Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Ethiopian-American Muslim Community in Washington Deplores Continued Gross Human Rights Violation by Ethiopian Government

Dimtsachin Yisema, DC

The Ethiopian-American Muslim community in the Washington metropolitan area is dismayed and disgusted with the gross violation of basic human rights by the Ethiopian government against the peace loving Ethiopian Muslims. Not only has the Ethiopian government ignored the legitimate and peaceful demands of citizens, it has chosen more repressive measures as an answer to their demands of religious freedom and the rule of law. As a result, peaceful protesters have been killed, beaten up, tortured, and jailed all over the country. Some have allegedly even been kidnapped by government security forces, and their whereabouts are unknown.

According to Ethiopian Satellite Television, more than 1000 Muslim students have been dismissed from government owned Bahirdar University because of their faith. Amnesty International report AFR 25/016/2012 indicated 17 prominent leaders of the Peaceful Struggle and many more have been in jail since July 2012, and were tortured and now facing trumped up charges before a kangaroo court.

International and regional human rights watchdogs including semi-governmental organizations have continuously condemned the Ethiopian government's Human Rights transgressions to no avail. In its report dated November 8, 2012, the US Council on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) expressed its deep concern about the increasing deterioration of religious freedoms for Muslims in Ethiopia. Contrary to these, on February 6, 2013, disregarding both national and international laws, the state owned TV aired an ill-doctored and misleading documentary of cut and paste titled "Jihadawi Harakat" that tried to portray Ethiopian Muslims as complicit in terrorism with Al-Qaida and Al-Shabab, and even Boko Haram. Furthermore, an 18-minute separate clip featured a handcuffed and malnourished Ustaz Abubaker – the chairman of the Arbitration Committee - being interrogated on national TV with the interrogators sarcastically laughing and mocking at him and Islam.

From these facts, we want the world to know, especially western donor countries, that the leaders of the peaceful struggle in the custody of the Ethiopian government will never get justice where a federal high court injunction was overridden by a political operative, which clearly manifested the non-existence of rule of law in Ethiopia. Based on the news from BBN radio, a few days back, the Mayor of Addis Ababa was quoted by the media ordering security forces to indiscriminately stamp unarmed civilians with tanks and armored vehicles.

Therefore, we at Dimtsachin Yisema, DC are appealing to the international community to pay attention to the crimes being committed by the Ethiopian government on its own people before it is too late. It goes without saying that Ethiopian Christians and Muslims have tremendous faith in each and will weather the calamity they are facing in unison. As the unity of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is also a victim to the divisive machinations and policies of the Ethiopian government, we are inviting our Ethiopian Christian brothers and sisters to join and march with us in the demonstration in pursuit of our common agenda of religious freedom back home.
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