Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners – Canada
July 18, 2020
Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners – Canada (SOCEPP-CAN) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established to combat abuse of human rights in Ethiopia. SOCEPP-CAN has been legally registered and has been operating in Canada since 1995. It has been actively involved in campaigning for the protection of human and political rights in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. In tandem with other campaigners, SOCEPP-CAN works to see a world where all human beings could live in harmony enjoying there freedom and exercising there rights without limitations.
SOCEPP-Canada is highly alarmed and deeply worried by situations transpiring in Ethiopia in recent weeks. We are making this call to the world, primarily to the Government of Ethiopia, to take meaningful legal and administrative measures to protect it’s citizens and assure them there
rights to life.
The world must act now to stop the mass killings that took place in Ethiopia in recent weeks to destroy targeted ethnic or religious groups following a targeted and an orchestrated assassination of an Oromo pop-star, Hachaluu Hundessa. We are deeply saddened by the brutal death of over 240 people who were mostly killed due to there identities. It has also caused serious bodily injuries of over 400 people, mental harms and evictions of over 3500 people and deliberate destruction of over 200 properties and establishments.
The world must stand with Ethiopians as the situation is taking the character of Genocide and halt it before it destroys the nation and it catches the rest of the world by a complete shock. The ethnically organized ‘Federal’ Administration for the past three decades has created a classification between people and divided them into “them’ and “us”. Ethiopia did not take sufficient preventive measures throughout these years and some of the new generations of young people have grown up and passed through ethnically intoxicated institutions that are less governed by universalistic laws and which at the same time are responsible for the production and reproduction of divisions, suspicions and hate among people.
Over the past three decades, a minority ethnic group held the lion’s share of the political, economic, military and security apparatus, while symbolizing certain ethnic group as oppressors, colonizers, brutal killers or snatchers.
Ethiopia has now over one hundred political parties which mostly are organized along ethnic lines and they have been allowed to legally operate across the country. This has stemmed from an ethnically charged constitution that passes or doesn’t recognize full citizenship and voting rights for all groups across all it’s nine or ten ethnically divided regional states of the country. As a result, millions of innocent and ethnically moderate or neutral citizens are discriminated from exercising there full civic rights including the rights for being elected even if they were born, grown up and speak the language and well versed with the culture of diverse ethnic groups.
The staging of targeted killings has been aggravated in the past two years following the organization of clandestine youth groups under different names, having tagged with the ring leaders of ethnically organized ‘political’ groups. Some have reportedly become so extremists and explicitly destructive in recent human killings that happened in Addis Ababa, Finfinee Special Zone, East and West Arsi, Bale, East and West Haragre, West Shoa and Jimma Zones.
The incumbent government and International bodies should have imposed on these illegal and destructive elements that have been involved in the massacre and create an independent platform to investigate the violations and crimes
Another activating agent in recent mass austerities was evidenced by the hate groups’ broadcasts that were serving as hate propaganda producing machines. At least three media outlets were observed to have used hate mass propaganda, portraying extreme ethnic distinctions, defining one group as ‘the enemy’ over the other. The propaganda by these media fueled hysterical hate against certain ethnic groups labeling them in there own land and under
the socially interwoven fabric as an ‘invading force’ and commonly encouraging retaliatory massacres against them. There propaganda played a supportive role in facilitating the atrocities, as well as created breeding ground for establishing the pre-conditions for the mass-killings.
The social media activists, especially from the Ethiopian diasporas community, have abused the
freedom of speech bestowed to them by the countries that hosted them and worked to create division through hate speech that in turn led to large scale violence. Such hate speeches were propagated by few ethnically extremist activist diasporas sitting in the capitals of the nations that offered them naturalized citizenship, notable countries such as the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. These conflict mongers need to face justice in accordance with the laws of the land that granted them citizenship or residence permits.
It was unfortunate to learn that such hate speeches and continuous mass media campaigns
were translated into mass killings by extremist youth groups, which demonstrates the evidence of the presence of central coordination which is common in similar tragedies. The mass killing was planned, the victims were identified and the attacks were conducted solely due to there ethnic or religious identities. The Government of Ethiopia was late to prevent the killings and damages which were instigated by these media. On the other hand, security protection for public figures, celebrities, moderate leaders or assistance to human rights groups should have been stronger than it’s present state although admirably the Government of
Ethiopia reversed the Coups d’état reportedly plotted by extremists’ groups. This journey towards power seizure through violence should be further condemned by the international community. Especially, the international community has the moral responsibility to make hate media and the proprietors who live outside of Ethiopia be accountable to there hate-crimes and the prolonged damages on the existence of the basic social fabric of the Ethiopian people.
As in many complex human tragedies in Europe or Rwanda, the expropriation and forced displacement of targeted ethnic groups especially across East and West Arsi, East and West Harrarge and Bale are unprecedented. Immediate and direct assistance to victim groups, targeted actions against persecutors, mobilization of humanitarian assistance, and protection of the displaced and victim-survivors must be among the priority duties of the Government of Ethiopia, it’s development partners and the civil society organizations at large.
As displayed in a similar crisis, it is not uncommon to find the proprietors of the crime and some officials within the zonal, regional and federal government of Ethiopia rationalizing or denying there act or modulating there crimes as if they were petty crimes or ordinary conflicts. This requires the exercise of justice in it’s full capacity and the punishment of the criminals by appropriate courts and in accordance with international legal systems.
Once again, we call upon the international community to condemn the crime against humanity
perpetrated in Ethiopia and demand the Ethiopian Government to bring the proprietors of the first wave of human tragedy in Ethiopia to justice. We must act now as our concerted and timely actions can only save humanity in Ethiopia. Let’s stand stronger to uphold human rights values and rescue Ethiopia from sinking into another human tragedy that could shock the rest of the world.