(Washington, DC) Deeply concerned about the turmoil in the Horn of Africa, the gross human rights violations and incalculable material destruction inflicted by the Ethiopian government, Oromo Youth from across the nation in collaboration with other youth associations from the Horn of Africa are organizing a protest rally in Washington D.C on Monday March 31st, 2008.
The demonstrators are calling upon the American government to reorient its policy approach in the region towards the respect for human rights, rule of law and democracy in the region and for American media outlets to expose this inhumane nature of the Ethiopian Woyanne government.
For about two decades now, the people of Ethiopia and the greater Horn of Africa have been suffering at the hands of the minority regime in Ethiopia. Innocent people are being tortured, humiliated, killed, women are raped, and villages are burnt. These atrocious crimes are being committed daily. The Ethiopian government is only able to inflict such widespread pain and suffering with the help of American taxpayers’ money and other Western funding.
Despite its strategic importance in the fight against terrorism and American prevalence in the region, far too little attention has been given to the unfolding human catastrophes. Using the war on terror as a pretext, the minority led government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has undermined the movement towards democracy, peace and development in the Horn of Africa. It spread as far as invading a neighbouring country, Somalia, violating the AU and UN Charters while shelling civilian areas indiscriminately and causing the death of tens of thousands of people, destruction of properties and the displacement of 1.5 million people from their home.
Since it usurped power undemocratically in 1991, the TPLF regime has committed untold crimes on the Oromo people jailing and killing tens of thousands of them. Zenawi’s regime has also been widely reported by International medias that the Ethiopian Woyanne government have sent its death squads to Ogaden to loot, murder, rape women and children, burn entire villages and expel aid agencies to stop food aid from getting to recipients in the area while preventing journalists and human rights organizations from having access in order to cover up the atrocity.
Thousands of Oromos have left their country and are living a fearful life in war ravaged Somalia, conflict ridden areas of Kenya and Sudan to escaping becoming an addition to the 20,000 Oromo prisoners of conscience throughout the country.
Fresh in our memories is the outrageous story of the heinous crime committed against Oromo refugees in Puntland’s Bosasso city of Somalia on February 5, 2008, where 65 Oromo refugees were bombed to death in daylight, while over 100 were also wounded. As almost all countries in the region rapidly descend into internal and external conflicts and with uncontrolled movement of Ethiopian army across borders, it is apparent that no place is safe for the indigenous Oromo in the Horn of Africa at large.
Therefore, we would like to reiterate that the American media has a duty to air our grievances and expose this inhumane nature of Ethiopian government. We would also like urge all to join with us to end an insult to humanity and give peace a chance in the Horn of Africa.
International Oromo Youth Association
PO Box 14668, Minneapolis, MN 55414