ETHIOPIA: Region-Wide, Heavy-Handed Crackdown on Peaceful Protesters HRLHA Urgent Action

May 01, 2014
The human rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) would like to express its deepest concern over the widespread brutalities of the Ethiopian Government in handling protests in different parts of the regional state of Oromia by peaceful demonstrators. In a heavy-handed crackdown being carried out by the federal armed squad called Agazi, which is infamously known for its cruelty against innocent civilians particularly during such public protests, 16 (sixteen) Oromo students have so far been shot dead in the town of Ambo alone and scores of others have been wounded, according to HRLHA correspondents in the area. The victims of the brutal attacks were not only from among those who were out protesting in the streets, but also among those who stayed behind on university campuses. Hundreds of others have also been arrested, loaded on police trucks, and taken to unknown destinations.

oromo-protests (1)

Although the brutalities of the armed squad and the resultant fatalities happened to be very high in Ambo Town, the peaceful protests by Oromo students of different universities and faculties have been taking place in the past couple of days in various towns and cities of Oromia including Diredawa and Adama in eatern Oromia, as well as Jimma, Mettu, Naqamte, Gimbi, and Dambidollo in western Oromia.
The Oromo students in all those and other universities took to the streets for peaceful demonstrations in protest to the recently made decision by the Federal EPRDF/TPLF-led Government to expand the city of Finfinnee/Addis Ababa by uprooting and displacing hundreds of thousands of Oromos from all sorts of livelihoods, and annexing about 36 surrounding towns of Oromia, the ultimate goal of which is claimed to be re-drawing the map of the Oromia Region. The federal annexation plan, which was termed as “The Integrated Development Master Plan”, is said to be covering the towns of Dukem, Gelan, Legetafo, Sendafa, Sululta, Burayu, Holeta, Sebeta, and others, stretching the boundary of Finfinne/Addis Ababa to about 1.1million hectares – an area of 20 times its current size.
The Oromo protesters claim that the decision was in violation of both the regional and federal constitutions that guarantee the ownership, special interests and benefits of the Oromo Nation over Finfinne/Addis Ababa. Similar unlawful and unconstitutional action taken at different times in the past fifteen and twenty years have already resulted in the dispossessions of lands and displacements of hundreds of thousands of Oromos farmers and business owners from around the city of Finfinne, forcing them into unemployment and day labourer.
The HRLHA has been able to obtain the names of the following students from among those who have been shot dead, wounded, and/or arrested and taken away:
No Name Gender University & Department
1 Falmata Bayecha M Jimma, Medicine 5th year
2 Galana Ababa M Jimma, Governance 3rd year
3 Zabana Barasa M Jimma, Oromo Folklore 3rd year
4 Getacho Darajje M Jimma, Governance 3rd year
5 Isra’el Habtamu M Jimma
6 Husen Umar M Jimma
7 Ababa Kumsa M Wallagga
8 Abdisa Nagasa M Wallagga
9 Tashome Dawit M Wallagga
10 Gexe Tafari F Wallagga

By so doing, the Ethiopian Government violates the property rights of peoples, which is clearly described both in local and international agreements including the Ethiopia constitution of 1995 article 40(3). While strongly condemning the brutality of the Ethiopian Government against its own people, specifically the youth, HRLHA would like to once again express its deep concerns regarding the whereabouts as well as safety of the students who have been taken into custody in relation to this protest.
HRLHA calls up on the Ethiopian Government to immediately stop shooting at and killed unarmed peaceful protestors who are attempting to exercise some of their fundamental rights and freedom of expression; and unconditionally release the detained students. We also request that the Ethiopian Government bring to justice the security agents who have committed criminal offences against own citizens by violating domestic and international human rights norms. HRLHA also calls up on regional and international diplomatic, democratic, and human rights agencies to challenge the Ethiopian TPLF/EPRDF government on its persistent brutal, dictatorial, and suppressive actions against innocent and unarmed civilians.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to the Ethiopian Government and its concerned officials as swiftly as possible, in English, Ahmaric, or your own language expressing:
• Your concerns over at the apprehension hundreds of students, and fear of torture of the citizens who are being held in Ma’ikelawi Central Investigation Office and other detention centers since February, 2011 to present at different times, and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;
• Urging the authorities of Ethiopia to ensure that these detainees are treated in accordance with regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners,
• Urging the Ethiopian Government to disclose whereabouts of the detainees and,
• Your concerns to diplomatic representatives of Ethiopia accredited to your respective countries,
Send Your Concerns to
• His Excellency: Mr. Haila Mariam Dessalegn – Prime Minister of Ethiopia
P.O.Box – 1031 Addis Ababa
Telephone – +251 155 20 44; +251 111 32 41
Fax – +251 155 20 30 , +251 15520

• Office of Oromiya National Regional State President Office
Telephone – 0115510455
• Office of the Ministry of Justice of Ethiopia
PO Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Fax: +251 11 5517775; +251 11 5520874 Email: ministry-justice@telecom.net.et
• UNESCO Headquarters Paris.
7, place de Fontenoy 75352 Paris 07 SP France
1, rue Miollis 75732 Paris Cedex 15 France
General phone:
+33 (0)1 45 68 10 00
www.unesco.org
• United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)- Africa Department
7 place Fontenoy,75352
Paris 07 SP
France
General phone:
+33 (0)1 45 68 10 00
Website:
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/africa-department/
• UNESCO AFRICA RIGIONAL OFFICE
MR.JOSEPH NGU
Director
• UNESCO Office in Abuja
Mail: j.ngu(at)unesco.org
Tel: +251 11 5445284
Fax: +251 11 5514936
• Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland Fax: + 41 22 917 9022 (particularly for urgent matters) E-mail: tb-petitions@ohchr.org this e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You
need JavaScript enabled to view it
• Office of the UNHCR
Telephone: 41 22 739 8111
Fax: 41 22 739 7377
Po Box: 2500
Geneva, Switzerland
• 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
+ 33 (0)3 88 41 34 21
+ 33 (0)3 90 21 50 53
Contact us by email
• U.S. Department of State
Laura Hruby
Ethiopia Desk Officer
U.S. State Department
HrubyLP@state.gov
Tel: (202) 647-6473

• Amnesty International – London
Claire Beston
Claire Beston” <Claire.Beston@amnesty.org>,
• Human Rights Watch
Felix Hor
“Felix Horne” <hornef@hrw.org>,

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