hjd - ECOTERRA Intl. welcomes the long asked for closing of the torture chambers in Ethiopia - especially Mae'kelawi - and that all political prisoners shall be set free, but cautions that as long as the corrupt and TPLF mastered judiciary is in place, activists, freedom fighters and politicians still can be tagged and held as criminals and criminals be released as political prisoners.
"The sudden move will be praised if true, but we shall see how the implementation works out," said Hiyessa Galdessa, human rights activist with ECOTERRA Africa Node, who presses for the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples Rights and the long demanded right of the Oromo people to be independent from the forced conglomerate called today Ethiopia.
ECOTERRA Intl. also demands the immediate withdrawal of all Ethiopian agents from neighbouring Kenya and Egypt who have been hunting dissident refugees since years. Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers are regularly disappeared or illegally snatched in several African countries to where they flee. If apprehended they are by force brought back into these very torture prisons in Ethiopia.
Such was also the fate of three world-class athletes, who staged a very peaceful protest for Oromo freedom during an international competition in Durban, South Africa. Their minders and embassy agents arrested them and brought them into jail in Ethiopia, while four others from their team could escape. These two women and two men are since then holed up in South Africa in fear and are awaiting asylum possibly in Canada, while UNHCR and officials drag their feet.
One of the most prominent spiritual leaders of the Oromos, internationally renowned scholar Dabassa Guyo Saffaro was disappeared in the evening hours of the yearly Oromo Thanksgiving celebrations - called Irreechaa - on 27. September 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. His fate is still unknown, but a later leaked hunting list with which the Ethiopian Government demanded the extradition of political "terrorists" from Kenya had him prominently on slot number one. ECOTERRA Intl. demands since then from both governments to reveal the truth and - if he is still alive - to release him immediately and unconditionally. Guyo Dabassa was outspoken about maintaining peace and the revival of the Oromiya nation-state.
Article 39 of the Ethiopian Constitution states: “Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has an unconditional right to self-determination, including the right to secession.”
"This Constitution was adopted in 1994. and ratified in 1995. Between that year and the present, the “right of self-determination” among the country’s nine official “states,” within the official federal system, has never been implemented, remarked former US ambassador Hank Cohen recently.
This right does also apply for the smaller indigenous nations in Southern Ethiopia, against whom outright genocide has been waged by the Addis governance in the name of developments like dam building and grabbing of fertile land for foreign investors in agriculture.
Ethiopia to release all political prisoners, close camp
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — In a surprise move, Ethiopia’s leader on Wednesday announced plans to drop charges against political prisoners and close a notorious prison camp in what he called an effort to “widen the democratic space for all.”
Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn’s comments came after anti-government protests engulfed much of the restive Oromia and Amhara regions in recent months, bringing many businesses, universities and transport networks to a standstill. The sometimes deadly protests, the most serious since the current government came to power in 1991, spread into other parts of the East African country, leading to a months-long state of emergency that has since been lifted.
It was not immediately clear how many political prisoners were being held across the country, a close U.S. security ally.
Ethiopians were quick to respond, even with social media sites currently blocked.
“I’m writing you this struggling with my tears,” wrote renowned blogger and former detainee Befeqadu Hailu. “All these pledges need to be implemented immediately.”
Rights groups and opposition groups in Ethiopia had been calling for the release of political prisoners, saying they were arrested on trumped-up charges and were being punished for their points of view. Ethiopia’s government has long been accused of arresting critical journalists and opposition leaders.
Some of the prominent politicians currently in custody include opposition leaders Bekele Gerba and Merara Gudina. A number of journalists also remain in detention.
The months of protests demanding wider freedoms began in late 2015 and led to hundreds of reported deaths and tens of thousands of arrests while disrupting one of Africa’s fastest growing economies.
“The crackdown on the political opposition saw mass arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials and violations of the rights to freedom of expression and association,” rights group Amnesty International has said.