Letter to the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

uganda1December 24, 2015

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Tel: 613-995-0253
Fax: 613-941-6900
Email: justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

Dear Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,

First of all we wish you and your family a very happy holiday season.

We Oromo-Canadians are unable to meet these holidays with joy because a bloody violence is engulfing our families in our homeland of Oromia, Ethiopia. We are writing to you as OromoCanadian community associations and organizations from across Canada. We appeal to you to help stop the genocide against our people. A Stalinist type of unparalleled totalitarian repression is unfolding in Ethiopia in the 21st Century. Students from elementary schools to universities are joined by ordinary citizens in peacefully protesting state repression and asking for the restoration of their constitutional rights. Sadly, government response has been brutality and further atrocity.

In blatant disregard for human rights and human lives, the Ethiopia’s Prime Minster, Haile Mariam Desalegn, has come out on state television and vowed to mercilessly crush the peaceful protestors. He has named them “terrorists” and deployed the draconian counter-terrorism legislation to legitimize the use of unrestrained force, arbitrary killings, and overt genocide against our people. People’s constitutional questions are met with unconstitutional force. Oromia regional administration and Oromia regional police forces are suspended and the ugliest face of a brutal military force is mercilessly wreaking havoc in our homeland. Our people are under siege. Now official and legal, the deadly military force, already unleashed in the Oromia region, has stepped up its savage beating, maiming, killing, and jailing of peaceful protestors. Armed forces are firing live ammunition against unarmed people. State terrorism is out in its naked form. Children as young as 8 and older people of 85 are mercilessly killed in the peaceful protests. Soldiers have broken into university dormitories, savagely raping young women and mercilessly killing students. Thousands of protestors are violently herded in prisons. Prisoners are raped and tortured. Mobility is severely restricted. In many localities, people cannot go out even to bury their dead.

Those who have not participated in the protests are not spared. The military has unleased its terroristic punishment on the ordinary people. Soldiers are violently breaking into homes and savagely beating children, women, men, youth and the elderly alike. Mothers are gunned down in their own homes along with their children. Respected community elders are pulled out of their homes and dragged in the streets to humiliate the people in terroristic punishment.

Today, as we write this letter to you, leaders of opposition political parties who have been callingfor peace and reconciliation, are publically humiliated, kidnapped and driven away in unmarked cars to unknown locations. Citizens who ran for parliament in the recent election are being rounded up and thrown in jail. Prisons are overflowing and even make shift jails are not enough to contain the current massive imprisonment. Hundreds of prisoners are taken out of the Oromia region and driven to other regional states and far away military camps where no one could visit them. Kidnapping and disappearing are on the rise as we write. Even in the safety of our home in Canada, we cannot live in peace and enjoy these holidays. As you celebrate Christmas and New Year, we hope you remember our suffering people and keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Dear Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,

Human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been reporting the atrocities. Although the Ethiopian government has tried to stifle free media, it cannot wreak havoc behind closed doors in this age of technology where ordinary people are reporting directly from their cellphones. Both the impressive beauty of peaceful protests and the graphic details of the bloody response are filling social media as government soldiers are merciless killing, beating and maiming in the unfolding carnage.

The atrocities are coming out and we are documenting the casualties. In the last six weeks alone, the number of peaceful protestors killed has climbed to over a 100 and the number of those imprisoned to over 37, 000. These figures do not include the atrocities that go unreported. We can only imagine the countless number of people who are savagely beaten, raped and maimed in their own homes, within the walls they erected for protection.

To disrupt such detailed documentation, the military has devised a new strategy of destroying the identity cards of the victims. It is now killing and dumping the bodies in hard-to-reach forests. Unidentifiable bodies are being discovered in the forests, even now as we write. Such outrageous atrocities and disrespect for human lives are unacceptable to any peace-loving human being. To add insult to injury, this carnage is unfolding while a staggering 15 million people are facing starvation, most of them in the Oromia region. Why does this happen when Oromia is the breadbasket able to feed the entire Horn of Africa region? Of course the Ethiopian government blames climate change. However, as you know very well, drought may be the sign of climate change but starvation is the result of failed policy and failed governance. We are insulted when the international community praises the Ethiopian government as democratic and emboldens its leaders with the awards of good governance. Indeed we are outraged.

Dear Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,

Let us give you a bit of background from our perspective. The current peaceful protest was spontaneously started by elementary and high school students in a small district town of Ginci on November 12, 2015. But it has spread in no time and engulfed the whole region of Oromia. Hitherto stifled, Oromos are deploying their constitutional rights to peacefully protest the implementation of the so-called Addis Ababa Master Plan. However, the Master Plan is only the last straw that is breaking the camel’s back. The people’s suffering and grievance is deep rooted and the chronic problem in Ethiopia is much broader and deeper than the Master Plan. It is the longstanding question of fundamental human rights, identity and justice.

Although Oromos are taking the brunt of the atrocity, other nations and nationalities are also suffering similarly. Ethiopia is a multinational country of close to 100 million people where the vast majority suffers under the totalitarian repression of a single-party dominated by the elite of a minority ethnic group. In its extreme greed and lust for power, this minority elite has created a tight and absolute control over the country’s politics, economy, military, security and media. It has used iron fist over the last 25 years to entrench its brutal dictatorship under the very nose of the international community that has looked the other way at best or tacitly endorsed it at worst. Such outstanding issues of justice are exacerbated by the ugliest face of the current global land rush that found arable land in Ethiopia and a government willing to forcefully evict its own indigenous people from their land. Millions have already been evicted and left in complete dispossession and destitution with nowhere to go. Sometimes their homes were bulldozed with little notice and hardworking indigenous people were reduced to beggars.

With the implementation of the current Master Plan, two million households (which means over twenty-million individuals!) will be displaced, losing their livelihoods. While this is what people are peacefully protesting, the government is tagging them as anti-development terrorists. We assure you that our people love peace and development. They are only protesting a development that aims to destroy their livelihoods and obliterate their very existence, a development that refuses to take their input into account, a development pushed down their throats by a regime that does not care about their lives and livelihoods. This leaves them helpless and desperate.

Our people who are renowned for their strong forbearance and unlimited patience are being pushed to the end of their wits. We hear desperation in their haunting cries: “Where shall we go? We were born here; we grew up here; we knew ourselves here; we bore our children here; where shall we go? Where shall we go?” Tears streaming down our cheeks, we listen to the voices of Oromos breaking down and crying as they report the atrocities. We hear their broken voices asking: “Why has the world forsaken us? Why are powerful governments giving us deaf ears? Why is the UN not outraged? Aren’t Oromo lives human lives too? Who do we appeal to?”

Our hearts are broken by these cries for justice. It has been excruciatingly painful for us to watch the slaughtering of our patient and peace-loving people. It has been hard to listen to the suffering our families are going through in this nightmarish ugly reality of state terrorism. Our patient and law-abiding people are confronted by a totalitarian regime that does not abide by any rule of law, including its own constitution.

The Ethiopian government has muzzled the people, denying them their constitutional right to hold peaceful protests. As John F. Kennedy said, “those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” The Ethiopian government has made any peaceful expression of dissent impossible. Dangerous clouds are hovering over our people.

Dear Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,

We came to Canada fleeing from such atrocities of violent repression, arbitrary killing, beating, imprisonment and torture in Ethiopia. We have made Canada our home and become law-abiding and tax-paying citizens living in the safety of Canada. However the carnage continues for the loved ones we left behind. Oromos are only 40% of the population but they constitute 90% of political prisoners, even by the admission of the government’s own officials. Thousands continue

to flee the bloodbath but many of them cannot make it to asylum or resettlement. Some are hunted down and captured by the Ethiopian government; others are eaten by wild animals. Still others drown in the vastness of oceans and seas in a desperate attempt to reach safety. We are outraged, to say the least, that the international community is praising the Ethiopian government as democratic and the Ethiopian state as developmental. We are deeply concerned that they are praising Ethiopia only for the superficial economic growth without considering the incredible human cost or paying attention to the equally important issues of human rights and justice profoundly undermining such growth. We are deeply concerned that their encouragement is emboldening the Ethiopian government to step up its atrocities with impunity.

Dear Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,
We are deeply concerned that a Rwanda-type genocide is in the making in Ethiopia and, once again, the international community is looking the other way. We have come to a point where we cannot sit in silence and watch the massacre of innocent people. Oromo lives are human lives and Oromo rights are human rights. Justice is justice no matter what color we are and where we are born. We have come out from across Canada and held rallies in solidarity with our Oromo peaceful protestors demanding the restoration of their constitutional rights. We have appealed to the various levels of our Canadian government to help stop the carnage in Ethiopia. We have no doubt that your good office has the most up-to-date information about what is happening in Ethiopia. We, therefore, respectfully request that you use the influences of your good office to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to immediately and unconditionally:

  1. lift the merciless military rule imposed on our people
  2. stop the killing, beating, maiming, imprisoning and torturing of innocent people
  3. release all protestors and political prisoners
  4. bring to justice those responsible for the atrocities
  5. restore the constitutional rights of the people to hold peaceful rallies
  6. avail itself to the calls for peace and national reconciliation
  7. allow people to participate in the affairs affecting their lives and livelihoods
  8. restart participatory development that includes people’s development

Sincerely,

Singed below are our communities and organizations from the various provinces of Canada

ALBERTA

  1. Ababa Dheressa
    Secretary, Oromo Evangelical Church of Calgary
    3104-34 Ave. NW
    Calgary, AB T2L 2A3 Canada
  2. Abdurahman Abdurro Kadir
    Chair, United Oromian-Canadian cultural Association of Alberta
    1693 42 St NW
    Edmonton, AB T6L 2R8 Canada
  3. Badri Mohamed Kabira
    Chair, Oromo Community Association of Northern Alberta
    9636 105A Avenue
    Edmonton, AB T5H 0M4 Canada
    Phone: 780-428-5062
    Phone: 780 399 3450
    E-mail: eoc@edmontonoromocommunity.org
  4. Boka Terfassa
    Chair, The Oromo Evangelical Church of Edmonton
    9606-110 Ave
    Edmonton, AB T5H 0M4 Canada
  5. Haider Shamsi
    Chair, Arssii Oromo Self-Help Association of Alberta
    6711-26 Ave NE
    Calgary, AB T1Y 6M7 Canada
    Email: Ka.arsiioromo@gmail.com
  6. Jiilcha Hamid
    Chair, Oromo Community Association of Alberta
    Unit 200B, 223 12 Avenue SW
    Calgary, AB T2R 0G9 Canada
    Email: contact@calgaryoromocommunity.org
    Email: Abazinab@Hotmail.com
  7. Mitiku Wakwaya
    Chair, Oromo Society Network of Calgary
    101-223 – 12 Ave SW
    P. O. Box 45 Calgary, AB Canada
    Email: dagaagaa@gmail.com
    BRITISH COLOMBIA
  8. Gammadaa Ukaash (President)
    Dr. Ahmed Galchu (Vice-President and contact person)
    Chair, Oromian-Canadian Association of British Colombia
    42055 Marpole Ave
    Vancouver, BC V6P 6T2 Canada
    Email: Tel: 604-837-326
    mwalaabuu@hotmail.com or ukgamadaa@gmail.com
  9. Ibrahim Jawaro Iresa
    Chair, Sikko Mando Self-Help Association
    64027-11528 Street 107 Ave NW
    Edmonton, AB T5H 0Y7 Canada
  10. Nure Sharifa
    President, Oromo Community Association of British Colombia
    218-55 West Broadway
    Vancouver, BC V5Y 1P1 Canada
    Email: caayaaoromoobc@gmail.com

MANITOBA

  1. Addisu Beyene Kello
    President, Oromo Association of Manitoba
    57 Barber St.
    Winnipeg, MB R2W 3J6 Canada
    Phone: 204-942-1521
    Email: kaloab8@yahoo.ca
  2. Daniel Gemechu Ayana
    President, Winnipeg Oromo Youth Association
    22 Royal Crescent
    Winnipeg, MB R2V 1J7 Canada
  3. Yeshi Abeya Olkeba
    Chair, United Oromo Church Fellowship of Manitoba
    59 Academy Rd.
    Winnipeg, MB R3M 0E2 Canada

ONTARIO

  1. Abdalla Hassen
    Chair, Oromo-Canadian Community Association of Hamilton
    946 Mohawk Rd East
    Hamilton, ON L8T 2S2 Canada
    Tel: 289-700-4236
  2. Abdulhamid Mohammed
    President, Oromo-Canadian Community Association of Toronto
    94 A Kenhar Dr. Unit 3
    Toronto, ON M9L 1N2 Canada
    Email: roobaa@aol.com
  3. Badri Adem
    President, Oromo-Canadian Cultural Association
    94 A Kenhar Dr. Unit 3
    Toronto, ON M9L 1N2 Canada
  4. Garoma Wakessa
    Director, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa
    Email: hrldirector@mail.org
    Tel: 416-705-8723
    Fax: 416-767-7223
  5. Giifty Mussa
    President, Oromo-Canadian Cultural Association of Ottawa
    27 Tierney Dr.
    Ottawa, ON K2J 4T3 Canada
    info@ottawaoromocommunity.org
    giiftii@rogers.com
    said.abdosh@gmail.com (613) 769-3948)
  6. Martha Kuwee Kumsa
    President, Oromo-Canadian Community Association of Waterloo Region
    19 Tami Court
    Kitchener, ON N2B 3V2 Canada
    Phone: 519-885-832
    Email: mkumsa@wlu.ca
  7. Pastor Dr. Mezgebu Tucho
    President, United Evangelical Oromo Churches in Canada
    1110-390 Dixon Rd
    Toronto, ON M9R 1T4 Canada
    Phone: 647-721-6361
    Email: Pmezge7abd@gmail.com
  8. Wondimu Senbeto
    Chair of Elders’ Council, Oromo Evangelical Church of Ottawa
    St Martins Anglican Church of Ottawa
    2120 Prince Charles Rd
    Ottawa, ON K2A 3L3 Canada
  9. Yusuf Ahmed Hergeya
    Oromo Relief Association in Ontario
    94 A Kenhar Dr. Unit 3
    Toronto, ON M9L 1N2 Canada
  10. Zelalem Gemeda
    Chair, The Oromo Christian church of Toronto
    330 Bellamy Rd N
    Toronto, ON M1H 1E8 Canada
    zeegammada@gmail.com
    dbwakessa@yahoo.com

SASKATCHEWAN

  1. Finte Adem
    Chair, Oromo Community Association of Saskatchewan Inc.
    4238 England Road
    Regina, SK S4R 4N9 Canada
  2. Mohammed Danfa
    Chair, Saskatchewan Oromo Self-Help Association Corporation
    318 Winnipeg Ave. South
    Saskatoon, SK S7M 3M4 Canada
    saskoromo@gmail.com

CC:

  1. The Honourable Stéphane Dion
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Global Affairs Canada
    125 Sussex Drive
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
    Fax: 613-996-9709
    Email: stephane.dion@parl.gc.caSecretary
  2. General Ban Ki-moon
    UN Secretary-General
    First Avenue at 46th Street
    New York, NY 10017
    USA
    Email: bkm@un.org
    Email: sgcentral@un.org
    Tel: 1-212-963-1234
    Fax: 1-212-963 4879
    http://www.un.org
  3. Joachim Rücker
    President of the Human Rights Council, Ninth Cycle (2015)
    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    Palais des Nations
    CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
    E-mail: tb-petitions@ohchr.org
    Email: InfoDesk@ohchr.org
    Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org
  4. President Barack Obama
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20500
    Tel: 1-202-395-2020
    Fax: 1-202-456-2461
    E-mail: president@whitehouse.gov
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
  5. Secretary of State John Kerry
    US Department of State
    2201 C Street NW
    Washington, DC 20520
    Telephone: 202-647-5291
    Fax: 202-647-6434
    E-mail: secretary@state.gov
    Email kerryj@state.gov
    https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
  6. Ambassador Samantha Power
    US Ambassador to the United Nations
    Permanent Mission to the United Nations
    799 UN Plaza
    New York, NY 10017-3505
    (212)415-4000; fax: (212)415-4443
    E-mail: usa@un.int
  7. Laura Hruby
    US State Department
    Ethiopia Desk Officer
    Email: HrubyLP@state.gov
  8. Martin Schulz
    President of the European Parliament
    Rue Wiertz 60
    1047 Bruxelles, Belgique
    Email: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/the-president/en/president/html/contact
  9. The Right Honouralbe David Cameron
    Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    10 Downing Street
    London, UK
    SW1A 2AA
    Tel: 020 7930 4433
    Email privateoffice@no10.x.gsi.gov.uk
    Email: https://email.number10.gov.uk/
  10. The Right Honourable Philip Hammond
    Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
    Foreign and Commonwealth Office
    King Charles Street
    London, SW1A 2AH
    Tel: 020 7008 1500
    Email: fcocorrespondence@fco.gov.uk
    https://www.gov.uk/government/…/foreign-commonwealth-office
    Email foi-dpa.imd@fco.gov.uk.
  11. The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull
    Prime Minister of Australia
    PO Box 6022
    House of Representatives
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600
    Telephone: 02-6277 7700
    Fax: 02-6273 4100
    Email: https://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm
  12. The Honourable Julie Bishop
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    PO Box 6022
    House of Representatives
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600
    Telephone: 02-6277-7500
    Fax: 02-6273-4112
    Email: Julie.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au
  13. Chancellor Angela Merkel
    Chancellor of Germany
    CDU-Bundesgeschäftsstelle
    Konrad-Adenauer-Hau
    Klingelhöferstraße 8
    Berlin 10785
    Germany
    Phone: 49 (0)30 – 220 70-0
    Fax: 49 (0)30 – 220 70-111
    Email: angela.merkel@bundestag.de
  14. Frank-Walter Steinmeier
    The Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany
    Werderscher Markt 1
    10117 Berlin Germany
    Phone: 49-22899 535-0
    Fax: 49-3018 535-2501
    E-mail: info@bmz.bund.de
    www.auswaertiges-amt.de/EN/Startseite_node.html
  15. Matteo Renzi
    Prime Minister of Italy
    Sardinia, Italy
    Phone: 39 0574 44.89.96
    Fax: 39 0574 40.01.98
    Email: matteo@governo.it
  16. Erna Solberg
    Prime Minister of Norway
    Postboks 8001 Dep
    0030 Oslo
    Phone: 47 22 24 90 90
    Fax: 47 22 24 95 00
    Email: postmottak@smk.dep.no
    http://www.regjeringen.no/nb/dep/smk.html
  17. Børge Brende
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    PO Box 8114 Dep
    N-0032 Oslo, Norway
    Phone: 47 23 95 00 00
    Fax: 47 23 95 00 99
    Email: utenriksminister@mfa.no
    Email: post@mfa.no
  18. Stefan Löfven
    Prime Minister of Sweden
    Rosenbad 4
    SE 103 33 Stockholm
    Sweden
    Phone: 46 8 405 10 00
    Email: registrator@primeminister.ministry.se
    http://www.regeringen.se/sb/d/1477
  19. Margot Wallström
    Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden
    Rosenbad 4
    SE 103 33 Stockholm Sweden
    Phone: 46 8 405 10 00
    Fax: 0046 87 231176
    Email: ud-kss@foreign.ministry.se
  20. Juha Sipilä
    Prime Minister of Finland
    Snellmaninkatu 1 A
    Helsinki
    P. O. Box 23
    FI-00023 Government Finland
    Phone: 358 295 16001
    Fax: 358 9 1602 2165
    E-mail: juha.sipilä@vnk.fi
  21. Timo Soini
    Minister of foreign Affairs of Finland
    Ministry for Foreign Affairs
    Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs
    PO Box 412
    00023GOVERNMENT FINLAND
    Fax: 358 9 160 550 02
    E-mail: umi@formin.fi
  22. Mark Rutte
    Prime Minister of the Netherlands
    Ministerie van Algemene Zaken
    Binnenhof 19
    Postbus 20001 2500 EA Den Haag
    Tel: 31 (0)70 356 41 00
    Fax: 31 (0)70 356 46 83
    Phone: 31 77 465 67 67
    https://www.government.nl/contact/contact-form
  23. Bert Koenders
    Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
    P.O. Box 20061
    2500 EB The Hague The Netherlands
    Tel: 31 (0)70 348 64 86
    Fax: 31 (0)70 348 48 48
    https://www.government.nl/contact/contact-form

2 Responses to Letter to the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

  1. Dimos December 30, 2015 at 3:39 am #

    Thank you guys for being the voice to the voiceless. Peace! Dimos.

  2. Urgaa December 30, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Thank you so much for this strong Solidarity, calling for Support for the Oromooo people, currently fighting the long-age injustice, paying with their bone and blood. You have done great Job. Seennan Ummatta Oromoo issin haa kabaju. Itii fuffaa.

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