Immediate investigation into massacres and human rights abuses against our community

13 April 2017

Dr. Abiy Ahmed

Prime Minister of Ethiopia

PETITION: - Immediate investigation into massacres and human rights abuses against our community

Excellency,

We, the undersigned representatives of the Reer Isaaq (Ogaden) community (from Degahbour zone), welcome you as the first Oromo Prime Minister of Ethiopia. We hope your election will bring all Ethiopians closer, in particular Somali and Oromo brothers who share long history of brotherhood and neighbourhood.

In writing this letter to you, we are not assuming that we are the only community in Ethiopia or in the Somali Region for that matter that have been affected by the grave human rights abuses of the past decades. We are aware of the violent history and the crimes committed by successive regimes against civilians, including the people of Somali Region.

The violence and human rights abuses in the Somali Region have affected all clans. However, some communities were disproportionately affected having been targeted for political reasons. One of these communities is the community we represent, the Reer Isaaq clan (from Degahbour zone).

From 2007, the Somali Region President Abdi Mohamud Omer declared an open war on our community as part of a campaign of collective punishment of those he says are “sympathizers and supporters of the ONLF” – an armed group that has members from all Ogaden and even other somali clans. We have audiovisual evidences of the speeches and decisions made by the President regarding our community.

These speeches and the actions that followed led to massacres, notably the Gunagado massacre and the Gosololeey massacre. It also led to the indiscriminate killings of our men and women and the unlawful arrest of our community elders, businessmen and youth. Hundreds of them are still in detention as we write to you. Most are held in Jail Ogaden, the notorious prison in jigjiga.

We do not want to seek justice through the traditional way of taking revenge on the officials who committed the crimes against our community. We want to avoid bloodshed and revenge killings. The situation is extremely tense and the government needs to move fast to investigate and address the grievances of our communities as well as the other communities that were affected by the injustices committed against them.

We urge your government to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate the crimes committed against the people of the Somali Region by the current President of the region. We believe the crimes that need to be investigated are not limited to those committed by the current President since extrajudicial killings were the order of the day in the region for the last 30 years. However, we believe the people of the region have never experienced the type and scale of the atrocities committed in the last ten years.

Our community on the ground is ready to provide all the necessary information to any inquiry team sent by the government.

Thank you.

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Golaha Guurtida Reer Isaaq    Contact the author of the petition

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