አምባ – Amhara Professionals Union Press Statement
It is a public secret that the TPLF (Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, which is the dominant political force ruling the Ethiopian state), from its inception has labeled the Amhara people as its number one enemy. This liberation front, with its grandiose scheme of establishing “The Greater Tigray Republic”, have been openly committing unspeakable forms of crimes of humanity against the Amhara people since day one. 1 The sad history of genocidal violence that the TPLF led regime perpetrated against the Amhara people in areas such as Bedeno, Gurafereda, Metekel (in today’s Benishangul Gumuz Region) and many other places are well documented as well. The authoritarian regime in the country has continuously targeted the Amhara by forcefully annexing historical lands and giving them to the Regional State of Tigray, displacing farmers from their ancestral lands, torturing and killing the Amhara youth for over a quarter of a century, and many others crimes that emanated the governing elites’ deep hate of the Amhara. Such crimes by the regime are continuing as we speak. Just recently, the TPLF led regime attempt to quell the peaceful demonstrations in the cities of Gondor, Bahir Dar and other areas of the Amhara region by murdering over 540 and arresting over 51, 000 Amhara youth after turning military camps into detention centers overnight were the reasons behind the political violence the country is experiencing in recent times.
Due to this political violence instigated by the regime’s lack of response to popular demands, the Amhara people are now in cross roads and the country is going through an unfortunate turmoil. At this point in time, this barbaric regime led by the TPLF has also intensified its war against the Amhara people in Northern Gondar of the region, especially, on areas such as Armachiho, Metema, Quara, Alefa Takusa and many urban areas such as Gondar, Bahir Dar, Debre Markos, Desse and smaller towns in Gojam such as Jawi, Dangila, Kosober, Chagni and Finote Selam. The peaceful protests and demonstrations of the Amhara emerged in reaction to the regime’s illegal and forced annexation of historical Amhara lands to Tigray region (Welkait, Tegede, Setit Humera, Tselemte, and Raya Azebo), the continuing systematic repression and marginalization of our people, and the continuing displacement and genocidal violence against the Amhara people. Unfortunately, the TPLF led political regime, instead of addressing these grave concerns and questions of the people in a peaceful manner, engaged in a brutal crackdown of the peaceful protests. The TPLF led regime immediately sent its cruel special forces from Tigray and kidnapped members of the Welkait Amhara Identity Committee and charged them with “terrorism”. Even more, it did not waste time before declaring a ‘state of emergency’, which it effectively used to intensify its war against the Amhara people more than ever. Although the regime’s utilization of a mechanized army to crush the Amhara farmer’s legitimate resistance is not surprising to all of us who know well the characters of the regime, the very sad circumstances in the area have forced us to speak for the innocent and helpless Amharas suffering under such a brutal crackdown.
Moreover, the regime is using this ‘state of emergency’ to cover the crimes that it is committing against the Amhara people. The state of emergency has put back Ethiopia to the dark ages by purposefully limiting access to communication of any sorts from transportation to use of internet, social media, and telephone services. Despite such a forced media blackout, trusted local news outlets have so far reported about the government forces’ involvement in burning 500 houses and massive areas of small hold farms in northern Gondor localities in an attempt to halt the struggle by the farmers. This is happening despite the fact that these areas haven’t yet recovered from the massive drought from 2015. Furthermore, the government is highly involved in killing the youth, local farmers, mass detention and torturing of large number of the youth, local religious leaders and journalists in the region. Voice of America (VOA) has also reported that the government forces have killed three Amhara youth just last Sunday alone, and one of those murdered is known to be an individual who just graduated from Bahir Dar University’s school of Economics.
In another recent news, a conflict has also erupted at localities that surround the Tana Beles Project in former Metekel area of Gojam due to the eviction of Amhara farmers and protests that followed unjustified and illegitimate sale of Tana Beles project to a Turkish company. This latest clash first erupted between the displaced farmers and TPLF favored business group, the METEC (the Engineering Arm of the Ministry of Defense) and other government supported individuals who were brought from Tigray (in the name of investors) to take over the job opportunities and the fertile lands that has been grabbed from the poor Amhara farmers. We at Amhara Professionals Union, are very much concerned about this violence against farmers surrounding the Tana Beles Project area and this must stop immediately.
As a result of such a sad reality in the country:
- Firstly, the Amhara Professionals Union is disappointed by the lack of strong reaction from the Ethiopian opposition parties in the country and abroad regarding the crimes against the Amhara people. Our message to Ethiopian opposition political parties, Civic Associations, political and humanitarian activists is that the only way to help move our country forward is only when the use of our voice for the voiceless could be coordinated through our fierce and united efforts. 3 Our organization, Amhara Professionals Union affirms its readiness to work with each and everyone of you on such issues that matter the most to our people at this critical time in history.
- Secondly, we are deeply concerned by the reluctance of the international community as well as the lack of coverage by the international media outlets such as BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters and AP, just to mention some. We believe that the lives of those innocent Amhara farmers are equal to any life under attack any where in the world. We hope that the international media delivers on its promises of investigative reporting everywhere, by also looking at the sad circumstances unfolding in Ethiopia in general and the human rights violations of the Amhara people. We hope the world will soon learn from your unbiased and responsible information about the situation in the country.
- Thirdly, the Amhara Professionals Union (APU) calls upon the Ethiopian government to stop its war against the Amhara people. The government must address the questions and concerns of the people to prevent the country and its citizens from witnessing the unraveling of a further turmoil. our unbiased and responsible information about the situation in the country.
- And finally, the Amhara Professionals Union reiterates the utmost need for humanitarian organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Red Cross and the broader international community led by the UN General Assembly, Member States of the Security Council and all concerned States and stakeholders to pressure the Ethiopian Government to immediately stop the war against the Amhara people.
The Amhara Professionals Union, would like to express its strong fear that this situation could soon turn into an unfortunate Ethnic conflict and civil war resulting in the worst humanitarian crisis in the horn of Africa. We therefore, demand all of us who are concerned by the deteriorating situation in the country in general and the Amhara region in particular, to stop our reluctance by taking urgent actions to come together in unison, report the crisis and bring an international attention to the violence, and do all we can to help calm down and control the situation as soon as possible.
አምባ – የአማራ ባለሙያወች ህብረት (Amhara Professionals Union – APU) Date: 12/22/2016 (ቀን፡ 4/14/2009) Washington D.C. U.S.A