This past week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ethiopia. During his visit, he met with multiple officials and members of civil society, including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, the signatories of the Pretoria peace agreement, and Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
While OLLAA has long criticized the US government for its failure to acknowledge and condemn human rights violations inside the Oromia region, we note that Secretary Blinken did call some attention to the situation in Oromia during his visit. During his meeting with PM Abiy, Secretary Blinken reportedly “expressed concerns about the situation in Oromia and the need for a resolution through dialogue.”
However, we remain disappointed that Secretary Blinken did not take this opportunity to explicitly condemn violence in Oromia, including the recent attacks in Guji by regional security forces and the ongoing military campaign against the OLA in central and western Oromia. We, therefore, call on the US government to condemn credible allegations of human rights violations against Oromo civilians throughout the country.
As noted by OLLAA’s Executive Director, Seenaa Jimjimo:
“This visit by Secretary Blinken to Ethiopia represents yet another failure by the US government to properly address the situation in Oromia and to condemn human rights violations against Oromo civilians. A week before his visit, several Oromo civilians were killed in the Guji zone by regional security forces while federal forces continued their campaign against the OLA in central and western Oromia, leading to countless violations of ordinary civilians’ human rights. More importantly, it is appalling that the US government would choose this moment to discuss transitional justice as war still rages on throughout Oromia. Secretary Blinken and the US government failed to use this visit as an opportunity to press for a negotiated peace agreement between the Ethiopian government and the OLA before transitional justice measures are adopted.”