Washington, D.C. – The Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America (EHSNA) condemns the killing of students in Oromia region in Ethiopia. Furthermore, EHSNA condemns the arrests, torture, and imprisonment of Ethiopians through out Ethiopia and calls on all human rights organizations to put pressure on TPLF/EPRDF regime for its heinous crimes.
For the past month and a half, the situation in Ethiopia has been very disconcerting. The vast ongoing human rights violation by the TPLF government has urged the Ethiopian Heritage Society In North America (EHSNA) to speak and condemn the ongoing onslaught on Ethiopian citizens. The level of instability in the country has never been more apparent than ever before.
Oromo students have been peacefully protesting against a land policy where the government intends to implement. Largely, the protests took place in universities in towns such as Ambo, Jimma, Wellega and so on. According to BBC, in Ambo, 125km (80 miles) west of Addis Ababa, eye witnesses reported at least 47 students were killed by security forces during the days preceding May 2, 2014.
Instead of addressing the issue peacefully the TPLF/EPRDF regime security forces used live ammunition at unarmed student protestors killing and leaving several hundred causalities in various parts of Oromia region.
According to human rights watch the TPLF government is, “showing increasing intolerance of any criticism of the government and further restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and association.” Hundreds of students and perhaps in the thousands now have been so far imprisoned and expelled in relations with the protests.
The regime has been systematically implementing an ethnic cleansing of Amharas. As a result thousands of Amharas have been expelled by and still continue to be ethnic cleansed from South as part of the government’s land policy. In reality, the land policy is a façade to extend its systematic implementation of confiscating land from poor villagers. The regime systematically incites violence between ethnic groups to create mistrust and hate among them. . Such an agenda has been advantageous for extremists group to exploit the policy and in turn carry out violence. This agenda disguised as policy is eroding the communal relationship and harmony that has existed for centuries
The imprisonment and intimidations of bloggers and journalists is another case that has been increasingly unsettling. Several Ethiopian journalists languish in prisons for merely expressing their opinions. Just recently, the TPLF regime arrested young bloggers, also known as zone9 bloggers, for blogging about societal issues affecting the country. The zone9 bloggers were jailed without due process and effectively sent to prison where they still remain in horrendous conditions. They have been denied access to their families and lawyers and are being imprisoned in Makelawi federal prison which is infamous for torturing prisoners. According to the Committee for protecting Journalists (CPJ), “Ethiopian authorities are turning the peaceful exercise of free expression into a crime.”
The Oromo students, as any other group of students, have the right to peacefully protest and be herd, Amharas have the right to live where they wish, and Journalists and bloggers have the right to free speech without any form of repression and intimidation. The EHSNA does not advocate any form extremists’ ideologies or align itself with any political groups; however, the question of human rights is a universal obligation where every citizen and organization must stand guard diligently. As a society based in democratic country, we support and believe in these basic human rights ideals.
The government’s gross human rights violation and divisive character has put into question the very fabric of Ethiopian identity and the future prospect of the country. Preserving and promoting Ethiopia’s heritage is only possible when the rights of its people are respected and the essence of Ethiopia stands firm. Thus, EHSNA condemns the killings, arrests, torture, and imprisonments and calls on all human rights organizations to put pressure on and condemn the TPLF government for its heinous crimes.
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