In Ethiopia, the “prison speaks Afaan Oromo.” Ethiopia is a nation divided into nine regions based on a system of ethnic federalism overseen by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front.
This political structure is born of the partnership between the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front and the Oromo Liberation Front, which joined forces in 1990 to overthrow a brutal military regime.
The international community, including international donors, who have poured substantial amounts of aid into Ethiopia since the current government came to power fourteen years ago, will be watching these elections closely for signs that Ethiopia is moving towards real democracy.
Human Rights Watch has reported that at least 140 protesters have been killed and many more injured, among them students and children.
Accounts from local news sources and activists assert that 2,000 have been injured, 800 have disappeared, and more than 30,000 have been arrested or detained.
The Ethiopian people have time and again been subject to violent repression of political dissent.
As Concordia students, we feel it is important to promote awareness of this issue and urge international organizations to mount campaigns pressuring the government to release Ethiopian political prisoners, end the repression of political dissent and grant the Oromo people the respect and self-determination they have historically been denied.
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The demonstrations have spread like wildfire among the Oromia region for the past three months and unsurprisingly, the EPRDF has responded to the peaceful opposition with military force.