80 Wellington Street
February 04, 2020
RE: Continued massacre in Oromia Regional State by Ethiopian government lead by Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
We, the members of the Oromo Canadian Community Association of Atlantic Canada, are writing this urgent letter to bring to your attention and express our deepest concerns about the illegal military administrative structure (command posts) being imposed on our people in the Wallaga, Guji, and Borana regions of Ethiopia. As a result of these command posts, the civilian administration has no rights and the military is conducting search and arrest or kill operations against Oromo civilians without a legal emergency declaration by the country’s parliament.
A Command post (under the illegal state of emergency), is the putting in place of bodies of the Ethiopian defense forces, Federal police, Federal security, and special forces, to control the administration of a region or a zone, to take any actions which are directed at the Oromo party's members and supporters in the name of searching and destroying rebel, or outlaw, or bandit individuals in the region. With this cover-up, they are searching and destroying the opposition party's members, supporters, and innocent Oromo people at large.
The Oromo people are living a horrible life without basic necessities like telephone, electricity, and internet services. The services are cut off to hide the killing, displacement, arrest, and torturing of innocent Oromo civilians. On top of the command posts, recently thousands of soldiers were dispatched to Qellem, Wallaga, and particularly to Anfillo, Gidaami, Wallage, and to the Guji, Borana zone, Oromia, and the gross killings of innocent farmers, merchants, students, teachers, and civil servants are increasing every day. The army is confiscating the civilians’ properties, burning crops, burning forests, burning houses, and raping women and girls.
Oromo students in Amhara regions are being taken hostage and recently twelve of them were murdered on the university campus and hundreds of them injured by organized groups supported by Amhara region government agents. Oromo students who escaped the terror and went home to save their lives were abducted by security forces and thrown into jail in various villages.
Oromo students in the Oromia region were harassed, intimidated, and finally the universities were closed by security forces and students sent home.
This government uses religion, ethnic background, and region as tools to divide and weaken the Ethiopian people, in order to stay longer in power. This has been the trend for the last 28 years.
Since Dr. Abiy came to power in April 2018, tens of thousands of innocent Oromos have been murdered, have disappeared, or have been detained and tortured in the country’s notorious prisons.
Most of the prisoners have been detained in hidden, remote, and harsh locations. When prison facilities, police stations, and detention centers are full, they arrest them in abandon offices, and private homes.
As we are writing this letter, over 10 million people are in a life-and-death situation in Ethiopia due to the lack of basic necessities like electricity, water, telephone, internet, shelter, and food, mainly due to military command posts, and a lack of human rights, justice, and good governance. Hundreds of Oromo families have been displaced as internal refugees, or forced to flee to neighbouring regions, or countries.
This government is attempting to create a clash between various ethnic groups to initiate civil war in Ethiopia, to divert the world’s attention from human rights and justice questions.
Almost all Ethiopian regions (except Tigray) are under the control of state sponsored terrorism including Oromia, Amhara, Afar, Gambela, Southern Nations Nationalities and People, Benishangul-Gumuz, and Somali (Ogaden).
Since the government in Ethiopia has blocked independent media, electricity, internet, human rights monitors, and international human rights observers from gaining access to the command posts in affected areas, in Wallaga, Guji and Borana it is difficult to corroborate the government killing, arresting, torturing, and displacing.
Based on our own independent sources, thousands of Oromos have been killed in Oromia, hundreds of Qemants have been killed in the Amhara region, hundreds of Sidama’s have been jailed, and hundreds of people have killed in the Benishangul-Gumuz region by government security forces.
The hope for elections and democratization of Ethiopia presents a very serious dilemma. This government is putting thousands of opposition party members in jail including Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) members and supporters. Daily intimation and sabotage is going on to disrupt and dismantle the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) and the United Front for Independent Oromia (UFIO).
The current situation and the direction in which the government is leading the country will lead to the worst famine in the world. Currently over 20 percent are unemployed, and over 10 million people are on the brink of famine.
Mr. Prime Minister, our community is deeply concerned that there is ethnic cleansing going on in Oromia and, once again, the international community has not responded. We have come to a point where we cannot sit in silence and watch the massacre of innocent Oromos. We appeal to you and your government to evaluate the crimes committed by the Ethiopian government over the last 22 months and to use your good office to apply appropriate pressure on the regime to remove military command posts from Oromia, to stop arbitrary arrests and detention, to halt the killing of innocent Oromos and the torturing of detainees, and to abide by the rule of law.
In the past, the Government of Canada has demonstrated support for human rights, democracy, and good governance and it is time for Canada to stand with the people of Oromo, Ethiopia, instead of supporting an armed criminal government.
We, therefore, respectfully request that you use the influences of your good office to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to immediately and unconditionally:
1. Lift and remove military command posts without preconditions;
2. Stop the killing, beating, maiming, imprisoning and torturing of innocent Oromos;
3. Withdraw the army from Oromia and return the security of Oromia to the Oromo people;
4. Reopen universities and allow Oromo students to enroll in universities in Oromia without any preconditions;
5. Release all political prisoners and reimburse them for the illegal time they spent in prison and for the torture and suffering they faced;
6. Stop the intimidation and allow opposition parties to open offices in all areas, and allow fair and free elections;
7. Restore electricity, telephone, and internet services without any preconditions;
8. Bring to justice those responsible for the atrocities going on in Oromia;
9. Allow UN independent observers access to affected areas in Oromia;
10. Allow Doctors without Borders and the Red Cross to treat the injured victims in affected areas.
Yours very truly,
Her Excellency The Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada
The Honourable Andrew Scheer, PC MP, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Leader of the Opposition
The Honourable Jagmeet Singh, NDP Leader and MP
Ms. Jo-Ann Roberts, Interim Leader of the Green Party of Canada
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs and MP
The Honourable Mary Ng, MP, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, MP, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
The Honourable Karina Gould, MP, Minister of International Development
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, MP, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Mr. John F.G. Hannaford, Deputy Minister of International Trade
His Excellency Marc-André Blanchard, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations
The Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier of the Province of Nova Scotia
His Excellency Antoine Chevrier, Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia
H.E. Nasise Challi JIRA, Ethiopian Ambassador to Canada