP@state.gov
Tel: (202) 647-6473

– Amnesty International Secretariat – London
Tel: 44 20 74135500
Fax: 44 20 79561157
1Easton Street
London, WC1X0DW, UK

– Human Rights Watch – New York
Tel: +1-212-290-4700
Fax: +1-212-736-1300
Email: hrwnyc@hrw

Ethiopia’s “religious abuse” may cause regional destabilization

Ethiopia’s “religious abuse” may cause regional destabilization.

The Wounded Ethiopian Nationalism and Its Insecurity Dilemma

By Leggese A. Gurmu

Ethiopian Nationalism is a wounded nationalism. The bloody war it has been fighting with its foes since the 1960s has left it severely wounded. It has been fighting both with its internal and external enemies which were created, harbored and brought up by Narrow Ethiopian Nationalism itself. It has been decisively defeated both in the battles of armed struggles and in the realm of ideas. Due to these bitter defeats Eritrea has gone forever. “Ethno”-Nationalists (even though I do not like this name, I could not get better one) have got State power and launched bloody wars against Ethiopian Nationalism. In fact, Ethno-Nationalists have scored so many successive “victories” that has far deepened the wound of Ethiopian Nationalism. Due to these defeats, Ethiopian Nationalists have started to doubt the validity and viability of their political commitments and values. They have lost self values and have become trapped into the vicious cycle that could be analogized to theory of “insecurity dilemma” of the given regime.

In this regard, Messay Kebede, the best mind Ethiopian nationalism can offer, wrote these statements in his recently published article titled Ethiopia’s Fragmented Elites: Origins and Syndromes. He writes, “The dreams of the generation of the 60s and early 70s have been squashed by the victory of the Derg whose dictatorial rule decimated its morale and that of their offspring. Both were offered nothing but the humiliation of a massive exodus. Whether they stayed in the country or left, all experienced another cycle of humiliating events when they witnessed, powerless, the defeat of the Ethiopian army, the invasion of the country by an ethnic army, and the secession of Eritrea. It is hard not to infer from these events a severe damage to Ethiopian nationalism and an erosion of self-confidence such that the generation’s belief in its ability to accomplish great things has received a deadly blow. Without self-confidence, the readiness to unite for a great cause is also likely to suffer gravely.”

For me the real problem is not only the humiliating defeat the Ethiopian Nationalists faced but also how they understand and appreciate their humiliations and defeats. They rightly come to the conclusion that they cannot simply sit and watch their “ideological” and political death. Without any doubt, they will, and indeed have come to the conclusion that they have to do something about their irreparable losses. It seems they want to do this unknown “something” urgently. In the face of this urgency, humiliation, loss of self confidence and values, Ethiopian Nationalism becomes more reactive and irrational, as opposed to pragmatic and strategic. The reactive and irrational nature of this nationalism exposes itself to more systematic and organized attacks of its foes, which are better organized, armed with better ideas and instruments. The more it reacts, the more it gets heavy smacks from all corners of its angry and suspicious adversaries. This has similarity to theories of insecurity dilemma: the more you do things to insure your survival, the more you expose yourself to the greater threats and risks. This is a serious confusion and a fatal vicious cycle that kills via euthanasia.

Ethiopian Nationalists deeply misunderstood their relative strength, weakness and challenges. They think their adversaries are weak, useless and will eventually die. You can say Ethiopian Nationalism has been incurably hurting itself by “delusions of greatness and feelings of impotence”. Since what Ethiopian nationalists think of themselves and their actual realities do not correspond, they are a living and talking world of contradiction. These create and deepen the psychology of “haplessness” and prevent them “from devising realistic responses” to the deadly socio- political problems that they have been creating, developing and promoting. When more organized and competing political forces come to the show and effectively challenge Ethiopian Nationalism, which was protected from all sorts of democratic or whatever competitions until 1992, the leaders of Ethiopian Nationalists found themselves in unceasing and deepening crisis. They could not come up with unifying ideologies that can compete and win support in the realm of marketplace of ideas. Since they do not have any galvanizing idea around which they democratically organize people from different sections of Ethiopian society, Ethiopian nationalism and its leaders face problems of trust and confidence as to their competence and ability to guide and lead. Who is going to follow the losers and people who cannot come up with contextualized, updated and working ideas? In this regard Messay writes again,

“Defeat and humiliation entail leadership crisis. Just as a defeated army questions the competence of its commanding officers, so too a vanquished generation loses faith in leadership. Once leadership is distrusted, the willingness to unite in an organization is drastically reduced. No less than the need to accomplish great goals, confidence in leaders is a requirement of unity.”

Another serious problem of Ethiopian nationalism is that it carries the seed of violence. This is a clear inconvenience given that it cannot be adopted into democratic values and institutions that can earn trust and confidence from different sections of the society. Since this nationalism was (until the final fall of the Derg) created, promoted and maintained by bloody authoritarian regimes, and hence fully backed by state security/coercive  apparatus, the seeds of violence are in its deep philosophy of dealing with  all sorts of problems and competing legitimate interests.

In other words, Ethiopian Nationalists cannot help but resort to use of violence at their disposal whenever they find themselves in problems or crisis. That is why they are still using the structure of violence that they have been building since the end of the 19th century.

Even if they do not have a direct control over the institutions and personnel (the hardware) of Ethiopian repressive security apparatus, Ethiopian Nationalists are still providing the game changing ideas and justifications (the lethal software) for current Ethiopian regime whenever it comes to dealing with their perceived or real “enemies”. For instance, they usually do not hesitate to use the “multimedia platform” under their control to launch deadly offensive propaganda wars against some Oromo political leaders and targeted activists, whom they love to label as “Atseyyafi  Gosangoch /Zeregnoch”, in English “detestable Ethno-Racists”. These acts are a sheer exercise of violence and they show how these nationalists are very much comfortable with the use of violence against their perceived “enemies” whenever possible. This violent nature of Ethiopian Nationalism is not convenient to solve any serious political or social matters with peaceful and democratic procedures. Fundamentally, from the past history and current political and social circumstances, it is possible to say Ethiopian nationalism is yet to be “civilized” to accommodate the differences and live peacefully with competing ideologies. Even today peace, freedom, liberty, and other democratic values are not in the nature of Ethiopian nationalism; it is as wild and barbaric as that of Menelik’s time.  How can anyone with sound mind be attracted to this kind of nationalism that is void of any moral or substantive political content of 21st century?

The violent nature of Ethiopian Nationalism makes it counterproductive, the more it uses subtle but dangerous means of violence, the more it creates problems primarily for itself and its followers. By exercising this violence, Ethiopian Nationalists simply remind everyone, including their moderate followers, what this nationalism has been all about for the last one and half century. It is forcing almost all, including the moderate and people who have been incorporated into the Ethiopian political identity, to integrate past traumas of their ancestries into their life stories, or their self-perceptions, the traumas that are embedded into the minds of the significant majority which have been narrated as “outbreaks of lethal violence that have been described as ‘massacre,’ ‘genocide’ and ‘expulsion.’ Etc. These again create another cycle of resentments and mistrusts which decisively works against their wounds, but immensely strengthen their opponents. This is something that makes me wonder how this nationalism is founded upon its own grave.

I can list so many ways in which the very manifestation of wounded Ethiopian Nationalism works against itself than working against its competitors. Just because of time and space again, I will try to put this in another part of my note. Once more, I would like to quote Messay’s recent statement on this wounded nature of Ethiopian nationalism. It is dark and gloomy but illustrates the points I would like to emphasize. He writes,

“It would be naive to expect from a wounded generation the solutions to Ethiopia’s numerous problems. What was ruined by one generation cannot be fixed by the same generation. True change requires, above all, culture change, which takes time because it is a matter of creativity and growth. In short, real change is a generational issue.”

I totally agree with these statements. I would like to add that the wounded nationalism will die if it does not know how to stop wounding itself overtime it tries to attack its real or perceived enemies.  Now, every day and every moment, Ethiopian nationalism is busy in severely wounding itself and in fact bleeding to death. Doesn’t this nationalism have any nervous system that detects and traces the bleeding wounds and inform the victims to take the correcting measures? I think one of their  nerve nodes  Professor Messay has started to see how he and his generation have been wounding and slowly killing their Nationalism which they took an oath to care for, nurture and protect by all means, the means they do not have any clue about, however.

Source: The Wounded Ethiopian Nationalism and Its Insecurity Dilemma