This term paper highlights only the tip of many challenges about what happens in Maekalwi and other torture prisons since many Oromos who end up in Ethiopia’s torture prisons barely survive to tell the stories, as in the case of the recent victimer Engineer Tesfahun Chemeda and thousands of others who died from barbaric acts of torture inflicted up on them for purposes of extracting information and for many other reasons, including for terrorizing the victims and making them spectacles of violence to discourage other actually or potentially strong Oromos (October , 2013 Oromo Press).
It’s not new or surprising that Ethiopia is party to many treaties and conventions on torture and human rights violations. What is surprising is the lack of will among the so-called international community to disinvest from Ethiopia or to enforce regional and international laws to end the kind of torture that singles out members of a single ethnic group.
Reports can expose injustice and making headlines can make us happy temporarily, but as long as they are not followed-up by international or regional actions, they just raise our hopes and disappoint us more, but we still need them so the stories of those people who have paid heavy prices are not lost in vain. We wait hopefully for actions to follow words while also reinvigorating our will and ability to come forward and tell these crucial stories (Human Rights Watch, 2013).
Fincila Diddaa Gabrummaa (Revolt Against Subjugation)
The popular student uprising known as the Fincila Diddaa Gabrummaa (meaning the “Revolt Against Subjugation”) was suddenly broke out on November 09, 2005 following the failed 2005 Ethiopian election in which the Oromo was denied any meaningful representation. The popular revolt started on November 09, 2005 following a call by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) to Oromo students and the entire Oromo people to peacefully oppose the government and bring to the forefront the demands of democracy, justice, and most importantly, the realization of the right of the Oromo people to self-determination (The Reporter, 13 November, 2005).
The Conditions of Oromo Prisoners and Tourturing in Prison Centers
Today, there are more than 30,000 Oromos jailed and being torturing in Ethiopian prison centers being suspected of Oromo Liberation Front members and supporters.
Prominent Oromo individuals, scholars, civil servants, businessmen/women, teachers and students, farmers are being murdered, detained, kidnapped, displaced and harassed for no crime committed. According to Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (2010/2011 cited in Ayyaantuu.com, 2011), Ethiopia contributes 47.8 percent of the world’s torture survivors who flee to the U.S.,making Ethiopia the number one country in Africa and the world with the most numerous torture survivors of the 13 countries listed. Regional human rights abusers such as Eritrea and Sudan contribute 6.5 and 2.2 percent respectively. Of the 47.8 percent torture survivors from Ethiopia, the overwhelming majority who have come forward and testified are Oromo survivors.
The TPLF-led regime mainly targets the Oromo people and oromia because of their economic resources and political resistance. Because the Oromo occupy Ethiopia’s richest areas and cover nearly half of the population of Ethiopia, they are seen as the greatest threat to the present Tigrean-led government. Subsequently, any indigenous Oromo organizations and independent Medias have been closed by the government. In an effort to destroy all peaceful Oromo movements and institutions in Ethiopia, the TPLF regime attacked all Oromo civil society members and Medias including the famous Mecha Tulema association, the OFDM and Jimma Times and Urji newspapers. We should not forget what the Macca Tulama members and oromo Journalists and activists have suffered for the last 21 years under TPLF and we always remember their peaceful struggle for justice of Oromo people in Ethiopia (Human Rights Watch, 2013: 34).
Now a days, the Oromo people can’t live in their own country and on their own land ; they are unable to cultivate, trade, produce and study in peace and freedom, the natural resources of the Oromo people and its land and minerals are on sale to foreign investors , and leaving all Oromos and our country Oromia in poverty, sadly Productive Oromo youngsters and innovative minds are being dragged to prisons and several thousands are forced to exiles in fear of persecution, speaking for justice as an oromo is entirely seen as an act of terrorism in today’s Ethiopia ( Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa,2013).
Genocide of Oromo Intellectuals
Being educated can be a risky business in Ethiopia especially if you are from ethnic group of Oromo. Students and teachers, are often among the most politically active elements of society, and are frequent victims of human rights violations including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest, and denial of freedom of association and expression. The present Ethiopian leaders (TPLF) have targeted the academic community of Oromos now a days and this can be stated as genocide based on article 2 of 1948 UN convention on genocide.
According to international conventions, genocide is the planned destruction of any economic, political or a social group. Such kind organized destruction of Oromo nationalists, Oromo Medias, journalists and the whole leaderships are characterized as genocide.
Article 2 of 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishmentof the Crime of Genocide states as follow:
“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
Oromo refugees and asylum seekers who escaped such gross human right violation and dispersed to neighboring countries like Kenya, Somaliland and Djibouti are being abducted and forcefully sent back to Ethiopia by the request of TPLF security agents who are working crossing the border in Kenya, Somaliland and Djibouti . The TPLF security forces hunting down prominent oromos by crossing the international border to take them back to Ethiopia and locking them in prison for the rest of their lives- or killing them, as a number of international Human right organizations repeatedly witnessed in their recent reports, those who sent back to Ethiopia were being tortured, sentenced and murdered in Ethiopian prison.
The recent detaintion of Engineer Tesfahun Chemeda in the kalliti prison center, held in solitary confinement, with no access to medical treatment and severe beatings for nearly two years which resulted in his death in August 2013 in such inhuman way is witnessing the continuity of TPLF government targeting and hunting down of highly qualified Oromo elites and nationalists as wild animals.
Therefore, this all systematic genocidal war waged on the Oromo people needs an urgent solution and needs an urgent intervention from all sectors of the Oromo society , oromo political organizations ,oromo nationalists and oromo activists to stand up together and fire up the struggle to bring an end to this era of darkness and genocidal in Oromia.
Options for Oromo youths and intellectuals now a day:-
A. Being tourturing in prison center
B. Being eaten by wild animals while fleeing
C. Sinking in ocean than sinking in prison center
D. Too sad underage children (voice of voiceless) in prison center instead of schooling