April 14, 2021
The Honorable António Guterres Secretary-General
United Nations Headquarters New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Secretary-General:
Subject: Appeal to intervene and stop the ongoing genocide in the Oromia regional state in Ethiopia
We, members of the Oromia Global Forum—a global alliance of 45 Oromo civic, professional, and faith-based organizations — appeal to you to urgently intervene on behalf of the Oromo People in Ethiopia to stop the ongoing genocide and the unfolding war crimes by the Ethiopian government and the ruling party in the Oromia Regional State.
While the UN is trying to stop the massacre in Tigray, the Ethiopian government has been silently committing genocide and massacre in the Oromia regional state. In its 55th report (attached), the Oromia Support Group, a human rights advocacy organization based in the UK, reported close to 2000 Oromos had been killed since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018. Haacaaluu Hundeessa, a popular Oromo singer, songwriter, and activist, was assassinated after an open campaign to kill him by Amhara activists and state officials for calling for the removal of Menelik’s statue.
Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018 on the shoulders of the Oromo people’s peaceful resistance against the TPLF regime. Reneging a promise to transition Ethiopia into a democratic order that respects the rights of nations, nationalities and people of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed appears committed to dismantle the constitution and resuscitate the unitary government based on Amhara hegemony at the expense of the more than 80 nations, nationalities, and peoples of Ethiopia. Accordingly, Abiy Ahmed deployed Eritrean troops and Amhara militia, and Special Forces along with Ethiopian National Defense Forces, to engage in ethnic cleansing in Tigray. These forces also committed atrocities in Walloo where more than 100 civilian Oromo have been killed or injured, and tens of villages and towns were razed to the ground resulting in the displacement of over 80,600 Oromos.
The federal government, in collaboration with the Amhara regional government and Eritrea, have deployed heavily armed troops comprising the Ethiopian federal defense force, the federal police, the Amhara militia, and Eritrean troops to Northern Shewa and Wallaggaa zones of Oromia – a region already under martial law for close to three years now. The troops deployed in Wallaggaa region have already started arbitrarily arresting and murdering citizens. OGF has recently received a documented list (attached) of 126 killings, 10 sexual assaults against women and girls, 42 shootings resulting in injuries, 204 illegal imprisonments and 79 destruction and robbing of properties of civilians by Ethiopia security forces. OGF has also received a credible information that on the night of April 9, 2021, Abiy’s army has burned Oromo villages in Eastern Wollega in the town of Angar and killed many civilian Oromos.
Wallaggaa University students are among those who are subjected to harassment, and the troops threaten their lives. In another report, about ten Jimma University professors were jailed allegedly for planning to
remove the regime by force, which is unlikely given that Jimma city is about 400 km away from the capital.
Despite the magnitude and severity of the ongoing genocide by the Amhara regional government, the Eritrean military and Ethiopian police and army on the Oromos, neither the UN nor any international power has reacted up to the time this letter was written.
Currently the genocide and ethnic cleansing committed in the Tigray region is being investigated by the UN and human rights organizations. The deployment of these very forces that committed genocide in Tigray to Oromia region is a disrespect for the UN and international law. The Ethiopian government has no desire for a democratic transition, and has shut down most of the offices of the independent political parties, including that of the two major political parties, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). The headquarters and many regional offices of the OLF were shut down. Most of the high-ranking and mid-level leaders and thousands of OLF and OFC members and supporters have been jailed. Court decisions that acquitted some of these prisoners are overturned, and the detainees are transferred to different jails.
The ruling party and its partisan election board is planning a sham election where only the ruling party and affiliated Amhara political parties are allowed to participate. The majority of the nations, nationalities, and peoples including the Oromo, Tigray, and Somali are without representation in the election. Holding elections without the representation is an attempt to crown dictatorship and fascism while the majority of the country is in active civil war. Election under these circumstances is likely to swamp the country in prolonged violence for years to come.
The UN was established to maintain international peace and security, suppress acts of aggression, and prevent the invasion of nations by powerful nations. Among the primary purposes for which the UN was established were to ensure respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people. Yet, these UN’s core roles are being trampled upon daily by the Ethiopian regime, and the Oromo citizens’ lives are at existential threat. If the UN fails to intervene in Ethiopia to hold the Abiy administration accountable, and to comply with the United Nations international laws, to avert the ongoing crisis in Ethiopia, the world will witness a human catastrophe beyond a level never seen before.
To prevent a regrettable massive genocide in Oromia and to ensure respect for the universal right for self-determination, we request that the UN put maximum pressure on the government of Ethiopia:
- To immediately, lift the illegal martial law in Oromia.
- To withdraw all Eritrean troops and Amhara militia from Oromia and other regions in Ethiopia to implement cessation of all hostilities in the country, and to immediately stop the genocidal war against the Oromo people by Abiy’s security forces in Oromia, Tigray, Benishangul-Gumuz and other parts of Ethiopia.
- To immediately release all political prisoners and to form a transitional government that will prepare the country for a free and genuine referendum, so that the peoples democratically decide the future relationships between all nations and nationalities in Ethiopia.
- To perform an independent, transparent and credible investigation into war crimes committed in Oromia, Tigray, and BenishangulGumuz including the assassination of the Oromo Activist Haacaaluu Hundeessa.
We also request the UN to ensure protection of Oromo refugees wherever they might be, and to provide Humanitarian Assistance for internally displaced persons in Oromia and other regions in Ethiopia.
Oromia Global Forum
- Partial list of civilian victims of killings, gun shot wounds, sexual assaults, illegal imprisonments, and property damages and dispossessions in just 5 districts of Oromia Regional State
- Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRHLA) urgent appeal on the massacre in Shewa Robit Oromia
- Oromia Support Group Report 55
- HRLHA Press release demanding the government to lift the restriction on Oromo political parties.
- Oromia Support Group Report 54