Human Rights Commission publicizes findings about the recent sporadic disturbances

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Addis Ababa April 18, 2017 The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has presented its report on the investigation it carried out about the unrest that occurred in some parts of Oromia and Amhara regional states as well as Gedio Zone of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples state.

Presenting the report to the House of People’s Representatives today, Ethiopian Human Rights Commissioner Dr. Addisu Gebre-Egziabher said the report covered the violence which incurred loss of human life, destruction and damage on public and private properties from June to September 2016.

In its investigation, the commission had talked to victims and their families, elders, representatives of youth, security forces, individual and group witnesses, and prisoners; and read various documents as sources of evidences, he said.

The investigation was carried out in 15 zones and 91 woredas of Oromia Regional State and in 6 zones and 55 woredas and towns of Amhara Regional State as well as in 6 woredas in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State, according to the Commissioner.

A total of 669 people were reportedly killed in the disturbances that occurred in the above stated places.

The commissioner stated that the main causes of the destructive unrest in Oromia were lack of good governance, abuse of rights, unemployment, lack of timely response to public grievances, and delays of projects meant for public use.

As a result, a number of people have lost their lives and properties, including those of government institutions and investment enterprises, were destroyed, the report pointed out.

The report recalled that the anti-peace forces interrupted the highly cherished Irrecha Festival, where 56 deaths occurred due to stampede at Lake Hora Arsadi. That incident was used to incite more violence.

The social media and Oromia Media Network (OMN­) based abroad had played destructive role by spreading fake news and information that exacerbated the situation, it added.

The commission reported that in Oromia, a total of 495 persons, including 33 members of the security forces, have lost their lives; while 464 sustained severe injuries.

The report from the commission also stated that measures taken by the security forces to control the unrest were both proportionate and disproportionate.

The commissioner stressed that security forces responsible for the death of 14 people at Adami Tulu, the killing of 38 people and injuring 62 people at Awedai and Bedesa, and the death of 3 people in Dodola Woreda should face justice.

The report also noted that the protests also focused on attacking citizens from other nations and living in the region.

Despite the regrettable ordeal, the Oromo people have played key role to control and help citizens from other nations and nationalities attacked during the protests, according to the commissioner.

Reporting on the violence in Gedio Zone of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples State, he said 34 persons lost their lives and 178 sustained severe injuries.

Some 8,450 non-indigenous to Gedio Zone were displaced due to the violence that occurred in the area, the report further revealed.

On the other hand, following the unrest in the Amhara Regional State 140 people, including 30 members of the security forces, lost their lives and 376 citizens sustained severe injuries.

The report said over 11,000 persons were forced to flee their homes due to the violence. In addition, properties worth millions of birr were damaged.

The report finally urged the individuals who spread the violence in the regional states should be brought to justice.