JOINT STATEMENT | By Four Oromo Liberation O rganizations | Minnesota – May 1, 2016
We, the representatives of four organizations which are committed to the liberation of the Oromo people and the independence of Oromia, announce that we have concluded a meeting where we discussed issues pertaining to the Oromia-wide popular protests that have rocked the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)-led unjust regime in Ethiopia. We deliberated on and reached an agreement for cooperation on ways of strengthening the protests and leading them to a successful conclusion, on the future of the liberation struggle, on the right to self-determination, on our relationships with the people of the Horn of Africa and of the world. To implement our agreement, we have established a Coordinating Committee.
It is clear that the Oromo protests that have now lasted more than five months were started to end the dictatorship of the TPLF, the rapacious system of exploitation and the heavy burden of oppression. Though they were triggered by the land grab scheme around the city of Finfinne (Addis Ababa), the uprising in Oromia was spurred by structural factors, primarily the lack of self-rule, the dearth of respect for human rights, denial of rights to self-determination and absence of genuine democratization.
The popular protests were peaceful and demonstrations were conducted in accordance with the Ethiopian Constitution. Instead of responding to the popular demands in a peaceful manner, the government chose to unleash its security forces against the peaceful protestors, firing live ammunition at unarmed men and women, young and old. Even children were not spared. As a result, hundreds were killed, several hundred wounded, and thousands rounded up and subjected to torture in prisons. We note these atrocities with profound sadness and anger.
The EPRDF/TPLF leaders bear primary responsibility for the wanton destruction of human life and property. It is our duty to work with all concerned parties to bring to justice those who perpetrated crimes. Meanwhile, we believe it is still necessary to search for a peaceful political solution to the entire problem that triggered the protests. In this vein, we have messages for the Oromo people, the EPRDF/TPLF, the Ethiopian people and to all countries who have strategic interests in the Horn of Africa.
To our dear Oromo compatriots,
Your struggle is just. You are not going to be defeated by the unlawful killings, false propaganda, and other injustices perpetrated against you. We are filled with pride that you have removed the structures of bad governance and replaced them with local committees of self-government that now maintain law and order. We have no doubt that you will continue moving along this path you have blazed. We believe that your blood that was shed and the bodily harm you sustained because of EPRDF/TPLF action will become the building blocks for constructing a free and democratic Oromia. The cases of each life that they cut short, the injuries they caused, and the innocents they herded into prisons must be documented fully. We express our full support for your uprising and assure you in the name of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice that those who committed these crimes will be brought to justice. The political organizations that stand for Oromo liberation and Oromia’s independence pledge to continue our struggle while standing alongside you. The EPDRF/TPLF has not ceased from pitting you against other peoples by murdering non-Oromo residents of Oromia, destroying their property and burning down houses of worship and then blaming everything on the Oromo protesters. This will not subvert your uprising against injustice. Recall that the EPRDF/TPLF was caught while trying to plant explosives to incriminate on what it described as “agents of unknown forces.”
To EPRDF/TPLF leaders,
Just as happened with your predecessors, the rising tide of popular uprising is about to wash away your system of oppression. This is because of your refusal to address popular demands frontally. If, however, you prefer to give peaceful means of conflict resolution and dialogue a chance, Oromo liberation forces are ready to resolve the existing political problems through peaceful means. Barring this, we would like to restate that we will intensify the ongoing struggle to bring to a successful conclusion the Oromo struggle for freedom.
To the Ethiopian people,
The lawlessness and authoritarian dictatorship of the EPRDF/TPLF has now caused the Oromo people to rise up demanding genuine democracy and respect for human rights in the face of a heavily armed military force. We are aware that you are also affected by the regime’s excesses. We call on all forces who seek democratic and human rights to continue their own struggle alongside the Oromo people. Even though you have not yet openly supported the Oromo protests, perhaps terrified by fear of EPDRF/TPLF reprisals, we take this opportunity to assure you that the huge sacrifice that the Oromo are paying is aimed at ensuring respect for human rights, democracy, and the right to self-determination of all oppressed peoples.
To all forces with strategic interests in the Horn of Africa,
The incumbent regime is blindly marching toward darkness. Only a peaceful resolution of the conflict will be able to obviate the looming catastrophe. We urge you to encourage the EPRDF/TPLF, urgently to seek a peaceful resolution of the conflict and begin dialogue with the genuine representatives of the Oromo people in the country and out of the country. If this is not done, we predict that that the chaos in Oromia will engulf the rest of Ethiopia and will spread to the neighboring countries.
The four Oromo liberation organizations:
– Oromo Liberation Front
– Oromo Liberation Front, “United”
– Oromo Democratic Front
– Front for Independence of Oromia