his life or of being subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, due to his
suspected affiliation with the Oromo Liberation Front.
The complainant recalls that he has been tortured at the hands of the authorities,
owing to his brothers’ connections with the Oromo Liberation Front. He claims that he
would face a real and imminent risk of torture or other cruel or degrading treatment if he
were returned to Ethiopia, arguing that the authorities visited one of his brothers following
the complainant’s departure, which may corroborate his fear of being perceived as an
affiliate of the Front. The complainant submits that the Federal Administrative Court has
previously established that the Ethiopian authorities keep track of dissidents, even those of
a low rank. Therefore, he fears that he would be identified and detained upon his arrival at
The complainant refers to the Committee’s concluding observations on the initial
report submitted by Ethiopia under the Convention (CAT/C/ETH/CO/1), in which it raised
concerns at the persistent allegations concerning the use of torture by Ethiopian authorities
against supporters of insurgent groups, in particular the Oromo Liberation Front (para. 10).
He also refers to reports issued by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, in
which those organizations stated that Oromo people were often accused, without any
substantiation, of having links with the Oromo Liberation Front and that those with family
links to the Front were at particular risk.3 He also refers to a report issued by the
Department of State of the United States of America, in which it was stated that suspected
sympathizers of opposition groups had been tortured in Ethiopia.4 In its report issued in
2006, Amnesty International stated that it believed that activists associated with the
Coalition for Unity and Democracy and suspected activists at the national or local levels, as
well as civil society activists and journalists who had criticized the Government and fled
the country on account of experienced or threatened human rights violations, would be
those most at risk of arbitrary and indefinite detention, an unfair trial or even extrajudicial
execution, if forcibly returned to Ethiopia.5 Moreover, the complainant submits that the
police officers in the Oromo region often subject individuals who are suspected of activities
related to the Oromo Liberation Front to torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
The complainant therefore claims that he would likely be arrested, interrogated and
tortured upon his return.
State party’s observations on the merits
On 14 February 2017, the State party submitted its observations on the merits,
summarizing the main claims in the present case, including the arrest of the complainant on
four occasions between October 2008 and March 2011 in Ethiopia, his arrival in
Switzerland on 8 June 2011 and application for asylum on the same date, and his
participation in activities in support of the Oromo Liberation Front in Switzerland.
The State party submits that the complainant’s asylum application was rejected by
the Federal Office for Migration on 29 April 2014, and by the Federal Administrative Court
on 13 July 2016. During the asylum proceedings, the complainant had presented the
information surrounding his alleged arrests in an admittedly coherent, precise and detailed
manner. The Court therefore accepted the complainant’s allegations as probable. However,
it did not consider the violence he had suffered to be serious enough to justify his
recognition as a refugee. The Court did not consider the complainant’s account of the
reasons for his departure from Ethiopia to be credible either. In addition, the complainant
did not prove it was probable that his participation in activities in support of the Oromo
Liberation Front in Switzerland would expose him to a risk of torture in the event of his
removal to Ethiopia, which would have merited granting him asylum.
See Human Rights Watch, “‘Such a brutal crackdown’: killings and arrests in response to Ethiopia’s
Oromo protests” (15 June 2016) and Amnesty International, “Because I am Oromo” Sweeping
Repression in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia (2014).
See United States of America, Department of State, “2009 country reports on human rights practices:
Ethiopia”, 11 March 2010.
Amnesty International, “Ethiopia. Prisoners of conscience on trial for treason: opposition party
leaders, human rights defenders and journalists”, May 2006, p. 12.