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Ethiopian Ruling Party Crackdown Leaves Hundreds Killed, Thousands Detained
Ethiopian-American Council Condemns Action, Calls for Ethiopian Solidarity
UN Human Rights High Commissioner Wants Observers in Troubled Regions
San Jose, Calif., August 12 – This past weekend, in another paranoid and violent response to peaceful protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions, security forces of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) left more than 150 Ethiopian citizens shot dead, many beaten and wounded, and thousands detained in government and military installations.
The regime’s continued campaign of terror against Ethiopian citizens includes the murder of over 400 who were participating in peaceful protests over the last several months, as well as the detention of prominent opposition leaders.
Ethiopian-American Council Calls for Solidarity, Asks Obama to End Silence
The Ethiopian-American Council of North America (EAC), an advocate for political change in Ethiopia and the protection of human rights for Ethiopian-Americans and other members of the Ethiopian Diaspora, condemned the EPRDF regime’s violent response to peaceful protest.
EAC also calls for unity among the various Ethiopian ethnic and political factions in order to effectively end the tyranny of the present regime.
Members of Ethiopian Americans, in communication with contacts in Ethiopia, stated that there are indications that the police and local army may not back the EPRDF regime’s violent efforts to quell peaceful protests and that there seems to be growing solidarity among the various groups in opposition to the present government.
President Obama embarrassed himself and the Ethiopian people when he visited Ethiopia soon after last year’s parliamentary elections. The EPRDF swept the election, taking every governing seat. True democracies seldom have a single party elected to every position of power; yet Obama praised the regime, saying that Ethiopia was a symbol of democracy in action. Many advocacy groups and the Ethiopian people themselves know that the election was rigged.
Obama’s own State Department and various human rights advocate groups have long acknowledged that the rule of the EPRDF is anything but democratic. EAC is calling on Obama to end his silence over the obvious atrocities of the regime and to send a message of solidarity with the Ethiopian people who are attempting to throw off the oppressive yoke they have endured since the EPRDF came to power. The Obama administration should encourage a credible investigation into the killings and publicly emphasize that EPRDF’s continued homicidal crackdowns are unacceptable.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Seeks Investigations
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that allegations of excessive use of force across the Oromia and Amhara regions must be investigated and that his office was in discussions with Ethiopian authorities.
Since last November, when he said the killings of protesters first began, his office had “not seen any genuine attempt at investigation and accountability. The use of live ammunition against protesters in Oromiya and Amhara, would be a very serious concern for us,” Zeid told Reuters in an interview in Geneva.
Ethiopian People Weary of Tyranny
The clashes since November represent the worst political violence that Ethiopia has seen in years. That the unrest is spreading to regions beyond Oromia and Amhara underscores the depth of anger against the ruling EPRDF. In another act of paranoia, the government shut down all internet access but activists were able to release videos of the protests and the regime’s violent response through proxy servers and other means. Across the country, word-of-mouth among various opposition groups has substantially filled in since social media has been cut.