PAX -Ethiopia’s Ogaden province of human rights violations are commonplace. Government and the rebels are particularly affected by the conflict between the civilian population. The international community is silent on the situation in which organizations describe the humanitarian crisis. Finnish-Ogaden human rights activists demanding an immediate end to the discussion and forgotten area.

Rape, torture, arrests vague, living in constant fear. Thus describing the Ethiopian Ogaden in eastern province of human rights violations in Ogaden activist Nafisa and Khalifa Abdi Mohamud. Finnish Association ogadenilaisten operate Khalifa Abdi and want to express their provinces at an alarming situation, which, by international organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have reported.

Mainly populated by ethnic Somalis of the Ogaden conflict inEthiopia are facing the government troops and rebel groups, the largest of which is the Ogaden National Liberation Front ONLF (Ogaden National Liberation Front). The government blames the ONLF: aa terrorism. Ethiopian government and the independence of the Ogaden ONLF is fighting for the driving control of the region since the 1970s. Human Rights Watch reported in 2008 the Ethiopian army’s extensive human rights violations in the battles against the rebels.

Khalif and Abdi  tell us that the Ogaden region in support of terrorism arrests are commonplace. General is that people are kept in prison for long periods without charge. Incarceration is often sufficient suspicion of belonging to a political organization.
“People do in these situations no opportunity to defend themselves and the entities to which to turn,” Khalifa says.
Abdi says the case a few months ago, the government troops marched into the state employees’ offices, asking them to open the e-mail and Facebook accounts. According to Abdi, were also examined to detect possible government critics and punish them.

The BBC published in August regards secretly described in reportage, interviews with refugees from the Ogaden area Dadaabin refugee camp in neighboringKenya. Stories of rape and torture are harsh to hear. News reports also accused the Ethiopian government to the systematic abuse of development aid and political persecution, of the Ogaden, but also other people representing the opposition in the provinces. Including Human Rights Watch has saidEthiopia’s use of development aid to silence dissidents.

Khalifa believes that the situation in Ogaden is well known, at least in neighboring states. Neighboring Kenya Dadaabin refugee camp in Ogaden who had fled the number has grown dramatically. Yet the international community is silent on the situation in the Ogaden. On the other hand access to information on the situation in the Ogaden in Ethiopia is difficult due to strict legislation.

Nafisa Khalifa and Abdi Mohamud

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi government in recent years has significantly limited the Ethiopian civil society and media functions. A significant barrier to communication, the media is closing, because the government does not allow independent media, of the Ogaden region. Khalifa Abdi and receive information about relatives who live much of the area. In 2009, the down-regulation of civil society is one of the strictest in the world. For example, human rights’ organizations operating in the country is forbidden, if they receive more than 10 percent of its funding from abroad. Many organizations have also expelled from the territory. The 2009 terrorism laws allow prosecution for example, non-violent.

The general lack of knowledge of effort of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. East and West Africa, Head of Unit Helena Airaksinen, the Department of Foreign Affairs is largely in the public and organizations rely on the information provided, becauseEthiopia does not allow travel to the Ogaden region. Airaksinen, of the Ogaden, the situation will be addressed in bilateral talks withEthiopia on a regular basis. He admits, however, the situation of difficulty.

“In Ethiopia, the state relied on an internal security problem. Discussion is readiness, but the area blocked by appealing to the security risk, because there is a government of the terrorist activity “, Airaksinen says.
According to Abdi, of the Ogaden conflict, the reasons are political, not ethnic or religious. In the background is the region’s rich natural gas and oil reserves, which are attracted to the area of ​​foreign companies such asChina andSweden. Ogaden activists, companies, and national interests override human rights to natural resources.

Khalifa Abdi and want to raise the organization through the area of ​​human rights violations and to seek the fundamental rights of human beings. Political aspirations are not a priority.
“We try to bring out the events that the rest of the world does not see,” Abdi says. “I wish that people can live in peace. For me personally, is just the same if I am an Ethiopian, Somali, or ogadenilainen, I just want to be able to live in peace. “

For more information:
BBC report onEthiopia

Human Rigths Watch Report (2008) Collective Punishment. War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in the Ogaden area of ​​Ethiopia’sSomaliRegionalState.


                                             Macalinin cartoon Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawista, flickr

The Swedish case is a hot topic of journalists;

Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson, was arrested in July 2011 of the Ogaden region, where they were examined by a Swedish oil company Lundin Petroleum’s operations.Ethiopia, a court prosecutor handling the story requires them 15-year prison sentence for assistance in a terrorist organization. Swedish journalists seem to represent a case of human rights organizations criticized the Ethiopian government policy in line with journalists and opposition members arrested under anti-terrorism laws. The trial has raised doubts about the journalists against the inadequacy of the evidence and the outright manipulation.

Critics’ view, however, including the Swedish measures the release of imprisoned journalists have been inadequate. Finland Ogaden activist Nafisa Khalifa Abdi Mohamud, and also wondering how little effort is to liberalize the Swedish journalists, at least publicly seen. For example, about theGuantanamo prison camp at the Swedish case attracted a lot of strong reactions inSweden, Abdi compare. Sivujuonteena Swedes have confused the country’s foreign minister, Carl Bildt, of the Ogaden region affiliations-operating oil company Lundin Petroleum, which the government, Bildt work until 2006. Foreign Minister has strongly rejected the linkages between suppliers, where effects of the treatment. Lundin Petroleum’s operations in crisis areas of discussion raised in the early 2000s, when the company allegedly linked indirectly to the Sudanese civil war.

Helka Repo



1 Comment

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