Date 15th August 2020,
Dear Nobel Komite Og, Nobel Fredssenter.
Henrik Ibsens, Gate 51,0255, Oslo, Norway.
We are members of the Association of Oromo Community Ireland, a registered community group in Ireland, writing to you about the urgent human rights violation by the Ethiopian government that needs your immediate attention.
In recent weeks the Ethiopian government led by the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has escalated human rights abuses in the Oromia region to an unprecedented level. These human rights violations are particularly targeted at the Oromo political party leaders and members all across Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region both by size and population. Oromos and other ethnic minority groups of the south have been historically marginalized by successive regimes and it is no different for the current Ethiopian government. Just this week the similar human rights abuses, killings, and arrests were taking place on the Walaita people of the South Nations and Nationalities Region. Amnesty International reported today, on 14/08/2020, indicating that at least 16 people were killed in a single zone of Walaita this week. These all unconstitutional and illegal arrests and killings by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will not stop here as he, a few days ago, said that he has already jailed thousands of Oromos and he has the plan to arrest even more.
The precedents of this huge human rights abuse were deliberately started by the government agents on Monday, 29 June 2020, when the renowned Oromo artist and activist Hachalu Hundessa was gunned down in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa). This political assassination comes just days after an interview aired on Oromia Media Network (OMN) in which Hachalu Hundessa expressed his concerns and criticized the government’s human rights abuses stemming from the illegal and unconstitutional Command Posts in most zones of Oromia region. There have been reports of rapping mothers and daughters at the same place, killing parents in front of their kids, burning down farmers’ houses and chanting while taking videos; and other many inhuman acts by the military wing led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The government’s illegal actions that follow that assassination of Hachalu Hundessa clearly justify that it was a deliberate and planned act of terror. In less than 24 hours, on Tuesday, 30 June 2020, the government arrested and unlawfully shutdown OMN (Oromia Media Network), detained its journalists, and its management without a court order or any legal procedures. The government then jailed the prominent opposition leaders and human rights activists such as Bekele Gerba, Jawar Mohammed, Hamza Borana, and dozens of other individuals, including two American citizens from the state of Washington, Radwan Aman, and Yusuf Bashir. Almost all of the central committee of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and that of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) have been rounded in their offices or residences and arrested in the week following. Most of them are arrested incommunicado and other whereabouts are unknown. It is clearly understandable that the mass arrest and confinement in prison, especially in Ethiopia is a grave danger for the people arrested during this pandemic as they usually are put in hundreds in small cells.
The crackdown has been compounded by a country-wide Internet shutdown effectively blocking information and communication flow in and out from that country. This was to pave the way for further assassinations, arrests, and crackdown on the youth-led protests across Oromia. After over ten days of blackout of the Internet and social media across the whole country, news started coming out reporting hundreds of causalities, jailing, and disappearances all across Oromia and Addis Ababa. Al Jazeera News reported on 8th July 2020, that over 215 civilians have been killed in several cities and towns across Oromia since the beginning of protests on 29th June 2020. Just last week the government confessed that it arrested 9500 people across the country and still planning to jail more in months to come. Our association and members of the community have a credible source from Ethiopia that the number of people arrested is extraordinarily high and even schools and offices were all used as prisons all across the Oromia region.
Given the PM Abiy Ahmed’s indefinite suspension of national elections, his government’s severe human rights crisis will go to worsen unless the international governments and community interfere and restore the countries peaceful political transitions.
The Prime Minister’s party, the Prosperity Party is paving the way for political monopoly and clearing the way for such a system by the systematic assassination of all opposition parties and media critics to his party.
While all these irresponsible and cruel human rights violations against the Oromo people are perpetuated by the 2019th the receiver of the globally highly regarded prize, Nobel Prize Award, there seems no end to such aristocracies as Abiy Ahmed continually affirmed his intention to stay in power for the next many decades whether the election is held or not.
We genuinely believe the 2019 Nobel Prize award should not have been given to such a person who concealed his political intentions through window-dressing and deceiving the international community. Abiy Ahmed played ‘smart’ as he and all his group usually claim on open media. Therefore, we kindly request to revoke or scrutinize the undeserved 2019 Nobel Prize award given to the PM of Ethiopia Abiy Amhed.
In addition, the Association of Oromo Community Ireland, call upon the honorable Committee for Nobel Prize Award to stand with the Oromo and other oppressed people of Ethiopia in condemning PM Abiy Ahmed’s violent regime that currently masquerading as a democratic government, but widely working against democracy and undertaking widespread human rights violations, by:
- Urging the Ethiopian government to refrain from killing the Oromo and other Ethiopians just because they demanded their human and natural rights,
- Formally condemning state-sanctioned military and police violence against innocent civilians and protestors in Oromia and other regions and demand the immediate cessation of state violence all across the country,
- Calling for an impartial and independent investigation of the assassination of Oromo artist and activist Hachalu Hundessa,
- Demanding the Ethiopian government to stop false accusation, and false drama against the arrested opposition party leaders and free them from jail without any preconditions,
- Calling on the international community to impose sanctions if the above demands are not met.
As you might have been following the news Oromo people all over the world and back home are on streets demanding the above mentions rights and condemning the Ethiopian government. Our people are irresponsibly exposed to the danger of coronavirus as the government is putting to jail thousands and thousands of our people into small rooms with no protections. These all political social and security problems are happening under the administration of the 2019th Noble Peace Award receiver Abiy Ahmed.
Therefore, we request your immediate attention and action so that the Ethiopian government may stop these illegal and irresponsible human rights violations and abuse as soon as possible. Anything you do today will save the lives of thousands and restores peace and stability in that country and region. We thank you and appreciate the Norwegian government for its continued work on human rights in Ethiopia. We kindly appreciate and thank you in advance, for all your thoughts and actions that can save the lives of many thousand Ethiopians.
Association of Oromo Community Ireland
August 2020, Dublin. Ireland