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Ethiopia: Information on the Oromo Liberation United Front

Publisher United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Author Resource Information Center
Publication Date 26 October 1999
Citation / Document Symbol ETH00001.SPM
Cite as United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ethiopia: Information on the Oromo Liberation United Front, 26 October 1999, ETH00001.SPM, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a6a2c.html [accessed 22 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Queries:

Have leaders and/or members of the Oromo Liberation United Front (OLUF) been harmed by political opponents in Ethiopia in the past?

What are the specific details and evolution of OLUF's political alliances in Ethiopia, in particular with ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)?

Response:

A search of LEXIS/NEXIS, Westlaw, FBIS, REFINFO, several Boston Public Library on-line academic databases, and a wide variety of other on-line resources did not produce any information regarding past harm to Oromo Liberation United Front (OLUF) members or leaders.

The Oromo Liberation United Front (not to be confused with the United Oromo People's Liberation Front) is one of 58 parties in Ethiopia but not a member of the four party ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (AP 18 Aug. 1999).

The only public statement OLUF seems to have made in recent years was issued this August in order to reiterate OLUF's support for the EPRDF and condemnation of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which is engaged in an armed struggle with the Addis Ababa regime (BBC 27 Aug. 1999).  The EPRDF includes the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (OPDO), therefore presumably OLUF supports OPDO as well.

The OLF maintains a fairly sophisticated web site.  It does not specifically mention the OLUF, though it does lambaste the OPDO as quislings (OLF web site 25 Oct. 1999).

The following background information may also be of use. The Oromo, numbering about 20 million, are Ethiopia's largest ethnic group—indeed, one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa—though for years they have been dominated by the 4 million Tigrayans whose leaders control the EPRDF.  The OLF split from the government to take up arms in the early 1990s after accusing the Tigrayans of monopolizing power.  The Ethiopian government has not managed to quell the rebellion. This year, the OLF participated in quite a significant war between Ethiopia and Eritrea (Santoro 22 July 1999).  As clashes continue the Oromo generally may feel some of the fall-out, in addition to ongoing discrimination.  Amnesty International, for example, has noted numerous cases of persecutions of ethnic Oromo (AI 1999).

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the RIC within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Amnesty International (AI). Annual Report 1999: Ethiopia (London: 1999) [internet]

<http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/aireport/ar99/afr25.htm> [Accessed 25 October 1999].

Associated Press (AP). 18 August 1999. "Ethiopia to hold general elections next May,"

(NEXIS)

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). BBC Monitoring Africa.  27 August  1999.

"Pro-Government Oromo organization condemns OLF rebels," [Walta Information Centre web site, Addis Ababa, 26 August 1999]. (NEXIS)

Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) web site.

<http://www.oromoliberationfront.org/_democracynew.htm>

[Accessed 25 October 1999].

Santoro, Laura. 22 July 1999. Christian Science Monitor. (NEXIS)

Attachments

Amnesty International (AI). Annual Report 1999: Ethiopia (London: 1999) [internet]

<http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/aireport/ar99/afr25.htm> [Accessed 25 October 1999].

Associated Press (AP). 18 August 1999. "Ethiopia to hold general elections next May,"

(NEXIS)

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). BBC Monitoring Africa.  27 August  1999.

"Pro-Government Oromo organization condemns OLF rebels," [Walta Information Centre web site, Addis Ababa, 26 August 1999]. (NEXIS)

Santoro, Laura. 22 July 1999. Christian Science Monitor. (NEXIS)

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