(Amnesty International) — For the past month, Djiboutian authorities have been rounding up and detaining hundreds of Ethiopian asylum seekers and refugees with the aim of deporting them back to Ethiopia. They are at risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment upon their return to Ethiopia.
For the past month, Amnesty International has been receiving credible reports that Djiboutian police have been rounding up and detaining hundreds of Amhara and Oromo Ethiopian asylum seekers and refugees with the aim of deporting them back to Ethiopia. Summary deportations of Ethiopian asylum seekers and refugees from Djibouti continue to occur on a daily basis.
The registration process for asylum seekers seeking refugee status in Djibouti is very slow, resulting in backlogs preventing many asylum seekers from registering as refugees. As a result, many asylum seekers in Djibouti do not have documents attesting to their right to remain in the country until their asylum application is finally determined.
The number of deportations escalated after the weekend of 7-8 August, the same weekend that large protests in both Oromo and Amhara regions of Ethiopia occurred. Violent police response to protests that erupted in the Oromia region of Ethiopia in November 2015 caused a massive movement of Oromos out of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government has often accused Ethiopians outside the country of planning these protests.
The asylum seekers and refugees face a real risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment upon their return to Ethiopia. Their deportations violate not only their rights to non-refoulement (the right not to be transferred to a place where the individual would be at real risk of persecution or other serious human rights violations), but also their procedural rights to oppose the deportations on human rights grounds.
Please contact the authorities immediately, urging them to:
* Immediately release detained asylum seekers and refugees;
* Cease all deportations of Ethiopian asylum seekers and refugees in Djibouti back to Ethiopia;
* Respect, protect and fulfil the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, in particular the right to non-refoulement.
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Ethiopia’s Oromia region has faced ongoing protests since November of 2015, triggered by the Ethiopian government’s attempt to expand the capital city, Addis Ababa, into the Oromia region. Since the beginning of August, protests spread out to the Amhara regions of Ethiopia as well as Addis Ababa. The federal government’s response to protests in both areas have been highly disproportionate. There have been over 500 protestors’ deaths recorded in Oromia region since November 2015 and over 100 others in the Amhara and Oromia region in the month of August.