The following is a statement from the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA).
Oromia/Ethiopia: Region-Wide, Heavy-Handed Crackdown on Peaceful Protesters
HRLHA Urgent Action
For Immediate Release
The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its grave concern at the continuation of gross human rights violations in Oromia Regional State – violations that have regularly occurred since 1991 when the TPLF/EPRDF came into power.
The most recent heinous crime was committed – and is still being committed – against defenseless schoolchildren protesting against the approval of “the Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan” by the Oromia Regional State Parliament a month ago. The peaceful protest involved many elementary school, high school and university students, and civilians. Among them were students in Western Oromia zones: Najo, Nekemt, Mandi high schools, and in other towns, in Central Oromia in Ginchi, Ambo, Addis Ababa high schools and the surrounding towns, Eastern and Southern Oromia zones, in Haromaya, and Bule Hora Universities, and many more schools and universities. In violation of the rights of the citizen to peaceful demonstration enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution(1) [Chapter Two, Article 30 (1) states: “Everyone has the right to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peaceably and unarmed, and to petition. Appropriate regulations may be made in the interest of public convenience relating to the location of open-air meetings and the route of movement of demonstrators or, for the protection of democratic rights, public morality and peace during such a meeting or demonstration.”], students, in all of these places, were severely beaten, imprisoned or even killed.
The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa emphasizes that the ongoing violence and crimes committed in Oromia Regional State for over two and a half decades by the TPLF perpetrators against the Oromo Nation amount to war crimes, and crimes against humanity – a clear failure of the Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO) authorities, an organization claiming to represent the Oromo Nation. The members of this bogus political organization have proved to be not the Oromo peoples’ true representatives, but rather stand-ins for their real masters who have compromised the interests of the Oromo Nation. The Oromia Regional State authorities/OPDO did not resist the TPLF regime when Oromo children, farmers, intellectuals, members of political organizations were killed, abducted, imprisoned, tortured and evicted from their livelihoods by TPLF security agents in the past two and half decades. Instead, they helped the TPLF regime to control the political and economic resources of the Oromia Regional State. TPLF high officials and ordinary level cadres in Oromia Regional State engaged in enriching themselves and their family members by selling Oromo land, looting and embezzling public wealth and properties in the occupied areas of the Oromo Nation, and committing many other forms of corruption.
Committing atrocities and crimes against humanity are failures to comply with obligations under international law, international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including the principles of proportionality and discrimination. With many civilians suffering from the crimes and serious violations of human rights, and by not taking any measures to ensure the accountability of those responsible for these crimes and violations, it has become clear that after all these years the so called Oromia Parliament (Caffee Oromiyaa) has betrayed the Oromo people by not protecting them. The OPDO members and the Oromia Parliament (Caffee Oromiyaa) members should not continue in silence while Oromo children are brutalized by Aga’azy squads deployed by the TPLF for ethnic cleansing. The Oromia Parliament (Caffee Oromiyaa) and OPDO have a moral obligation to dissolve their institutions and stand beside their people to resist the TPLF regime’s aggression.
The HRLHA believes that the gross human rights violations committed by the TPLF government, in cooperation with OPDO in the past two and half decades against Oromo Nation, have been pre-planned every time they have happened. TPLF regime security agents imprisoned, killed, tortured, kidnapped, disappeared, and evicted from their ancestral lands thousands of Oromo nationals, simply because of their ethnic backgrounds and to acquire their resources. The TPLF inhuman actions against Oromo civilians are clearly genocidal, a crime against humanity and an ethnic cleansing, which breach domestic and international laws, and all international treaties the government of Ethiopia signed and ratified.
The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern over the safety and well-being of these Oromo nationals who have been arrested without any court warrant and are being held in different police stations, military camps, “Maekelawi” compound, the main federal police investigation center, in Central Addis Ababa and in different unknown places.
Therefore, HRLHA calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand an immediate halt to these extra-judicial actions, terrorizing civilians and the immediate unconditional release of the detainees.
The HRLHA also calls on all human- rights defender non-governmental, civic organizations, its members, supporters and sympathizers to stand beside the HRLHA and provide moral, professional and financial help to bring the dictatorial TPLF government and officials to international justice.
The HRLHA is a non-political organization that attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works to defend fundamental human rights, including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works to raise the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and those of others. It encourages respect for laws and due process. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.
– UNESCO Headquarters
– UNESCO – Africa Department
– UNESCO – Africa Regional Office
– Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
– Office of the UNHCR
– African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
– Council of Europe
– U.S. Department of State – Ethiopia Desk
1 – Ethiopians Constitution of 1995 – http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/research/Proclamation%20no.1-1995.pdf