ETHNIC VIOLENCE AGAINST AMHARA PEOPLE
The press doesn’t talk much about it, but the fate of the Amhara people, a predominantly Orthodox Christian ethnic group in Ethiopia, is at stake. Their persecution is extremely violent and has worsened in recent months. The Amharas’ main persecutors, the Oromos, the Tigrayans and the ruling “Prosperity Party,” are waging a primarily ethnic war against the Amharas. As over 85% of the Amharas are Orthodox, their churches and religious communities are being targeted and destroyed.
A few weeks ago, ECLJ published an article describing an attack by the Ethiopian government on the ancient monastery of Debre-Elias. Artillery fire against the monastery and its inhabitants resulted in hundreds of casualties. In recent weeks, thousands of Amharas have been arbitrarily arrested and detained in schools turned into camps in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa.
The ECLJ has submitted a written statement to the Human Rights Council, written to the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and will make an oral statement this week to the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, urging action to prevent further ethnic cleansing.
The ECLJ will also be taking action this week to defend persecuted Christians in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s action at the Human Rights Council is so hypocritical. During the previous session in July, Pakistan requested and obtained an emergency debate to condemn the burning of a Koran by a Swedish ex-Muslim. All the Muslim countries then joined forces to adopt a resolution protecting the Muslim religion from the freedom of conscience and expression of individuals, in order to prohibit any criticism of Islam. The liberal West was outvoted, and the resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council will henceforth be used systematically to prevent any criticism of Islam, as rational and historical as it may be.
However, a few weeks later, the Swedish embassy was burnt down in Iraq, but that did not trigger an emergency debate. Above all, last month in Pakistan, malicious accusations of Koran being burned provoked riots directed against the small Christian minority. Nearly twenty churches were ransacked, and dozens of Christian homes were invaded by a crowd of Muslims incited by violent preachers. Dozens of Christians were beaten with sticks in front of the police officers, who were in no hurry to intervene.
The ECLJ will denounce Pakistan’s attitude of pretending that there is a systemic problem of Korans being burned in Europe, while in Pakistan, dozens of Christians are on death row on blasphemy charges, and those who destroyed churches and beat innocent men and women were quickly released without prosecution.