ONLF rebels support calls to probe genocide allegations in Ethiopia
Sunday 19 April 2009
April 18, 2009 (NAIROBI) — Ogaden rebels yesterday backed call launched by a genocide watchdog to investigate genocide allegations in the south-eastern of Ethiopia.
In a letter sent to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Genocide Watch requested to investigate extra-judicial killings, rape, disappearances, destruction of livelihood and the displacement of thousands of Anuak ethnic group who live in a remote section of southeastern Ethiopia.
The rights group said the Ethiopian army had continued into late 2005 before finally subsiding when the same Ethiopian National Defense Forces were moved to the Ogaden area of southeastern Ethiopia and into Somalia "where similar atrocities were and still are being committed."
"The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) strongly supports the call by Genocide Watch for the initiation of an investigation of the human rights situation in Ethiopia," said the rebel group which fight for the independence of Somali ethnic group in Ogaden.
The ONLF also accused the Ethiopian government of committing war crimes tantamount to Genocide in Ogaden.
The rebels further said a UN humanitarian assessment team had visited Ogaden in September 2007 and concluded that an independent investigation was warranted. The ONLf regretted that "this recommendation was never acted upon and the details of their findings with regard to human rights were never fully released."
The Genocide Watch said they were encouraged by the action of the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor against the Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al Bashir and the decision issued by the judges of the court for his arrest on war crimes committed in Darfur region.
"The action that the International Criminal Court has taken in this situation has restored hope to peace and justice loving people, affirming that international human rights law not only exists on paper, but in reality," wrote the Gregory Stanton, President of Genocide Watch.
He added that atrocities fears of impunity may be a "primary reason that one of the first leaders to defend Omar Al-Bashir and condemn the warrant was Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia."