OLF and OFC Denounce the Unlawful Mistreatment of Oromia Refugees by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its Detention Centers.
Urgent Joint Press Statement of the Oromo Liberation Front & Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC)
21 June 2021
The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) are enormously saddened and shocked by the atrocities of the of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the Oromia refugees in its detention centers. The Oromia refugees are political refugees who escaped from their country because the human rights, political and economic suppression in Ethiopia has passed the level of just human rights abuses and reached the height of massive violations of human rights including extra-judicial killings. The refugees who flee their country to save their lives deserve to be protected and must be treated according to the international refugee norms and at least with minimum standards of international Human Rights principles.
According to the information we received from the detention centers in Saudi Arabia, huge number of Oromia refugees are suffering from below-standard detention conditions in prisons. The refugees in detention are living in extremely overcrowded rooms- up to 200 persons in a small room. The people in detentions include children, pregnant women, old age, and people with different sorts of disabilities who are susceptible to various type of diseases and infections caused by overcrowded, unhygienic and suffocated detention conditions. Currently, the refugees in Saudi Arabia detention centers do not get essential basic needs to survive including food, water, sanitation, and medicines. According to the information we received so far, two refugees have already died due to the maltreatment. We are overly concerned in particular that the Oromia refugees in these detention centers are exposed to Covid- 19 pandemic that could kill even large number of these refugees.
We, the OLF and OFC, extend our deepest condolences to families of those who lost their lives in these tragic detention centers. We condemn the terrible actions taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the strongest possible terms. We request all human rights organizations, especially those who are concerned with the rights of refugees, minors and children, international health institutions and relevant united nations bodies to put the necessary pressure on Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to treat these refugees according to the refugee standards and human rights principles.
We would like to inform the Oromia citizens and Ethiopian peoples that the Ethiopian ruling group and its ambassador and diplomatic team in Saudi Arabia are keeping silent, apart from lip services, while Oromia and its citizens are suffering under harsh situations in foreign detention centers. We understand that the Ethiopian ruling groups see political refugees as its adversaries, but we expected that the ruling group would demand at least minimum respect of human rights of these refugees. Unfortunately, the Ethiopian ruling group failed to do so as they did during refugee atrocities in Republic of Yemen. Particularity the Ethiopian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia who is solely responsible to protect Ethiopian refugees in that country is personally responsible for atrocities on refugees in Saudi Arabia and the lives lost as a result. It seems that the Ethiopia Embassy in Saudi Arabia is intentionally silent while the Oromia refugees in detention are suffering and dying as obviously most of the refugees are oppositions to the ruling group.
We would like to inform the Oromia citizens and the Ethiopian oppressed nations and nationalities that the political crises in Ethiopia have far reaching impact on the lives and living of citizens including agonies beyond Ethiopian borders. The crisis in Ethiopia is not only ruining the existences of those in the country, but also the country’s ruling system impairs are extended to the refugee hosting countries and citizens are unable to survive at least as refugees in some countries including Arabian states. We would like to reiterate that the only solution to this tragedy is to intensify peoples’ struggle for freedom and democracy by coordinating forces from both inside and outside the country and avoid these century long sufferings.
We urge the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to make sure that the Oromia refugees in detentions are protected from any inhumane and degrading treatments. We also urge the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure that the refugees get basic needs including food, water, medicines, air conditioning and protected from police and security abuses. We also would like to urge the Kingdom to give special attention to the most vulnerable refugees in the detentions including the wounded, pregnant, children, old aged and disabled people to get special medical attention and necessary support.
We would like to call up on the Oromo institutions around the world including the Media groups, communities, religious institutions, professional bodies, human rights groups, and activists to coordinate your efforts and make the voices of these Oromia refugees heard as they are in extreme danger at this time. This includes, media campaign, appeal letters to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to relevant international organizations, as well as financial supports to reach the vulnerable refugees in Saudi Arabia.
We would like to inform the international community that Oromia refugees in Saudi Arabia and Republic of Yemen are repeatedly mistreated and handled in debilitating situations in recent years. This is against the covenants and laws of the UNHCR, international Human rights and regional refugee laws. We particularly appeal to the UNCHR, UNHRC, and western democratic nations to interfere and urge the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to treat the Oromia refugees according to the international refugee laws and humanitarian standards.
Oromo Liberation Front and Oromo Federalist Congress
June 21, 2021