Who was legally responsible
to protect displaced Oromos as the result of the war waged by Abdi Illey of
Somali Reginal State in cooperation with invisible hands of contrabandists? Why
institutions of the Federal Government have remained indifferent to the
unprecedented humanitarian crisis faced by the Oromo community in Eastern and
South Eastern Oromia? Is it because the Federal Government is not responsible?
Is it because displacement of more than 600,000 (more than 0.6 million)
individuals from their home leaving behind all of their belongings is simple?
Isn’t it the largest community of IDPs in the history of Ethiopia and the Horn?
Why international humanitarian organizations turned deaf ears to this serious
According to relevant national laws, including the FDRE Constitution and other
subsequent laws, as well as international human rights and humanitarian laws,
internally displaced persons (IDPs) are entitled to protection and assistance
at three phases. These phases include:
– Before displacement (prevention of displacement): at this stage the
government is responsible to avoid conditions leading to displacement such as
indiscriminate attack, ethnic cleansing, etc. Displacement is resorted to only
when available alternatives are exhausted and if circumstances allow, it must
be preceded by pre-warning, free and informed consent of the concerned persons
(see for instance UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and relevant
provisions of the FDRE Constitution). Unfortunately, responsible federal
institutions such as Ministry of Federal Affairs whose primary aim is (Conflict
Prevention and Resolution Directorate General was setup by the Ministry)
particularly “to build culture of peace, ensure systems of early warning and
rapid response and conduct conflict survey analysis to communicate and realize
early response at all level” has been watching the full scale war waged by Abdi
Alley for about a year. The federal security apparatus deployed in the region
in many cases assisted attacking and displacement of the Oromo community, let
alone giving early warning or preventing the conflict from taking place.
– Protection and assistance during and after displacement is the second phase:
At this stage the set of rights need to be addressed at this phase include:
physical security and safety, family rights, socio-economic rights (provision
of food, shelter, clothing, health care services, education), etc. In case the
government fail to provide those basic needs, it must solicit international aid
With regard to the situation of more than half a million Oromos displaced and
living in a very shocking and life threatening situation, no institutions of
federal government is feeling responsible, let alone taking action. Even
though, in principle, all government sectors are responsible to address such
kind of disastrous conditions, the federal government has put in place focal
institution (Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS)) to
coordinate efforts of national and international organs.