Kindly requesting not to implement forced repatriation on Oromo nationals who were denied protection

  • by: Oromo Action Group
  • target: His Excellency Mr. Jens Stoltenberg Prime Minister of Norway

The agreement (memorandum of understanding) signed between the Kingdom of Norway and the dictatorial government of Ethiopia on the 26th of January 2012 provides ground for involuntary repatriation of Oromo nationals who were denied protection or asylum in Norway.

Given the records of human rights abuses of the Ethiopian government and its harsh treatments of Oromo activists, we are strongly concerned for the safety and well-being of these asylum seekers especially in view of the fact that Oromo nationals who were forcefully deported from the neighboring countries in the past have been mistreated, imprisoned, tortured, disappeared, sentenced to death and some executed.  

We have no doubt that if Oromo nationals who were denied protection or asylum in Norway (and who have been actively participated in Oromo affaires in Norway as member of Oromo Community, taking part in fundraisings and meetings in support of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and staging demonstrations against Meles Zenawi and his government) are forced to return to Ethiopia, they will be subjected to persecution in the forms of harassment, imprisonment, physical beatings, and psychological torture or could even be killed without any due process of law.

International human rights organizations reports indicate that the human rights violations against Oromo nationals in Ethiopia have been worsened immensely in the last few years (for example see FIDH - Worldwide Human Rights Movement, http://www.fidh.org/ETHIOPIA-2010-2011: Date : Friday 27 January 2012  and HRW - Human Rights Watch: World Report 2012, 22 January 2012 http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/208805/314355_en.html (accessed 15 February 2012).

Kindly request His Excellency Mr. Jens Stoltenberg Prime Minster of Norway that until such a time when a government that believes in the rule of law, respects the human and democratic rights of the Oromo nationals is established in Ethiopia, Oromo nationals who were denied protection or asylum in Norway should not be forced to return to the country from which they fled in order to save their lives.

Glacisgata 1


Postboks 8001 Dep,


0030 Oslo, Norway


postmottak@smk.dep.no


kesp@smk.dep.no



Subject: Requesting not to Implement Forced Repatriation on Oromo Nationals



Your Excellency Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg:



We the undersigned this petition letter kindly request you not to implement forced repatriation on Oromo nationals who were denied protection or asylum in Norway. Norway has a proud tradition of providing shelter for asylum seekers and resettlement for refugees from different parts of the world, including thousands of Oromo nationals.  We thank the government and people of Norway for welcoming the victims of human rights abuses in Ethiopia, especially Oromo nationals, who were forced to flee from their homeland to save their lives.  However, we are truly disheartened and greatly alarmed by the prospect of those very Oromo asylum seekers to be returned to Ethiopia, where they are subjected to arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention without trial, confiscation of property and extrajudicial execution without any due process of law.


The Oromo people that constitute the largest proportion of the country’s population are suppressed and denied their legitimate right of self-determination. Since Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia seized power in 1991, his regime has consistently waged war on the Oromos and other peoples in Ethiopia in violating their basic human and democratic rights. The Ethiopian government human rights record has continuously been criticized by both international and domestic human rights organizations, including the Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Ethiopian Human Rights Council, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa, Oromia Support Group, Worldwide Human Rights Movement, Survival International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Commission of Jurors, the U.S. State Department, World Organization Against Torture, the European Parliament, Oromo Human Rights and Relief Organizations and so on. All of these reports reveal that Oromia is the epicenter of human rights violations committed by the Ethiopian regime. Oromo nationals have been imprisoned, tortured and killed extra-judicially for no apparent reason other than being an Oromo, expressing Oromo national feeling and for their support for independent Oromo organizations such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).



Your Excellency,


According to recent human rights reports, the “restrictive Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (adopted in 2009) has been used to justify arrests of both journalists and members of the political opposition” (HRW - Human Rights Watch: World Report 2012, 22 January 2012). Anti-terror law is to silence groups that are critical of the government, particularly opposition politicians and the independent media. It has been used to criminalize freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. In June 2011 the Ethiopian House of Federations officially proscribed the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and Ginbot 7—labeling them terrorist organizations. Worldwide Human Rights Movement (FIDH), 2012 statesin March 2011, around 200 ethnic Oromo opposition members were arrested, including at least 68 people from the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM). On March 30, 2011, the Government reportedly confirmed that 121 were detained without charge and alleged that they were members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), an armed group that is banned in Ethiopia.” According to 2012 Human Rights Watch, attacks on political opposition and dissent persisted throughout 2011, with mass arrests of ethnic Oromo, including members of the Oromo political opposition in March, and a wider crackdown with arrests of journalists and opposition politicians from June to September 2011.” 


The Oromos flee their homeland because of the chronic and recurring problems as a result of deep rooted political conflict that caused injustices, systematic discrimination, persecution, large scale arbitrary detentions, disappearance, torture, and extra judicial killings by the tyrannical regime of Ethiopia. Many Oromo nationals, who managed to escape from persecution in Ethiopia, are either killed or face forced repatriation by the agents of the Ethiopian regime in the neighboring states of Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia and the Sudan and even South Africa. Those who are not killed in the neighboring states face the danger of forced repatriation and/or cross-border raids by Ethiopian government security forces. For instance, two UHNCR –mandated Oromo refugee engineers from Kenya refugee center, namely Mesfin Abebe and Tesfahun Chemeda, who were repatriated to Ethiopia in 2009 were sentenced to death and life imprisonment respectively in 2010 ( see Oromia Support Group 2010 Report on Human Rights in Ethiopia. http://www.oromo.org/osg/pr46_2.html). According to Oromia Support Group 2011 Report on Human Rights in Ethiopia, seven returnees to Ethiopia who were voluntary return from Germany, Norway and UK have been arrested on arrival and each of them was tortured (see http://www.oromo.org/osg/pr47.pdf).


Your Excellency,



We have no doubt that if Oromo nationals who were denied protection or asylum in Norway (and who have been actively participated in Oromo affaires in Norway as member of Oromo Community, taking part in fundraisings and meetings in support of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and staging demonstrations against Meles Zenawi and his government) are forced to return to Ethiopia, they will be subjected to persecution in the forms of harassment, imprisonment, physical beatings, and psychological torture or could even be killed without any due process of law.



We strongly ask your government not to implement forced repatriation on Oromo nationals who were denied protection or asylum in Norway. We kindly request that until such a time when a government that believes in the rule of law, respects the human and democratic rights of the Oromo and others is established in Ethiopia, Oromo nationals who were denied protection or asylum in Norway should not be forced to return to the country from which they fled in order to save their lives. As the Prime Minister of Norway, the beckon of hope for the survival of those asylum seekers, you have overwhelming moral responsibility not to allow their deportation to the Ethiopian government whose persecution they have escaped. We are optimist that your government will not hand over Oromo asylum seekers for death penalties, persecution in the forms of harassment, imprisonment, physical beatings, and psychological torture in the hands of cruel and brutal government.

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