The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)
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An Open Letter to United States Secretary of State Mr. Rex Wayne Tillerson on his Ethiopian Visit
March 7, 2018
Dear Secretary Tillerson,
Your decision to visit Ethiopia at this moment is crucial for all Ethiopian people in general and Oromo nation who are under currently military occupation in particular.The current Ethiopian government, contradicting its promises of democracy, equality and respect for justice, is committing crimes against humanity in Oromia, Ogaden, Amhara Regional States.
Today, the Ethiopian Authoritarian government declared a State of Emergency for the second time in two years without sufficient justification and deployed military forces in Oromia regional State, killing innocent Oromos including underage children who demand equality, and justice.
1. Yosef Eshetu– Amhara Regional State, Waldia town,
Killed on January 20, 2018 by Agazi force
2. Obsa Indale – Oromia Regional State, Nekemt town
wounded by Agazi force on his leg and died in Hospital on February 28, 2018
We can witness today the government of Ethiopia making a lot of noise about the flourishing of democracy in that country. In reality, the apparently “democratic” and anti-terrorism posture that the regime has demonstrated for the past twenty-seven years has meant little on the ground. It has been a façade. During those years, thousands were killed, abducted, kidnapped, and imprisoned by this government because they simply tried to exercise their fundamental rights, such as free speech and expression, freedom of association and religion. University students, journalists, human rights activists, opposition political party members and their supporters, and farmers have been the major victims in Ethiopia.
When the EPRDF/TPLF Government took power in 1991 in Ethiopia, there were high expectations from both local and international communities- including the USA which has played a great role in bringing the current government into power – that there would be an improvement in the human rights situation in Ethiopia compared with previous military regimes. Contrary to everyone’s expectations, however, human rights abuses in Ethiopia worsened, a situation documented by local, regional and international human rights organizations as well as some Western governmental agencies including the US State Department’s yearly human rights reports.
Today in Ethiopia, political extra-judicial killings, kidnappings and disappearances, mass arrests and imprisonments-without warrants- in horrible prison conditions, extended imprisonment without trials, torture, denials and delaying of justice, discrimination in resource allocations and implementations, biased educational and development policies, denials of employment and job promotion opportunities and/or the misuse of coercive political tools are rampant. Political and social crises in Ethiopia are becoming deeper and deeper, while the socioeconomic gap between the favored (the politically affiliated groups and individuals) and the disfavored is getting wider and wider. For the majority of Ethiopians, life has become unbearable. It has even become very difficult for civil servants, the middle class, to support their families.
The political and social crisis is very deep. Over 1.1 million Oromos have been displaced by the Federal government backed militias in the Ethiopia, Somali Region and left in open air for over a year without help from the Federal government.
The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa appreciates your visit to Ethiopia at this crucial time when Ethiopia is at a CROSS ROADS. It is time to act to stop the bloodshed that is occurring in the lives of Ethiopians in general and Oromia Regional State towns and villages in particular, which is occurring as you are on your visit in the Capital, Addis Ababa from the hands of the TPLF / EPRDF Military who mostly target children and youth.
The HRLHA calls on the USA to take all possible actions to stop the Ethiopian government from killing the innocent, unarmed people including under- age children like the ones in the photographs and meet the demands of the nations and nationalities in Ethiopia by opening political space for all political parties to bring peace into the country.
The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa/HRLHA is a non-political and non-partisan organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the peoples of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. The HRLHA defends fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and organization. It is also raises the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and those of others. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies and supports due process.