Oromia Global Forum
6909 Laurel Ave, Suite 5219
Tacoma Park, MD20913
The Norwegian Nobel Institute
NO-0255 Oslo, Norway
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Phone: +47 22 12 93 00
Fax: +47 94 76 11 17
Friday, June 12, 2020
Ref: Requesting a Revocation of the 2019 Noble Peace Prize Award to Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed
We, the Oromia Global Forum (OGF), a global alliance of Oromo civic, professional and faith-based organizations residing in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia, would like to express our deepest disappointment on the decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to award Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, based on scanty information without thorough background check.
OGF’s values are based on the egalitarian Gadaa System of the Oromo nation, in which the dignity of all human beings is equally respected and defended, irrespective of their color, culture and creed. OGF advocates for the protection and promotion of all human rights in Oromia and beyond. OGF upholds and defends the moral and ethical values of the Oromo nation, in which all human beings are equally treated, truth is defended and justice is served without discrimination. Furthermore, Oromia Global Forum (OGF) stands for, and defends Oromo national unity, integrity of Oromia, equality of its citizens, freedom of expression, social justice, self-determination and respect all forms of diversity in our society. We would like to kindly inform you that this letter of ours is based on these social, moral, ethical and human values of our Organization.
As Africans, we appreciate the Noble Peace Prize Institute for paying attention to a candidate from the continent.
But we strongly believe that it was hasty, too early, and a mistake to award the prestigious Noble Peace Prize to Abiy Ahmed, who has been killing civilians under Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and continued with the same heinous crimes (extrajudicial killings and gross human rights violations) after becoming the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
The Honorable Alfred Nobel stated in his Will that the Nobel Peace Prize be conferred to the worthiest person who has done the greatest benefit to humankind. The OGF believes the award that was given to Abiy Ahmed is grossly inconsistent with and contrary to the spirit of the benefactor’s Will.
The decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee was mainly influenced by Abiy’s tactful act of peace-making move with President Isaias Afeworki of Eritrea after 20 years of enmity following the devastating war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 1998.
Peace-making is a noble job. But Abiy Ahmed’s initiative to make peace with Eritrea was motivated by internal political calculations to consolidate his power. Disguised as a plan to end decades old border confrontation with Eritrea, his prime objective in dealing with the Eritrean dictator, President Isaias Afeweki, was to deny all his political opponents any safe space outside Ethiopia as Eritrea sheltered some Ethiopian opposition parties for several years. In addition, Dr. Abiy’s political calculation was meant to weaken the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front – the creator of his political organization, the now defunct Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), who continues to oppose his regime, and to further destabilize oppositions in the Tigray regional state, that is bordering with Eritrea. In reality, the peace deal was cosmetic and superficial; no more than personal diplomacy between Prime Minster Aby Ahmed and President Isaias Afewerki which did not involve proper diplomatic discussions between the two nations to resolve outstanding issues between them. Because of these shortcomings, the situation between Eritrea and Ethiopia remains the same and, except for photo ops for Prime Minister Abiy and President Isaias, the border between the two countries is still a no war, no peace situation where tensions remain high. The border between the two countries is now closed and the people on both sides are still suffering.
Yet, at the time of the peace initiative, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed orchestrated a domestic political agenda as grand peace project and earned undeserved global reputation as peace maker. We believe, this pretentious act misled the Noble Peace Prize Committee to grant him the 2019 Noble Peace award. We are extremely disappointed that the Noble Peace Prize Committee did not fully realize Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s personal ambitions and domestic political motives unrelated to a blessed job of peace making that the Noble Committee envisaged. The Committee should have been very suspicious when Dr. Abiy rejected press interview at the award reception ceremony.
Before coming to power, Abiy Ahmed was a reclusive member of the notorious security force of the EPRDF government that arrested, tortured, maimed and massacred hundreds of thousands of the Oromo people and other Ethiopians. He was the initiator and a point person in the establishment of EPRDF’s spy network, the Information Network Security Agency (INSA). He was a loyal security officer of the former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He is among key individuals who are responsible for the disappearances and killings of thousands of innocent Ethiopians. As a result of his spy network, the whereabouts of thousands of Oromos are yet to be found.
Despite all these facts, the prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed was/is erroneously praised too soon, as a reformist leader, without rationale. He was brought forward to the stage in the middle of Oromo popular uprising that shook the EPRDF regime toward the later part of 2017, to quell the Qeerroo (Oromo youth) resistance and protest movement. He poised as supporter of the uprising and manipulated his way to the helm of the government power. In the middle of the mass protests that forced Prime Minister Haile Mariam Dessalegn to resign, Abiy Ahmed was elevated to the highest political office in Ethiopia, in April 2018. When he came to power, he made some promising speeches. Initially, he released some political prisoners and allowed exiled opposition political parties to return home in order to eliminate his opponents systematically, later on. He continued surfing (spying on) the strengths of Qeerroo uprising till he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Once he was awarded the Prize, he began applying the same notorious security tactics he was/is skilled at to silence the peoples demands for human rights, justice and democracy. Unfortunately, he is using the prestige of Noble Peace Prize as a license to kill at will.
Over the last two years, Abiy Ahmed’s government has re-arrested many more opposition party members, supporters, independent civilians, and young people, simply because they are suspected of opposing his government or refused to join his party. While pretending to make peace with Eritrea, the Prime Minister had miserably failed to make peace at home. His government has failed to avert numerous internal conflicts that displaced millions of people internally. Contrary to making peace, the Prime Minister has intensified extreme violence and domestic conflicts using illegal military command posts to deal with internal security issues. He introduced martial law in Western and Southern Oromia. In other parts of Oromia similar security crimes are being committed without accountability. Tens of thousands of Oromos from teenagers to the elderly persons in their 70s and 80s are being imprisoned, tortured, killed and thrown to hyenas. Killings in Western and Southern Oromia continue indiscriminately for almost two years. Today, the horrifying stories of killing civilians are intensifying more and more; spreading throughout the whole of Oromia. There are instances where a young mother of three siblings was murdered by Abiy Ahmed’s army, while working in her garden in the daylight. Three brothers were killed at different intervals. In early June 2020, the Prime Minister’s army murdered innocent elderly father and mother of a rebel fighter in their own home. This heinous act is believed to terrorize young men and women throughout Oromia. Several innocent youth under the government custody were taken out of jails, murdered, and their bodies were disposed in forests in Oromia regions such as in Qellem Wallaga zone of West Oromia. An opposition member was arrested in Hararghe, East Oromia and brutally murdered while under the custody of the government and his body was thrown into the bush and eaten by hyenas.
Two young Oromo men who were members of Oromo Liberation Front were taken out of their homes in Finfinnee/Addis Ababa and murdered by the government of Abiy Ahmed’s security force in June 2020.
The human rights abuses perpetrated in Oromia by the government forces are genocidal action. The Amnesty International in its recent report writes and explains about current situation in Oromia as follows:
There are many credible reports of killings, torture, and arbitrary arrests by security forces. We have also documented shutdowns of phone and internet services in Oromia, and the arrests of journalists and opposition leaders and their supporters. A return to abusive practices is a painful reminder of the longstanding failure to effectively reform the security sector and address its culture of impunity. The report further highlights Ethiopia’s security forces committed extrajudicial killings and mass detentions even as the country’s reformist prime minister was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At least 10,000 people under suspicion were detained between January and September, with most “subjected to brutal beatings.”
The Amnesty International’s report is a tip of the crime iceberg, since it focuses only on a very tiny section of greater Oromia, and covers the year 2019 only.
Abiy Ahmed’s public speeches and deeds attest his deep-rooted contempt for Oromo Nationalism, and irrational hatred for the people. Demographically and geographically, the Oromo nation is the largest nation in Ethiopia. In order to control the spread and strength of Oromo nationalism, Abiy Ahmed wants to divide and reduce the Oromo Nation into small, disunited groups. Abiy Ahmed has a backward-looking vision for Ethiopia and Oromia. He is hell-bent on glorifying the old brutal imperial dictators of the country from the 19th and 20th centuries, who are historically known for butchering millions of people, while elsewhere, the statues of such former brutal political figures are being taken down. Abiy Ahmed spent billions of Dollars to erect Statues for the most cruel and brutal murderers, Menelik II and Haile Silassie I, while 16.5 million people are in dire need of emergency food, and over 3 million internally displaced citizens are suffering from lack of food, clothing and shelter. Abiy Ahmed’s vision is to re-build (restore) the past brutal Ethiopian Empire, instead of pursuing a forward-looking path toward democracy.
We are cognizant of the fact that some Nobel Prizes have certainly been controversial, especially after the fact. Antonio Egos Moniz, for example, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1949 for his development of the so-called “icepack lobotomy,” a brutal medical procedure which has been widely condemned. Some controversial leaders like Henry Kissinger have won controversial Peace Prizes, along with people who were later deemed morally suspect, like German author Günter Grass, who later admitted to serving in the SS during the Second World War. It is not long ago that we witnessed the 1991 Nobel Prize for Peace winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, falling from grace by going contrary to the principles of the Nobel Peace prize and defending the brutal/barbaric act of Myanmar Army that devastated the Rohingya people. Her actions generated the call for the withdrawal of her Nobel Peace Prize. She is not alone. The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is following the same path; not only by defending the barbaric acts of old dictators, but also by pursuing and performing the same policies.
Therefore, to protect the high prestige of its award, we respectfully appeal to the Noble Peace Prize Award Committee to revoke the award that went to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, and ask the Prime Minister to return the undeserved Prize of year 2019.
Oromia Global Forum : a global alliance of Oromo civic, professional and faith-based organizations.
- Bilal Oromo Dawa Center
- Canaan Oromo Evangelical Church
- Charismatic International Fellowship Church
- Gaadisa Sabboontottaa KP
- Global Gumii Oromia
- Global Oromo Advocacy Group
- Global Waaqeffannaa Council
- Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
- Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa
- International Oromo Women’s Organization
- International Qeerroo Support Group
- Mana Kiristaanaa Fayyisaa Addunyaa
- Oromo Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church
- Oromo Communities’ Association of North America
- Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church of Washington DC Metropolitan Area
- Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Mission Society
- Oromo Human Rights and Relief Organization
- Oromo Legacy, Leadership and Advocacy Association
- Oromo Lutheran Church of Baltimore
- Oromo Parliamentarians Council
- Oromo Political Prisoners Association
- Oromia Support Group
- Oromo Studies Association
- Tawfiq Islamic Center
- Union of Oromo Communities in Canada
- United Oromo Evangelical Church
- Washington DC Metropolitan Oromo SDA Church
- Amnesty International
- Human Rights Watch
- The Parliament and Government of Norway
- Governmental and Non-Governmental human rights defenders in Norway
- The United Nations Human Rights Commission