Stop Ethnic Based Violence in Ethiopia

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After the tragic murder of  Hachalu Hundessa, a prominent activist and musician well known for his Afaan Oromo songs, Ethiopia has been in turmoil. Immediately following Hachalu’s death ethnic nationalists, media organizations and political leaders propagated dangerous rhetoric that shifts the blame on a single ethnic group. There is no sufficient evidence of the motive behind Hachalu’s murder and no arrests have been made. Since the morning of his murder, over 80 people have been killed. The number does not account for the deaths in Addis Ababa. Houses and businesses have been looted and burned. There have been several confirmed cases of non-Oromos, particularly Amharas, in the Oromo region being murdered, and many in various localities, along with Oromos, are currently vulnerable to violence. In addition, government forces have used excessive force against Oromos peacefully protesting and mourning the death of the beloved singer. Political leaders and activists like Jawar Mohammad have politicized the senseless killing of Hachalu. Hachalu’s family requested that his body be sent to Ambo, which is his birthplace. Burials are commonly and traditionally held in the hometown of the deceased. However, several reports have confirmed Oromo nationalist leaders, including Jawar, sought to prevent Hachalu’s body from being transported to his hometown against his family's wishes. This further escalated the situation and heightened the emotions of mourners who were out in the streets. Federal forces used excessive force to disperse the crowd and transport the body to Ambo. This tragedy has put Ethiopia’s stability at risk and has become a catalyst for ethnic-based violence. In the last two years, Ethiopia has witnessed ethnic cleansing, violence, assassinations, and inter-ethnic massacres. Ethiopia, a country of 80+ ethnic groups is on the verge of civil war and genocide unless responsible bodies take immediate preventative measures. We, Ethiopians, are petitioning to demand a thorough investigation of Hachalu’s murder, accountability of media organization, political leaders and activists who publicized a false, dangerous, inflammatory and violent narrative, an end to state-sanctioned violence against innocent people across the Oromo region and targeted attacks and killing of non-Oromos. We demand Abiy Ahmad’s regime to hold all involved legally accountable to the full extent of the law in a just and transparent manner and ensure the safety of all Ethiopians.