CREW strongly condemns the killing of students and their supporters from within the community in the various parts of Oromia region in Ethiopia. Sixteen students were killed at Ambo University alone and more than ten students at other universities in the region. They were killed by government security forces for protesting against a new Integrated Development Master Plan of the city of Addis Ababa which the students believe is a plan to annex several towns in the area and displace Oromo farmers.
Killing peaceful protesters does not solve problems. Problems should be solved through dialogue. The students have the right to protest and the government should look into their case and respond in a responsible manner. Using violence rather than settling differences peacefully will exacerbate the situations.
CREW appeals to all political, religious and civic society leaders to step up their efforts and intercede to calm the situation before things go out of hand. Ethiopia is a country with people of diverse backgrounds. Issues that are ethnic-based can be manipulated easily and emotions will dictate the outcome. The government should avoid every instance that might instigate ethnic conflicts.
Freedom of speech and assembly are essential elements to develop a democratic government. That is also enshrined in the Ethiopian constitution. Violence should be condemned by all groups. Ethiopians worldwide, the international community and human rights organizations should condemn these inhumane actions taken by the Ethiopian security forces. The perpetrators who killed peaceful demonstrators must be brought to justice.
Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, peace and human rights organization created to promote the rights of Ethiopian women worldwide. Address: P.O Box 10412, Silver Spring, MD 20914, USA — E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Website: www.centerforethiopianwomen.org