Letter to Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, Genocide Watch, President and Chairman

Letter to Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, Genocide Watch, President and Chairman

NOVEMBER 14, 2020

Dr. Gregory H. Stanton
Genocide Watch, President and Chairman
1405 Cola Drive McLean, VA 22101
Tel – 1-202-643-1405 or 1-703-448-0222
Email – communications@genocidewatch.org

Dear Dr. Stanton,

Gregory H. Stanton, 82, is the former Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention at the George Mason University in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. He is best known for his work in the area of genocide studies. Source: Wikipedia

We write this letter to you on behalf of the Union of Oromo Communities in Canada (UOCC) and the Oromo Community of Washington D.C., non-political and non-profit community organizations, and the International Oromo Lawyers Association (IOLA). We would like to bring our concern to your attention about a recent interview you conducted with Abbay Media with emphasis on the recent events of violence in Oromia, Ethiopia, following the assassination of Oromo artist and activist Hachalu Hundessa.

Human rights organizations are a pillar of our global community in calling out egregious violations of human rights and calling for internal and external accountability. They also owe a duty to tell the truth or take a reasonable step to find the truth in their field of mission. Genocide Watch is part of the community of human rights organizations that has been engaging in critical advocacy work regarding warning and trying to prevent heinous atrocities. Lately, Genocide Watch has labeled Ethiopia at stage 6 in the process of genocide, specifically attributing culpability to Oromo youth and Oromo people, despite evidence indicating that from the time of artist Hachalu’s assassination, the majority (68%) of the 167 killed in July 2020 were Oromo.

Oromo youth protestors, otherwise known as the Qeerroo, are a demographic that has been peacefully protesting since at least 2014 for democratic change in Ethiopia. It is an established fact that the Oromo remain on the receiving end of brutal and targeted state-sponsored violence. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have extensively reported on the continuing serious violations of human rights in the country. As you may also be aware, widespread extrajudicial killings against Oromo youth across the country are ongoing, as closely documented by the Oromo Support Group (OSG) led by Dr. Trevor Trueman, as well as other human rights groups. We have attached OSG’s latest report for your reference.

From the angle of the common knowledge about the widespread suffering of the Oromo people, what we heard from Genocide Watch casts some doubt on whether the veracity of the information is adequately investigated. Consequently, Oromo and residents of Oromia are negatively affected. This type of unverified information emboldens certain sections of the society to take the law in to their hands and commit atrocities against their perceived enemies. Some rogue regimes may also use this kind of reporting as a justification for their heinous crimes. We are already seeing these developments in Oromia. Thus, to hear the reverse claim that Oromos, and particularly, Oromo youth are in the process of committing genocide is unsettling.

Therefore, with the goal of exchanging views, we kindly request to set up a discussion session with you. We believe that a reasonable and meaningful discussion will ensure further genuine efforts in a search for the truth of the nature of the violence in Oromia, Ethiopia. We are also interested in understanding what expertise, criteria, sources, and evidence are being used to support the characterization of genocide in Ethiopia and the attribution to young Oromos. We believe, the legal standard of proof required in establishing specific intent crimes such as the crime of genocide is substantially higher given the severity of the crime and the stigma associated with the crime. That is why we want to hear all sides of this argument. Please let us know if it is possible to arrange a session to meet with you and your organization. Thank you.


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