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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Open Letter to Prime Misister Gordon Brown

The Hon. Gordon BrownPrime Minister of the United Kingdom10 Downing Street, LondonSW1A 2AA
Dear Prime Minister Brown,
We, the Oromo Community in the United Kingdom (UK), are writing this letter to bring to your attention once again the unprecedented and continuous human and material tragedy the Oromo People have been facing over the past 20 years under the incumbent minority ruled TPLF government.
The Oromo Community has been writing a series of letters to inform the UK Government the most significant violations of human rights. We have been asking the UK government that it shall put pressure on the Ethiopian government for their culpable and inhuman acts against innocent Oromo civilians, the Oromo children and their acts of banning democratic institutions. For all those letters we have been receiving seemingly positive responses.
While it has now become a matter of common knowledge that the existing Ethiopian government is amongst very few dictators in the world, it has been enjoying preferential treatment so far, sadly from democratic nations including USA and the UK. This government has banned the free press, has controlled the mass media both at government and party level. It has its own party broadcast which works hand in glove with the government-owned mass media, unprecedented excessive use of political to amass every public support in fact without merit. On the other hand, this government has silenced the free press, arrested journalists or chased them out of their country and finally bowed down to close the Civil Societies and NGO’s. Freedom of association, freedom of expression and the right to access or transmit information have been totally curtailed under this government. This government has gone to the extent of advancing arbitrarily detaining, torturing and killing Oromo parliamentarians who seem to have legal protection against all those evils than at least ordinary citizens. To escape persecution many of them have fled their country, and some have already been given a refuge here in the UK.
Many reports are coming out by independent human rights institutions. In 2008 alone, officials from the UN have expressed their concerns about the humanitarian disaster in southeastern Ethiopia (Ogaden) and in Somalia, which they termed as a “silent Darfur” both in scope and in depth. Similarly, the Human Rights Watch in its report about Ethiopia revealed that the Ethiopian government held major responsibility for the perpetration of widespread crimes against humanity and war crimes, in violation of international human rights law. (http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/49705fa32.html)
While an atrocity of this level is ravaging the country, the UK government continued to praise Mr. Meles as an icon of democracy. Even though many believed that a lesson was learned at least from the 2005 election in which the government have harassed, arrested, and killed many members of the opposition groups, and revised and reversed the result of the election in Oromia, in particular, and in Ethiopia, at large, things do not seem to change so far from the side of democratic nations, particularly the UK. It seems that by inviting the Ethiopian government to the G-20 summit and by giving all the supports it needed, the UK has given deaf ear to the human and material tragedies our people endured over the last 20 years under the leadership of Mr. Meles Zenawi.
Now, the G-20 meeting, that was held in London on 2 April 2009, has shown, be it by intention or by coincidence, that an effort is underway to cover up the killings of civilians, the disappearance of innocent people whose trace is never found and whose families are still looking forward to know with a broken heart and sorrow, the whereabouts of their loved ones. As is already understood it has become clearer now that fighting problems embedded in the 21st-century needs new skill sets and new legal and institutional frameworks that would meet the newly emerging problems. However, such noble initiatives, through inviting criminals to civilized forums, should not have been used to cover up the crimes of criminals and to promote them to a higher degree of dictatorship and criminality.
It is our firm belief that the law that has been in force to apprehend and punish some criminals must also be applied to every one in the same category. We appreciate efforts made so far through the International Criminal Court to hold criminals when they are in power. However, given the treatment of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his administration by democratic nations this effort would be incomplete and seem to show that leaders such as Mr. Meles are even favored for the crimes they have been doing.
As the economic policy of Ethiopia under Mr. Meles stands right now, there will be no economic solution for the Oromo people and all Ethiopians. It is, at least, immoral to fund a ruling government that runs party-owned companies with a capital of billions of dollars and robs the people at daylight. Financial assistance given to Ethiopia by the UK, the USA, Canada and other European countries in the name of poverty alleviation, prompting good governance, building impartial judicial system have always been used for the opposite purposes. Ethiopia is the only place, where a ruling party, on one hand, owns a business company via which it directly involves in business, and set the rules needed to govern businesses on the other hand. Ethiopia is the only place where carefully recruited loyalist cadres of the ruling party are trained and appointed to judicial offices to advance party politics in the judicial system. The truth is the assistance officially meant for the protection and promotion of judicial independence, good governance or poverty alleviation are in truth used to strengthen tyranny, suppression and to build the economic might of TPLF itself.
We do not believe grand corruption would help Africa to prosper. Thus, inviting him to the G-20 by itself undermines the entire purpose of the summit. Calling such personalities on this event also conveys a message that developed nations particularly the UK never mind about the violation of human rights in Africa. Despite the good intention and the principle of peaceful coexistence, the assistance that goes in abundance and without consideration of the casualty sustained by the people would, in the long run, undermines the prestigious position the UK government enjoyed so far both in Africa and in the world.
Now therefore, we appeal to your honorable office:
1. that it shall put pressure on the incumbent Ethiopian government that it shall release Oromo prisoners of conscience who were jailed for years just due to their political opinions and participation in legitimate and peaceful political movement.2. that the UK government shall ask that an inquiry to investigate the atrocities caused on the Oromo people by the Meles led Ethiopian government.3. to support the appeal of the Genocide Watch to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 23 March 2009, in which they strongly urged the UNHCHR to initiate an investigation of genocide and crimes against humanity http://www.genocidewatch.org/images/Ethiopia090323UNHCHR.pdf4. that the UK Government to stop funding a ruling government from the aid fund dedicated for helping poor people.5. that the UK government shall put pressure on the TPLF government that they shall stop looting the people through their party owned business companies.
We are looking forward to your kind response.
Sincerely yours,
From the Oromo Community in the UK
cc: G-20 Member StatesUnited Nations Higher Commissioner for Human RightsGenocide WatchAmnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch
Source (OromoLiberationFront.org)

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