Ethiopian Human Rights Commission Discloses its Investigation Findings

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission Discloses its Investigation Findings

Addis Ababa, April 19/2017 (EHRC) Ethiopian Human Rights Commission presents its investigation findings concerning the past chaos happened from June to October 2016 in some zones of the Oromia, Amhara and Gedio zone of southern Nations, Nationalities and People region to the House of People Representatives(HoPR) on 18 April, 2017.

Speaking on the commission's investigation report to the parliament, His Excellency Dr. Addisu Gebreigzabhier said that the investigation has been conducted in 91 kebeles and towns 15 zones of Oromia, in 55 weredas of 5 zones of Amhara and in 6 woredas and towns in Gedio zone of the Southern Nation and Nationalities and People Regional state.

In reporting the Oromia's case, the Chief Commissioner said that Oromia Media Network (OMN) has called uprising via its media outlets on July 7 and September 5/2016.  Similarly uprising calls have been made by OMN and its affiliates during the Irecha Festivity which took place at Hora Arsedi Lake in Bishefitu Town on 22 October 2016 and the terrorist elements like OLF has also used the opportunity to fuel the chaos, the Chief Commissioner added. In this regard, the Chief Commissioner noted that the security forces did not put in place any military measure except firing tear gas during the chaos at the Irecha festival.

According to the chief commissioner, the local community leaders, known as Aba Gedas, who usually lead the ceremony, have transmitted message so that the festival would be celebrated on a peaceful manner and on the other side the local committee who organize the event have invited citizens via different medias to come to the festival as a result of which 2.5 millions of people have come to the festival.

In Western Arsi, Balie and the Guji zones said the Chief Commissioner, the turmoil was supported by armed forces, and hence the security measure taken to save innocent people's lives was fair and proportional. However, added the chief commissioner, the measures taken in Bale Robe and Eastern Harerghie, where 28 people have died as well as the case of Bedesa town was not fair and proportional.

The Chief Commissioner mentioned that it was the responsibility of the Federal and regional governments to put in place precautionary measures since they had enough prior information at their disposal about the potential occurrence of unrest during the Irecha festivity.

Furthermore, the Chief noted that though the patience that has been demonstrated by the security forces during the festivity was commendable. In addition members of organizing Committee both from the Federala and Regional shall be held accountable for the reluctance they have shown in controlling the unrest that has occurred in Bishoftu town on the morrow of the festival day.

It was found out that that chaos which occurred during August 6 and September 6/2016 and other uprisings occured after the Irecha festival were support by daggers, swords, benzenes and other fuels and hence they were resulted in loss of people's lives and destructions of developmental infrastructures which were the source of foreign currency.

The report shows that the demonstrations that were not recognized by the government and led by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) and Oromia Media Network were resulted in attacks targeting nationalities, destruction of religions equality and violation of people's right to life. The report disclosed that in the chaos 462 civilian people and 33 security forces, a total of 495 people have lost their lives and 338 civilian people and 126 security forces, a total of 464 people have been injured.

On a similar note, the Chief said that, the government bodies who are responsible for the death of 2 people who attempted to block a bridge and road in Eastern Shewa and Adami Tulu and the death of 14 people who attempted to escape from a correction center in Adami Tulu shall be held accountable by law. The Chief Commissioner further noted that those who are responsible for the death of 38 people and injury of 62 people in Eastern and Western Harerghie zones should also be held accountable by law.

In concluding this part of the report, the Commissioner remarked that the Federal government and the Oromia regional state administration shall exert a joint effort in prevention and control of ethnic hatred, religious extremism and targeted attacks of other Nationalities.

His Excellency the Chief Commissioner Dr. Addisu in his presentation on finding of the investigation in to the chaos in Amhara region, stated that the immediate cause of the chaos in the region was the dissemination of fake rumors through terror destined media such as ESAT that the effort to arrest terror plot suspected individuals on 11 July/2015, was deliberately done to divert attention from the issue of wilkeite's identity claim.

According to the report, the subsequent demonstrations in the regional state were not legally authorized and the demonstrators were actively engaged in illegal activities such as burning the national flag and targeted attacks against specific nationalities. As a result, the chaos was resulted in the death of 110 civilian people and 30 security forces, and 236 civilian people and 100 security forces were injured.

In reporting the security measure taken in the region during the chaos, the Commissioner indicated that the security measure taken in the locality called Maraki area in Gondar town, on 25 July 2016 was fair and proportional. The commission further contended that the measure taken in Bahir Dar correction center, in Jiga and Libokemekem are also proportional. Nevertheless, the report shows that the measure taken by the security forces on those who blocked a road in Dembiya, Debark, Wegera, and Debretabor at those who have thrown stones on vehicles, and the measure taken during the incident in Simada, Ebnat and Worota where two people have died and in that of the incident of Dangila the security measure taken is found to be unnecessary and disproportionate.

Similarly in its report on the chaos happened in 4 weredas and two city administrations of Gedio Zone of southern Nations, Nationality and People, the Commission disclosed that 34 people have been killed and 178 people have been injured on October 6/2016.

In this regard, the commission recommended that those local bodies like the Gedio Zone administrative bodies, police forces and the Gedio's People's Democratic Originations who have taken part in an attack targeting non Gedio nationalities shall be held accountable by law. The commission further recommended that the zone and the regional administration should work close to each other in creating favorable condition so that those Gedio and non Gedio nationalities who lost their personal belonging owing to the disturbances can be rehabilitated.

Finally in forwarding some recommendations to remedy the past violations and the non-repetition of the same in the future, the commission underlined the importance of the following key remedial and corrective actions. The realization of good governance, creation of job opportunity for the youth, rehabilitation of those who lost their personal belonging, prevention of targeted attack against nationalities, making sure that those members of the various security forces who are responsible for the use of disproportionate force are brought to justice and realizing the right of people to justice and control of illicit small arms trade.



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