United Oromo Refugees  Association in Egypt

Caaya Tokkummaa Baqattoota Oromoo Biyyaa Masrii
United Oromo Refugees Association- UORA-EGYPT

Oduu / News

OSA. Urgent Action Needed to Protect Oromo Refugees in Egypt

Posted by oromorefugees_egypt on June 12, 2013 at 10:15 PM

June 12, 2013

Mr. Antonio Guterres

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Case Postale 2500

CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt Suisse.

Email: [email protected]; [email protected]

OSA’s Appeal Letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

RE: Urgent Action Needed to Protect Oromo Refugees in Egypt

Dear Mr. Guterres,

I am writing this urgent letter on behalf of the Oromo Studies Association (OSA), a scholarly, multi-disciplinary, and non-profit international organization established to promote studies relevant to the Oromo people and other peoples of the Horn of Africa. We are gravely concerned over the current situation of the Oromo refugees in Egypt because we have received reports from the Oromo refugee community of Egypt that some Egyptian youth groups have verbally and physically attacked some members of their community. These Egyptian groups are angry by the current escalation of disputes over the diversion of the Blue Nile from its course by the so-called Renaissance Dam being built by the Ethiopian government. As you know, the Oromo refugee community is alarmed by the attacks, and currently holding protest in front of the UNHCR office in Cairo. Members of this community are staging demonstration four days and four nights in front of the UNHCR office in Cairo demanding protection from attacks, abuses and human rights violations. They told me that they have decided to stay there until they get protection since they are scared for their lives to go back to their homes.

Oromo Refugee Community in Cairo: demonstrating and sleeping in front of the UNHCR office for four consecutive days (June 9 – 12, 2013)


On May 30, 2013, a 25 year-old Oromo woman was attacked when she was going to Ambabarsum Hospital in Helwan area of the city for a medical follow up. She was pushed under a Tuktuk car by an unknown group of people and her face and other parts of her body were severely injured. An eye witnesses said that she was attacked after she mentioned that she was from Ethiopia. Furthermore, on June 7, 2013 a group of Egyptians broke into an apartment of Oromo residents and attacked two men and a woman. The attacked Oromos said that the attackers live in the same apartment complex and know that they are refugees from Ethiopia. These Egyptians violently attacked these Oromo refugees by knife and Pepsi bottle to a point that the refugees lost their consciousness. They kicked the woman in her stomach, who was a five months pregnant, causing her a severe bleeding. Although she was later taken to a hospital by the help of other Oromo refugees, she was denied treatment at least from two hospitals after they identified their identity from their UNHCR ID card. These attacked refugees said that the attackers were telling them “we will cut your necks as your government has cut our water”.


Another Oromo refugee who was attacked in a similar situation testified on the Voice of America Afaan Oromoo Service Program on Monday, June 10, 2013 that he was also verbally abused and threatened by the police. Many other Oromo refugees have also complained that they are having difficulties getting cooperation and protection from the Egyptian police and denied medical treatment for their wounds from Egyptian doctors and medical centers. These are fundamental human rights violations, and the UNHCR has moral and legal obligations to defend and protect these Oromo refugees by implementing the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Dear Mr. Guterres,

The Oromo refugees have fled their country because of sectarian persecution and gross human rights violations by the Tigrayan-led Ethiopian government. As we explained to you in our letter of April 9, 2013, the current government in Ethiopia is controlled by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a group originating from the Tigrayi regional state in the north that comprises only about 6% of the Ethiopian population. This minority government hates and fears the Oromo population, which constitute more than 40% of the Ethiopian population. This is the root cause for the large exodus of Oromo refugees and their immigration to North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Australia, and North America. These refugees have left their homeland to escape persecution due to their national origin (Oromoness) and their political conviction. Many are survivors of torture and other forms of inhuman and ill-treatment by the Ethiopian regime. They have nothing to do with the adventurous and ill-advised decision of the regime to divert the Blue Nile and create a hostile atmosphere with the people and government of Egypt.


The Oromo were free people with their own democratic system of administration known as Gadaa prior to the invasion and incorporation of their country, Oromia, by Abyssinians during the last decades of the nineteenth century. European colonial powers supported and implemented the Ethiopian colonial project. Since then the Oromo have remained subjects of successive Ethiopian rulers. They are seen as enemies on their own homeland by the same state that took away their land and their country by force of arms. With their land they lost their freedom, their livelihood, their democratic system of government, and their dignity. They are also on the verge completely losing their identity, their custom, and their language. Their oppression is manifested by the fact that they constitute the largest prison population in Ethiopia and the largest proportion of Ethiopian refugees in North Africa and the Middle East. The Oromo are unable to live in peace in their own country and the Diaspora. It is unfortunate that they are also unable to live in peace as refugees in other countries. With the intense political climate between Egypt and the regime in Ethiopia, it seems now that these refugees are found at the wrong place at the wrong time. If the UNHCR doesn’t act swiftly and find a solution, the Oromo refugees in Egypt may face a similar tragic situation that the Oromo refugees faced in Tripoli and Benghazi, Libya two years ago. We recall that at least 63 Oromo refugees died when they were trying to escape the conflict in Libya by boat and attempting to go to Italy.


On behalf of the Oromo refugees dispersed all over the world, I would like to appeal to the UNHCR to provide immediate and appropriate protection and care for the Oromo refugees in Egypt. An urgent solution is needed to spare the lives of these refugees including relocating them to other countries. Historical facts and objective situations on the ground corroborate that the Oromo are a persecuted people in their own homeland and Oromo refugees have to be classified as such by the UNHCR in order to facilitate their resettlement to other countries. The Oromo refugees do not have a government of their own to protect them. UNHCR is their only institution that can defend and protect them. It is their only guardian and their only hope. Therefore, I appeal to you so that you can find an appropriate solution for the current problem of the Oromo refugees in Egypt.


I also appeal to the government and the people of Egypt to differentiate the culprit from the victim. The Egyptians should realize that the Oromo refugees are victims of the Ethiopian regime themselves. They left their homeland to escape jail, torture and death threat by the current Ethiopian government. The same government that took away their homeland and their freedom and made them refugees is now constructing the controversial dam threatening the livelihood of the Egyptians. The Egyptian people will not find more friendly people than the Oromo, who will not pose any threat to the future of Egypt. Helping the Oromo refugees, we believe, is a wise investment in the future of good will between the Egyptians and the Oromo, who constitute the single largest national group in the Horn of Africa and Eastern Africa. It is unfortunate that, the Oromo refugees who should have been seen as best friends and allies, are seen as enemies by some misinformed Egyptians. I also request the Egyptian authorities to protect the lives and rights of Oromo refugees in their country.



Mosisa Aga, Ph.D.

OSA President



His Excellency Hisham Mohamed Qandel

Prime Minister of Egypt

Magles El-Shaab St., Kasr Aini St. Cairo

Phone: 7958014

Email: [email protected]


His Excellency Mohamed Kamel Amr

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Masbero-Kornish El Nile St. Cairo

Phone: 25749817

Email: [email protected]


His Excellency Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim Mohamed Mostafa

Minister of Interior Affairs

El Sheikh Rihan St.Cairo, Postal Code 11641

Phone: 27948300

Email: [email protected]


Mr. Bekele Geleta

International Federation of Red Cross

and Red Crescent Societies

P.O. Box 372

CH-1211 Geneva 19


Email: [email protected]


UNHCR Cairo: E-mail Address: - [email protected]


UNHCR Regional Representative – Mr. Mohamed Dayri, E-mail: [email protected]


Deputy Regional Represetative – Mrs. Elizabeth Tan, E-mail: [email protected]


Africa and Middle-East Refugee Assistance (AMERA), E-mail: [email protected]


AMERA- Egypt Regional Director - Hesham Issa, E-mail: [email protected]


International Organization for Migration (IOM), E-mail: [email protected]


His Excellency Ambassador

The Australian Embassy in Cairo

Cairo, Egypt

Phone: +20 2 2770 6600

Fax: +20 2 2770 6650

Email: [email protected]

His Excellency Ambassador

Embassy of Canada in Cairo, Egypt

26 Kamel El Shenawy St., Garden City

Cairo, Egypt

Phone: (011 20 2) 2791-8700

Fax: (011 20 2) 2791-8860

Email: [email protected]

His Excellency Ambassador

German Embassy in Cairo, Egypt

Embassy of Germany in Cairo, Egypt

2, Sh. Hassan Sabri


Phone: (00202) 739-9600

Fax: (00202) 736-0530

Email: [email protected]


His Excellency Ambassador

Royal Norwegian Embassy in Cairo, Egypt

8 El Gezirah Street


City: Cairo

Phone: +20 2 2735 8046 / 2735 3340 / 2736 3955

Fax: +202 7370709

Website: http://www.norway-egypt.org/

Email: [email protected]

His Excellency Ambassador

Embassy of Sweden in Cairo, Egypt

13, Mohamed Mahzar Street

Zamalek, Cairo

Postal Address: P.O. Box 131

112 11 Zamalek

Cairo, Egypt

City: Cairo

Phone: +20 (2) 728 9200

Fax: +20 (2) 735 4357

Email: [email protected]

His Excellency Ambassador

Embassy of Switzerland in Egypt

10, Abdel Khalek Saroit

Phone: (+20-2) 5758284

Fax: (+20-2) 5745236

Email: [email protected]

His Excellency Ambassador

British Embassy in Cairo, Egypt

7 Ahmed Rageb Street

Garden City, Cairo

Phone: (002) (02) 27916000

Fax: (002) (02) 2791 6130

Email: [email protected]

His Excellency Ambassador

Embassy of United States in Cairo, Egypt

8 Kamal el-Din Salah Street,

Garden City, Cairo, Egypt

Phone: [20] [2] 797-3300

Email: [email protected]

His Excellency Ambassador

Embassy of Ireland in Egypt

22 Hassan Assem St


Phone: Telephone: +202 27358264, Visa Phone: +202 27356417

Fax: +202 27362863

Email: [email protected]

His Excellency Ambassador

Royal Netherlands Embassy in Cairo, Egypt

18, Hassan Sabri

11211 Zamalek

Phone: +20 2 2739 5500

Fax: +20 2 2736 5249

Email: [email protected]

His Excellency Ambassador

New Zealand Embassy Cairo, Egypt

8th floor, North Tower, Nile City building, 2005c Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac,

Cairo, Egypt

Telephone: +202 2461 6000

Facsimile: +202 2461 6099

Email: [email protected]

His Excellency Ambassador,


Tel.: +20 2 2736 3722, Fax. +20 2 2737 1376

E-mail: [email protected]




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1 Comment

Reply Roba
11:59 AM on June 13, 2013 
Ani dhugumatti hujii OSAn hojate ,rakkoo oromoota biyya Masrii keessa jiran kan yeroo ammaa tana rakkoon cimaan irraa gahaa jirtu rakkoo isaanii qaama dhimmi ilaalu hudatti eeysisuu isaatii akka anma(Oromo) tokkotti hedduun galatoomfadha,waajjirrri UNHCR is taee dhaabbiileen adda addaa keessaafuu imbaasiileen biyyoota adda addaa lubbuu baqatoota oromoo baraaruudhaaf ciminaan hojjachuu akka qaban dhaamsa koo dabarsaaf. Galatoomaa.