OLF Presse Release- July 23, 2021
The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) was repeatedly raising its gravest concerns about the Ethiopian ruling group declaring war on its own citizens. We were stressing that it is not only unconstitutional but also the war that cannot be won. Instead, the OLF was demanding peaceful settlement of the conflicts to the political crises. However, sadly, the outlawed Prosperity Party (PP) ruling group continued fighting Ethiopian peoples and opposition parties for the last three years. The PP ruling group kept on thinking that the war would produce a solution to the existing crises in the country.
It is obvious that the Government of Dr. Abiy Ahmed has been defeated in all internal wars in Oromia, Benishangul-Gumuz and Tigray regions. This led to the weakening of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and deteriorated its warring capacities. Also, the manpower supply for the army is depleted as most of the Ethiopian peoples believe that the war declared on the citizens is unjustified and meaningless. At this juncture, it became crystal clear that anyone in Ethiopia with normal conscience does believe that the conventional war undergoing against the Ethiopian peoples is totally unacceptable. It is not only the civil population who do believe that the war is meaningless but also the ENDF members themselves and associated Militias who went to the war front are regretting about their actions in this unjust war. However, the PP ruling group is still determined to the war effort against peoples’ need.
As a last resort for their survival, the PP group turned to children who don’t understand anything about the war and its consequences. According to tangible information we receive from different parts of the country, the PP group is forcing most underaged children below 15 years old for military training and preparing them for war. Most of the children they are conscripting are from poor sector of our society who are shoe polishers, daily laborers and those looking for manual labor work to earn their daily bread. They forcefully recruit these children by giving them false and misleading information promising them job. As we speak the PP armed forces are conscripting several children from Ambo prison, Dalattii (Sabbata) prison, Sululta, Burayyu and different locations including from streets and individual homes. Also, we are receiving reliable information that similar recruitments of child soldiers are taking place in other parts of the country.
Currently many of these children enlisted from central Oromia are kept in concentration camp at Sandafa College from where they will be transferred to Military training Centers. After they have been taken to the military training camps, they don’t have option to escape as they will be thwarted by armed forces.
The OLF would like to stress that this act of forced recruitment of underaged children for war is not only morally wrong, but it is also against the national and international laws. For example, the convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (2002) all forbid armed forces and non-state armed groups from using children under the age of 15 directly in armed conflict (technically “hostilities”). Other regional and international laws prohibit child soldiers as children are vulnerable victims of the society and suffer a broad range of human rights violations and abuses, including their right to life and subject to warring zone violence and other forms of torture.
We, therefore, condemn this act and call up on the Oromia citizens, other Ethiopian peoples and the international community do their best to stop this criminal act. We observe that parents, different community groups and political organizations are making efforts to protect the children from these hostilities. However, it may be difficult for them as the child conscription is enforced by the PP armed groups.
Therefore, we urge citizens of Oromia and other Ethiopian peoples to organize themselves, strengthen their unities and defend the children from this evil act of the PP ruling group. Particularly, we ask the political parties’ structure, Oromo Youth (Qerroo/Qarree) structure, and the administration of the Oromia Regional National Transitional Government (ORNTG) to work hard to protect these children. We also appeal to the international communities to do their best in their capacities to investigate and prosecute those who recruit and use children for war as this is now recognized as a war under international laws.
Finally, we would call up on the Oromia citizens and other Ethiopian peoples stand in unison to avoid the current wide spectrum devastative acts of the PP group that would lead the country to more irreparable crises.
Victory to the Masses!
Oromo Liberation Front.
July 23, 2021
OLF Presse Release- July 23, 2021