Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa
1-hrlhas-unhrc-submission (Full statement in .pdf format available here)
Submitted to United Nations Human Rights Council,
27 February – 24 March, 2017
Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
Geneva, 12 February, 2017
ETHIOPIAN GOVERNMENT CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN OROMIA ESCALATE AFTER THE STATE OF EMERGENCY IS DECLARED
How Many Should die Before the Internatioanl Community intervenes to save lives?
HRLHA Calls for Intervention by the international community to end Human Tragedy in Ethiopia
- The Ethiopian government has targeted the Oromo people in general and the youth in particular, since the 2005 beginning of the mass, but the peaceful uprising of the Oromo people led by Orom students demanding their freedom and the halt of systematic violations of their fundamental The response from the government to the legitimate and peaceful demands of the people] was massive arrests, torture, disappearances and summary executions of the civilian population. However, the heavy hand of the government forces didn’t stop the demands of the Oromo people and the protest has continued for over ten years. From November 2015, the mass movement- in which Oromos from all walks of life have participated- has continued on a daily basis until the government declared a State of Emergency on October 8, 2016.
The government also targeted prominent political leaders of Oromo parties that are registered and functioning peacefully in Ethiopia. Deputy Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress – OFC, Mr. Bekele Gerba- has been in jail for some years now, with his case still pending in the court of justice under the pretext that the prosecutor is unable to gather witnesses to testify against the accused. The number of Oromo political prisoners has reached an unbearable level and so disproportionate that, using the words of one senior government official who spend few years in prison, “Afaan Oromo (the language of the Oromos) has now become the official language of Ethiopian prisons”.
- Ethiopian prisons, as far as the rights of the political prisoners to a reasonable space/room for sleeping, access to daylights, to proper sanitation, to family visits and meeting with their respective lawyers is concerned, are that they are among the worst correctional facilities in the The level of torture, as reported by the families who were granted rare visits, is unbearable. The government continues to deny access to international organizations, the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteurs and the ICRC, whose report could have shed more light on the situations in the prisons.
- The Ethiopian government boldly demonstrated its dedication to continue violating the fundamental human rights of its citizens, when it arrested Merera Guddina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress – OFC, on November 30, 2016 upon his return to Ethiopia after briefing the European Union officials on the situation in Ethiopia. The arrest, according to the government, was justified because of an alleged meeting of Dr. Merera with the other opposition leader, Prof. Berhanu Nega, chairman of the outlawed political party, Ginbot – 7 (a.k.a G7). Dr. Merera Guddina and Professor Berhanu Nega, the G7 Leaders, had been invited by the EU parliament to Brussels to attend an EU organized Conference on the Ethiopian current political crisis. According to reliable sources, Dr. Merera Gudina was taken to the infamous Maikelawi interrogation center, with the
other two of his friends, Taye Negera and Kumala, both of whom were in his house during the arrest.
- The peacful protests that have rocked Ethiopia over one year (November 2015- October 2016) led by “Qeerroo Bilissummaa” literally, youth for freedom against subjugation, dramatically changed the peaceful protests into violence after the tyrannical government mercilessly massacred over 700 Oromos, from the ground and the air, at the Irrecha Festival, Oromo Thanksgiving Day on October 2, This dramatically changed the peaceful protests into violent ones all over the country.
- The two major regions of Ethiopia, populated by the two most populous nations of Ethiopia
– the Oromos and Amharas – where the resistance movement was stronger and coordinated, were put under strict military rule. Civilian authorities were literally removed from the scene rendering free and unlimited power to the military and paramilitary forces to detain, torture or summarily execute every single citizen they considered to be harboring anti-regime sentiment.
- After more than a year of continued unrest in the country, the Ethiopian government declared a state of Emergency on 8th October, The government’s special killing squad known as the Agazi force was deployed into Oromia and Amhara Regional States with full authorization to commit killings, incarcerations, rapes and looting. Although there has been no single section of the society that the Ethiopian government5 has spared in the past one year, the Oromo youth in particular has become the prime targets of the killing squad since the Declaration of the State of Emergency.
- As a result, several Oromo youth from universities, colleges and high schools have been arrested and taken to unknown locations or summarily executed right in their houses and in front of their own family The violation of the rights of the peaceful youth reached an unbearable level forcing many affected youth to leave the country seeking sanctuary in neighboring countries and abroad. As a result, Oromia is losing many brilliant young men and women not only at the hands of government sponsored murderers every day; they are also dying in the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean. The nation is losing its entire generation simply because the youth cannot lead a normal life in their own country because their own government is making their life extremely difficult, forcing them to leave the country and risking their lives.
- The population in general and the youth in particular, notwithstanding the unprecedented brutality of the regime, have continued to resist, paying a heavy In this brief report, the HRLHA will provide a far from exhaustive list of names of Oromos who were summarily executed by the regime’s forces. The HRLHA is also in possession of pictures, most of them very graphic, which it could include in this report. It is compiling them to be included in a future special report to the Council.
- According to the reliable information available to us from Oromia regional, state, over 1000 Oromos, mostly youth, have been summarily executed and close to 40,000 detained in different military training camps far away from the reach of
- In Southern Oromia alone (Western and Arsi Zones) according to the information available to HRLHA, from 8thOctober – 30th October, 2016, a total number of 248 civilian Oromos were killed and 3706 were kept in detention being denied visits by relatives and There are reports that the detainees were severely tortured, starved and deprived of their fundamental human rights of access to due process of law applicable during a state of emergency.
- Below is a list of names of Oromos among the detainees from Munessa district (# 8 above).
- AMAN TUNUNII RAFISSO 2) MOHAMMAD FAYYISO 3) JAMAL DALU
- ADAM WAAYYUU 5) ABDURO BATIRI DHAQABO 6)DOKTORE DHEKAMA
- ASI GALATO MAGADO, 8) BARISO QABATO SI GEDA 9) HAJ M. DHAQABO
- TAWAQI QABATO SIGEDA 11)BATIRI QABATOO SIGEDA 12)HUSEN QABATO SIGEDA
- AMAN ABABA 14) QASIM DHABI 15) JAMAL HAJI GANAMO
- HUSEN HIRPHO 17) HAJI HUSEN HAJI HAJi 18) MUSXAFAA OSOLEE
- ARABUU MUHAMMAD 20) BARUU KADUU 21) HUSEN HIRPHO
- MILKESSO KADIRO 23) AYYUB TULLU 24) GOBE MAKURA
- ASRAS MAKURA 26) HAJI QAASIMI DHEKKO 27)HAJI M. DHEKKO
- JAMAAL GALATO 29) GABI GALATO 30) ABDULLAHI GALATO
- ABDULJABAR GALATO 32) SHEK M. KADIRO TUSAA 33) HAJI GAMMADO WOYYO
- HAJI DARASA HASO 35) HAJI URGESSA HORDOFO 36) NASHU BADHAANE
- NASHU MAGARSA 38) MOSISA WAKANE, 39) MAMMO QABATO
- JAMAL AMAN 41) MOHAMAD WOYYU 42) TOGA SAFAWO
- The HRLHA also received from reliable sources the below partial list of Oromo civilians who were arrested in different parts of Shoa zones (central Oromia region) between 8th October – 2ndNovember, 2016, and taken to the infamous Tolai Military training camp in the southern part of
|#||District||Detained||Detained and under tight security|
|4||Yekka, , & Sandafa||34||16|
|5||South West shwa||288||43|
|8||Sabata, Nifas silk, Lafto||989||342|
- The following are among the many Oromo students who have been detained in Jimma University, Kitto Furdisa Campus by Agazi forces since November 20,
Dr. Fikadu Assefa
|Faculty / Department (position)
|2||Shimelis Nemerra||Chemical Engineering , 4th year|
|3||Milkessa Alemayehu||Water Supply & Environmental Engineering ,2nd year|
|4||Adugna Hundessa||Electrical & Computer Engineering, 3rd year|
|5||Gemechu Diriba||Computer Science, 2nd year|
|6||Wakanbon Aweke||Mechanical Engineer, 2nd year|
|7||Dirba Ayyana||Computer & Electrical Engineer, 3rd year|
|8||Lemi Jafar||Civil Engineering, 5th year|
|9 Niguse Gudeta Civil Engineering, 2nd year|
|10||Teshome Gonfa||Mechanical engineering, 2nd year|
|11||Nimona Mulugeta||Civil Engineering, 2nd year|
|12||Ebba Galalcha||Mechanical Engineering, 2nd year|
|13||Fromisa Tamiru||Information Technology, 2nd year|
|14||Samuel||Mechanical Engineering, 2nd year|
|15||Ebisa||Electrical & Computer engineering, 2nd year|
|16||Solomon Taye||Electrical & Computer Engineering, 2nd year|
|17||Iyasu Worku||Information Technology,2nd year|
|18||Birhanu||HWREE, 5th year|
|19||Gutu Tekle||Information Technology, 2nd year|
|20||Chala Tulu||Information Technology, 2nd year|
|21||Oliyad Teshome||Information Technology, 2nd year|
|22||Ibrahim Yusuf||Computer Science, 2nd year|
|23||Istifanos Matiyas||Computer Science, 2nd year|
|24||Milkias||Information Technology, 2nd year|
|25||Rabuma||Computer Science, 2nd year|
|26||Dagim||Civil Engineering, 2nd year|
|27||Asfaw||Mechanical Engineering, 2nd year|
|28||Lencho||Civil Engineering, 5th year|
- The HRLHA also received from reliable sources in southern Oromia, (Bale zone, in Ginir district) news that a number of Oromos had been picked up on the night of November 20, 2016 and taken to an unknown destination by the government para-military The following are some of the names of those individuals whose whereabouts remain as yet unknown.
|1) Hasan Aman||2) Muhammad-Saanii kabir||3) Taajuu Kabir|
|4) Aman kabir Sheekaa||5) Abdurahman Umar Haji Aalle||6) Syid-Husen Umar 7)|
10) Amaan Hassan
|8) Jamal Aman
11) Aliyi Haji Aadam
|9) Awwalee Jamaal
12) Amano Usman
|13) Kadiir Aadam||14) Nafisa Abdalla||15) Husen Salih 16)|
|Abdura,uf Ismail||17) Said Ahmad shekaa||18) Abdu Musxafa|
- Despite the fact that it remains difficult to obtain regular information from Ethiopia due to the government’s suspension and its blocking of access to all information and media outlets including Facebook, Viber, Messenger and Internet, the HRLHA’s carefully selected and fact- based authentic documentation provides fresh evidence that large scale extermination of Oromos and Amharas- presumed to be protected from the government’s human rights abuses- are taking place at night in Oromia and Amhara
- For example, as late as 6th November, 2016 at around 5:00 am, Agazi forces entered the house of Jamnalo Hussein located in Shirka district of the Eastern Arsi Zone and summarily executed three of his sons, namely, 1) Marabu Jamalo, 2) Abdissa Jamalo; and, 3) Tola Jamalo. In the interview done with the father, Mr. Jamalo Hussein was seen saying “my children have been killed by the killing squad of the fascist government, not because they stole or did something wrong, or violated the law but only because they are Oromos”. Such crimes are widespread all over Oromia and Amhara regional states, especially at night, and continue to be perpetrated on an ever-increasing scale and as part of the State of Emergency policy to terrorize the civilian population who are persistently demanding the enjoyment of their fundamental human rights. There is also evidence of the government’s deliberate targeting of special social groups such as the youth and educated citizens including journalists.
- Notwithstanding all the above gross violations of the human rights of citizens and despite the continuous reporting and the subsequent pleas by the HRLHA, and other international human rights agencies such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the International community to a large extent has failed to show its concerns by taking action against this gross violation of the fundamental rights of Ethiopian citizens- violations imposed by the very government that boasts of being The United Nations Human Rights Council, despite the fact that High Commissioner himself raised alarms in the past, has fallen short of any full systematic appraisal of the human rights situation in Ethiopia, let alone taking appropriate action to rectify the wrongs.
- What had happened in Darfur in 2003 -2004 where the government waged an undeclared war on its own defenseless civilians citizens should have served as a lesson . What is happening in Oromia and Amhara regional states of Ethiopia today resembles more or less what happened at the embryonic stage of the Darfur genocide in the 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, could have served as simple justification for the international community to intervene, at least through engaging the Ethiopian government by reminding it of its duty to live upto the expectations of the international community and fulfilling what it is committed to by being a party to the UN Human Rights Conventions.
- As a matter of principle, a State shoulders the primary responsibility to protect its own citizens from their rights being violated, but “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” it is incumbent on the international community in general and the Human Rights Council in particular to bring the perpetrator government to the world of
- The HRLHA once again renews its calls to the international community to act collectively in a timely and decisive manner – through all available mechanisms of the United Nations in accordance with the UN charter to stop the Ethiopian government’s assaults on its own citizens before it is too
- The HRLHA further requests that members of the UN Human Rights Council urge the Ethiopian government to allow the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteurs to visit the country to assess the human rights situations of political prisoners and others in detention centers all over the It also requests that the Council apply pressure on the Ethiopian government to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit the permanent and makeshift detention centers and permanent correctional facilities to assess the living conditions of the political prisoners with a view to securing guarantees from the government for regular family visits and access to their respective defense counsels.
- The International community has the responsibility and the mandate to use appropriate actions, diplomatic, humanitarian and other available means to protect the people who are only demanding the enjoyment of their fundamental human rights as recognized by the United When States violate the terms of the social contract they have with their own population, then it has always been the responsibility of the international community, including the United Nations, to step in and save the defenseless civilians from being exterminated, as is now happening in Ethiopia.