Wolayta Committee for Human Rights (WCHR)
Hawassa – Sodo- New York – Washington DC
November 6, 2019
CC: NEBE CHAIRWOMAN BIRTUKAN MIDEKSA
CC: Ethiopian House of Federation
CC: Ethiopian Human Rights Commission
CC: Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Our Ethiopian human rights advocate organization WCHR has repeatedly attempted to reach out to your office regarding the urgent matter of the Sidama referendum and constitutional violations of its procession; particularly with illegal registration of ineligible Sidama voters living inside Wolayta zone borders, illegal identification authorization of new Hawassa residents; the xenophobic activities of top Sidama officials directly involved in the referendum and the major city self-rule precedent set on Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa vis-a-vis Hawassa as established by the administration of Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed.
- On October 2, 2019, WCHR sent a letter to NEBE as well as published our press release on various media outlets to express our concerns on rights violations and recommend a postponement of the process until after the 2020 election. https://borkena.com/2019/10/02/ethiopia-nebe-illegal-hawassa-ids-sidama-referendum
- On October 10, 2019, WCHR expressed deep concern on the random re-imprisonment of Wolayta residents and anti-secession Sidama activists in Hawassa wereda. We also condemned nativism harassment of residents labeled as “foreign businessmen” by youth in the name of “Ejeto” which were financed and organized by the same Sidama zone officials who are supposed to be trusted to independently run this referendum.
- On October 15, 2019, we expressed our concern that anti-secession Sidama and non-Sidama residents have been denied fair and equivalent voice on the local radio, tv and other media outlets of the zone. It is to be noted that, just like any election, NEBE has a vital responsibility to monitor and correct unfair infrastructural advantage or disadvantage between two or more parties involved in any election/referendum; which might otherwise deem the results to be illegitimate, contested and potentially lead to violence. Also, since guaranteeing such an equal share of media and infrastructural distribution is a difficult task due to the undemocratic nature of unelected local officials, WCHR has thus recommended that NEBE postpone the referendum until both the Sidama Zone and Hawassa city democratically elect their representatives in the 2020 election.
- On October 19, 2019, WCHR published a statement titled “Leave Hawassa, go back home!” to re-express our concern with the growing xenophobia and targeted harassment of so-called “outsiders” and “Neftegnas” which has become synonymous with virtually all Ethiopians opposing nativism and xenophobia in the zone. In that statement, we also asked that “Sidama officials stop organizing a referendum inside the Wolayta zone wereda of ABELA” as soon as possible; which otherwise would lead to a deadly conflict between nativist Wolayta elites and Sidama nationalists. Lastly, we reminded the NEBE to guarantee that displaced residents (who became refugees out of Sidama zone due to various ethnic violence incidents in recent years, particularly after the June-August 2018 Wolayta Massacre) be given an opportunity to either return home first OR at least be allowed to vote (wherever they are, as long as they display credible identification /proof of prior residence) in the upcoming referendum, according to the Ethiopian Constitution and according to the NEBE’s own recent declaration that “all legal residents” can participate in the referendum.
WCHR recommends that NEBE address these urgent concerns as well as provide legitimacy and transparency to the process that will impact millions of Ethiopian citizens.
Wolayta Committee for Human Rights (WCHR)
Hawassa – Sodo- New York Washington DC
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Hawasa is safe heaven for all, we Hawasa people determine our future thanks for Zenawism system that lifeted the country out of neftegna system. All are welcome to live in Hawasa as long as they respect the law of the land. We will not tolerate nephtegna that try to bring back the nephtegna system back. Zenawism will continue nomore, nephtegna system.
International media such as the Washinton Post , New York Times , Reuteurs , BBC , Al Jazeera , VOA and DW would very much be interested in the story on the ground about the Sidama Referendum so they can write it in a journalistically proven way . I suggest for WCHR to contact the medias I mentioned above and tell them what is taking place on the ground , which the local medias are not permitted or are not willing to cover .
Just not toi long ago the Washington Post report came out titled ” After years of repression, Ethiopia’s media is free ” .
Amnesty international and the Human Rights Watch need to be contacted also with every detail taking place in regards to this Referendum, before it is too late , documenting the validity of the WCHR version of what is happening need to.be done by as many entities as possible quickly
The internally displaced victims of the recent and prior attacks in Ethiopia are giving up any little hope they had , now almonst all are begging for transportation money, to go in exile to foreign lands rather than suffer a slow painful death in their own country .
Some are even willing to go to Somalia a country where just recently locust infestations and flood made more than half a million Somalian people displaced from their homes rendering them in need of urgent international humanitarian assistances.
The reasons why EPRDF is the problem are too many to count. EPRDF inner parties joined together or not joined together doesn’t change the fact that EPRDF created countless problems for decades and is keeping on creating countless problems each day , the country is failed state led by individuals that are stealing any money they find in the government safebox.
The STILL scandalous EPRDF is making sure no plane sprays chemicals in a timely manner to fight the locust infestations hoping the farmers people will loose their crops creating stravation in the country with many people having to beg EPRDF for food , that way EPRDF will give food only for those that are willing to listen to EPRDF cadres propoganda to vote for EPRDF then sell publicly owned properties claiming to buy food for the people to eat. Foreign food aid is most likely not going to cover all the demand. FOOD FOR VOTE IS IN THE MAKING.
If EPRDF is joined as one and when Afan Oromo becomes the federal language of Ethiopia it will limit the possibilities for most other ethnicity members to work in the federal level.Unlike the Afan Oromo language the Amharic language is widely read , written and spoken across the country by all ethnicities, while Afan Oromo is not written , read or spoken by many across the country yet PM Abiy says soon Afan Oromo will be the second official Federal working language eventually Afan Oromo will be the first Official federal working language .
THE SCANDALOUS FAILED EPRDF GOVERNMENT IS NOT SECURING OR PROTECTING IT’S CITIZENS, NOT EVEN FROM LOCUST.