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Nov 15, 2012

Abdullahi Hussien addresses a human rights conference in Gothenburg, Sweden

Abdullahi Hussien, the whistle-blower who defected from the Ethiopian appointed administration in Ogaden and exposed the rampant human rights abuses taking place in the region, attended an influential human rights conference which was held in the city of Gothenburg in Sweden.
The annual conference entitled ‘Human Rights Days’ is organized by the Swedish Forum for Human Rights and held in the city of Gothenburg for the first time. The participants included politicians, activists, researchers, and rights practitioners who came all the way from Scandinavian countries and beyond.

The event which was divided into lectures, workshops, discussions, debates and seminars, focused mainly on the human rights situations in the Arab World, Africa, India, and other hotspots where rights violations are taking place. Several notable human rights advocates, among them Maryam, a rights activist from Bahrain who won last year the prestigious Swedish Human Rights award; and Abdul, human rights advocate from Algeria, addressed the conference.
Mr. Abdullahi Hussien’s presentations about the dire human rights situation in Ogaden were particularly gripping as he gave his firsthand knowledge and experience about the situation in Ogaden and explained in depth what he had witnessed while working for the Ethiopian appointed regime in Ogaden. Abdullahi spoke about the Ethiopian army’s widespread campaign of rape, torture, killings, displacements, the humanitarian blockade, the war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ogaden. “These horrible things,” Abdulllahi said to the audience, “are taking place in Ogaden and is not known to you because the Ethiopian government imposed media ban on the region in order to conceal it from the outside world. That is the reason the Ethiopian army attacked and shot at the Swedish journalists, Martin Shibbye and Johan Persson, when they tried to report from Ogaden and later handed them a heavy sentence,” he said, adding: the intention was to scare away other journalists from following the example of the Swedish journalists and coming to the Ogaden. “Sadly, this strategy seems to have worked,” he lamented.
Later on Abdullahi explained why he changed sides and how he secretly copied the original incriminating staged video, which was used by the Ethiopian courts to convict Martin and Johan, and what prompted him to do so and risky his life and that of his relatives. He said all along his conscience was troubled and he was looking for a way out and expose the criminal practices of the Ethiopian regime in Ogaden.

Another important issue Abdullahi spoke about is the use of aid for military purposes by the Ethiopian army and how the aid channeled through the Ethiopian government coffers fuels human rights abuses. He suggested that the aid be closely monitored, and the end beneficiaries be ascertained.
At the close of the close of the conference, Abdullahi co-chaired a question-and-answer session with other activists and gave interviews to several international and local media outlets.
Abdullahi Hussien currently lives in Sweden and is expected to reveal more damning revelations about the human rights abuses in Ogaden and those responsible for them.
ONA
15, Novemeber 2012.

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