PETITION TO THE THIRD COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY CHAIRWOMAN H.E. MS. MARÍA EMMA MEJÍA REQUESTING AN URGENT CALL FOR AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO THE ONGOING AND WIDESPREAD KILLINGS AND EGREGIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN ETHIOPIA.
We, the undersigned Ethiopian civic and political organizations, on this day, October 24, 2016 call on the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to press urgently the call for an independent investigation into the widespread, persistent and systematic killings and egregious violation of human rights that are being perpetrated by the Government of Ethiopia against its own people.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the African Commission for People’s and Human Rights, the European Union and many others have previously issued calls for an independent investigation and for accountability, calls which the Government of Ethiopia has outright rejected.
On October 8, 2016 Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Ethiopian government to allow an independent, international investigation to determine how scores of people were killed at the country’s Irreecha festival on October 2, 2016.
The Ethiopian government has a well documented history of persistent and consistent record of carrying out extra-judicial killings against different ethnic groups. In 2003 424 Anuaks in Gambella were massacred by security forces. Thousands of ethnic Somalis in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia have also been killed by government troops and the Liyu Police, a rogue group, similar to the Sudanese Janjaweed militia.
The decision we are urging the Third Committee to take is crucial in light of the brutal campaign of systematic and widespread killings, imprisonment, torture and forced disappearances underway in Ethiopia. It can help to limit and bring to an end these crimes against the people of Ethiopia, particularly Oromos and Amharas that the government has single-handedly targeted.
The draconian State of Emergency that the government declared on October 9, 2016 has put most of the country under military rule, subject to a dusk to dawn curfew. It has authorized arbitrary arrests, shut down internet access, made political protests, accessing social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and listening to independent radio and TV broadcasts crimes punishable by up-to five years of imprisonment.
The decree also prohibits all public employees, including members of the military and security services, from taking annual leave or resigning from their jobs and private businesses from closing down their shops. It even restricts foreign diplomats from travelling 25 miles outside of Addis Ababa without permission from the military command post.
According to Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, “these emergency measures are extremely severe and so broad that they threaten basic human rights that must not be curtailed even under a state of emergency”
In the same statement issued on October 18, 2016 Amnesty asserts that “it is the government’s failure to constructively engage with the protesters that continues to fuel these protests. It must now change course.”
The rejection by the Government of Ethiopia to heed all international calls and address the legitimate demands of the Ethiopian people and its decision to intensify the violent and often lethal crackdown to suppress peaceful protests has not only endangered the lives of millions of Ethiopians but it has also jeopardized regional peace and security.
Silence in the face of these horrific crimes is tantamount to complicity. The launching of an independent investigation is an urgent first step to stop further crimes and to ensure accountability.
H.E. Ban Ki-moon , United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon
Twitter: UN Secretary-General @secgen
H.E. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly
Twitter: UN GA President @UN_PGA
H.E. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein UN High Commissioner for Human Rights email@example.com
Ethiopian Advocacy Network (EAN)
Ethiopiawinet: Council for the Defense of Citizen Rights (E-CDCR)
Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Leaders
Ethiopian Muslim Religion Leaders (First Hijrah)
Ethiopian Protestant Religion Leaders
United Ethiopian Muslims Peaceful Movement Support Group
Patriotic Ginbot 7
Oromo Democratic Front (ODF)
Afar People’s Party (APP)
Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP)
United Oromo Liberation Front
All Amhara People’s Organization
Moresh Wegene Amhara Organization
Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia
DC Area Ethiopian Community Joint Task Force
Ethiopian Constitutional Monarchy
Ethiopian National Transitional Council
Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women
International Ethiopian Women Organization
Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners
Former Ethiopian Defense and Police Force Veterans Association
Netsanet Radio, Washington DC
Mahebere Ethiopia for Freedom and Justice
Oromo Community , MN
Gambella Community , MN
Ogaden Community , MN
Oromo-American Citizens Council (OACC)
Oromo Federalist Congress – International Support Group (OFC-ISG)
Minnesota Peace Project (MPP)
Ethiopian Dialogue Forum
DFW Ethiopian Human Rights Task Force
Ethiopian Forum in Seattle
Selam Le Ethiopia Newspaper, Seattle, WA
Andenet TV, Seattle, WA
St. Teklhaimanot Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Ottawa
Ethiopian Canadian Task Force for Democracy, Ottawa