Home Demolitions and Forced Evictions of Amharas in the Newly Established Sheger City Administration
Report on Home Demolitions and Forced Evictions of Amharas in the Newly Established Sheger City Administration of the Oromia Region: A City that Denies Amhara Existence in their Homeland of Ethiopia.
Summary of the Findings
The Amhara Association of America (AAA) has been conducting human rights investigation on the ongoing ethnic-based demolitions of homes and forced evictions in the newly established Sheger City Administration since January 1st, 2023. The investigation revealed the existence of widespread and ethnically motivated forced eviction, which is considered by the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESR) in its General Comment No. 4 as prima facie incompatible with the requirements of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and other human rights violations including violation of the right to adequate housing, the right to privacy and to security of the home, the right to property, the right to family life, the right to life, the right to equality and non discrimination, freedom of movement and the right to choose one’s residence, the right to education of children, loss of sources of livelihood and denial of the rights to information and popular participation, and arrest or imprisonment for opposing the forced eviction. In sum, the following are the major findings of this investigation:
Tens of thousands houses of non-Oromo ethnic groups (most of whom are belonging to the Amhara ethnic group) were demolished in the newly-established Sheger City Administration of Oromia Region. For instance, over 9,300 houses belonging to non-Oromo owners (most belonging to Amhara owners) were demolished in Jemo Terara Medihanialem, Fanuel Church, Haji Anba, Enku Gabriel, Lideta, Lencho Sefer, Anfo-Mariam, Ertu Teklehaymanot, and Gorsebe areas of the newly established Sheger City Administration alone.
There were killings, infliction of bodily injury, arrests and enforced disappearances of those opposing the forced eviction. In this regard, although the exact number of civilians killed throughout the eviction period is not yet known, at least three individuals were killed between January 1-30, 2023 and many more thereafter. Several others were injured, arrested and be victims of enforced disappearance.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to fled from their homes, became homeless and live in dire conditions either in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, streets, the rubbles of their homes or low-level rented houses. Thousands of other non-Oromo ethnic residents (especially Amharas) remain under threat of further forced evictions.
As the ethnic based demolition of homes and the process is short of the international and national human rights standards, the AAA calls the government of Ethiopia to stop the ongoing ethnically motivated forced eviction, to comply with its human rights obligations of respect and protect the rights of the victims and to redress the victims for the violations they sustained. The AAA also calls the international community including the UN and AU to give due consideration of the situation and pressure the Ethiopian government to immediately cease the ethnically motivated demolition of homes and to respect and protect the rights of its citizens.
Since the coming into power of Abiy Ahmed Ali as Prime Minister in 2018, the Amhara people living in Oromia Regional State have faced continued and widespread human rights violations and have been subject to crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, which are regarded as the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The violations are committed either by the action or inaction of the government. Every atrocity committed against the Amhara people such as the ethnic-based mass killings (massacres), forced evictions and other deliberate persecutions are neither investigated nor given proper acknowledgement by either the Federal Government or the Oromia Regional State. Appeals for investigation have always got to no avail. Such systemic and structurally targeted attacks against the Amhara are being committed with the aim of expelling all Amharas from the Oromia Region and Addis Ababa as well as to weaken the Amhara so that they would not be able to claim their legal and legitimate interests. To this end, the Oromia Special Forces (OSF) and Oromia Police, under the leadership of Oromia Regional President Shimelis Abdisa, continues to commit ethnic cleansing against Amharas residing in the Oromia Region, as well as allowing non-state actors like the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and Qeerro (ultranationalist Oromo youth) to do the same in various parts of the Oromia Region. This ethnic cleansing program consists of ethnic-based massacres, forced evictions, and deliberately inducing conditions of life designed to result in the destruction of the Amhara population as a whole or in part, among other actions.