Ethiopia: A Generation at Risk, Plight of Oromo Students

HRLHA Urgent Action __________________________________________________ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 06, 2014 The human rights abuses against Oromo Students in different universities have continued unabated over the past six months- more than a hundred Oromo students were extra-judicially wounded or killed, while thousands were jailed by a special squad: the “Agazi” force This harsh crackdown against the Oromo students, which resulted in deaths, arrests, detentions and disappearances, happened following a peaceful protest by the Oromo students and the Oromo people in April – May 2014 against the so-called “Integrated Master Plan of Addis Ababa”. This plan was targeted at the annexation of many small towns of Oromia to the capital Addis Ababa. It would have meant the eviction of around six million Oromos from their lands and long-time livelihoods without being consulted or giving consent. The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) has repeatedly expressed its deep concern about such human rights violations against the Oromo nation by the EPRDF government The HRLHA reporter in Addis Ababa confirmed that in connection with the April-May, 2014 peaceful protests among the many students picked from different universities and other places in the regional State of Oromia and detained in Maikelawi /”the Ethiopian Guantanamo bay Detention camp” ,the following nine students and another four, Abdi Kamal, TofiK Kamal and Abdusamad business men from Eastern Hararge Dirre Dawa town and Chaltu Duguma (F) an employee of Wallaga Universty are in critical condition due to the continuous severe torture inflicted upon them in the past five months. No Name Gender Occupation 1 Lenjisa Alamayo M Student Jimma University 2 Tamire Bekele M Student Jima University 3 Gemechu Bekele M Student Jima University 4 Nimona Chali M Student Haromaya University 5 Magarsa Bekele M Student Haromaya university 6 Abebe Urgessa M Student Haromaya University 7 Bilisuma Gonfa M Student Haromaya University 8 Adugna Kesso M Student Adama University 9 Bilisuma Damana M Student Adama University The current ongoing arrests and detention of Oromo students started when the students were forced to attend a “political training” said to be a government plan to indoctrinate the students with the political agenda of EPRDF for two weeks before the regular classes started in mid- September 2014. Before the training started, students demanded that the government release the students who were imprisoned during the peaceful protests of April-May 2014. Instead of giving a positive answer to the students’ legitimate questions, the federal government deployed its military forces to Ambo and Wallaga University campuses to silence their voices; many students were severely beaten and hundreds were taken to prison from August 20-29, 2014. Through the brutality of the federal government’s military “Agazi”, students from Ambo University, Hinaafu Lammaa, Kuma Fayisa, Tarreessaa Waaqummaa Mulugeta, Sukkaaraa Cimidi, Leensa Hailu Bedhane (F) and Elizabeth Legesse (lost her two tooth) were among those harshly beaten in their dormitories and then thrown outside naked in the open air. The HRLHA reporter documented the following names among hundreds of students taken to different detention centers from both Ambo and Wallaga Universities on August 28 &29, 2014. No Name Gender Occupation 1 Hunde Firisa Warku M Student Wallaga University 2 Mitiku Anbese M student Wallega Univrsity 3 Gemechu Bely mekonen M Student Wallega University 4 Anbessa Ayele M Student Adama University 5 Zerun Yewalun wandimu M student Dilla University 6 Nagara Fiqadu M Student AA University 7 Gurmessa Wondimu Iticha M Student Mada Walabu University 8 Temesgen Shiferaw M Student Wallaga University 9 Gaddisa Damana M Student Adama University l10 Endale Irranaa M Student Wallaga University 11 Alamayyo Sori M Student Samara University 12 Fikiru Rafisa M Student Mekele University 13 Firaol Bekele M Student Mekele University 14 Birhanu Niguse M Student Adigrat University 15 Chali Anugna M Student 16 Firaol Kelbessa M Student 17 Habtamu Wirtu M Student 18 Gizacho Marga M Student 19 Abdi Tesfaye M Student Among many Wallaga University students, those who were severely beaten on 28/08/2014- Markos Taye, Ganati Desta and Mosisa fufa- were first taken to Nekemte Hospital and later transferred to Tikur Anbasa, a hospital in the capital city more than 300km away for further treatment. They remain there in critical condition. The most recent report (Sept 03,2014) received by HRLHA from Ambo town indicates that more than 250 students released from Senkele detention center have been taken back to their villages so that their parents of guardians can sign documents stating that their children are responsible for the conflict created between the students and the federal military. The parents of the students rejected the attempt of the government to make their children guilty by supporting, instead, the demands of the students “Free our friends, bring the killers of the students to court” By killing, torturing and detaining non-violent protesters, the government of Ethiopia is breaching: 1. The 1995 constitution of the Ethiopia, articles 29 and 30, which grant basic democratic rights to all Ethiopian citizens . 2. All international and regional human rights instruments that Ethiopia signed and the UN Human Rights council 19th and 25th sessions resolutions that call upon states, with regard to peaceful protests, to promote and protect all human rights and to prevent all human rights violations during peaceful protests. Therefore, the HRLHA calls upon the Ethiopian Government to refrain from systematically eliminating the young generation of Oromo nationals and respect all international human rights standards, and all civil and political rights of citizens it has signed off in particular. HRLHA also calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand an immediate halt to such kinds of extra-judicial actions against one’s own citizens. Detainees should be released without any preconditions and the murderers should brought to justice. . RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to the Ethiopian Government and its appropriate government ministries and/or officials as swiftly as possible, both in English and Ahmaric, or in your own language:  Expressing concerns regarding the apprehension and possible torture of citizens who are being held in different detention centers including the infamous Ma’ikelawi Central Investigation Office, and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;  Request that the government refrain from detaining, harassing, discriminating against Oromo Nationals  Urging the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that detainees are treated in accordance with the regional and international standards regarding the treatment of prisoners  Also send your concerns to diplomatic representatives in Ethiopia who are accredited to your country. Mailed To: • Office of Prime Minister of Ethiopia P.O.Box – 1031 , Addis Ababa Telephone – +251 155 20 44; +251 111 32 41 Fax – +251 155 20 30 , +251 1552020 • Office of Oromiya National Regional State President Office Telephone – 0115510455 • Office of the Ministry of Justice of Ethiopia PO Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Fax: +251 11 5517775; +251 11 5520874 Email: • UNESCO Headquarters Paris. 7, place de Fontenoy 75352 Paris 07 SP France 1, rue Miollis 75732 Paris Cedex 15 France General phone: +33 (0)1 45 68 10 00 • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)- Africa Department 7 place Fontenoy 75352 Paris 07 SP France General phone: +33 (0)1 45 68 10 00 Website: • UNESCO AFRICA RIGIONAL OFFICE MR.JOSEPH NGU Director • UNESCO Office in Abuja Mail: j.ngu(at) Tel: +251 11 5445284 Fax: +251 11 5514936 • Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights United Nations Office at Geneva 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland Fax: + 41 22 917 9022 (particularly for Urgent matters) E-mail: this e-mail address is being protected from spambots. Youneed JavaScript enabled to view it • Office of the UNHCR Telephone: 41 22 739 8111 Fax: 41 22 739 7377 Po Box: 2500 Geneva, Switzerland • African Commission on Human and Peoples‘ Rights (ACHPR) 48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul, the Gambia. Tel: (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 – 23 Fax: (220) 4390 764 E-mail: • Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights • Council of Europe F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE + 33 (0)3 88 41 34 21 + 33 (0)3 90 21 50 53 Contact us by email • U.S. Department of State Laura Hruby Ethiopia Desk Officer U.S. State Department Tel: (202) 647-6473 • Amnesty International – London Claire Beston “Claire Beston” , • Human Rights Watch Felix Hor “Felix Horne” ,

ETHIOPIA: Arrests and Detentions of Oromo Students Continued

HRLHA Logo2While fresh arrests and detentions, kidnappings and disappearances of Oromo nationals have continued in different parts of the regional state of Oromo following the April-May crackdown of peaceful demonstrators, court rulings over the cases of some of the earlier detainees by courts of the regional state are being rejected by political agents of the governing TPLF/EPRDF Party. The renewed violence by government forces against Oromo nationals started particularly following what was termed as “Lenjii Siyaasaa” (literally meaning “political training) that has targeted Oromo Students of higher educational institutions and has been going on in the past two weeks in different parts of Oromia. Continue reading ETHIOPIA: Arrests and Detentions of Oromo Students Continued →

Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)

26th Session of United Nations Human Rights Council Geneva, Palais des Nations, Presented By :Garoma B. Wakessa : Executive Director of HRLHA June 19, 2014 Ethiopia: Gross Violations of Human Rights and an intractable conflict Introduction: It is common in democratic countries around the world for people to express their grievances/ dissatisfactions and complaints against their governments by peaceful demonstrations and assemblies. When such nonviolent civil rallies take place, it should always be the state’s responsibility to respect and guard their citizens’ freedom to peacefully assemble and demonstrate. These responsibilities should apply even during times of political protests, when a state’s own power is questioned, challenged, or perhaps undermined by assemblies of citizens practicing in nonviolent resistance. If a government responds to peaceful protests improperly, a peaceful protest might lead to a violent protest- that could then become an intractable conflict. Government agents, most of all the police, must respect the local and international standards of democratic rights of the citizens during peaceful assemblies or demonstrations. Continue reading Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) →

United Nations Human Rights Council 26th Session, Geneva, Switzerland

Statement for Oral Presentation, June 16, 2014 By Mr. Garoma Wakessa, Executive Director, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) Agenda Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development – Ethiopia Thank You, Mr. Chairman, The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa is highly concerned about the extreme violations of fundamental rights by the Ethiopian Government against Oromo students of universities, colleges, and high schools particularly in the past two months. The harsh crackdown against the Oromo students, which resulted in the death of more than 34 youth and the arrest and detention of many others happened following a peaceful protest by the Oromo students and the Oromo people against the Integrated Master Plan of Addis Ababa, which aimed at the annexation of 36 towns of Oromia to the Capital Addis Ababa at the cost of evictions of hundreds of thousands of Oromos from their properties and long-time livelihoods without their consultations and consents. Continue reading United Nations Human Rights Council 26th Session, Geneva, Switzerland →

Ethiopia: Nine Journalists and Bloggers Denied Bail

Reporters Sans Frontières (PRESS RELEASE)

RSF LogoThree journalists and six bloggers who have been held for the past five months were denied bail by a federal court in Addis Ababa on the 20th of August, 2014 after the prosecution argued that article 3 of the 2009 anti-terrorism law, under which they are detained, precludes release on bail. According to a press release by Reporter Sans Frontieres, the defence said article 3′s bail prohibition does not apply because none of them has been individually charged with a specific crime under the anti-terrorism law. The defence also argued that article 3 violates the constitutional guarantee of the right to release on bail. Continue reading Ethiopia: Nine Journalists and Bloggers Denied Bail →