Fear of Civil War in Ethiopia
The Honorable Mr. Anthony J. Blinken
The Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
May 13, 2021
RE: Fear of Civil War in Ethiopia
We, the Union of Oromo Evangelical Churches, a non-profit umbrella organization of Oromo Churches from the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Africa are bringing to your attention again our utmost concerns and sadness regarding the continued unprecedented human rights violations and the drum of civil war in Ethiopia today. We appreciate the positive actions you are taking to address the complicated crisis happening in the Horn of Africa. We hope and pray that such a visit will solve some of the tragedies happening in Ethiopia in general and Oromia and Tigray regions in particular. Regardless of the international community’s concerns and deliberate positive actions, mass incarceration, killings of civilians and intimidating people for their political views, ethnic background and religious convictions have continued.
In our April 15, 2021 letters to your office, we have indicated the imprisonment of opposition political figures from the Oromo nation and other Ethnic groups in Ethiopia which is intensifying grave political turmoil and mass unrest in the country. To the surprise of the international community the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed raided the residence of Mr. Dawud Ibsa, the Chairman of OLF on May 3, 2021 took away his belongings including computers and his party’s entire documents. Then after a few days the Ethiopian government raided the residence of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch because he declared the war in Tigray is a “genocide”.
In 2018, the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed invited all opposition parties to return to Ethiopia and continue peaceful struggle after lifting the so-called “terrorist Law” enacted by his former coalition party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Party that terrorized the Ethiopian people for twenty-seven years. At the time, Prime Minister Abiy confessed that dissent political parties and the people are not terrorists, but in fact it was the government that was a terrorist. To the world’s amazement, the same Prime Minister enacted the same terrorist law last week. To our understanding, such restricted approach will have huge negative consequences on peace and stability of in the country and as well as to the Horn. Hence, we highly recommend that the Ethiopian government should lift again the renewed anti-Terrorism Law before it is too late.
In our previous appeal letter, we asked you to intervene and stop the war that the Ethiopian government has declared on its citizens and allow a wider political space for free and fair election on June 5, 2021. The Ethiopian government has not moved an inch in a positive direction. All political prisoners from the opposition parties are still in prison. Their local and regional offices are still closed. Competent political parties are deliberately excluded from the upcoming election that may lead to future political unrests in the country. Several places are already under State of Emergency in many parts of the Reginal Sates. In such a context, leading a peaceful and fair election is unthinkable. Probably, postponing the election and find a political solution by creating a political dialogue with all stakeholders will be the best approach to solve the long existing political discourses in the country. We also recommend that the Ethiopian government should refrain itself from labeling people or political parties as ‘terrorist’ and use the approach as a tool to silence critical political views just to win the upcoming election. To facilitate a conducive environment for sustainable peace and stability, the government of Ethiopia must widen free political spaces and reconsider its scheduled national election.
Today, Ethiopia is facing unprecedented lawlessness and huge humanitarian crisis almost in all parts of the country. Suffering, torture, and death of citizens are not brought to justice since there is no efficient court system in many parts of the country. Dozens of political prisoners have been languishing in prisons for without getting proper attention by the concerned bodies. Thus, we are extremely concerned about the Oromo prisoners who are being tortured for no fault of themselves, except speaking out on behalf of the Oromos and other Ethiopian people. If the unthinkable happens to the high-profile Oromo political leaders, we are worried that it could lead to a civil war and civil unrest greater than what happened in Burundi and Rwanda. The Ethiopian government’s plan to win the upcoming election at any cost could lead to unimaginable disaster and instability in the horn of Africa. Please help the people to get the chance of practicing a genuine democracy.
The extra judicial killings that are going on in Western Oromia in the city of Dembi Dollo by the government of the Ethiopian Security Forces must be condemned by all possible words. On April 29, 2021, they killed Assistant Professor Kajela Tasisa in his house as report by his mother Ms Agitu Bulcha. On May 11, 2021, Amanuel Wandimu 19 years boy was publicly executed by the Oromia Security forces at the City Square in a savage way It is heart breaking to see the law enforcement killing many people in a day light without bringing them to the justice system of the country. We strictly condemn killings of citizens while calling all responsible bodies to conduct independent investigations so that the killers should be brought to justice to stop unlawful executions in Ethiopia.
The United Oromo Evangelical Churches is praying and doing its best for the prevalence of peace, justice, and equality in Ethiopia and in all worlds for all humanity.
We, thus petition your good office to exert the maximum possible pressure on the Ethiopian government to immediately give appropriate political space to the Oromo people, address their demands, allow all-inclusive national dialogues among political organizations, and extend the election time to include all political parties in the upcoming national poll.
With best regards,