Ethiopia: War Crimes Against the Oromo Nation in Ethiopia
HRLHA Urgent Action
The Oromo nation is under severe coordinated internal and external attacks by TPLF/EPRDF- sponsored mechanized killing squads. In the past three months, since the state of emergency was declared on October 8, 2016, the Ethiopian TPLF/EPRDF government has deployed its killing squad Agazi force all over Oromia and massacred over 1200 Oromo youths, mothers and fathers in their homes and in the streets, imprisoned tens of thousands, committed rape, and disappeared other thousands . Over seventy thousand Oromos from all walks of life have been arbitrarily detained- under the pre-text of rehabilitation (Tehadiso)- picked up from their homes, workplaces, streets and taken to concentration Camps of Xolya, Huriso, Diddessa and also to unidentified concentration camps. In these concentration camps, tens of thousands Oromos have suffered and died from torture, communicable diseases, and malnutrition without receiving medical treatment.
The external attacks have been perpetuated against Oromos by TPLF/EPRDF trained special force (Liyu Police) from the Somali regional state in the eastern boundary. The Liyu Police is a special killing squad of the TPLF/EPRDF government in the Ogaden Region, a group established in 2008 under the pretext of protecting the people of the region from the opposition political organization, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) fighting for the self determination of Somali people in Ethiopia.
The Liyu police has routinely conducted heinous massacres in Ogaden villages ever since its formation and committed genocide against its own family members in the past eight years.
According to The Guardian, published Thursday, 10 January 2013 , millions of pounds of Britain’s foreign aid budget were spent on training an Ethiopian paramilitary security force that stands accused of numerous human rights abuses and summary executions. The Guardian has also mentioned in its news that an internal Department for International Development document formed part of a tender to train security forces in the Somali region of Ogaden, as part of a five-year £13m–15m “peace-building” program has recently been discovered.
In its Urgent Action on May 2013 HRLHA reported that the Liyu Police had illegally crossed into Oromia in 2013 and attacked the defenceless people; 700 different types of cattle and other valuable possessions were reported to have been looted and over 20,000 Oromos from Rasa Harre, Marfata, Qillee, Mulqee, Dirraa, Waldayyaa, Biqqoo and Libee community fled to the highland areas in Eastern Hararge Zone.
Since then, the TPLF/EPRDF- sponsored Liyu Police periodically has repeatedly attacked the neighboring Oromia districts in Bale, in Eastern Harge zones. The attack of the Liyu police has escalated into invasions all over Oromia’s neighboring districts multiple times in the past one and half months.
According to the HRLHA informants, this is the part of internal and external coordinated plan of TPLF /EPRDF government to totally eliminate the Oromo nation by using paramilitary Liyu Police. (synonym for Janjaweed militia which loosely translates to ‘devils on horseback’) . Janjaweed militia were group of killers deployed by Sudan government against the Darfur people in 2003 in which over 480,000 people were massacared and over 2.8 million have been displace)
Acording to the report we received from our informants, overr 150 Oromos have been killed and many wounded during the war between Liyu Police and the Oromo civilian in Gursum, Qunbi, Babile, Chiksan, Gursum, and Jarso (Eastern Hararge), Seweyena, Meda Welabu, Dawe Sarariti and Raytu (Bale Zone), Liban and Laga Dawa (Guji Zone), Funanagrsu and Elele (Borana Zone) of Oromia.
The TPLF/EPRDF is committing war crimes against the Oromo nation by deploying its highly trained killing squads from the internal Agazi Force and by the external Liyu Police funded by foreign governments. The World Community should not remain silent and witness when such systematic war crimes are taking place against the Oromo Nation in Ethiopia, crimes that are similar to those committed in Rwanda and Darfur.
The TPLF government and the TPLF surrogate and the so- called Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) must be held accountable by the world community for their systematic war crimes against the Oromos.
The 2003/2004 Genocide against Darfur in Sudan is a striking lesson; the people there were killed indiscriminately and, more sadly, the perpetrators would go unpunished until it culminated in a full genocide. What is happening in Oromia regional state today resembles more or less what happened at the embryonic stage of the Darfur genocide in Sudan.
Even the AU, whose headquarters is in the center of Oromia/Addis Ababa, remain actionless after thousands of Oromo children, seniors, men and women have been massacred by the TPLF/EPRDF killing squads in the past year. The donor governments such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia and government agencies (African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, EU Human Rights Commission and UN Human Rights Council) have not found the courage to take concrete action, other than expressing their concerns. Such inaction doesn’t reflect the AU’s and the UN’s obligation under their own Constitutive Act, which provides for intervention inside a member state against genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
This is a cosmopolitan ideal of protecting people inside states against mass atrocities as a matter of common obligation. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P), coined in 2001 under the leadership of the Canadian government and adopted by 150 heads of states and governments in 2005, obliges the international community to intervene to stop atrocities.
As a matter of principle, a state shoulders the primary responsibility to prevent and protect its own citizens against horrific acts, but if it is unable or unwilling to prevent and protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, the responsibility is thus shifted to the international community. The R2P states, “ when a state is unable or unwilling to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, the international community has the responsibility to intervene”.
The UN Charter’s first and most essential aim is to “maintain international peace and security”. However, when the UN was first created, it was an enormous undertaking based on hope.
Today, one critical question on everyone’s lips is whether the United Nations is living up to its mandate, more particularly, of maintaining international peace and security. Amid ongoing human rights crises in Ethiopia it is hard to figure out what exactly the UN & AU have done to uphold their responsibilities. Nevertheless, it is not too late to act today.
For the Ethiopian human rights crisis, two ways can be helpful in restoring peace and stability. In this, the international communities and agencies (AU, EU & UN) can play a decisive role:
- Major donor governments, including the USA, the UK & Canada, Sweden, Norway and Australia should stop funding the authoritarian TPLF/EPRDF government
- Put pressure on the TPLF/EPRDF government to allow neutral investigators to probe into the human rights crisis in the country as the precursor to international community intervention
The HRLHA therefore calls, yet again, upon the international community to act collectively in a timely and decisive manner – through the UN Security Council and in accordance with the UN charter on a case-by – case basis to stop the human tragedy in Oromia.
- UN Security Council
Office of the Ombudsperson
Room DC2 2206
New York, NY 10017
United States of America
Tel: +1 212 963 2671
- UN Human Rights Council
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland.
- Africa Union (AU)
African Union Headquarters
P.O. Box 3243 | Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area) | W21K19 | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: (251) 11 551 77 00 | Fax: (251) 11 551 78 44
- African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
31 Bijilo Annex Layout, Kombo North DistrictWestern Region,
P.O. Box 673
Tel: (220) 441 05, 05, 441 05 06
- The US Department of State
WASHINGTON, D.C. HEADQUARTERS
Office of Foreign Missions
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Customer Service Center
3507 International Place NW
Washington, D.C. 20522-3303
- UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 4055
Fax: 020 7219 5851
London, SW1A 2AH
Tel: 020 7008 1500
- Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada)
Write to: Enquiries Service (BCI)
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Email: Enquiry Service – On line form
- Minister for Foreign Affairs (Sweden)
Her Excellency Margot Wallström
Switchboard: +46 8 405 10 00
Street address: Rosenbad 4
Postal address: SE 103 33 Stockholm
- Minister of Foreign Affairs (Normway)
His Excellency BørgeBrende
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Phone: + 47 23 95 00 00
Address: 7. juniplassen 1, N-0032 Oslo