|Oromia Support Group Australia (OSGA) has voiced its concerns about the plight of Oromo refugees with the United Nation’s key refugee agency, the UNHCR.
This is the second time that OSGA has had the opportunity to submit a report for the UNHCR’s consideration; its first submission was made last year.
The organisation, which is one of Diaspora Action Australia’s diaspora partners, raises awareness of human rights issues affecting the Oromo and other oppressed people in Ethiopia. It advocates against abuses and violations and supports displaced people and refugees from Ethiopia. One of OSGA’s ongoing projects is to collect and publicise human rights abuses by recording people’s stories.
OSGA was one of several Australian-based organisation to make written and verbal submissions to the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), which presented the information at the UNHCR- NGO (Non Government Organisation) Consultations in Geneva in June.
RCOA delegates raised the issues in meetings with senior UNHCR representatives, including the Africa, Middle East and North Africa bureaux, and senior officers for the Horn of Africa, Yemen and Kenya.
Marama Kufi from OSGA said their report focused on the experiences of Oromo people who are seeking refuge in Horn of Africa countries.
He said security measures in refugee camps and personal safety were a major concern as there have been reports of physical attacks, harassment and kidnapping. There were also reports of asylum seekers being forcibly returned to Oromia.
Marama explained that OSGA gathered information and first-hand accounts from its network of contacts who are located in surrounding countries. OSGA compiled 87 detailed accounts of abuse and harassment, which were used to inform the report, he said.