October 9, 2020
Amhara Association of America
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Amhara Association of America (AAA) commends a resolution introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives that deplores the “targeted violence and destruction of property directed against ethnic and religious minorities” in Ethiopia.
The resolution, led by House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-CA-37) and Ranking Member Chris Smith (R-NJ-4), expresses concern about various actions committed by governmental and nonstate actors that are threatening to destabilize Ethiopia’s democratic transition. The other original cosponsors on the resolution are Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA-3), Joe Wilson (R-SC-2), and Ron Wright (R-TX-6).
In addition to recognizing that “ethnic and religious minorities were targeted in violent attacks, and [their] homes, businesses, and religious institutions were destroyed”, the resolution calls out incitement and hate speech by individuals and organized groups in Ethiopia and the diaspora that fuel these attacks.
Other factors named as contributing to Ethiopia’s instability include the government’s use of excessive force against peaceful protesters and the continued detention of journalists, nonviolent demonstrators, and opposition figures, all of which echo repressive tactics used by the country’s previous regimes.
To encourage respect for human rights and democratic progress in Ethiopia, the resolution calls on the Ethiopian Government to fully and transparently investigate the killings that took place in Oromia and other areas; resume dialogue with opposition parties on issues such as rescheduling national elections; and consider transitional justice approaches to help resolve intercommunal grievances.
The resolution also requests the Ethiopian Government respect the due process rights of all those who have been arrested during the recent unrest; allow Ethiopians to exercise their constitutional rights to peaceful freedom of assembly and the press.
Finally, the resolution calls on the United States Government to encourage intra-Ethiopian dialogue on political issues, unfreeze foreign assistance to Ethiopia recently withheld over the GERD negotiations while supporting an equitable settlement for all countries involved, consider applying sanctions on Ethiopian human rights abusers, and support increased U.S. private sector investment in Ethiopia.
“Deadly attacks on Amharas, Agaws, Christian Oromos, and other communities in Ethiopia are increasing at an alarming rate” said Tewodrose Tirfe, Chairman of AAA. “We applaud Chairwoman Bass, Ranking Member Smith, and the other original cosponsors for drawing attention to this targeted violence and condemning those who fan the flames of hatred in Ethiopia and across the diaspora. AAA looks forward to helping increase the number of bipartisan cosponsors on the resolution in the coming weeks.”
The full text of the resolution can be read here.
Tewodrose (Ted) Tirfe, Chairman, Amhara Association of America firstname.lastname@example.org
About AAA: The Amhara Association of America (AAA) is a nonprofit organization that coordinates the advocacy efforts of Ethiopia’s Amhara diaspora in the United States to Congress, the Executive Branch, non-governmental