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Appeal letter to Secretary Blinken - Renewed Civil War in Ethiopia Claims Thousands of Lives

September 8, 2022

The Honorable Mr. Anthony J. Blinken

The Secretary of State

U.S. Department of State

Washington, D.C. 20520

Fax: 202-261-8577

Re: Renewed Civil War in Ethiopia Claims Thousands of Lives

Your Excellency,

We, at the United Oromo Evangelical Churches (UOEC), an umbrella organization of Oromo Churches from the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Africa have been bringing to your attention our utmost concerns, sadness, and worries regarding the continued unprecedented devastating civil war happening in Ethiopia for the last three years. As we all know, the war claimed thousands of lives and displaced millions of citizens almost in all parts of the country. We have been waiting for peace negations among all warring parties in the country. Unfortunately, the new phase of war has started between the Ethiopian Federal Government and the Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF) on August 24,2022. As we speak, thousands of lives are perishing not only in Tigray, but also in Oromia regional state. The path to peace negotiation is at jeopardy. We hope and pray that the international communities will act before it is too late and pressure all warring parties to solve their differences through roundtable discussions and deliberations.

Your Excellency,

We do not need to remind you about the injustices that happened in Europe, in Japan, in Ruanda and Burundi, but they are reminders of what is happening in Ethiopia today. Thousands of people are being killed, wounded, evicted, and become homeless every day. Millions are already starving. Today we are the living witnesses about the thousands of people being killed in Oromia. Last week just in one day over a hundred innocent civilian Oromo have been killed in in Amuru District of west Wollega Zone. As reports show, most of the victims were children and elderly people who could not run to the forest to save their lives. It is very disturbing to hear repeated death reports and mass displacement happening against innocent people, especially children and senior citizens. This shows the intensity of atrocities our people are facing and how far the Ethiopian government has failed to protect the safety of its own citizens. Sadly enough, none of the domestic media outlets reported such hideous crime in this place. For how long will hear the death of thousands of innocent people? When will the world community give fair attention and help the Ethiopian people end this aimless war and hostilities?

So far, any meaningful engagement about the civil war in Ethiopia by the international community has placed nearly sole focus on the Tigray conflict while giving less attention to the war atrocities in the Oromia regional states. Addressing the brutalities being inflicted on Oromia for the last three years have left at the very margin by the international actors. While we believe the Tigray crisis deserves every bit of attention it has received, the complete sidelining of the issue of the war in Oromia is a historical blunder. Any mediation between Tigray and the Ethiopian government rather than a comprehensive process that includes all stakeholders, the international community and the Oromo people would lead to failure.

As a church, we believe that war cannot solve the long-standing multilayered political grievances in Ethiopia. Again, we would like to bring to your attention the following priorities:

1. The Ethiopian government and the opposing parties must equally care for civilians living in the waring zones.

2. We recommend immediate cessation of war in Oromia and other parts of Ethiopia so that the peace process should be continued without any preconditions.

3. We call upon the Ethiopian Federal government to facilitate favorable conditions for all-inclusive national dialogues and peace negations.

4. Call upon the Oromia reginal government to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. 5. Urge the Ethiopian government to unblock all media and internet services.

6. Urge the Ethiopian government to allow free access to international agencies to provide food and medicine to all people in Ethiopia affected by wars and drought

7. Call upon the African Union and International stakeholders to pressure the Ethiopian government and opposition parties to solve their differences through dialogue and deliberations.

8. Call upon all the Ethiopian religious leaders to pray and play their prophetic authority by speaking out against mass killings and atrocities happening in Ethiopia.

Your Excellency,

While praying for the prevalence of peace in Ethiopia and anywhere else in the world, we are bringing this plea to your office with the hope that the USA government will continue to work with all stakeholders in ensuring free and all-inclusive peace dialogues among the warring parties. We also hope that you will use your good office to exert the maximum possible pressure on the Ethiopian government to immediately open appropriate political space in the country and allow independent peace negotiations to ensure sustainable peace and security not only in Ethiopia, but also in the Horn of Africa.

With best regards,

Rev. Alemayehu Fite

United Oromo Evangelical Churches, President

UOEC Appeal Letter to SoS
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