FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Atrocities Committed by the Invading Ethiopian Army
Against Oromo Refugees in Somalia
February 3, 2007
We, members of the Oromo Canadian Community Association of Greater
Toronto Area (OCCA-GTA) are writing this letter to draw your attention to the plight of Oromo refugees in Somalia.
We are appalled by the news that is coming out of Somalia nowadays about gruesome atrocities that are committed by the Ethiopian government forces against innocent Oromo refugees. The Ethiopian government forces that have entered Somalia under the pretext of fighting the ‘jihadist’ movement have been reported to have been paying rewards to armed militias who could lead them to the whereabouts of Oromo nationals across Somalia.
It is with extreme sadness that we are witnessing reports of kidnapping, murder and forceful deportation of many unarmed, innocent and helpless refugees by the very regime they were forced to flee in the first place.
Oromo refugees in Mogadishu have appealed to the international community about refugees who have been kidnapped and murdered and many others who have been forcefully packed into military convoys and sent back to Ethiopia where they could face grave situations. These carnages are putting many lives at risk and these refugees need immediate protection from the international community.
Most of these refugees have fled from repressive regimes in Ethiopian over the last four decades and have sought refuge in Somalia with UNHCR protection as political refugees. It should be remembered that Ethiopia is signatory to the Geneva Convention on the status of refugees and targeting innocent Oromo refugees in Somalia violates Human Rights and the Geneva Convention.
Ethiopia is a country ravaged with its own problems, such as poverty, internal conflicts, and lawlessness; and it is the largest refugee producing country in the region. With no democratic tradition of its own, no one would know how it plans to bring peace and democracy to Somalia. It is well known that Ethiopia who is still the poorest country in the world has been ignoring its citizens who are starving and invests its resources on building massive military power to destabilize the horn of Africa and endanger many more lives in the region.
Government orchestrated atrocities drove hundreds of thousands of Oromos into exile and many have sought shelter and protection in the neighboring countries such as Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea and other east African and middle eastern countries. It is through this plight that many of us have made it to this great nation of ours, Canada.
According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Ethiopia continues to be one of the gross violators of human rights in the world with tens of thousands prisoners of conscience, majority of whom are Oromo nationals facing torture, arbitrary detention and excessive use of force by the police. Tens of thousands of people remained in long-term detention without charge or trial on suspicion of supporting armed opposition groups.
Considering the record of human rights violations of the Ethiopian government, we are very concerned for the safety of these political refugees who have been deported to Ethiopia. In the past, those who were forcefully deported were either tortured or killed.
The international community has failed to take this situation seriously and supported a tyrant with gross human rights violations as a regional
ally on “the war on terror” ignoring the voices of so many innocent Oromos and other oppressed nationalities in Ethiopia.
We would like to bring to your attention that many of us here today, who enjoy peaceful democratic citizenship here in Canada are disturbed by the news that is coming out of Somalia and we urge you to do something to end this carnage and massacre. We also urge the Canadian government to act responsibly on its humanitarian record and take immediate action to protect these refugees whose lives are threatened everyday.
We members of the Oromo Canadian Community Association of GTA, call upon the international community, the United Nations, EEU, OAU, IGAD, and all peace loving nations to take immediate and responsible action to:
1. Condemn the action Ethiopian army in Somalia and demand a stop to such atrocities as kidnappings, arrests, disappearances, murders and forced extraditions of innocent Oromo refugees to Ethiopia;
2. Demand that the Ethiopian army in Somalia release all Oromo refugees immediately and end unlawful detention of Oromo nationals;
3. Demand that the transitional government of Somalia act responsibly to end the abuse of Oromo refugees in Somalia in the hands the occupying Ethiopian army.
4. Provide immediate protection to Oromo refugees by resettling them in peaceful countries where they could have personal safety, and security.
The Oromo Canadian Community Association of Greater Toronto Area (OCCA-GTA).
Please join us at a peaceful rally on February 3, 2007
12:30 – 2:30PM
In front of the American Consulate
360 University Avenue
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT
Oromo Canadian Community Association of GTA