Human Rights & Genocide

“Red Terror” returns to Ethiopia under a different regime and a new name: “Red Zone”

“This is a regime for the stone age operating in the 21st century.”
By Alem Mamo


October 20, 2016 
It was in 1978 the Provisional Military Administration known as the Derg declared what it called “red terror” in Ethiopia. What followed was hard to comprehend; it was a grotesque demonstration of inhumanity against fellow human beings. Streets were littered with bodies of young men and women with placards displayed on them reading “red terror.” For the survivors and their families, this period is a particularly painful one, which they wish didn’t happen. Whatever the context, the use of the term “red,” especially coming from the government policy makers, has a chilling psychological and emotional effect on the people of Ethiopia. It brings back that dark period and pokes the terrible memories of those who endured so much under the official campaign of “red terror” (1978-1979). The declaration of a “state of emergency” by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is a sad repeat of the “red terror” from which citizens are still trying to recover. Continue reading

Ethiopia ‘detains 1,600’ under state of emergency

  • 3 hours ago
Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe most recent protests were sparked by the deaths of at least 55 people at a religious festival

The Ethiopian authorities have detained more than 1,600 people under the state of emergency, a government minister has told the BBC.

A statement, quoted by state-affiliated FBC website, lists arrests in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which have recently seen massive demonstrations.

This is in addition to Monday’s arrests of 1,000 people near the capital.

A six-month state of emergency has been declared in the face of a wave of unprecedented anti-government protests.

Under the emergency measures, people can be detained without an arrest warrant for the duration of the state of emergency.

FBC reports that a total of 1,683 people have been arrested in at least five places, including in Shashamene, 250km (155 miles) south of the capital, Addis Ababa, where 450 people have been detained.

It describes most of those arrested as “suspects in the recent violence” and adds that a large number of looted weapons had also been handed over.

Some business people have been detained for closing their shops, as have three teachers for “abandoning school”.

There is no mention where the people are being held.

Oromo woman cryingImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe current unrest is the biggest to hit Ethiopia in more than two decades
Ethiopian security personnel at demonstrationImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThere have been months of deadly clashes in Ethiopia

Rights groups say that at least 500 people have died during the anti-government protests over the last 11 months as a result of clashes with security forces.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said last week that could be an accurate estimate, but blamed “anti-peace forces” for the trouble.

Activists have targeted commercial property, including some foreign-owned businesses.

These include warehouses and factories in the town of Sebeta, near Addis Ababa, which were set alight during recent protests, the authorities say.

On Monday, the mayor of the town told FBC that 1,000 people had been arrested in connection with those attacks. He later told the AP news agency that some of those had been released.


Arrest breakdown:

Map showing the regions of Ethiopia
  • 670: West Arsi zone, Oromia
  • 450: Shashamane, Oromia
  • 302: West Guji zone, Oromia
  • 110 “key actors and co-ordinators of the violence”: Kelem Wolega zone, Oromia
  • 93: Gondar zone, Amhara
  • 13 businesspersons for closing their shops, 13 for calling for a strike and three teachers for “abandoning school”: Gondar zone
  • 29 businesspersons for closing their shops: Bahir Dar, Amhara

Source: FBC

Seven things you can no longer do in Ethiopia


The recent wave of demonstrations began in Oromia last November with people there protesting against a plan to expand Addis Ababa into their region.

That plan has since been dropped, but the protests have continued.

There have also been demonstrations in the country’s Amhara region.

The state of emergency was declared on 9 October a week after at least 55 people died in a stampede during an Oromo religious festival which turned into a protest.

Activists blamed the security forces for causing the panic, but the government said protesters in the crowd were responsible.

Human rights groups have in the past criticised Ethiopia for suppressing dissent.

In last year’s general election, every seat was won by either a member of the governing EPRDF coalition or one of the party’s allies.

The government has recently proposed reforms to the electoral system so that opposition politicians have a better chance of being elected.

 

 

 

 

Ethiopia declares state of emergency over violent protests

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

October 10, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Ethiopian government has declared a state of emergency in the wake of continued anti-government protests across its Oromia region.

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Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016 (Reuters Photo)

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Gondar uprising leader charged with terrorism (ESAT News (September 28, 2016)

Filed under: News,News Feature |

The leader of the the movement in the Amhara region that is campaigning to restore areas forcefully annexed to Tigray by the Tigrian-led regime has been charged with terrorism.

Colonel Demeke Zewdu, seen by many Ethiopians as the leader of the ongoing uprising against a minority regime in Amhara region, was charged Wednesday after several court adjournments.
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The colonel was taken to the custody of the Amhara police in July after he shot dead three operatives of the regime who went all the way to his house from Tigray to arrest him without a court warrant. Continue reading

U.S. Senators Speak Loud and Clear: Human Rights Violations in Ethiopia Must Stop!

By Alemayehu G, Mariam

Last July, Barack Obama visited Ethiopia and declared the ruling Thugtatoship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF) regime a “democratic government.”

The T-TPLF claimed with a straight face that it had won the 2015 “election” by 100 percent or all 547 seats in “parliament”.

The New York Times called it a “sham”.

Human Rights Watch called Obama’s statement “shocking”.

I called it a low down dirty shame.

Cardin-6On April 20, 2016, Senators Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murry (D-WA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Al Franken (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) sponsored a Resolution condemning the crimes against humanity being committed by the T-TPLF in Ethiopia today. Continue reading

Ethiopian Pastor Pays the Penalty for Speaking Out

By HRW
March 16, 2016

Pastor Omot Agwa


A year ago today, Ethiopian security forces arrested Pastor Omot Agwa and six colleagues at Addis Ababa’s Bole Airport and took them to the notorious Maekelawi police station, where torture is routine.
 

The arrest came several months after Omot, a respected activist from Ethiopia’s Gambella region, served as translator for the World Bank Inspection Panel. The panel investigated the Anuak indigenous people’s allegation that the Ethiopian government was committing widespread forced displacement and other serious human rights violations in relation to a World Bank project in Gambella.

The authorities eventually released four of the seven, but Omot, Ashine Astin, and Jamal Oumar Hojele were charged on September 7, under Ethiopia’s draconian counterterrorism law. The seven had been on their way to a food security workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, organized by international groups. It was described in the charge sheet as a “terrorist group meeting.”

Omot faces 20 years to life in prison, accused of being a co-founder and leader of the Gambella People’s Liberation Movement (GPLM), a long inactive group that has not been designated a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian parliament. Ashine is accused of preparing a presentation titled, “Deforestation, Dispossession and Displacement of Gambela in General and Majang People in Particular.”

Sadly, their plight is a familiar story in Ethiopia. Those who criticize government policies – including development programs – are routinely arrested and accused of supporting armed opposition groups. Sometimes they are charged under the counterterrorism law. Sometimes they are not charged but are detained for lengthy periods. Sometimes they are tortured. The courts almost never investigate detainees’ allegations that they were tortured to confess. Acquittals are rare and those accused are routinely convicted without any meaningful evidence presented by the prosecution.

In recent years, Ethiopia’s government has produced economic and development progress, but accurately assessing the extent of that progress is impossible when people must risk detention or worse to express their views. As with the Oromo protesters who have been risking their lives to demonstrate over the past months, the arrest of Omot and his colleagues reminds us that the government only tolerates one view of government policies. Those who want to voice a different perspective, or who represent communities that bear the brunt of Ethiopia’s top-down, repressive policies, are silenced and sometimes accused of terrorism.

 

 

 

 

Blood in the fields as big business eats up Ethiopia

By Tom Burgis
March 16, 2016

As an orchestra of mosquitoes and crickets greet the dusk, Bedlu Abera looks out over fields of rice stretching across the Ethiopian lowlands.

A flicker of contentment crosses his face. “It’s satisfying,” he says. “We are making progress.”

Bedlu is overseeing Saudi Star Agricultural Development’s first substantial harvest, and there is an urgency to his work. The land must be cleared and planted swiftly before the rains return. Continue reading