Amnesty worries TPLF’s anti-terror rhetoric will escalate brutal crackdown against Oromo protesters

17 Dec

Editor’s Note:

    Does US have scales to weigh one group of human lives against the other? People are dying everywhere – in Ethiopia, Burundi, Sudan, Nigeria, etc., but the US is only concerned for some and not for others.

    Accordingly, we saw in the last few days the US expressing its concern about the loss of lives in different countries. For instance, on December 12, the Obama Administration condemned
    “the violence in the strongest possible terms [in Bujumbura]”, adding “and we call on all sides to refrain immediately from violence.

    Again, on December 16, 2015 the United States gave its strongest condemnations about killings by Nigerian soldiers of Shiite Muslims in the northern parts of the country. The statement iterated “The United States calls on the government of Nigeria to quickly, credibly, and transparently investigate these events in Zaria and hold to account any individuals found to have committed crimes.”

    In Ethiopia, for a month now people are being killed in all parts of the nation, with TPLF cruelty and massacres concentrated against Oromos and in Gondar, Amhara region.

    To date, in total about 175 people have been killed in both places and over 10,000 youths imprisoned in Oromia alone. The US has not lifted finger to restrain its favourite democratic’ regime, according to the Obama scale, from spilling the blood of innocent Ethiopian youths and some residents of central and western Ethiopia. Sadly, the United States knows that at the heart of the crisis this year, as it was in April/May 2014 last year, was and is land grab by TPLF members.

    The world already knows that in the Obama Administration, Ethiopian life is good for the United States so long as Ethiopians fight its wars in Somalia against Al Shabab. At least, the president of the United States told us to our face in his words: “So we don’t need to send our own Marines, for example, in to do the fighting. The Ethiopians are tough fighters.” This he announced during his visit to our country in late July from the Ethiopian National Palace, whose current occupants desecrated by showing willingness to sell the nation and its children to the highest bidder!

    At the same time, for reasons unclear to Ethiopians all along the Obama National Security Council has focussed on protecting the ethnic minority TPLF regime in power, determined to keep the ‘Meles legacy’ in tact, a thing Ethiopians do not value or appreciate at all, as angry people showed by destroying anything bearing the dictator’s name!

    Alas! Ethiopia has been aflame for over a month now. Popular uprising is rearing its head, as America the superpower shows total indifference.

    We are disappointed that Ethiopian life and the blood of our youths amounts to nothing to the Obama administration. It is confirming this by its silence in the face of huge number of deaths, tortures and over 10,000 political prisoners.

    Students protested peacefully. They even boycotted food, as they stood in silence to protests the killings and the land grab by the TPLF people. The man the TPLF contracted as their prime minister on the evening of Wednesday 16 December 2015 warned the nation that his regime is prepared to take final measures [“የማያዳግም እርምጃ እየወሰደ ነው”] to effectively deal with “anti-peace forces” through his “counter-terrorism task force”!

    Where is the America that is known to value human lives, freedom and human dignity, when peacefully protesting schoolchildren and university students are massacred on a daily basis, because they are demanding an end to land grab and the regime to respect fundamental human and civil rights?

    As I said before, this is not the America I know, I used to respect and like!

 

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Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Protesters have been labelled ‘terrorists’ by Ethiopian authorities in an attempt to violently suppress protests against potential land seizures, which have already resulted in 40 deaths, said Amnesty International.

A statement issued by state intelligence services today claims that the Oromia protesters were planning to “destabilize the country” and that some of them have a “direct link with a group that has been collaborating with other proven terrorist parties”.

“The suggestion that these Oromo – protesting against a real threat to their livelihoods – are aligned to terrorists will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression for rights activists,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“Instead of condemning the unlawful killings by the security forces, which have seen the deaths of more than 40 people in the last three weeks, this statement in effect authorizes excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.”

The latest round of protests, now in their third week, are against the government’s master plan to integrate parts of Oromia into the capital Addis Ababa.

Similar protests against the master plan in April 2014 resulted in deaths, injuries and mass arrest of the Oromo protesters.

Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation 652/2009, permits the government to use unrestrained force against suspected terrorists, including pre-trial detention of up to four months.

People that have been subject to pre-trial detention under the anti-terrorism law have reported widespread use of torture and ill treatment. All claims of torture and ill treatment should be promptly and independently investigated by the authorities.

“The government should desist from using draconian anti-terrorism measures to quell protests and instead protect its citizen’s right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Muthoni Wanyeki.
Related story:

Amnesty warns against ‘brutal crackdown’ on protesters – BBC New

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