25 Oromo communities around the world wrote on January 5, 2004, an appeal letter to different diplomatic missions and international organizations to pressure the Ethiopian government to reverse the decision to evict Oromo institutions from Finfinne. The letter was sent to the United Nations Secretary General, European Union Delegation in Finfinne, African Union, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), United States Senate and House Committees on Foreign Relations, and many diplomatic missions based in Finfinne. Below is a copy of the letter addressed to the United States Embassy in Finfinne.



United States Embassy

P.O. Box 1014

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Fax:      251-1-551328

 

Date:    January 5, 2004

 

Subject:  Appeal by Oromo Community around the World against the Forced

               Eviction of Oromos and Oromo Institutions from Finfinne (Addis Ababa)

Your Excellency:

We are writing to bring to your attention the political machinations of the Ethiopian government to illegally and forcefully evict Oromos and purge Oromo institutions from Finfinne, which was renamed Addis Ababa over a hundred years ago by the Amhara-Tigrean dominated Ethiopia’s political establishment.

Oromos constitute over half of the population in Ethiopia. It is despite this fact that the Oromo continue to be politically, economically and culturally marginalized. In its 40th session deliberations, the UN described the Oromo people as one of the largest nations without an independent state of their own. Finfinne, being the largest city located in the heart of Oromia, was designated as Oromia’s capital in 1991.  In addition, Finfinne is regarded by the Oromo people as the cradle of their nationhood and identity.  It was in recognition of this reality that Article 49(5) of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia recognized “the special interest of the state of Oromia in Addis Ababa regarding the provision of social services or the utilization of natural resources and other similar matters, as well as joint administrative matters arising from the location of Addis Ababa within the State of Oromia.” 

About three years ago the Ethiopian government hatched a sinister plan, in utter disregard to the letter and spirit of this constitutional provision, to move the capital of Oromia from Finfinne to Adama.  This decision is made by hand-picked officials of the Oromia Regional Government whose legitimacy comes from sham elections and the barrel of the gun.  These officials, however illegitimate, did not arrive at this unprecedented decision on their own but under the constant pressure of the Ethiopian government.  There is neither economic nor administrative benefit to move Oromia's capital city from Finfinne.

The Oromo people did not have a say in this grave decision that is bound to negatively affect its political, economic, social and cultural life for years to come.  Furthermore, the decision goes against the manifested protest of Oromos who work in the various offices of the Oromia Regional Government and Oromo residents of the capital and surrounding villages who are violently prevented from staging a peaceful demonstration to air their grievances. This has caused great outrage and sorrow to the Oromo people in Oromia and Oromo communities around the world. We regard this decision to be illegal and totally unacceptable. It is an irony that a regime that refuses to vacate the tiny village town of Badme and holds it by force of arms against international law chooses to evict Oromos from their ancestral homeland against their will.  This ill-considered decision is bound to be a major cause for further instability in the country as well as the Horn.

By forcing Oromo civil servants and their families to vacate Finfinne, the government is denying the state of Oromia its natural and inviolable right to its own territory and also ghettoizing the Oromo intelligentsia outside the capital to better control Oromia. This is indeed the footing to further marginalize the Oromo nation and keep its grievances away from the watchful eyes and ears of the diplomatic and international community based in the capital. This is especially worrisome in the light of the severe violation of human rights of the Oromo people by the Ethiopian government as reported by various human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch/Africa, the US State Department, Survival International, The Committee to Protect Journalists, The International Commission of Jurors, the Oromia Support Group, and the Ethiopian Human Rights Council.

Oromia and the Oromo nation are fortunate to have a number of African and international organizations’ offices and their diplomatic community in the midst of their land. This avails both the Oromo people and the diplomatic community in Finfinne a unique opportunity to work together now and in the future in tackling local, regional and international problems and in advancing understanding between peoples.

We hereby humbly request your assistance in putting every pressure in your power on the Ethiopian government and demand that it stop the illegal, forceful and malicious eviction of Oromos and Oromo institutions from Finfinne without the will of the Oromo people. 

Sincerely,

 

Bula Atomsa

President, Oromo Community of Minnesota

For Oromo community organizations listed hereunder
 

  1. Atlanta Georgia Oromo Community
  2. Denver Oromo Community
  3. Oromo Canadian Community Association of GTA
  4. Oromo Community Association of Chicago
  5. Oromo Community Association of Columbus. Ohio
  6. Oromo Community Association of Melbourne
  7. Oromo Community Humanitarian Association in Phoenix
  8. Oromo Community in Michigan
  9. Oromo Community in United Kingdom
  10. Oromo Community of Dallas, Fort Worth
  11. Oromo Community of Las Vegas
  12. Oromo Community of Los Angeles
  13. Oromo Community of Minnesota
  14. Oromo Community of New Jersey (Atlantic City)
  15. Oromo Community of Santiago
  16. Oromo Community of South Dakota
  17. Oromo Community Organization of Pennsylvania
  18. Oromo Community Organization of Seattle
  19. Oromo Community Organization of the Washington, DC
  20. Oromo Diaspora Association Boston
  21. Oromo Diaspora Association of New York
  22. Oromo Forbund I Bergen Kommune
  23. Portland Oromo Community Association
  24. Union of Oromo in Bayern 
  25. Union of Oromo in Hessen