Protest Against the Inhuman Treatment of Oromos and other Immigrants and Refugees from Ethiopia
We members of the Oromo communities in Sweden write this protest letter to express our sadness and the rage we felt when we saw the cruel and inhuman way the immigrant workers and refugees from Ethiopia have been treated in Saudi Arabia at the hands of law enforcement officials and the vigilantes, the so called “Shebab”.
Recently internet, Television, and other media outlets have reported and continue to report widely all over the world, in all languages of the world, how the immigrant workers are hunted, rounded up and kept in concentration camps with meager facilities. In the process they are harassed, badly beaten up, women are raped and even some killed. They come to Saudi Arabia in search of protection and possibility to improve their own lives through honest hard work. They are not criminals and as such do not deserve such a cruel treatment the whole world has witnessed. Therefore, we strongly condemn these atrocious acts in stronger terms possible and demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice.
The great majority of the immigrants from Ethiopia are Oromos. The Oromo people, the single largest nation in the horn of Africa number over 40 million in Ethiopia alone inhabiting mainly the regional state of Oromia. A large number of Oromos live in Kenya and Somalia. As the largest nation it is going to play a major role in the future economic, social and political development of the region. As it is well known the Oromos are demanding to be free from Ethiopia dictatorial rule and build their own democratic state. Because of their demand for self-determination many are persecuted, imprisoned and even brutally killed. Accordingly a large portion of Oromo immigrants in Saudi Arabia are actually political refugees seeking protection.
We oromos, as people, have had a friendly historical and religious ties with your country which provided sanctuary for several Oromoo dissidents like the late Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa. We wish these ties to continue to be friendly. But if not corrected in time the atrocities committed today on these innocent immigrants and refugees can have a negative influence for a long time to come.
The situation of these people has become a major crisis not only for those affected but also for the whole region. The Saudi government has the responsibility for the safety and security of individuals staying in the Kingdom whether legally or illegally. Even those immigrants who may be found guilty of violating Saudi laws are entitled to respectful, fair and lawful treatment. Innocent immigrants, who happen to dwell in Saudi Arabia because of various reasons illegally, deserve to be treated humanely and given the chance either to be repatriated back to Ethiopia or to another country of their choice.
We demand that the Saudi government handles the matter with greater care and according to international law. Those who want to return home should be allowed to do so in an orderly manner with the help of the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations. Those who cannot return home fearing political repression should be allowed to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia or allowed to resettle in other countries.
Oromo Community in Sweden, Stockholm