AAA Condemns the Abiy Regime’s Forced Relocation of Amhara Genocide Survivors which Jeopardizes their Livelihood
The Amhara Association of America (AAA) is greatly concerned over reports of Prosperity Party officials coercing internally displaced survivors of Amhara Genocide (IDPs) to return to Wollega Zones of Oromia Region without due protection or any assurance of self-administration. Such policy actions are an encroachment of their fundamental rights in accordance with international human rights charters and the federal constitution itself. In principle, the relocation of the IDPs to areas of Oromia Region would not resolve the structural problems which caused their suffering and displacement which are intrinsically tied to growing conflict and instability throughout Ethiopia. Instead, AAA urges for an immediate halt to this cruel policy and immediate actions to promote lasting peace and security for IDPs and other vulnerable populations victimized by violence in Oromia Region and the ongoing war in Amhara Region.
Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his Oromo Prosperity Party regime came to power in 2018, various state and non-state armed groups have carried out a campaign of genocidal massacres and ethnic cleansing of ethnic Amhara civilians and followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christian faith throughout Oromia Region and surrounding areas. Over one million ethnic Amharas have been ethnically cleansed from western Ethiopia by conservative estimates. The primary perpetrators of this genocidal campaign include the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), Oromia Region Special Forces (OSF), Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Gumuz militias and the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF). Survivors of the state-sanctioned Amhara Genocide in Oromia Region have largely been displaced to various makeshift shelters in Amhara Region. According to investigations, in the majority of cases, the perpetrators systematically destroyed and looted residences belonging to Amhara victims that fled the attacks so they would be unable to return.
As reported by various international media outlets and confirmed by AAA’s sources, IDPs across shelters in Amhara Region have been informed of plans to forcibly relocate them to Oromia Region within days or else not receive humanitarian assistance.
This policy was reportedly undertaken with agreement between Amhara Prosperity Party and Oromo Prosperity Party counterparts. As reported by DW Amharic, “IDPs [in Jara camp in North Wollo Zone] told DW they were recently informed they would be taken to Debre Birhan within three days and they would then be taken to Oromia Region”. Officials reportedly cited inability to deliver humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing war in Amhara Region and called for relocation of IDPs to areas of Oromia Region with relative peace. According to reports, the IDPs in many areas reached consensus that conditions were not reliable for relocation and that there were no clear indications of improvement in the local security situation. Among other concerns raised by the IDPs were the need for justice and accountability against perpetrators of the atrocities committed, and compensation for the property loss experienced during episodes of the genocide.
AAA calls on international community, human rights organizations and charity organizations with influence to pressure the ruling Prosperity Party regime to:
resign from power - particularly officials implicated in a pattern of complicity in widespread atrocities throughout Ethiopia including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, Oromia Region President Shimelis Abdisa, Addis Ababa Mayor Adanech Abiebie, Field Marshal Birhanu Jula and General Getachew Gudina; and move towards transitional government.
cease its policy of forced resettlement of Amhara IDPs to Oromia Region (and elsewhere).
facilitate immediate and urgent humanitarian aid to Amhara IDPs and ensure delivery of aid is facilitated independent of government bodies.
unconditionally and immediately withdraw all non-Amhara forces from Amhara Region to allow for passage of humanitarian support to populations in need throughout the region.
AAA also calls on these actors to pressure international bodies to promote:
an independent internationally-mediated accountability mechanism including investigations into Amhara Genocide and transitional justice for all victims, holding accountable leaders of the OLA, OSF, TPLF and Gumuz militias. This process should include compensation and redress for survivors of the Amhara Genocide that sustained bodily injury and/or lost material property including homes, assets, crops and domestic animals.
constitutional reform to ensure peace, equality, democracy and prosperity for all citizens irrespective of ethnicity and faith. This process should be inclusive of Amhara communities to promote lasting security, protection and self-administration.