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BREAKING NEWS | Document from Ethiopian Govt Lists Oromo Wisdom-Keeper Dabassa Guyo as #1 Target; List Contains Some 131 Oromo Nationals in Kenya as Targets, Including Oromo Artists

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The following statement of Urgent Action and Appeal on the case of Mr. Dabassa Guyo, the recently disappeared Oromo Gadaa Wisdom-Keeper, and other Oromo refugees and asylum-seekers in Kenya, is from the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA); HRLHA is a non-political organization (with the UN Economic and Social Council – ECOSOC – Consultative Status), which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa.

Document from the Ethiopian government’s Intelligence Unit (document acquired by HRLHA) lists some 131 Oromo Nationals as targets, including Mr. Dabassa Guyo, who’s listed at the #1 target (see the full list below).

Kenya: Oromo Refugees and Asylum-Seekers are at Risk

HRLHA’s Urgent Action and Appeal

October 25, 2015

For Immediate Release

(Contact Details:- Appeal To: The President of the Republic of Kenya, Your Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta; WEB:; TEL: +254 733 330 080; +254 20 2227 436; +254 724 256 522; +254 203 247000; LINK: @UKenyatta on Twitter; PO. Box 74434-00200 Nairobi, Kenya)

Your Excellency,

First of all, the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) would like to express its appreciation to the people of Kenya and to its government for their hospitality and kindness towards thousands of Oromo and other refugees and asylum-seekers who have fled their homes to escape government persecutions in Ethiopia, and who are now residing in different parts of the Republic of Kenya, including in the capital city, Nairobi. From the early 1990’s, when the TPLF government came to power, to the present, hundreds of thousands of Oromo and other nationals have run away from arbitrary violent detentions, degrading tortures and killings in Ethiopia to save their lives by seeking refuge in the Republic of Kenya and other neighboring countries.

However, the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern regarding the safety of all Oromo national refugees and asylum-seekers presently residing in the Republic of Kenya because of the document it recently received from its informants. The document was written by the Ethiopian government agency, the so-called “Anti-Terrorist Unit,” and sent to the government of the Republic of Kenya. It addresses the bi-lateral agreement signed by both countries in 2012.

In this communiqué [see attachment herein], the Ethiopian government’s “Anti-Terrorist Unit” reminds the government of the Republic of Kenya of the bi-lateral agreement made between the two countries in 2012, an agreement that expresses issues of common interest, such as terrorism, on which both countries should find a common solution. The communiqué discloses the names of 131 Oromo Nationals, and their addresses and telephone numbers in Nairobi and in different township areas; the agency claimed the source of its information was the Ethiopian intelligence unit. In the names listed among the 131 Oromo Nationals in this communiqué is Mr. Dabassa Guyo, an Oromo cultural legend who recently disappeared in Nairobi. His name was at the top of the list (#1).

The full list of Oromo refugees and asylum-seekers in Kenya identified as targets by the Ethiopian government (document acquired by HRLHA):

The disappearance of Mr. Dabassa Guyo Safarro is disheartening and HRLHA is deeply shocked.

Mr. Dabassa Guyo Safarro, age 80, a resident of Mololongo, Kenya, for more than thirty-five years disappeared on September 27, 2015, in Nairobi. The HRLHA is highly suspicious that the disappearance ofMr. Dabassa Guyo Safarro is connected with the campaign of Ethiopian authorities labelling Oromo refugees in Nairobi as terrorists. HRLHA also suspects that Mr. Dabassa Guyo Safarro is being held in Nairobi, or might have been deported to Ethiopia. In either case, the Kenyan authorities have an international legal obligation to not hand over Ethiopian refugees and asylum-seekers residing in their territory to the Ethiopian government, and need to disclose the whereabouts of Mr. Dabassa Goya Safarro to his family and the public – and give the reason for his arrest.

In case Mr. Dabassa Guyo Safarrohas been handed over to Ethiopia, it should be noted that the Ethiopian government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were involuntarily returned to the country. The government of Ethiopia routinely imprisons such persons and sentences them to life in prison, and often imposes the death penalty. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian official prisons and other unofficial or secret detention centers. Under Article 33 (1) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (189 U.N.T.S. 150), to which Kenya is a party, “[n]o contracting state shall expel or forcibly return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his … political opinion.” This obligation, which is also a principle of customary international law, applies to both asylum-seekers and refugees, as affirmed by UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the United Nations General Assembly. By deporting refugees, the government of the Republic of Kenya will be breaching its obligations under international treaties as well as customary law.

1. Under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185), to which Kenya agreed in 1997, Kenya has an obligation not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture provides: No state party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights. We strongly urge the government of Kenya to respect the international treaties and obligations it has signed and ratified.

Therefore, HRLHA would like to draw the attention of Western governments, the UN Human Rights Council, the EU Human Rights Commission, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as other regional and international human rights organizations and NGOs to these worrisome safety situations of Oromo refugees in the Republic of Kenya and take all necessary actions against:

– The Ethiopian government to refrain from labeling its citizens asterrorists who are resisting its dictatorial administration;

– The government of the Republic of Kenya should not collaborate with the Ethiopian dictatorial government to criminalize the Oromo and other refugees and asylum-seekers currently living in its territory.

Background Information:
The Kenyan government is well known for handing over refugees to the Ethiopian government by violating the above mentioned international obligations. It is very disheartening to recall that Engineer Tesfahun Chemeda, who was tortured to death on August 24, 2013, in Ethiopia’s grand jail of Kaliti, was handed over to the Ethiopian government’s security agents in 2007 by the Kenyan government. Tesfahun Chemeda was arrested by the Kenyan anti-terrorist forces, along with his close friendMesfin Abebe, in 2007 in Nairobi, Kenya, where both had lived as refugees since 2005. Both were later deported to Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government detained them in an underground jail in a military camp for over one year, during which time they were subjected to severe torture and other types of inhuman treatments until when they were taken to court and charged with terrorism offenses in December 2008. They were eventually sentenced to life imprisonment in March 2010. (Mesfin’s death sentence was later commuted.) The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) is highly concerned for the safety and security of Mr. Dabassa Guyo Safarro, who disappeared in Nairobi on September 27, 2015, whose name along with the above listed refugees was also labeled by the Ethiopian government as terrorists and those who are still living in Kenya. It urges the government of Kenya to respect international treaties and obligations, and to not cooperate with the Ethiopian unfounded allegations and disclose the whereabouts of Mr. Dabassa Guyo Safarro. The Kenyan government should also reject the unfounded allegations of Ethiopian government against Oromo national refugees and asylum-seekers residing in Kenya.

HRLHA requests the governments of the Western countries as well as international organizations to interfere in this matter so that the whereabouts of Mr. Dabassa Guyo are disclosed, and the safety and security of the refugees of those currently staying in Kenya are ensured.

1. Please send appeals to the President, the Kenyan Parliament, and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kenya and its concerned officials as swiftly as possible, in English, or your own language;

2. Urge the authorities of Kenya to ensure that Mr. Dabassa Guyo Safarro is treated in accordance with regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners;

3. Urge the authorities in Kenya to completely reject the unfounded allegations of the Ethiopian dictatorial government about Oromo refugees living in Kenya.

Copied To:

Kenyan Parliament Office
Address: City Square, Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: +254 20 2221 291
Fax: (254-2) 2243 694

Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs
Address: PO Box 56057-00200, Co-operative Bank House, Nairobi
Phone: +254 20 224029/24033
Fax: +254 20 316317

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR)
Mr. Antonio Guterres
Case Postale 2500 CH-1211 Geneve 2 Depot Suisse

The UNHCR Representation in Kenya
P.O. Box 43801-00100 GPO, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 41 22 739 7280

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 917 9022
(particularly for urgent matters) E-mail:

African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
48 Kairaba Avenue, P. O. Box 673, Banjul, The Gambia
Tel: (220) 439 29 62; (202) 437 20 7; (202) 437 77 21; (202) 437 77 23
Fax: (220) 439 07 64

Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE
+ 33 (0)3 88 41 34 21; + 33 (0)3 90 21 50 53

U.S. Department of State
Short Echalar Julie A –
Trim, Vernelle, Ethiopian Desk Officer –

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