H.R. 2003 is back on track – H.R. 2003 Task Force

July 31st, 2007 Print Print Email Email

The Coalition for H.R. 2003 has just learned that H.R. 2003 will be up for consideration during the September session of the House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos in a press release today following the Committee meeting declared. (more…)

The Coalition for H.R. 2003 has just learned that H.R. 2003 will be up for consideration during the September session of the House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos in a press release today following the Committee meeting declared.

http://www.hr2003.org

E-mail: passhr2003@hr2003.org
Tel: 323-988-5688
Fax: 323-924-5563
For Immediate Release
July 31, 2007

ZENAWI TAKES MORE POLITICAL PRISONERS HOSTAGE IN H.R. 2003 MARK-UP BATTLE

CHAIRMAN LANTOS DECLARES “WE WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD
THE ETHIOPIAN GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE WAY IT
TREATS ITS CITIZENS”

PAYNE FIGHTS TOOTH AND NAIL TO GET H.R. 2003 MARKED-UP IN COMMITTEE

Prof. Ephraim Isaac says H.R. 2003 “has many good ideas in it.”

PHONE/FAX CAMPAIGN A MASSIVE SUCCESS IN FIRST TWO DAYS

 

PLEASE STOP MASSIVE PHONE/FAX CAMPAIGN

The Coalition for H.R. 2003 has just learned that H.R. 2003 will be up for consideration during the September session of the House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos in a press release today following the Committee meeting declared:

  • “This bill will not be considered by the full committee for now, but this does not mean the matter of progress in political and other rights in Ethiopia is closed. The United States relationship with Ethiopia will continue to be conditioned on Ethiopian support for human rights and the rule of law. We will continue to hold the Ethiopian government accountable for the way it treats its citizens.”
  • Lantos explained:
  • “The full committee did not consider the measure at today’s markup because I wanted to give Ethiopia’s elders, government officials, courts and opposition leaders an opportunity to work out a pardon arrangement for the more than 30 remaining political detainees. Late last week I notified other members of Congress, including the House leadership, of my decision. I continue to be concerned about the detainees, and hope for their release soon.” (Full text of press release below.)

Payne Fights “Tooth and Nail” for H.R. 2003 Mark-up
In a moving speech during Committee deliberations today, in which Cong. Payne was given first priority to speak, Cong. Payne told his colleagues on the Foreign Affairs Committee that H.R. 2003 is not just about the release of a handful prisoners. He said while the release of all political prisoners in Ethiopia is of the highest priority and importance, there are many other equally important issues. He asked his colleagues to focus on the facts in Ethiopia, the massive and continuing violations of human rights, the lack of accountability by the regime for the lives lost during the regime’s killing spree in the post-election period and the massive number of arrests of political opponents.

Payne reminded his colleagues that the mark-up of the bill was delayed last time to give the regime an opportunity to do the right thing and release all political prisoners. Yet the same delaying tactic is being used to further delay the mark-up.

H.R. 2003 “has many good ideas in it.”
As Prof. Ephraim Isaac, Chair of the Shimagle Committee that worked to get the
Kality prisoners of conscience released, correctly concluded after reading H.R. 2003 (VOA Amharic Program, July 30, 2007), that “there are many good ideas in it.”

Among the many good ideas in H.R. 2003 include, among others, provisions for the release of all political prisoners, strong protections for basic human rights, development of independent courts and legal institutions that ensure due process of law for all citizens, prosecution of all human rights abusers, including those responsible for the killing and injury of unarmed protesters in the post-2005 election period, elimination of censorship in the functioning of free and independent press institutions, creation and expansion of institutions that will produce fraud-free elections and competitive political parties, dialogue and negotiation in the resolution of political disputes, and strengthening of the Ethiopian American partnership against global terrorism.

Inquiry by Coalition sources tends to confirm comments made by Prof. Ephriam Isaac in the media in the past few days that mark-up of the bill should not be a cause for the delay of a negotiated release of prisoners. Members of Congress are being told that there will be no further release of political prisoners if the bill is marked-up.

This marks a second hostage situation with political prisoners in Ethiopia and the mark-up of H.R. 2003. It appears the regime’s strategy is to string along Congress and the American legislative process at the end of a long chain of political prisoners. It appears the regime will use all of its resources to delay the mark-up of the bill for as long as possible by threatening to keep an ever increasing population of political prisoners in prolonged detention.

Phone/Fax Campaign, A Massive Success

The first two days of the phone/fax campaign for H.R. 2003 have been a massive success. The response of H.R. 2003 supporters was so massive and unrelenting, the capacity of the congressional offices to hand the calls/fax was overwhelmed. We thank all who took the time to engage in this grassroots activity. Your continued efforts will ensure success for this bill.

Please stop the massive phone/fax campaign for now.

The Coalition for H.R. 2003 will continue in its work to ensure a successful September mark-up date.
Our deepest thanks and appreciation goes to Chairman Tom Lantos and Chairman Donald Payne.

FULL TEXT OF LANTOS PRESS RELEASE
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Congressman Tom Lantos, Chairman
July 31, 2007
Lantos Addresses Erroneous Reports About Legislation on Ethiopia
Washington, DC – To correct erroneous reports about the Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Accountability Act (H.R. 2003), Chairman Tom Lantos of the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued this statement today:

“The full committee did not consider the measure at today’s markup because I wanted to give Ethiopia’s elders, government officials, courts and opposition leaders an opportunity to work out a pardon arrangement for the more than 30 remaining political detainees. Late last week I notified other members of Congress, including the House leadership, of my decision. I continue to be concerned about the detainees, and hope for their release soon.

“This bill will not be considered by the full committee for now, but this does not mean the matter of progress in political and other rights in Ethiopia is closed. The United States relationship with Ethiopia will continue to be conditioned on Ethiopian support for human rights and the rule of law. We will continue to hold the Ethiopian government accountable for the way it treats its citizens.”

Lantos is the founding co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

  1. Tigist
    | #1

    That is a great news. Our movement for unity and Democracy is getting momentum once again. As a day go by more and more Ethiopians are joining the struggle and building a civilized society.In other hand, Weyannes are primitives who can’t think rationally to fit in the modern world that we live in.

  2. Teddy M.
    | #2

    The saying “Zim Aynekizem” does not work in America. If you don’t say anything in this country, people assume you’re either happy or indifferent. So, as tax paying members of this society, we have to display our displeasures every step of the way!
    Thank you all Ethiopians, I am sure ‘chiqunu hizeb’ will thank you later!

  3. | #3

    Once again, I would like to thank our almighty God who helped us. Our call for H.R.2003 should have not been only for the release of political prisoners but also for the liberty and freedom of our people. I do not clearly understand the interest of prof. Isaac. Moreover, I did not clearly understand the context of prof. Isaacs’ interview with different radio channels. I, personally, would like to thank prof. Isaac for his highly remarkable job (mediation) but I would also like to request his Excellency, prof. Isaac, to respect the interest of 75,000,000. But unwilling to do so might leads the country to the most horrible and an unavoidable political crises.

    God bless Ethiopia.

  4. Mimi
    | #4

    Let us keep following what is going on and do our best! Thank you the Coalition for HR 2003 for keep leading us on this very important bill. We are proud of you and we are always behind of you. You are some of the best children that Ethiopia has.

  5. Shumet Menywab
    | #5

    This is not a marathon fight. Remember, Woyane is being supported by the U.S government as in any other undemocratic governments in the rest of the World in its foreign policy. To change this policy, it takes forceful campaign to teach the American public and their representatives to change their government policy as the South Africans finally became victorious on turning around the similar problems of ours. The pressure must go on even this seems to be helping Mr. Meles temporarily. One thing Mr. Meles and the ‘Shemagles’ should understand is that democracy and tradition do not always go side by side. Mostly, while Tradition opens for change at a very slow pace, democracy pushes society for change at a faster pace. So, the democratic advocacy groups should not necessarily expect traditional ‘Shimagles’ will help to facilitate their means. That is why Meles’s group is turning to the ‘Shemglina’ politics without real substances for change of minds. In democracy, ‘Shemglina’ should be used to teach the society to get along with a new culture as intruding the old culture in a progressive way and people in both camps should behave in a peaceful manner during this transition. The target of my comment should be addressed to Dr. Ephrame Issaq to act in this manner that is leave the democratic struggle alone, instead, tell Mr. Meles not to be guided under the influence of U.S international terrorism policy. The struggle for democracy continues regardless!

  6. santos
    | #6

    Let us all do woyane hates!! That is hr2003! DO it for eEthiopia!!We gone wine but it is a matter of time because the truth is in our side.
    santos

  7. Jyigzaw
    | #7

    My Dear ethiopian friends and patroits
    I am so excited for the current news and we still have to continue our struggle.
    Zenawi is still in power and he is always dreaming for the destruction of our country.
    Let’s work together and God bless you all.
    JYigzaw

  8. gash_Tesfa
    | #8

    This is a confermation to the poletical strugle of the Ethiopian people at home and in the diaspora. Let’s give time to ”give Ethiopia’s elders, government officials, courts and opposition leaders an opportunity to work out a pardon arrangement for the more than 30 remaining political detainees.” Lantos continue siding us the people ”The United States relationship with Ethiopia will continue to be conditioned on Ethiopian support for human rights and the rule of law. We will continue to hold the Ethiopian government accountable for the way it treats its citizens.” After all Kinijit is Menfes. Even the American parlament has this spirit and who knows if Meles catch also the spirit? The rest of Woyane cadres who don’t catch the spirit will be victim of their bad spirit (Tebabenet segebgebenet).

  9. | #9

    Let me start by saying “Yegorebet leba sayayut yiserkal siyayut yiskal.” I am talking about would be shimagle leaders. I think you got what I mean.

  10. ewnetu
    | #10

    Brothers and Sisters, You are doing very well for your brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. We are voiceless here. Keep speaking on beahlf of us. The so-called shimagles are not real shimagles (specially the chairman). In his VOA interview, he was caught saying two contadicting points. In one side, there were no HR 2003 issue raised with his Meles’s visit. In the other side, he said the HR 2003 delayed his effort for the release of the prisoners. What a shame for Shimgilina.

  11. ewnetu
    | #11

    Brothers and Sisters, You are doing very well for your brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. We are voiceless here. Keep speaking on beahlf of us. The so-called shimagles are not real shimagles (specially the chairman). In his VOA interview, he was caught saying two contadicting points. In one side, he said there were no HR 2003 issue raised with his Meles’s visit. In the other side, he said the HR 2003 delayed his effort for the release of the prisoners. What a shame for Shimgilina.

  12. Ethiohagere
    | #12

    To all Ethiopians who love their country should fight aggressively to see HR2003 become a policy in the US.
    Prof Ephrem Isaac as far as he admitted that HR2003 has good ideas, we would like him either to start supporting the bill or at least stop it moving forward.

  13. WOLE
    | #13

    WE HAVE TO FIGHT WEANNY TEM ,EVERY BODY STANED FOR EHIOPIA PEOPEL FEERDEM,FOR DEMOCERACE,
    TANKYOU,

  14. Aba Boru
    | #14

    I think we should ready ourselves for more setbacks. This premature celbration would not serve us well. We have a long way & more stumbling blocks to make this bill a reality. Let us not forget we are rookies trying to wrestle victory over long time player Goliaths. They have beaten us, and there is good possibility that the hired guns such as Armey & Gephardt would beat us again. We should learn from our setbacks and improve our game. While our grassroot advocacy is picking up, they still can go to the top congressional leaders and stop our efforts. What to do? Let us convene startegy meetings. If we go the rookie way, we would fail. There are moments for jamming phone & fax lines, what is needed now is making our own efforts to lobby the top leaders by mobilising our congressional friends who would lobby the top leaders on our behalf. The Ethiopian caucus comes to mind as well as those who supported us in the past by writing letters etc.. This is just one idea. Hence convening the strategising conference for activists is vital for going forward. The millenium celebration symposium in D.C. can be a good venue for such meeting as well as meeting on graassroot advocacy as it brings many Ethiopoians from different parts of USA.

  15. Eskinder Degene.
    | #15

    I personally support HR 2003 no doubt it is an instrument for the devlopment of Democracy in Africa it will be a lesson for such diktater governement in the world how US governement support for Democracy and the way to faclitate excersising Democray.

    Thankyou.

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