Saturday, 18 May 2013

Ogaden: The Forgotten Land by Shukri Mohamed.


My name is Shukri Mohamed; I am a 13 year old middle school student, and just like most American children I didn’t know much about the outside world. However that all changed after I came across an article about the Ogaden region.
Background
The Ogaden is a territory that is populated mainly by ethnic Somalis and is illegally occupied by Ethiopia. During 1891 Ethiopian King Menelik II tried to claim this territory but was eventually unsuccessful. It later became a British protectorate after Great Britain and the “Chiefs” in Ogaden signed a treaty in 1896 that guaranteed Ogaden’s security under British rule. After the WWII, Great Britain ceded the Ogaden to Ethiopia without the agreement or knowledge of its citizens.
Human rights violations
The Ogaden is a vast under developed land that has been marginalized by Ethiopian governments. It has an estimated population of 8 million, of those 90% are nomads, unfortunately the entire region has less than 15% literacy rate. Basic services such as water and heath care are non-existent in most parts of the Ogaden.
The Ogaden is also a military zone where the Ethiopian government is deliberately committing human rights violations against the civilians. The government kicked out all humanitarian aid organizations including the Red Cross and MSF/Doctors Without Borders.
Current situation
The Ogaden is currently isolated from the rest of the world as the Ethiopian government imposed an economic, humanitarian and media blockade. Basically the people are between death, prison, and refugee camps. Most of them live in the refugee camps in neighboring countries; some are either dead or in prison, while the remaining live under intimidation and fear. Most women in the Ogaden are raped and tortured daily and sometimes even killed as they are most vulnerable. Sadly my own aunt was one of the victims who were raped. This is not something new, it has been happening quite sometime in the Ogaden.
Thousands continue to be killed, thousands continue to be displaced, thousands continue to be raped and the genocide continues.
So I ask, why is the world watching the genocide in the Ogaden, doesn’t it hear the cries of the mothers, fathers and helpless children in the Ogaden?
We shouldn’t let this happen on our watch, so let’s all please take action today and be the voice of the voiceless in the Ogaden.