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109th Special Report:Recurring ethnic clashes need lasting solutions

“In this 109th Special report, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) presents its findings on human rights violations caused as a result of the ethnic conflict that flared up between members of the Sidama and Guji Oromo ethnic groups living in Wondogenet wereda, Sidama zone of the South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR).

Members of the Sidama, Guji Oromo and other different ethnic groups engaged in different forms of agricultural activities live in 13 kebeles of the Wondogenet wereda. Since 1992, there have been frequent ethnic clashes between members of the Sidama and Guji Oromo ethnic groups. The Guji Oromos had long been petitioning concerned government bodies that Wondogenet wereda be given the status of a special wereda and become under their administration. On the other hand, the Sidamas were asserting their claims over the wereda.

This dispute has in many occasions led to violent clashes between members of the two ethnic groups causing the death of people and destruction of property. For instance in clashes that erupted on May 16,2007, four people were killed and several houses, shops and hotels were burnt or looted. In another conflict that flared up on January 12, 2008, schools were burnt and crops were destroyed.

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108th Special Report: EHRCO denounces terrorist attacks targeting innocent citizens

“Article 6(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Ethiopia is a party, provides that everyone has a natural right to life. The right to life is also reaffirmed in Article 15 of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). Moreover, Article 16 of the FDRE Constitution states that,” Everyone has the right to protection against bodily harm.” Article 14 of the Constitution expresses this right as an inviolable and inalienable.

Nevertheless, these inviolable and inalienable Constitutional rights to life, and the right to be protected against bodily harm are being violated on account of various reasons. Human rights violations as a result of terrorist attacks targeting civilians are becoming causes concern.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) issues this 108th special report to express its denouncement of the bomb explosions that occurred in Addis Ababa on April 14, 2008.”

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107th Special report: Demands for self-administration need a lasting solution

“The Gewada (Ale) ethnic group is one of the many nationalities residing in the SNNPR. Since 1987 following a new administrative division in the region, members of the ethnic group have been living in 10 kebele farmers’ associations in Derashe special wordea, 7 kebele farmers’ associations in Konso special woreda and in 10 kebele farmers’ associations in South Omo. The fact that members of the ethnic group were made to live in scattered areas instead of being given the status of a special wereda, has been a long-standing concern among the Gewadas. According to members of the ethnic group the present administrative division impacted negatively on the development of the ethnic group in terms of maintaining and nurturing its identity, culture and language as the ethnic group is deprived of its rights to self-administration. This demand of the Gewadas to self-administration has been repeatedly presented to the respective regional and federal authorities. However, this demand of the ethnic group was not addressed adequately. Instead, representatives of the ethnic group who were in the forefront of this popular demand have been subjected to several retaliatory measures including detention and summary dismissal from jobs.”

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106th Special Report: Seek a durable solution to ethnic conflicts

” In this 106th Special Report the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) presents details of the result  of its onsite investigation on the ethnic conflict that flared up between members of the Koira and Guji Oromo ethnic groups living in the neighboring weredas of Amaro Kelle in the South Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) and Abaya Gelana in the Oromia region.

It is to be recalled that conflicts had been flaring up in different occasions between members of the Guji Oromo and the Koira ethnic groups in the two weredas bordering the Oromia and South regions. The conflicts had often resulted in the loss of lives, bodily injuries and damages to property. For instance, EHRCO had reported on one of such conflicts that occurred in September 2006 in its 98th Special Report. In this conflict, 11 people were killed, 18 others sustained physical injuries and property was damaged. However, as no durable measures were taken by the pertinent bodies to root out the problems, another ethnic conflict flared up on December 30,2007 and continued in the following days. As a result, 4 people were killed and 5 others were wounded. A substantial amount of private and public property was damaged and people were displaced and fled their homes fearing attacks.”

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105th Special Report- Put a Stop to Illegal Acts: Arbaminch zuria wereda

“It is to be recalled that an ethnic conflict had flared up in 2000 between members of the Wolayita and Ocholo ethnic groups owing to a dispute over land ownership claims. The conflict had caused loss of lives, destruction of property, and other social problems including expulsion of some members of the Wolayita ethnic group from ‘edir’, a traditional self-help association.

Following this, members of the Wolayita ethnic group, who were expelled from the edir, set up a new ‘edir ’that also constituted members of other ethnic groups. However, on 13 December 2006, officials of the Lante kebele farmers’ association and the self appointed Ocholo cultural norms watchdog group issued an order saying that it is not allowed to form an edir other than the one that is formed by members of the Ocholo ethnic group and all other edirs should be disbanded immediately. As members of the Wolayita ethnic group did not take heed of the order, the officials tried to forcibly take away property belonging to members of the edir on several occasions. The aggrieved edir members brought their plight to the attention of regional officials both at Zone and wereda levels but the authorities did not give them any remedies.”

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104th Special Report – AAU: Respect the right to a hearing of students!

Addis Ababa University

“It is a fundamental element of the principle of the rule of law that no one should be deprived of his or her rights without due process of law. In this regard, elementary principles of justice dictate that anyone suspected of committing an offence has the fundamental rights to be informed of the charges against them, defend the charges and appeal to a competent tribunal. It is also clearly stipulated in the Constitution that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty in accordance with the law.

Nevertheless, in violation of these Constitutional and basic principles of the international human rights instruments, some students of Addis Ababa University (AAU) have been dismissed from school without being charged, and without being told the reasons for their dismissal. As some of the AAU students reported to EHRCO, they were denied entry to the campus when they returned from the summer vacation to continue their studies. Campus security guards told the students that the guards had orders not to let them in the campus as they were dismissed by the authorities of the University. Similarly, some AAU students, who graduated in the last academic year, reported to EHRCO that they were denied their academic testimonials for reasons that were not explained to them.”

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