Following the downfall of the previous Ethiopian government in 1991, Ethiopians were eager to have their freedoms back. Beside many failures of good governance, the abolishment of the former regime was rooted by its execution and imprisonment of innocents. However, though Ethiopians have sacrificed their valuable lives expecting justice and freedom, they are not yet able to get what they have been waiting.
The Ethiopians situation is a clear evidence for the notion that the death of the previous dictatorship did not ensure the birth of a democracy that guarantees human rights. Until today Ethiopians are being incarcerated, tortured and killed for crimes they did not commit. Both their human and democratic rights are being violated by government forces for only asking legitimate questions. They are being dismantled from their lands without enough compensation and forced to live under poverty lines.
The systematic marginalization of the largest ethnic groups by the government which is highly dominated by a minority ethnic group is also significantly affecting the lives of millions. The government of Ethiopia is highly characterized by its unfair distribution of wealth, which placed the majority in extreme poverty. It is evidenced by the recent reports of the Ethiopian government itself that since 2016 more than 10 million people are suffering from drought while few segments of the population are taking unfair advantage of the nation’s resources.
Despite all the challenges, Ethiopians did not keep quiet. Since 1991 until today they are firmly standing against the dictatorship that oppressed their rights and killed many. The legitimate demands of the people intensified since November 2015 when the government officially declared to expand the boundaries of the capital city, Addis Ababa into the Oromia region. The reaction of the government towards all the peaceful protestors, however, was highly unprofessional, if not inhuman. Since then people are being killed, detained, and brutally tortured for only standing against a system which excludes them from political and economic development and led the protest to its highest level.
The brutality of the Ethiopian government against its own citizens revealed itself many times. One of the evidence can be the killings of hundreds in October 2016 where more than two million people gathered for the religious festival and government forces opened fire on people who were expressing their grievances by crossing their hands above their head.
The Ethiopian government is not only killing peaceful protestors but also suppressing their voices through blocking the internet in the name of‘‘State of emergency’’ while many activists and journalists are being tortured and jailed for crimes they did not commit. Therefore, Ethiopians these days are not only demanding for political and economic inclusions but also basic human rights. As IUSY we call for respect of human rights and the government must call an all inclusive political dialogues to solve the impasse. History has taught us that violence is not the solution to solving problems.
Statement brought forward by Vice President Bheki Dlamini and supported by the IUSY Presidium.