THE SECOND OROMO LEADERSHIP CONVENTION
For Immediate Release
In the two months since the historic Oromo Leadership Convention (OCL), held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 11 – 13, 2016, the situation in Oromia has deteriorated precipitately. The Ethiopian government has unleashed the full array and fury of its security forces against Oromos. Several thousand innocent citizens have been herded to military concentration camps, hundreds gunned down and numerous people subjected to enforced disappearances. Unable to cover the mounting expenses of enforcing the State of Emergency it promulgated on October 9, 2016, the regime has essentially legalized confiscation of private assets and looting by soldiers.
The grave situation calls for taking concrete measures to intensify diaspora support for the struggle at home. The Houston Convention will follow up on the work of the task forces it had established with a view to implementing their recommendations. In light of the urgency of our task and the enormity of our challenges, it has become an inescapable imperative to re-convene the OLC. With these responsibilities, the OLC Coordinating Committee has decided to hold the next convention in the City of Houston from March 10-12, 2017.
FOLLOW UP AND ACTION
The Convention will receive reports from the task forces it created at the Atlanta Convention and act on their recommendations. Accordingly, the Houston Convention expects to take measures to implement the proposals of the three task forces. The Houston Convention expects to take the following actions.
1. Determine how the core values outlined in the Declaration Affirming Principles of Oromo Unity and a National Consensus on Oromo Rights will be internalized and practiced by Oromo communities as precepts that govern Oromo conducts, conversations, and cooperation.
2. Consider the revised Oromo National Charter of Freedom, Justice and Human Rights and endorse it as a document defining fundamental Oromo political values and the broader contours of Oromo political arena in which political parties express ideas, missions, strategies, priorities and values.
3. Receive the action plans of the task forces on Oromo Coordinated Diplomacy and Oromo Humanitarian Action and the Strategic and Coordinated Diplomacy, improve where necessary and authorize the implementation of the proposed action plans.
The Atlanta Convection was about strengthening unity (tokkumma jabeesuu). The Houston Convention will serve as a platform for providing incentives and impetus for building and rebuilding Oromo civic and professional organizations. Houston will give prominence to the theme of organizing for marching forward with tokkumma ijaaruu or building unity as its theme and organizing principle.
1. Enhancing Women’s Participation: An important aspect of rebuilding unity is to increase the participation women in Oromo public affairs. Our hope for democracy, sustainable development and stable peace cannot be complete without the full participation, contribution and leadership of women in all areas of our public life. The Houston Convention will deliberate on and recommit to working tirelessly to uphold women’s freedoms and rights and expand their participation.
2. Empowering Oromo Youth: Young people play a vital role in the future of a society. It has long been recognized that young people are a major human resource for development and key agents for social change, economic growth and technological innovation. The Houston Convention will devise a plan of action to increase opportunities to promote youth participation in the political, economic and cultural life of Oromo society.
3. Envisioning a Pluralistic Society: Oromo is one nation with a social organization that recognizes differences in age, kinship, gender, religion and region. We recognize that the unified Oromo nation contains diverse groupings. We must take steps to begin to live as a free, open and pluralistic society and practice a culture of pluralism which respects the values of diversity, tolerance, commitment and communication. The Houston Convention envisages kicking off a national dialogue on pluralism in the Oromo context and expects all Oromo political parties to participate in the worthy endeavor of building a pluralist political culture.
The Houston Convention will deliberate on the reports of the task forces it created at the Atlanta Convention. At delegates will consider the documents, amend the propositions, provide recommendations, and make decisions of implementation. The delegates will also tackle the challenges of rebuilding unity fortifying the strengths and seeking solutions to the deficiencies of our society.
The leadership convention will take place in Houston, Texas, March 10-12, 2017 at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas, 77079.
The Oromo Leadership Convention Coordinating Committee
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