2 February 2009

As the heads of State of the African Union (AU) convene, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) wishes to note the continuing suffering of the people of Ogaden at the hands of the host nation of the ongoing AU summit. The Ethiopian regime has a well documented and systematic campaign of persecution against the people of Ogaden. This campaign mainly targeting our civilian population is deliberately concealed from the outside world as a result of the regimes policy of denying entry to all independent media and human rights investigators. As human rights watch in it’s recent report “Collective Punishment. War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in the Ogaden…” the “Ethiopian armed forces have committed numerous violations of human rights, violations of the laws of war that amount to war crimes, and crimes against humanity against the civilian population. These have included widespread forced relocations of civilians, destruction of their villages, willful killings, and summary executions, and torture, rape, and other forms of sexual violence.”

Despite widespread reporting on these war crimes only a few hundred kilometers from the seat of the AU, the body has been unwilling and unable to even send a fact finding mission under the auspices of its Peace and Security Council (PSC) to independently investigate gross violations of human rights and war crimes. Such a fact finding mission was recommended by the United Nations humanitarian fact finding mission to Ogaden in September 2007 which specifically noted the need for an “independent investigation” into the human rights situation in Ogaden. Over two years after the call for a second fact finding team focused on human rights, the people of Ogaden continue to suffer at the hands of this regime with no international action. The regime continues extrajudicial killings, torture and other war crimes targeting innocent civilians in Ogaden. In addition, the regime continues to utilize food aid provided by the international community as a political weapon denying aid to civilians in large areas of Ogaden due to their political views.

The African Union represents a body of hope for the continent. It was founded on principles upholding the rights of all peoples to determine their political future and to live free of repression. It is therefore Ironic that the seat of the African Union is allowed to continue to pursue a policy of systematic persecution with impunity.

The ONLF calls on the heads of State attending the AU summit to recognize and address the continuing war crimes perpetrated by it’s member State, Ethiopia in Ogaden. The ONLF further calls upon the African Union Peace and Security Council to immediately send a fact finding team to Ogaden in line with the recommendations of the United Nations in 2007. The ONLF further calls on the African Union to realize an international humanitarian corridor into Ogaden to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the our people in a free and unfettered manner.

The AU bears a responsibility to respond to the suffering of the people of Ogaden and recognize the Ogaden conflict of one of Africa’s long lasting conflicts requiring immediate international and regional intervention

Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)


Comments are closed

Sorry, but you cannot leave a comment for this post.