Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Ethiopians In South Africa Protest Rights Abuses Back Home
June 24, 2014 (Haberler) — About two thousand Ethiopian nationals protested in Pretoria on Tuesday to demand the South African government intervene to stop alleged human rights violations in Ethiopia.
“We the Oromo community in the Republic of South Africa humbly request the South African government, the African Union and European Union to use their good office to persuade the Ethiopian government to stop violations of human rights and killing of peaceful demonstrators,” organizer Abdurrahman Musa Jibro told the protesters.
According to Jibro, the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), a party that comes from the Tigrean ethnic group, has ruled Ethiopia for two decades.
He claimed that the TPLF had denied basic human rights and fundamental freedoms to the Oromo and other communities in Ethiopia.
“Their unwillingness to address basic demands of the people has recently caused popular uprising all over the country,” he said.
Jibro claimed that under the TPLF rule, human rights violations have intensified against the Oromo who make up about 45 percent of Ethiopia’s total population.
“Don’t kill Oromo People, Don’t kill Ogaden People,” protesters chanted as the convener spoke.
Jibro also questioned the agenda of the controversial “Addis Ababa master plan expansion”, which recently sparked protests by university students in Oromia regional state.
“The Ethiopian government’s response to these peaceful demonstrations and strikes has been brutal, marked with unwarranted cruelty,” he alleged.
He went on to say that many peaceful demonstrators were killed and thousands arrested across Oromia.
“We are gathered here today to condemn the killings of innocent civilians, and the detention of thousands of our compatriots by the Ethiopian regime simply for peaceful protesting against the violation of their human rights and suppressing of democratic rights” Jibro told the crowd.
Most of the Protesters carried placards which read, “Oromia not for sale”, “Stop killing Oromo students” and “Ogaden Darfur of Ethiopia”.
Protesters also handed over a memorandum to Melisizwe Bleki, an official from the office of President Jacob Zuma in which they called on the South African government and the international community to press the Ethiopian government to stop relocation of residents from their own lands and villages.
The memo also wants the international community to bring those responsible for the death of civilians to justice.
“Release all detained demonstrators and political prisoners immediately and unconditionally” the memo reads.
The Oromo protesters were joined in solidarity by their counterparts from the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, whose people are ethnic Somalis who claim they are similarly oppressed by the Ethiopian government.
For over 100 years, the Ogaden region has remained a center of conflict, as Somalis there have fought to secede from Ethiopia and establish their own country.
“Our people joined the protest to support our Oromo brothers and sisters, because we face a similar problem in Ethiopia,” Mohamed Dahir, chairman of South Africa’s Ogaden community, told Anadolu Agency.
Hajji Swaib, an elderly protester, also called for international intervention to stop what his described as Ethiopian violations against his people.
“We hope the international community will help us to stop what the Ethiopia government is doing to its own citizens,” he said.
He said he had fled from his home in Ogaden because of alleged abuses meted on his people and family by Ethiopian government troops.
“We want Justice that’s all we are asking for,” he said.