Sunday, June 13, 2010

Abduction and Disappearance of Refugees in Somaliland

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern about the safety of six Oromo refugees who were abducted from various locations in Somaliland on different dates in a joint operation by security forces of the governments of the Somaliland and Ethiopia, and taken to unknown destinations.
According to information obtained through HRLHA correspondent in the area,

1. Fahmi Kalif Adam,
2. Mohammed-saani Mohammed,
3. Abdi Yuusuf Adam, and
4. Raajuu/Jeylan Jibril Kadir were kidnapped on the 28th of May, 2010 at around 8:00 PM in a locality known as Sha’abka in the town of Hargessa.
5. Abdurahman Ibrahim was abducted on the 1st of June, 2010 while he was walking along the street in the same town. The sixth refugee, Bontu Sharaf (a female engaged in private retail business), was abducted on the 5th of June, 2010 in the border town of Wacale on the Ethio-Somalian border. No information was obtained regarding the safety and the whereabouts of all the six refugees ever since they were abducted and taken away.

Abdi Yusuf, Raajuu or Jeylan Jibril, Mohammed-Sani Mohammed and Fahmi are registered refugees bearing UNHCR mandate, with registration numbers UNHCR 505-2008, UNHCR-165-2008, UNHCR 114-2008, and UNHCR 158-2008, respectively.

Two refugees who were very fortunate to escape the kidnapping have disclosed to an HRLHA correspondent that four of the kidnappers were in Ethiopian army uniform, and were speaking Amharic – Ethiopia’s official language.

HRLHA believes that those kidnapped refugees have been taken back to Ethiopia; and that they are likely to be subjected to torture, and eventually face harsh punishments.

It is very obvious that Ethiopia is a politically violent country, the reality that became more vivid especially after the most recent election held this past May, 2010, in which the ruling EPRDF party showed its authoritarianism by systematically eliminating opposition parties from the political games and the democratization process. Throughout its time in power, the EPRDF ruling party is always accused of extrajudicial killings, massive political imprisonments, kidnappings and disappearances of people due to their differing political opinions. Although there have been some other alleged attachments to it, refugees from Ethiopia flee their homeland mainly due to this never ending political repression, and in an effort to escape such political killings and imprisonments. It is also obvious that Ethiopia is a country where death penalty is implemented.

Background Information:

* Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud – UNHCR attestation papers number 03/RF/SOMH/036 was abducted from Hargessa, Somaliland on October 17, 2008 by the joint security forces from Ethiopia and Somaliland (HRLHA Urgent Action No 5, 2008). After taken to Ethiopia, he was severely tortured and kept in dark prison cell separately for more than two years. Mr Mohamed escaped from prison and presently he resettled in Canada Windsor Ontario (read his life in Ethiopia prison from the interview “University of Windsor Counselors aid torture victims” he gave to The Windsor Star, on April 17, 2010).

* Mr. Yasin Adam Ahmed [UNHCR file number 03/RF/SOMHA/050) and, (Canada Immigration file number B049951893) Ethiopian Oromo refugee was abducted from Somaliland by a joint operation of Ethiopia and Somaliland security forces on February 10, 2010 and returned him to Ethiopia (HRLHA urgent Action No. 2 February 2010. HRLHA didn’t receive whereabouts of Mr. Yasin Adam since he was abducted.

Due to these and other similar facts, HRLHA is highly concerned about the whereabouts as well as safety of those refugees. Therefore, HRLHA calls upon regional and international humanitarian and diplomatic communities and agencies to approach and pressurize both the Ethiopian and the Somaliland governments so that they disclose the whereabouts and the current situations of the abducted refugees. It also calls upon those same agencies and communities to exert pressure on the Horn of African countries to refrain from becoming tools of authoritarian regimes and instead respect the rights of refugees to safety and protection.

The HRLHA is a non-political and non-profit organization that attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own fundamental human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

Source: The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)


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