A Chronological Review of Oromian Students Movement (OSM): November 2010 – November 2011 November 19, 2011 at 2:47 am · Gadaa.com

By Daandii Qajeelaa | November 2011

 

Gadaa.com 

The month of November is special for Oromians. During this month, Oromians all over the globe commemorate the historical Oromian Students Movement (OSM), known as Fincila Diddaa Gabrummaa(meaning, The Revolt Against Subjugation), that was first lit on November 9, 2005 at Ambo High School, located about 80 miles west of Finfinne (Addis Ababa), and which engulfed the entire Oromian schools like a wildfire. The movement lasted nearly two years, uninterrupted, but largely unreported and unnoticed by the international media, and continued to this day, taking several different forms, the main goal being to restore freedom, justice, and democracy for the biggest, and yet most marginalized nation in Ethiopia: the Oromo. Oromians commemorate November 9 every year to keep the spirit of resistance alive. It is their hope. Hope for justice. Hope for freedom. Hope for prosperity. Hope for human dignity that any human being on our planet deserves to have. Hope for restoring the Oromo democratic heritage: the Gadaa.

Each year over the last two years, I have compiled a chronology of this movement of Oromian students: on November 12, 2009 under the title, Remembering the 2005 Peaceful Revolt Against Subjugation in Oromia, and on November 11, 2010 under the title, Revisiting Oromian Students’ Resistance Against Tyranny: 2006-2010. In this follow-up report, I will present a summary of the continued resistance of Oromian students from November 2010 through November 2011. The resistance of the students manifests itself through widespread brutal killings, disappearances, arrests, tortures, and school dismissals by the Ethiopian regime all over Oromia. Due to this fact, the report contains mainly human rights abuses perpetrated by the Ethiopian regime specifically on Oromo students.

In April 2011, the Oromian Students Movement(OSM) underwent a qualitative change. Inspired by the Arab Spring, Oromian youth all over the globe came together by forming a coordinating body for civil disobedience known as the National Youth Movement for Freedom and Democracy (NYMFD) aka Qeerroo. In Afan Oromo “Qeerroo” literally refers to an unmarried young person. It can also mean simply a young person.

(Read the First Qeerroo Manifesto in English)

There are two main sources for this report. The first part is compiled from the reports of OLF News. The second part is mainly from Qeerroo News. One may tend to throw away the claims in this report arguing that these are not independent sources. One valid counter argument to this argument is the fact that these reports are consistent with the reports given by several well respected independent human rights, governmental and non-governmental organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the U.S. State Department annual reports on human rights in Ethiopia, Genocide Watch, the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa, Oromia Support Group, and others over the years. In fact, digging deeper, one can verify that many of the reports given here are also reported by one or more of these organizations.

Another valid counter argument is the fact that the Ethiopian regime denied independent sources any movement in the country. Domestic journalists have been arrested, charged with felony and treason, and many of them fled the country for fear of persecutions. Foreign journalists have been arrested and charged. Humanitarian organizations have been denied access to many parts of the country, and even if they are allowed, it is under strict supervision and follow-up by government forces. Under such circumstances, information obtained from these so named “partisan” sources, such as OLF News andQeerroo News becomes a useful resource to start an independent investigation. Important resource, but yet require some digging under the surface if one is interested to verify the claims independently. In most cases, in addition to the names of the victims, some additional information, such as, places of work or study, places of birth, dates of arrests, places of arrests, etc. are provided. In some cases, pictures of the victims are made available.

The report is divided into two parts:
Gadaa.comPart I is the resistance of Oromian students from Nov. ’10 to Apr. ’11: Prior to Qeerroo.
Gadaa.comPart II contains post Qeerroo youth movement: April 2011 through November 2011.

Most of these reports are given in Afan Oromo although there are many others which are in English. In the case when the reports are given in Afan Oromo, I have translated the main issue to English and provided the appropriate link for those interested to read the details. When the main source is in English, I have summarized the main points and provided the appropriate link for details. It is my hope that independent human rights, governmental and non-governmental bodies which are interested in pursuing their own investigations use this report as a useful resource and starting point.

Gadaa.com


PART I: OSM PRIOR TO QEERROO

November 2010 – April 2011

December 18, 2010:
Several Oromo students, who graduated with Bachelor’s degrees from different universities, were denied job opportunities due to the usual allegation that they had been supporters of the OLF (Oromo Liberation Front.) Among them were 400 who received their degrees in Environmental Health, 240 in Pharmacy, and 250 in Medical Laboratory. (Read more in Afan Oromo from OLF News)

December 28, 2010:
Oromo students of the Arba Minch University protested against an English teacher and a pro-government non-Oromo individual, who used a derogatory language that degraded and insulted the Oromo nation, and all Oromo students of the university stopped going to classes for several days. (Read more in Afan Oromo from OLF News)

January 07, 2011:
12 Oromo students of the Gedo Secondary School were unlawfully dismissed from school in the Western Shoa Zone, Calliya County [Woreda], for no other reason than suspicion of having anti-government ideology. All the remaining students of the school protested demanding the school administration to readmit the students to school. (Read more in Afan Oromo from OLF News)

January 12, 2011:
Oromo students of Haromaya University, Eastern Oromia, humiliated the regime by singing pro-Oromo struggle songs with enthusiasm on an occasion prepared by the regime’s cadres to celebrate the so-called “nations and nationalities day.” (Read more and Listen to the Songs in Afan Oromo from OLF News)

February 15, 2011:
Students of the Cari-Ambo Elementary and Junior High School protested against the government. When the director of the school tried to stop the students, he was hit by an unknown student by a stone on his forehead and wounded. (Read more in Afan Oromo from OLF News)

March 16, 2011:
At least three students of the Western Shoa Zone and seven other Oromo nationalists were arrested under the usual charge that they had been supporters of OLF. Among the arrested students were:
1. Tariku Debisa, from Mida Qanyi Secondary School
2. Getachew Edossa
3. Gurmessa Fufa, previously expelled from Gedo Secondary School, and then readmitted to the school.
(Read more in Afan Oromo from OLF News)

March 26, 2011:
At least 16 Oromo students of the Mada Walabu University, Southern Oromia, were permanently expelled from the university for demanding the university to change the quality of food. Whereas all the students of the university raised the same demand, the regime singled out and expelled only Oromo students. The names some of the students who have been expelled are:
1. Sa’id Mohammed
2. Belay Bekele
3. Sisay Legesse
4. Mekonnen Kebede
5. Kemal Umar
6. Yordanos Geremew
7. Milkiyas Alemayehu
8. Ashenafi Tariku
9. Negach Mengistu
10. Benya Gudata
11. Dagaaga Badhadha
12. Shewangizaw Ayele
13. Dibaba Ragasa
14. Zelalem Melaku
15. Abulu Wendimme
16. Dereje Dhugasa
(Read more in Afan Oromo from OLF News)

April 04, 2011:
Three students of the Gedo Secondary School were abducted by government forces and disappeared. They were:
1. Getachew Edossa,
2. Teshale Edossa
3. Tariku
(Read more in Afan Oromo from OLF News)

Gadaa.com


PART II: OSM LED BY QEERROO

April 2011 – November 2011

April 7, 2011:
114 Oromo students of the Mizan Tepi University were wounded by live ammunition by the Federal Police when a rumor broke out that they were planning to make a protest. The police came in and rained live ammunition on Oromo students when a conflict broke out between pro-government and Oromo students, siding with the pro-government students. OSG reported that, in addition to those who were wounded, 50 other Oromo students were abducted from their bed during night, and disappeared. (Read more in English from Qeerroo News)

April 09, 2011:
The following Oromo students were abducted from their dormitories by the Ethiopian Federal Police, and their whereabouts are unknown.
1. Girma Turuna, University of Haro-Maya
2. Dachasa Wirtu Mosia, University of Haro-Maya
3. Gada Ragassa, University of Hawasa – completed his study, and on process of graduation
4. Fayisa Fufa, University of Wallaga – 3rd year
Gadaa.com
(Read more in English from OSG Australian Branch)

April 12, 2011:
Oromo students of the Haromaya University staged a peaceful protest demanding the release of their classmates who had been abducted from their dormitories. (Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

April 13, 2011:
More students were abducted from different universities by the Ethiopian Federal Police from their dormitories, and disappeared.
1. Tariku Bekele, University of Haromaaya.
2. Megersa Bekele, University of Haromarya
3. Fitsum Tadesse (Biyya), University of Haromaya
4. Tolesa Faraja, University of Jimmaa
5. Tufa Bacha, University of Jimmaa
6. Sanbata Dame, University of Haromayaa
7. Mirreessaa Hayleyesus Qananii, Universal University, clinical Pharmacy, 3rd year
8. Tadesse Tekaliny, Addis Ababa (Finfinne) University, Student of Journalism, 3rd year
9. Damee Olambe, Universal University Clinical Pharmacy, 2nd year
Dandi Bekele, University of Haramayaa
Gadaa.com
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

April 14, 2011:
The following teachers of Gotera campus, Addis Ababa (Finfinne), were accused of instigating students protests and arrested.
1. Alamayehu Garuma
2. Feyisa Alemneh
3. Dachasa Magarsa
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

April 15, 2011:
Oromo students continued protest in Arba Minch University demanding the right of students be respected and their classmates be released. Among their demands were:
· Release all abducted innocent Oromo students,
· Release all political prisoners arrested by the name of supporting OLF,
· The right of the Oromo people on their country should be realized.

The regime then intensified by abducting more Oromo students. Among those abducted and disappeared on this day from different universities are:
1. Sena Merera, Arba Minch University, Anthropology 3rd year – severely beaten and then taken away
2. Seyo, Awasa University, electrical Engineering, 3rd year
3. Dagim Gizaw, Awasa University, Electrical and Computer Engineering
4. Abdisa Bekele, Addis Ababa (Finfinne) University, History 4th year
5. Getu Sakata, Addis Ababa (Finfinne) University, law 5th year
6. Naga, Addis Ababa (Finfinne) University, Political Science 4th year
7. Diribsa Dante Jote, Addis Ababa (Finfinne) University.
Gadaa.com
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

April 20, 2011:
The following students of the Jimma University were abducted from their dormitories with the allegation of coordinating protest, and their whereabouts are unknown.
1. Tufa Baca, BISC 3rd year
2. Tolasa Jabana, Economics 3rd year
3. Shibiru, Law 3rd year
4. Dereje Gutu, Agriculture 1st year“
5. Shafi, Banking 2nd year
(Read More in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

April 20, 2011:
The following students of the Arba Minch University were abducted from their dormitories, and their whereabouts are unknown.
1. Ashenafi Merera, Civic 3rd year
2. Tesfa, sociology 3rd year
3. Robe Dhaba, Geology
4. Warke Dibaba, English 3rd year
5. Tadese, Econmics 3rd year
6. Magarsa, Sociology 3rd year
7. Ketema, Sociology 3rd year
8. Bikila Abshalo, Economics 3rd year
9. Demere Gemeda, Civics 3rd year
10. Dhuguma Jabessa, Chemistry 3rd year
11. Tilahun Fufa, Eonomics 3rd year
12. Takele Aga, Sociology 3rd year
13. Fikiru Teshome, Irrigation Engineering
14. Asheber, Irrigation Engineering
15. Wariso Benti, Management 3rd year
16. Jemere Tolesa, Phisics 3rd year
17. Bikila Tesfaye, Irrigation Engineering 3rd year
(Read More in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

April 21, 2011:
The following Oromo students were abducted from Haromaya University Campus and were taken to undisclosed location.
1. Sileshi Sori, Afan Oromo 3rd year
2. Ifa Obsi, Animal Science 3rd year
3. Berhanu, Agriculture 3rd year
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

April 22, 2011:
Six Oromo students of Arba Minch University were abducted by Ethiopian security forces and disappeared. Among the disappeared the names of whom were known are:
1. Tilahun Fufa Gutu, Economics 3rd year
2. Tesfaye Dhaba, Sociology 3rd year.
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

April 25, 2011:
Abdisa Gudeta, a 3rd year geography student of Madda Walabu University, was abducted from his dormitory and disappeared.
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

April 26, 2011:
The following Oromo students were abducted from Arba Minch University and disappeared.
1. Dhuguma Beyene, Chemistry 2nd year
2. Ketema Dhinsa, Sociology 3rd year
3. Tadese Desaleny Kistana, Economics 3rd year
4. Robe Boka, Geography 3rd year
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

April 28, 2011:
Sadiya Beshir Teressa, a 3rd year Afan Oromo female student of Haromaya University, was apprehended from the university and severely beaten by government armed forces. She was later released with severe wound on her face to a point that she couldn’t be recognized. When the administration officials were later asked why she was so beaten, they openly bragged by saying “Sadiya was beaten because she was asked to be a member of OPDO and she refused.” (Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

May 2, 2011:
Students of Jijjiga University, Ogaden region, staged a peaceful protest opposing the brutality of the government on the people. They were later dispersed when the so-called Agazi force of the regime fired live ammunition on the students. One student was severely wounded by a bullet.

Agazi is the federal police force specially trained to quash any opposition in Ethiopia. Agazi is responsible for most of the politically-motivated killings in Ethiopia. During the failed 2005 election, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi openly declared that this force would operate under his direct command.
Gadaa.com
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

May 14, 2011:
A statement of the formation of the “Ethiopian Youth Movement” was declared. This newly formed movement, not only repeated almost all of the issues raised by the Qeerroo manifesto, but also openly endorsed Qeerroo: The National Youth Movement for Freedom and Democracy. “The Ethiopian Youth Movement therefore fully supports the recently issued press statement of the National Oromian Youth Movement, and calls upon the removal of Meles Zenawi from power,” the statement of the Ethiopian Youth Movement said. (Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

May 14, 2011:
16 Oromo university and college students, who were abducted about a month earlier, were reportedly beaten in order for them to give self-incriminating evidences to the regime during interrogation. Many of them were severely hurt and were taken to St. Paul Hospital for treatment. Qeerroo News has publishedtheir names and the university they were attending, and their dates of arrests of these students.

May 15, 2011:
Students of the Fiche Preparatory School (Northern Oromia) staged a peaceful protest demanding the release of a 10-grade student Teshome Mengistu and several other students, who were arrested by the regime under the pretext that they were “preparing to instigate a revolt against the government.” The regime claimed that the students were planning to incite a protest about the land that was unlawfully taken away from the local farmers. (Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

May 16, 2011:

Qeerroo adopted the National Oromian Movement struggle song: Faaruu Qeerroo.

May 19, 2011:
About 1500 students of Adama University were taken to hospitals due to food poisoning. The university students protested because they believed the food poisoning was a deliberate evil deed of elements of the regime in the university to hurt the students. The food poisoning issue was also reported widely by other media outlets. (Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

May 21, 2011:

The students of Adama University stopped eating from the university cafeteria and went on strike. At least 20 students were arrested for inciting the protest. The protest went violent when some students smashed police cars’ windows and buildings’ glass-windows. The regime reportedly used tear gas to disperse the protest. The students also stopped going to class for several days. The former Oromian president Junedi Sado was sent to the university to calm the students, but the students reportedly humiliated him on a meeting by calling him “hattuu” (meaning, thief).
Gadaa.com
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

May 31, 2011:
Food poisoning was spread to Arba Minch University. From among 455 students, who were affected and got sick due to the poisoning, 75 of them were reportedly hospitalized. Others were denied any treatment, and in fact, prevented from getting out of the university campus. Just like in the Adama University, the students of the Arba Minch University also stopped eating the food, stopped going to class, and protested in their campus, and the local police was dispatched to the university and arrested several students. Among arrested Oromo students are:
1. Morka, Hydrology 3rd year
2. Abebu Dibaba, Female Physics 3rd year
3. Miliyon, Management 3rd year
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

June 03, 2011:
286 Oromo students of Gedo Preparatory Secondary School, West Shoa Zone, were punished by expelling them from school for two consecutive years without any legal ground for allegedly resisting the brutality of the regime on the Oromo people. These are all 9th- and 11th-grade students. Likewise 15 other Oromo students of 10th- and 12th-grade students were denied taking the respective national exams. (Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

 

June 05, 2011:
In Babo, Jarso, and Nedjo districts (woreda), West Wollega Zone, Oromian youth took down the so-called Ethiopian flag of the TPLF regime and replaced by the Oromian (OLF) flag, and the flags waved reportedly all day at several government buildings until the local police of the regime came and took them down. (Read more in English from Qeerroo News)

June 19, 2011:
At least 5 teachers and other Oromo intellectuals were arrested from different parts of Oromia under the allegation that they were connected with the Oromian Youth Movement: Qeerroo. Some of them are listed below.
1. Dr. Fanta xilahun, self-employed around “4 Kilo”, Finfinne (Addis Ababa)
2. Ketema Fufa, teacher, Jimma town, Western Oromia
3. Temesgen Irena, teacher, Enango town, West Oromia
4. Ahiman Jundi, teacher, Hirna, East Oromia
5. Jemal Ebrahim Gada, Employee of Agriculture, Goba town, Southern Oromia
(Read more in English from Qeerroo News)

June 21, 2011:
The Oromian Youth Movement: Qeerroo distributed flyers in Amharic language calling Oromians and other peoples in Ethiopia to rise up against the TPLF regime at the Hawasa stadium at the Ethiopian Premier League Championship tournament. The flyer reportedly created panick on the regime, and a large number of police presence was observed in the stadium.
Gadaa.com
(Read more in English from Qeerroo News)

Gadaa.com

June 26, 2011:
Farse Tadele Degefu, an Oromo youth female nationalist, who dedicated her life for the struggle of the Oromo people for freedom, justice and democracy, passed away by car accident. Farse was an active participant in the Oromian Youth Movement and the now banned Macha Tulama Self-help Association, and was arrested and tortured by the regimes forces several times. Farse’s birth place is Shoboka town, Western Shoa Zone. (Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

June 29, 2011:
In Western Shoa Zone, student Girma Nagassa and 25 other Oromo nationalists, were abducted from their homes by the Federal Police, and their whereabouts had been unknown. Student Girma Nagassa was later found to be in the notorious Maikelawi (Central) Prison and reportedly severely tortured together with another student, Ebbisa Ratessa, whose arrest was never reported by any one, and who was also reported to have been severely tortured.
Gadaa.com
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

July 03, 2011:
Food in Adama University is poisoned for the second time and more than 30 students were hospitalized. Heavy Federal Police presence at the university continued. Due to the poisoning of the food, the cafeteria of the university was said to have been closed; a sign that reads “tashigual” (meaning sealed) was posted outside the cafeteria for several days, and the students did not have anything to eat during this period. (Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

July 08, 2011:
Several Oromo students, who were arrested in April 2011, were charged and brought to the regime’s court in Finfinne (Addis Ababa). Qeerroo News has published the names of 22 of these victims of fabricated charges. A photocopy of one page of the charge (in Amharic language) is shown below.
Gadaa.com

July 12, 2011:
Several Oromo youth, who graduated from different universities in recent years and working at different institutions, were unlawfully abducted by the regime’s forces and disappeared. Among them some of the names and pictures are given below.
1. Gemechu Anbessa Wadessa, BA degree in Accounting + distance learner of ACCA, employee of German Leprosy and TB Relief Association, Finfinne (Addis Ababa).
2. Gemechis Garbaba Gurracho, Diploma in Auto mechanics, Law, and Theology, project manager of the Holota town NGO “Good Samaritan Training Center”.
3. Asfaw Dadhii Tufa, Athelet of ‘Menar Athletics Club’, runner of Marathon and 10,000m running championship.
4. Girma Anbessa Wadessa, graduated with distinction in road construction from “Addis Ababa Tegbare-ed” school, Project Coordinator of Yetinayet Building Construction, Finfinne (Addis Ababa).
5. Ayele Alemu Kana’a, BSC Degree in Computer Science, Self employed in System administration and computer maintenance, Finfinne (Addis Ababa).
6. Shitaye Melaku Kitila, BA degree in Accounting, internal auditor of “Industry and Urban Development”, Qilxu Karra county (Western Oromia).
7. Abinnet Hailu Gebre-Sillase, BA degree in Management, Resource manager of a private company, Finfinne (Addis Ababa).
Teferi Qajela, employee of “Oxfam UK”, Finfinne (Addis Ababa).
Gadaa.com
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

July 22, 2011:
At least 4 Oromo students of Ambo High School were abducted, and their whereabouts are unknown. They are:
1. Ifa Gari
2. Ebisa Tullu
3. Cala Tola
4. Lata Kinfu
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

July 28, 2011:
Qeerroo report from East Oromia revealed (with picture) that the TPLF regime intensified conscripting Oromo under-age children into its military by force. These Oromo children were reported to have been below the age of 16-years, and most of them were 14-years old or even younger.
Gadaa.com
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

July 29, 2011:
Qeerroo News reported from Tigray that Mekele University has opened the Afan Oromo department in order for Tigrayan children to learn Afan Oromo. Political analysts believe that the opening of Afan Oromo department in a Tigrayan university shows that the current TPLF regime has a long-term plan of ruling over the Oromo nation, and for that purpose, the regime is making preparation by training Tigrayans who can serve the regime in key positions in Oromia.
(Read more in English from Qeerroo News)

August 3, 2011:
Several Oromo university students, who had joined their families in the summer break, were reportedly abducted and disappeared. The names of some of these students are as follows.
1. Gemechis Yoseph, from Adama University
2. Abdissa Meshesha, from Adama University
3. Obse Bekele, from Adama University
4. Solomon Endalu, from Adama University
5. Kumsa, from Ambo University
6. Moyi Oljirra, from Ambo University
7. Tariku Murmur, from Haromaya University
8. Kumsa, from Haromaya University
9. Ibsa Gemeachu, from Haromaya University
10. Getu Rabira, from Hawasa University
11. Lalise Joba, from Hawasa University
12. Lemi Tasisa, from Teppi University
13. Ahmed Mohammed, from Jima University
14. Anuwar Jundi, from Jima University
15. Lemi Garoma, from Jima University
16. Akalu Kebede, from Jima University
17. Damara Kajela, from Wallaga University
18. Shitaye, from Wallaga University
19. Melka, from Arba Minch University
(Read more in English from Qeerroo News)

August 5, 2011:
Leaflets, containing message of civil disobedience, were distributed and posted at several public places in Nedjo town, Western Oromia. Some of the places where Qeerroo message were posted by underground Qeerroo cells were:
1. Markets and different shops
2. Yerosan Hotel
3. Tirunesh Hotel
4. Wakwayya Hotel
5. L/Colonel Abdissa Aga School
6. Private and Public Colleges
7. Public bus station in the city
8. Post Office
9. Government Offices
10. Commercial Bank
11. Private residence areas.
(Read more in English from Qeerroo News)

August 20, 2011:
Just like the former CUD leaders were released by begging pardon from the regime, the imprisoned Oromo students of Maikelawi Prison were asked to request for a pardon from the regime in order for them to be released. Qeerroo News reported that “The Oromo students in Maikelawi and Kaliti insisted that their movement is a pro-democracy national movement, not anti-democracy. They told the government they rather prefer to be tortured in the prison than begging the regime for pardon. The students believed that even if they released on pardon, the problem of the Oromos will stay unresolved.”(Read more in English from Qeerroo News)

August 29, 2011:
The TPLF regime reportedly conducted a massive arrest of Oromo university students, who went to their families during summer, when their universities were closed, under the pretext that they had been planning and preparing to coordinate civil disobedience in their birth places. According to Qeerroo News, the numbers of those arrested in different counties of Western Oromia are given in the table below.
Gadaa.com
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

September 3, 2011:
The following are Oromo nationalists; many of them university students, they were detained at the notorious Maikelawi prison by Federal TPLF government “Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force” on August 02, 10, 23 and 28, 2011:
1. Zemachu Mekonin, student form Adama University
2. Gerbaba Gadisa, Oromia water resource
3. Gamachis Yosef, student form Adama university
4. Lagese Deti, from Ginci town
5. Mulugeta Riqitu, from Addis Ababa
6. Sisay Sarbessa, student from Addis Ababa University
7. Olbana Lelisa, Oromo People’s Congress
8. Gachana Ararsa, from West Shewa province
9. Habtamu, from Ginchi district
10. Abdissa Sori, from Ada’a Barga district
11. Sirnessa Abera, from Ada’a Barga district
12. Mesay Girma, driver
13. Sonbe, student
14. Dadhi Galan, singer from Bishoftu city
15. Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federal Democratic Movement (OFDM) and member of the executive committee of Medrek.
16. Chala Hailu, lecturer from Adama University
17. Asfaw Waltajji, from west Shawa
18. Biran Taddese, from west Shawa
19. Baqala Harqasa, from west Shawa
20. Gamachu Qajela, from west Shawa
21. Dhaba Gire, from west Shawa
22. Lama Motuma, from west Shawa
23. Tokuma Mitiku, from west Shawa
24. Tasfaye, from west Shawa
25. Siifan, from west Shawa
26. Daraje, from west Shawa
(Read more in English from Qeerroo News)

Gadaa.com

September 4, 2011:
Student Zemach Mekonnen was abducted from Adama University, and his whereabouts are unknown. In related news, 4 civil servants of Eastern Wollegga, Limu County [Woreda], Gelila town, were fired from their jobs under the pretext that they had incited public protest against the regime. They are:
1. Oliqa Alemu, Employee of Office of Agriculture
2. Abebe Tesso, Employee of Office of Education
3. Abebe Tolesa, Employee of Office of Finance
4. Adunya Mosisa, Employee of Office of Water.
(Read More in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

September 5, 2011:
The Ethiopian Federal court sentenced 48 Oromo nationals to several years behind prison after charging them with “planning and preparing to conduct revolt against the government.” The names and number of years they are sentenced to are given below.
1. Abdurahman Bale, 12 years
2. Ibrahim Darasa, 12 years
3. Abdalla Hama, 12 years
4. Jamal Huseen, 11 years
5. Kamal Aliyyi, 11 years
6. Abdii watar, 11 years
7. Mahammad Gudda, 10 years
8. Shek Kadir Tura, 6 years
9. Ibrahim calanqo, 7 years
10. Siraj Ahmad, 7 years
11. Mahammad Abdo, 6 years
12. Ahmaddin Abrahim, 5 years
13. kadir Adam, 5 years
14. Abdurahman Husen, 5 years
15. Ahmad shek Yusuf, 5 years
16. Mahammad Haji, 4 years
17. Yusuf Callo, 4 years
18. Hassan Mahammad, 4 years
19. Said Adam, 5 years
20. Mahammad Onjobba, 5 years
21. Adnan Goshe, 5 years
22. Abdi Ali, 4 years
23. Ibrahim Mahammad Jibril, 4 years
24. Lenjisa boke, 5 years
25. Umar mahammad, 6 years
26. Jamal Hamza, 3 years
27. Sharif Umar Elemo, 3 years
28. Jamal Kadir, 3 years
29. Ahmad Najjash, 3 years
30. Zenaba Mattan, 3 years
31. Sharaf Ali, 4 years
32. Ahmad Nur Urge, 4 years
33. Nure Usman, 4 years
34. Abdi Shakul Umar, 4 years
35. Mahamud Ibrahim, 3 years
36. Mahammad Aliyyi Saido, 4 years
37. Mahammad Usma’el Matako, 3 years
38. Ibrahim Abdulle Warih, 3 years
39. Abdi Usman Adam, 4 years
40. Rahma Mahammad, 4 years
41. Faxe Amme, 4 years
42. Kokkobe Mahammad, 3 years
43. Muktar Abdi jalil, 4 years
44. Ahmad Nur Bule, 3 years
45. Kalif Mahammad, 2 years
46. Kimiya Mahammad, 3 years
47. Rabla Sharif, 2 years
48. Mahammad Umare, 2 years
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

September 7, 2011:
4 Oromo nationals were arrested from Jarte County and put in Shambu Prison, East Wollega zone, under the pretext of planning to organize civil disobedience against the regime. They are:
1. Biqila Namomsa
2. Endalew Babu
3. Tolasa Ayyele
4. Tadese Gudata

Similarly, the following 3 teachers, of Limu-Gelila, Eastern Wollega zone, who were attending summer course, were arrested at Nekemte Prison. They are:
1. Lammi Nagash
2. Gammada Yadata.

Moreover, Sanbato Mosisa, a teacher of Rift Valley College Nekemte Branch, was thrown to prison under the same pretext. (Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

September 9, 2011:
7 students were abducted from Gideberet town, Western Shoa zone, and thrown in to Maikelawi Prison. They are:
1. Amanu Fufa, a student of Wallo University
2. Asmara Tolasa, a student of Wallo University
3. Alamayehu Tolasa, a 12th grade student of Dandi county
4. Buruk Shifarra, from Dandi county
5. Abarra Tsfaye, from Dandi county
6. Habtamu Kebede, from Dandi county
7. Biraanuu , from Dandi county
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

September 10, 2011:
17 Oromo students and other Oromo nationalists were arrested under the pretext of organizing civil disobedience from Xuqur Hincinni county, Elfata County, and Gindeberet County, Western Shoa zone and their whereabouts are unknown. They are:
1. Abarra Dame, from Xuqur Hincinni county
2. Gachana Ararsa, from Xuqur Hincinni county
3. Jira Ajjama, from Xuqur Hincinni county
4. Darajje Amana, from Xuqur Hincinni county
5. Motumma Fayyera, from Xuqur Hincinni county
6. Baqqala Uurgessa, from Xuqur Hincinni county
7. Kebede Dadhi, from Xuqur Hincinni county
8. Habtamu, from Xuqur Hincinni county
9. Abdi Sori, from Xuqur Hincinni county
10. Sonsa Abarra, from Xuqur Hincinni county
11. Alemayehu Tolasa, from Elfata county
12. Abarraa Tasfaye, from Elfata county
13. Habtamu Kebede, from Elfata county
14. Buruk Shifara, from Elfata county
15. Biraanuu, from Gindeberet county
16. Asmaraa Tolasaa, from Gindeberet county
17. Amanu Fufaa, from Gindeberet county
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

September 21, 2011:
At least three teachers were arrested from Eastern Wollega zone, Gida Ayana County, under the allegation that they organized and incited students for peaceful protest against the regime. Among the arrested teachers are:
1. Alemu Gammachu
2. Wande Bayyana
3. Abdi Yadata
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

September 22, 2011:
Mangistu Doftore Lalisa, a teacher, was arrested and taken to unknown place in Western Wollega zone, Guliso County [Woreda], Calliya village, allegedly for inciting students to protest and for advising them to wear a cloth (dress) that had the color of OLF flag and for refusing to become a member of OPDO, the Oromo puppet organization of the ruling party. (Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

September 25, 2011:
A leaflet, having a message of civil disobedience, was distributed in the Gida Ayana Police Station and in the campus of a special police unit known as “Dafee Qaqqabaa” (Fetno Derash, in Amharic). Panicked by the audacity of the action, the regime started harassing the local population, particularly the youth. Two young men were arrested in connection with this incident. (Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

October 03, 2011:
Irreechaa (Oromo Thanksgiving) was celebrated at Hora Arsadi, Bushoftu. About 3 million Oromos, 80% of which were the youth, attended the event. The youth reportedly expressed their wishes for freedom and justice through songs, and the government forces, which were deployed in large numbers, arrested several young Oromos from the crowd. Among those who were arrested in Bushoftu, some 22 of them were released the same day after being given a warning, but the following four individuals remained in prison.
1. Qalbessa Guddisa Sime, East Shoa zone, Adama town, Kebele 13
2. Fekadu Ankafe Shaggo, West Arsi zone, Arsi Negelle twon, Basaqo village
3. Ararsa Abebe Gammada, West Shoa zone, Metta County, Warabo village
4. Gulumma Duressa, West Shoa zone, Dandi County, Saritu Dhanqu village.
Gadaa.com
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

November 2, 2011:
Eight Oromo students of the Mizan Tepi University were expelled from the university permanently, after being accused of having connection with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and of planning to incite civil disobedience in the country. The names, departments and birth place of the expelled students are given in the table below.
Gadaa.com
(Read more in Afan Oromo from Qeerroo News)

– Read the Full Document

114 Oromo Students Injured by Live Ammunition

(OLF News – April 10, 2011) – Starting on the evening of April 6, 2011 up to the morning of April 7, 2011, the Woyane Ethiopian Federal police have been firing live ammunition on about 400 unarmed and peaceful Oromo students of Mizan-Tepi University injuring several students and arresting several others, a report we received on April 08, 2011 revealed.

 

While OLF News could not verify the exact number of students injured and arrested, the latest update we received today April 10, 2011 revealed that 114 Oromo students, injured by live ammunition, have been admitted to Mizan Tepi hospital, and many others, who were not taken to hospital, are suffering in individual houses without any medical attention. The updated report we received today added that more than 50 other Oromo students have been abducted and their whereabouts are unknown.

Oromo students in the area are appealing to all humanitarian, governmental and non-governmental organizations to follow the whereabouts of those abducted and also to save the lives of those left without medical attention.

A Fierce Crackdown against University Students in South-Western Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Human Rights League of the Horn Of Africa/HRLHA Urgent Action and Appeal

PUBLIC 11 April, 2011

A Fierce Crackdown against University Students in South-Western Ethiopia

 

Gadaa.com 

In another episode of suppression, dictatorship, irresponsibility and racism exercised by the TPLF/EPRDF government of Ethiopia, Oromo students at Mizan-Tepi University in southwestern Ethiopia, and Haro Maya (Alemaya) University in southeastern Oromia/Ethiopia, Hawasa University in southern Ethiopia and Nekemt University in western Oromia/Ethiopia have once again been met with guns and bullets, resulting in life-threatening injuries and imprisonment of dozens and scores of students.

The Oromo students of Mizan-Tepi University were encountered by fully-armed federal police force while holding a mini-demonstration on the university compound following a racially and politically triggered attack by Tigrian students attending the same university of Mizan-Tepi. According to HRLHA reporter in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa/Finfinne, the Oromo students of Mizan-Tepi University who staged the mini-demonstration on the university campus did not have any other intentions than attempting to bring the intimidating and harassing academic situations created by Tigrean students.

In addition to one unconfirmed case of death, about 114 students were (both male and female) were arrested and detained, although some of them were said to have been injured.

Highly concerning is that the whereabouts of those who remained in detention were not known until the time this urgent action was compiled. Meanwhile, HRLHA has confirmed that four Oromo students of Haro Maya University, Hawaasaa University and Wallaggaa Universiy, namely:

1. Girma Turuna (M) – Haro Maya – Arrested on April 9, 2011
2. Dachasa Wirtu Mosisa (M) – Haro Maya – Arrested on April 9, 2011
3. Gadaa Ragassa (M) – Hawaasaa
4. Fayisa Fufa (M) – Wallaggaa – Arrested on April 5, 2011

have been transported to Addis Ababa/Finfinne after being kidnapped by members of the Federal Police at different times; but, their specific whereabouts too were not know.

– Full Statement (Human Rights League of the Horn Of Africa/HRLHA)

OSGA Appeals for The Release of Oromo Students Abducted by Ethiopian Security Forces

The following is a statement from the Oromia Support Group in Australia (OSG-Australia).

Call for Urgent Action

April 17th, 2011

Abducting Guiltless Oromo Students from Their Dormitories, Under Gunpoint, and Disappearing is Unacceptable

Gadaa.com

Dear Officer,

The Oromia Support Group in Australia (OSGA) writing to express its deep concerns regarding the continuation of abduction of unprotected and defenseless Oromo students, under gunpoint, by the Ethiopian security forces:

1. Sena Marara – University of Arba-Minch – (Faculty unidentified yet) – kidnapped on 15th April 2011
2. Sayyaa (Surname unidentified) – University of Hawassa – (3rd year, Faculty of Electrical Engineering) – kidnapped on 13th April 2011
3. Dagim Gizawu – University of Hawassa – (Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering) – Kidnapped on 13th April 2011
4. Getu Bushura – Addis Ababa University – (Faculty of Law) – Kidnapped on 15th April 2011

The Oromia Support Group in Australia (OSGA) is very concerned by the unlawful actions of the Ethiopian government armed forces, invading university campuses and violating the students’ right.

Making defenseless Oromo students a target is illegal that also puts into question the democratic tolerance of the government in the country. As concerned regarding this matter, OSGA would like to point out that the abduction of Oromo students from their study validates the furtherance of human rights violations in the country that reflects the failure of the Ethiopian government on the human rights standards.

Thus, OSGA strongly calls for:

1. The immediate release of Oromo students so that they can return home to their families and study.

2. An impartial and thorough inquiry into the human rights violations, and the violence used on the part of the Ethiopian government armed forces, be pursued.

We hope you cannot allow the Ethiopian regime to continue this inhumane instance; and it is a critical need for urgent measures to rescue the abducted students’ lives. Thank you for your consideration of this serious matter.

Yours sincerely,

Marama F. Qufi

Public Relation Officer,
Oromia Support Group in Australia

CC:
* Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
* Amnesty International
* Human Right Watch
* Foreign Embassies in Ethiopia

Source: ABO

Ethiopia’s Kangaroo Court Sentences Oromo Political Prisoners to Death and Long Years in Prison

Ethiopia’s Kangaroo Court Sentences Oromo Political Prisoners to Death and Long Years in Prison

April 3, 2010 at 5:20 am · Gadaa.com

According to OLF News report received from Finfinne (Addis Ababa), the 3rd Bench of the Woyane/Ethiopian Kangaroo Federal Court gave a death sentence to an Oromo nationalist and political prisoner, Mesfin Abebe Abdisa, and a life prison sentence to another Oromo nationalist and political prisoner, Tasfahun Camadaa Gurmessaa, on March 31, 2010. The court also gave a long term imprisonment of 10 years to 12 years to 13 other Oromo nationalists listed below.

 

1. Masfiin Abbabaa Abdiisaa, Death Sentence, Civil engineer,
2. Tasfaahuun Camadaa Gurmeessaa, Life Sentence, Civil engineer,
3. Baqqalaa Nagarii, 12 years without parole, Businessman in Addis Ababa,
4. Isheetuu Kitil, 12 years without parole, Businessman and owner of the Hawi Hotel (Finfinne),
5. Kabbadaa Booranaa, 12 years without parole, Senior Manager of Hilton Hotel, Addis Ababa,
6. Waabee Hajii, 12 years without parole, Lawyer with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia,
7. Baqqalaa Jiraataa, 12 years without parole (in Absentia), General Secretary of OFDM and an employee of Oromia Water Resources,
8. Dajanee Dhaabaa, 12 years without parole, Trader,
9. Dajanee Booranaa, 12 years without parole (in Absentia), Brother of Mr. Kebede Borena,
10. Abarraash Yaadataa, 12 years without parole,
11. Roobaa Gaddafaa, 10 years without parole, Statistician and employee of Hibret Insurance
12. Baayisaa Huseen, 10 years without parole, High School student, Ambo,
13. Lalisee Wadaajoo, 10 years without parole, Journalist and wife of exiled television journalist, Dhabasa Wakjira, himself a former detainee,
14. Olaanii Jabeesaa, 10 years without parole,
15. Haayiluu Dalasaa, 10 years without parole, 3rd year Law student at Haromaya University.


Among Those Targeted: From Left to Right – Mr. Mesfin A. Abdissa, Mr. Tesfahun Chemeda, Mrs. Aberash Yadeta, Mrs. Lelisa Wodajo, Mr. Wabe Haji and Mr. Bekele Jirata

Among the convicted, two of them, Tesfahun Chemeda and Mesfin Abebe, were apprehended by the Kenyan government and handed over to Woyane in April 2007, and have been severely tortured by the regime and finally brought to court in 2008. Many others have been falsely accused and abducted from their homes and their work places.

According to the latest Oromo Support Group Report:

Tesfahun Chemeda and Mesfin Abebe, both civil engineers, were in Nairobi seeking protection with UNHCR when they disappeared from Kenya in 2007. Human rights defenders in Nairobi believed that they had been abducted by Ethiopian security men and/or by Kenyan police in cooperation with the Ethiopian embassy. Their location was not known to their families for two years.

Mr. Bekele Jirata was the General Secretary of OFDM and was arrested by the regime on November 04, 2008. He had then been accused of having relations with OLF and stayed in prison before he was released on bail on February 04, 2009.

Mrs. Lelise Wodajo, a former journalist in the government-run Ethiopian TV and a mother of three, was arrested on November 14, 2008 and stayed in jail since then. Her husband, Mr. Dhabessa Wakjira, had also been jailed for more than three years and went to exile, after being released.

– Full Story (OromoLiberationFront.org)

Source for bios: UNPO and OSG

RELATED: Coverage on the Political Persecution Against Oromo

HRLHA: Continued Violence in Academic Institutions, January 20, 2012

January 20, 2012 – The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) is highly concerned about the never ending incidences of government-sponsored violence in academic institutions and workplaces in Ethiopian in general and in the regional state of Oromia in particular. A very recent case in point is the entering of armed government security forces into the campus of Wollega University in Nakamte, Oromia, and opening fire onto students standing in front of their dormitories. In this violence which occurred on the 7th of January, 2012, two students, namely Lenjissa Ragassa and Fayissa Mosissa were taken to Naqamte Hospital with bullet wound on the leg and a serious injury on the head respectively. At the same time, the armed security agents who drove into the University compound in a track with plate number OROMIA 0065 apprehended about 15 and took them to yet unknown destination. The whereabouts and the situations of those students are not known. According to HRLHA correspondents, the violent action against the students was a response to a mere demand by the students for improvements in the students’ meal.

Prior to that three students of this same Wollega University (namely Katama Sorii, Boggala Gonfa, and Caala) have been expelled from the University for allegedly instigating violence on the campus.

In a similar extra-judicial action taken by armed security agents on the campus of Adama University in Adama, Oromia, on Dec 29, 2011, seven Oromo Students were arrested and taken into custody. The students were:

1.  Gaaddisaa Tashoomee
2.  Damee
3.  Amadien Mohammad
4.  Araggaa Tashoomee
5.  Jibaat – barataa
6.  Caffee and
7.  Kaasahuun

The allegation was that they raised questions on and/or relating to fundamental rights.

Also, 27 students have been detained from a school in Gimbi Town of Eastern Wollega in Oromia. These include:

1.  Dawit Tamasgeen
2.  Abbush Malkaamuu
3.  Hambisaa Baatirii
4.  Shimallis Moosisaa
5.  Kaasahuun Bantuu
6.  Jireenyaa Taammiruu
7.  Maarqos Kabbadaa
8.  Taarikuu Garbaa
9.  Alamaayyoo Habtaamuu
10.  Aliyyii Baatirii
11.  Namoomsaa Kabbadaa
12.  Numarsii Kabbadaa
13.  Meetii Kabbadaa
14.  Innawu Fiqaaduu
15.  Magarsaa Daani’eel
16.  Ismaa’el Ashabbir
17.  Baacaa Biraanuu
18.  Mitikkuu Tamasgeen
19.  Dirribaa Baatirii
20.  Waaqboon Awwaqaa
21.  Abdii Taaddasaa
22.  Kaasahuun Taakkalaa
23.  Iwunatuu Ashannaafii
24.  Alamaayyoo Mulgeetaa
25.  Misgaanuu
26.  Shoraa
27.  Odaa and others

Although there was no clear and specific reason given for the mass arrest and detention of the students, the overall understanding is that the action is part of the persistent political agenda aimed at intimidating, harassing and indirectly coercing the younger generation in particular into submissiveness; and, by so doing, keeping the lid on potential mass uprisings.

It is recalled that a much wider and more severe violent actions have been taken against Oromo students in various colleges and universities in different parts of the country including Mizan University, Finfine/Addis Ababa University, Jimma University, and others in 2011 in particular. The HRLHA has issued Urgent Actions and/or Press Releases on most of those government-sponsored violence.

As it has been the case for over a decade under the TPLF/EPRDF governance, a handful of civil servants and peasants have also been targets of similar extra-judicially actions during the past month. Three government employees holding high administrative and managerial posts in Fincawa Sugar Factory, five civil servants working in different government/public offices in Wanci District of Western Showa, in Oromia, and seven peasants from Limmu Gidda District in Eastern Wollega Province in Oromia have been picked up at different times and places, and sent to prison. They were:

1.  Mr. Sooreessaa Bookaa,
2.  Mr. Taadasaa Gamachuu,
3.  Mr. Fiqaaduu Bultoosaa (all from Fincawa Sugar Factory),
4.  Mr. Shawaal W/Rufaa`eel, Mr. Ayyalaa Dhaabbataa,
5.  Mr. Geetinnet Tsaggaayee,
6.  Mr. Dajanee Xurunaa,
7.  Mr. Toleeraa Badhaadhaa (all from Wanci),
8.  Mr. Ayyanaa Gammachu,
9.  Mr. Waaqjiraa Ayyaana,
10.  Mr. Alamayyoo Waaqjiraa,
11.  Mr. Gammachu Fufaa,
12.  Mr. Hundarraa Fayyisa,
13.  Mr. Dachaasaa Amanuu, and
14.  Mr. Dirriibaa Raggaasaa (all peasants from Limmu Gidda District).

Violence of any form denies peace, security, and stability. Insecurity and/or instability in turn are undoubtedly counter-productive, and targeting the young people in schools, colleges and universities particular is destructive to not only the present but also to the generations to come. Therefore, HRLHA calls up on the Ethiopian Government to immediately halt such politically motivated, racial and discriminatory violence against the young and the relatively educated Oromo nationals, and ensure the wellbeing of those who were detained extra-judicially. HRLHA also calls up on regional and international diplomatic, democratic, and human rights agencies to put pressure on the Ethiopian TPLF/EPRDF Government so that It allows the reigning of the rule of law.

The HRLHA is a non-political organization (with the UN Economic and Social Council – (ECOSOC)Consultative Status) which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

No Safe Haven: The Duplicity of East African States in the Transnational Ethiopian War on Oromo Refugees

By Qeerransoo Biyyaa*

Aug 17 (gadaa) –  “There is no time that I am safe,” says Ragatu Obora, a thirty-five-year-old female Oromo refugee in Kenya who had been subjected to various types of torture, loss of family members and rape in the Harawajat military camp in Ethiopia before she fled the country in search of a safe haven. Perhaps, what Ragatu did not realize was that there was also nowhere else she could be safer.

Using the politics and power of human rights theoretical lenses, this paper examines why and how the Ethiopian security forces pursue civilian Oromo refugees into several neighboring countries of the East African region (Kenya, Djibouti, Puntland and Somalia). How do these human rights violations by state security forces and hitmen compare to regional and international conventions, treaties and legal instruments for refugees? What are the politics surrounding the institutions involved in ostensibly protecting human (refugee) rights in the region? I argue that interstate system in East Africa has come to exploit certain loopholes/exceptions in the regional and international systems to allow states to flagrantly disregard or violate major conventions and treaties they are signatories to regarding protecting civilians refugees caught between the crossfire of rebels, opposition parties and governments. The question is not whether or not the regimes violate human rights because they obviously do. A better question is: how can one state get into another sovereign state in order to retrieve and refoul UNHCR-mandated and certified refugees without habeas corpus? And who should take the responsibility?

The analysis draws on primary information emailed to me from Kenya to publish as news articles, and reports from relevant human rights organizations. The paper is organized into two major sections and sub-themes. The first section provides the introduction, historical overview, definitions of key concepts, and legal framework. The second part analyzes the politics of human rights related to the forced expulsion of Oromo refugees from some East African countries.

Context of the Oromia-Ethiopia Conflict
Oromia is one of the nine member states of the present Ethiopia established under article 47 of the 1994 Ethiopian constitution. The Oromo people mainly inhabit Oromia region and constitute the most numerous ethno-national group in Ethiopia and occupy a huge land area (Shinn, 2009). The U.S. Department of State estimates that the Oromo constitute 40 percent of Ethiopia’s population. According to the 2007 Ethiopian census, the Oromo make up 37 percent of the Ethiopian population. The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which fights for the right to the self-determination of Oromia, claims that the Oromo constitute almost half of Ethiopia’s population (Shinn, 2009). Another study puts the population in Oromia at 60 percent of Ethiopia’s population (Holcomb and Ibssa, 1990:3). Census itself is the locus of contest, and Oromos hardly trust official government census; they think the state underreports the number of Oromos. Another important point that Holcomb and Ibssa make is that the Oromo issue “is centeral historically, geographically, structurally, numerically and theoretically to any consideration of the nature of the Ethiopian state and of the political economy of the region,” (1990:3). The strategic importance Oromia is linked to land, which constitutes 275,000 square miles, over half of the present land of the empire.

Since the formation of the “modern” Ethiopian state after Menelik’s ruthless conquest of Oromia in the late 1880s, the Oromo have never held political power commensurate with their numbers for the last 121 years, resulting in political marginalization, real and perceived grievances. The Oromo is a very diverse group with recognizable economic, religious and social differences between different zones of Oromia, but the Oromo are united by a common language – Afaan Oromoo – and other cultural practices. The Oromo practices Christianity, traditional Oromo faith Waqeffannaa and Islam. Because of the relative resource-richness of Oromia, the region has been a scene of political and military competition among many parties interested in controlling this strategic region.

The history of this conflict is a long and very complex one. This paper focuses on how the dynamics of armed conflict (1991-present), between the current ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the OLF over the control of Oromia, led to transnational refugee crises in East Africa. Domestically, the goals of the parties to this conflict are categorically opposed, leading to over twenty years of armed conflict and civilian strife in Oromia. At its birth in 1975 , the primary goal of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ethnic Tigrean core party within the EPRDF coalition of many satellite organizations, was achieving the right to self-determination for the Tigray region in the north, but it later modified its goal and sought the right to self-determination and Tigrean supremacy within a unitary Ethiopian state (Shinn, 2009).

The fundamental objective of the OLF has been to achieve the Oromo people’s right to self-determination (Shinn, 2009). Following the 1992 snap elections in Addis Ababa and Oromia that proved the popularity of OLF in the country, the TPLF rebel leaders realized that they would not have any chance of victory at the ballot box unless they broke the influence of OLF and started ruling by force. Soon after OLF was outlawed in 1992, the fighting between the two escalated. Just between 1992-1993, 20,000 to 45,000 Oromo mass arrests were reported (Amnesty International, 1995 in OSG, 2010:3). The OSG has now reported 4,279 extra-judicial killings and 987 disappearances of civilians in Ethiopia. The report states, “Hundreds of thousands have been placed in illegal detention, where torture and rape are commonplace,” (2010:1). The OSG report also establishes the most common patterns of human rights against Oromo refugees in East Africa when they were in Ethiopia. Prior to persecutions and rights violations, most Oromos are accused of supporting the OLF, being a member of the OLF and of providing material support (food, weapons, hiding rebels etc.) to the phantom OLF fighters. Being suspected of associating with OLF in anyway justifies extrajudicial killings and disappearances, torture and rape. As the analysis section will show, the refugees who are subjected to human rights abuses are also pursued into the neighboring nations in the name of weakening the OLF support-base.

Nothing better puts the human rights abuses against the Oromo in Ethiopia in perspective than a statement “The prison speaks Afan Oromo … about 99 percent of Qalitti prisoners are Oromo” made by Siye Abraha, the former number-two TPLF man and Defense Minister in the early 1990s, who ordered killings and mass arrests against Oromo himself. His confession comes as a result of his own prison experience with Oromo inmates upon being jailed from 2001-2007 for dissent from his fellow Tigrean Prime Minster, Meles Zenawi, on the conduct of the Ethio-Eritrean war of 1998 to 2000. Abraha’s statement at the 2008 Virginia meeting is viewed by many Ethiopians as a defining moment in his career because he has been the first ever prominent Tigrean leader in the last 20 years to break ranks and declare the regime’s bleak human rights records.

Since my focus is on the transnational aspect of human rights abuses, I will not dwell on domestic human rights abuses against Oromos. That requires a separate analysis.

Even from the transnational aspect, I will be focusing on the forced expulsion of Oromo refugees mandated by the UNHCR because nobody studied that so far. The UNHCR refugees and asylum-seekers trend in East Africa shows that Somali (516,000), Ethiopian (55,000) and Sudanese (33,500) refugees top the list of Kenya’s refugee population (UNHCR, 2011). The trend shows that Kenya is one of our planet’s ten countries hosting the largest refugees and the sole largest host on the African continent. These refugees need international protection whether they are UNHCR-mandated or not.

Definitions of Key Concepts
Oromo refugees have fled their homes for the well-established classic reasons of why people in other regions of war leave their home country – the search for a safe haven. The reasons for forced migration include: “persecution, human rights violations, and natural and man-made disasters,” (Martin and Schoenholtz, 2006:406). Voluntary escape from life-threatening conditions is a form of migration. They underscore however that “in a growing number of cases, people are driven from their homes by governments and insurgent groups intent on depopulating or shifting the ethnic, religious, or other composition of an area” (2006:406). In the case of the armed conflict between the EPRDF/TPLF and the OLF, the more militarily stronger party, which is the ruling party, has been trying to decimate the OLF movement, and where possible, to shift the ethnic composition of Oromia by subjecting civilians to internal displacement and turning them into refugees.

How are refugees defined under the international law? Under the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons and the 1966 protocol, refugees have a special status in international Law. In the 1951 convention, the term “refugee” is defined narrowly in direct reference to the contexts of post World War I and II Europe refugee crises. A refugee is a person who:

“as result of events occurring before January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it ( Article 1 (A2).

The 1966 OAU convention, which only entered into force five years later in 1974, copies the above definition word for word, but expands on it to reflect the African historical context of disturbances created by the struggle between the colonial powers and liberation movements, external aggression, occupation and civil war. The essence of the OAU and the UN definitions is that a “refugee” is a person outside his/her own country who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted on upon returning. I will use this definition for the purpose of my paper. If there is such a person with a special legal status, there must exist international and regional organizations mandated to protect him/her. Since I am dealing with issues of refoulement in the latter part of this paper, the provisions in Articles 32 and 33 of the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 will serve me as nuanced analytical and framing devices. The sub-articles dealing with expulsion are as follows:

(1) The contracting States shall not expel a refugee lawfully in their territory save on grounds of national security or public order;
(2) The expulsion of such refugees shall be only in pursuance of a decision reached in accordance with due process of law …
(3) The contracting States shall allow such refugee a reasonable period within which to seek legal admission into another country.

Sub-articles of Article 33 that prohibit refoulement are quoted below:

(1) No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race religion nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion;
(2) The benefit of the present provision may not however be claimed by a refugee whom there are reasonable grounds for regarding as a danger to the security of the country in which he is, or who have been convicted by final judgment of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the community of that country.

I compare states’ decision-making processes with the consequences of those decisions on refugee rights and status. The concepts in these international refugee conventions are primarily built on and inspired by the normative framework provided in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948. These conventions in some ways concretize the more abstract provisions in the UDHR.

The Politics of Refugee Refoulement and the Tyranny of Exceptions
This section analyzes the politics surrounding the expulsion of Oromo refugees from East African countries. I argue that the interstate system and the international institutions in the region have failed to comply with the treaties and conventions they acceded to. Instead, nations like Ethiopia and Kenya exploit what Winifred Tate (2007) refers to as “criminalization narrative” by accusing refugees of membership in outlawed armed opposition, unarmed opposition and certain population groups. As reviewed in the context section, the confrontation between the OLF and the Ethiopian government on the home front feeds directly into the justifications for pursuing Oromo refugees into neighboring countries and refouling or even killing them in collaboration with the host states without due process. The states disregard other provisions in the international and regional conventions, and choose and pick exceptions in these laws that allow them to incriminate refugees as “subversive or terrorists.” I call this process “the tyranny of exceptions,” and I will show in the remaining part of the essay the dangers of combining politics and exceptions in international law; the exceptions are not used for promoting and protecting rights, but for the purpose of undermining them.

The OSG reports that about 300 refugees were subject to refoulement from Kenya in 2009, and about 500 Ethiopian Somalis were returned in early 2010 (2010:43). The OSG documents three episodes of refoulement of Oromo refugees to Ethiopia – from Hagadera camp in Dadaab in 2001, and from Nairobi in 2007 and 2008. Three men were also reportedly subject to refoulement from Nairobi in August 2010. I would like to focus on the most recent cases of refoulement and on a few individuals, who were mandated refugees and UNHCR-identification card bearers. This minimalist focus on a few prominent cases will allow me to approach the cases in-depth.

Under normal circumstances, where there is state’s accountability to its peoples, governments are presumed to be the ones which “guarantee the basic human rights and the physical security of their citizens,” (UNHCR, 2001-2010). In the first place, the Oromo refugees, the majority of whom experienced imprisonment and torture, fled Ethiopia to look for alternative sources of the protection of their basic human rights and physical security. This is the rationale under which the UN refugee agency itself operates. It recognizes that refugees own governments often turn out to be the ones which threaten to persecute civilians. By crossing the borders into Kenya and placing themselves in physical and legal spaces “between the global and local” (Goodale, 2007), refugees have automatically lost their citizenship rights, and the privileges and protections that come with it. They enter what I call “the red zone” where they enjoy fewer rights than those who are citizens of the hosting nations (Martin and Schoenholtz, 2007:407). The red zones are dangerous transnational spaces. In the red zone, normally the hosting states or the UNHCR are expected to provide security, food, shelter and medical care (basic human needs). The red zone may not be perfect, but is probably safer than getting killed in the fight between the OLF and the Ethiopian army.

Among the myriad of ways, the Ethiopian state uses three main ways of violating the physical security of Oromo refugees in East Africa: sending spies and generals who pretend to be refugees in order to infiltrate the refugee community, carrying out direct targeted killings via its own security forces and hired thugs, and direct refoulement of refugees with or without the knowledge of the hosting states (OSG, 2010:42, HRLHA, 2010). According to OSG, for instance, a refugee who worked in a Nairobi hotel witnessed seeing meetings among Ethiopian embassy personnel, some Kenyan police and other paid informers. The hotel worker even witnessed seeing monetary transactions between Ethiopian embassy personnel, and security agents and informers. The OSG report contains many credible interviews with regard to Ethiopian military activities in Kenyan territories. Sometimes the security forces try to bribe members of the Oromo community itself to get intelligence. A man nick-named Ibsa was approached by a Nairobi-based Ethiopian general and offered 30,000 shillings to do the dirty job of informing on refugees, but he declined and ran away.

What explanations do the parties give about refoulement and what happens to the refugees after they are passed over? Will they be ‘crucified’ and what does that mean? Let us now turn to instances of individual expulsions and abductions, and the consequences. The argument of the Ethiopian government is that Oromo refugees are associated with the OLF, and therefore, they need to be stamped out. Although human rights reports contain tens of hundreds of cases of refoulement, neither the Ethiopian authorities nor the Kenyan one admit to being behind such violations for fear of being implicated in the violations of major conventions and protocols they acceded to. Despite that, they could not hide the truth from the prying eyes of the Kenyan press and international watchdog groups.

In 2001, Awel Mohammed Hussein, age 38 and a mandated refugee, was grabbed from behind and injected with an unkown substance. This man was transported unconscious to the Moyale military barracks and subjected to torture. The OSG (2010:43) report puts the method of torture employed as, “He was badly beaten and subject to ‘bastinado’ with his arms and legs tied together around a pole and suspended with his feet uppermost, while the soles of his feet were beaten until raw. He was interrogated about any OLF connections.” This individual was not found guilty of any crime nor was he a source of public disturbance in his host country. He was not presented before the court of law before his removal, which violated habeas corpus or due process. That was why the Red Cross interceded on his side and helped free him later. The Ethiopian security forces cited that the man was a threat to public order in the host country as well as to the Ethiopian state. What is clear here is that all provisions in support of the protection of refugees in the 1951 UN Convention and 1967 protocol and the OAU convention were violated. Expulsion led to the persecution of the refugee, who had a well-founded fear of retuning to Ethiopia. His alleged membership in OLF and the social group, Oromo, constitutes and amplifies the seriousness of the violations of international law by Kenyan and Ethiopian authorities.

The politics surrounding the prominent refoulement of the two Nairobi-based civil engineers, Tesfahun Chemeda and Mesfin Abebe, was widely publicized after the event, badly reflecting on the UNHCR, Kenya and Ethiopia. They were arrested in a Nairobi restaurant by Kenyan anti-terrorist police in April 2007 and taken to a local police station. They were transferred to Ethiopian security agents and extradited to Ethiopia. After nearly one year of disappearance in the Ethiopian prison system, they were charged under the Ethiopian anti-terrorism law in December 2008. Mesfin Abebe was sentenced to death and Tesfahun Chemeda to life imprisonment (OSG, 2010:44; Biyyaa, 2010: 1; Albert, 2011:1-2). The issues here are twofold: were the men really what they were accused of? How does their case violate international human rights norms?

First, let us start from their experience in Kenya. Contrary to provisions in international and regional refugee conventions, Abebe and Chemeda were not put through due process before they were removed and handed over to Ethiopia, which immediately persecuted them. Because the men were allegedly dangerous to the security of Ethiopia, the second sub-article of the UN convention, which makes exceptions about the discontinuation of the benefits of the convention from persons so regarded, was where Ethiopia and Kenya manipulated the loopholes in the international law to satisfy their interests. The basis on which they were arrested in Kenya constitutes a direct violation of articles 32 and 33 of the UN convention prohibiting expulsion before due process. It also violates Article Two of the OAU convention and the convention against torture.

The engineers meet the definition of the term “refugee” as proven by the fact that they were UNHCR-mandated since 2005. They had been followed by the Ethiopian secret service in Kenya until their final extradition in 2007. They were not presented in the court of law in Kenya before they were smuggled into Ethiopia. This aroused widespread outrage among Kenyan human rights networks and Oromo-related transnational human rights organizations. Terfa Dibaba, the head of the Germany-based Oromo Relief Association (ORA), criticized the Kenyan government for failing to protect Abebe, Chemeda and 21 other refouled refugees. Dibaba is quoted in Albert (2011:1) saying, “We are demanding that the due process of extradition be put through a court of law.” He blamed the entire operation on the section of Kenyan government officials, who are operating in conjunction with Ethiopian security agents. The OSG corroborates Ethiopian agents produced Laissez Passer issued by the Ethiopian embassy (2010:44). Albert questions the veracity of the ground on which the two men were refouled: “There is a contradiction in what the government officials say. If indeed, those arrested are criminal gangs, why are they not being arraigned in a court of law instead of being clandestinely smuggled out and handed over to the Addis Ababa government?” (2011:3). The poor decision-making process by Kenyan officials linked to this extradition violates international human rights norms.

Second, in Ethiopia, the persecution of Abebe and Chemeda point to violations of conventions prohibiting expulsion and persecution. The ways in which Ethiopia manipulated the exception (terrorism) within international law to crack down on peaceful dissent is worth further examination. Human Rights Watch analyzed the 2008 Ethiopian Anti-Terrorism draft law within the context of concerns of repression and argued that it is “dangerously broad and inimical to fundamental human rights,” (HRW,2009). In Part Two – Section 3, the final Anti-terrorism Proclamation Number 652/2009 defines terrorist acts as follows:

Whosoever or a group intending to advance a political, religious or ideological cause by coercing the government, intimidating the public or section of the public, or destabilizing or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional or, economic or social institutions of the country: (1) causes a person’s death or serious bodily injury; (2) creates serious risk to the safety or health of the public or section of the public; (3) commits kidnapping or hostage taking; (4) causes serious damage to property; (5) causes damage to natural resource, environment, historical or cultural heritages; (6) endangers, seizes or puts under control, causes serious interference or disruption of any public service; or (7) threatens to commit any of the acts stipulated under sub-articles (1) to (6) of this Article; is punishable with rigorous imprisonment from 15 years to life or with death.

As the analysis by HRW shows, it appears that the anti-terrorism law broadly and vaguely defines what constitutes acts of terrorism. Classifying serious bodily injuries to a person (does not differentiate homicide from terrorism) can be clearly understood as acts of terrorism. But articles dealing with property damage, disruption of public service and damage to the environment are not even distantly related to standard somatic definition of acts of terrorism. That is why HRW saw the potential of this law as weapon to crack down on peaceful demonstrations and political dissent. For example, according to sub-article four, if a person driving down the road hits another car or a warehouse and damages it, then that person can be charged with terrorism under this law and he/she will face a penalty of 15 years in prison to death penalty without due process.

It was based on the wild interpretation of this law that Ethiopia sentenced Mesfin Abebe to death and Tesfahun Chemeda to life imprisonment. Among the litany of crimes the presiding judge accused them of were: “financing and being members of the OLF, conspiracy to overthrow the ethnic Tigrean-controlled Ethiopian government in order to establish an independent state of Oromiya,” (Biyyaa, 2010:1). Although their extradition from Kenya was on the accusation of terrorism, underneath the rhetoric is the fact that sentencing Abebe and Chemeda are politically motivated as the judges clearly link the individuals with the rebel group opposed to the Ethiopian government. By faith, the accused individuals are from western Oromia with a strong tradition of following African traditional religion Waqeffannaa, or a blend of that and Christianity.

The rise of Islamist extremism in Somalia and Ethiopia’s alliance with the United States to stamp it out gives all credibility to Ethiopia if it accuses any of its opposition of terrorism. The impact of the terrorism rhetoric on human rights in the region reverberates as we can see what is happening to refugees, whose goals are not linked to any fundamentalist organization. In fact, some of the Oromo refugees in refugee camps in Somalia, Puntland and Kenya have a long history of being threatened and abused by Somalis, who tell them “al-Shabab is coming to kill you infidels” (OSG, 2010:40). In the Dadaab camp, Somali refugees have been hostile to Ethiopian refugees (Oromo) because of Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia to oust the Islamist Union of Islamic Courts in 2006. None of the returned and persecuted Oromo refugees are terrorists by any measure. Even the OLF, a secular rebel movement whom the government routinely labels “terrorist” has a clear anti-terrorism policy that runs: “The OLF has an unswerving anti-terrorism stand and opposes terrorism as means of struggle to achieve the right of the Oromo people. The organization considers terrorism as act of desperation. Therefore, anti-terrorism remains a core policy of the organization.” It is my observation that the OLF has been following this policy in the last 38 years of its fight with the Ethiopian state for the autonomy of Oromia.

Conclusion: Tyranny of Exceptions
I have pointed out how Ethiopia has literally come to police the East African region. In the process of policing the region, it has exploited exceptions in international human rights laws and instruments to crack down on Oromo refugees by making the case to its neighbors that refugees are wanted for posing threats to the security of Ethiopia. In violation of the major international conventions and protocols cited in this paper, the state has subjected the refouled refugees to torture, death sentence and life imprisonment. The protection of conventions and treaties, therefore, ceased to apply to Oromo refugees although none of the returned refuges had been found guilty of war crime, crimes against humanity and crimes, such as posing credible threat to host nations. Ethiopia ratified many human rights treaties, including International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (1993), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1993), Africa Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1998). Nevertheless, its actions towards its own people show that it is not abiding by international standards. It has zero tolerance toward domestic human rights organizations – most are shut down, or their staff and leaders have fled the country over the last two decades.

Ethiopia is not a neo-liberal democracy; it calls itself a “revolutionary democracy” or more recently a “developmental state” modeled after China. The state fears the idea of human rights so much that it has annihilated any human rights organizations in the country. As opposed to the state, the opposition, including the OLF, uses human rights campaigns effectively. The OLF routinely publishes press releases and lists of people who have been arrested, killed or tortured. Proving the “power of human rights” (Goodale, 2009), there are many transitional human rights organizations which lobby western governments to withdraw aid to Ethiopia until it starts protecting human rights. The list includes the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (Toronto, Canada), the Oromia Support Group (Westminster, the U.K.), the Oromia Human Rights and Justice Council (Minneapolis, U.S.A.), the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (paralyzed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Human Rights Watch (New York, U.S.A.), Amnesty International (London, the U.K.). All these rights groups have legitimately exposed abuses in Ethiopia and criticized the impunity of Ethiopian security forces in domestic and transnational rights abuses. Often Ethiopia lashes back at them in defiance with its own furious propaganda on the state-run radio and television stations, claiming victimhood at times.

Goodale (2009) traces the growth of transnational human rights to post-World War II Europe – “Human rights emerged out of the ashes of war.” As Goodale argues the idea of human rights consciousness is inevitably spreading like a wild fire in the East Africa as well. The transnational NGOs listed above are responsible for turning this powerful weapon against repressive nation-states. Even if Ethiopia blacks out information on abuses to the external world, the branches of the grapevine have not stopped growing in the daily experience and discourse of the ordinary person. Every news about a death sentence or life imprisonment of innocent civilians will entrench the idea of human rights in the psyche of people, proving the unstoppablity of Eleanor Roosevelt’s idea of the “curious grapevine” (Goodale, 2009:94).

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Endnotes

OSG, (2010:9).

See http://www.ethiopar.net/ for the full constitution of Ethiopia.

See “Ethiopian Census 2007″.

See The Advocates. “Human Rights in Ethiopia: Through the Eyes of the Oromo Diaspora”. The Advocates, 2009. See also Shinn 2009.

See endnote 4.
Oromia Support Group is a U.K.-based non-political organization which attempts to raise awareness about human rights in Ethiopia.

Gadaa.com, December, 2009. http://gadaa.com/oduu/2103/2009/12/28/ethiopia-seye-abraha-person-of-the-year-2009/

UN. 1951. “Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.” See also U.N.´s 1966 protocol on the status of refugees.

Negarit Gazeta ( 2009:4829)
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References

Albert, Kasembeli. “Oromo Liberation Front: Who is Fooling Who?” The African Executive, December 15, 2010. http://www.africanexecutive.com/modules/magazine/articles.php?article=5590 (accessed 02/23/2011).

ACHPR. OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. Banjul: ACHPR, 2011.

Biyyaa, Qeerransoo. “Oromo Sentenced to Death in Ethiopia.” American
Chronicle, April 8, 2010.

Ethiopar. A Proclamation on Anti-Terrorism. Addis Ababa: Federal Negarit Gazet, 2009.

Gadaa.com. “Ethiopia: Seye Abraha – Person of the Year 2009.” http://gadaa.com/oduu/2103/2009/12/28/ethiopia-seye-abraha-person-of-the-year-2009/ (accessed 02/24/2011).

Goodale, Mark. Surrendering to Utopia:An Anthropology of Human Rights. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009.

“The Power of Right (s): Tracking Empires of Law and New Modes of Social Resistance in Bolivia (and Elsewhere).” In The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law Between the Global and the Local, edited by Mark Goodale and Sally Engle Merry, 130-162. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Goodale, Mark and Sally Engle Merry, Eds., The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law Between the Global and the Local. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Holcomb, Bonnie K. and Sisai Ibssa. The Invention of Ethiopia: The Making of a Dependent Colonial State in Northeast Africa. Trenton: The Red Sea Press, 1990.

HRW. Analysis of Ethiopia´s Draft Anti-Terrorism Law. New York: HRW, 2009.http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/06/30/analysis-ethiopia-s-draft-anti-terrorism-law (accessed 02/23/2011).

Martin, Susan and Andrew I. Schoenholtz. “Promoting the Human Rights of Forced Migrants.” In Human Rights and Conflict: Exploring the Links between Rights, Law and Peacebuilding. Washington D.C.: USIP, 2006.

Mertus, Julie A. and Jeffrey W. Helsing, Eds., Human Rights and Conflict: Exploring the Links Between Rights, Law and Peacebuilding. Washington D.C.: USIP, 2006.

OSG. Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia: Reports from Refugees in Kenya, September 2010. Westminster: OSG, 2010.

Shinn, David. “The Future of Armed Groups in Africa.” Paper presented at a conference hosted by the State Department´s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the U.S. Africa Command, Garmisch, Germany, November 13-14, 2009.

Tate, Winfred. Counting the Dead: The Culture and Politics of Human Rights Activism in Colombia. Berkeley: The University of California Press, 2007.

The Advocates. “Human Rights in Ethiopia: Through the Eyes of the Oromo Diaspora.” Minneapolis, The Advocates, 2009.

UN. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nation, 1948
UNHCR. Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Geneva: UNHCR, 1967.http://www.unhcr.org/protect/PROTECTION/3b66c2aa10.pdf (accessed 02/24/2011).

Dismantling Dissent Intensified Crackdown on Free Speech in Ethiopia

ARRESTS OF OROMO OPPOSITION MEMBERS: MARCH/APRIL & AUGUST/SEPTEMBER
December 22, 2011 (Amnesty International) – Between 200 and 300 ethnic Oromos were arrested in March and April in widespread sweeps in the Oromia region and in Addis Ababa. Arrests were reported from towns across the region, including Moyale, Jimma, Harar and Nekemte.

At least 89 members of the two largest Oromo political parties – the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM) and Oromo People’s Congress (OPC) were among those arrested. Many of them had been members of the national parliament or of the Oromia regional assembly from 2005 to 2010, and had also stood unsuccessfully for re-election in the 2010 general elections. For instance Berhanu Emiru, arrested in April, is a member of the Executive Committee of the OFDM, and a high school physics teacher. Berhanu campaigned in the 2010 elections and authored documents such as statements and media articles for the party. 32 of those arrested, including Asfaw Ngasso, Gutu Mulesa and Mengesha Tolesa, were OPC candidates in the 2010 elections. Asfaw Ngasso and Gutu Mulesa were also OPC members of parliament between 2005 and 2010. A number of youth and student members of the two parties, including a 17 year old girl who was a supporter of the OFDM, were also arrested in the March and April sweeps.

A second round-up of Oromo opposition parties’ members occurred in late August and early September with at least 20 people being arrested. Among those arrested were nine OFDM and OPC members including Bekele Gerba, an English teacher at Addis Ababa University and deputy chairman of the OFDM, and Olbana Lelisa, an OPC party official. Both men had met with Amnesty International delegates just days before their arrests.

All the OPC and OFDM members were arrested on suspicion that they were members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), an armed insurgent group which was proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the Ethiopian parliament in June 2011. Members of the Oromo political opposition have been charged with OLF membership countless times in the past.

The OFDM and OPC told Amnesty International that a number of their members arrested in March and April have subsequently disappeared, leading to concerns that these individuals are being held in arbitrary detention. The families of these individuals have reported to OFDM and OPC that they have never been produced in court and that their current location is unknown. Amnesty International requested information about the details of all those arrested in Oromia and Addis Ababa in March and April, including names and locations of those arrested but not yet charged. However, the government responded that it was unable to provide such details, as collated information did not exist.

According to OPC officials, arrests continued in the Oromia region between September and November, and in particular in the Wallega, Ambo and Harar areas of Oromia. Sometime in September, Bekele Argasa, a student at Adama University, was arrested and transferred to Maikelawi detention centre in Addis Ababa where he remains in detention without charge. Argasa was an OPC candidate for the Oromia regional council in the 2010 elections. It has been difficult for OPC officials to establish how many of their members have been arrested, or the details of any charges preferred, because of ever-increasing restrictions on communications and exchange of information.

Representatives of other groups critical of the government have also been arrested during 2011. Most notably large numbers of students were arrested across the Oromia region, including from the universities of Jimma, Haromaya and Nekemte. The authorities have not availed any official information on these arrests including names of those arrested, what they are charged with and where they are detained. In the absence of functioning civil society organisations

who could monitor and document large scale arrests and the fate of those arrested, these cases are severely under reported and are not subjected to independent monitoring or oversight. The students’ cases are not covered in the focus of this report, but the outcome of those arrests requires scrutiny.

– Full Text Story: Dismantling Dissent Intensified in Crackdown on Free Speech in Ethiopia

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The Potentials of Oromoo and Oromia

Oromoo is originated from the stem of Kush, a child of Kam of which their forefathers and father respectively was rooted from Noh who survived great flood in the history of Holy Scripture. The names of Kushitic People mentioned in different parts of the scripture; the bible call them huge and great people. As thier forefathers, Oromoo people also survived great man made disasters created by people who don’t respect the rule of law and the law of God. As Noh is a man of faith received instruction from God and made huge ark by faith for 120 years which helped to survive the families of Noh and all creatures of male and female from each kind.  Similarly God helped Oromoo to survive from the hands of brutal colonizers and killers succeeded in Ethiopia. Where as the successive dictators of Ethiopia after they have destroyed their identity culture, democratic gadaa system, Oromoo language and torturing psychologically they used the People of Oromoo for promotion of the name Ethiopia after they declared officially the name Ethiopia to the world 1930. Before this year, the colonizers of Oromoo call themselves as Abyssinia. They used Oromoo as a weapon to defeat Italians evasions during 1935; the well known hero of Oromoo whose Italians suffered great from  named Abdisaa Aagaa. Later on after they used Oromoo as a weapon they called themselves heroes ignoring the great role of Oromoo because they don’t want to give recognition for their colony. The best athlete Abebe Bikila whose first name is colony name and his father’s name has meaning in Oromoo ‘the seedling’, small growing plant. Abebe Bikila is the first Athlete who won marathon bare foot 1960 at Rome Olympic.’ It was 1960 at Rome, Africa was just shrugging off the weight of colonial rule and some sporting officials still doubted Africans were ready for the big time. A little over 2 hr. 15 min. later that myth lay shattered by the slight man wearing number 11, a member of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie’s Imperial Guard and a proud African whose gliding, barefoot run through Rome’s cobblestone streets announced his continent’s emergence as a running powerhouse.’ reported by Time Magazine again in 2008.Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1829863,00.html#ixzz1jxGzBCbn.

Such ‘running power’ called by time magazine, Abebe Bikila is from colonized Oromoo People used for the promotion to the name of Ethiopia. The first daughter of Africa like Abebe Bikila who won olympic marathon winner is from Oromoo named Fatuma Roba. Roba means ‘has potential to rain’ in Afaan Oromoo (Oromoo language). Similarly they have used for the promotion of the name Ethiopia. Darartu Tulu a great Oromoo long distance runner is the first and influential daughter of Africa who won olympic gold in 10,000 meter different times belongs to Oromoo people under the cover of Ethiopia. ‘Darartuu’ means flower and ‘Tulu’ means mountain in Oromoo. When we see the meanings of these African athletes names in ‘Afaan Oromoo’, ‘Bikila’ plants grow under colony, getting rain (Roba) and give flowers (Darartu). Oromoo survived in spite of the cruel repressions have been ongoing on to the current generation. Psychological and physical torture on best Oromoo athlete under successive regimes of Ethiopia continue with every time changing forms but for  similar objectives. Mamo Wolde a popular marathon runner from Oromoo people, the original name his father was Walda’o meaning multiplying grown in Oromoo community and served colonizers and died at the hand of colonizer. The reason I mention the original name of his father was to show that not only Oromoo People but native and original names, language and culture of the people were sized under extremely brutal colonization that carried out by Habeshas by the help of some west countries still backing the dictator Meles. Walda’o (Wolde) died after passing a painful suffering falsely accused by the minor TPLF groups lead by world number one killer, Meles Zenawi still torturing tens of thousands Oromoos in horrible prisons. For detail information about Mamo Walda’o read: http://ayyaantuu.com/sport/oromo-athlete-mamo-wolde-1932-2002-in-prison-for-nine-years/#more-3020.

It is from the continuation  of  Mamo Walda’o athletes like Fita Bayisa and others are suffering under the prosecution from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front(TPLF) leading the country by very similar way of apartheid  system. Oromoo’s best young athlete of many 10,000, 5,000 and 3,000 meters record holder and double Olympic champion with 10,000 5,000 meters at the Beijing Olympics was psychologically influenced to marry TPLF general’s daughter after his first fiancee’ died with unknown reason. Oromoo are living in that country where their children don’t exercise their own choice even whom whom to marry. The ever noble athlete of Oromoo recently enquired to change nationality of Ethiopia as a result of discrimination, systematic and hidden rejection for being and Oromoo by the minor group of Meles Zenawi. .http://ayyaantuu.com/?s=kenenisa+bekele. Such kind of sabotage by TPLF continued on many popular Oromoo athletes for being an Oromoo. Haile Gebresilasie ever best athletes with great endurance and exemplary for many athletes was grown properly by Oromoo’s mother among Oromoo Communities. But all these world’s best athletes served and serving the colonizers of Oromoo People under the name Ethiopia while their Oromoo mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters are suffering in prison, killed, fled their home and left under savage torture by historically unforgotten notorious TPLF.

Truth and love for each other will set us free!

When we start working for truth and love of Oromoo people we don’t prioritize status quo and popularity but the fruit of truth and love will witness for us as a great media ever broadcast to the heart of Oromoo people from Oromia to international media and beyond. In unity and solidarity let us vow to commit our selves for these loving and caring people who devoid of who cares for them. Develop zeal to work for the freedom of Oromoo which is forgotten for more than a century in the Horn of Africa.

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