Call for justice for victims of Oromia

Wednesday April 8 2020

Ethiopia protests

Oromo youth chant slogans during a protest in-front of Jawar MohammedÕs house, an Oromo activist and leader of the Oromo protest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on October 24, 2019. PHOTO | REUTERS 

FRED OLUOCH
By FRED OLUOCH
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The Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling on the Ethiopian government to provide justice and compensation for victims of last October’s inter-ethnic valence in Oromia region that left over 86 people dead.

In a report released on April 1, the HRW says that the Ethiopian government has made little progress in investigating the violence, and in acting to prevent further security force abuses and inter-communal violence.

Protests erupted in Addis Ababa on October 23, 2019, following social media posts by activist Jawar Mohammed accusing the authorities of threatening his security, a claim the police denied.

The protests, which spread to about a dozen towns across the Oromia and Harari regions, and to the city of Dire Dawa, turned into unrest and communal violence in several places.

“The Ethiopian authorities cannot sweep the killing and maiming of scores of people, the destruction of homes and businesses, and attacks on hospitals under the carpet,” said Laetitia Bader, Horn of Africa director at HRW.

HRW now wants the Ethiopian government to support a credible, independent and transparent investigation into the use of excessive force by security forces and violence by those responsible for the communal attacks.

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The inquiry should include a full accounting of the dead and injured, the circumstances surrounding each incident resulting in death or injury, and the extent to which government security forces were implicated in human rights violations.

The rights body interviewed 24 people about the violence, including 19 victims, witnesses, medical officials, and relatives of victims in Dodola in the West Arsi zone and Ambo in the West Shewa zone of the Oromia region, as well as five journalists, academics, and human rights experts.

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