Mr. António Guterres,
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt
Your Excellency Mr. Guterres,
The Board of Directors of the Macha-Tulama Association, USA, is writing this urgent letter to bring to your attention about the suffering of thousands of Oromo refugees and other nationals in Yemen, South Africa, Libya as well as in the Middle East and Africa. Among these refugees were individuals who were killed or beheaded by terrorists and other criminal elements. Furthermore, the most vulnerable elements of these refugees such as the sick, women, children and elderly are dying every day. At this moment no calling is more urgent and noble and no responsibility greater for the leadership of UNHCR than trying its very best for saving the lives of thousands of Oromo refugees and others who are trapped among warring factions in Yemen and attacked by terrorists in Libya and burned by criminals in South Africa.
The Macha-Tulama Association (MTA) is a non-profit organization legally registered in the United States of America for advancing the objective for which the main MTA was established in Oromia (Ethiopia) in 1963. For your information, the Oromo constitute the single largest national group in Ethiopia. And yet they are political minority in that country. Consequently, successive Ethiopian governments, including the present one, have banned MTA, the only civic institution of the Oromo people in the Ethiopian Empire. The MTA envisioned mobilizing Oromo citizens for fighting illiteracy, diseases, constructing schools, building roads and clinics, promoting Oromo self-consciousness, and reviving Oromo language, culture and history. It also struggled to restore the human dignity and inalienable rights of the Oromo people that have been suppressed by successive Ethiopian regimes.
Continuing the policies of the previous regimes of Ethiopia, the current minority Ethiopian government has intensified political repression as well as land-grabbing and transferring other economic resources of the Oromo and other peoples to the current government officials, their supporters and foreign corporations. It is the Ethiopian government’s policy of illegal land grabbing and political persecution of the Oromo and others that have forced the young, old,
Macha-Tulama Cooperative and Development Association USA, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization registered in the USA women and children to flee from their fatherland and get exposed to dangerous conditions in foreign lands. Oromo refugees and other nationals who have been forced to leave their homeland by the political and economic repression of the current minority Ethiopian government are exposed to gross human rights violations and terrorism. These refugees have been forced to flee from their homeland in order to seek protection from persecution, arbitrary imprisonment, torture and extra-judicial killings because of their ethno-national and religious identities, political opinions and their economic resources. According to Amnesty International report, entitled
‘Because I am Oromo: Sweeping Repression in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia, between 2011 and 2014 at least 5000 Oromo were arrested, tortured, and faced extra-judicial executions because of being Oromo, and for also peacefully demonstrating against the regime’s land grabbing policies and the so-called Addis Ababa Master Plan that has been intended to evict millions of Oromo farmers from their prime land around Addis Ababa (Finfinnee), the capital city of the Ethiopian Empire.
Unfortunately, global powers and international financial institutions indirectly finance the gross violations of human rights of the Oromo and other people claiming that the current minority Ethiopian government is “democratic” and promotes “development.” For the Oromo and other people who have been terrorized and evicted from their ancestral lands, the claims of democracy and development are just propaganda ploys. In fact, the policies of this dictatorial regime are exposing the Oromo and others to unimaginable misery. When the people have resisted illegal removal from their ancestral lands, the current Ethiopian government’s police force and soldiers have beaten and detained them without trial, and many have been killed. It was for the purpose of saving their lives that thousands of Oromo and others have fled from Ethiopia to foreign lands. However, those who fled to South Africa, Yemen and Libya have faced torture, looting, and burning; they have been also beheaded, raped, tortured and killed by criminal elements and extremists. (Please see the following sites and videos for further information).
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/20/south-africa-xenophobic-violence- migrant-workers-apartheid; http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/terrorism-security/2015/0420/Islamic-State- murders-30-African-migrants-in-Libya-while-up-to-700-died-off-coast-video
Particularly, there are thousands Oromo refugees in Yemen alone in areas including Sana, Eden and other refugee camps. The current political crises and turmoil in Yemen has put the lives of these refugees in a very dangerous condition. These refugees are trapped among warring factions without any help from international and regional organizations such as yours. Many of these refugees have been raped, imprisoned, wounded or killed. They are also exposed to terrorists, fundamentalists, slavers and human traffickers.
We are gravely concerned about the deteriorating conditions of Oromo and other refugees in Yemen, South Africa and Libya. These refugees are concentrated in camps and other places without adequate food, shelter and medical services. Therefore, we appeal to the UNHCR and your leadership to take the following urgent actions:
- First, we request that the UNHCR demand that the governments in Yemen, Libya and South Africa provide protection for Oromo and other refugees who have sought protection and safety in their countries.
- Second, we request that the UNHCR provide material support urgently for those Oromo refugees and others who are trapped among warring factions, especially in Yemen.
- Third, we appeal to the UNHCR to arrange suitable conditions with other countries for these refugees to have an opportunity for permanent settlement in third countries.
- Fourth, we request that the UNHCR seeks permanent solutions through the United Nations for eliminating political and economic conditions that have produced tens of thousands of Oromo and other refugees from Ethiopia.
- Fifth, we request that the UNHCR persuade big powers and international financial institutions not to finance the Ethiopian government’s policy of land grabbing, which has evicted tens of thousands of Oromo nationals and others from their ancestral lands.
We believe that as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the principal voice on refugee issues, you have an extraordinary opportunity to alleviate the incredible human sufferings of the Oromo and other refugees in Yemen, Libya and South Africa and in other countries. We urgently request you to take a concrete measure that will save the lives of Oromo and other refugees who are trapped among warring factions in Yemen. Additionally we request you to urge the government officials of Libya and South Africa to protect Oromo and other nationals in their countries.
Finally, we thank you for your interest in the wellbeing of the Oromo and other refugees from Ethiopia and for taking concrete actions to protect them.
Sincerely, Abera Tefera,
For the Board of Directors of the Macha-Tulama Association, USA
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary-General
The United Nations, New York. NY 10017
His Excellency John Kerry US Secretary of State Washington, D.C.20520
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