Untold number of Ethiopians are subject to human rights violations : Amnesty International USA

At the end of 2016 Amnesty International published a report titled Ethiopia Offline: Evidence of Social Media Blocking and Internet Censorship in Ethiopia. This report documented how social media and networks in Addis Ababa and the Oromia region were being blocked by the Ethiopian government. Among the more alarming findings is that AI and the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), who co-authored the report, detected the use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, which can be used to monitor and filter internet traffic. The Ethiopian government appears to be using the technology for “mass surveillance internet censorship.” The government’s actions constitute a violation of Ethiopia’s obligations to protect freedom of expression under the African Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and also drastically restricts access to information for the Ethiopian people.The internet crackdown is linked to a brutal crackdown by the government in response to protests that started in the Oromo region in November 2015 against the Addis Ababa City Integrated Development Master Plan. This led to nationwide protests following a stampede in Oromia region on October 2, 2016 that followed attacks on foreign and local businesses. In response to the attacks and the protests, the Ethiopian government declared a State of Emergency (SOE) on October 9, 2016. The government declared that under the SOE they could “restrict freedom of expression where such freedom is abused”, and imposed a wide range of restrictions on internet access.  The government also arrested more than 11,000 people charging them with “violence and property damage.”

Based on the standards of the ICCPR, the State of Emergency in Ethiopia has resulted in many derogations that fail to meet international human rights law. For example, the Ethiopian government established a Command Post whose purpose was to “stop any media, prohibit any assembly and search and seize any person or place.”  Under the SOE, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter were either blocked or inaccessible in Ethiopia, especially in the Oromia region. Further, certain types of URLs were blocked, including news media, web pages of political opposition, LGBTI, calling for freedom of expression, and circumvention tools such as Tor and Psiphon.

The Ethiopian government continues to misuse the Anti-terrorism Proclamation (ATP) legislation to charge and arrest people critical of government policies or actions. Amnesty International believes that “the acts of censorship, conducted outside a clear legal framework, over several months and affecting dozens of websites and social media platforms as well as the State of Emergency itself – which is so broadly drafted violates Ethiopia’s international legal obligations and permits violations of numerous human rights.”

These violations include the arrest of a number of government critics such as Bekele Gerba, a leading Oromo human rights activist, Eskinder Nega a prominent journalist and a human rights defender. Who was sentenced to 18 years in jail after he wrote articles demanding freedom of expression and an end to torture in Ethiopia.. Yonatan Tesfaye, a prominent opposition figure facing a possible death sentence due to his Facebook post opposing a government plan to extend the capital’s administrative authority to the Oromia region and Merera Gudina, a human rights activist and leader in the Oromo community.

An untold number of Ethiopians are subject to human rights violations as a result of the State of Emergency, the Anti-terrorism Proclamation and other legislation that the government is using to impose order, and, according to the government, restore peace and security.

As 2017 begins however, the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will face very stark truths. In can continue down the current path of increasing repression, and jail anyone who it considers unacceptable, creating a nationwide detention camp, or it can display the leadership the country needs by ending the State of Emergency, allowing an independent commission of inquiry into the protests that have shaken the country for the last two years, repeal the draconian laws it created to silence opposition, and release the scores of prisoners that it will need to talk to and work with to address the governance and human rights challenges the country is facing.

The world is watching and time is running out.

See the original report HERE

Mootummaan Wayyaanee Dhimma Maaster Pilaanii Magaalaa Finfinnee kan Duraan Dhiise jedhe Amma Maaliif Afarsaa Jira?

Yaayyaa Bashir (Boruu Barraaqaa) tiin

Dhimmi Maaster Pilaanii magaalaa Finfinnee amma dura eegalame mormii jabaa ummanni Oromoo godheen hambisiifamuu danda’ee akka ture ni yaadatama. Yeroo sanitti dabballoonni OPDO arraba damma dibatanii gad bahuudhaan ‘’yoo ummata Oromoo kan hin gammachiifne tahe maaluu ni hafa’’ jechuun ololaa bahan. Mormiin ummata Oromoo yeroo sana Maaster Pilaaniitti qabatee eegalame garuu salphaatti kan dhaabatu hin turre. Gaaffiin Oromoo gaaffii mirga abbaa biyyummaa waan taheef boris salphaatti kan aguugamee hafu hin tahu. Haa tahuutii mormii sirnicha hundee irraa raasuu danda’e kana ukkaamsuuf jecha Labsa Yeroo Muddamaa Oromoo irratti labsan. Humnaan ummata afaan qabanii, harka isaa micciiranii, miila isaa hidhanii callisiisuu filatan.

Dhimmi Maaster Pilaanii magaalaa Finfinnee ammas xixxiixaa jira. Miidiyaaleen Wayyaanee gurguddoon EBC fi FBCn dhimma kana qabatanii ifatti gad bahanii jirani. Keessumattuu miidiyaa karoora mootummaa dursee beeksisuudhaan beekamu kan tahe Faanaan (FBC) oduu Mudde 8, 2009 (ALH)tti dabarseen ‘’Maaster Pilaaniin magaalaa Finfinnee dhiheenyatti akka ragga’u Komishiniin Pilaanii Magaalaa Finfinnee beeksise’’ jechuun gabaasee jira. Gaaffiin as irratti ka’uu qabu, Wayyaaneen maaliif yeroo kanatti dhimma master pilaanii kana amma kaasuu filatte kan jedhuu dha. An akka naa galetti sababaan isaa waan gurguddaa lama.

Kan duraa, sirnichi wayta ammaa kana jabaa nama Oromoo hanga danda’e guuree mana hidhaatti naqee jira. Warra silaa ummata kakaasuu fi mormii ummataa qindeessuu danda’u jedhee shakku qabee hidhaa keessatti toyatee argama. Ummata isa hafe ammoo bittaa waraanummaa Komaand Poostiitiin sodaachisee bitaa jira. Ammaantana hamilee fi kaka’umsa ummanni Oromoo qabsoo mirga isaaf qabu onnee isaa keessatti buruqsee, boquu gad cabseen jira jedhee waan of amansiise fakkaata. Kana irraa ka’uun wayta kanatti kaayyoo biyya Oromoo saamuu fi Oromoo salphisuuf qabate san hojii irra oolchuu irraa wanni na hanqisu hin jiru jedhee of amansiisee jira. Oromoon hangamuu baay’atu, hangamuu sadarkaan mormii isaa addunyaatti dhagahamu, toyannoo koo jalaa hin bahu, dirqisiisee doorsisee waanin barbaadu waga’uu nan danda’a jedhee of hubachuu isaa argaa jirra. Dhimma Master Pilaanii magaalaa Finfinnee irratti Oromoodhaan salphifamee boquu cabsatee kan ture sirni Wayyaanee amma xiiqii san Oromoo irratti bahachuuf yeroo aanjaa uummadheera jedhee yaadaa jira.

Kan lammaffaa wanni Wayyaaneef onnee kenne haala faca’iinsa gurmuu siyaasaa Oromoo ti. Dhaaba siyaasaa biyya keessaa (KFO) yoo taheef guutummaatti mataa hanga jalaatti jabaa namoota dhaabichaa hidhaa naqanii jirani. Dhaabicha guutummaatti laamshessanii jiru. Wayta Wayyaaneen bulchiinsa Komaand Poostii Oromiyaa irratti labsitee halkanii guyyaa Oromoo kumootaan mana hidhaatti guurtu, rukuttee madeessitu, ajjeeftu, qabeenya isaa aduu saafaatiin saamtu dhaabni siyaasaa Oromoo jabaan sabichaaf dirmatee salphina kana irraa Oromoo baraaruu danda’e hin jiru. Keessoon dhaabota siyaasaa Oromoos tahee aktiivistoota Oromoo biyya keessattis tahee alatti irree qabaatee kan sirnicha sodaachisu hin taane. Ummatatu muratee natti ka’e malee dhaabni siyaasaa kan sagantaa mataa isaatiin haleellaa narraan gahuu danda’u Oromoo keessa hin jiru jettee murteessiteetti Wayyaaneen. Duula karaa miidiyaa hawaasummaa ummata kakaasuuf godhamu Facebook fi karaalee wal qunnamtii biroo cufuudhaan ummata dukkana keessatti iggitte.

Haalli amma jiru waan fedhan Oromoo irratti labsuuf yeroo aanjaa tahee laalameera. Wayyaneen balaa siyaasaa hamaa, keessumattuu Oromiyaa keessatti mudatte irraa humna qawweetiin akka of baraartee amma hafuura bitattetti of fudhatteetti. Kunis Oromoo tuffachuu irraa madda. ‘Ofiif wacitu malee homaa na gochuu hin dandeessan, keessi keessan bukoo dha’ nuun jedhaa jirti. Ummata keessaa warra mormii dabre keessatti seenaa hojjete garii ajjeeftee, kuun madeessitee qaama hir’iftee, kuun ammoo kumoota kudhanootaan hidhaatti naqxee affeelaa waan jirtuuf, tarkaanfii akkasii kanaan umrii dheereffachuun akka danda’amu shaakalaa jirti.

Kanaafuu maaltu mala? Hegereen qabsoo kanaa maal tahuuf deemaa jira? Kan durii yoo hafe wareegamni gootonni Oromoo qabsoo waggaa tokkoo keessatti kafalan bilaash tahee hafaa? Wayyaaneen humna qawweetiin Oromoo afaan qabdee deebitee akka bofaa biyyee arraabdee yoo ol kaatu, akkasumatti wacnee dhiifna moo tarsiimoo qabsoo haaraa wayiitiin gad baanee dheebuu bilisummaa ummata keenya baafna? Gaaffilee kana qaamonni ‘humnoota siyaasaa’ Oromoo ofiin jedhan of gaafachuu qabu. Warri jaaramee jiru waliin hojjechuu ni dandeenya moo hin dandeenyu jedhaa wal gaafadhaa. Waliin haasawuu fi waliin deemuu hin dandeessan taanaan maqaa qabsoo lafa kaayaatii jireenya mataa keessanii jiraadhaa. Ummanni isin eega, isinis qilleensuma irratti jirra jirra ofiin jettu, lafa irratti garuu hin mul’atani, gidduutti kan bu’aa hangana hin jedhamne hammaarrachaa jiru diina keenya.

Wayyaaneen mormii lafa raasu waggaa tokkoo san irraa dandamattee tuffii isii itti fufuu kan dandeesse hanqina keenyaan malee jabina mataa ishiin miti. Keessoon jaarmayummaa siyaasaa Oromoo baay’ee dheedhii dha. Corqaa dha. Bakka ummanni keenya gahe gahuufuu fagoo jira. Wayyaanee kan lubbuu itti hores isa kana. Ummanni yoomuu mirga isaaf ni falmata. Garuu jaarmayaa siyaasaa jabaa kan tarsiimoo jabaadhaan isa hogganu hin qabu taanaan maayyii irratti irbaata diinaa taha. Wayyaaneen bulchiinsa Komaand Poostii labsuu ishii dura ibsoonni dhaabonni siyaasaa Oromoo tokko tokko baasaa turan sirnichaaf gargaarsa guddaa godhe. Jaarmayoonni siyaasaa Oromoo walii isaanii gidduutti wal dorgoommii diigaa godhan irraa kan ka’e ‘qabsoo biyya keessaa deemaa jiru natu hogganaa jira’ jedhanii miidiyaatti bahanii labsuun ummata keenya rukuchiise malee bu’aa Oromoofis tahee jaarmayaa sanaaf fide homaa hin qabu. Diraamaa Wayyaaneen ‘ABO fi Masriitu na goolaa jira’ jettee hojjetatteef karaa bane. Diraamaa kanaan qabdees labsa yeroo muddamaa baafatte. Bulchiinsa waraanaa ‘Comand Post’ jedhamu Oromoo irratti labsitee haleellaa abbaa irrummaa kan durattuu raaw’achaa turte seerawaa godhachuuf ittiin gargaaramte. Dheedhummaan siyaasaa keenyaa balaa kana fakkaatu nu mude.

Gara fuulduraas of keessa deebinee hanqina keenya hin guuttannu taanaa, dogoggora keenya irraa hin barannu taanaan, akka qara eebootti qeeqa sodaachuu dhiifnee wal hin dhageeffannu taanaan, ego keenya of duuba goonee sabichaaf waa hojjechuu qofa irratti wal hin dorgoomnu taanaan salphinni kana caalu itti fufuun gaaffii hin qabu. Laafina keenya irraa barannee qaama laafinaa san jabinatti jijjiirrachuu dandeenyaan garuu ni injifanna. Yoo san gochuu hin dandeenye ammoo dhiiga ummanni keenya bilisummaa isaaf dhangalaasaa jiru dhiiga saree gochuu manna Oromoon akka furmaata barbaaddattu itti himnee karaa irraa maquu dha. Dhaamsi kun warra tuqata siyaasaa Oromoo qabu kan matayyaas tahee gurmuudhaan gumaachaa jirra jedhan maraaf tahuu qaba.

Sabni keenya ni injifata!

Ethiopia: After a year of protests, time to address grave human rights concerns

Report from Amnesty International

Nearly one year on from the start of a wave of protests that has left at least 800 people dead at the hands of security forces, the Ethiopian government must take concrete steps to address grave human rights concerns in the country, Amnesty International said today.

The protests began in the central Oromia region on 12 November 2015, in opposition to the Addis Ababa Masterplan, a government plan to extend the capital Addis Ababa’s administrative control into parts of the Oromia.

 

A year after these deadly protests began, tensions in Ethiopia remain high and the human rights situation dire
Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“A year after these deadly protests began, tensions in Ethiopia remain high and the human rights situation dire, with mass arrests internet shutdowns and sporadic clashes between the security forces and local communities, especially in the north of the country,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“It’s high time the Ethiopian authorities stopped paying lip service to reform and instead took concrete steps to embrace it, including by releasing the myriad political prisoners it is holding merely for expressing their opinions. They should also repeal the repressive laws that imprisoned them in the first place, including the draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation that has also contributed to the unrest.”

Even after the Addis Ababa Masterplan was scrapped in January 2016, protests continued with demonstrators demanding an end to human rights violations, ethnic marginalization and the continued detention of Oromo leaders.

The protests later expanded into the Amhara region with demands for an end to arbitrary arrests and ethnic marginalization. They were triggered by attempts by the security forces to arrest Colonel Demeka Zewdu, one of the leaders of the Wolqait Identity and Self-Determination Committee, on alleged terrorism offences. Wolqait, an administrative district in the Tigray region, has been campaigning for reintegration into the Amhara region, to which it belonged until 1991.

Just as in Oromia, security forces responded with excessive and lethal force in their efforts to quell the protests. Amnesty International estimates that at least 800 people have been killed since the protests began, most of them in the two regions.

The Ethiopian government’s heavy-handed response to largely peaceful protests started a vicious cycle of protests and totally avoidable bloodshed. If it does not address the protesters’ grievances, we are concerned that it is only a matter of time before another round of unrest erupts
Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

One of the worst single incidents took place on 2 October 2016 when at least 55 people were trampled to death in a stampede during the Oromo religious festival of Irrecha, held in the town of Bishoftu, about 45 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa. Oromo activists blamed the stampede on the security forces who they said fired live rounds and tear gas into the crowd causing a panic. The authorities deny any wrongdoing.

No protests have been observed since a state of emergency was declared on 9 October, but this has come at the steep price of increased human rights violations, including mass arbitrary arrests and media restrictions, including internet blockages.

“The Ethiopian government’s heavy-handed response to largely peaceful protests started a vicious cycle of protests and totally avoidable bloodshed. If it does not address the protesters’ grievances, we are concerned that it is only a matter of time before another round of unrest erupts,” said Michelle Kagari.

“The restrictive measures imposed as part of the state of emergency only sweeps the underlying issues under the carpet. To fully address the situation, the government must genuinely commit to human rights, including by amending legislation like the anti-terrorism proclamation to bring it fully in line with Ethiopia’s human rights obligations; and ensure its people can enjoy their right to express their opinions including those which criticise government policy and action; and their right to peaceful assembly.”

Background

Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009 includes an overly broad and vague definition of terrorist acts and a definition of “encouragement of terrorism” that makes the publication of statements “likely to be understood as encouraging terrorist acts” punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison.

The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has repeatedly promised to undertake fundamental reform in governance, but has shown no overt sign of genuine commitment to reform. It continues to use excessive force against largely peaceful protesters, labelling them as anti-peace forces, instead of acknowledging and addressing their legitimate grievances.

AMNESTY INTRNATIONAL: ETHIOPIA DRACONIAN MEASURES WILL ESCALATE THE DEEPENING CRISIS

 

Heavy-handed measures by the Ethiopian government will only escalate a deepening crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 800 protesters since protests began in November 2015, said Amnesty International today after the government issued a directive imposing wide-ranging restrictions as part of a state of emergency.

The directive authorises arrests without warrants, as well as rehabilitation measures. When such measures have been used in the past, they have led to arbitrary detention of protesters at remote military facilities without access to their families and lawyers.

“These emergency measures are extremely severe and so broad that they threaten basic human rights that must not be curtailed even under a state of emergency,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“These measures will deepen, not mitigate, the underlying causes of the sustained protests we have seen throughout the year, which have been driven by deep-seated human rights grievances. These grievances must be properly addressed by the authorities. Further crackdowns and human rights violations will only make the situation worse.”

It is the government’s failure to constructively engage with the protesters that continues to fuel these protests. It must now change course
Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

In a public statement issued today Amnesty International recommends that instead of further curtailing human rights, the government should seize the moment and recommit itself to respecting, protecting and fulfilling them, in line with its regional and international obligations.

“It is the government’s failure to constructively engage with the protesters that continues to fuel these protests. It must now change course,” said Muthoni Wanyeki.

“The government must ensure an end to excessive and arbitrary use of force by the security forces against demonstrators and release all protesters, opposition leaders and supporters, as well as journalists and bloggers, arrested for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”

At least 600 protesters have been killed in Oromia and 200 in Amhara since November last year.

Background

Protests began in November 2015 when ethnic Oromos took to the streets fearing possible land seizures under the government’s Addis Ababa Masterplan, which aimed to expand the capital’s administrative control into Oromia. The protests continued even after the Addis Ababa Masterplan was scrapped, evolving into demands for accountability for human rights violations, ethnic equality and the release of political prisoners.

Protests later spread to Amhara, a region that has long complained of marginalization.

The worst incident involved the death of possibly hundreds of protesters in a stampede on 2 October at Bishoftu, about 45 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa, during the Irrecha religious festival. Protest groups say the stampede was caused by the security forces’ unnecessary and excessive use of force. The government has denied this, instead blaming the deaths on “anti-peace forces.”

See more at:  https://www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2016/10/ethiopia-

draconian-measures-will-escalate-the-deepening-crisis/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=quote utm_term=It+is+the+government%25u2019s+failure+to+constructively+

engage+with+the+protesters+that+continues+to+fuel+these+protests.

+It+must+now+change+course&utm_campaign=social

UN experts call for international commission to help investigate systematic violence against protesters in Ethiopia

 

GENEVA (10 October 2016) –United Nations human rights experts today urged the Ethiopian authorities to end their violent crackdown on peaceful protests, which has reportedly led to the death of over 600 people since November 2015. They further called on the Government to allow an international commission of inquiry to investigate the protests and the violence used against peaceful demonstrators.

“We are outraged at the alarming allegations of mass killings, thousands of injuries, tens of thousands of arrests and hundreds of enforced disappearances,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard. “We are also extremely concerned by numerous reports that those arrested had faced torture and ill-treatment in military detention centres.”

“In light of the lack of progress in investigating the systematic violence against protesters, we urge the Ethiopian Government to allow an international independent commission to assist in shedding light on these allegations,” they stated.

The human rights experts highlighted in particular the 2 October events in Oromia, where 55 people were killed in a stampede.

“The deaths in the Oromia region last weekend are only the latest in a long string of incidents where the authorities’ use of excessive force has led to mass deaths,” Mr. Kiai said noting that peaceful protests in the Ahmara and Konso Wereda regions have also been met with violence from authorities.

“The scale of this violence and the shocking number of deaths make it clear that this is a calculated campaign to eliminate opposition movements and silence dissenting voices,” he added.

The UN Special Rapporteurs voiced particular concern over the use of national security provisions and counterterrorism legislation – the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation 652/2009 – to target individuals exercising their rights to peaceful assembly.

“This law authorises the use of unrestrained force against suspects and pre-trial detention of up to four months,” Ms. Callamard noted while warning that many of the killings could amount to extrajudicial executions. “Whenever the principles of necessity and proportionality are not respected in the context of crowd control, any death caused by law enforcement officials is considered an extrajudicial execution,” she stressed.

The Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances urged the authorities to immediately disclose the whereabouts of those disappeared and emphasized that” all allegations of enforced disappearances must be thoroughly and independently investigated and perpetrators held accountable”.

Ethiopia’s current wave of mass protests began in the Oromia region in November 2015, in response to the Government’s ‘Master Plan’ to expand Addis Ababa’s boundaries, which would lead to the displacement of Oromo farmers. In Konso Wereda, the protests started in mid-December 2015 after the annexation of Konso into the Segen Area Peoples Zone. Protests later spread to other areas of the country, including the Ahmara region.

“Curtailing assembly and association rights is never the answer when there are disagreements in a society; rather, it is a sign of the State’s inability to deal with such disagreements,” Mr Kiai said. “Suffocating dissent only makes things worse, and is likely to lead to further social and political unrest.”

The experts underlined the urgent need to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the violence. A group of UN experts made a similar call* in January 2016, which went unheeded, they noted.

See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20663&LangID=E

 

Renewed protests in Ethiopia underline need to investigate after dozens killed at Irrecha Festival

Fresh protests in Ethiopia since dozens of protesters were killed in a stampede at a religious festival on 2 October underline the need for the Ethiopian government to ensure a full investigation into how the protest was handled, said Amnesty International today.

Protests have broken out in the capital Addis Ababa, as well as in the Oromia and Amhara regions, since the deadly stampede at a large-scale traditional ceremony in the town of Bishoftu on Sunday. Protest groups blame the tragedy on security agents firing live bullets and tear gas into the massive crowd assembled in a confined space, a charge the government has denied.

“We have documented multiple complaints of police using excessive force, including lethal force, against largely peaceful protesters since demonstrations began in the Oromia region in November last year,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The law enforcement agencies must immediately end all unlawful use of force against protesters. The government, meanwhile, has an obligation to ensure prompt, thorough, impartial, transparent and effective investigations, particularly into deaths during protests. This should include what role government forces played in Bishoftu, as well as how Ethiopian security forces manage public protests in general.”

It is critical that an investigation be held to unearth the truth and to identify law enforcement officers criminally responsible, and hold them to account in open and fair trials
Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

The government has put the death toll from the stampede at 52, while protest groups say the number is much higher. They also say that some of their colleagues died of gunshot wounds inflicted by the security forces.

“Given the contradictory accounts, it is critical that an investigation be held to unearth the truth and to identify law enforcement officers criminally responsible, and hold them to account in open and fair trials,” said Michelle Kagari

“In the meantime, the authorities must exercise restraint to prevent further bloodshed.”

Background

The Oromo protests began in opposition to the Addis Ababa Masterplan, which aimed to extend the administrative boundaries of the capital Addis Ababa into parts of Oromia, which many Oromo feared would lead to mass displacement of people from their homes. The masterplan was scrapped in January but the protests have continued.

 

See more at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/10/ethiopia-renewed-protests-underline-need-to-investigate-after-dozens-killed-in-stampede/

Ethiopian Forces killed more than 400 people during Oromo Protests in Ethiopia

Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 people, including children, in the Oromia region by using excessive force to quell anti-government protests, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on Thursday, 16June 2016.

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested and many remain in detention without charge, HRW said in a report published on Thursday. The organization called for Ethiopia to investigate and prosecute those among its security forces responsible for abuses and demanded greater pressure be exerted by the international community on the Horn of Africa state.

You can read the full reports of Human Rights Watch (HRW) at FULL REPORT BY HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

NO TO IMPUNITY!

By Tsegaye Ararssa)

That the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is not an independent institution and that it is incapable of doing human rights monitoring has long been admitted by the regime itself. So, no report it presents is a result of an independent inquiry. No statement it makes is an impartial statement. What we heard yesterday is not even close to the admission of guilt on the part of the regime made by the Prime Minister and the Spokesperson earlier in the year.
We have yet to see its report, the methods it used, and the personnel it mobilized to conduct its investigation. We have yet to see whom they identified as these “other forces who sought to take advantage of the people”. We have yet to see how “these other forces” are implicated. We have yet to see a full description of who did what so that we can make them responsible. To blame indefinite (and invisible) forces for the people killed (over 500 now), for the people injured (in thousands), and for the people arbitrarily arrested (estimated to be over 50,000), for the destruction of property (through vandalizing and burning of university campuses), for the suspension and dismissal of Oromia’s civil administration unconstitutionally (without even a semblance of legality that could be seen if there were an emergency declaration or a “federal intervention”) is a farce of incredible proportion. And we reject that completely, and we say NO!

Referring to “these other forces” as the responsible bodies without clearly identifying them and without establishing the mode of their involvement is only deflecting responsibility from the regime that acted completely lawlessly (illegally and unconstitutionally) to take “merciless and definitive measures” on protestors and to subject the entire region to military rule. This is simply unacceptable. And we say NO to impunity!

The report claims that the federal army, special forces, federal police, and the entire intelligence personnel was unleashed on Oromia to kill, injure, arrest, and terrorize the people [totally in accordance with the order of the Prime Minister to take “merciless and definitive measures”] on the invitation of the region. However, it doesn’t even care to tell us when was it requested, how it was requested, and according to which rules of procedure (apart from that put in place for a legitimate Federal Intervention in the regions). This is completely illegal and unacceptable. We reject this, and mercilessly and conclusively say NO to that, too!
The report claims that the crisis was caused, among other things, by a misunderstanding of the Master Plan. This suggests that the Master Plan is an appropriate plan. This is utterly unacceptable. We say NO!

By issuing this statement by the EHRC, the regime is now suppressing and displacing the truth of the atrocities it perpetrated on innocent protestors.
We say NO to this suppression of the truth, our truth, just as we say NO to the repression of the protest, and the wider systematic oppression of the Oromo and other peoples of Ethiopia by a regime that has rendered itself not just undemocratic but utterly anti-democratic.
The modest road we suggested from the start remains to be the only road the regime has to take in order to restore peace (and survive this crisis as a regime).
We state it to them again:
1. Rescind the Master Plan unequivocally (both in Addis and in the adjacent Oromia Zones). Take a clear, public stance by issuing a Parliamentary Resolution against the Master Plan.

2. Stop the violence and remove the Army, the Special Force, the Federal Police, and the intelligence personnel from all civilian life in Oromia.

3. Release all the political prisoners arrested in relation to the protest, including political dissidents arbitrarily taken captive in the wake of the re-eruption of the protest.

4. Set up a genuinely independent commission with members and/or observers from international organizations to conduct a proper investigation to the crisis and to make efforts to establish responsibility (political, administrative, legal, and moral) for the harm caused in the process.

5. Take political responsibility as a government, apologize to the public officially (with a clear statement written and delivered in a proper forum fully transparently to the media), and take all appropriate measures to restore the dignity of the victims and pay reparations to the same.

6. Remove all officials who are at the forefront of political and administrative responsibilities, for by being implicated in the bloodbath that they caused in the course of the crisis, they have totally lost the moral legitimacy, the legal competence, and the public credibility to govern.

7. Ensure that those who did and caused the killings, injuries, rapes, tortures, and arbitrary arrests be held legally accountable (in accordance with the criminal law of the country) before an independent court of law. Allow a forensic determination of guilt and punishment in proportion to the degree of their participation. Fail to do this, the regime will be haunted by the possibility of being brought before international justice institutions (or at least they will face the inconvenience of having to defend themselves).

8. The Government in Oromia has lost all the credibility and all the legitimacy (which it never had anyway!) to govern the region. It is imperative that the Caffee Oromia dismiss itself and call for an election before the next parliamentary year (leaving the day to day administration of matters to a care taker government of the old cabinet).

9. Stop all acts of eviction of farmers from their land which, to most of them, is their only means of livelihood. Work towards a better (possessory) tenure security over the plots of land they now have. Stop all activities of land grab and consequent displacement of people everywhere (in Oromia and beyond) even in the name of “development.” Work towards a more legally entrenched, fair, just, and consultative mode of development planning where necessary expropriation is done with due, effective, and adequate compensation.

10. Ensure that the ‘Special Interest’ clause of the constitution is implemented urgently. In the determination of the content of the Special Interest, Oromia’s voice must be properly listened to as well as that of the city government of Addis Ababa. Start a comprehensive, inclusive, open, and genuinely participatory discussion with all the peoples of Ethiopia about where to place the federal Capital city. In an act of bona fide cooperation, the Oromia government should take steps towards suggesting another options and modes for relocating the capital city within or outside of Oromia (and its own contribution, as the largest State in the Federation, towards building the new capital–if this be the option).

These things are doable things. These things are easier things to do for the regime. Anything short of this will only provoke a more vehement and persistent resistance. To do anything less, or anything other than these modest suggestions, is an invitation for further crisis.

We will do everything at our disposal to resist this. We keep saying NO!
We keep saying NO to justification and rationalization of State terror.
We keep saying NO to all forms of impunity for the gross violation of human rights in Oromia and beyond.
We keep saying NO to all forms of eviction from land including through the Master Plan.

የወያኔ ትምህርት ሚኒስቴር መግለጫ የኦሮሞን ህዝብ የእምቢታ ኣቅም ዳግም ያስመሰከረ ድል ነው

በቦሩ በራቃ

እነሆ የወያኔ ትምህርት ሚኒስቴር የ12ኛ ክፍል ብሄራዊ ፈተና ለሌላ ጊዜ እንዲዛወር ወስኗል። ውሳኔውን ያደረገው ደግሞ ወዶና ፈቅዶ ሳይሆን በኦሮሞ ህዝብ የተቀናጀ ትግል ተገዶ ነው። እንደሚታወቀው የኦሮሞ ተማሪዎችና ኣክቲቪስቶች ላለፉት ተከታታይ ሳምንታት በሰከነ መልኩ ያሰቡበትን ጥያቄ ሲያቀርቡ ነበረ። በኦሮምያ ለወራት እየተካሄደ ካለው ህዝባዊ ኣመፅ ጋር በተያያዘ የክልሉ ተማሪዎች በተረጋጋ መንፈስ ለፈተናው ባለመዘጋጀታቸው የፈተናው ወቅት ለሌላ ጊዜ እንዲተላለፍ ጉዳዩ በቀጥታ የሚመለከተውን የክልሉን ትምህርት ቢሮ ጠይቀው ነበር። የኦሮምያ ትምህርት ቤሮ ግን ይህንን ሞራላዊና ፍትሃዊ ጥያቄ ውድቅ የሚያደርግ መግለጫ ሰጠ። ፈተናው ከጥቂት የኦሮምያ ትምህርት ቤቶች በስተቀር በተቀረው ኣብዛኛው ኣካባቢ በተያዘለት ፕሮግራም መሰረት እንደሚስጥ ነበር ያስታወቀው።

ከዚህ የወያኔ ባለስጣናት ትእቢት የተሞላበት ምላሽ በሁዋላ ነበር የፈተናው መልሶች ሾልከው ወጥተው እንዲበተኑ በኦሮሞ ታጋዮች እርምጃ የተወሰደው። የእርምጃው ኣላማም የኦሮሞን ተማሪዎች ያገለለ ብሄራዊ ፈተና ከቶ ተቀባይነት እንደሌለው ለማሳየት ነው። ወያኔዎቹ ተሸንፈው የፈተናውን መስጫ ፕሮግራም ለሌላ ጊዜ ለማስተላለፍ ከተገደዱ በሁዋላ የእናቴ ቀሚስ ኣደናቀፈኝ እያሉ ናቸው። የፈተናውን መልስ ኦንላይን ላይ መልቀቅ ሞራላዊ ኣይደለም ኣያሉም ማጉረምረማቸው ኣስቂኝ ነው። ሞራላዊ ያልሆነውማ የገዛ የራሳቸው ትእቢት ነው። ለኦሮሞ ህዝብ ካላቸው ንቀት የተነሳ የብዙሃኖቹን ኦሮሞ ተማሪዎች ድምፅ መስማት ተሳናቸው። ኦሮሞን በገዛ ኣገሩ ላይ ሰላም ኣሳጥተው ተማሪዎቹ ትምህርት ኣቁዋርጠው እንዲታገሉ ማስገደዳቸው ሳያንስ ኣምስት ስድስት ወር ሙሉ ክፍል ገብቶ የማያውቀውን የኦሮምያ ተማሪ ሙሉ ጊዜውን በክፍል ውስጥ ካሳለፈው የሌላ ክልል ተማሪ እኩል መፈተን ኣማራቸው። ከዚህ በላይ ኢሞራላዊ ውሳኔ የለም።

የኦሮሞ ተማሪዎች ፋና ወጊ የሆኑበት የኦሮሞ ህዝብ ትግል እንዲህ ባሉት ጠላታዊ ውሳኔዎች ሳይበገር ተጠናክሮ ይቀጥላል። እነሆ በድል ላይ ድል እየደረበ የጠላቶቹን ኣንገት ኣስደፍቶ እየገሰገሰም ይገኛል። ‘Qabbanaahu harka, gubu fal’aana (ካላቃጠለ በእጅ ካቃጠለ በማንኪያ)’ እንደሚለው የኦሮሞ ብሂል ትግሉ በህጋዊ መንገድ የሚያነሳቸው ጥያቄዎች ህጋዊና ፍትሃዊ ምላሽ ከተነፈጉ እጸፋውን እንዲህ ባሉት ኣይምሬ እርምጃዎች መመለስ ሞራላዊ ኣንጂ የሚያሰወቅስ ኣያደለም።

የዚህ ፈተና መልስ ሾልኮ መውጣት ወያኔ ብቻም ሳይሆን ለሌሎችም ኣካላት ኣንድ ከባድ መልእክት ኣስተላልፏል ተብሎ ይገመታል። ‘እንዳያማህ ጥራው፣ እንዳይበላ ግፋው’ እንዲሉ የኦሮሞ ተማሪዎች ኣፋቸውን ተለጉመው በሚቀርቡበት ብሄራዊ ገበታ ላይ ሌሎቹም ነጻ የገበታው እድምተኞች ኣንደልባቸው መመገብ ኣይችሉም። በኣጭር ኣማርኛ ኦሮሞን ያገለለ ብሄራዊ ፈተና ለሌሎቹም የሚሳካ ፈተና ሊሆንላቸው ኣይችልም። ስለሆነም ኦሮምያ ውስጥ የሚካሄደው ትግል ድሉም ሆነ ውድቀቱ ለሌሎቹም ክልሎች እንደሚተርፍ ከዚህ ምሳሌ መረዳት ጠቃሚ ይመስለኛል። ከስድስት ወር በፊት ኦሮምያ ውስጥ የተፋፋመው የእምቢታ ኣመፅ ከኦሮምያ ኣልፎ በሌሎች ክልሎች የትምህርት ሂደት ላይ ተፅእኖ ያሳድር ይሆናል ብሎ ያሰበ ኣልነበረም። እድሜ ለወያኔ ትእቢት እነሆ ሌሎቹም ተርፎ ‘ጉዳዩ የማይመለከታቸው’ ክልሎችም ሰለባ ለመሆን በቁ። ስለሆነም የኦሮሞ ህዝብን የትግል እንቅስቃሴ ከኣገሪቱ ብሄራዊ ጉዳዮች ነጥለው መመልከት ኣልያም ኣናንቀው መዝለፍ የሚፈልጉ ወገኖች ሁሉ መሬት ላይ ማየት የተሳናቸውን ሃቅ የሚመለከቱበትን መነፅር በጊዜ ቢጠቀሙ ይጠቅማቸዋል።

Ethiopia Activist Charged After Anti-govt Facebook Posts

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 5 (AFP) — The ex-spokesman for Ethiopia’s main opposition Blue Party has been charged with inciting violence and being a “ring leader” of a banned rebel group after he criticized the government on Facebook.

The ex-spokesman for Ethiopia’s main opposition Blue Party has been charged with inciting violence and being a “ring leader” of a banned rebel group after he criticized the government on Facebook.  It has its own language, Oromo, distinct from Amharic, the language of Ethiopia’s government.

Authorities consider Tesfaye’s writings as a call to rise up against the government and given the country’s tough anti-terror law he could face up to 15 years behind bars if convicted. Tesfaye was until recently the Blue Party’s spokesman and comes from a generation of young activists determined to challenge the authoritarian regime that has ruled the nation for 25 years.

Yonatan Tesfaye, who has been jailed since December 2015, in one message accused the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) of using “force against the people instead of using peaceful discussion with the public.”

He was referring to the authorities’ response to protests that have rocked the Oromia region in Africa’s second-most populous nation. Home to some 27 million people, Oromia encircles Addis Ababa and stretches over large parts of the rest of the country. It has its own language, Oromo, distinct from Amharic, the language of Ethiopia’s government.

The demonstrations began in November against a government plan to expand the boundaries of Addis Ababa into Oromia.According to court records, Tesfaye was charged Wednesday with 11 counts including inciting violence “to disrupt the social, economic and political stability of the country.”

He is also accused of being a “ring leader of the far-left Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) to inflame demonstrations,” the court records said. OLF is a banned separatist movement opposed to the Ethiopian government which police routinely blame for “terrorist” acts.

Authorities consider Tesfaye’s writings as a call to rise up against the government and given the country’s tough anti-terror law he could face up to 15 years behind bars if convicted.

Tesfaye was until recently the Blue Party’s spokesman and comes from a generation of young activists determined to challenge the authoritarian regime that has ruled the nation for 25 years.

“When people become popular and give a voice to the voiceless, (the government) charge them with fabricated charges and put them in jail,” Blue Party head Yilkal Getnet told AFP.

“This is what happened to Yonatan,” he added.

Since the overthrow of a Marxist junta in 1991, Ethiopia’s political and economic situation has stabilized, although rights groups have criticized the government for suppressing opposition.

 

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Yonatan Tesfaye, politician & human right activist