Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Call of Help: Save Two Young Tormented Oromo Refugees

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

Two brothers younger than 20; a life littered. Youth dreams evaporated; a family dispersed. Their father killed under chaotic circumstances difficult to accept and impossible to comprehend. Their mother vanished in the escapade trip out of Abyssinia to Sudan.
Where to search in the vast Sudanese wasteland? Where to recollect their life’s unfolded beginning?

Is there a force in this world to remove this hand of adversity that so pitilessly pursued them since their childhood in Moyale, their birthplace on the Kenyan borderline?

Abdurazak Haji Nebi and Sadam Haji Nebi greet you from Cairo!

A few nights ago, I met the two young Oromo brothers in a place where all laugh, smile, and enjoy their time; I was shocked by their calm, noble and persistent sadness of their faces.
Yet, like true, brave heroes of the Mountains Batu and Chilalo, Abdurazak and Sadam did not cry, did not weep, and did not shed a tear. I don’t think that I met braver people over the past 10 years.

When I looked at them with a penetrating glance, they smiled mildly and let me read in their eyes the true story that I will narrate.

Abdurazak was born in 1988 and Sadam came to life two years later. They spent their childhood in Moyale. As their father was killed in 1999, and the entire family came under threat of extinction, they followed their mother and their uncle (from their father’s side) and reached Metemma in Sudan on 18 October 1999. This was only the beginning of an errant life with many adventures and terrible deprivations.

As an undeserved, second hit, their mother disappeared in the unclear circumstances of the Sudanese anarchic circumference. They had no other solution than to stay with their uncle, and share with him whatever Life would send them as survival.

And it was not that easy for their 12-year eyebrows.

They spent in Sudan 13 months; then, the Sudanese government made plans for their deportation to the Hell of Abyssinia. They had to move as soon as they could to Egypt; they landed at Cairo on 14 November 2000. Their light baggage contained a Certificate (To whom it may concern) issued by the Oromo Relief Association (P.O. Box 2807 – Khartoum, Sudan). The paper was issued days before their departure for Cairo (1 November 2000), signed and stamped. I copy the document’s English text without editing.

Waldaa Gargaarsa Oromo

This is to certify that 1. Abdurzaki Haji Nebi – 12 years old and 2. Sadam Haji Nebi – 10 years old had been brought up under the care of Oromo Relief Association when it had been working among the Oromo Refugees in the Sudan. Their father was died before the last few years and they have been living as a Refugee in Sudan under the care of Oromo Relief Association (ORA).
However, at present the Oromo Relief Association is closed by the Sudanese Government and prohibited from its humanitarian services in Sudan. Since then it is beyond its ability to care for the needy Refugee because of resources. Hence, the Oromo Refugees, particularly those who are completely under its care or supervision are exposed to conditions of humanitarian crisis or starvation where their future fate would be at risk.

Therefore, since Oromo Relief Association does not have any alternative to alleviate the plight of these children as before, we wish them good success in their serious problem wherever they go.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation

(Details about Citibank accounts in Khartoum and Frankfurt appear on the bottom of the page)
Cairo – From Survival to Panic

After the two children arrived with their uncle in Cairo, they managed with his help to live a mean refugee life without any foreseeable improvement perspective. No school, few friends, and a daily life constrained into a few US dollars per day. They had at least their uncle as shelter, which was a reason to be relatively calm. Yet, this situation changed dramatically.

Their uncle’s fiancée (also Oromo) had traveled to Australia, and from there she sent him an invitation (visa). Having spent many years without an improvement perspective, their uncle, Jafar Said, left on 25 April 2006, hoping that in Australia he could at last arrange his life.

The two teenagers went to the UNHCR Cairo office, reported their situation, stated that their uncle had gone, that they were completely alone, and that they were taken in charge by the Oromo Refugee Community in Cairo. Then, UNHCR Cairo office employees contacted Caritas to help them get some assistance. This truly happened, and they got a monthly financial assistance starting by July 2006. This lasted one year, and was terminated last month (July 2007).

As their case was linked by the UNHCR Cairo office with that of their uncle who was their protector, their uncle’s departure produced a problem; UNHCR had to separate their case from that of their uncle which had to be considered as definitely closed since last year. The two teenagers received a UNHCR letter last April that was an invitation for interview; the UNHCR employees interviewed them but found their case weak and unconvincing, and a few days ago they called them to announce them the terrible results.

Both rejected by UNHCR

Immediate consequence of the UNHCR decision was that they were stripped of their blue card, and were given yellow card instead. A sheer degradation and the beginning of an unexpected Angst. Yellow card means that they are not considered as proper refugees anymore; they have the status of a simple applicant. They have the right to appeal until 23 September. As nothing can change in the description of their case, the most probable result will be that following a second rejection, their file will be closed, and they will face immediate deportation.

What can save them?

Any Oromo member of an Oromo Refugee Community in any other country, US, UK, Australia, should send a letter presenting him/herself as their sponsor and invite the young refugee brothers to a land of final settlement, peaceful existence, perspectives, and new life. Shall we say that Real Life will only then start for them?

Any person willing to help should contact the President and/or the Secretary General of the Oromo Refugee Community in Cairo (website: / email: / mobile: + 2012 2917839) as soon as possible.

Do not let the two Oromo teenagers of Cairo end up in the Hell of the Abyssinian jails!


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