Washington Update – By Mesfin Mekonen

May 17th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

WASHINGTON DC – The Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs of the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on May 10. Secretary of State Rice testified and was questioned about human rights in Ethiopia. (more…)

WASHINGTON DC – The Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs of the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on May 10. Secretary of State Rice testified and was questioned about human rights in Ethiopia. Rice did not address the issue in a meaningful way.

However, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT.) plans to follow up with written questions. Leahy has expressed great interest in supporting human rights and democracy in Ethiopia. In his written remarks, which will be placed on the record, Leahy pointed out that the U.S. has “been spending g a lot of money and effort to keep the Horn of Africa a stable and safe place for the people of the region, and to assist governments who are allied with our joint war on terrorism.” He asked Rice if she can “assure the people of East Africa that we are not going to forsake our values of liberty, freedom, and the democratic rule of law, by looking the other way when we observe an increasing tension over political and economic repressions in the region?” Leahy will be a champion for human rights and democracy in Ethiopia when the Senate addresses the issue.

We have been asked to submit official comments from the Ethiopian-American Council. Our statement is extensive. One of the points it will make is that the Meles regime’s policies “jailing opposition leaders, suppressing legitimate political activities, censoring the media, corruption and especially intensifying ethnic divisions” are actually creating the conditions that breed terrorism. We expressed gratitude fro Sen. Leahy’s very active interest in human rights and democracy in Ethiopia, and the hope the human rights legislation becomes law so the entire world will know that the U.S. really supports democracy and human rights.

2. New legislation has been introduced in the House, H. R. 2228, the `Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights Advancement Act of 2007′. The legislation is excellent. It is similar to Rep. Payne’s bill and it is likely that the two bills will be combined in the future as a result of bipartisan negotiation. The fact that both Democrats and Republicans have introduced similar legislation demonstrates that Ethiopian human rights is not a partisan issue in the U.S. Congress.

3. There has been some interest in the media in Ethiopian human rights and democracy. The Washington Post ran a story on May 14 (page A12) that mentions the pending legislation and some of the events that are occurring in Ethiopia. Other newspapers and magazines are preparing articles.

‘Washington Update’ Editor Mesfin Mekonen can be reached at mmekonen@aol.com

  1. Kibru yesfa
    | #1

    The ongoing process at the Hill is great. One thing that Ethiopian Americans should leave with the sponsors of the Bill is to let them know that the opposition leaders are in jail because of the fact the jailers were not prepared to accept the 8 democritization Points (principles) that the former tabled for negotiation with the regime for future democratic elections in the Country. In other words, the regime does not intend to have truely democratic elections in the foreseable future. The opposition was ready to accept the results of the 2005 elections, as defined by the regime, if the latter was prepared to democratize elections even in the future.

  2. Mimi
    | #2

    Thank you Ato Mesfin for the Washington update. We are behind you! Let us all keep it up!

  3. andhunu
    | #3

    live ethiopian for ethiopian ok

  4. ewnetu
    | #4

    Andhunu, Ethiopian are Ethiopians. You know that Ethiopians at home are voiceless. Our fellow Ethiopians who live abroad for different reason have the moral obligation to voice on behlaf of the Ethiopian people. Since you know that the TPLF regime can silence the people at home by force, you want the other to leave everything for Ethiopians at home. What a shame!!!

    We Ethioopians at home need your help at this critical time. We are voceless Ethiopians who are silenced by force and who are in an open-air jail of the TPLF regime. With the help of God and fellow Ethiopians effort we may have our natural freedom one day.

    God bless Ethiopia and its people.

  5. | #5

    28parliament street cape town South Africa

    Appeal for lasting solution

    Dear Sir/ Madam,

    I am Abraham G.Michael an Ethiopian refugee living in Cape Town South Africa . I left my country due to nasty political situation in Ethiopia . It is well known the deterioration and political unrest in the country make a lot of people to flee the country. Especially since the election of 2005 rigged by the EPRDF many people killed and others distained by government security forces. Many times the government of Ethiopia target student and young people of the country. I was at university studying medicine I am ambitious young man with many dreams when I see the situation I am in at the moment it seems like my dreams are shattered no future of my study. In South Africa Education is very expensive and I don’t have anyone to help me here. I have got all the documents which approved by South African Qualification Authorities (SAQA), and have also been accepted into biomedical technology course in cape Peninsula University of technology for inquiry my student registration number is this 20700234.
    I would like to appeal to your good office to assist me in any possible way to make alive my dreams.
    Yours truly,abraham

  6. HOME
    | #6

    Eritrea & Oromo allies reportedly killed 157 Ethiopia nationals

    May 20, 2007 08:44 PM

    According to a clandestine radio broadcast, Eritrea armed OLA and ONLA militants killed 157 Ethiopians this week. The Voice of Oromo Liberation station, which has been on air since 1988, detailed that the joint operation has also wounded 75 other Ethiopians. The OLA and ONLA are

    the military wings of Oromo Liberation Front and the Ogaden National Liberation Front, respectively. Internationally reported & confirmed as being financed and armed by the Eritrean government for many years, both the rebel groups also have offices in the Eritrean capital.

    After the OLF was gradually hindered from using northern Kenya as a staging ground to attack Ethiopia, it was since utilizing the anarchy in Somalia as a base to attack Ethiopian security forces. However, Ethiopia’s presence in Somali since late December of 2006 has reduced OLF and ONLF’s options. The rebel groups have thus utilized east Ethiopian borders as well as arm smuggling operations by and thru south western Djibouti remote borders.

    The ONLF also attacked a Chinese-run oil field in Abole region in April 2007, massacring 65 Ethiopians and 9 Chinese. During the same operation, the ONLF reportedly killed ethnic Somali Ethiopians as well. In contrast, the OLF has not performed mass killings for almost two years when it “massacred some 400 members of the Gebera, an ethnic group in Oromia,”? in 2005. Another massacre occured in 1998 when OLF members near the Kenya border killed 216 people in Bagalla.

    Speaking in the Oromiffa language, the OLF radio station was heard asking this week for all Oromos in Ethiopia to “rise up against tyranny.”? Since the two rebel groups are not labeled as terrorist groups by America yet, the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs spokesman recommended the United States government to tag the two OLA and ONLA groups as international “terrorist organizations.”? Together with other smaller opposition factions from Ethiopia, these two rebel organizations make up the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy(AFD) – which is widely recognized as an Eritrean government project against the Ethiopian government.

    According to sources from Ethiopia, the government has not mentioned about any recent causality, nor has it confirmed whether the recent attacks occurred or not.

  7. zalalm
    | #7

    Monday 21 May 2007.
    May 20, 2007 (ADDIS ABABA) “” Two Ethiopian rebel groups carried out a joint military operation against the Ethiopian army in the eastern part of the country. A rebel statement alleged 157 soldiers were killed during the attack.

    In a joint military operation, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and the Ogaden National Liberation Army (ONLA) have killed 157 soldiers of the Ethiopian army in various places in the Warder zone of the Ogaden region in eastern Ethiopia.

    According to Voice of Oromo Liberation, between 10 and 15 May 2007, commando units of the OLA and ONLA conducted attacks in various places in the zone of Warder killing over 82 Ethiopian soldiers and wounding over 75 others.

    “The regular troops particularly badly suffered in a battle that occurred at a place called Biyo Daye. Following this battle various types of materiel and many hand grenades and ammunition were captured from the enemy.”? The rebel radio said.

    OLA, the military wing of the OLF and ONLA, the military wing of the ONLF said they would step up joint military operations against the Ethiopian army.

    The Ormo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) are members of an opposition coalition (Alliance for Freedom and Democracy) formed on May 22, 2006. The other members of the AFD are the Sidama Liberation Front (SLF), the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP) and the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) and the Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front (EPPF

  8. zalalm
    | #8

    abraham you come and in Ethiopia no one is target the student and you can come to ethiopia and study ok kikikikik

Comments are closed.