HRLHA: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

hrw-200x200-2Human Rights League of Horn of Africa


Written Statement:

Submitted to United Nations Human Rights Council,

34th Session

27 February – 24 March, 2017

Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

(Country- Ethiopia)

Geneva, 12 February, 2017




How Many Should die Before the Internatioanl Community intervenes to save lives?

                    HRLHA  Calls for  Intervention by the international community

to end Human Tragedy in Ethiopia

1. The Ethiopian government has targeted the Oromo people in general and the youth in particular, since the 2005 beginning of the mass, but the peaceful uprising of the Oromo people led by Orom students demanding their freedom and the halt of systematic violations of their fundamental rights. The response from the government to the legitimate and peaceful demands of the people] was massive arrests, torture, disappearances and summary executions of the civilian population. However, the heavy hand of the government forces didn’t stop the demands of the Oromo people and the protest has continued for over ten years. From November 2015, the mass movement- in which Oromos from all walks of life have participated- has continued on a daily basis until the government declared a State of Emergency on October 8, 2016.<

The government also targeted prominent political leaders of Oromo parties that are registered and functioning peacefully in Ethiopia. Deputy Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress – OFC, Mr. Bekele Gerba- has been in jail for some years now, with his case still pending in the court of justice under the pretext that the prosecutor is unable to gather witnesses to testify against the accused. The number of Oromo political prisoners has reached an unbearable level and so disproportionate that, using the words of one senior government official who spend few years in prison, “Afaan Oromo (the language of the Oromos) has now become the official language of Ethiopian prisons”.

2. Ethiopian prisons, as far as the rights of the political prisoners to a reasonable space/room for sleeping, access to daylights, to proper sanitation, to family visits and meeting with their respective lawyers is concerned, are that they are among the worst correctional facilities in the world. The level of torture, as reported by the families who were granted rare visits, is unbearable. The government continues to deny access to international organizations, the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteurs and the ICRC, whose report could have shed more light on the situations in the prisons.

3. The Ethiopian government boldly demonstrated its dedication to continue violating the fundamental human rights of its citizens, when it arrested Dr. Merera Guddina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress – OFC, on November 30, 2016 upon his return to Ethiopia after briefing the European Union officials on the situation in Ethiopia. The arrest, according to the government, was justified because of an alleged meeting of Dr. Merera with the other opposition leader, Prof. Berhanu Nega, chairman of the outlawed political party, Ginbot – 7 (a.k.a G7). Dr. Merera Guddina and Professor Berhanu Nega, the G7 Leaders, had been invited by the EU parliament to Brussels to attend an EU organized Conference on the Ethiopian current political crisis. According to reliable sources, Dr. Merera Gudina was taken to the infamous Maikelawi interrogation center, with the other two of his friends, Taye Negera and Kumala, both of whom were in his house during the arrest.

4. The peacful protests that have rocked Ethiopia over one year (November 2015- October 2016) led by “Qeerroo Bilissummaa” literally, youth for freedom against subjugation, dramatically changed the peaceful protests into violence after the tyrannical government mercilessly massacred over 700 Oromos, from the ground and the air, at the Irrecha Festival, Oromo Thanksgiving Day on October 2, 2016. This dramatically changed the peaceful protests into violent ones all over the country.

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