oysuSunday, February 08, 2015

The Ogaden Youth and Student Union dedicates February as a memorial month for the victims of the systematic genocidal massacres that began in the Ogaden under TPLF rule in 1994. The campaign of repression that was waged by the TPLF as a reaction to the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) demand for self-determination in 1993 has resulted in the systematic killings of thousands of people and the displacement of millions in the Ogaden region, which continues on today.

The massacre in the town of Wardheer on February 22nd 1994 is most infamous and among the most painful to remember in the hearts and minds of millions of people in the Ogaden who feel forgotten and ignored by the international community and the world over. On that day, the EPRDF-TPLF military forces systematically and arbitrarily opened fire on a large crowd of people attending a rally, killing 81 people and severely wounding 17 others. ICRC was present in the aftermath of the attack and recorded the dead and the wounded on that horrific day. This day was a defining moment in the Ogaden under the rule of TPLF, it was a day where thousands of people in the regions of Dhagaxbuur, Nogob, Qorahay, Godey, and Wardheer were arbitrarily arrested and extrajudicial killings were widespread. What began in the mid-90’s in the Ogaden can only be described as genocide and ethnic cleansing. It was a systematic effort by the TPLF regime to subjugate and repress the Ogaden peoples right and will to self-determination.

The atrocities that followed the Wardheer massacre on February 1994 include the mass killings that took place in Qabridahar, Qalaafe, Dhaqax-Madow, Gunagado, Dhagaxbuur and many other parts of the Ogaden. Satellite images produced by Human Rights Watch illustrate entire rural villages systematically displaced and set ablaze as a means of forced relocation and collective punishment.

Successive Ethiopian regimes have continuously marginalized, subjugated and waged genocidal massacres against the Somali people of the Ogaden region. TPLF response to the people’s right to self-determination was no different from the communist Derg, or the Haile Selassie regime that preceded it. The people of Ogaden have suffered in the hands of successive Ethiopian regimes ever since British colonial rule illegally and immorally transferred the Ogaden to Ethiopian rule in 1946 without the knowledge or the consent of the indigenous people who for centuries have inhabited this region without foreign domination.

The Ogaden is by far one of the most repressed parts of the world today, economic, humanitarian, media and political blockade has been in place since the campaign of repression was launched by the TPLF regime. Today more than 300,000 people from the Ogaden remain as refugees in the Dadaab refugee camps in Northern Kenya. Millions have been uprooted from their homes and remain internally displaced and the international community continues to ignore the plight of these people, as the Ethiopian government continues to commit genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity with impunity.

The current Ethiopian regime in power has undermined its own continuation, the rule of law and has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Western Aid has exacerbated the crisis in the Ogaden by solidifying authoritarian rule in Ethiopia. The crisis in the Ogaden is a crisis nearly a century old that stems from the policies of European colonialism. The genocide taking place in the Ogaden is one that is hidden from the rest of the World, EPRDF has done everything in its power to conceal the atrocities taking place. The month of February marks an important date as millions of people continue to suffer in the Ogaden and other parts of Ethiopia. OYSU remembers those who have lost their lives in the hands of a ruthless and authoritarian government, and urges the international community take action against the gross violations of human rights and atrocities taking place in this region. It is our moral duty and obligation to stand up and remember those who have lost their lives and their freedoms and have been denied the freedom to expression in the Ogaden. OYSU and Ogaden communities in the Diaspora will be hosting events to commemorate the genocide taking place in the Ogaden in more than 50 cities around the world, flyers and information will be available on our website at www.oysuworldwide.org or follow us at  https://www.facebook.com/OfficialOYSUWorldwide


Ogaden Youth and Student Union is an international Diaspora based human rights and advocacy organization established to educate and raise awareness on the ongoing gross human rights violations taking place in the Ogaden and other parts of Ethiopia by the current EPRDF regime in power.



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