OROMO RELIEF ASSOCIATION UK
11 Goodwin Street, London N4 3HQ
His Excellency the High Commissioner
Kenya High Commission
45 Portland Place
26 June 2007
Re: Oromo Refugees in Kenya
We, members of the Oromo Relief Association UK are extremely concerned by the report reaching us concerning Oromo refugees who have sought political asylum in the Republic of Kenya.
Two Oromo asylum seekers were detained by Kenyan security forces on 24 April 2007, and were detained at various police stations. They were released in early June 2007 and reported their situation to the UNHCR. However we have just learnt that they were handed over to the Ethiopian security agents two weeks ago. We are convinced that if the Claimants are returned at this time, their lives will be in considerable danger. We must emphasize that they will not have recourse to a meaningful legal representation or a fair court hearing in Ethiopia.
In the past we have made several appeals to your government about the harassment, intimidation and kidnap of Oromo asylum seekers and refugees by the Ethiopian government’s security agents through their cross-border operation. As you are aware, Oromo asylum seekers take refuge in Kenya to save their lives, as they have been persecuted by successive the Ethiopian governments, because of their ethnicity and on suspicion of being affiliated to anti-government forces.
We firmly believe that the Kenyan government has a duty to protect Oromo refugees in their country from harassment, intimidation and kidnap by Ethiopian security agents.
The Ethiopian government is using security reasons as a pretext to persecute Oromo asylum seekers in the neighbouring countries of Djibouti, Kenya, Sudan and Somalia. The action perused by the Kenyan government constitutes gross violation of basic human rights and the fundamental principles of the 1951 UN’s Convention on refugees.
We appeal to all Human Rights organizations to use their influence to bring pressure to bear on the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments to release those refugees unconditionally.
Chair, ORA UK
For the Committee
The Oromo Relief Association-UK is a humanitarian organization based in the United Kingdom. ORA-UK exists to publicize the plight of Oromo refugees and asylum seekers and to raise funds to relieve poverty and distress among them.
C:C: Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch- Africa-
Oromia Support Group
Oromo Community in Kenya
UNHCR, London and Geneva