Congressman Smith and Mike Honda will be addressing the H.R.5680 rally

September 28th, 2006 Print Print Email Email

URGENT:H.R.5680 RALLY Sept.28/06 9:00 AM
DC Rally for HR 5680
Press Release | September 27, 2006
Ethiopian Americans for H.R. 5680
Several thousand Ethiopian-Americans, Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia are expected to rally on Capitol Hill to show their support for a bill called “The Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 5680)

In an unusual act, the Speaker of the U.S. House, Dennis Hastert has intervened to prevent the bill from going to the House floor for a final vote. A separate rally is also scheduled in Batavia, IL, a city in Speaker Hastert’s Congressional district.

H.R. 5680 is intended to help Ethiopia build strong democratic institutions, establish mechanisms for the protection of human rights and civil liberties, strengthen the U.S-Ethiopian partnership in the war against terrorism and release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.

H.R. 5680, authored by New Jersey Congressmen Christopher Smith [R] and Donald Payne [D], passed unanimously in the House International Relations Committee this past June, but was unable to proceed to the floor after being blocked by Speaker Hastert. Ethiopian-Americans across the Unites States are dismayed and surprised that Speaker Hastert has decided to thwart freedom, democracy and human rights in their homeland. The bill is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of more than 25 members of Congress.

The rally is organized by concerned Ethiopian Americans in Washington, D.C., and Illinois. The Washington, D.C. rally will be held on Capitol Hill West Front at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 28, 2006. The Capitol Hill West Front is expected to overflow with thousands of Ethiopian Americans who reside in and around the Washington, D.C. metro area.

The rally in Illinois will be held on Wednesday, September 27, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. in front of Speaker Hastert’s District Office in Batavia, Illinois located at 27 North River Street. Ethiopian-Americans in and around the Speaker’s 14th Congressional District, as well as residents of neighboring cities, counties, and states are expected to join the rally in front of the Speaker’s district office.

The rally is expected to ask Speaker Hastert why he has taken the unusual step of intervening in a bill that has the unanimous support of the International Relations Committee and authored and supported by global champions of human rights such as congressmen Chris Smith and Tom Lantos, and the former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and Africa expert Donald Payne. Despite hundreds of telephone calls and in person visits, Speaker Hastert and his office have offered no explanations for his unusual actions in preventing H.R. 5680 from getting to the floor. Ethiopians hope to get a response from the Speaker’s office at the rally.

For more Info. Contact

Dr. Abraham Bekele: 703-980-6650
Mr. Girma Kassa: 630-667-4338

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