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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Oromo deserve attention of Ethiopia's PM suppoters

By Idris Shaankkore

Feb 5, 2006 (Sudan Tribune) — Egregious abuses and violations of fundamental human rights of Oromos in Ethiopia, by agents, institutions and instrumentalities of the Federal and State Governments of Ethiopia and Oromiya, respectively, must no longer be tolerated.

The expressed concerns of the United Kingdom, the European Union, the African Union, and the United States of America for the egregious abuses and violations of fundamental human rights of Oromos in Ethiopia was manifested by the actions recently taken by Her Majesty’s Government to end all financial support to the regime. Following the meeting, on Wednesday, January 18, 2005, between The Honorable Hilary Ben, British Secretary of State for International Development and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, it was widely reported that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had consented to an impartial investigation of the abuses by yet another "...International Organizations with commendable reputations."

Oromos around the world welcomed the intervention by Her Majesty’s Government in good faith and with optimism, notwithstanding the numerous prior investigations by notable and reputable International Organizations detailing the serious human rights abuses in Oromiya and containing specific findings and conclusions heretofore not contested by the Ethiopian government, along with specific recommendations. Among those, are include: The Human Rights Watch reports, The US State Department Human Rights reports, The Amnesty International reports and alerts, The African Union Reports, and The EU Human Rights reports on Ethiopia. Thus far, the reports have not produced any measurable changes in the behavior or policies of the Ethiopian Government.

Since the May 2005 elections the following Reports amply documented the serious crimes being perpetrated against the Oromos by instruments of the Ethiopian Government:
Hidden Crackdown in Rural Areas Independent Inquiry Should Investigate Rural Violence http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/01/12/ethiop12417.htm
Ethiopia: Crackdown Spreads Beyond Capital http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/06/15/ethiop11124.htm
Ethiopia: Political Dissent Quashed Election Observers Should Not Fail to Recognize Effects of Systematic Repression http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/05/10/ethiop10590.htm
Suppressing Dissent, Human Rights Abuses and Political Repression in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region http://hrw.org/reports/2005/ethiopia0505/
Detention without charge/ fear of torture or ill-treatment http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/action5442.pdf
Despite the persistent oppression and deteriorating conditions in Oromiya, the Oromos sought refuge in their confidence in the recent interventions by her Majesty’s Government, the Government of the United States, The European Union, the African Union and the relevant International Organizations and the pledge to follow through on their convictions.
However, following the announcement by the Honorable Hillary Ben, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, in an interview with Reuters, scoffed at the most recent report, released on February 1, 2005, by Amnesty International and maintained that allegations of widespread abuse had no basis in fact and were the result of "sloppy" reporting. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi today, in his message to the Ethiopian Parliament unequivocally stated that the Ethiopian Government has not consented to an investigation in the nature reported by the Honorable Hillary Ben.

The Oromo people have always been and remain grateful friends of the people of the United States, Great Britain, and Europe and acknowledge that their friends do not wish to be directly or indirectly complicit in the crimes being perpetrated against the Oromo people. It has become incumbent upon the Oromos to once again underline the lack of sincerity and good faith of Prime Minister Zenawi, and to alert their friends of rapidly deteriorating conditions, and escalating tensions in Oromiya.

As an alternative to calling upon the people of Oromiya to use self-help to enforce their rights, the Oromo Diaspora community are petitioning The Government of the United States and the European Union, as major donors and supporters of the Ethiopian Government, to follow the actions of the United Kingdom and to immediately end all direct or indirect financial support to the Meles regime until such time as: 1. All Oromo Political prisoners, journalists and students are released, without any conditions or reservations; 2. Those portions of the recommendations set forth in the Human Rights Reports referenced above which can only be implemented by the Ethiopian Government are fully and completely implemented without any conditions or reservations; 3. Independent Human Rights Commission’s are allowed to be legally established to operate freely within Oromiya, as permitted by law, without any conditions or reservations; 4. Those portions of the recommendations applicable to agencies and institutions, which are directly or indirectly under the control of Her majesty’s Government, The Government of the United States, and The European Union are fully implemented.

These are the only effective and peaceful measures that will secure the attention of the Ethiopian government to comply with its obligations under international law.

· The writer is an Oromo residing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Shaankkore@yahoo.com--

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