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Oromia-Ethiopia: Violations of the rights of disadvantaged nations protected by UN’s ICESCR

The following is a report from The Advocates for Human Rights, a MN-based human rights group. To read the full report, please click here. Here’s one paragraph from the report.

“The Government of Ethiopia interferes with the rights of disadvantaged ethnic groups to take part in cultural life (article 15). Oromos, for example, do not feel free to speak Oromiffa in public or to use distinctively Oromo names because doing so makes them targets of formal and informal discrimination. Oromos face widespread hostility from members of other ethnic groups and are often called a name that is an ethnic slur and an affront to their cultural heritage. Moreover, the Government of Ethiopia has targeted prominent Oromo cultural figures for persecution.”

On March 15, 2012, The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a report to the 48th session of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights outlining discrimination in Ethiopia on the basis of ethnicity in violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The report is based on interviews with members of the Ethiopian diaspora and professionals working with Ethiopians in the United States, as well as reviews of news and human rights reports. The Advocates’ submission highlights the ongoing violations of the human rights of members of the Oromo, Anuak, and other minority ethnic groups in Ethiopia, including forced displacement and persistent discrimination in areas such as work, education, health care access, and access to food and water.

In Ethiopia, discrimination based on ethnicity is often related to discrimination on the basis of real or perceived political opinion. The government actively impedes the rights of disadvantaged ethnic groups, including on the right to self-determination, the right to work and to have just and favorable conditions of work, the right to form and join trade unions, the right to protection and assistance of their families, the right to adequate food and housing, the right to health, the right to education, and the right to take part in cultural life. The report highlights the problem of the Ethiopian Government’s “villagization” program. The Ethiopian Government claims that the program is voluntary, but The Advocates’ report shows that the program amounts to forced relocation in order to make room for large-scale, export-oriented agro-businesses. The government has used oppressive tactics to compel disadvantaged ethnic groups to move from their homes, and the program has routinely had the effect of breaking up families and relocating groups to areas where there is little access to food or water, housing, quality education, or employment opportunities. The report also includes specific recommendations urging Ethiopia to impose an immediate moratorium on the villagization program and to begin an in-depth consultation process with the peoples living in areas targeted for villagization, while ensuring that those individuals who have been relocated receive adequate food, water, and health care.

Full Report

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RELATED:

Video: Mr. Tony Beasley, a representative from The Advocates for Human Rights, a Minnesota-based human rights group, speaks at the 4th Oromo Awareness Day at the University of Minnesota (UMN) on April 9, 2012 about the human rights violations against the Oromo nation by the TPLF regime, whose military occupation of Oromiyaa began in 1991.

Some of the violated human rights of the Oromo people include the right to self-determination, the right to work (in which, in several cases, Oromo job-seekers are forced to change their Afan-Oromo names and hide their Oromo-ness in order to get jobs), the right to education, and the right to take part in cultural life (it’s to be noted that Macha-Tulama Association’s leaders and supporters are currently in prison for promoting Oromo culture and history). The representative also mentioned about the ongoing land-grabbing by the TPLF regime and foreign governments.

The above human rights are recognized by the UN’s International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).


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