The following is a statement from the Oromo Community Organization of Las Vegas.
It’s extremely sad to hear, day after day, the deaths, torturing, exiling, and imprisonment of our innocent people in the hands of the Ethiopian government. Just for expressing their thoughts; standing up for their rights; aspiring for freedom, justice and equality; believing in their identity; and being themselves, many have been exposed to exile, torture and even get beaten up to death. Oromo from all walks of life were/have been, and are still, being targeted by the Ethiopian regimes from past to present. Many students have been suspended or dismissed from their schools; farmers have been removed from their land; merchants have been denied their licenses; and journalists and artists have been forced to leave their country just because of advocating for basic human rights.
At different times, from elementary schools to higher educations, several talented Oromo students have been killed, tortured or jailed for many years just because of their being outstanding students, and raising simple and basic human rights questions. It’s also not uncommon to see Oromo students being dismissed in mass from their schools. There have been several occasions while families are awaiting eagerly for the graduation of their sons/daughters from colleges, but the lives of their sons/daughters sadly end up in jail or death. To mention some of the students, out of many; Sime Taraffa, Gaaddisaa Hirphasa, Alamaayyoo Garbaa, Jagaamaa Badhane were killed by uncompassionate security forces of the Ethiopian government. High caliber students, such as Taayyee Danda’a and Galata Bazzaa (two of the many Oromo students), are being severely mistreated in Kalitti Prison. It’s clear why the government is targeting active students who always speak out for their rights. The purpose is simple; the government is clearing Oromo scholars from grassroots so that it can ride the rest of the society as its will. Recently, at Haramaya University, many students were beaten by security forces rather than addressing students’ simple demand related to an investigation of campus-wide food poising. It has been reported that many students are seriously sick because of consuming poisoned food at their campus dinning cafeteria.
Countless Oromo politicians are languishing in prisons because of struggling for their people’s rights. They have been denied their basic rights, tortured, even prevented from getting any medical service, which is against international human rights laws, and their families have been left without any support. Some of them sadly pass away while serving in the prison. For example, while the death of Eng. Tasfahun Camadaa is still fresh in the minds of the Oromo people, we have been told that another Oromo political prisoner, Obbo Ahmed Nejash, died in prison, and nobody knows where his body is yet. Currently, a number of Oromo prisoners’ lives are at critical conditions. They are not getting medical service, and many of them are confined to small rooms – which aggravates their sickness.
We are also observing that the government is instigating violence between Oromo and their neighboring societies. Many lives have been lost, and many people have been removed from their home and exposed to difficult situations.
We, the Oromo Community of Las Vegas, condemn all sorts of Ethiopian government’s cruel acts on our people, such as dismissing our students from schools and jailing them instead of answering their questions properly; displacing our people from their home land; instigating violence among Oromo clans living in the neighboring countries, and among Oromo and neighboring ethnic groups; forcing our political prisoners to languish in the confinements and refusing to set them free after they have finished their prison years; and killing our people in irresponsible way. We consider the pains of our people as our own pain, and we will remain their voice.
Oromo Community of Las Vegas,
February 12, 2014