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Call to Action Against the Genocide in Ethiopia

November 1, 2020

Since its inception, the goal of the Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America (EHSNA) has been to pass on the history, tradition, and heritage of our ancestors to the next generation.
EHSNA believes that Ethiopia’s sovereignty and unity must be defended so that citizens can live peacefully in their country. This organization has hosted the commemoration of the Battle of Adwa for many years with presentations by keynote speakers, distinguished scholars, researchers, and popular figures to educate and create awareness of this significant moment in history.

As a historical society, the peace and security of the Ethiopian people are issues that concern us. Thus, we are deeply disturbed and saddened by the identity-based violence that has taken place across Ethiopia for the last two-and-a-half years. The brutal killings of innocent people, the destruction and looting of homes, and the burning of religious institutions were caused by hateful political rhetoric of ethno-religious divisions.

In places where their ancestors were born, raised, and buried, ethnic Amharas and Orthodox Tewahdo Christians became victims of an ethno-religious genocide in July 2020 following the assassination of artist/singer Hachalu Hundessa. The attackers were a group of informally organized ethno-nationalist Oromo youth who call themselves “Qeerroo.” Members of this
group used knives and machetes to mutilate body parts , rip out eyes , and cut open wombs to rip out the fetuses of pregnant women . We are deeply saddened and troubled by the unprecedented horrors that unfolded in Ethiopia.

Furthermore, evidence suggests the police and special forces were all instrumental collaborators during the massacres and destruction. As a result of the attackers having a list of the names and house numbers of those they attacked, as well as checking ethnicity on ID cards , the victims were easily identified. This shows that the genocide was premeditated and planned with the cooperation of local officials.

In accordance with the Ethiopian Penal Code and international human rights law, we call for immediate action to end the genocide. If the government chooses, it can swiftly intervene to
maintain law and order as it previously did in the Somali region during its period of unrest. We condemn the government’s lack of swift intervention in Burayu, Shashemene, Kofele,
Zeway, Hawassa, Bale, Dodola, Harar, Dire Dawa, Metekel, Guraferda and other places. Since early August, Amharas have been the targets of ethnic cleansing in Metekel and Guraferda.
In response, the government has banned peaceful Amhara region protests against the ethnic cleansings.

For persistently committing genocide against Amharas and Orthodox Tewahedo Christians, the “ Qeerroo” mobs and other criminal perpetrators must be held accountable and face justice. We urge the government to fulfill its responsibility to stop the genocide, bring the criminals to justice, and to provide and maintain peace and security in the country.
The Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America passes the following resolutions:

1. What took place in the aforementioned cities was a genocide. Hiding the true nature of the crime will diminish public trust, so we ask the government to recognize the crime as such.

2. On the news and social media, both domestically and abroad, hate speech was disseminated by individuals, supporters, and certain elements of the government to promote the genocide. These individuals should be identified and brought to justice by the Ethiopian government.

3. The Ethiopian government should compensate and restore the lives of the people that were displaced and who lost loved ones as their houses, shops, warehouses, and other properties were attacked, looted, and burned.

4. We are asking for the reconstruction of all demolished historical sites, churches, mosques, and other community facilities. Ras Makonnen’s historical statue, which was
destroyed in organized attacks by the “Qeerroo” mobs in Harrar City, should be restored and returned to its original location. We call for the opportunity for both our organization
and the public to participate in the restoration.

5. Churches, mosques, monuments, and various community properties have faced destruction, so we are asking the Ethiopian government to provide special protection to
prevent this from reoccurring. We believe that the people should work with the government to protect and nurture the Ethiopian heritage and community resources. For this task, we are expressing our readiness to do our part.

6. Above all, the source of all this destruction are false narratives and the politics of lies. We implore the government to hold a comprehensive national reform campaign for the sake
of human dignity and solidarity. Otherwise, the youth of Ethiopia will continue to learn unfounded false history, internally develop sentiments of hate, and commit acts of destruction. It is the responsibility of the government and all segments of society to change and stop the violent rhetoric and to ensure that all people of the land live in a climate of peace and in cooperation to ensure safety and the ability to prosper for all. We express our willingness and readiness to assist reaching these goals to the best of our ability.

 

May God protect Ethiopia and her people!

The Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America

To:
Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia
Ethiopian Human Rights Commission
Patriarch’s Office of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council
Ministry of Culture of Ethiopia
Ethiopian Human Rights Council
The United States Department of State (State Department)
Africa Watch
Genocide Watch
Minority Rights Group
European Commission
International Crisis Group
Amnesty International
The World Council of Churches (WCC)
U.S. Commission of International Religious Freedom
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights
United States Senate Committee Foreign Relations
United States House Foreign Affairs Committee

United States Congressional Research Service
Embassy of Ethiopia, Washington DC