May 6, 2014
(Washington DC) The Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians (GARE) is deeply disturbed with the recent massacres and mass arrests of journalists, bloggers and activists in Ethiopia. These barbaric measures provide fresh evidence on the Ethiopian government’s total disregard for the basic rights, dignity and civil liberties of the people of Ethiopia.
GARE is very alarmed by the violent crackdowns on students and civilians in the Oromia region and earlier in Gondar. In light of the fact that the government of Ethiopia is facilitating land grab at the expense of the poor in the Awash Valley, Gambella, Southern region, Oromia and other parts of the country the concerns of the protesters should have been addressed appropriately in a civilized manner. The violent crackdown unleashed by security forces against unarmed civilians, most of whom were young students is totally unacceptable and illegal. The use of excessive force against unarmed civilians has resulted in over fifty people losing their lives and hundreds sustaining serious injuries. Unknown number of people have reportedly been detained and disappeared in many parts of Oromia region.
A few days ago in Addis Ababa four Blue party members were detained while canvassing support for a peaceful rally the party was organizing. Moreover, the arrest of nine bloggers and journalists, who were members of a group known as Zone 9, at a time when the rest of the world was gearing up to celebrate the World Press Day, signals the deterioration of press freedom violations in Ethiopia. GARE strongly believe that the Ethiopian government should respect international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and basic rights that Ethiopia has already incorporated in the constitution, which has never been respected and implemented since its inception.
GARE strongly condemns the repressions, killings, mass arrests and crackdowns unleashed against Ethiopian citizens. We call upon the regime to take the following measures:
– An independent commission tasked to investigate the violent crackdowns that have caused destruction, deaths and injuries must be set up immediately.
– Those who have committed crimes against humanity by killing and injuring innocent civilians must be brought to justice.
– All journalists, bloggers, activists, and dissidents, many of whom have been convicted of trumped-up terrorism charges and languishing in jails, must be freed without any conditions.
– The government, which has collective responsibility for any acts of violence, criminality, massacres and repressions must respect international conventions and its own constitution. – -The human rights abuses that have been and are being committed in many parts of the country must stop immediately.
-GARE demands that land grab schemes, which have displaced, dispossessed poor farmers and indigenous communities in many parts of Ethiopia be stopped.
GARE strongly and firmly believes that the era of impunity in this age of global connectivity is over and is confident that the Ethiopian government will be held accountable for the atrocities committed against defenseless own citizens.