The institution of violence built by the TPLF regime – through assistance of major world powers and international financial institutions controlled by them are mobilized to effectively destabilize the Horn of Africa.
Employing the political culture of divide and rule pursued by its predecessors, the TPLF regime is using its institutional capacity to incite people against peoples. The fact that Oromia shares borders with almost all peoples in Ethiopia makes the Oromo people vulnerable victims of the strategy. Constant attempts are made with some success to create conflict between the Oromo and Amhara, Somali, Gedeo, Benishangul, Gambela, Afar, Gurage, Kambata and others. This has denied the Oromo and other peoples the right to live in peace and security.
In an effort to maintain its domination of the Oromo and other oppressed peoples, the regime has resorted to systematic violations of human rights of persons who do not owe it allegiance. The right of self-determination is a synthesis of individual rights and it is protected by the International Bill of Human Rights which, in Article 1 (1) of both Covenants, says:
“All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development.”
The Oromo and other oppressed peoples in Ethiopia are endowed with the right to self-determination. They are entitled to freely exercise the options inherent in the right which ultimately belongs to them, and to them alone. The TPLF regime has recognized this right in its own constitution. It has, however, failed to honor its own constitutional pledge and its international obligation by resorting to forcible denial of peaceful exercise of the right.
Enjoyment of individual rights presupposes the realization of the collective right of self-determination of the people to which the individual belongs, because members of an oppressed people like the Oromo cannot really be free to exercise their basic rights and freedom.
Reports by credible human rights groups, including International Commission of Jurists, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch/Africa, confirm that there is no rule of law in the country and that extra-judicial killings, “disappearances”, illegal arrests, confiscation of property, detention for a long period and torture of persons of Oromo origin are pervasive.
Ethiopia is one of the top ten countries in the world and the number one violator in Africa in suppressing the freedom of expression. The regime is among the top five countries in the world for violation of judicial independence which is essential institution for the protection of human rights.
There are many Oromo refugees fleeing the country. The exact number of Oromo refugees in neighboring countries is difficult to know because the refugees do not want to be identified out of fear for their own safety. Many refugees have been killed or kidnapped by murder-squads organized by the regime in Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, and South Africa. Others have been subjected to forced repatriation particularly by Djibouti.
The TPLF has unleashed acts of terror against the Oromo middle class that Hizbawi Adara, the official newspaper of the TPLF, calls in its Marxist jargon “petty bourgeois narrow nationalists.” A systematic violation of human rights of persons of Oromo origin is part of the regime’s policy to destroy the Oromo people’s social fabrics in forcible denial of their right of self-determination.
The fundamental right to be free from hunger is not achieved in Ethiopia. Over eight million people are currently suffering from starvation in Ethiopia. Many children and adults died from hunger and related causes. The regime was then heavily spending money and other resources on military operations against its neighbors and liberation forces. Tens of thousands of able-bodied persons were taken from farms and sent to war-front where they were they were driven by TPLF officers over mine fields in criminal disregard for the lives of the hapless victims. The non-Tigrean people were forced to give contributions for the war from their meager resources which they desperately needed to buy food for their survival.
According to experts in the field, vulnerability to famine is rooted in human and natural causes. While drought is one factor that hampers food sufficiency, it has a socio-political dimension. In Ethiopia, due to absence of proper soil conservation policy, soil productivity decreases by 2% annually; forests have been already reduced to 3% of the land area.
The TPLF regime has been pursuing environmentally harmful policies since it seized power in 1991. With total disregard for the long-term environmental consequences, the government has been awarding contracts to investors undertaking unregulated mining and mechanized farming in ecologically sensitive and vulnerable areas. It has also adopted from its predecessor, the Dergue, the policy of massive resettlement of armed northerners on Oromo land. The settlers impose their views on the local people, seize and use by force resources in a manner inconsistent with the local culture and tradition that is always protective of the ecosystem.
The right to the enjoyment of an attainable standard of physical and mental health is not respected in Ethiopia. The most crucial disaster facing the Oromo people today is the deadly disease, AIDS. The concern can be understood when one remembers that emperor Menelik used small pox as a weapon in his war of conquest against the Arsi Oromo. It is confirmed that 8% of the total population of the country is infected by HIV virus and every third person of residents of the capital city carries the virus. The bulk of the victims are, evidently, the Oromo population. Other killer deceases such as TB and malaria are attacking the population over wider areas without any serous effort by the regime to control them.
In order to encircle and destroy Oromo liberation fighters, the Ethiopian regime is trying to enlist the support of neighboring countries. Those who do not cooperate are intimidated by false accusations of giving shelter to “rebel” forces and by frequent incursions into their territories under a pretext of “hot pursuit” of imaginary rebels. EGAD is used as a launching pad for the Ethiopian government’s security agenda. EGAD has, for instance, given the Ethiopian prime minister a mandate to set-up a client regime in Somalia under a guise of serving as a facilitator of peaceful resolution of the internal conflicts of the people of Somalia. This has conflicted with interests of the Arab League as manifested in steps taken, for instance, by Cairo to facilitate reconciliation of Somali forces. In conclusion, the current political situation in the Horn of Africa manifests confrontations between forces struggling for basic rights and fundamental freedoms, and those who are imposing their domination by tyrannical rule. A lasting stability and development cannot be achieved in the region until and unless the root-cause of the political and economic problems are correctly identified and properly addressed.
As demonstrated by the Ethio-Eritrean war, there is also an international dimension to the intrastate conflict. A dictatorial regime usually embarks upon external adventures to divert attention from its internal problems. It uses its absolute power over the control and allocation of resources in a manner that provokes and sustains interstate conflict. The underlying cause of the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict border may at least partly be an economic conflict of interest. The economic interest of the TPLF oligarchic regime does not necessarily coincide with that of the Oromo and other oppressed peoples on whom the main burden of the war falls.
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