The security situation in the Oromia region of Ethiopia is not showing sings of improvement. Citizens in the region continue to face rights abuses and killings in the hands of the radical ethnic Oromo nationalist organization – Shane.
The group that calls itself “Oromo Liberation Army” has been intensifying military operation in the region – especially after the Ethiopian government started negotiation with the TPLF in South Africa.
The attacks are in areas close to the Ethiopia’s geographic and power center. In the last ten or so days, the group attempted to control Nekemet and stormed a church service in Gebre Guracha – further east of East Wollega zone.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Council has documented all the recent killings against civilians and it is demanding the government to stop them.
It called for “Federal Government and the Oromia State Government, by bolstering the measures being taken against the Shene armed groups inflicting repeated violence in different parts of the Oromia Region, to swiftly curtail the violence before it spreads to adjacent woredas and becomes a national concern as well as to protect human rights”
The Full Statement is featured below :
“The Federal and the Oromia State Governments Should Immediately Halt the Repeated Violations being Committed Against Innocent Civilians!
November 11, 2022
Over the past 31 years, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) has been a figure heading in its myriad contributions vis-a-vis the respect of human rights, the supremacy of the law, and the construction of a democratic system. Although EHRCO, concerning the identity-based violence being committed in different parts of the Oromia Region, has had released various press releases published on May 23, 2022, May 28, 2022, June 5, 2022, June 21, 2022, July 4, 2022, July 6, 2022, September 9, 2022, September 25, 2022, September 30, 2022, October 5, 2022, and November 3, 2022, and urging concerned bodies to its resolution, with its escalation citizens are being subjected to serious cases of death, physical injury, the destruction of property, kidnapping as well as displacement.
Through its information gathered, EHRCO has learned that, pursuant to the Oromia Region, Eastern Wollega Zone, Tsige Town, a Town nearby the Sasga Woreda, the attack by armed forces on October 18 and 19, 2022, led to deaths, physical injury, the destruction of property, and in the same vain, that the attack on students who were traveling in a public transport via the Gida Ayana- Nekemt road on October 29, 2022, at the time moment, led to the death of an unknown number of people and physical injuries.
EHRCO has noted that ex-post October 31, 2022, the road from Nekemt to Western Wollega, Kellem Wollega, and Asosa has been closed at different places due to Shene forces and with to the exchange of fire between armed and governmental forces to reopen closed roads and to free areas occupied by the armed group has led to the death and physical injury of innocent people. Additionally, EHRCO has learned that the residents of Gida Ayana Woreda, Fit Beko Kebele, who had also been displaced years before, and had returned to their homes thinking that relative peace has been restored, have been subjected to looting by the armed groups. EHRCO has gathered that, pursuant to the Oromia Region, Eastern Arsi Zone, Deju Woreda, Haruta Kebele, and subsequent to the attack opened by Shene armed groups on November 6, 2022, 4 people had lost their lives, people had been injured and residents of the Kebele remain in great danger; similarly, in the Deji Woreda, Amshara Kebele, 8 people have been killed on the evening of the same day and residents living of Deju Woreda, Addis Hiwot, Menebere Hiwot, Tesfa Hiwot, Merti, and Achamo kebeles, within Eastern Arsi, Oromia Region, have been being surrounded by the armed group, and thus are in dire condition; additionally, on the same day, 15 church ministers were killed gruesomely by unidentified armed groups in Sasga Woreda, Eastern Wellega Zone, Oromia Region.
Pursuant to Western Shewa Zone, Burka Kebele, EHRCO has gathered that, on November 3, 2022, Shene armed groups kidnapped 4 farmers, as the latter were told that they would be released if they brought three hundred thousand birr (300, 000.00 ETB) subsequently, while their families were on their way, having collected the money, the kidnapped people were killed gruesomely by the Shene armed forces and their remains were discovered at Woliso Police Station; thus, also that their remains were taken to their families and their burials performed.
On the other hand, in the Oromia Region, Eastern Wollega Zone, EHRCO was able to learn that, on November 6, 2022, starting from 6:00 am, Shene armed groups withdrew after having entered Nekemte Town, killing innocent people, inflicting physical injury, looting property, and kidnapping people.
EHRCO, through its information gathered, was able to note that, on November 7, 2022, armed groups opened fire on cars traveling to Meqi Town via the expressway from Addis to Hawassa, people’s lost their lives, have been physical injuries and some of the traveling vehicles, burnt.
Additionally, EHRCO has learned that, pursuant to the Oromia Region, Western Wollega Zone, Gimbi Woreda, Tolle Kebele, where most of Amhara natives live, and subsequent to the approaching and capturing of the area by Shene armed groups, the government had taken more than 1, 800 households, via the escort of Federal Police, to another location with better security conditions.
EHRCO would like to state that when local security permits, it will conduct comprehensive monitoring and thereby come up with a detailed report concerning the above-mentioned issues.
Related Legal Obligations:
Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), as well as articles 6 (1) and 9 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) affirm everyone’s right to life, liberty, and security. Confirming this right, articles 2 (1) and 2 (2) of the ICCPR stipulate that state parties, within their jurisdiction, are bearers of the duty to respect, protect, and fulfill. Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) indicates that “Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of this right.”
Article 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) stipulates that “Every person has the inviolable and inalienable right to life, the security of person and liberty.” In the same vein, article 15 states that “Every person has the right to life. No person may be deprived of his life except as a punishment for a serious criminal offense determined by law.” Similarly, article 16 of the FDRE Constitution articulates that “Everyone has the right to protection against bodily harm.”
Article 13 of the UDHR, as well as article 12 of the ICCPR, stipulate that “Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement…” Article 6 of the ACHPR articulates that “Every individual shall have the right to liberty and the security of his person.” In the same vein, articles 17 and 32 of the FDRE Constitution elucidate that everyone has the right to [physical liberty and the freedom to move about anywhere as one desires.
Although Ethiopia is not a party, Article 1 (1) of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance stipulates that “No one shall be subjected to enforced disappearance” and for those actors that commit such a crime, to be held accountable by the government.
● For the Federal Government and the Oromia State Government, by bolstering the measures being taken against the Shene armed groups inflicting repeated violence in different parts of the Oromia Region, to swiftly curtail the violence before it spreads to adjacent woredas and becomes a national concern as well as to protect human rights;
● For the government to hold those who had committed the acts of kidnapping and killing vis-a-vis 4 farmers in the Oromia Region, Western Shewa Zone, Amaya Woreda, Burqa Kebele, criminally liable; ● Granted that residents of Deju Woreda, Addis Hiwot, Menebere Hiwot, Tesfa Hiwot, Merti, and Achamo kebeles, of Eastern Arsi, Oromia Region, have been surrounded by Shene armed groups and are facing great danger, for the Regional and Federal government to uptake appropriate measures to relieve the public; ● It may be recalled that the heavy attacks inflicted by Shene armed groups had led to the violation of human rights in the Oromia Region, Western Wollega Zone, Gimibi Woreda, Tolle Kebele. Granted that this area, also where most Amhara natives live, is still surrounded by Shene armed groups, acknowledging the relocation of more than 1, 800 households, for the sake of their safety, by the government, for the Federal and Oromia State governments to provide the needed protection as well as humanitarian support for these people as well as those living under great concern within Tolle Kebele;
● The Federal Government and the Oromia Regional Government, by identifying areas of concern, and providing serious protection measures, enabling the public to freely move as well as fulfilling their duties vis-a-vis the protection of the human rights of the people; and provide protection to the society and national resources facing destruction;
● For the government to halt the violations being committed on the expressway from Addis Ababa to Hawassa and, by ensuring the safety of the road, ensuring citizen’s right to life, physical security, the right to the ownership of property, and the freedom of movement ;
● For the government, to hold legally accountable those who are involved in the violations being repeatedly committed by Shene armed groups and working via different structures with the armed group to the worsening of human rights violations, thus curtail the culture of impunity;
● Concerning the battles between governmental and Shene armed groups forces in different parts of the Oromia Region, for both parties to refrain from targeting innocent civilians;
● And EHRCO calls, in regards to curtailing the persistent and organized attacks being committed in different parts of the Oromia Region, for religious fathers, elders, civil society organizations (CSOs), political parties, journalists, and media, social activists, and other concerned stakeholders to do their fair share and to advocate so the government, by giving due attention, to fulfills its duties.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia “
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