Ethiopian Federal government authorities have not yet reacted to the abuse of travelers from the Amhara region
As the 83 percent completed Ethiopian dam was dominating news outlets in the country in the past few days, Ethiopians who were traveling from cities in Amhara region to Addis Ababa were harassed and discriminated against by Oromia region police who are deployed at checkpoints in areas close to the capital.
Some of the cases were medical travels – individuals who have a doctor’s appointment in Addis Ababa.
There are indications that the abuse has been going on for well over a month but got worse last week.
Travelers told reporters that their I.D.s were checked at the points and were ordered to return to the Amhara region if their I.D’s are not issued in Addis Ababa or the Oromo region.
It has happened in Sheno, Aleletu, Beki, Sendafa and Legetafo checkpoints – all of them in close distance to Addis Ababa.
There were cases where travelers were allowed to continue their trip to Addis after they gave bribe they were asked.
In a statement issued this week, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council confirmed that it has received reports of abuse against travelers from Amhara region to Addis Ababa at the checkpoints in the towns mentioned above.
The rights group said that it had written a letter to the Ministry of Peace and Transport requesting explanations about the situation but it did not receive a response by the time it issued the statement on August 11. It has indicated that it is waiting for a response.
It has however established that the Wolida-Dessie-Addis Ababa road was totally blocked and was reopened on August 11.
The rights group, citing section 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, regarding mobility rights of individuals and to live in any part of their country, called for the Ethiopian government to address the situation by respecting rights to move freely in the country.
It is unclear if the Addis Ababa administration has, and there is no legal ground or otherwise to do so, a new regulation that restricts people from the Amhara region of Ethiopia.
There had been a similar situation in the past for travelers from Gojam to Addis Ababa.
At this writing, no government official at the Federal or regional state level condemned the illegal practice by government security forces in the Oromo region.
There has been a recurring massacre of thousands of innocent civilians, mostly of ethnic Amhara background, in the Oromo region of Ethiopia – something the government links to a radical ethnic Oromo militant group ( or “Shane” as it calls it).
Meanwhile, the council of Ministers this week passed a decision regarding a digital national ID card, according to a report by state media. It is to be approved by the Ethiopian Parliament.
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