P.O Box 32391, Fridley, MN 55432
June 12, 2013
Mr. Antonio Guterres
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genve 2 Dpt Suisse.
Email: InfoDesk@ohchr.org; GUTERRES@unhcr.org
OSAs 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.