Please Vote YES! On October 2nd, 2007! – By H.R. 2003 Task Force

October 1st, 2007 Print Print Email Email

U.S. House of Representatives voted “YES” unanimously to pass H.R. 2003!

85 Cosponsors, includes 100 % of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) (more…)

U.S. House of Representatives voted “YES” unanimously to pass H.R. 2003!

85 Cosponsors, includes 100 % of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA)

hr2003

http://www.hr2003.org
E-mail: passhr2003@hr2003.org
Tel: 323-988-5688 Fax: 323-924-5563



Please Vote YES! On October 2nd, 2007!
H.R. 2003: Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007

85 Cosponsors, includes 100 % of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA)

Purpose

Ethiopia is one of the staunchest allies of the United States. The appropriation for 2008 exceeds Five Hundred million dollars. The bill is designed to strengthen the democratic institutions of Ethiopia to protect the United States’ long-term interest in a stable Ethiopia.

Brief History of the Ethiopia Human Rights Act

As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) traveled to Ethiopia in August 2005 to urge Prime Minster Meles Zenawi to set up an independent inquiry commission to investigate the June 8, 2005 massacre of unarmed civilian demonstrators in the streets of Addis Ababa and to release political prisoners. Zenawi defied the Chairman’s reasonable requests.

Concerned about the deteriorating conditions on the ground, Chairman Chris Smith started drafting the Ethiopia human rights act as he got on the plane for flight home.

After the Government of Ethiopia security forces again massacred scores of unarmed civilian protesters, imprisoned the top leadership of the main opposition party and arrested over 30,000 people in early November 2005, Chairman Chris Smith, during 109th Congress, on 11/18/2005 introduced the bill as H.R. 4423, “to encourage and facilitate the consolidation of security, human rights, democracy, and economic freedom in Ethiopia”. On 4/6/2006 it was forwarded to the House Committee on International Relations. On Jun 27, 2006: Full Committee on International Relations agreed to Seek Consideration Under Suspension of the Rules, by Unanimous Consent as bill H.R. 5680, the “Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy and Accountability Act of 2006.” As a direct result of DLA Piper lobbyist firm’s effort, (hired by the Government of Ethiopia for $50,000 a month plus hourly fees) the human rights bill never saw floor action even though it passed the full committee unanimously! This bill was proposed in the 109th Congress session. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven’t passed are cleared from the books.

In 110th Congress, on April 20, 2007, the new Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, Rep. Donald Payne(D-NJ) introduced a similar bill: HR. 2003, the “Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007.”

Chairman Payne’s bill replaced H.R. 5680, also known as the “Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy and Accountability Act of 2006.” Chairman Payne’s bill maintains much of the substance of H.R. 5680 in terms of legislative findings and provisions. However, Chairman Payne has redrafted the new bill with regime accountability as a centerpiece of the legislation.

H.R. 2003 was marked up by a unanimous vote from Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health on 07/18/2007. On 09/26/2007, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously approved the “Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 (HR 2003) and submitted it to the floor under the suspension of rules.

On October 2, 2007, the United States of America House of Representatives will vote on this landmark Human Rights piece of legislation authored by the undisputed Champion of the Continent of Africa in the United States Congress: Chairman Donald Payne.

DLA Piper

The Government of Ethiopia has hired one of the most powerful lobbyist firms in the world solely to defeat the Ethiopia Human Rights Act. Ethiopia is ranked 18 out of 177 in 2007 Failed States Index (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3954&page=3)

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS UNANIMOUSLY PASSED H.R. 2003 ON 09-26-2007 and sent it to the floor under the suspension of the rules
http://international.edgeboss.net/real/international/fc_9-26-07.smi (Forward 10 minutes)

“This bill is vitally important for Ethiopia. Ethiopia could have been a shining light of democracy but group of self-serving thugs ignored the democratic process and decided to hold power no matter what the election results were in Ethiopia. What shocked me most was when I learned that there were American Humvees armed with machine guns rolling the streets of Ethiopia murdering, maiming and terrorizing the population after the election into submission for a government that was not elected. This is not what American military assistance should be used for.

Top people from this Congress have been hired, both Republicans and Democrats to come back to get things like this out of the bill. Frankly, it is a disgrace that members of Congress would be representing this kind of regime.”

Honorable Congressman Dana Rorabacher (R-CA)

“We worked and got this bill passed in this Committee in the last Congress and it died for the same reason Mr. Rorabacher is talking about. High-powered bi-partisan group of lobbyists killed the bill and it never made it to the floor.
Honorable Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Africa

“The Government of Ethiopia must observe the basic human rights of the Ethiopian people. We want the people to stop suffering!”
Honorable Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

“I don’t think that there is any question about some of the activities of some of the lobbyists….”
Honorable Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN)

“I will be happy to Co-sponsor H.R. 2003, the “Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007”.
Honorable Congressman Ray Lahood (R-IL)

“Ethiopia is one of the staunchest allies of the United States….. this
bill is designed to strengthen the democratic institutions of Ethiopia to protect our long-term interest in a stable Ethiopia.”
Honorable Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ)
Chairman, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health

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