Conquest, Tyranny, and Ethnocide against the Oromo: A Historical Assessment of Human Rights Conditions in Ethiopia

Mohammed Hassen

Georgia State University, Atlanta

This article attempts to assess the human rights conditions of the Oromo people under four Ethiopian regimes. Beginning with the conquest and incorporation of Oromia into the Ethiopian empire, it provides an overview of the brutality and depredations that Oromos suffered at the hands of Ethiopian soldiers and administrators under Menelik (r. 1880sā€“1913) and the concerted attacks on the Oromo cultural heritage, language, and national identity during the six decades when Haile Sellassie dominated the Ethiopian political landscape (1916ā€“74). Then it examines the violence against the Oromo national identity and the attempt to alter the demographic makeup of Oromia by the Ethiopian military-socialist regime (1974ā€“91) and the massive human rights violations perpetrated against the Oromo since 1992 in the name of democracy and federalism. In all, the article shows that for more than a century, the Oromo have endured unrelenting attacks on their individual rights, their national identity and cultural institutions, and their independent organizations. Ethiopia has yet to produce a government that respects Oromo human rights.

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