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commission report on ethiopia civil unrest 2017


Violence in Oromia, Amhara and SNNP regions claims 669 lives: Commission


Addis Ababa, April 18, 2017 (FBC) –The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said a total of 669 people were killed in the unrest occurred in some parts of Amhara, Oromia and SNNP regional states in 2016.

The Commission released today results of the investigation it carried out following the violence in the aforementioned three regional states.

The investigation was carried out in 15 zones and 91 towns of Oromia, 5 zones and 55 woredas (districts) in Amhara as well as in six zones in SNNP regional states.

Violence in Oromia, Amhara and SNNP regions claims 669 lives: CommissionThe Commission said the unrest claimed 495 people (462 civilians, 33 security personnel) in Oromia, 140 people (110 civilians and 30 security personnel) in Amhara and 34 people in the SSNP regional states. 

According to the report presented to the House of Peoples Representatives (HPR), lack of good governance and related issues blamed for the unrest.

Despite unnecessary measures in some places, security forces had taken proportionate measures in most areas, the report stated.

Dr Addisu Gebregziabher, Commissioner of EHRC, said deep-rooted problems of good governance, failure to implement the special interest of Oromia in Addis Ababa as per stated in the constitution and the Addis Ababa master plan were the main causes for unrest in Oromia regional state.

The report said the Oromia Media Network (OMN) and social media issued a call for violence on August 5 and September 5, 2016. Subsequently, a call for violence was issued by similar forces during Irrecha festival held at Bishoftu, 45 km far from Addis Ababa.

During the festival, security forces didn’t use forces against the crowd except firing tear gas and this measure was proportionate, the report said.

It further stated that the measures taken to protect civilians from the attack carried out by including armed crowds in west Arsi, Bale and Guji zones were proportionate and necessary.

However, the measures taken by security forces at Bale Robe and east Hararge zone, which claimed the lives of 28 people, and the measure taken at Bedessa town were excessive, the report indicated. 

 The Commission said the illegal demonstrations orchestrated by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) and Oromia Media Network caused ethnic-based attacks, ruined religious equality, violated the right to life and inflicted physical injuries on people.

Folloing the violence in Oromia, at total of 495 people (462 civilians, 33 security personnel) were killed in the violence, the report indicated.

Commending the patience demonstrated by security forces during Irrecha festival, the commission also recommended security officers to be held accountable for failing to contain the violence occurred in Bishoftu the next day.

It furthers recommended those who were responsible for the death of 14 people at Adami Tulu and 38 people at Awedai and Bedessa to face justice.

The Commission further suggested the federal government and Oromia regional state to join hands in the fight against racial hatred, religious extremism and ethnic-based attacks.

As far as the violence in Gedio zone in SNNP regional state is concerned, the Commission mentioned bad governance and unfair advantages as reasons for the problems.

According to the report, 34 people were killed and 139 others injured in the illegal demonstrations and violence occurred in the zone.

The Commission recommended those who carried out ethnic-based attacks and those local officers, polices and Gedio Peoples Democratic Organization, who took part in the violence, to be brought to justice.

Similarly, the main reasons for the violence in Amhara were the identity issue of Wolkite, complaints claiming that there is dominance by Tigrians, inclusion of Dashen Mountain under Tigray regional state in student textbook, demanding response for Tegede border issue and complaint stating that land from Amhara was given to Sudan.

During an attempt carried out on July 11, 2016 to arrest people suspected of terrorism, a message was broadcast via media, including ESAT, claiming that the move was to stop the question regarding the identity issue of Wolkite.

The Commission said national flags were burned and ethnic-based attacks were carried out during the illegal demonstrations staged in the regional state.

Following the unrest, 140 people (110 civilians and 30 security personnel) were killed in Amhara. The violence also caused damages to properties worth over 111 million birr, the report indicated.      

The Commission said the measures taken by security officers at Maraki in Gondar on July 25, 2016 were legal and proportionate, including the measures at Bahir Dar prison, Jiga and Libo Kemkem areas.

However, security officers used unnecessary force at Dembia, Zeguna, Debark, Wegera, Debretabor, Simada, Ebinat, Wereta, Dangila which claimed two lives, the Commission indicated.

Ensuring good governance, creating employment opportunities for young people, rehabilitating those affected by the unrest, averting ethnic-based attacks, bringing responsible security forces to justice, respecting and promoting people’s rights and preventing movement of illegal weapons were recommended as solutions by EHRC.

Translated and posted by Amare Asrat


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