Free Oromo University Students
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We are pleading out to the world community concerning a deadly situation where thousands of Oromo University Students have been held hostage at various universities in the Amhara region of Ethiopia for almost a month. Such a level of human rights crisis requires the intervention of the international community and human rights organizations to help put stop to his horror. Especially since there has been substantial report concerning the involvement between school administration and the Amhara Regional Government collaborating to hold Oromo students hostage against their will.
This petition is for the Ethiopian government to own its responsibility and rescue the thousands of Oromo students being held hostage at Woldia University, Dese University, Debre Tabor University, Gonder University, Baherdar University, Debreberhan University as well as at various hospitals, jails and undisclosed locations in the Amhara region.
Based on reports from multiple independent medias, violence against Oromo students began the first week of November at multiple Universities across the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Oromo students reported violence by their fellow Amhara students including beatings with sticks, knife attacks, a student thrown from a higher story building and unconfirmed number of students have been killed and wounded as a result. Students in Debretabor University have also been fed poison and sent to undisclosed hospitals hundreds of miles away from the care of their families.
Many of the attacks took place inside a dorm and/or on the school ground. As a result, students left their dormitory out of fear for their lives, gathered together and were living outdoors for at least five days. these young adults were left to languish outside for almost a week with limited food, drinks and without protection from the continued violent attacks. School officials have not been able to provide safety. Police and government security forces have been deployed to the universities but unwilling to rescue, assist the victims or prevent the violence from continuing. To make matters worse, Intimidation and throwing stones at Oromo students stranded outside continued in the presence of police. Many attacks are reported and the injured are being taken to hospitals on a daily basis without the uncertainty of their survival. Clearly, Amhara regional police and military are deployed to assist to hold the students hostage. Students are having to be escorted by police to even utilize restrooms. Many were getting sick because of their condition of living and as a result of a hunger strike as a gesture of their demand for freedom. The situation is dyer as reports of deaths and injuries continue to emerge.
Oromo students have requested to return to their homes, but school officials and Amhara Regional Government refused to release them. Despicably, government officials sent elders to convince students to remain in the school ground in spite of their inability to return them to their regular education or dormitories in a stabilized situation. Families have requested the return of their children home while students continue to unequivocally demand to return to their families, but school authorities, Amhara regional government and the federal government have refused to grant Oromo students their freedom and continue to hold them against their will.
Some students with financial capacity have been able to escape in small groups. Of those who attempted to escape, few were identified by their Oromia identification cards then forced to return to their respective schools after being robbed of their belongings and beaten by unknown persons in the Amhara Region. We can confirm unspecified number of students who have successfully united with their families and some are living at a camp in Legetafo near Finfine. These groups of rescued students have gathered and raised their desperate concern for the rescue of thousands of their friends who still remain hostage at various locations in the Amhara region as well as a cry for assistance and relocation of schools where their safety is guaranteed. Unfortunately, the Ethiopian government responded with clear refusal to hear their plea and failed to provide any assistance to the thousands who remain under violent conditions and filed to even provide food and water to those displaced and living at a camp in Legetafo. Though we are not able to confirm an exact number of students remaining to be rescued, based on information gathered from multiple students and teachers, thousands still await to reunite with their families.
We believe this is entirely the responsibility of the above-listed universities, Amhara regional government as well as the Ethiopian federal government. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an authority in the entire Amhara region or the federal government, willing to put stop to this nightmare!
So, we’re petitioning for the intervention of the international community to assist in this emergency rescue operation. Please help us by forwarding this petition to whomever willing and able to assist in this human rights violation against young adults. Thank you.
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