Calls on the Government of Ethiopia-Washington Update

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Washington Update
October 11, 2020
Everyone in the United States who supports democracy and human rights in Ethiopia must take some simple steps in the coming days to persuade Congress to put the power and influence of the U.S. government on the side of those struggling in Ethiopia for freedom.
The Ethiopian-American community has come together in the past and it time to do it again. In the 2007 and again in 2018 the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation promoting Ethiopian human rights, democracy and economic prosperity. The action was the direct result of advocacy from Ethiopian-Americans.
Today, lawmakers and policymakers in Washington who are concerned about the deteriorating situation in Ethiopia have crafted a new resolution. Last Friday I was Sr. staff of Rep. Chris Smith told me he and other members of Congress are pushing for consideration and passage of the resolution, but they need help. Ethiopian-Americans must contact their members of Congress to urge them to support a resolution on Ethiopia.
The present legislation has 6 co-sponsors. At least 25 co-sponsors are needed in order for it to be considered by the House, including 10 members of the Foreign Affairs Committee. It is essential that all Ethiopians contact members of congress and tell them how important it is for them to co-sponsor and express their support for the Resolution.
Some of the provisions of the Resolution include:
Whereas Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spearheaded significant and commendable reform measures following his selection in April 2018, including releasing thousands of political prisoners, inviting exiled political opposition back to Ethiopia, negotiating a peace agreement with Eritrea, lifting bans on over 200 web sites and improving media freedom, closing the notorious Maikelawi prison, repealing the draconian Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Antiterrorism Proclamation, appointing a gender-balanced cabinet, reforming electoral laws and the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia. 
Whereas key challenges, including recurring ethnic and intercommunal clashes and increasingly polarized political views that have spurred violence, threaten to impede Ethiopia’s democratic progress
Calls on the United States Government to—
(A) play a more active and vocal role in encouraging and supporting an inclusive, intra-Ethiopian dialogue on democratic reforms, elections, ethnic violence, and accountability for serious human rights abuses;
B) immediately allow all obligated and planned bilateral foreign assistance to Ethiopia to continue, including critical funding for global health security, civil society and election preparedness, economic growth, food security, and counterterrorism; and
(C) consider application of existing United States sanctions authority, including as provided for in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights;
Calls on the Government of Ethiopia to—
(A) conduct full, credible, and transparent investigations into the killings that took place in Oromia, Addis Ababa, and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region amid the recent protests and unrest, including an investigation into the assassination of Haacaaluu Hundeessaa;
The House Resolution is similar of the H.Res. 128  which was passed by congress on April 2018. The resolution expresses concern about human rights abuses and contracting democratic space; and condemns excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces; calls on end the use of excessive force, release wrongfully imprisoned protestors, and improve transparency; urges protectors and opposition groups to use peaceful discussion and avoid incitement; and condemns— (A) the targeted violence and destruction of property directed against ethnic and religious minorities; (B) the excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces against peaceful protesters; (C) the arrest and detention of journalists and peaceful protesters who exercised their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression; and (D) hate speech and disinformation that fuel ethnic and political violence, propagated by individuals and organized groups based in Ethiopia and in the Diaspora.
One of the important parts of the Resolution: Application of existing United States sanctions authority, including as provided for in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights;
And On Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam: Supports the African Union-led GERD negotiations among Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan; and support an equitable outcome fair to all parties.
The US Congress “encourages the continued cooperation and peaceful negotiations of all stakeholders in the construction of the GERD. These negotiations should be based on mutual benefit, good faith, and the principles of international law.”
Mesfin Mekonen
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  1. Though it seems the worsen situation in Ethiopia; particularly in line with ethnic violence, unrest, killing of innocent people, fair justice, political domination of a single party, inadequacy on making a pave for democratic process, on the other hand people think about that every cloud has a silver lining.

    Long live to Ethiopia!!

  2. Yes I agree in principle that Good Ole USA should keep engaged with the PM Abiy’s administration. He should not be held responsible for the ills that have been bedeviling that country. He has opened the leeway for everyone to peacefully participate in moving the country in the right direction. He opened the gates of prisons for thousands of political prisoners. He lifted criminal classifications imposed on groups and individuals. As a result exiles were able to return in their thousands. Private media has its golden days for the first time in almost 3 decades. Every stakeholder was expected to work together to move the country ahead peacefully. Everyone was expected to create a country of peace and stability so foreign companies would come in with their desperately needed foreign direct investments. There wasn’t any more sacred contribution you can make than that. But bigots had different scheme. They returned to the country to put in practice what they have been dreaming for more than 5 decades which is to found their own fiefdoms. They kept throwing wrenches at the blessed efforts. They went back to the bushes killing and maiming innocent civilians. Others lambasted ‘Kill every N and Neo-Gobena!’. They declared themselves a de facto government violating every rule of law. Thousands were savagely murdered and millions displaced because of this bigoted behavior. There must be a sheriff in town to bring back and maintain law and order. I don’t think Rep. Chris wants to see the old country descend into lawlessness and go asunder. This young and visionary PM was accused of not doing enough to maintain law and order when these bigots and ‘de facto governments’ were sending their savage mobs into towns and villages killing and maiming innocent civilians and destroying farms and businesses. Then federal and regional security went into action rounding up those murderers. Now you can hear a pin drop in Oromia region. Elders are bringing members of their communities together to rebuild properties and rehabilitate the displaced. These are my true Oromos, dignified people who brought the custom of ilmaa gosaa and mogaasaa in our culture. Wherever we settled history can testify for us as harmonious and generous people(these bigots among us notwithstanding). Nuff said!!!!

  3. Ittu:

    I am deeply touched by the depth and breath of your thoughts and even more by your deeper understanding of the current predicament in which the young PM is facing today in Ethiopia. No body can say it better than what you have done in this very concise and powerful message. I applaud you, respect you, and sincerely thank you for your great insights and also for reflecting perhaps the views of the silent majority in our beloved country.. God bless you is all I have to say.


  4. Walle,

    Thank you for taking the time to read my comment and understanding my thoughts. I ain’t worried about this young and visionary PM going rogue. He has to maintain law and order. That does not necessarily mean dictatorship. You and I wherever we are citizens should be held accountable for our action. In a country like the old country where connivers have been spewing around poison everywhere they blew air for decades, the environment has become so shaky and tinderbox ready to move into any possible direction. One is towards peace and stability and the other one is conflicts and bloodbath unseen in that country’s modern history. ‘Republic’ dreamers want to see it going in the direction of blood baths. They have been doing everything in their capacity to steer that country on the road to utter destruction. They took to the bushes and declared war on the country and its innocent people. They failed but not down and out. They thought and still think that this young PM is weak and somewhat coward. That was why they were sending their young and gullible followers for training in the arts of terrorism to a hostile nation and some remote locations. They even had the nerve/audacity to desecrate a human corpse to launch a ‘decisive insurrection’ in the capital. Alhamdulillah that also failed miserably. People had asked me before why I am against the separation my Oromos from their harmonious neighbors. After all they will have their own republic. My answer has always been a question right back at them. I have been asking them to show me one republic founded by an armed group since the founding of Good Ole USA that turned out to be democratic governance. Just one, I asked. None they have. May be the situation in Nicaragua but even there the jury is still out for me on that one. There has never been one and there will be none. In our situation once these bigots succeed in yanking my Oromia to found their own fiefdom they will have no choice but turn despots. That is a dead giveaway. And no one will come to their rescue. Nobody. I am sure you know why. You don’t have to travel too far to understand my concern and why I never go with it. Just look around.

    I am sure those noble people of Oromos, Amharas, Tigres, Afars, Somalis, Sidamas and more than 80 other groups of people will be able to sort things out peacefully by themselves. I have no doubt about it. Look at the Somali Region. You can hear a pin drop with no ‘Liyu’ police in sight. That is maturity. I know those people. I grew up with them. They have made a sound decision to go past the infantile way looking at issues. I love them to death, man!!!! I am very proud of them. I will have no doubt the rest will follow. Insha’Allah!!!

    Keep up the good work dear countryman!!! Blessings to you and your family!!!!

  5. Why people keep calling PM Abiy Ahmed young I don’t understand , he is not young. His age bracket mid 40’s is considered middle aged, mid 40’s is not young anywhere in this world . If you call him young what are you going to call people in mid 20’s. Kids? Children? Babies?
    It’s absurd to call PM Abiy Ahmed young , you might as well call President SahleWorq Zewde the youth President then.

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