Rights group details brutality in Oromia, calls on UN council to launch an inquiry


ESAT News (June 16, 2016)

A rights group on Wednesday releases a damning detailed account of the brutality of the Ethiopian regime against its own citizens, who simply demanded their rights in peaceful protests.

“Over 400 people are estimated to have been killed, thousands injured, tens of thousands arrested, and hundreds, likely more, have been victims of enforced disappearances,” Human Rights Watch said in a report on Wednesday.

The report focused on the protests in the Oromo region of Ethiopia that has been going on since last November. The HRW report only covers the human rights violations in the Oromo region from November 12, 2016, the first day of protest in Ginchi until May 2016.

“State security forces in Ethiopia have used excessive and lethal force against largely peaceful protests,” the report said and added that “security forces, according to witnesses, shot into crowds, summarily killing people during mass roundups, and torturing detained protesters. Because primary and secondary school students in Oromia were among the early protesters, many of those arrested or killed were children under the age of 18. Security forces, including members of the federal police and the military, have arbitrarily arrested students, teachers, musicians, opposition politicians, health workers, and people who provided assistance or shelter to fleeing students.”

The protest in the Oromo region of Ethiopia began as an objection to a plan, “Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan” that would extend the city limits of the capital to the surrounding farming communities who are predominantly Oromos. But there is a consensus that the deep rooted causes of the unrelenting protests against the iron fist minority regime in Addis Ababa had to do with years of economic and political marginalization against the Oromos perpetrated by the corrupt and tyrannical regime.

The HRW report also, among many of its recommendations, urged the United Nation Human Rights Council to launch an independent investigation into the use of excessive force by the regime security forces and urged Ethiopian officials to invite the UN Special Rapporteur to visit Ethiopia.

Extra judicial killings, torture, mass incarcerations, forced disappearances and other forms of human rights abuses are not new in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian regime has gotten away with a number of such crimes in the past and many fear would continue to do so unless the UN and the concerned judicial bodies bring the regime to book and hold the perpetrators accountable.

Suffice to mention the massacre of about 100 Sidamas in 2001, in Southern Ethiopia; the killing of at least 200 Mezengers in the Gambella region in 2002; the massacre of 424 Anuaks in Gambella in December 2003; and the brutal killing of 193 people in Addis Ababa following the 2005 rigged elections and the arrest of 30,000 people who simply demanded for their votes to be respected. Thousands of ethnic Somalis in the remote region of the Ogaden have been killed by regime’s Special Forces locally called Liyu Police.

With no accountability to the brutal behavior of the powers that be and the impunity enjoyed by the security forces of the regime, carnage in Ethiopia would only continue as long as the UN and the International Community look the other way.