OLLAA has received a credible report regarding the forced displacement of Abdulloo Yuyaa, a 60 year old farmer, and his family from Sibu Sire district, East Wollega zone.
According to a relative of Abdullo Yuyyaa, in November 2021, he and his family were forced to flee their homes after a series of attacks perpetrated by Amhara militias in their hometown. According to a recent report by the Addis Standard, such attacks have led to the displacement of at least 14,000 people in Sibu Sire, and residents have reported “widespread looting and torching of villages.”
Although Abdullo Yuyaa and his family were initially provided humanitarian assistance by the Red Cross and allowed to stay in a nearby village, our source reports that government agents soon began pressuring them to leave the area and go back to their village. Abdullo’s family did not feel safe to return to Sibu Sire considering the continued violent clashes between Amhara militias and the OLA. However, our source reports that government agents continued to insist they return and fight against “Shane” (a term frequently used by the Ethiopian government to refer to the OLA) or else that would mean that they, themselves, were “Shanes”. Due to this continued pressure from the government, in January, they made the decision to leave the area and seek shelter in Adama.
Apart from losing their livelihood and property, Abdullo has also been separated from six of his family members: his two son-in-laws and four grandchildren. Today, Abdulloo Yuyaa and his family are left sheltering in a mosque in Adama, desperately hoping to be reunited with their missing family.
International Human Rights Standards:
Forced displacement refers to a situation where a person is forced to leave their home, generally due to violence or human rights violations. When they remain in their country after their displacement, they are referred to as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out that, “Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others”, and that “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”
The UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement recognize the right of an individual not to be arbitrarily displaced from their home or place of residence, and elaborates upon the rights of those who have been displaced. Principle 15(d) states that IDPs have “the right to be protected against forcible return to or resettlement in any place where their life, safety, liberty and/or health would be at risk”. Principle 17(3) calls for governments to take “all appropriate steps” to reunite families who have been separated by displacement “as quickly as possible”.
The UN Principles on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons set out a right to restitution for displaced persons, including the “the right to have restored to them any housing, land and/or property of which they were arbitrarily or unlawfully deprived, or to be compensated for any housing, land and/or property that is factually impossible to restore”.