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With high levels of censorship credited to an “Orwellian” surveillance system which The Guardian said was “reminiscent of the Stasi in East Berlin,” the coverage in both the local and international media has been sparse and dwindling.Despite pressure from the Oromo diaspora, the Canadian government has yet to speak out on the issue.In Ethiopia, the “prison speaks Afaan Oromo.” Ethiopia is a nation divided into nine regions based on a system of ethnic federalism overseen by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front.This political structure is born of the partnership between the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front and the Oromo Liberation Front, which joined forces in 1990 to overthrow a brutal military regime.
A decade later, the 2015 election results have served as decisive proof of the EPRDF’s commitment to authoritarianism.
The Oromo are only one of over 80 ethnic groups in Ethiopia, but they account for about 40 per cent of the population and are the majority group.
As an indigenous people of the area, they embody a diverse set of cultural customs, occupations and religions, but are tied together by a common language—Afaan Oromo—and a complex system of democratic governance known as the gadaa system.
Human Rights Watch has reported that at least 140 protesters have been killed and many more injured, among them students and children.
Accounts from local news sources and activists assert that 2,000 have been injured, 800 have disappeared, and more than 30,000 have been arrested or detained.The Oromia region is the largest in the country, and while it includes the nation’s capital, Addis Ababa, it is mainly comprised of rural farmland.