HRLHA Urgent Action
Sept. 9, 2017
The peaceful street protests in Oromia that shook Ethopia for over one year (November 2015-October 2016) turned violent after the reckless action by the government when its military attacked civilians and murdered over 700 at the Oromo Irrecha Festival on October 2, 2016.
The fascistic action of the Ethiopian government turned a peaceful protest into a violent one in which many people were killed and government property was destroyed by the angry protesters.
The TPLF/EPRDF government declared a six- month state of emergency- later extended to ten months- on October 8, 2016 with the pretext of calming the violence in Oromia. During the State of Emergency, the government killing squad members were deployed in all villages of the Oromia Regional state where they committed killings, kidnappings, and arrests during the ten months of the State of Emergency.
Under the State of Emergency, the TPLF/ EPRDF government- trained Liyu Police led by the killing Squad Agazi were deployed along the long border between Somali and Oromia regional states and occupied 32 districts of Oromo land from the south Borana zone to the northeast Hararge zone; many people were killed from both sides. During the six- month war between the federal government force backed Liyu Police and Oromo farmers over 500 people have been killed, and many other Oromos have been forcefully kidnapped and taken to Somali Region.
The border crisis between Somali and Oromia regional states was settled as a result of negotiations between the Oromia and Somali state authorities by annexing 15 Oromia villages into the Somali regional state.
However, two months after the signing of the agreement between the two sides, the pre-planned and unprecedented war against the Oromo nation was re-aggravated along the borders of all sides of Oromia by the Ethiopian Federal government- sponsored regional militias. As a result, intense fighting has occurred from mid- August 2017 until this report was compiled in the Eastern Oromia, Gursum, East Hararge, Rayitu and Saweena, Bale zone, Chamug Borana zone, Wachile and Moyale Gujji zones- over 56 people have already been killed from both sides.
The HRLHA informant has also reported similar war is happening on the border of Benshangul in the west, Gambela in the southwest, Afar in the North. As a result, the Oromo people are currently essentially at war with the Federal government- backed regional militias in all directions.
The current Oromia Regional State Authorities could not protect their people from the aggression of neighbor states backed by the Federal Killing squads.
The Oromo farmers, who were disarmed by the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) during the State of emergency, have no option other than to confront the attacks perpetrated against them from all directions.
The Ethiopian Federal government, which in theory has a state duty and a responsibility to bring peace and harmony among the nations and nationalities in the country, actually instigated the conflict between Oromia and all its neighboring states. The TPLF/EPRDF government’s killing squad Agazi force collaborated with the invaders and continued its ruthless repression which will probably drive the country into a full-fledged civil war.
To reverse the shadow of the looming civil war which could result in human tragedy, and atrocity in Ethiopia, the donor governments such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Swedin, Norway and government agencies like the UN, AU and EU and subsidiary organizations (African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, EU Human Rights Commission and UN human rights council) have to express their concerns to the government of Ethiopia to stop backing small groups from fighting against the largest ethnic group- the Oromos- and instead act responsibly to stabilize the country.
This is a cosmopolitan ideal of protecting people inside states against mass atrocities as a matter of common obligation. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P), coined in 2001 under the leadership of the Canadian government and adopted by 150 heads of states and governments in 2005, obliges the international community to intervene to stop atrocities.
As a matter of principle, a state shoulders the primary responsibility to prevent and protect its own citizens against horrific acts, but if it is unable or unwilling to prevent and protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, the responsibility is thus shifted to the international community. The R2P states, ” when a state is unable or unwilling to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, the international community has the responsibility to intervene”.
The UN Charter’s first and most essential aim is to “maintain international peace and security”. However, when the UN was first created, it was an enormous undertaking based on hope.
Today, one critical question on everyone’s lips is whether the United Nations is living up to its mandate, more particularly, of maintaining international peace and security. Amid ongoing human rights crises in Ethiopia it is hard to figure out what exactly the UN & AU have done to uphold their responsibilities. Nevertheless, it is not too late to act today.
The international communities and agencies can play a decisive role to stop the looming civil war in Oromia/Ethiopia by::
• Major donor governments, including the USA, the UK & Canada, Sweden, Norway and Australia should stop funding the authoritarian TPLF/EPRDF government
• Putting pressure on the government of Ethiopia to respect the principle of R2P, and shoulder its primary responsibility to prevent and protect its own citizens against horrific acts
• Putting pressure on the TPLF/EPRDF government to allow neutral investigators to probe into the political crisis in the country as the precursor to international community intervention
The HRLHA therefore calls, yet again, upon the international community to act collectively in a timely and decisive manner – through the UN Security Council and in accordance with the UN charter on a case-by – case basis to stop the looming Civil War in Oromia/Ethiopia
• UN Security Council
Office of the Ombudsperson
Room DC2 2206
New York, NY 10017
United States of America
Tel: +1 212 963 2671
• UN Human Rights Council
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland.
• Africa Union (AU)
African Union Headquarters
P.O. Box 3243 | Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area) | W21K19 | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: (251) 11 551 77 00 | Fax: (251) 11 551 78 44
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
31 Bijilo Annex Layout, Kombo North District
Western Region, P.O. Box 673 Banjul
Tel: (220) 441 05, 05, 441 05 06
• The US Department of State
WASHINGTON, D.C. HEADQUARTERS
Office of Foreign Missions
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Customer Service Center
3507 International Place NW
Washington, D.C. 20522-3303
• UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 4055
Fax: 020 7219 5851
London, SW1A 2AH
Tel: 020 7008 1500
• Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada)
Enquiries Service (BCI)
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Email: Enquiry Service – On line form
• Minister for Foreign Affairs (Sweden)
Her Excellency Margot Wallström
Switchboard: +46 8 405 10 00
Street address: Rosenbad 4
Postal address: SE 103 33 Stockhol
• Minister of Foreign Affairs (Normway)
His Excellency BørgeBrende
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Phone: + 47 23 95 00 00
Address: 7. juniplassen 1, N-0032 Oslo