HRLHA Urgent Actions

Appeal to UNHCR, international human rights agencies and organizations

HRLHA URGENT ACTION No 12,

June2010

Abduction and Disappearance of Refugees in Somaliland

               The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern about the safety of six Oromo refugees who were abducted from various locations in Somaliland on different dates in a joint operation by security forces of the governments of the Somaliland and Ethiopia, and taken to unknown destinations.

               According to information obtained through HRLHA correspondent in the area,

  1. Fahmi Kalif Adam,
  2. Mohammed-saani Mohammed,
  3.  Abdi Yuusuf Adam, and
  4. Raajuu/Jeylan Jibril Kadir were kidnapped on the 28th of May, 2010 at around 8:00 PM in a locality known as Sha’abka in the town of Hargessa.
  5. Abdurahman Ibrahim was abducted on the 1st of June, 2010 while he was walking along the street in the same town. The sixth refugee, Bontu Sharaf (a female engaged in private retail business), was abducted on the 5th of June, 2010 in the border town of Wacale on the Ethio-Somalian border. No information was obtained regarding the safety and the whereabouts of all the six refugees ever since they were abducted and taken away.

               Abdi Yusuf, Raajuu or Jeylan Jibril, Mohammed-Sani Mohammed and Fahmi are registered refugees bearing UNHCR mandate, with registration numbers UNHCR 505-2008, UNHCR-165-2008, UNHCR 114-2008, and UNHCR 158-2008 respectively.

               Two refugees who were very fortunate to escape the kidnapping have disclosed to HRLHA correspondent that four of the kidnappers were in Ethiopian army uniform, and were speaking Amharic – Ethiopia’s official language.

HRLHA believes that those kidnapped refugees have been taken back to Ethiopia; and that they are likely to be subjected to torture, and  eventually face harsh punishments.

               It is very obvious that Ethiopia is a politically violent country, the reality that became more vivid especially after the most recent election held this past May, 2010, in which the ruling EPRDF party showed its authoritarianism by systematically eliminating opposition parties from the political games and the democratization process. Throughout its time in power, the EPRDF ruling party is always accused of extrajudicial killings, massive political imprisonments, kidnappings and disappearances of people due to their differing political opinions. Although there have been some other alleged attachments to it, refugees from Ethiopia flee their homeland mainly due to this never ending political repression, and in an effort to escape such political killings and imprisonments. It is also obvious that Ethiopia is a country where death penalty is implemented.

Background Information;,

  • Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud – UNHCR attestation papers number 03/RF/SOMH/036 was abducted from Hargessa, Somaliland on October 17, 2008 by the joint security forces from Ethiopia and Somaliland (HRLHA Urgent Action No 5, 2008). After taken to Ethiopia he was severely tortured and kept in dark prison cell separately for more than two years. Mr Mohamed was escaped from prison and presently he resettled in Canada Windsor Ontario (read his life in Ethiopia prison from the interview “University of Windsor Counselors aid torture victims” he gave to The Windsor Star, on April 17, 2010).
  • Mr. Yasin Adam Ahmed [UNHCR file number 03/RF/SOMHA/050) and, (Canada Immigration file number B049951893) Ethiopian Oromo refugee was abducted from Somaliland by joint operation of Ethiopia and Somaliland security forces on February 10, 2010 and returned him to Ethiopia (HRLHA urgent Action N0 2 February 2010. HRLHA didn’t receive whereabouts of  Mr. Yasin Adam since he was abducted.

               Due to these and other similar facts, HRLHA is highly concerned about the whereabouts as well as safety of those refugees. Therefore, HRLHA calls upon regional and international humanitarian and diplomatic communities and agencies to approach and pressurize both the Ethiopian and the Somaliland governments so that they disclose the whereabouts and the current situations of the abducted refugees. It also calls upon those same agencies and communities to exert pressure on the Horn of African countries to refrain from becoming tools of authoritarian regimes and instead respect the rights of refugees to safety and protection.

The HRLHA is a non-political and non-profit organization that attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own fundamental human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

———————————————————————–

HRLHA URGENT ACTION No 11

                      February 2010

Appeal to regional and international human rights agencies and organizations

Arrest, Torture and Deportation of Refugee

Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) has learnt through its informants that the government of Somaliland, in violation of international treaties, arbitrarily apprehended Yasin Adam Ahmed [UN file number 03/RF/SOMHA/050) and, (Canada Immigration file number B049951893) Ethiopian Oromo refugee on February 10, 2010 and returned him toEthiopia..  Particularly, it was very saddening to hear that this refugee was tortured while he was in the detention centre.  Finally, he was handed over to Ethiopian security forces 0n February 13, 2010.

Yasin Adam Ahmed

Mr. Yasin Ahmed Mohamed, a father of five (5) children, fledEthiopiain 2002 to escape political harassments which included extra-judicial killings, kidnappings and imprisonments without charges and trials. He obtained a refugee status inSomalilandin 2003. Mr. Yasin Adam Ahmed  has been living inSomalilandas a refugee with his Family. The fate and whereabouts of his family are not known since he has been arrested and deported toEthiopia.

Under Article 33 (1) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (189 U.N.T.S. 150), “[n]o contracting state shall expel or forcibly return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his . . . political opinion.”

The Ethiopian government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were involuntarily returned to the country. The government ofEthiopiaroutinely imprisons such persons. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian prisons and other secret places of detention. This obligation, which is also a principle of customary international law, applies to both asylum seekers and refugees, as affirmed by UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the United Nations General Assembly.

By handing over the Oromo refugee and others, the Somaliland Government is breaching its obligations under international treaties as well as customary laws.

Under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185)Somalilandhas the obligation not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture provides:

1. No state party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

HRLHA has previously expressed its concerns in Urgent Action N03, September 2008 and Urgent Action No5 October 2008 over the decision of the Somaliland Government to expel all Oromo refugees and other Oromo nationals currently living inSomaliland. (www.humanrightsleague.com)

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) is highly concerned about the safety and security of the refugee handed over to the Ethiopian Government and those who are still living inSomaliland. It urges the Government of Somaliland to respect the international treaties and obligations. It also urges all human rights agencies (local, regional and international) to join hands with it and condemn these illegal and inhuman acts of both the Ethiopian and theSomalilandgovernments against defenseless refugees. It requests governments of the West and other international organizations to interfere so that the safety and security of the deported refugee toEthiopiaand of those refugees currently living inSomalilandwould be secured.

The HRLHA is a non-political and non-profit organization that attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own fundamental human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

To;-

US Department of State

Simone Joseph – Foreign Affairs Officer

U.S. Department of State

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor

Washington, D.C. 20037

Tel:  +1-202-261-8009 

Fax: +1-202-261-8197

Joseph, Simone O (DRL) [mailto:JosephSO@state.gov]

  • European Commission Delegation toEthiopia

Paola Cerea – Human Rights Project officer

Paola.cerea@ec.europa.eu

  • Office of the 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
  • African Commission on Human and PeoplesRights (ACHPR)

48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul,
TheGambia.

Tel:  (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 – 23
Fax: (220) 4390 764

E-mail: achpr@achpr.org

  • Amnesty International – London Telephone:  +44-20-74135500 

Fax number: +44-20-79561157

• Human Rights Watch – New York, Tel:  +1-212-290-4700 


Fax: +1-212-736-1300
Email: hrwnyc@hrw.org e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

———————————————————————————————————————–

HRLHA Urgent Action No10

January 2010 

                Kidnappings and Disappearances of Students in Southern Ethiopia
January 8, 2010
Your Excellency Prime Minister Meles Zenawi,  PO Box 1031, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel. 251 111552044 or 251 11 1113241
Fax: +251 11 1552030
 In a recently launched wave of kidnappings and arrests against students in southern Ethiopia, three Oromo students of Awassa University have so far disappeared; and the extra-judicial action against students is said to have continued. 
               According to HRLHA informants in the area, 
1.    Nagga Gezaw, second year Civil Engineering student, and
2. Dhaba Girre, third year Management student, were kidnapped and taken away from the University campus by members of the security and police forces of the Federal Government of Ethiopia on the 5th of January 2010; while Jatani Wario, second year Co-operative student, was taken away from the campus in the same manner by the same kind of forces on the 6th of January 2010. The whereabouts of the three Oromo students were not known ever since they were kidnapped by the government security and police forces. HRLHA informants have learnt, though it has been difficult to trace and document, that there are more students that have faced the same fate and might be in the same situations as a result of these most recent extra-judicial actions.
               According to some insiders, the kidnapping and disappearance of the three Oromo students of Awassa University is related to the students’ movement taking place in Gujii/Borena Zone of Oromia Regional State which was triggered by the alleged poisoning and contamination of local rivers and stream waters by uncontrolled and/or unregulated waste products from the activities of gold mining industry at Laga Danbi.
               During the Universal Periodic Review of  Ethiopia on December 9, 2009, the Ethiopian delegation testified in front of the member states that there were no human rights abuse in Ethiopia; and guaranteed that any form of human rights abuses  will never be committed. However, within a one month time, the bad human rights record of the Ethiopian Government has surfaced once again.
 
The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern over the safety and well-being of the three Oromo students and others. Given the very bad record of the Ethiopian prison officials and the worst situations of prisons in Ethiopia, as confirmed and reported on by many regional and international human rights agencies as well as diplomatic bodies, the case of the three Oromo students becomes very worrisome.

HRLHA calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand the immediate halt of such kinds of extra-judicial kidnappings, mass arrest and imprisonment of innocent students and other civilians by the Ethiopian government.

The HRLHA is a non-political and non-profit organization that is engaged in challenging abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own fundamental human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

 

  • Ministry of Federal Affairs

Siraj Fegisa P.o.Box5718

Tel 251 11 1512766 Or 5159330

·         Cc Minister of Justice
Mr Brihan Hailu, Ministry of Justice, PO Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 1517755
+251 11 1515099 0r 15157950
Email: ministry-justice@telecom.net.et
·         Federal Commissioner of Police
Mr Workneh Gebeyehu, Federal Police Commission, Ministry of Federal Affairs
PO Box 5068, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Simone Joseph – Foreign Affairs Officer

U.S. Department of State

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor

Washington, D.C. 20037

Tel:  +1-202-261-8009 

Fax: +1-202-261-8197

  • Joseph, Simone O (DRL) [mailto: JosephSO@state.gov This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]

European Commission Delegation toEthiopia

Paola Cerea – Human Rights Project officer

Paola.cerea@ec.europa.eu This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  • Office of the 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
  • African Commission on Human and PeoplesRights (ACHPR)

48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul,
TheGambia.

Tel:  (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 – 23
Fax: (220) 4390 764

E-mail: achpr@achpr.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  • Amnesty International – London Telephone:  +44-20-74135500 

Fax number: +44-20-79561157

• Human Rights Watch – New York, Tel:  +1-212-290-4700 

Fax:+1-212-736-1300
Email: hrwnyc@hrw.org

Garoma Wakessa – Executive Director

 

———————————————————————————————————————–

HRLHA URGENT ACTION No 9

November 2009

Refugees Are Entitled to Safety and Protection

Appeal To: The President of Puntland State of Somalia

November 19, 2009

His Excellency  President .Dr.Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole),

President of the PuntlandStateof Somalia
Garoowe

Tel: + 2525 844151, or + 2525454764
Fax: + 2525 4 54764

Your  Excellency,

First of all, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) would like to express its appreciation to the people of the Puntland State of Somalia and to its government for their hospitality and kindness towards thousands of Oromo and other refugees who have fled their homes to escaped government persecutions in Ethiopia; and now living in Puntland State of Somalia. Especially since they TPLF Government came to power, thousands of Oromo and other nationals have run away from arbitrary detentions, degrading tortures and violent killings inEthiopiato save their lives by seeking refuge inPuntlandStateofSomaliaand other neighboring countries

However, HRLHA recently received a disheartening report with which it was deeply shocked, the cold-blooded murder of Mr. Tanna Kabballe, an Oromo refugee from Western Oromia, inEthiopia. Mr. Tanna Kabballe, age 30, was gunned down with five bullets shot at him by yet unidentified gunmen on November 5, 2009 at around 6:30 PM in the town ofGarooweinPutlandStateofSomalia.  It is difficult to imagine of any thing that is more saddening than refugees who fled their home lands to escape persecutions and other forms of human rights violations being met with a similar fate in host countries.

Unless there is an absolute lawlessness reigning in the country, it is also difficult to imagine how such helpless and defenseless refugees are shot and killed so cruelly. HRLHA’s expectation is that persons, be they refugees or not, are legally apprehended, tried and punished in law-abiding countries if they are suspected of committing a crime or caught red-handed.

     Mr. Tanna  Kaballe                              Mr. Issa Mohamed Osman

In a related development, Mr. Issa Mohammed Osman, another  Oromo refugee from Eastern Oromia, inEthiopia, survived an attempted murder by the same or different unidentified gunmen on the same date at about 8:00 PM in the same town ofGaroowe, inPutlandStateofSomalia. Mr. Issa Mohammed Osman, 50 years old and a father of six, miraculously survived the attempt of murder after receiving two bullets.

Both Mr. Tanna Kabballe and Mr. Issa M. Osman were UNHCR-registered refugees awaiting decisions to resettle in a third country.

HRLHA has learnt that what happened to Mr. Tanna Kabballe and Mr. Issa M. Osman has created an enormous feeling of insecurity among the rest of the refugee population inPutlandStateofSomalia.

HRLHA would like to draw the attention of the government ofPutlandStateofSomaliaas well as other regional and international bodies to these worrisome situations of refugees inPutlandStateofSomalia. It would also call upon thePutlandStateofSomaliagovernment to take all necessary legal actions to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice in a way that the safety and protection of other refugees in the country could be guaranteed.

Background Information; HRLHA reported in February 2008 in its No9 Press Release that 65 Oromo refugees from Ethiopia were murdered and more than 100 others were seriously injured when two grenades were thrown at two different hotels owned by two Oromo refugees, Melaku and Jamal Arsii, in port town of Bossaso in Puntland State of Somalia.

The HRLHA is a non-political organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

Sincerely,
Garoma  Wakessa, Executive Director, Human Rights League of the Horn ofAfrica (HRLHA)

Cc: H.E. Abisamad Ali Shire, Vice President of the Puntland State of Somalia

                        Tel: + 2525454764
Fax: + 2525 4 54764

  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    Palais Wilson
    52 rue des Pâquis
    CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland Telephone: +41 22 917 9656
    Mail: civilsocietyunit@ohchr.org
  • UNHCR main office Geneva, Switzerland.
    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    Case Postale 2500
    CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt
    Suisse.  telephone number: +41 22 739 8111
  • African Commission on Human and Peopls’ Rights

             TheGambiaTel : (220) 4410 505 – 6 ,

                                  Fax: (220) 4410 504

                                Email : achpr@achpr.org

  • Amnesty International – London Telephone:  +44-20-74135500 

Fax number: +44-20-79561157

  • Human Rights Watch – New York, Tel:  +1-212-290-4700 
    Fax: +1-212-736-1300

———————————————————————————————————————-

HRLHA URGENT ACTION No 8

October 2008

Appeal to regional and international human rights agencies and organizations

Arrest, Torture and Deportation of Refugees

Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) has learnt through its informants that the government of Somaliland, in violation of international treaties, arbitrarily apprehended twelve Ethiopian Oromo refugees on October 15, 2008 and deported them toEthiopia. All twelve refugees were picked up from different places and taken to the military camp in Hargessa by the security forces of the Somaliland Government on the same day. Particularly, it was very saddening to hear that those refugees were tortured while they were in the detention centre. Finally, they were handed over to Ethiopian security forces 0n October 17, 2008. It has been difficult to obtain the names of all of the victims of these joint actions of theSomalilandand the Ethiopian governments. Two of the refugees who have been identified by their names were:

  1. Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud –  UNHCR attestation papers number 03/RF/SOMH/036
  2. Mr. Mohamed Sheika.

                                        Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud

Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud, a father of nineteen (19) children, fledEthiopiain 2002 to escape political harassments which included extra-judicial killings, kidnappings and imprisonments without charges and trials. He obtained a refugee status inSomalilandin 2003.   Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud has been living inSomalilandas a refugee with ten of his children. The fate and whereabouts of his children are not known since he has been arrested and deported toEthiopia.

 Under Article 33 (1) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (189 U.N.T.S. 150), “[n]o contracting state shall expel or forcibly return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his . . . political opinion.”

The Ethiopian government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were involuntarily returned to the country. The government ofEthiopiaroutinely imprisons such persons. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian prisons and other secret places of detention. This obligation, which is also a principle of customary international law, applies to both asylum seekers and refugees, as affirmed by UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the United Nations General Assembly.

By handing over the Oromo refugees and others, the Somaliland Government is breaching its obligations under international treaties as well as customary laws.

Under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185)Somalilandhas the obligation not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture provides:

1. No state party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

HRLHA has previously expressed its concerns in Urgent Action N0. 3, September 2008 over the decision of the Somaliland Government to expel all Oromo refugees and other Oromo nationals currently living inSomaliland.

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) is highly concerned about the safety and security of the refugees handed over to the Ethiopian Government and those who are still living inSomaliland. It urges the Government of Somaliland to respect the international treaties and obligations.  It also urges all human rights agencies (local, regional and international) to join hands with it and condemn these illegal and inhuman acts of both the Ethiopian and theSomalilandgovernments against defenseless refugees. It requests governments of the West and other international organizations to interfere so that the safety and security of the deported refugees toEthiopiaand of those refugees currently living inSomalilandwould be secured.

The HRLHA is a non-political and non-profit organization that attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own fundamental human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

To;-

  • US Department of State

Simone Joseph – Foreign Affairs Officer

                         U.S. Department of State

                         Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor

Washington, D.C. 20037

Tel: +1-202-261-8009

Fax: +1-202-261-8197

Joseph, Simone O (DRL) [mailto:JosephSO@state.gov]

  • European Commission Delegation toEthiopia

Paola Cerea – Human Rights Project officer

Paola.cerea@ec.europa.eu

  • Office of the 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
  • African Commission on Human and PeoplesRights (ACHPR)

48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul,
TheGambia.

Tel: (220) 4392 962, 4372070, 4377721 – 23
Fax: (220) 4390 764

E-mail: achpr@achpr.org

 

  •  Amnesty International – London Telephone: +44-20-74135500

Fax number: +44-20-79561157

• Human Rights Watch – New York, Tel: +1-212-290-4700


Fax: +1-212-736-1300
Email: hrwnyc@hrw.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

——————————————————————————————————————-

URGENT ACTION No 7

 Appeal To: The President of Djibouti

February 18,2008

His Excelency Ismail Omar Guelleh

President, The Republic of Djibouti

Po Box 185

Tel. (253) 35 39 95

Fax- (253) 35 39 40

Djibouti.

Your Excellency,

 Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa(HRLHA) recieved from its informants in Djibouti a report that your Government’s security forces have arbitrarly arrested four very young Ethiopian refugees on Feburuary 01, 2008 in violation of international treaties to which, we believe, Djibouti is a signatory. All four refugees were picked up and taken to the Lagad Detention Center by the Djibouti scurity force on their way to the refugee camp from school, which they have been attending. The school was set up by Catholic church of Djibouti particulary to help children of the refugees in Djibouti.

It was very saddening to hear that they were tortured while they were in the detention centre; and that they are going to be deported to Ethiopia. We have confirmed from our reporters that,until their deportation date arrived, these teenagers who could be addressed as children, were forced to do very heavy labor in a very harsh situation on a construction site for 12hrs every day.

The names of the four youths abducted and subjected to the hard child labour are:

  1. Kadir Hasan Ahmed, age 17, male
  2. Fatih Mohamed Ali, age 16, male
  3. Abdul Aziz Ahmed Hajii muhamed, age 17, male and
  4. Muhamed Abdoo Ahmed, age 17, male.

The Ethiopian Government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were involuntarily returned to the country. The government of Ethiopia routinely imprisons such persons. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuse committed against individuals in Ethiopian prisons and other places of detention. Under Article 33 (1) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (189 U.N.T.S. 150), to which Djibouti is a party, “[n]o contracting state shall expel or forcibly return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his . . . political opinion.” This obligation, which is also a principle of customary international law, applies to both asylum seekers and refugees, as affirmed by UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the United Nations General Assembly

By deporting the four Youths, the Djibouti government will be breaching its obligations under international treaties and customary law.

    • Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989 and entered into force on 2 September 1990, Djibouti has an obligation not to expose under-age children to heavy child labour.
    • Under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185) to which Djibouti acceded in 2002, Djibouti has an obligation not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture provides:1. No state party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

We strongly urge the Government of Djibouti to respect the international treaties and obligations it has signed..

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Two young refugees, Umar Aliye 16, and Abdulfattah Abdulattif, who were abducted by the Djibouti police from the steet on their way from the school to their refugee camp, who were also forced to do hard child labour  in hard situation on constration sites, were deported to Ethiopia  in November 2007 and  their whereabouts is unknown( HRLHA press release No 4 November 2007).

HRLHA urges the Djibouti Government to revise its policies and procedures so as to ensure compliance with the international conventions and declarations on refugees’ rights and protection; and release these four refugees from prison.

 

The HRLHA is a non-political organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

Sincerely,

Garoma Wakessa

Executive Director

Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa

Cc:

Embassy of the Republic of Djibouti

(High Comission) Consulate to Canada

3525 Durocher street, Apt. 91 Montereal Quebec H2X 2E7

Phone (+1 – 514) 2888297

Fax (+1 – 514) 2888297

Email – elisabethdembil@yahoo.ca

——————————————————————————————————————

HRLHA URGENT ACTION No 6

November 2008

Mass Arrest and Imprisonment of Oromos in the Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa

According to documents obtained by the HRLHA from its informants inAddis Ababa, a wave of mass arrest and imprisonment that has targeted prominent Oromo intellectuals and businessmen is going on in different parts of the regional state of Oromia, including the Capital Addis Ababa. The arbitrary arrest and detention, which is being carried out by an armed force brought together from regional and federal police that is particularly set up and deployed for this purpose, started following the usual allegation that the local residents harbour and/or support the opposition armed group – Oromo Liberation Front. This most recent mass arrest and imprisonment includes Mrs. Lelise Wodajo, a mother and guardian of three dependant children and wife of former ETV journalist Dhabasa Waqjira, who fled the country to escape further persecutions after three years in prison without trial. The fate of the three children of Mrs Wodajo and Mr. Waqjira, who are said to be very young, is not known. HRLHA is highly concerned about their current situation as well as their future. Among the many Oromos who have been taken into custody from the Capital,Addis Ababa, HRLHA has managed to obtain the names of the following:

1. Mr Bekele Jirata age 66, employee of Oromia Water Resourc and member of Oromo Federalist movement Organization.

2. Lalisee Dhiphisaa, age 33, employee of Ethiopian Television, Oromo program.

3. Immiruu Gurmeessaa, a 70-year old businessman.

4. Baayyisaa Lataa, age 28,Addis AbabaUniversitystudent.

5. Guddataa Dabalee, age 48, a high school teacher and finance head of Mecha and Tulama organization.

6. Eshetu Kitil, age 54, businessman and owner of Hawi Hotel.

7. Roobaa Gaddafaa, age 27, Hibret Insurance Company employee.

All of these and other unidentified Oromos, who were arrested on October 29,2008 and days that followed, are said to have been taken to the Maekelawi central investigation office.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

In the past fifteen or so years, thousands of Oromos have been abducted, disappeared, detained, and many of them were tortured, in recent years on suspicion of having links with the OLF. The OLF has been fighting the Ethiopian government in eastern, Southern and western Oromia Region and other areas since 1973. HRLHA believes that all the detainees held on these grounds have been innocent people minding their own daily lives; and who have not been involved in or advocated violence.

HRLHA is highly concerned about the safety of the local residents in general and of those who have already been taken into custody. It believes that this government action of the Ethiopian Government is in violation of fundamental political and cultural rights which are enshrined in the Ethiopian constitution. It also believes that such extrajudicial harassments and intimidations would worsen the humanitarian crisis that has continued to hit the country.

HRLHA calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand the immediate halt of this mass arrest and imprisonment of innocent Oromo civilians by the Ethiopian government.

Simone Joseph – Foreign Affairs Officer

U.S. Department of State

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor

Washington, D.C. 20037

Tel:                +1-202-261-8009        

Fax: +1-202-261-8197

Joseph, Simone O (DRL) [mailto: JosephSO@state.gov This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]

European Commission Delegation toEthiopia

Paola Cerea – Human Rights Project officer

Paola.cerea@ec.europa.eu This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  • Office of the 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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • African Commission on Human and PeoplesRights (ACHPR)

48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul,
TheGambia.

Tel:                (220) 4392 962        , 4372070, 4377721 – 23
Fax: (220) 4390 764

E-mail: achpr@achpr.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  • Amnesty International – London Telephone:                +44-20-74135500        

Fax number: +44-20-79561157

• Human Rights Watch – New York, Tel:                +1-212-290-4700        

Fax: +1-212-736-1300
Email: hrwnyc@hrw.org

———————————————————————————————————————–

HRLHA URGENT ACTION No 5

October 2008

Appeal to regional and international human rights agencies and organizations

Arrest, Torture and Deportation of Refugees

Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) has learnt through its informants that the government of Somaliland, in violation of international treaties, arbitrarily apprehended twelve Ethiopian Oromo refugees on October 15, 2008 and deported them toEthiopia. All twelve refugees were picked up from different places and taken to the military camp in Hargessa by the security forces of the Somaliland Government on the same day. Particularly, it was very saddening to hear that those refugees were tortured while they were in the detention centre. Finally, they were handed over to Ethiopian security forces 0n October 17, 2008. It has been difficult to obtain the names of all of the victims of these joint actions of theSomalilandand the Ethiopian governments. Two of the refugees who have been identified by their names were:

<!––>1. <!–[endif]–>Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud – UNHCR attestation papers number 03/RF/SOMH/036

Mr. Mohamed Sheika.

Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud

Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud, a father of nineteen (19) children, fledEthiopiain 2002 to escape political harassments which included extra-judicial killings, kidnappings and imprisonments without charges and trials. He obtained a refugee status inSomalilandin 2003. Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud has been living inSomalilandas a refugee with ten of his children. The fate and whereabouts of his children are not known since he has been arrested and deported toEthiopia.

Under Article 33 (1) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (189 U.N.T.S. 150), “[n]o contracting state shall expel or forcibly return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his . . . political opinion.”

The Ethiopian government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were involuntarily returned to the coun

——————————————————————————————————————–

——————————————————————————————————–

HRLHA Urgent Action No 4

October 2008

Another Wave of Mass Arrest and Imprisonment inEthiopia

The Human Rights League has learnt, through its informants,that a wave of mass arrest and imprisonment is going on in Eastern Hararge region of Eastern Oromia and Estern Wallaga of western Oromia inEthiopia. This recent mass arrest and imprisonment, which is being carried out by an armed force brought together from regional and federal police, and particularly set up and deployed for this purpose, has so far hit the towns of Haromaya, Bate and Awaday as well as the Jarso and Chinaksan in Eastern Oromia and Sasigga, Oda guddina in Western Oromia areas in countryside.

Among the many local residents who have been taken into custody, HRLHA has managed to obtain the names of the following:

Eastern Hararge/Estern Oromia

1. Ibsaa bariisaa

2. Sabboontuu mahaamad (female)

3. Abdiisaa mahaamad

4. Mahaamad Awwal

5. Aliyyii Durrii

6. Mahaamad aliyyii

7. Fuad Aliyi (son of Aliyyi Durrii)

8. Mubaarak Aliyyii

9. Riyaad Hassan

10. Abdii Taahir

11. Mohanna Abdullahi

12. Bonayyaa Usoo

13. Abdii Ahmad

Eastern Wallaga/Western Oromia

1.Hambisa Badhasa

2. Belay Tamiru

3. Aufgaha Tulu

4.Merga Sadiq

5.Aseffa Mekonen

6. Tadesse Dubbale

7.Bayu Tura

8.Geremew Bulti

9. Tilahun Dheressa

10. Jamal Mengistu and Others

This recent mass arrest and imprisonment is taking place following the usual allegation that the local residents are harboring the opposition armed group – Oromo Liberation Front. Besides, the last six fromEastern Hararge(8 – 13) victims of the wave in particular were accused of wearing Oromo cultural clothes on the day of the Id-Alfitir, an action which was interpreted by the government as an act of advocating ethnic identity. Also, these six victims, who are being held in Haromaya Police Station, are subjected to torture, according to HRL local informant. HRLHA has also learnt that those who have been transferred to Harar prison in Harar have been exposed to a harsh prison situation.

Although it has been difficult to obtain the names of people arrested and imprisoned, HRL has confirmed that this new wave of harassment and intimidation has been spread to Badessa and Galamso towns in Western Hararge,Eastern Oromiaand Bakko Tibe in eastern Showa Western Oromia.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Thousands Oromos have been detained, and many of them tortured, in recent years on suspicion of links with the OLF. The OLF has been fighting the Ethiopian government in eastern, Southern and western Oromia Region and other areas since 1974. HRLHA believes that all the detainees held on these grounds have been people who were living peace fully who had not used or advocated violence

HRLHA is highly concerned about the safety of the local residents in general and of those who have already been taken into custody beaten up and tortured by Federal police force . It believes that this government action is in violation of fundamental political and cultural rights which are enshrined in the Ethiopian constitution. It also believes that such extrajudicial harassments and intimidations would worsen the humanitarian crisis that has hit the country.

HRLHA calls upon all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand the immediate halt of this mass arrest and imprisonment of innocent civilians by the Ethiopian government.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in any language:
1. calling for an immediate and independent inquiry into the allegations that the twenty three and other detainees have been tortured while in police custody and for the findings of the inquiry to be made public and for any police officer found responsible for torture to be brought to justice;
2. pointing out that according to international fair trial standards, no statement made as a result of torture can be used as evidence in any court proceedings and judges are obliged to separately investigate or order an investigation into allegations of torture;
APPEALS TO:
Prime Minister
His Excellency Meles Zenawi, Office of the Prime Minister, PO Box 1031, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 1552020
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Justice
Mr Assefa Kesito, Ministry of Justice, PO Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 5517775
+251 11 5520874
Email: ministry-justice@telecom.net.et This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Salutation: Dear Minister
Federal Commissioner of Police
Mr Workneh Gebeyehu, Federal Police Commission, Ministry of Federal Affairs
PO Box 5068, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Salutation: Dear Commissioner
COPIES TO:
The official Ethiopian Human Rights Commission
Ambassador Dr Kassa Gebreheywot, Chief Commissioner, Ethiopian Human Rights Commission
PO Box 1165, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 618 0041 Email: hrcom@ethionet.et This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

————————————————————————————————————

HRLHA URGENT ACTION No 3

September 2008

Appeal To: The President ofSomaliland

September 2, 2008

His Excellency President Dahir Rayaale Kahin

President of theRepublicofSomaliland

TEL/FAX:                252-225-3871        .

Your Excellency,

First of all, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) would like to express its appreciation to the people of theRepublicofSomalilandand to its government for their hospitality and kindness towards thousands of Oromo refugees who have fled their homes to escaped government persecutions inEthiopia; and now living inSomaliland. Especially since the TPLF Government came to power, thousands of Oromo nationals have run away from arbitrary detentions, degrading tortures and violent killings inEthiopiato save their lives by seeking refuge inSomalilandand other neighbouring countries.

However, HRLHA recently received a disheartening report that the Somaliland Government has decided to expel all Oromo refugees and other Oromo nationals currently living inSomaliland. According to the report, which was published in the Geeska Africa newspaper August 30, 2008 edition, the reason given for such a decision was that “Oromos do not have any political problem to leave their country”.

Your Excellency, we would like to bring to your attention that this claim is completely unfounded; and that the reality out there inEthiopiais the reverse of it especially when it comes to the Oromo nationals. We would also like to bring to your attention that this is a reality that has already attracted international focus, including that ofEthiopia’s Western allies. For example, in its 2007 Country Report onEthiopia, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor acknowledged that:

… there were widespread human rights abuses including: unlawful killings, and beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces; poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly of those suspected of sympathizing with or being members of the opposition; restrictions on freedom of the press; restrictions on freedom of assembly and association; and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, among other human rights violations.

The HRLHA believes that, based on such facts, your government has a moral obligation to reconsider and reverse this very serious decision.

Under Article 33 (1) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (189 U.N.T.S. 150), “[n]o contracting state shall expel or forcibly return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his . . . political opinion.”

In case those Ethiopian Oromo refugees are to be deported, the Ethiopian government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were involuntarily returned to the country. The government ofEthiopiaroutinely imprisons such persons. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian prisons and other secret places of detention. This obligation, which is also a principle of customary international law, applies to both asylum seekers and refugees, as affirmed by UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the United Nations General Assembly.

By deporting the Oromo refugees and others, theSomalilandgovernment will be breaching its obligations under international treaties as well as customary law.

Under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185)Somalilandhas an obligation not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture provides:

1. No state party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

We strongly urge the Government of Somaliland to respect these international treaties and obligations.

Background: the Oromia state president Minase W/Giorgis was visiting Somaliland from August 28,2008 until this Urgent Action is compiled to convince the Somaliland government over the process of expelling all Oromo refugees fromSomaliland.

The HRLHA is a non-political organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

Sincerely,

Garoma Wakessa,

Executive Director, Human Rights League of the Horn ofAfrica(HRLHA)

Cc:

<!––>· <!–[endif]–>Honorable Mr. Ahmed Hasan, Minister of Justice, Tel.                252 225 3453

<!––>· <!–[endif]–>Honorable Mr. Abdillahi Mohamed, Minister Foreign Affairs, Tel/Fax                252 225 3871

• UNHCR- Geneva and local Offices
• Amnesty International – London Telephone:                +44-20-74135500        

Fax number: +44-20-79561157

• Human Rights Watch – New York, Tel:                +1-212-290-4700        
Fax: +1-212-736-1300
Email:
hrwnyc@hrw.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

• Human Rights Watch – New York
• UNHCR – Somaliland Branch

• DR. Sa’ad Shiek Osman Noor, Representative of the Republic of Somaliland, Washington D.C, USA
TEL:                301 231 5991
FAX: 301 231 5993
Email: snoor@sand.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

—————————————————————————————————————-

HRLHA URGENT ACTION No 2

MAY 2008

Appeal To: The President ofSudan

May 18,2008

His Excellency Lieutenant General Omar Hassan al-Bashir
President of the Republic of Sudan
President’s Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: (00 249) 11 771651, (00 249) 11 787676, (00 249) 11 783223
SUDAN

Your Excellency,Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa(HRLHA) recieved from its informants in Sudan a report that your Government’s security forces have arbitrarly arrested many Ethiopian refugees on May 10, 2008 in violation of international treaties to which, we believe, Sudan is a signatory. Darara Mohamed

 

These refugees were picked up by the Sudanese security forces from their residences; and taken to an unknown place. It was very saddening to hear that those arrested refugees were badly beaten up and tortured by securitymen and thrown onto the steet. Among those victims were, Abdulmajid Junedi Mohamed, age 25 and Darara Hasen Mohamed. These two victims were very fortunate that they managed to return home with the help of individuals on May 11, 2008. However, immediatly after they reached their home, the Sudanese security members, who were in uniform, rearrested, handcuffed and took those two victisms to unidentified destination. Until the time this urgent action is compiled, the whereabouts of those Ethiopian refugees is unknown. The HRLHA is highly suspicious that those Ethiopian refugees might have been deported toEthiopia; or killed J. Mohammed and Darara H. Mohammed had been registered with the UNHCR; and had been granted a refugee status by the High Commissioner. In case those Ethiopian refugees have been deported, the Ethiopian Government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were involuntarily returned to the country. The government ofEthiopiaroutinely imprisons such persons. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian prisons and other secret places of detention. Under Article 33 (1) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (189 U.N.T.S. 150), to whichSudanis a party, “[n]o contracting state shall expel or forcibly return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his . . . political opinion.” This obligation, which is also a principle of customary international law, applies to both asylum seekers and refugees, as affirmed by UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the United Nations General AssemblyBy deporting the two refugees and others, the Sudanese government will be breaching its obligations under international treaties as well as customary law.

  1. Under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185) to which Sudanacceded in 2002, Sudanhas an obligation not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture provides:No state party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.We strongly urge the Government of Sudan to respect the international treaties and obligations it has signed..

BACKGROUND INFORMATION1. Seven Oromo refugees living in the Sudan: Adunya Shiferaw, Gammachis Nado, Shantam Amsalu, Harun Idiris, Abdala Suleman, Ibrahim Itana, Kamal Kalbessawere detained in September 2007 by the Sudanese Government even though they had the UNHCR attestation papers, HRLHA Reporter in Khartoum confirmed.First, these refugees were held and tortured in Dabki detention center approximately 150 Km North of the capital Khartoum. They were then transferred to KOBAR detention center located in the Capital in the fourth last week of December 2007. The families and friends of the detained refugees were asked to pay bribes of 100,000 Sudanpounds each to visit their loved one. 2. Despite their having the UNHCR attestation papers, Wendimu (Adam Bisil),Milkessa Lema and,Teshome (father name Unknown) have been handed over by the Sudanese Government to the Ethiopian Government Security Forces at Ethio- Sudanese border town of Gadarif in the end of September 2007.(HRLHA Press release #6 January 2008).The HRLHA is a non-political organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies. Sincerely,

Garoma Wakessa,

Executive Director,Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa/HRLHA

Cc:

Mr Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Ministry of Justice, Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: (00 249) 11 788941, (00 249) 11 774842, (00 249) 11 774906

Mr Mustafa Osman Ismail
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: (00 249) 11 779383
Dr Ahmed al-Mufti
Advisory Council for Human Rights
PO Box 302, Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: (00 249) 11 779173

_____________________________________________

HRLHA URGENT ACTION No 1

FEBRUARY 2008

Appeal To: The President ofDjibouti

February 18,2008

His Excelency Ismail Omar GuellehPresident, TheRepublicofDjiboutiPoBox185Tel.(253) 35 39 95Fax- (253) 35 39 40Djibouti.

Your Excellency,

Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa(HRLHA) recieved from its informants in Djibouti a report that your Government’s security forces have arbitrarly arrested four very young Ethiopian refugees on Feburuary 01, 2008 in violation of international treaties to which, we believe, Djibouti is a signatory. All four refugees were picked up and taken to theLagadDetentionCenterby theDjiboutiscurity force on their way to the refugee camp from school, which they have been attending. The school was set up by Catholic church ofDjiboutiparticulary to help children of the refugees inDjibouti. It was very saddening to hear that they were tortured while they were in the detention centre; and that they are going to be deported toEthiopia. We have confirmed from our reporters that,until their deportation date arrived, these teenagers who could be addressed as children, were forced to do very heavy labor in a very harsh situation on a construction site for 12hrs every day. The names of the four youths abducted and subjected to the hard child labour are:

1.  Kadir Hasan Ahmed, age 17, male

2.  Fatih Mohamed Ali, age 16, male

3.  Abdul Aziz Ahmed Hajii muhamed, age 17, male and

4.  Muhamed Abdoo Ahmed, age 17, male.

The Ethiopian Government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were involuntarily returned to the country. The government ofEthiopiaroutinely imprisons such persons. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuse committed against individuals in Ethiopian prisons and other places of detention. Under Article 33 (1) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (189 U.N.T.S. 150), to whichDjiboutiis a party, “[n]o contracting state shall expel or forcibly return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his . . . political opinion.” This obligation, which is also a principle of customary international law, applies to both asylum seekers and refugees, as affirmed by UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the United Nations General AssemblyBy deporting the four Youths, theDjiboutigovernment will be breaching its obligations under international treaties and customary law.

  • Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989 and entered into force on 2 September 1990,Djiboutihas an obligation not to expose under-age children to heavy child labour.

o    Under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185) to which Djiboutiacceded in 2002, Djiboutihas an obligation not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture provides:

1. No state party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.We strongly urge the Government of Djibouti to respect the international treaties and obligations it has signed.. BACKGROUND INFORMATIONTwo young refugees, Umar Aliye 16, and Abdulfattah Abdulattif, who were abducted by the Djibouti police from the steet on their way from the school to their refugee camp, who were also forced to do hard child labour in hard situation on constration sites, were deported to Ethiopia in November 2007 and their whereabouts is unknown( HRLHA press release No 4 November 2007).
HRLHA urges the Djibouti Government to revise its policies and procedures so as to ensure compliance with the international conventions and declarations on refugees’ rights and protection; and release these four refugees from prison. The HRLHA is a non-political organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies. Sincerely,

Garoma Wakessa

Executive Director; Human Rights League of the Horn ofAfrica

Cc:

Embassy of theRepublicofDjibouti(High Comission) Consulate toCanada3525 Durocher street, Apt. 91 Montereal Quebec H2X 2E7Phone (+1 – 514) 2888297Fax (+1 – 514) 2888297

Email – elisabethdembil@yahoo.

Search  Search

View More Results…

Haala Yeroo Oromiyaa Keessa

Donate Here!

HRLHA’s Oral Statement at UN HRC 34th Session, March 15, 2017, Geneva

http://webtv.un.org/search/item4-general-debate-contd-38th-meeting-34th-regular-session-human-rights-council-/5359444065001?term=Human+Rights+League+of+the+Horn+of+Africa

Human Rights Crisis in Ethiopia

HRLHA 8th Anniversary May 9, 2015, Toront, Canada

Search

Recent Comments

Urgent Action

Daily Quote
‘Cannot fetch quote from source’