Ethiopians protest against government outside UN office in Cairo

Ethiopians protest against government outside UN office in Cairo
2 min read
16 October, 2016
Members of the Ethiopian Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups have gathered outside UNHCR's Cairo office to protest against the Addis Ababa government's human rights violations.
Last week, Ethiopia declared an unprecedented state of emergency [AFP]

Ethiopian residents in Egypt have gathered outside the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in Cairo, to protest against the Addis Ababa government's attacks on opposition activists.

The Ethiopian protesters, who included members of the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, submitted their demands for their government via the UNHCR.

The head of the Ethiopian community in Egypt, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Daily News Egypt that the aim of the protests was to express their disgust at the killing of activists and detention of protesters.

The majority Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, which feel marginalised by a minority-led government, have complained of persecution in their home country, but unrest has been intensifying since November 2015.

Last week, Ethiopia declared a state of emergency unprecedented in the 25 years of the current Ethiopian government after police fired tear gas on protesters, triggering a stampede which left more than 50 dead.

According to the head of the community, nearly 150 Ethiopians fleeing the country arrived in Egypt in one week.

In late July, an Ethiopian asylum seeker burnt to death as she attempted to assist a man who had set himself on fire during a protest outside UNHCR's Cairo office.

UNHCR released a statement at the time offering condolences, though only attributing her death to a "violent incident", without any reference to how it took place.

"UNHCR deeply regrets the tragic passing of an Ethiopian Oromo asylum seeker on 26 July 2016, following a violent incident outside UNHCR office in Cairo," the statement read.

"She was a mother of two young children and UNHCR would like to offer its sincerest condolences to her family and friends for their loss."

The protest was part of continuous attempts by refugees in Egypt to demand the UNHCR's recognition of their rights and fair treatment.