BREAKING NEWS: H.R. 2003 Heading To The Floor – By H.R. 2003 Task Force
The Coalition for H.R. 2003 is pleased to announce that HR 2003 has been scheduled for final action by the House of Representatives on October 2, 2007. Listen To Prof. Al Mariam On VOA
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For Immediate Release
September 28, 2007
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FINAL HOUSE ACTION ON H.R. 2003
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2007
The Coalition for H.R. 2003 is pleased to announce that HR 2003 (“Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007”), introduced by Chairman Donald Payne of the Subcommittee on Africa on April 20, 2007, has been scheduled for final action by the House of Representatives on October 2, 2007. Consideration of items on the suspension calendar will begin at 10:00 a.m.
There are 14 bills scheduled for floor debate on October 2. H.R. 2003 is listed as #5 on the calendar.
H.R. 2003 was referred to the floor on a special House procedure known as “suspension of the rules”. This procedure is used generally to act swiftly on relatively non-controversial legislation. The procedure is set forth in clause 1 of House Rule XV. When a bill or some other matter is considered “under suspension,” floor debate is limited, all floor amendments are prohibited, and a two-thirds vote is required for final passage. The equivalent calendar in the Senate is called the consent calendar.
H.R. 2003 has 85 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and bill was passed on September 26, 2007 with a unanimous vote of the House Foreign Affairs committee! It is expected that H.R. 2003 will be approved by the House.
H.R. 2003 requires the ruling regime to:
- 1) Release of ALL political prisoners and restore the democratic rights of the people.
- 2) Institute democratic reforms with accountability.
- 3) Provide protections for human rights advocates and civic society organization and ensure the existence of adequate monitoring and reporting processes.
- 4) Set up an independent judicial system with proper monitoring processes to protect judges from political interference.
- 5) Bring to justice all human rights abusers, including the killers of 193 innocent men, women and children and those who wounded 763 others in the post-2005 election period, and thousands of others.
- 6) Improve election procedures and ensure fraud free elections.
- 7) Remove press censorship and restrictive press laws and establish a program to strengthen private media in Ethiopia.
The bill also
- 1) Offers training programs for democratic participation.
- 2) Limits the use of U.S. security assistance to peacekeeping and counter-terrorism and NOT against the civilian population.
- 3) Fosters economic development.
- 4) Provides assistance to strengthen local, regional, and national parliaments and governments, political parties, and civil society groups.
- 5) Strengthens training for political parties in the areas of organization building and campaign management.
- 6) Provides training for civil society groups in election monitoring.
- 7) Promotes dispute resolution by means of dialogue, negotiations and compromise, and
- 8) Professionalizes the National Election Board to help it address certain issues, e.g. issues delimitation of constituencies, voter and candidate registration, political party registration, voting irregularities and challenges. The Coalition will provide further updates as soon as they become available.