Date: 14th September 2012 Ref: OHRC/PR01/2012
OGADEN: MAKING PEACE NECESSITATES TOTAL RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
On September 08th 2012, Ethiopian government spokesman and an ONLF press release confirmed that the two warring parties were engaged in preliminary peace negotiations which took place in neighbouring Kenya.
The Ogaden Human Rights Committee welcomes wholeheartedly, the peace talks between the Ogaden National Liberation Front and the Ethiopian Government and hopes that it will result in stopping the bloodshed and gross human rights violation which are taking place in the Ogaden region on a daily basis.
The Ogaden Region has been a virtually closed military zone for the last eighteen years, where bloody battles were being fought between Ethiopian armed forces and combatants of the Ogaden National Liberation Front.
The Ethiopian government’s policy in the Ogaden is based on; deliberate economic strangulation, political marginalization and use of brutal military force to suppress all legitimate demands from the population including the inalienable right to self-determination.
We believe there is strong correlation between human rights and peace/conflict as human rights abuses might cause armed struggle and armed conflicts exacerbate human suffering.
The Ogaden conflict is not different from other conflicts in the world, which the international community has been involved and committed to resolving as a mediator or facilitator. The last conflict in Africa, which was resolved through negotiation with the help of the international community, was the war in the Southern Sudan. The conflict in the Ogaden deserves the attention and the positive intervention of the international community.
The Ogaden Human Rights Committee believes a negotiated settlement modelled on Naivasha agreements which solved the Southern Sudan conflict can be the best solution for the protracted conflict in the Ogaden.
The two warring parts must show good will and take all necessary confidence building measures.
In this regard, the Ogaden Human Rights Committee Committee recommends and requests the following:
- The Ethiopian government and the Ogaden National Liberation Front, declare immediate, comprehensive and unconditional cease-fire in the Ogaden.
- Commit themselves to respect human rights and make part of their negotiation addressing grave human rights violation and war crimes that has victimized thousands of innocent people
- The Ethiopian government should release all political prisoners in the Ogaden.
- The international community exert more pressure on all the parties to the conflict in the Ogaden in order to reach a peacefully negotiated and just settlement.
- Since there is no confidence between the warring sides the Ogaden Human Rights Committee urges the United States and European Union to act as mediators and facilitators to boost up the Kenyan role in order to put an end to the human suffering in the Ogaden as soon as possible.
- The international community refrain from aiding and supporting the Ethiopian government as long as it violates human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Somali people in the Ogaden.
- The Ogaden Human Rights Committee urges the Ethiopian government and the Ogaden National Liberation Front to allow all humanitarian and relief organisations to operate freely in the Ogaden as well as international and local human rights organisations and the international press.
- The sides should refrain from incitement and negative propaganda.
Ogaden Human Rights Committee