Oromo Civic and Professional Organizations
February 04, 2020
Justin Trudeau, The Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
We, the Oromo Civic and Professional Organizations residing in North America and beyond are writing this letter to draw your attention to the crises that is unfolding in Ethiopia in general, and in Oromia in particular. If unsolved peacefully, these crises will destabilize Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.
The Oromo people paid heavy sacrifices to usher the wind of change in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa through a peaceful mass movement led by the Oromo Youth (known as Qeerroo and Qarree). More than seven thousand Oromo youth lost their lives and hundreds lost their limbs. Despite their sacrifices and hope for a new day, today nearly a third of Oromia is under a state of emergency (military command post). Women and children face rape by the military on daily bases. The Ethiopian military is using fighter jets and helicopter gunships on its own people. Even Oromia’s wildlife and their habitats are not spared from the indiscriminate bombardments. For months, the country’s telecommunication and internet services have been cut off from Western and Southern parts of Oromia under the disguise of law-and-order.We are receiving disturbing news that even as people try to flee the war zone to South Sudan and neighboring regional states, they are intercepted by security forces and subjected to abuses, rapes, and killings. Those who are trying to flee to the Capital city, Finfinnee (Addis Ababa), are being intercepted at the peripheries of the Capital and rounded up before they make it to the Capital and thrown to jail.
It is clear that the government of Dr. Abiy shut down the internet and phone services from Western and Southern Oromia to hide its gross human right violation of raping Oromo women, burning down houses and crops, harassing and imprisoning people with no evidence of any wrongdoing. Gruesome pictures of ordinary citizens mutilated by ammunitions fired by members of the army have become a common place on social media. These atrocities are taking place during a harvest season for farmers and appears to have been intentionally designed to starve the people to submission using famine.
It was a welcome news when Dr. Abiy’s government announced the closing of the notorious “Maekelawi” where generations of Ethiopians suffered but as it closes the old Maekelawi, it is opening new “Maekelawis” as reported by former prisoners and family of prisoners where it is holding hundreds of prisoners. Dr. Abiy’s government claims to have released thousands of political prisoners as a sign of the “change” only to turn around and incarcerate more than 20,000 Oromo political prisoners around the country as reported by the Human Right Watch Group and Amnesty International.Amnesty International in its January 27, 2020 report writes: “Authorities crack down on opposition supporters with mass arrests“
“The return of mass arrests of opposition activists and supporters is a worrying signal in Ethiopia. “
“These sweeping arrests risk undermining the rights to freedom of expression and association ahead of the 2020 elections”
If the current crises are left unaddressed and allowed to continue, it will have long lasting catastrophic consequences for Oromia, Ethiopia, and the greater Horn of Africa region.
It is, therefore, in this spirit that we ask you to use all means at your disposal to exert pressure on Dr. Abiy’s government to take the following measures immediately:
- To unconditionally lift the illegal state of emergency imposed on Oromia and other regional states and return the military to the barracks.
- To establish an independent inquiry commission to investigate the extrajudicial killings,
rape, burning of crops and livestock by the military in areas that are under the state of emergency.
- To stop political harassments, intimidation, and imprisonment of supporters of opposition parties.
- To reinstate communication and other services cut-off by the military in the affected areas.
- To release all political prisoners including the more than 20,000 Oromo political prisoners.
- To release Oromo students that are unlawfully detained in universities in the Amhara regional state.
- To reinstate students of higher institutions that have been illegally expelled.
- To reopen universities and colleges that have been closed for political expediency.
We greatly appreciate your time to read this letter and put pressure on the Ethiopian government.
Signatories (Oromo Civic and Professional Organizations)
- Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa
- Oromo Studies Association
- Oromia Support Group
- Oromo Human Rights and Relief Organization
- Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
- Global Oromo Advocacy Group
- Oromo Political Prisoners Association
- Oromo Communities’ Association of North America
- Oromo Legacy, Leadership and Advocacy Association
- International Oromo Women’s Organization
- International Qeerroo Support Group
- Global Gumii Oromia
- Oromo Parliamentarians Council
Global Gumii Oromia
6909 Laurel Ave, Suite 5219
Tacoma Park, MD 20913