Ethiopia: OLLAA Applauds German Government for Recalling Myanmar Ambassador, Urges Similar Response to Ethiopian Atrocities (02.03.2021)

Falls Church, Virginia (3/2/2021)—The Oromo Legacy Leadership and Advocacy Association (OLLAA) applauds the German government’s March 1 announcement that it has recalled its ambassador to Myanmar following the military government’s unlawful killing of peaceful protestors. “Such deadly violence against peaceful demonstrators can not be justified,” said German Foreign Ministry spokesman Steffan Seibert, “We summoned Myanmar’s ambassador today to make this position clear.”

OLLAA commends Germany’s commitment to democratic norms and urges the government to similarly signal its support for Ethiopian civilians, who are suffering gross violations of their human rights to life and freedom from unlawful arrest.

The atrocities in the Tigray region are part of an overarching pattern of human rights abuses committed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.

According to a report by Australian human rights monitoring NGO the Oromia Support Group (OSG), at least 1,342 civilians have been killed by Ethiopian security forces since October 2018. For example, nearly 350 civilians died in extrajudicial killings in the Western Oromia region alone. A 2020 report by Amnesty International documents dozens of horrific extrajudicial killings, including a father of three who was murdered by Ethiopian Defense Forces (EDF) at a town-wide meeting because his mobile phone rang in the middle of proceedings. In another case, the Oromia Police Special Force targeted and killed a 10th-grade student while he drank coffee at a local cafe.

Aside from the Ethiopian government’s abhorrent and illegal executions of civilians, the state has carried out a campaign of mass arrest and arbitrary detention for the past two years.

Between January and September 2019, Amnesty International reported that at least 10,000 people were known to be imprisoned in a wave of mass detention that targeted anyone believed to be even remotely associated with opposition political parties.

More recently in 2020, amidst the covid pandemic, the Ethiopian government arrested and imprisoned at least 5,000 people, many of whom were journalists, politicians, and student activists critical of the government according to Amnesty international. While the government postponed democratic elections, ostensibly due to covid transmission concerns, state security forces simultaneously placed thousands at high risk of the virus due to “punitive” conditions inside detention centers.

On the same day as Germany’s announcement, a BBC journalist was arrested and reportedly taken to a military detention camp.

OLLAA urges the German government to undertake the following actions:

  1. Unequivocally condemn Ethiopia’s use of extrajudicial killing, mass arrest, and political imprisonment, and directly call on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to release all political prisoners with no conditions.
  2. Dispatch representatives from the German embassy in Addis Ababa to monitor the wellbeing of Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, and the dozens of other political prisoners who have not eaten for over 30 days. The detainees are leading a hunger strike in order to demand justice for all political prisoners and their families, who continue to be targeted by Ethiopian security forces for their association with the detainees.
  3. Recall the German Ambassador to Ethiopia Stephan Auer in response to the Ethiopian government’s flagrant violations of democratic norms and international law.

For more information about the Oromo hunger strike, visit OLLAA.org/hungerstrike.

Ethiopia: A Joint Press Release by Salsay Weyane Tigray (SaWeT), National Congress of Great Tigray (Baytone) and Tigray Independence Party (TIP) regarding the press release by the US State department (03.03.2021)

Foreign Press Association, Africa: FPAAA Statement on the Arrest of Journalists working for International Media in Ethiopia (02.03.2021)

Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa (FCAEA): FCAEA Statement on journalists arrested and killed in Ethiopia (02.03.2021)

Ethiopia: The authorities arrests translators as the international media gets “access” to Tigray

Since the 4th November 2021 there have been little to no eyes on the conflict in the Tigray Region. The Federal Government have blocked access to both humanitarian organizations and media houses. This week they have allowed humanitarian access to the region, but also 7 international media houses.

So, to keep in line with the black-out the state is continuing that. Even as the international media is trying to set their feet in their region. The Law Enforcement Operation is persisting and the military is still using force on civilians to gain control of the region. They have allies in the Eritrean army and Amhara Para-Military Group called Fano. Therefore, the unknown atrocities, massacres and violations of the Geneva convention is only mere speculation. As there are only small glimpses of the actions made in Tigray.

Just like the state constantly debunks and dismiss the little articles and reports that comes out. As it never them or allies who are doing the war-crimes, but always TPLF. Even if the TPLF was supposed to be practically “dead” at the end of November 2020. We are supposed to forget that fact as the conflict is on its 4th Month.

We know the Prosperity Party and the regime wants to keep things at bay and only have their propaganda to the world. As the ones that could help the foreign reports to get stories and fix things for them was arrested yesterday.

These are:

Fitsum Berhane (working for AFP) and Alula Akalu (working for Financial Times) professional translators arrested in Mekell. 

Tamirat Yemane (contributor to Aiga Forum), local journalist arrested in Mekelle.

These three was picked up by soldiers, beaten and taken to a unknown location.

Two friends of Akalu was arrested as well: Biniam Abraha and Yohannes Haftom. All of them has beaten and arrested by the soldiers. Also, taken to unknown location and without warrants.

We don’t know what charges the state has for all of these gentlemen, but we know the reason why they were arrested. As the state is “preparing” for the “access” so that they can ensure favourable reporting and only the one the state wants out from the warfare.

If they really believed in free press and have “access”. These folks wouldn’t be arrested for no other reason. That they are connected to media and could help the foreigners to get a deep cover, insights and understanding of everything that’s happening. Instead of eating of the hands of the government and peddling their narrative. Which is easier to do, when they are in the hands of the authorities and not getting outsider help.

This is deliberate and done with purpose. They allow them in and doing so as long as they print what the government likes. Only to ensure that the foreign journalists doesn’t get proper stories or ability to translate interviews. They are doing this with purpose and done to silence the media still.

It’s like you allow someone to enter, but they will not get whole context or situation, because no one locally will be able to tell or translate for them. They only have to go by the words of public officials and state agents, which in the end has an agenda and interests to serve. Not civilians who just got an eye-witness account, which will differ with the interests of the state. The state which happens to have soldiers on the ground and using force to take total control. Peace.

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