https://www.dw.com/am/ኦሮሚያ-ክልል-ተፈናቃይ-አማራ-ክልል-የተጠለሉ-ወደቀያቸው-መመለስ-ግፊት Disclaimer: This is an English translation of an Amharic report taken from DW Amharic and is intended solely for information purposes.
IDPs displaced from Oromia Region taking shelter in Amhara Region are facing pressure to return
November 23, 2023 (Hedar 13, 2016 EC)
One displaced resident who was displaced from Jardega Jarte Woreda of Horo Guduru Wollega Zone in Oromia Region due to security concerns in 2013 EC to South Wollo where they have taken shelter since, said there has been pressure to forcibly return them to their homes following an agreement between officials in the two regions. They spoke to DW: “We do not consider our current living situation a real living. We too had asked them to repatriate us. However when we look at the current situation there, our people continue to face struggle. There can’t be education without medical care. Under this circumstance, we have been told to return to where we came from simply because the two regional governments reached an agreement.”
Another person that was displaced from Western Oromia living in a camp told DW there is pressure being exerted saying, “we have been told we may be forced to return”. The interviewed individual said, “we were displaced here as a result of identity-based attacks” adding those that remained in the area have not faced a stable security situation and there are efforts to pressure them to return which does not have wide acceptance.
Lack of assistance in facilitating the return of displaced persons to their homes
The IDPs also explained they were told they would have to return to their homes to continue receiving assistance. They raised that this issue has caused them to feel insecure even in their current shelter.
The IDPs had said they were being deprived of assistance for a long period of time saying “it has been six months now since we have stopped receiving assistance after we were told we would receive it once we returned to our homes”. The IDPs emphasized their distress over experiencing hunger associated with the reduction in food support which was being used to pressure them to return to their homes where there was ongoing security threats.
Unsuccessful peace talks between parties in Oromia has caused further risks
The IDPs described facing ongoing threats due to the lack of peace following recent unsuccessful peace talks between the Federal Government and the Oromo Liberation Front - Oromo Liberation Army (OLF-OLA) in Tanzania.
One resident said “this week alone, fighting between the militants and government security forces entered its third consecutive day in Fincha Woreda of Horo Guduru Wollega Zone. Though there was hope around the peace talks between the combatants, the collapse of the talks has caused us to view the repatriation idea as a threat.”
The hope of IDPs over peace deal between the government and the Oromo Liberation Army
Recently there was a discussion held in Bahir Dar city between security coordinating leaders of the Oromia and Amhara Regions as well as top officials from both regions, during which an agreement was reached to restore the IDPs to their homes as previously reported by DW Amharic.
We set out to find how this could be carried out, and to address the threat against IDPs, by reaching out to emergency prevention and communication bureau officials from both regions however these efforts were not successful.
According to an interview we conducted with the Ethiopia Human Rights Commission’s Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants head Igudaye Meskel, according to the commission the situation does not permit for the repatriation of IDPs in areas reviewed by the commission.
The coordinator said, “we have recommended to the government to ensure whether the root causes that led to the displacement of the residents has been resolved. It is necessary to consider consent and personal circumstances when considering repatriating the IDPs.” The coordinator said according to their assessment, sufficient requirements have not been fulfilled in order to restore the IDPs.