The Association of Gedeo Community in North America and Europe 2018

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1 From: The Association of Gedeo Community in North America and Europe To: The Office of the Prime Minister, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Date: July 16, 2018 Subject: We call for the urgent humanitarian responses and respect for the constitutional and human rights of Ethnic Gedeos displaced from the West-Guji and East-Guji Zone of Oromia region Your Excellency Dr. Abiy Ahmed, We have repeatedly expressed our optimism on the current political developments in Ethiopia and some marvelous achievements in a fairly short period of time since you assumed the premier position. We are highly pleased with your vision of an integrated, even the United, Eastern African region. We have a very keen desire supporting your effort in realizing democratization and institutionalization of all the process it entails. We hope the Ethiopian and international community would make every endeavor to bring peace, security, democratization, and institutionalizations of the ever-started changes. On the other hand, our country has been facing a diametrically opposite reality: ethnically motivated attacks, violence, and massive internal displacements of citizens from their homes in different part of the country. The stark reality now is close to one million ethnic Gedeos have been chased away from their homes in the West-Guji and East-Guji Zone of Oromia regions since mid-april Several hundreds of lives lost due to brutal killings; several girls and mothers cruelly gang-raped; over 15,000 houses have already been burnt down; and a huge destruction of other properties. Dear Your Excellency Dr. Abiy Ahmed, It has been recalled that we tried to aware you of our deep concern regarding the dubious ignorance of your fellow citizens (ethnic Gedeo victims) and the silence or lack of prompt 1 To reply or contact the association, please use our or visit our

2 emergency and humanitarian responses. Even though we are thankful for the governments (His Excellency Ato Demeke Mekonen, His Excellency Ato Lama Magarsa, Her Excellency W/ro Muferihat Kamil and His Excellency Ato Dasse Dalke, and other team members) for witnessing the stark reality in the ground, sadly the official visit was made after three months of displacement. We are glad that the visitors have tried to feel the pain of displaced citizens, their losses, and the promise made to curb a de-facto humanitarian disaster. We appreciate also the traditional conflict resolution efforts started by the elders and traditional leaders (Aba-Gadas) of Gedeo and Guji-Oromos. Above all the rhetoric, the people are in an urgent need for a shortterm and sustainable solution in the long term before the government ensures a safe return to their home. We believe that the federal government has a responsibility to design a mechanism so as to prevent similar (potential ethnically motivated attacks) incident from occurring again. Nevertheless, we worry that the already started efforts such as a traditional conflict resolution process are facing a challenge from the perpetrators of the ethnic-based conflicts. In the last few days, for example, lawlessness and violence targeting ethnic Gedeos have been witnessed in Kercha districts of the West-Guji zone. They have effectively organized a mob chanting against the few (about 60,000) ethnic Gedeo displacees remained in Kercha town and district using some derogatory words with the slogan Go out of our land. Had the military not been intervened, we could have seen another episode of mass slaughtering. Second, the zonal and district administrators of the West and East-Guji zone, the local Oromia Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) cadres, have not tried to prevent or control the ethnic-based attacks timely. Some of them, as clearly stated by H.E. Lamma Magarsa, have played a major role in misinforming the public and orchestrating massive killings and displacements. But it is a dubious surprise that the perpetrators have not been brought to justice yet. Third, there is a clear sabotage of the Qeerro movement in the West and East-Guji Zones. The deputy prime minister and the presidents of the regional governments could not visit Kercha district due to an organized and massive road blockade by group self-identified Qeerro. As a result, the wellrespected person in Oromia region, H.E. Ato Lamma Magarsa and the crew, could not able to visit the displaced people (ethnic Gedeos) in Kercha district, their (massive) property destruction, and their burnt houses. Fourth, a false allegation has been circulating against the religious and traditional leaders of ethnic Gedeos. These people (religious and traditional 2 To reply or contact the association, please use our or visit our

3 leaders) have never claimed a referendum in the west and east-guji zones as it has been widely rumored. Even if the referendum was requested, the constitution allows to do so and the constitutional principles and proclamations exist to effectively respond. Hence, we condemn any attempt of projecting the fault to innocent people who have been preaching the power of love, peace, and unity. We are also deeply concerned with the humanitarian and the emergency response in place. Un till today nearly 40% of the displaced people in Gedeb town (the host town of the largest displacement) have not received a food aid. The discharges of several deceased bodies are reported from Dlla University hospital every day. We are grateful local and international organizations are working to reach the desperate people but it seems that the volume of the crisis outstretches them. The government must pool the resources as soon as possible unless otherwise the overcrowding, lack safe water, lack of sanitation, and suboptimal medical care might lead to the unprecedented epidemic with the unwanted consequences. Gedeo zone administration could not discharge their responsibility in a timely manner informing the regional and federal governments about the situation. The zonal administrator, Ato Hailemariam Tesfaye, who was playing politics while people were being killed and the remaining were fleeing death threats, particularly saddens us. He and his cabinets must be aware of their duty, which is solely to serve the people rather than serving their political objective, and they should know that they are the one administratively representing the people they tend to lead. Even though the zonal administration came to their sense too late and should continue making the necessary intervention. We urge them to work closely with the federal and regional governments until the people safely return to their homes after taking the necessary measures. The federal government, the regional ruling party SPDM, and SNNPR government have to take a necessary corrective measure on the Zonal administration by removing the president of Gedeo zone administration as per the demand of the Gedeo people. The United Nations, International Human Right agencies, and the pro-democrat allies of Ethiopian government (The United States of America, The European Union, The United Kingdom, Canada, and other major humanitarian supporter of the Ethiopian government or 3 To reply or contact the association, please use our or visit our

4 People) shall take the necessary measure to prevent ethnic cleansing and bring the lasting peace in the country. We also kindly ask the governments and international humanitarian organizations to save the people who are dying due to hunger, lack of shelter, and lack of medical care. The crisis is beyond the local capacity and any help or support is highly appreciated. In addition to the greater concern rose above, the association of Gedeo Community in North America and Europe has passed the following resolutions. 1. We denounce all ethnically motivated attacks in each geographic corner of Ethiopia. 2. The federal and regional governments must restore peace and stability in the region. If the high-level delegation could not visit Kercha district due to the road blockade on June 29 th, 2018, it would extremely be difficult for the displaced to return their homes without ensuring stability and peace. 3. We urge the prime minister to discharge the promise and closely follow the process of bringing peace to the region, compensation of lost lives and properties, designing of the administrative mechanism for the sustainable solution, and safe return of the displacees. 4. The perpetrators of the ethnically motivated attacks shall be brought to justice. 5. The government has to compensate for the lost lives, disabilities, destroyed properties and psychological traumas. 6. The federal government has to design a mechanism for the safe living condition of citizens in their own country by revitalizing an acceptable governance structure and institutionalization of justice before returning the displaced to the hostile environment and to ensure their constitutional and human rights afterward. 7. The independent body has to investigate the causes, the actors, and the consequences of ethnically motivated attacks and inform the Ethiopian public and the international community. 8. International and local aid agencies have to continue in complimenting the government s efforts in raising finance, providing food, non-food items, medical care and others necessary materials to the displaced people. 4 To reply or contact the association, please use our or visit our

5 9. We appreciate support of international community and diaspora community so far and we urge the wider Ethiopian diaspora community to continue actively involving in the fundraising platform established in Ethiopia and abroad ( as usual. CC: 1) The President, The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia 2) The Speaker, House of Peoples Representative of Ethiopia, 3) The President, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia 4) The Minister, Ethiopian Ministry of Federal Affairs and Pastoral Area Development 5) Attorney General, The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 6) President, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Reginal State, Hawassa, Ethiopia 7) The Secretariat, The United Nations 8) The United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, Newyork, USA 9) The President of The United States of America Washington, USA 10) European Commission President, European Union Brussels, Belgium 11) Prime Minister, The United Kingdom London, England 12) The Office of the Prime Minister, Canada 13) Amnesty International Ottawa, Canada 14) Human Right Watch New York, USA 15) International Humanitarean Organizations a) International Red Cross Association Addis Ababa, Ethiopia b) Médecins Sans Frontières Addis Ababa, Ethiopia c) UNHCR Addis Ababa, Ethiopia d) UN-OCHA- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 5 To reply or contact the association, please use our or visit our

6 e) UNICEF-Addis Ababa, Ethiopia f) WHO- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia g) European Union- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 16) Local and International Media a) Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) Washington, USA b) Voice of America Washington, USA c) British Broadcasting Corporation- London, UK d) Deutsche Welle Bonn, Germany e) Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia f) Fana BC- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia g) The Ethiopian Reporter - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia h) Addis Standard - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 6 To reply or contact the association, please use our or visit our