The Ogaden Youth and Students Union condemns Ethiopia’s disregard of International Law and the suppression of freedom of expression and speech
Ogaden Youth and Students Union (OYSU) |Press Release
July 1, 2012 will mark the 10th Anniversary of the International Criminal Court when its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force. The court was created to bring justice to victims of gross human rights violations, combat and end impunity and bring perpetrators to justice.
Despite the International Criminal Court’s progress to end impunity, the plight of the Ogaden people continues to be ignored. Meles Zenawi’s regime continues its genocidal campaign against the people of Ogaden. The Zenawi administration has been responsible for gross human rights violations including war crimes, crimes against humanity, sexual violence against women and young girls, torture and burning of entire villages and other atrocities that they have perpetrated and continue to perpetrate with impunity; much of it documented by multiple human rights organizations.
The Ogaden Youth and Students Union call on donor countries, humanitarian organizations, human rights groups and international media to focus their attention on the Ogaden region as the number of human rights violations the region are soaring due to an intense crackdown on the local people by Ethiopian security forces as well as the local militia, ‘Liyuu Police’.
The ongoing and wide spread violence inflicted by the Zenawi regime against the people of Ogaden and elsewhere in Ethiopia continues to be disregarded.
The government’s ‘villagization’ program in the Gambella as well as in the Lower Omo Valley which saw the forced displacement of indigenous people cannot be overlooked. Locals are being forcibly relocated without consent or appropriate compensation. Those who have refused to move have been subject to constant intimidation, harassment, torture and arbitrary arrest by government security forces.
The Ogaden is under humanitarian, economic and media embargo, the Zenawi regime continues to disallow humanitarian organizations to operate independently in the region. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been expelled from the Ogaden and has been proscribed from reentering the region. This has led to a looming humanitarian crisis in the region. Additionally, journalists are not allowed to enter the Ogaden.
June 28 ,2012 saw the conviction of 6 Ethiopian journalists, including Eskinder Nega, with vague terrorism charges. A total of 24 people have been convicted under the state’s Anti-Terrorism Act.
July 1 2012 will also mark the 1st anniversary of the detainment of Swedish journalists, Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson. Both were sentenced to 11 years in prison on December 2011 under the overly vague and broad Anti-Terrorism Proclamation Act of 2009. They were investigating the human rights abuses in the Ogaden when they were apprehended by authorities.Meles Zenawi is sending a clear message to other journalists and human rights activists that he will not tolerate expression of dissent.
The Ogaden Youth and Students Union condemns Ethiopia’s disregard of International Law and the suppression of freedom of expression and speech. These convictions reiterate Ethiopia’s ruthless clampdown on basic human rights including the right to freedom of expression.
OYSU condemns the Zenawi regime’s continuous human rights violations against innocent civilians and justifying its genocidal campaign under the pretext of cracking down on rebels.
The Ogaden Youth and Students Union is a non-profit organization founded on the fundamental principle that all human beings are born equal and have a right to live in peace, dignity, and freedom regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender and other forms of overt and covert discriminations. The Ogaden Youth and Students Union is committed to human rights advocacy, awareness and protection everywhere.
Foreign office desk
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