Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Waamicha Walgahii (Frankfurt, Germany)

Waamicha walgayii

Seminaara ummataa fi do`annoo sirba
aadaa saba Oromo biyya Jarmanii kessa
itti geggefamuf qindaawe irraa akka qooda fudhattaniif (hirmaattaniif) kabajaa Oromummaa hundeefateen isin aferra.

Guyyaa seminaarri geggefamu: Guraandhala (Feburary)14 bara 2009

Yeroo sagantaa seeminaraa: 10:00 AM - 18:00 (6:00) PM

Yeroo sagantaa sirba aadaa: 20:00 (8:00) PM -
6:00 AM

Iddoo walgayii: magalaa Frankfurt; Johann Wolfgang Universität; Mertonstr 26 -28.

Akkataa gara galma walgayii deemamu: Train lakkofsa U4 Hauptbanhof (main station) irraa qabachuun station lama (2) booda bakka Bockenheimwarte jedhamu itti butanii lafa-jalaa oli ba`un gara galma walgayii adeemtu.

Mata-duree seminaaraa

  • Gabaasa dhittaa mirga-dhala namaa motummaa TPLFn ummata Oromoo irra itti raawatame;
  • Garaagarummaa fi walittidhufeenya qabsoo bilisummaa karaa nagaa fi hidhannoo geggefamu (Mirga-namummaa ummata Oromoo kabachiisuuf barbaachiasummaa qabsoo nagaa fi hidhannoon geggefamu). Akkasumas xinxala gababaa siyasa qabsoo bilisummaa Oromoo kan gartuulee qaama ce`umsaa ABO, qaama jijjiramaa ABO, fi ABO dhaan geggefamaa jiru;
  • Ibsa haala qabsoo bilisummaa Oromoo yeroo ammaa ABOn geggefamaa jiruu;
  • Xinxala haala ijaarsa hawaasoota Oromoo biyya ambaa fi Jarmanii (jabinaa fi laafina) fi tarsimoo ijaarsa hawaasoota Oromoo biyya ambaa jabessuu malu akekuu;
  • Xinxala sochii qabsoo bilisummaa barattoota Oromoo sadarkaalee mana barnootaa gulantaalee 1ffaa fi 2ffaa, kollejjii, fi Yunversitii kessa itti geggefamaa jiru bara 1992 irraa egalee (Analysis of Oromo student liberation struggle in Oromia since 1992 ).
Sirba aadaa saba Oromoo

Wallistooti sirba aadaa Oromoo agarsisuun dibamanii fi kennaa gutuu qaban kan akka wallisaa Mahadii, wallisaa Lencoo, fi wallisaa Wandimuun hirmaattota walgayii gammachisuuf qophaawaniru.

Injifatnnoon ummata Oromoof!

Koree qindeesituu

Jarmanii, Frankfurt

Amajjii 25 bara 2009

Photo (logo): OromiaTimes Web

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

HRLHA Press Release No. 15: Harrassments and Intimidations Against Oromos Continued!

HRLHA Press Release No 15, January 2009
Harassments and Intimidations against Oromos Continued
EPRDF Introduces New Form of Torture

Finfine/ Addis Ababa;-In a continued campaign of harassments and intimidations in various parts of the state of Oromia in Ethiopia, 22 other Oromo civilians have arbitrarily been arrested and taken into custody in the past fifteen days. Among the 22 most recent arrests were Mr. Dachasa Marga, a lecturer with Rift Valley University College, and Mr. Sileshi Dagafa, whose detailed identity was not know at the moment.

According to information gathered by HRLHA agents in the Capital Addis Ababa, the Oromo detainees have been subjected to the newly introduced form of torture described as “Silent Torture”. Upon their first appearance in court on January 9, 2009, Mr. Dachasa Marga and Mr. Sileshi Dagafa complained before the judges that they themselves and other Oromos detained with them have, at different times, been forced to spend about fifteen hours in standing position. The two have been scheduled to reappear in court on the 22nd of January, 2009.

Western Oromia;- HRLHA agents have also obtained the names of six Oromo farmers who have been being held in solitary confinement for the last three and a half months.

Gurricho Fida,

Gaddafa Mosisa,

Dame Qanno,

Gammachu Birrasa,

Tariku Raaga, and

Naga Berhanu were picked up from different parts of Wollega Province, Western Oromia on and around October 7, 2008 and taken to Finfine/ Addis Ababa, where they have been detained since then, and which is about 600 kilometers away from their home villages. None of the families and friends of those six detainees has heard from them ever since they were arbitrarily arrested on alleged political grounds.

Eastern Oromia;-In a separate arbitrary action taken by members of the Federal Army and regional police on January 04, 2009 in Hararge Province of Eastern Oromia/ Ethiopia, a businessman has been shot dead and two others wounded, according to information obtained by HRLHA local correspondents.

Mr. Abadir Jamal (age 26), an Oromo national originally from Masal District in Hararge, died instantly from two gun shots by the army members, while Mr. Dasi Mohammed (another Oromo national) and Mr. Abdi Maddi (a Somali national from Wachalet Town) were severely wounded and taken to Imach Hospital. The residents of Harar and Awaday towns took to the streets protesting against the extrajudicial killing of Mr. Abadir Jamal. The local administration responded to the demonstration by arresting and detaining dozens of local residents.

Brief update

The 16 detained (under the file that includes Bekele Jiraataa)

Mr Bekele Jirata and his (fifteen) codefendants complained in court about the newly introduced “Silent Torture” (to be placed in standing position for about fifteen hours), which is said to have been adopted by the EPRDF for it does not leave behind any physically noticeable symptoms. Mr Bekele Jirata and his (fifteen) codefendants were among the most recent batches of Oromo detainees arbitrarily arrested mainly from the Capital and nearby areas for allegedly supporting the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) (HRLHA Press Release No 14). The HRLHA has learnt that Mr Bekele Jirata and his codefendants have now been transferred to Aqaqi Prison, located on the southern periphery of the Capital. Their next court appearance is on the 20th of January, 2009.

HRLHA calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand the immediate release of the detainees and halt of this killing innocent citizens, mass arrest and imprisonment of innocent Oromo civilians by the Ethiopian government.

The HRLHA is a non-political and non-profit organization that attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own fundamental human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Human Rights Watch World Report 2009: Ethiopia

Events of 2008

Downloadable Resources:
World Report Chapter: Ethiopia (PDF)
Related audio:

Chris Albin-Lackey, Senior Researcher


Chris Albin-Lackey, Senior Researcher

Chris Albin-Lackey, Senior Researcher

The Ethiopian government's human rights record remains poor, marked by an ever-hardening intolerance towards meaningful political dissent or independent criticism. Ethiopian military forces have continued to commit war crimes and other serious abuses with impunity in the course of counterinsurgency campaigns in Ethiopia's eastern Somali Region and in neighboring Somalia.

Local-level elections in April 2008 provided a stark illustration of the extent to which the government has successfully crippled organized opposition of any kind-the ruling party and its affiliates won more than 99 percent of all constituencies, and the vast majority of seats were uncontested. In 2008 the government launched a direct assault on civil society by introducing legislation that would criminalize most independent human rights work and subject NGOs to pervasive interference and control.

Political Repression

The limited opening of political space that preceded Ethiopia's 2005 elections has been entirely reversed. Government opponents and ordinary citizens alike face repression that discourages and punishes free expression and political activity. Ethiopian government officials regularly subject government critics or perceived opponents to harassment, arrest, and even torture, often reflexively accusing them of membership in "anti-peace" or "anti-people" organizations. Farmers who criticize local leaders face threats of losing vital agricultural inputs such as fertilizer or the selective enforcement of debts owed to the state. The net result is that in most of Ethiopia, and especially in the rural areas where the overwhelming majority of the population lives, there is no organized opposition to the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

The local-level elections in April 2008 were for kebele and wereda administrations, which provide essential government services and humanitarian assistance, and are often the institutions used to directly implement repressive government policies. In the vast majority of constituencies there were no opposition candidates at all, and candidates aligned with the EPRDF won more than 99 percent of all available seats.

Where opposition candidates did contest they faced abuse and improper procedural obstacles to registration. Candidates in Ethiopia's Oromia region were detained, threatened with violence by local officials, and accused of affiliation to the rebel Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Oromia, Ethiopia's most populous region, has long suffered from heavy-handed government repression, with students, activists, or critics of rural administrations regularly accused of being OLF operatives. Such allegations often lead to arbitrary imprisonment and torture.
War Crimes and Other Abuses by Ethiopian Military Forces

Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) personnel stationed in Mogadishu continued in 2008 to use mortars, artillery, and "Katyusha" rockets indiscriminately in response to insurgent attacks, devastating entire neighborhoods of the city. Insurgent attacks often originate in populated areas, prompting Ethiopian bombardment of civilian homes and public spaces, sometimes wiping out entire families. Many of these attacks constitute war crimes. In July ENDF forces bombarded part of the strategic town of Beletweyne after coming under attack by insurgent forces based there, displacing as many as 75,000 people.

2008 was also marked by the proliferation of other violations of the laws of war by ENDF personnel in Somalia. Until late 2007, Ethiopian forces were reportedly reasonably disciplined and restrained in their day-to-day interactions with Somali civilians in Mogadishu. However, throughout 2008 ENDF forces in Mogadishu participated in widespread acts of murder, rape, assault, and looting targeting ordinary residents of the city, often alongside forces allied to the Somali Transitional Federal Government. In an April raid on a Mogadishu mosque ENDF soldiers reportedly killed 21 people; seven of the dead had their throats cut.

ENDF forces have also increasingly fired indiscriminately on crowds of civilians when they come under attack. In August ENDF soldiers were hit by a roadside bomb near the town of Afgooye and responded by firing wildly; in the resulting bloodbath as many as 60 civilians were shot and killed, including the passengers of two crowded minibuses.

In Ethiopia itself, the ENDF continues to wage a counterinsurgency campaign against the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in the country's restive Somali region. The scale and intensity of military operations seems to have declined from a peak in mid-2007, but arbitrary detentions, torture, and other abuses continue. Credible reports indicate that vital food aid to the drought-affected region has been diverted and misused as a weapon to starve out rebel-held areas. The military continues to severely restrict access to conflict-affected regions and the Ethiopian government has not reversed its decision to evict the International Committee of the Red Cross from the region in July 2007.

The Ethiopian government denies all allegations of abuses by its military and refuses to facilitate independent investigations. There have been no serious efforts to investigate or ensure accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Somali Region and in neighboring Somalia in 2007 and 2008. Nor have ENDF officers or civilian officials been held accountable for crimes against humanity that ENDF forces carried out against ethnic Anuak communities during a counterinsurgency campaign in Gambella region in late 2003 and 2004.

Regional Renditions

In early 2007 at least 90 men, women, and children from 18 different countries fleeing conflict in Somalia were arrested in Kenya and subsequently deported to Somalia and then Ethiopia, where many were interrogated by US intelligence agents. An unknown number of people arrested by Ethiopian forces in Somalia were also directly transferred to Ethiopia. Many of the victims of these "regional renditions" were released in mid-2007 and early 2008, but at least two men, including a Kenyan and a Canadian national, remain in Ethiopian detention almost two years after their deportation from Kenya. The whereabouts and fate of at least 22 others rendered to Ethiopia, including Eritreans, Somalis, and Ethiopian Ogadeni and Oromo, is unknown.

Civil Society and Free Expression

The environment for civil society continues to deteriorate. In 2008 the government announced new legislation-the Charities and Societies Proclamation-which purports to provide greater oversight and transparency on civil society activities. In fact, the law would undermine the independence of civil society and criminalizes the work of many human rights organizations. At this writing, the law looked set to be introduced to parliament.

Alongside a complex and onerous system of government surveillance and control, the law would place sharp restrictions on the kinds of work permissible to foreign organizations and Ethiopian civil society groups that receive some foreign funding-barring such organizations from any kind of work touching on human rights issues. Individuals who fail to comply with the law's Byzantine provisions could face criminal prosecution.

A new media law passed in July promises to reform some of the most repressive aspects of the previous legal framework. Most notably, the law eliminates the practice of pretrial detention for journalists-although in August, the prominent editor of the Addis Ababa-based Reporter newspaper was imprisoned without charge for several days in connection with a story printed in the paper. In spite of its positive aspects, the law remains flawed-it grants the government significant leeway to restrain free speech, including by summarily impounding publications on grounds of national security or public order. The law also retains criminal penalties including prison terms for journalists found guilty of libel or defamation.

In March 2008 civil society activists Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie were released from more than two years of incarceration, but only after the Ethiopian Federal High Court convicted them of "incitement" related to the 2005 elections.

Key International Actors

The United States and European donor states provide the Ethiopian government with large sums of bilateral assistance, including direct budgetary support from the United Kingdom and military assistance from the US. The US is Ethiopia's largest bilateral donor and has also provided logistical and political support for Ethiopia's protracted intervention in Somalia, and provides bilateral assistance to the Ethiopian military. Donor governments view Ethiopia as an important ally in an unstable region and, in the case of the US, in the "global war on terror."

The US, UK, and other key donors and political allies have consistently refused to publicly criticize widespread abuses or to demand meaningful improvements in Ethiopia's human rights record. The sole exception in 2008 lay in donor government efforts to lobby against the repressive civil society legislation introduced by the government. No major donor made any significant effort to raise serious concerns about or demand a concrete response to war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ethiopia or ENDF atrocities in Somalia.

Ethiopia remains deadlocked over a boundary dispute with Eritrea dating from the two countries' 1998-2000 war. The war in Somalia is another source of tension between the two countries, with Eritrea backing and hosting one faction of the insurgency Ethiopian troops are fighting against in Somalia. Eritrea also plays host to other Ethiopian rebel movements, notably the OLF and ONLF, with the aim of destabilizing the Ethiopian government.

China's importance as a trading partner to Ethiopia grows year by year. According to official figures Chinese investment in Ethiopia totals more than US$350 million annually, up from just $10 million in 2003.

Ethiopia is due to be reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council in December 2009.

Source: Human Wights Watch

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ethiopia sinks into despotism

Ethiopia sinks into despotism

Ethiopia enacted legislation that restricts the work of independent human rights defenders and civil society organizations.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ethiopia has sunk deeper into despotism after it passed a law that restricts the work of independent human rights defenders and civil society organizations.

Two international human rights organizations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have strongly condemned the new Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO law), enacted by parliament on January 2.

The organizations are urging donor and international organizations to condemn the new legislation, and to closely monitor and press for amendments to its most damaging provisions.

The new criminalizes human rights activities undertaken by Ethiopian organizations that receive more than ten percent of their funding from abroad.

The future of NGOs, including campaigners for gender equality, children’s rights, disabled persons rights and conflict resolution, is at stake if the legislation is enforced.

Ethiopia passes law to restrict charity activity

Critics argue that the new rules, especially on foreign funding of local NGOs, would hurt human rights groups critical of the government and could disrupt aid operations by such groups

Ethiopian Government shutting down charities

Government says proposed law to regulate charities in Ethiopia is an attempt to regulate a needed and sprawling sector and also to block foreign political interference
It also imposes disproportionate and criminal penalties for even minor administrative breaches of the law, establishes a Charities and Societies Agency with broad discretionary power over civil society organizations, and allows government surveillance of and interference in the operation and management of civil society organizations.

Human Rights Watch said that the law is a direct rebuke to governments that assist Ethiopia and expressed concerns about the law’s restrictions on freedom of association and expression.

Amnesty International termed the CSO law as repressive and designed to strictly control and monitor civil society in an atmosphere of increasing intolerance of the work of human rights defenders and civil society organizations.

However, the Ethiopian government claims the CSO law addresses perceived inadequacies in the existing legal regime, promotes financial transparency and accountability, and provides a proper administration and regulation of civil society.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

(Ethiopian) Government Passes Repressive New Legislation (Amnesty International Press Release)

Amnesty International
Ethiopia: Government Passes Repressive New Legislation

6 January 2009

press release

Amnesty International called the Charities and Societies Proclamation law (CSO law), adopted today by the Ethiopian parliament, a repressive law designed to strictly control and monitor civil society in an atmosphere of increasing intolerance of the work of human rights defenders and civil society organisations. Previous drafts of the CSO law imposed strict government controls and harsh criminal penalties on non-governmental organisations.

The Ethiopian government claims the CSO law addresses perceived inadequacies in the existing legal regime, promotes financial transparency and accountability, and provides "proper" administration and regulation of civil society.

Amnesty International countered these claims, saying that based on its analysis of previous drafts the law's repressive provisions are "an attempt by the Ethiopian government to conceal human rights violations, stifle critics and prevent public protest of its actions ahead of expected elections in 2010." Amnesty International also considers that provisions of the CSO law would violate international and regional human rights treaties to which Ethiopia is a party.

Among other provisions, if enforced, the CSO law will:

1. criminalise human rights activities undertaken by Ethiopian organisations that receive more than ten percent of their funding from abroad;
2. criminalise human rights activities by foreign NGOs, including campaigning for gender equality, children's rights, disabled persons' rights and conflict resolution;
3. impose disproportionate and criminal penalties for even minor administrative breaches of the law;
4. establish a Charities and Societies Agency with broad discretionary power over civil society organizations, and allow government surveillance of and interference in the operation and management of civil society organisations.

Amnesty International urged donor governments – including the US, the UK and France -- and international organizations to condemn the new legislation, and to closely monitor its impact on human rights organizations operating in the country. They should clearly state their intention to use their influence to prevent human rights violations from being committed in Ethiopia under the provisions of this law.

The Ethiopian government's human rights record deteriorated after the disputed 2005 elections, when at least 187 demonstrators were killed and thousands were arrested, including scores of opposition parliamentarians, opposition party leaders, journalists and human rights defenders.

The majority of those arrested and tried were acquitted, or released post-conviction after presidential pardons were negotiated in 2007. But just last week one among them, former judge and current leader of the new Unity for Democracy and Justice Party, Birtukan Mideksa, was re-arrested. She was told by the Ministry of Justice that her original sentence of life imprisonment would be reinstated.