To: Mr. Kofi Annan, United Nations
Secretary General, The United Nations
United Nations Plaza, Room S-3800
New York, NY 10017

RE: Anuak Cry for Survival December 19, 2003


Ethiopia is one of the African countries that suffer from grave human rights violations, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detention and torture. Such human rights violations in Ethiopia have been increasing in recent years. Since 1991, the Melese led government of Ethiopia has detained and executed many innocent Ethiopians. The special police and armed forces ruthlessly suppress peaceful groups that request their constitutional right to self-administration and self-expression.

The Anuak people are one of the nationalities in the Gambella regional state. When the present government came into power in 1991, the traditional lands of the Anuak people were renamed as Gambella People National Regional State (GPNRS). The Anuak People strongly opposed the EPDRF interfering in the regional affaire and repeatedly appealed for the right of self-administration. Many Anuak people who peacefully objected the government's actions to their constitutional rights were either killed or arrested by the intervention force (Tigrean Special army), which was deployed into the region. The killers of these people have never been brought to justice.

The December 13, 2003 genocide in Gambella city in the south western Ethiopia is the most recent example of the government's harsh policies and the lack of justice in the region. The genocide in Gambella city broke out after a car was ambush roughly 20 kilometers from Gambella city, on the road leading to Jikawo district and when the car arrived in the Gambella city carrying the bodies of seven local Ethiopian and one Anuak who had been killed.

At 12 pm, several Ethiopian troops together with the civilian’s Ethiopian “Highlanders” who were armed with guns, clubs, spears and machetes took to the streets of the city in a genuine manhunt, beating and striking dead all Anuak who crossed their path but their target were educated Anuak men. The Ethiopian government troops began approaching those Anuak that were previously identified as "troublemakers". This list of Anuak has been well-publicized and is made up of those that are sympathetic to the former regional government, those that hold positions in the present regional government, and those that are outspoken against the federal government's policies in the region. Of the Anuak on this list, some were arrested with no charge, but the majority were shot and killed in cold blood.

This mass killing, which followed - more than 400 people are thought to have died - was carried out by the government's special police force. By the order of the federal government the security men and women were instructed to mix with the civilians Ethiopian or Highlanders and chant anti-Anuak slogan from today forward no Anuak, No Anuak land and create chaos. They massacred and burned Anuak houses and properties. This created the mixed communities, which coexisted for centuries to go after each other and kill. Then the government security pulled out and blamed one side or another. This was a calculated murder aimed at divide and rule principal.

 

We, the threatened Anuak people in the Gambella region of Ethiopia, especially educated Anuak hereby urgently appeal to you and to the whole international community of nations as upholders of human rights to hear our very desperate Anuak CRY.

The most recent development of situation in the Gambella city is so explosive and tautened due to assault and slaughtering in a contemptible and inhuman manner on Anuak by un-neutral armed forces which went hand in hand with thousand of EPDRF troops who mainly come from outside Gambella. Within three days over four hundreds Anuak including women and children were killed; several homes were totally burnt down and destroyed.

The armed forces which ought to protect innocent people, in fact are now torn apart by internal conflict among themselves. This causes that Anuak people become fully unprotected, and consequently death tolls are escalating daily in frightening number.

For this very reason, we urgently appeal, that the International Community through the United Nations speedily renders us international help by placing UN Special investigators into the Gambella region. We urgently hope that our CRY will get your immediate response in order to prevent a worsening process of genocide (cleansing) in Gambella.

We have brought some examples of the crimes and the collective violations of human rights committed by the EPRDF government and its forces with regard to the exclaiming of mass disappearances, murders and mass graves,

In the light of these crimes, we are all more than ever convinced:

1 That the Ethiopian government must stop its genocidal program and withdraw its troops from Gambella, our ancestral homeland

2 That the international community recognizes our right of self-determination as people.

3 The international community do all it can to stop the killing and foster investigation with the help of third party.

We strongly and unanimously urge that you condemn the Ethiopian government for the its heinous crimes against the Anuak people, cry halt to them, once and for all and help us realize our collective rights as people.

Sincerely

Obang WaraJang