The Ethiopian Human Rights council Abuses the Human Rights of the Sidama Nation in its 146th Partisan Report.(Dr, Wolassa Lawisso)
The Ethiopian Human Rights council , supposedly a non-government organization created to defend the human rights of all Ethiopian citizens and uphold and protect the constitution of the country with diligence and without fear or favour, miserably failed to live up to any of these ethos. In its so called “146th Special Report” on the unrest in Sidama in June 2018 and in other parts of the country recently, the commission squandered an opportunity to conduct a professional and objective assessment of what unfolded in Sidama. Instead, the council exclusively dwelt on a one sided anti-Sidama narrative purported by anti-peace and anti-reform elements that were hell bent to derail the quest of the Sidama nation for regional self-administration. In doing so, the Ethiopian Human Rights council (EHRC) demonstrated unequivocally its political partisanship than neutral human rights activism it was created for. The Sidama nation rejects its so called special report on human rights which is a mockery of any human rights for the following reasons:
1) The report blatantly portrays the unrest as an attack on Wolayita by the Sidama youth during the Sidama’s most peaceful traditional New Year Fichchee while it was crystal clear that the unrest was carefully planned and stage-managed by anti-peace and anti-reform elements that have been wreaking havoc across the country since the new government took office in March/April 2018. Sidama was no different. The report flagrantly paints the Sidama nation, the victim as the perpetrator of the injustice. It ignores the fact that the Hawassa massacre was the second massacre of the Sidama nation in two decades after the Looqqee massacre of 24 May 2002. As one Sidama scholar reiterated in his recent article published in Addis Standard, the Sidama nation does not have any inherent psychological predisposition to attack an equally downtrodden sisterly Wolayita people who took sanctuary across Sidamaland over decades. It had hitherto never done so. The Sidama nation does not blame ordinary Wolayita people as perpetrators of violence on them either. The violence was carefully planned and stage managed by disgruntled elements within the previous government with clear intentions to destabilize Sidama and sow discord among nations. The EHRC miserably failed to assess and ascertain the real causes of the unrest in Sidama. Regrettably, we regard its shoddy and rancorous statements woefully inadequate, unprofessional and an attack on the identity of the Sidama nation.
2) The report never cared to even mentioned the names of the Sidama victims killed by government security forces in Hawassa in June 2018. The following were the Sidama civilian’s killed in Hawassa alone none of which appear in the so called 146th Special Report by EHRC:
(1) Buzayehu Kebede (Bona District killed in Hawassa)
(2) Buzuneh Markos ( Killed Hawassa)
(3) Dawit Dakamo (Killed in Hawassa)
(4) Tigilu Tesfaye Calla (Killed in Hawassa)
(5) Mathewos Dereje (Killed in Hawassa)
(6) Teshale Yetera (killed in Hawassa)
(7) Muluken Helamo (Killed in Hawassa)
(8) Desalegn Benana (Killed in Hawassa)
(9) Nehimiya Getachew (Killed in Hawassa)
(10) Kemba Qenxisa (Killed in Hawassa)
(11) Muluneh (Father unidentified) (Killed in Hawassa)
(12) Mulugeta (Father unidentified) (Killed in Hawassa)
3) The report never cared to assess the atrocities meted the Sidama female students in Wolayita Sodo University. Two Sidama female students (1) Eshete Tamire Kebede and (2) Iyayu Baxiso were killed when they were thrown from third floors of Wolayita Sodo Agriculture College. More than 6 Sidama female students reported rape cases. The EHRC does not seem to be concerned about abuse of women when they are Sidama!
4) The report’s deafening silence on the Shaammana grenade attacks in which 117 Sidama and 18 Oromo civilians were wounded and 8 civilians were killed testifies to its whole partisan intentions. We spoke with the victims and have the list of those wounded in Shaammana including 23 Sidama who were permanently and totally disabled due to the grenade attacks. It was painful to listen to their stories. The following is the list of the Sidama civilians killed in Shaammana grenade attacks:
1. Niguse Janje (Labu Koromo)
2. Sanja Gamadda (Bake Lalima)
3. Buse Iyuel (Imoshe Humo)
4. Riqiwa Yutura (Qajima Umbulo)
5. Diga Sirbamo (Shaammana Hurufa)
6. Tesema Tegegn (Shaammana Hurufa)
7. Two more civilians whose names were not identified.
5) The obnoxious report of the Ethiopian human rights commission not only ignored the Sidama victims to serve its partisan purposes but also blatantly listed at least 5 Sidama victims as victims from other groups on the report’s pages 16-18 adding an insult on injury! These are:
(1) Buzayehu Kebede (Hawassa): We visited Buzayehu Kebedes family in Bona district and mourned his death.
(2) Tigilu Tesfaye Calla (Hawassa)
(3) Sanja Gamada (Bake Lalima)
(4) Buse Iyuel (Imoseh Humo) and
(5) Diga Sirbamo (Shaammana Hurufa)
No doubt these were Sidama victims. But for the partisan and a denatured pretender of human rights they were betrayed even in death. Many of those listed as wounded on pages 17 and 18 of the report are Sidama. The Sidama nation is appalled by an attack on its identity and dignity by an organization created to defend it. It views the 146th report of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission as a blatant human rights violation of the Sidama nation and calls for its immediate withdrawal and an unreserved apology. Failing this, the Sidama people will be forced to take necessary legal actions to defend their good names and bring the perpetrators of the June 2018 massacre to justice