OSA’s Appeal Letter to President Obama on the Growing Repression and Human Rights Violations by Ethiopian Government

P.O Box 32391,
Fridley, MN 55432

January 3, 2012

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Subject: Oromo Studies Association’s Appeal Letter to President Obama on the Growing Repression and Human Rights Violations by the Ethiopian Government

Dear Mr. President Barack Obama:

I am writing to you on behalf of the Oromo Studies Association (OSA) as its current President and as a US citizen and strong supporter of your administration starting from your candidacy for US President four years ago. As it has been brought to your attention by previous presidents of OSA, the Oromo Studies Association (OSA) is a not‐for‐profit scholarly organization registered in the United States of America to promote studies relating to the Oromo people in Ethiopia in particular and the Horn Africa in general to inform the public, governments and international community to foster peace, stability and positive social changes in that important region of Africa. The majorities of OSA members are voting US citizens and come from diverse academic and socio- economic backgrounds, many with institutions of international repute, myself a Harvard faculty and your fellow Harvard alumni. The rest of our members are from around the world covering all continents. Oromos are the single largest group in Ethiopia comprising over 40% of the Ethiopian population but politically disenfranchised by successive Ethiopian regimes. I would also like to draw your administration’s attention to growing Oromos and the other Ethiopians here in the US as significant voting bloc as US citizens. The Oromo are estimated to be over 150, 0001 in the United States alone and contribute to the various sectors of the U.S. economy. The Oromos also have close ties with and are actively participating in social & political activities of other members of the Ethiopian community in the United States.

My immediate past Presidents of OSA have written appeal letters to your Excellency to bring to your attention the gross human right violations and sufferings of the Oromos and other Ethiopians under the ruling Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF) in Ethiopia. This letter is a follow up of the previous appeal letters written by OSA Presidents Dr Haile Hirpa and Dr Begna Dugassa. In his letter of 2010 to your office, Dr Haile detailed how the ruling Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF), a rebel group which seized power militarily in 1991, pities ethnic groups against each other as a means of remaining in power in Ethiopia. He also wrote of how the TPLF/EPRDF run Ethiopian government is violating Oromo human rights through actions such as unjustly imprisoning Oromo civilians, coordinating abductions in third countries and evicting Oromo farmers. Dr Begna Dugassa wrote a letter dated April 24, 2010 expanding on Dr. Haile’s letter by detailing how Ethiopia’s regime is carrying out extrajudicial killings, arrest, torture and disappearance of the Oromo people. Each of these letters expresses the need for your administration to take a proactive action in restoring human rights in Ethiopia.

–Full Statement Oromo Studies Association