December 24, 2015
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Tel: 613-995-0253 Fax: 613-941-6900
Dear Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,
First of all we wish you and your family a very happy holiday season.
We Oromo-Canadians are unable to meet these holidays with joy because a bloody violence is engulfing our families in our homeland of Oromia, Ethiopia. We are writing to you as OromoCanadian community associations and organizations from across Canada. We appeal to you to help stop the genocide against our people. A Stalinist type of unparalleled totalitarian repression is unfolding in Ethiopia in the 21st Century. Students from elementary schools to universities are joined by ordinary citizens in peacefully protesting state repression and asking for the restoration of their constitutional rights.
Sadly, government response has been brutality and further atrocity.
In blatant disregard for human rights and human lives, the Ethiopia’s Prime Minster, Haile Mariam Desalegn, has come out on state television and vowed to mercilessly crush the peaceful protestors. He has named them “terrorists” and deployed the draconian counter-terrorism legislation to legitimize the use of unrestrained force, arbitrary killings, and overt genocide against our people. People’s constitutional questions are met with unconstitutional force. Oromia regional administration and Oromia regional police forces are suspended and the ugliest face of a brutal military force is mercilessly wreaking havoc in our homeland.
Our people are under siege.
Now official and legal, the deadly military force, already unleashed in the Oromia region, has stepped up its savage beating, maiming, killing, and jailing of peaceful protestors. Armed forces are firing live ammunition against unarmed people. State terrorism is out in its naked form. Children as young as 8 and older people of 85 are mercilessly killed in the peaceful protests. Soldiers have broken into university dormitories, savagely raping young women and mercilessly killing students. Thousands of protestors are violently herded in prisons. Prisoners are raped and tortured. Mobility is severely restricted. In many localities, people cannot go out even to bury their dead.
Those who have not participated in the protests are not spared.
The military has unleased its terroristic punishment on the ordinary people. Soldiers are violently breaking into homes and savagely beating children, women, men, youth and the elderly alike. Mothers are gunned down in their own homes along with their children. Respected community elders are pulled out of their homes and dragged in the streets to humiliate the people in terroristic punishment.
Today, as we write this letter to you, leaders of opposition political parties who have been calling for peace and reconciliation, are publically humiliated, kidnapped and driven away in unmarked cars to unknown locations. Citizens who ran for parliament in the recent election are being rounded up and thrown in jail. Prisons are overflowing and even make shift jails are not enough to contain the current massive imprisonment. Hundreds of prisoners are taken out of the Oromia region and driven to other regional states and far away military camps where no one could visit them. Kidnapping and disappearing are on the rise as we write. Even in the safety of our home in Canada, we cannot live in peace and enjoy these holidays. As you celebrate Christmas and New Year, we hope you remember our suffering people and keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Dear Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,
Human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been reporting the atrocities. Although the Ethiopian government has tried to stifle free media, it cannot wreak havoc behind closed doors in this age of technology where ordinary people are reporting directly from their cellphones. Both the impressive beauty of peaceful protests and the graphic details of the bloody response are filling social media as government soldiers are merciless killing, beating and maiming in the unfolding carnage.
The atrocities are coming out and we are documenting the casualties. In the last six weeks alone, the number of peaceful protestors killed has climbed to over a 100 and the number of those imprisoned to over 37, 000. These figures do not include the atrocities that go unreported. We can only imagine the countless number of people who are savagely beaten, raped and maimed in their own homes, within the walls they erected for protection.
To disrupt such detailed documentation, the military has devised a new strategy of destroying the identity cards of the victims. It is now killing and dumping the bodies in hard-to-reach forests. Unidentifiable bodies are being discovered in the forests, even now as we write. Such outrageous atrocities and disrespect for human lives are unacceptable to any peace-loving human being. To add insult to injury, this carnage is unfolding while a staggering 15 million people are facing starvation, most of them in the Oromia region. Why does this happen when Oromia is the breadbasket able to feed the entire Horn of Africa region? Of course the Ethiopian government blames climate change. However, as you know very well, drought may be the sign of climate change but starvation is the result of failed policy and failed governance. We are insulted when the international community praises the Ethiopian government as democratic and emboldens its leaders with the awards of good governance. Indeed we are outraged. Dear Right Honourable
Let us give you a bit of background from our perspective. The current peaceful protest was spontaneously started by elementary and high school students in a small district town of Ginci on November 12, 2015. But it has spread in no time and engulfed the whole region of Oromia. Hitherto stifled, Oromos are deploying their constitutional rights to peacefully protest the implementation of the so-called Addis Ababa Master Plan. However, the Master Plan is only the last straw that is breaking the camel’s back. The people’s suffering and grievance is deep rooted and the chronic problem in Ethiopia is much broader and deeper than the Master Plan. It is the longstanding question of fundamental human rights, identity and justice.
Although Oromos are taking the brunt of the atrocity, other nations and nationalities are also suffering similarly. Ethiopia is a multinational country of close to 100 million people where the vast majority suffers under the totalitarian repression of a single-party dominated by the elite of a minority ethnic group. In its extreme greed and lust for power, this minority elite has created a tight and absolute control over the country’s politics, economy, military, security and media. It has used iron fist over the last 25 years to entrench its brutal dictatorship under the very nose of the international community that has looked the other way at best or tacitly endorsed it at worst. Such outstanding issues of justice are exacerbated by the ugliest face of the current global land rush that found arable land in Ethiopia and a government willing to forcefully evict its own indigenous people from their land. Millions have already been evicted and left in complete dispossession and destitution with nowhere to go. Sometimes their homes were bulldozed with little notice and hardworking indigenous people were reduced to beggars.
With the implementation of the current Master Plan, two million households (which means over twenty-million individuals!) will be displaced, losing their livelihoods. While this is what people are peacefully protesting, the government is tagging them as anti-development terrorists. We assure you that our people love peace and development. They are only protesting a development that aims to destroy their livelihoods and obliterate their very existence, a development that refuses to take their input into account, a development pushed down their throats by a regime that does not care about their lives and livelihoods. This leaves them helpless and desperate.
Our people who are renowned for their strong forbearance and unlimited patience are being pushed to the end of their wits. We hear desperation in their haunting cries: “Where shall we go? We were born here; we grew up here; we knew ourselves here; we bore our children here; where shall we go? Where shall we go?” Tears streaming down our cheeks, we listen to the voices of Oromos breaking down and crying as they report the atrocities. We hear their broken voices asking: “Why has the world forsaken us? Why are powerful governments giving us deaf ears? Why is the UN not outraged? Aren’t Oromo lives human lives too? Who do we appeal to?”
Our hearts are broken by these cries for justice. It has been excruciatingly painful for us to watch the slaughtering of our patient and peace-loving people. It has been hard to listen to the suffering our families are going through in this nightmarish ugly reality of state terrorism. Our patient and law-abiding people are confronted by a totalitarian regime that does not abide by any rule of law, including its own constitution.
The Ethiopian government has muzzled the people, denying them their constitutional right to hold peaceful protests. As John F. Kennedy said, “those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” The Ethiopian government has made any peaceful expression of dissent impossible. Dangerous clouds are hovering over our people. Dear Right Honourable
We came to Canada fleeing from such atrocities of violent repression, arbitrary killing, beating, imprisonment and torture in Ethiopia. We have made Canada our home and become law-abiding and tax-paying citizens living in the safety of Canada. However the carnage continues for the loved ones we left behind. Oromos are only 40% of the population but they constitute 90% of political prisoners, even by the admission of the government’s own officials. Thousands continue
to flee the bloodbath but many of them cannot make it to asylum or resettlement. Some are hunted down and captured by the Ethiopian government; others are eaten by wild animals. Still others drown in the vastness of oceans and seas in a desperate attempt to reach safety.
We are outraged, to say the least, that the international community is praising the Ethiopian government as democratic and the Ethiopian state as developmental. We are deeply concerned that they are praising Ethiopia only for the superficial economic growth without considering the incredible human cost or paying attention to the equally important issues of human rights and justice profoundly undermining such growth. We are deeply concerned that their encouragement is emboldening the Ethiopian government to step up its atrocities with impunity.
Dear Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,
We are deeply concerned that a Rwanda-type genocide is in the making in Ethiopia and, once again, the international community is looking the other way. We have come to a point where we cannot sit in silence and watch the massacre of innocent people. Oromo lives are human lives and Oromo rights are human rights. Justice is justice no matter what color we are and where we are born. We have come out from across Canada and held rallies in solidarity with our Oromo peaceful protestors demanding the restoration of their constitutional rights. We have appealed to the various levels of our Canadian government to help stop the carnage in Ethiopia. We have no doubt that your good office has the most up-to-date information about what is happening in Ethiopia. We, therefore, respectfully request that you use the influences of your good office to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to immediately and unconditionally:
1) lift the merciless military rule imposed on our people 2) stop the killing, beating, maiming, imprisoning and torturing of innocent people
3) release all protestors and political prisoners
4) bring to justice those responsible for the atrocities
5) restore the constitutional rights of the people to hold peaceful rallies
6) avail itself to the calls for peace and national reconciliation
7) allow people to participate in the affairs affecting their lives and livelihoods
8) restart participatory development that includes people’s development
Singed below are our communities and organizations from the various provinces of Canada
1. Ababa Dheressa Secretary, Oromo Evangelical Church of Calgary 3104-34 Ave. NW Calgary, AB T2L 2A3 Canada
2. Abdurahman Abdurro Kadir Chair, United Oromian-Canadian cultural Association of Alberta 1693 42 St NW Edmonton, AB T6L 2R8 Canada
3. Badri Mohamed Kabira Chair, Oromo Community Association of Northern Alberta 9636 105A Avenue Edmonton, AB T5H 0M4 Canada Phone: 780-428-5062 Phone: 780 399 3450 E-mail: email@example.com
4. Boka Terfassa Chair, The Oromo Evangelical Church of Edmonton 9606-110 Ave Edmonton, AB T5H 0M4 Canada
5. Haider Shamsi Chair, Arssii Oromo Self-Help Association of Alberta 6711-26 Ave NE Calgary, AB T1Y 6M7 Canada Email:Ka.firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Jiilcha Hamid Chair, Oromo Community Association of Alberta Unit 200B, 223 12 Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2R 0G9 Canada Email:contact@calgaryoromocommunity.
7. Mitiku Wakwaya Chair, Oromo Society Network of Calgary 101-223 – 12 Ave SW P. O. Box 45 Calgary, AB Canada Email:email@example.com
8. Gammadaa Ukaash (President) Dr. Ahmed Galchu (Vice-President and contact person) Chair, Oromian-Canadian Association of British Colombia 42055 Marpole Ave Vancouver, BC V6P 6T2 Canada Email: Tel: 604-837-326 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
9. Ibrahim Jawaro Iresa Chair, Sikko Mando Self-Help Association 64027-11528 Street 107 Ave NW Edmonton, AB T5H 0Y7 Canada
10. Nure Sharifa President, Oromo Community Association of British Colombia 218-55 West Broadway Vancouver, BC V5Y 1P1 Canada Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Addisu Beyene Kello President, Oromo Association of Manitoba 57 Barber St. Winnipeg, MB R2W 3J6 Canada Phone: 204-942-1521 Email: email@example.com
12. Daniel Gemechu Ayana President, Winnipeg Oromo Youth Association 22 Royal Crescent Winnipeg, MB R2V 1J7 Canada
13. Yeshi Abeya Olkeba Chair, United Oromo Church Fellowship of Manitoba 59 Academy Rd. Winnipeg, MB R3M 0E2 Canada
14. Abdalla Hassen Chair, Oromo-Canadian Community Association of Hamilton 946 Mohawk Rd East Hamilton, ON L8T 2S2 Canada Tel: 289-700-4236
15. Abdulhamid Mohammed President, Oromo-Canadian Community Association of Toronto 94 A Kenhar Dr. Unit 3 Toronto, ON M9L 1N2 Canada Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
16. Badri Adem President, Oromo-Canadian Cultural Association 94 A Kenhar Dr. Unit 3 Toronto, ON M9L 1N2 Canada
17. Garoma Wakessa Director, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa Email: email@example.com Tel: 416-705-8723 Fax: 416-767-7223
18. Giifty Mussa President, Oromo-Canadian Cultural Association of Ottawa 27 Tierney Dr. Ottawa, ON K2J 4T3 Canadainfo@ottawaoromocommunity.org firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com (613) 769-3948)
19. Martha Kuwee Kumsa President, Oromo-Canadian Community Association of Waterloo Region 19 Tami Court Kitchener, ON N2B 3V2 Canada Phone: 519-885-832 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
20. Pastor Dr. Mezgebu Tucho President, United Evangelical Oromo Churches in Canada 1110-390 Dixon Rd Toronto, ON M9R 1T4 Canada Phone: 647-721-6361 Email: Pmezge7abd@gmail.com
21. Wondimu Senbeto Chair of Elders’ Council, Oromo Evangelical Church of Ottawa St Martins Anglican Church of Ottawa 2120 Prince Charles Rd Ottawa, ON K2A 3L3 Canada
22. Yusuf Ahmed Hergeya Oromo Relief Association in Ontario 94 A Kenhar Dr. Unit 3 Toronto, ON M9L 1N2 Canada
23. Zelalem Gemeda Chair, The Oromo Christian church of Toronto
330 Bellamy Rd N Toronto, ON M1H 1E8 Canada email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
24. Finte Adem Chair, Oromo Community Association of Saskatchewan Inc. 4238 England Road Regina, SK S4R 4N9 Canada
25. Mohammed Danfa Chair, Saskatchewan Oromo Self-Help Association Corporation 318 Winnipeg Ave. South Saskatoon, SK S7M 3M4 Canada email@example.com
The Honourable Stéphane Dion Minister of Foreign Affairs Global Affairs Canada 125 Sussex Drive Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2 Fax: 613-996-9709 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon UN Secretary-General First Avenue at 46th Street New York, NY 10017 USA Email: email@example.com Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 1-212-963-1234 Fax: 1-212-963 4879 http://www.un.org
Joachim Rücker President of the Human Rights Council, Ninth Cycle (2015) Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Palais des Nations CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
E-mail: email@example.com Email: InfoDesk@ohchr.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Tel: 1-202-395-2020 Fax: 1-202-456-2461 E-mail: email@example.com https://www.whitehouse.gov/
Secretary of State John Kerry US Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520 Telephone: 202-647-5291 Fax: 202-647-6434 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Email email@example.com https://register.state.gov/
Ambassador Samantha Power US Ambassador to the United Nations Permanent Mission to the United Nations 799 UN Plaza New York, NY 10017-3505 (212)415-4000; fax: (212)415-4443 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Hruby US State Department Ethiopia Desk Officer Email: HrubyLP@state.gov
Martin Schulz President of the European Parliament Rue Wiertz 60 1047 Bruxelles, Belgique Email: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/
The Right Honouralbe David Cameron Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 10 Downing Street
London, UK SW1A 2AA Tel: 020 7930 4433 Email email@example.com.
The Right Honourable Philip Hammond Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Foreign and Commonwealth Office King Charles Street London, SW1A 2AH Tel: 020 7008 1500 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.gov.uk/government/
The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull Prime Minister of Australia PO Box 6022 House of Representatives Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone: 02-6277 7700 Fax: 02-6273 4100 Email: https://www.pm.gov.au/contact-
The Honourable Julie Bishop Minister of Foreign Affairs PO Box 6022 House of Representatives Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone: 02-6277-7500 Fax: 02-6273-4112 Email: Julie.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au
Chancellor Angela Merkel Chancellor of Germany CDU-Bundesgeschäftsstelle Konrad-Adenauer-Hau Klingelhöferstraße 8 Berlin 10785 Germany Phone: 49 (0)30 – 220 70-0 Fax: 49 (0)30 – 220 70-111 Email: email@example.com
Frank-Walter Steinmeier The Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany Werderscher Markt 1 10117 Berlin Germany Phone: 49-22899 535-0 Fax: 49-3018 535-2501 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.auswaertiges-amt.de/EN/
Matteo Renzi Prime Minister of Italy Sardinia, Italy Phone: 39 0574 44.89.96 Fax: 39 0574 40.01.98 Email: email@example.com
Erna Solberg Prime Minister of Norway Postboks 8001 Dep 0030 Oslo Phone: 47 22 24 90 90 Fax: 47 22 24 95 00 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.regjeringen.no/nb/
Børge Brende Minister of Foreign Affairs PO Box 8114 Dep N-0032 Oslo, Norway Phone: 47 23 95 00 00 Fax: 47 23 95 00 99 Email:email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stefan Löfven Prime Minister of Sweden Rosenbad 4 SE 103 33 Stockholm Sweden Phone: 46 8 405 10 00 Email:registrator@primeminister.
Margot Wallström Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden