Dispatches: Yet Again, a Bloody Crackdown on Protesters in Ethiopia | Human Right Watch

by Felix Horne
Student protests are spreading throughout Ethiopia’s Oromia region, as people demonstrate against the possibility that Oromo farmers and residents living near the capital, Addis Ababa, could be evicted from their lands without appropriate – or possibly any – compensation. Social media is filled with images of bloodied protesters; there are credible reports of injuries and arrests in a number of towns; and local police have publicly acknowledged that three students have died so far.
oromia
The current protests echo the bloody events of April and May 2014, when federal forces fired into groups of largely peaceful Oromo protesters, killing dozens. At least hundreds more students were arrested, and many remain behind bars. Both then and today, the demonstrators are ostensibly protesting the expansion of Addis Ababa’s municipal boundary into the surrounding Oromia region, which protesters fear will displace Oromo farmers from their land. But these protests are about much more: Many Oromos have felt marginalized and discriminated against by successive Ethiopian governments and have often felt unable to voice their concerns over government policies.
Of the student protesters detained in 2014, some have been released. Those I spoke with told me about the torture they endured as part of interrogations. But countless others remain in detention. Some have been charged under Ethiopia’s draconian counterterrorism law for their role in the protests; others languish without charge in unknown detention centers and military camps throughout Oromia. This week, five students were convicted of terrorism-related offenses for their role in the protests.
There has been no government investigation into the use of live ammunition and excessive force by security personnel last year.
Ethiopia’s tight restrictions on civil society and media make it difficult to corroborate the current, mounting allegations and the exact details of the ongoing protests emerging from towns like Haramaya, Jarso, Walliso, and Robe. The government may think this strategy of silencing bad news is succeeding. But while the fear of threats and harassment means it is often months before victims and witnesses come forward to reveal what happened in their communities, they eventually do, and the truth will emerge.
The government should ensure that the use of excessive force by its security personnel stops immediately. It should then support an independent and impartial inquiry into the conduct of security forces in the current protests – and last year’s as well. Those responsible for serious abuses should be fairly prosecuted. This would be the best way for the Ethiopian government to show its concern about the deaths and injuries inflicted on the students, that it does not condone the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters, and that those who break the law are appropriately punished.
Source: Human Right Watch

0 Comments

  1. VOIDING AMHARIC LANGUAGE IS KEY FOR DEMOCRACY.
    I 100% agree with these Oromo protestors, Ethiopias national language should be democratized by changing from Amharas minority’s language (Amharic) to Ethiopias majority language (Oromfiaa).

  2. VOIDING AMHARIC LANGUAGE IS KEY FOR DEMOCRACY.
    I 100% agree with these Oromo protestors, Ethiopias national language should be democratized by changing from Amharas minority’s language (Amharic) to Ethiopias majority language (Oromfiaa).

  3. Almost all EPRDF elites (except those that leave in the OLD AIRPORT GOLF CourSE AREA) leave in their newly built mansions in the neighborhood which is all infront of the Bole Airport. Most Billionaires of Ethiopia are in Bole or in Golf Course area of Addis Ababa . According to the government the mansions were developed eventhough the need for airport expansion was underway thinking those that reside in their small cottges behind the airport for centuries would not mind to be displaced since their cottages do not hold no value . But the people behind the Bole Airport leaving is small cottages had many sentimental values and attachment more than the elites have the possibility of developing any attachment in the past 20 years which means the mansions must go and the cottages must stay . Pure and simple.

  4. Almost all EPRDF elites (except those that leave in the OLD AIRPORT GOLF CourSE AREA) leave in their newly built mansions in the neighborhood which is all infront of the Bole Airport. Most Billionaires of Ethiopia are in Bole or in Golf Course area of Addis Ababa . According to the government the mansions were developed eventhough the need for airport expansion was underway thinking those that reside in their small cottges behind the airport for centuries would not mind to be displaced since their cottages do not hold no value . But the people behind the Bole Airport leaving is small cottages had many sentimental values and attachment more than the elites have the possibility of developing any attachment in the past 20 years which means the mansions must go and the cottages must stay . Pure and simple.

  5. This is going to be a sticky situation for this or any other governments at any time in the future no matter how democratic it will be. I know some of you will remember the protest the democratically elected government of Japan was facing in the middle to the late 1960′s when it decided to construct the new and modernized international airport just outside Tokyo. That is now called Narita. There were bloody demonstrations that lasted for a while. There was a lot of emotions flowing on the decision on both sides where it looked everyone was caught up with it. But Japan had no choice but to build that modern international airport to keep up with (accommodate) its fast growing economy. What I think should be done now there in Addis(Finfine) is to learn from Narita experience and do something different to solve the dispute in making sure the landowners are well compensated and make sure they are provided places to live. We all know that farming in that country is not only a line of work but the only means of making a living for all farmers. You take away their farm they are as good as dead. So, cool heads should prevail on both sides. I believe it can be resolved peacefully without the need of bloodshed. Therefore, this is an issue with the Oromos themselves. Far is fair, right? Let the chip falls where ever it may.
    Now I say this to those individuals and groups who are fanning this dispute to create chaos so they can swell up their numbers. Our beloved and glorious Oromo people will hold you responsible for inciting it young children into a burning furnace. You are sitting here and in Asmara in your comfy homes munching down missionary, Al-Toweel Isaias and Wahabi cakes and getting sugar drunk when the future of that society, the cream-puff of the crop of the Oromo are cut down by the bullets fired not by a Tigrayan or as you always try to blame everything on including your indigestion, an Amhara Neftegna soldier. I have called and talked to people I know back home. They have told me that those members of the Federal Police who are cracking down on the demonstrators are almost all Oromos themselves.
    We should all try to admit that there is a forward movement in the economy and airport expansion is a must.
    I may add this to comment above.
    Now the youth is incited by this plan, both the federal and regional governments must understand that chasing out farmers without commensurate with what will be taken from them will not go down that easy. In fact it may create offshoots of deadly radicals who will be hell-bent on wanton destruction. That was what happened in Japan and to a considerable extent it happened in the former West Germany and Italy where murderous left wing extremists such as Baader-Meinhof, the Italian and Japanese Red Armies came on the scene. They were wreaking havoc on the peaceful societies doing harms to innocent people. Those savages are long gone now but the protest against Narita International Airport has not gone away yet and it is still being protected from unruly protestors. It should be noted that the Bole Airport expansion protest has another element in it that the Narita did not have. Bole has a nationalist fervor in it. I am for the expansion if it is done with the full understanding and backing of all stake-holders. The mentality that ‘power comes out of the barrel of the gun’ is the motto of the discredited and by-gone era. That should have been left behind in the bushes of the ‘old’ days.

  6. This is going to be a sticky situation for this or any other governments at any time in the future no matter how democratic it will be. I know some of you will remember the protest the democratically elected government of Japan was facing in the middle to the late 1960′s when it decided to construct the new and modernized international airport just outside Tokyo. That is now called Narita. There were bloody demonstrations that lasted for a while. There was a lot of emotions flowing on the decision on both sides where it looked everyone was caught up with it. But Japan had no choice but to build that modern international airport to keep up with (accommodate) its fast growing economy. What I think should be done now there in Addis(Finfine) is to learn from Narita experience and do something different to solve the dispute in making sure the landowners are well compensated and make sure they are provided places to live. We all know that farming in that country is not only a line of work but the only means of making a living for all farmers. You take away their farm they are as good as dead. So, cool heads should prevail on both sides. I believe it can be resolved peacefully without the need of bloodshed. Therefore, this is an issue with the Oromos themselves. Far is fair, right? Let the chip falls where ever it may.
    Now I say this to those individuals and groups who are fanning this dispute to create chaos so they can swell up their numbers. Our beloved and glorious Oromo people will hold you responsible for inciting it young children into a burning furnace. You are sitting here and in Asmara in your comfy homes munching down missionary, Al-Toweel Isaias and Wahabi cakes and getting sugar drunk when the future of that society, the cream-puff of the crop of the Oromo are cut down by the bullets fired not by a Tigrayan or as you always try to blame everything on including your indigestion, an Amhara Neftegna soldier. I have called and talked to people I know back home. They have told me that those members of the Federal Police who are cracking down on the demonstrators are almost all Oromos themselves.
    We should all try to admit that there is a forward movement in the economy and airport expansion is a must.
    I may add this to comment above.
    Now the youth is incited by this plan, both the federal and regional governments must understand that chasing out farmers without commensurate with what will be taken from them will not go down that easy. In fact it may create offshoots of deadly radicals who will be hell-bent on wanton destruction. That was what happened in Japan and to a considerable extent it happened in the former West Germany and Italy where murderous left wing extremists such as Baader-Meinhof, the Italian and Japanese Red Armies came on the scene. They were wreaking havoc on the peaceful societies doing harms to innocent people. Those savages are long gone now but the protest against Narita International Airport has not gone away yet and it is still being protected from unruly protestors. It should be noted that the Bole Airport expansion protest has another element in it that the Narita did not have. Bole has a nationalist fervor in it. I am for the expansion if it is done with the full understanding and backing of all stake-holders. The mentality that ‘power comes out of the barrel of the gun’ is the motto of the discredited and by-gone era. That should have been left behind in the bushes of the ‘old’ days.

  7. Look what a Tigrean dirty busybody is writing here. He is supposed to be a fighter on cyber. Poor dirty beggar. Don’t try to place the bloodshed somewhere unrelated. You better commit suicide!

  8. Look what a Tigrean dirty busybody is writing here. He is supposed to be a fighter on cyber. Poor dirty beggar. Don’t try to place the bloodshed somewhere unrelated. You better commit suicide!

  9. Pinheads like you are the problem of the world. Why did you not wrote you comment in the language you advocate for? Yet, you used the English language. You are far from Democracy. You are a narrow minded ethnically centered sick man. Get your head examined.

  10. Pinheads like you are the problem of the world. Why did you not wrote you comment in the language you advocate for? Yet, you used the English language. You are far from Democracy. You are a narrow minded ethnically centered sick man. Get your head examined.

  11. Your style of reporting is so narrow in scope and depth that it emphsizes only the so called Addis Ababa Master Plan. The prevailing wave of protest is a wider protest resulted from denial of rights, supression and dictatorial rule. The so called Plan is only a trigger for mass protest. Please do not belittle the scope of the mass upraisal and diminish it to the infamous Master Plan. Please understand that this is a popular upraisal for democratic rule. Change the tone of your reporting in Amharic towards this direction as well.

  12. Your style of reporting is so narrow in scope and depth that it emphsizes only the so called Addis Ababa Master Plan. The prevailing wave of protest is a wider protest resulted from denial of rights, supression and dictatorial rule. The so called Plan is only a trigger for mass protest. Please do not belittle the scope of the mass upraisal and diminish it to the infamous Master Plan. Please understand that this is a popular upraisal for democratic rule. Change the tone of your reporting in Amharic towards this direction as well.

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