Washington Update by Mesfine Mekonnen

September 26th, 2006 Print Print Email Email

Sept. 26, 2006

It is time for a final push to get H.R. 5680, the Ethiopia Freedom,

Democracy, and Human Rights Advancement Act of 2006, enacted before Congress recesses for the elections. The House of Representatives is facing a huge backlog of uncompleted work and only legislation that has a high level of support will make it to the floor for a vote.

It is essential for all Ethiopians to make at least two telephone calls Wednesday or Thursday. First, call your Representative’s office. Say in your own words why it is important to you that he or she ask the House leadership to schedule a vote on H.R. 5680 and then vote for it.

Emphasize that it is about human rights and Democracy, about freeing elected political leaders who have been arrested on ridiculous charges of genocide and treason, are being held in despicable conditions and face the death penalty, that is why it is important that the passage of HR 5680, the Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights Advancement Act of 2006 includes an authorization of $20 million over two years to assist political prisoners, indigenous Ethiopian human rights organizations, independent media, civil society and to promote legal training.

Second, call House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office at 202-225-2976 and tell him that Ethiopian-Americans are looking to him to schedule a vote on H.R. 5680. If you live in Hastert’s district, tell him you are a constituent. You can also send him an e-mail (visit http://www.house.gov/hastert/write1.shtml ). Keep your telephone and e-mail messages short, polite and passionate.

Everyone in the Washington area should try to attend the demonstration at Capitol Hill on Thursday, September 28 at 9:00 a.m. and make your voice heard in Congress. Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.), a co-sponsor of H.R. 5680, plans to attend, and other members of Congress or their staff members are also likely to attend.

It is time for a final push to get H.R. 5680, the Ethiopia Freedom,
Democracy, and Human Rights Advancement Act of 2006, enacted before Congress recesses for the elections. The House of Representatives is facing a huge backlog of uncompleted work and only legislation that has a high level of support will make it to the floor for a vote.

It is essential for all Ethiopians to make at least two telephone calls Wednesday or Thursday. First, call your Representative’s office. Say in your own words why it is important to you that he or she ask the House leadership to schedule a vote on H.R. 5680 and then vote for it.

Emphasize that it is about human rights and Democracy, about freeing elected political leaders who have been arrested on ridiculous charges of genocide and treason, are being held in despicable conditions and face the death penalty, that is why it is important that the passage of HR 5680, the Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights Advancement Act of 2006 includes an authorization of $20 million over two years to assist political prisoners, indigenous Ethiopian human rights organizations, independent media, civil society and to promote legal training.

Second, call House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office at 202-225-2976 and tell him that Ethiopian-Americans are looking to him to schedule a vote on H.R. 5680. If you live in Hastert’s district, tell him you are a constituent. You can also send him an e-mail (visit http://www.house.gov/hastert/write1.shtml ). Keep your telephone and e-mail messages short, polite and passionate.

Everyone in the Washington area should try to attend the demonstration at Capitol Hill on Thursday, September 28 at 9:00 a.m. and make your voice heard in Congress. Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.), a co-sponsor of H.R. 5680, plans to attend, and other members of Congress or their staff members are also likely to attend.

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