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Humanity before Ethnicity

History of Human Rights Violations

There is a long history of gross human rights crimes reported as allegedly being committed, incited or empowered by this government. Only some of them have been investigated by well-respected international human rights organizations.  These include the following: (1) the Anuak in 2005 and in 2006; (2) the Oromo in 2005; (3) the killing of election protestors in Addis Ababa in 2005; and (4) the Ogadeni in 2008 and the Somali in 2008. 
Most of the other reports of abuse included in the following chronological list are well-known among Ethiopians, but have not been officially investigated by international human rights organizations. 

  • In December 1991, after the Meles-led Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) came to power and prior to officially beginning the new government of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), TPLF forces killed 150 Amhara civilians in a small village of Arba Gugu in the Harar region.
  • In March of 1992, 92 Oromo civilians, peacefully protesting for Oromo autonomy, were killed by government troops.
  • In April of 1992, government troops again killed another 150 Amhara civilians in the town of Bedeno in the same region
  • In December of 1992, the RPDRF forces abducted a mother and brother of suspected ex Derg militiaman from their home, and massacred them in a remote place called Gemadro forest of Shekacho zone (reported in EHRC special report, 1996).
  • In January of 1993, during a student rally against the government, six students from Addis Ababa University were shot and killed, again by government security forces.
  • In 1993/94, EPDRF forces murdered innocent persons (18 persons) simply they showed unhappiness as the way the forces killed a mother because she gave birth to a suspected rebel (reported EHRC special report 1996).
  • In October 1995, Ato Mohammed Aba Metcha and Ato Ashebir Wolde Tsadik, both Judges of Gimbo Wereda Court in Kaffa Administrative Zone of Southern Ethiopia were at their regular duties on the bench of the Court were suddenly surrounded by armed policemen men with AK-4 automatic guns, under the direction EPDRF officials, because they were conducting an investigation onto number of corruption and rape cases carried out by the EPDRF officials- this shows the non-existence of judiciary independence.
  • From September 1997 – to date, thousands of Shekacho people were evicted from their land in order to establish a coffee and tea plantation, as a result, the population were left to starve and lost their possession in the Shekacho zone. The land was given to east African coffee and tea Development Company connected to EPDRF officials.
  • 1997/2004, massive resettlement project was designed in the Shekacho land and local population were forcefully evicted from their land and all natural resources used by the population was destroyed, all forest cover were intentionally cleared in order to prevent the population escaping in the jungle and challenging the government authority. Forests have been burned and precious flora and fauna exterminated.
  • In April of 2001, government forces killed forty Addis Ababa university students for simply demanding the academic freedom to publish a student newspaper.
  • On March 10, 2002 in the town of Teppi, 200 protesters from the Mazenger and Shekicho ethnic groups were killed as they protested the regional boundary lines and for wanting to form a political party. This was orchestrated by the EPDRF security forces in order to create animosity among the Shekacho and Mazenger people who for centuries have coexisted and never gone to war.
  • In May 24, 2002, 25 Sidamo civilians were killed in Awassa who were peacefully protesting the federal government’s involvement in the Sidamo regional affairs.
  • In July of 2003, 47 Ethiopians from the Ogaden region were killed for protesting the federal government’s control of their regional government.
  • On December 13, 2003, 424 innocent civilian Anuak were killed, followed by 1,500 more killings over the next two years.
  • In May and November of 2005, 193 Ethiopian protestors were killed following the rigged elections.
  • In 2005, election time, Mr dawit Gerito was murdered for being an opposition party representative in the Shekacho zone of southern Ethiopia, no one was brought to justice and his children are left hungry and destitute.
  • In September of 2006, in the Jimma area of Oromia, more than 50 Christians were killed by Ethiopians using Muslim religious statements as they killed Christians. Official reports claimed them to be radical Muslims trained in Somalia. However, eyewitnesses reported that they recognized them as government supporters, backed up by the military.  At about the same time, Muslims alleged similar crimes against them that were not officially reported.
  • In January of 2006, Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia under the pretext of routing out Islamic terrorists on behalf of the new transitional government. Countless war crimes and crimes against humanity at the hands of the Ethiopian military have been reported and continue to be reported to this day (12/2008).
  • In April 2007,Meredo Mega, a father of four children, was murdered in the Damot Weyde werda, Wolayita zone of the Southern nations, Nationalities and people’s region. The EPDRF police chief who killed this man was not brought to justice and continues to threaten the family of the deceased.
  • From late 2005 to 2009, the Ethiopian military has been deployed to the Ogaden region of southeastern Ethiopia in a harsh suppression of any resistance, punishing an entire ethnic group for an insurgent group’s attack on the Chinese company exploring for natural gas in the region in August of 2005. Gross human rights crimes have been perpetrated, including the blocking of food aid to starving and malnourished people, and the intentional destruction of homes, crops, food supplies, cattle, wells and other infrastructure.
  • In July of 2008 over 300 Beni-shangul people were killed, most of their political activists and leaders were among those targeted for death or subsequent imprisonment. The attackers were another ethnic group in collaboration with the government.
  • In August of 2008, 18 Afar people peacefully opposing the EPRDF’s government policies were killed by Ethiopian troops.
  • In September of 2008, Burji people from the Southern Nations were targeted for a government-sponsored and incited attack by a neighboring ethnic group, the Guji in a well utilized tactic of stirring up division between groups for their own purposes.

In most of these situations, these crimes were committed by military or security forces representing the Ethiopian government. Rarely has anyone been held accountable or brought to justice.  

(We will add links to these sources to substantiate these claims.)