US House Appropriation Bill Requires Increased Accountability from Ethiopia as Prerequisite for Funding (SMNE)

January 28th, 2014 Print Print Email Email

Washington, DC–. Is United States policy towards Ethiopia shifting? For years Ethiopians, social justice groups, human rights organizations and civic groups have been calling on donor countries to demand greater accountability from the Government of Ethiopia for funds received, citing the lack of political space, endemic injustice, the repression of basic freedoms and widespread human rights crimes; however, now, the people of Ethiopia have reason to expect that the climate of impunity is changing.

The United States House Appropriations Committee has included stringent new requirements of accountability from the Government of Ethiopia in a section of the new 2014 bill that directly addresses Ethiopia. (Please refer to the sub-section of the bill below.) It links the release of U.S. funds designated for Ethiopian military and police forces to Ethiopia’s implementation of corrective policies that would address the declining state of human and democratic rights in the country, including in the Somali Region of Ethiopia where access to the area must be given to human rights and humanitarian organizations. New steps are also to be required that would document actions taken by the government “to investigate and prosecute members of the Ethiopian military and police who have been credibly alleged to have violated human rights.” This is commendable because it is the accountability we have been calling for since the investigations following the Gambella massacre. The names are there but what has always been missing is the impartial judicial system.

The law also prohibits funds appropriated to Ethiopia under the headings, “Development Assistance” and “Economic Support Fund” that are available for the lower Omo Valley and the Gambella region to be used directly or indirectly in the forced evictions of the people. Rather, it is to be used to “support initiatives of local communities to improve their livelihoods” and requires that these initiatives “be subject to prior consultation with affected communities.”
Additionally, it requires the Secretary of the Treasury “to instruct the United States executive director of each international financial institution, like USAID (United States Agency for International Development), the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund), to oppose financing for any activities that directly or indirectly involve forced evictions in Ethiopia.” This means in any area of the country. Finally the people of Ethiopia have been heard. The United States’ decision, as the largest donor to Ethiopia, will make a difference; hopefully, other donor countries will follow.
If this had been a jury hearing, the burden of proof would have been established. We want to thank those on the House Appropriations Committee for including this in the bill. We also want to thank those in the House and Senate who are responsible for passing this section of the bill, finally pressuring the Government of Ethiopia to be more accountable for its use of U.S. taxpayer funds and more accountable to its own citizens.

Others within the U.S. House, like Congressman Christopher Smith, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, should also be lauded for his continued work which is still in process. Reportedly, that bill will call for democratic reforms in Ethiopia and is a result of the House Sub-committee hearing on Ethiopia last June.

We also want to recognize the work of many different organizations and individuals who have contributed to this outcome through advocacy, research, investigation, documentation, appeals, legal actions, organizing and networking. Such efforts take commitment, resources, perseverance and time, but eventually these efforts can become the leverage necessary for meaningful changes in Ethiopia, like have been accomplished after years of work in countries like South Africa, Chile, and Ghana.

This should encourage Ethiopians and those fighting for reforms in Ethiopia to do more and to not give up. Even with this new law in place, individuals, communities and organizations—both Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian—are critically needed to monitor the situation on the ground; otherwise, compliance may only be rhetoric or on paper. We are hopeful other countries will follow suit.

We know donor countries have a history of aligning with Ethiopia, despite its democratic failings, because it has been the most stable country in a neighborhood of failing and failed states; however, overlooking its deficiencies has weakened its prospects for sustainable stability, increasing the risk that simmering tensions and ethnic divisions within the country could erupt into ethnic violence that could destabilize the entire region. On the other hand, due to Ethiopia’s strategic position in the Horn of Africa and its central importance to Africa, a more democratic Ethiopia could offer much to the continent as well as to global partners. Internal corrections will move the country in the right direction.

Over the coming year or more leading up to the next election in Ethiopia, Ethiopians must be working hard to press for the opening up of greater political space, the implementation of meaningful reforms and engaging in more dialogue across lines of isolation and alienation. This means that reconciliation efforts must come to the forefront. It is a time for truth-tellers, reconcilers and agents of change. This cannot be left in the hands of a few. Yes, Ethiopians should be grateful to those supporting the passage of this bill and for those advocates of freedom, justice and human rights in the world who have helped us and continue to do so; however, ultimately, with God’s help, we Ethiopians must free ourselves.

For those within the TPLF/EPRDF- led government who may not initially be pleased with this new bill or the one being advanced by the House, we encourage you to think forward to an Ethiopia that has a place for both “our children” and “your children” only because meaningful reforms were implemented. Come to your senses. Let us implement it with genuine diligence. We the people will do our share. We urge you to do the same.

The freedom we envision in a New Ethiopia is not only for those living under oppression, but it is also for those who are doing the oppressing for “no one is free until all are free.” If meaningful reforms are to happen, we must start talking with each other rather than about each other, even if we disagree. Let us start the discussions with the following critical issues which have kept our country in shackles:

1.Release political prisoners and journalists
2.Repeal the Anti-terrorism law
3.Repeal the Societies and Charities Proclamation
4.Open up political space and restore basic freedoms such as of expression, association and religion
5.Re-establish an independent media and judiciary

No society is at peace until the basic rights of all of the people are observed; not given to only a few based on someone’s favored ethnicity, gender, political viewpoint, religion or other distinction, but given equally because we are all human beings, given life, dignity and value by our Creator God. The New Ethiopia has to start in the hearts, souls and minds of the people, not only of the oppressed, but also of the oppressor. This new bill requiring more justice for all people in Ethiopia is a gift to all of us! Let us use this God-given opportunity for the common good of the Ethiopian people of today and tomorrow!

For media enquiries, more information including interview requests, contact Mr. Obang Metho, Executive Director of the SMNE. Email:

SMNE ( ), is a non-political and non-violent social justice movement of diverse people that advocates for freedom, justice, good governance and upholding the civil, human and economic rights of the people of Ethiopia, without regard to ethnicity, religion, political affiliation or other differences. The SMNE believes a more open, transparent and competitive market economy, supported by viable institutions and reasonable protections, which provides equal opportunity, will result in greater prosperity to the people rather than keeping it in the hands of a few political elites.
A copy of the sub-section of the House Appropriations Bill (2014):
AFRICA (p. 1294)
SEC. 7042.

(d) ETHIOPIA.—Funds appropriated by this Act that are available for assistance for Ethiopian military and police forces shall not be made available unless the Secretary of State—

(A) certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Ethiopia is implementing policies to—

(i) protect judicial independence; freedom of expression, association, assembly, and religion; the right of political opposition parties, civil society organizations, and journalists to operate without harassment or interference; and due process of law; and (ii) permit access to human rights and humanitarian organizations to the Somali region of Ethiopia; and

(B) submits a report to the Committees on Appropriations on the types and amounts of United States training and equipment proposed to be provided to the Ethiopian military and police including steps to ensure that such assistance is not provided to military or police personnel or units that have violated human rights, and steps taken by the Government of Ethiopia to investigate and prosecute members of the Ethiopian military and police who have been credibly alleged to have violated such rights.
(2) The restriction in paragraph (1) shall not apply to IMET assistance, assistance to Ethiopian military efforts in support of international peacekeeping operations, countering regional terrorism, border security, and for assistance to the Ethiopian Defense Command and Staff College.

(3) Funds appropriated by this Act under the headings ‘‘Development Assistance’’ and ‘‘Economic Support Fund’’ that are available for assistance in the lower Omo and Gambella regions of Ethiopia shall—

(A) not be used to support activities that directly or indirectly involve forced evictions; (B) support initiatives of local communities to improve their livelihoods; and (C) be subject to prior consultation with affected populations.

(4) The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director of each international financial institution to oppose financing for any activities that directly or indirectly involve forced evictions in Ethiopia

  1. Nod
    | #1

    Let them shock their assistance to their ass…we do our business our way!

  2. Blackie from Akaki
    | #2

    I oppose tplf’s brutality in all its forms. However, I do not support everyone who throws a fist at Ethiopia because tplf is there. This insertion in US appropriation bill is not an attempt to help Ethiopia democratize. These restrictions rather hurt Ethiopia’s long term interest. They also promote agents that are working hard to undermine Ethiopia’s unity. The claim of displacement has also been a rallying issue for western interest groups and others in the region who have been trying to stop Ethiopia from developing its resources. With exploding population, rampant poverty, underdevelopment, etc. we have no other option but develop rapidly and keep up with the demand. Given the poverty , backwardness, and other issues the country is suffering from, democracy as it is prescribed by us in diaspora is a luxury at this point. As I have always said, the diaspora throws a nuke to kill a roach.You may not even kill the roach, but everybody else in the area. Diaspora Ethiopians is a mix of unwise politicians with moron emotionals to outright lunatics plus pure Ethiopia haters. If we are not careful, we will end up hurting our own country, as we have exactly done here. For those of you who are cheering for this, I am really sorry. I am sure you will be the first ones to blame someone else when Ogaden breaks away. You do not understand how much you are facilitating to that end. I do not hate being Ethiopian, but I do regret sharing such an honor with some of you.

  3. Zerayakob Yared
    | #3

    በጎን የተለቃቀሙት የ’MLLT sado-masochistic ባንዳዎች እስከነ በጠቅላላው ዓለም የተበተኑት የመገልገያ መዲያዎቻቸው አንቀሳቃሾች, እና እንዲሁም ሆዳሞቻቸውም ጭምር በእኛ ስም አገሪቱን እስከዘረፏት ጊዜ ድረስ አሜሪካም ሆነ ሌላ ቢዝትብን የሚገርም ጉዳይ አይደለም::

    ሁላችንም ከየራሳችን እየጀመርን, let’s get social NORMS ………..!

  4. Shegaw Dejene
    | #4

    This is article is nothing but pure misrepresentation and defamation propaganda by Ethiopias enemies. The truth is this the best stable and best political system we ethiopias ever had.

  5. Sam
    | #5

    This is probably the most measured writing I read which SMNE depicted so far. When an organization proclaims to be non-political it is essential to be free of political words. Should words like the “oppressors” and the “oppressed” avoided the claim of non-partisan makes more sense. Having said that though I caution SMNE of this new euphoria. The US government power to influence politics in Ethiopia is vey limited. Even when the US government took a stand to change the dynamic of politics in any country, the US interest weighs in. The government of Ethiopia is well aware of that fact. I believe the Us influence is negligible. What I wish to see most and believe will chart a way for democratic governance to have roots in Ethiopia is the political parties of Ethiopia to mature. See them change from slogan throwing entity to policy makers. in the process more Ethiopians will engage politics, so far which is lacking measurably.

  6. Jafar
    | #6

    Yeah now you are cheering ONLF lobbying results. This only empowers anti Ethiopian entities. You know things like this justify tplf’s firm control. Eviction is term used by international interest groups determined to undermine any development activity in that country. Well, just like i said, this rather proves woyane’s point.

  7. ታዛቢ
    | #7

    በውጭ ጡት አባቶች ተማምኖ ህዝብን ሲንቅና ሲያዋርድ የነበረ መንግስት ምን ይውጠው ይሆን ??
    ይህ መንግስት ሃገራችንን ክነ ደቡብ ሱዳን ,ማሊ,central Africa,Somalia ተርታ እድትቀመጥ ማድረግ ክዚህ በላይ የሚያሳፍር ነገር የለም !!ማፈሪያዎች!!

  8. fikir
    | #8

    Thank god this site is breath of fresh air and under stand the stake. The danger in Etiopia right now is the intention of Tplf. If it was pure Ethiopian, it will get all the support it can from Ethiopians but it has conflict within itself. Tplf indeed has done great damage to our country especially under Meles. The issue is that Tplf would like to see the demise of Ethiopia if it makes Greater Tigray and will not be affected by what West says. At the same time there might be Tplf that wants to continue to rule while still being agianst Ethiopia’s interest. If this way, they will not succeed when they have too many oppositions and now eeven their own foreign allies are abandoning them. Or Tplf can change things for the better, althout it might be too late. Tplf also can use this foreing policy to scare Ethiopians this time the foreign as enemy to get support. However we Ethiopians while Ethiopan name is being used, it should be our concern to stop this anti Ethioipan take over of websites which is happening on sites like Ethiopian Review. We can’t just say it is not our business when the word Ethopia is being used, we should even campaign illegal policies happneing on such sites and demand to stand what it stands for. It was very good that Ethiopians demanded Aigaforum/Tigraionline to remove certain topic that was a lie and negative. I think when things go out of line, we should be involved.

  9. aha!
    | #9

    Thank you for bringing to the attention of the public the action taken against the Ethiopian Government, which is defined as TPLF/eprdf regime, where TPLF is the Politbuerro, which are now have identified by Prof. Mose Tegene governing Ethiopia over the teletaffi parties and the loyalist opposition parties now forming a coalition with UDJP, seeking for political space as if political space is a quantitative event, yekili mengistat’s iqulent mebit mekeber, and democratic and human rights as stipulated in this article. This editorial comment bears an account different from that presented by the Oakland Institute, titled “US Congress takes a historic stance against land-grabs-related to foced evictions in Ethiopia”, which specific, observable and enforceable, than the objectives stated above, that has nothing to do the maintenance of the unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, where the last item refers to individual freedom, liberty and equality to prevail over ethnic and secessionist rights and totalitarian and/or state capitalism for the silent majority of Ethiopians to have economic and political freedom, a ratified constitution centered around the individual rights to cherish the true meaning of democracy and government, which governs by the consent of the governed rather than by ethnic rule of either an ethnic minority or majority ethnic rule. As a non-political organization it appears the focus of this article leans towards those of OPDO/Medrek/EFDF/fdre, with ethnic than national agenda stuck on the above objectives above and alignment of parties along ethnic lines, instead of coalescing along the national agenda to free the Ethiopians of ethnic and secessionist politics and policies stipulated in the constitution against which the US government has no influence over the constitution of Ethiopia and democracy and human rights violations by the TPLF/eprdf regime could not be gutted from outside, other than outrights uprising by masses for individual economic and political freedom from the TPLF/eprdf regime. Political and economic freedom are not negotiable, nor subject for reconciliation as this is a struggle between those for Ethiopian Nationalism, Ethnic Federalism and/or Ethnic Secessionism/Ethnic Nationalism as major political forces in play, but not global capitalism, either which a common denominator nor human rights violations which is a common denominator to all ethnic groups, that could dealt with ICC court. The only impact the new legislature will be on the “stance against land-grabs related forced evictions”.

  10. Beware Ethiopians!
    | #10

    Ethiopians all around the world, Please do everything you can in your power to report this Evil demented-bloodthirsty-hatemonger, jawar Mohammed to US, European and International Terrorism Watch List to stop Jawar from spreading hate, brainwashing some clueless young kids to become suicide-bombers and kill poor innocent Ethiopians. This man seems to be abscessed with Al Qaeda. Read more:

  11. Solomon
    | #11

    Beyond lies and propaganda, I am glad to see finally our country ETHIOPIA advancing for ward economically and socially. NO CIVIL WAR NO MASS STARVATION.

  12. ዞሮ ዞሮ
    | #12

    ይህ በእርዳታ የተንጠለጠለ የወያኔ የባንዳ ዓምባ ጋነን ስብስብ የ እርዳታ ገንዘብ ሳይቀር የሚዘርፍ የሌባ መንጋ ዓሁን የ ዌስተርኖች ድጋፍ እያጠረ እና እየተቋረጥ ሲመጣ መን እሚዉጣቸዉ እንደሆን እናያለን;

  13. Anonymous
  14. aha!
    | #14

    Modification of the 1st paragraph in #9: …… “which is defined as TPLF/eprdf regime, where TPLF is a Politbeuro, which is now being redefined by Prof. Mose Tegene, where the TPLF Officials are Eritreans by birth, holding top positions in the TPLF Politbeurro governing Ethiopia with the teletafi parties and the loyalist opposition parties now forming a coalition, supporting the constitution of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totalitarianism”, absent/subdued of Ethiopians with national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

  15. aha!
    | #15

    In the context of the above mentioned paradigms, which opposition parties/factions claiming victory with the new bill in the House, except with regard to “forced evictions” and the meaningful reforms implemented? without ratification of the constitution with respect to Article (2), Article 46, Article 39 (1), individual rights can one expect to have brought about meaningful reforms, I quote:

    “For those with TPLF/EPRDF -led government who may not initially be pleased with this new bill or the one being advanced by the House, we encourage you to think forward to an Ethiopia that has a place for both “our children and “your children” only because meaningful reforms were implemented”.

    Add to the political structure, and the economic model of the totalitarian and/or state capitalism, the crony capitalism by TPLF/Political, TPLF/EFFORT, TPLF affiliated enterprises, cadres and foreign corporations engaged in exploitation, degradation of the natural resources and political strangle hold of the silent majority of Ethiopians, to which the TPLF/EFFORT have upper hand in the development projects and perhaps access to capital. Where are the meaningful reforms in these regard with free market capitalism to the silent majority of Ethiopians.

  16. Hate only HATE
    | #16

    Beware Ethiopians,
    Thank you for the link. It is sad to see that an educated man like Jawar Mohammad seemingly brainwashed and filled with so much hate and anger towards poor straggling Amharas, while his own ethnic group and fellow Muslims getting mistreated, thrown in jail and killed by Woyanes. I bet, if someone ask Jawar what Amharas have done to him, I grantee that he wouldn’t come up with one valid point, other the misinformation he has been filled with by those who are robbing the dismantling Ethiopia. Doesn’t this man know that there are Muslims in Gondar that are living with their Christian brothers and sisters for thousands of years? Doesn’t he know that there are Christians in Oromo provinces that are living peacefully with their Muslim brothers and sisters? People like Jawar that are consumed with hatred, are a threat to all peace loving people in Ethiopia and around the world.
    Jawar needs Holy-Water to remove his Satanic thinking.

  17. Solomon
    | #17

    My Prayer answered!

    THE ETHIOPIAN GOVERNMENT IS BUILDING THE BIGGEST HYDRO DAM IN AFRICAS HISTORY. This the kind of positive gov we ETHIOPIANS been waiting for, thanks GOD! finally it is arrived.

  18. Be peacemaker
    | #18

    Let us all try our best to be peacemakers instead of the soldiers of the master of hate, Lucifer. In every religion, the golden rule of God/Allah teach us to love and treat others, the same way we want to be loved and treated by others. People with hate in their heart, always find to hate something or another all their lives. In the case of Jawar, at the present time his focus and hate is directed on struggling Amharas that are trying ends meet, but I guarantee that hate will spread like wild fires to woards Oromo Christians in the future. Jawar said people fear Oromos, trust me, I happen to be half Oromo and Amhara and I fear only racists and hateful individuals like Jawar.

  19. realistic
    | #19

    @Beware Ethiopians!

    Can you imagine saying terrorism against Ethiopia in U.S? Therefore the only thing is West is supporting Jawar. Remember why Syria is still being attacked West backed terrorists? Jawar is on payroll as well and that is why he is very confident and says as he pleases. It is time to know that unless we lobby and campaign heavily in the West and everywhere everyone involved, they are ready to kill Ethiopia. We all know Tplf and Shabia are on board. What is so sad that we ourselves killed all those credibility, charisma we built and lobbied for Ethioipa while we were under emperor, today no one is reviving this to campaign for Ethiopia. What more is there but to campaign for Ethioipa?

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