ONLF Statement On-Called Ethiopian Human Rights Commission

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(Ogaden Online) – Assuming a virtue it has not: the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission’s attempt to divert attention from the violation of Human rights in Ethiopia and cover-up the truthSeptember 21, 2012

Shakespeare once said, “Assume a virtue, if you have it not.” The announcement by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that it will visit prisons in Ethiopia is tantamount to Shakespearean ‘assumption of virtue’ by the Ethiopian regime

intended to divert attention from the horrible condition of the hundreds of thousands of people detained under dubious and politically motivated reasons rotting in its jails, and to pre-emptively control the damage the expected damning revelations the Swedish Journalists, Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson, will cause for the regime. In addition, the release of smuggled film footages showing torturers boasting about how they torture prisoners in Ogaden, and interviews of victims aired on Swedish TV this week, has created disarray in the Ethiopian establishment. Thus, to lessen the negative impact and fallout, the regime ordered the EHRC to visit selected prisons to ‘investigate’ prisoner’s conditions and produce a cooked-up report that will give a new lease to the habitual lies that the Ethiopian regime employs to deny the human rights abuse they commit throughout Ethiopia.

While the general condition of prisoners in Ethiopia is ghastly and appalling, the condition of prisoners in Ogaden is much worse in particular as thousands have been illegally detained, tortured and summarily executed in makeshift prison camps in every village and town run by the Ethiopian Army and security forces. Thousands more are still languishing in the infamous ‘Jail Ogaden’ and other unlisted prisons, being subjected to indescribable treatment on a daily basis.

In 2007, the UN sent a mission to investigate the situation in Ogaden, which recommended that an independent investigation be conducted in Ogaden. However, after discovering gross violations of Human Rights of the civilian population, both the UN and the Ethiopian government colluded in shelving the critical report of the mission and in hiding the slow genocide perpetrated by the Ethiopian regime in Ogaden.

Despite the outcry of international NGOs and Human Right organisations, the UN Human Rights Commission only offers occasional lip-service about the dire condition of the human rights situation in Ogaden.

It has also become fashionable lately in international circles to apportion blame for human rights abuse in Ogaden between the Ethiopian government and the ONLF instead of pressuring the Ethiopian government, a member state of UN, to respect its own constitution and observe the internationally recognized human rights treaties.

Now that the truth is out of the bag, it is no wonder that a human rights commission sponsored by the perpetrators will ‘visit certain prisons’ in order to dish out reports about how well the regime is treating prison inmates, adding few critical remarks as footnotes. Thus the regime expects the international community will grant them a clean bill of health for this futile exercise. If Ethiopia is serious about respecting prisoner rights should have not banned ICRC from visiting prisons in Ogaden and the special torture chambers in Ethiopian regions.

The crime that is being committed against the Ogaden Somalis and the Ethiopian people on a daily basis is a moral stain on the current UN leadership and the international community. Therefore ONLF appeals to the UN to mend its ways and calls upon the world body to fulfil its charter and send an independent fact finding mission to Ogaden to investigate the crimes committed against the civilian population and the continued abuse of prisoners.

ONLF calls upon the international community to be aware of the machinations of the Ethiopian regime, and disregard the expected doctored ‘findings’ of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission unless international observers are included in the commission.