UN Condemns Ethiopian Gov’t for the Woldia Epiphany Festival Killings

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an independent investigation into the killings of Epiphany goers in Woldia by security forces

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for investigation of the Woldia Epiphany festival goers killings
The Ethiopian regime has failed to meaningfully investigate similar killings of protesters in Oromia. Ethiopians are now left to deal with a criminal regime whose religion is hate and believes in birthrights for ethnic supremacy.

BY DAWIT ENDESHAW | THE REPORTER

United Nation High Commission for Human Rights (UNHRC) condemned the recent incident in Woldia, North Wello Zone which claimed the lives of six civilians and one security officer.

The Commission in its statements issued today, January 23, 2018, called the tragedy regrettable.

“We are extremely concerned by the use of force by security officials against worshippers celebrating the Ethiopian Orthodox festival of Epiphany this weekend that left at least seven people dead and a number [of worshippers] injured,” reads the statement.

Further, the commission stated that the incident “reportedly took place when the security forces tried to stop people from chanting anti-government songs and allegedly opened fire on them. Protesters reportedly later blocked roads and destroyed a number of properties.”

“This incident is all the more regrettable, as it comes just two weeks after Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, officially announced its intention to undertake reforms,” the statement lamented.

Finally, the commission called for an independent and impartial investigation of the incident and insisted on ensuring that those responsible for the violation to be accountable.




OHCHR Press Briefing Note on Ethiopia

Location: Geneva
Date: 23 January 2018
Subject: Ethiopia

We are extremely concerned by the use of force by security officials against worshippers celebrating the Ethiopian Orthodox festival of Epiphany this weekend that left at least seven people dead and a number injured.

The incident, in Woldiya City in Amhara Regional State on 20 January, reportedly took place when the security forces tried to stop people from chanting anti-government songs and allegedly opened fire on them. Protesters reportedly later blocked roads and destroyed a number of properties.

This incident is all the more regrettable, as it comes just two weeks after Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, officially announced its intention to undertake reforms.

We call on the authorities to ensure that the security forces take all feasible measures to prevent the use of force.

We understand that the President of Amhara Regional State, who confirmed that there had been deaths and injuries, said there would be what he termed a “careful examination” of the incident.

We urge for this to be a prompt, independent, impartial and effective investigation to ensure those responsible for any violations are held accountable. We also call on the Government to undertake the necessary legal and policy reforms, along with guidance and training, to create the conditions for law enforcement officials to operate in line with international standards.




Ethiopian Protesters Killed for Singing Anti-Gov’t Songs: UN

Ravina Shamsadani, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ravina Shamsadani, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. (Photo: UN Multimedia)

BY TOM MILES | REUTERS

Ethiopian security forces opened fire on protesters who were singing anti-government songs, U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said on Tuesday.

Authorities said on Monday that at least seven people died in clashes between security forces and worshippers taking part in a religious ceremony marking Epiphany in Amhara region in northern Ethiopia at the weekend, but they had yet to determine the cause of the violence.

Shamdasani told a U.N. briefing in Geneva that the U.N. human rights office was extremely concerned by the deaths.

“The incident, in Woldiya City in Amhara Regional State on 20 January, reportedly took place when the security forces tried to stop people from chanting anti-government songs and allegedly opened fire on them. Protesters reportedly later blocked roads and destroyed a number of properties.”



Ethiopian government spokesman Negeri Lencho, reacting to Shamdasani’s statement, told journalists on Tuesday that demands by the public should be “raised peacefully.” Security forces should exercise restraint and avoid actions that could lead to death and injury, he said.

Shamdasani did not specify the source of the information but said the U.N.’s regional office in Addis Ababa had collected information from several sources, including local media, trusted civil society sources and official statements.

The incident was all the more regrettable as it came just two weeks after Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, announced its intention of undertaking reforms, she added.

“We understand that the President of Amhara Regional State, who confirmed that there had been deaths and injuries, said there would be what he termed a ‘careful examination’ of the incident.”

She said it should be prompt, independent, impartial and effective and ensure anybody responsible for violating human rights was held accountable.