HR 5680 awaits an uphill battle

March 18th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

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By Mesfin Mekonnen | March 18, 2007
WASHINGTON – There is some movement in the House of Representatives toward re-introduction of legislation promoting democracy and human rights in Ethiopia, but given the huge workload and competing issues, strong advocacy work is needed to make it a reality. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) plans to reintroduce the Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights Advancement Act – H.R. 5680.

It is essential that Ethiopians contact members of Congress who co-sponsored the bill last year to ask that they endorse it again. A list of co-sponsors follows. It is especially critical to contact Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.) to express strong support for quick action on the legislation.

While the failure of Congress to act on this legislation last year is disappointing, we must focus our attention on achieving results. No amount of recriminations will help those who are unjustly jailed in Ethiopia. For their sake, we need to work hard to do whatever we can, even if the work is slower than we would like, or if the outcome is not certain.

In addition to working with Congress, we have maintained constant contact with the State Department. The Bush administration is aware of the desperate conditions that opposition leaders are being held under. We are pressing the administration to compel the Meles regime to release the prisoners without conditions.

Ethiopians must not lose hope, and those of us who are in the U.S. and Europe must remain focused on efforts to free political prisoners, and to bring democracy, human rights, economic prosperity and, most of all, hope to Ethiopia.

To find email addresses and telephone numbers for members of Congress, visit http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/.

Co-sponsors of the Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights Advancement Act:

Rep Brown, Corrine [FL-3] – 6/26/2006
Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] – 6/26/2006
Rep Davis, Susan A. [CA-53] – 9/7/2006
Rep Green, Al [TX-9] – 6/26/2006
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] – 7/11/2006
Rep Issa, Darrell E. [CA-49] – 6/28/2006
Rep Lantos, Tom [CA-12] – 6/26/2006
Rep Leach, James A. [IA-2] – 6/26/2006
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] – 6/28/2006
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] – 9/7/2006
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] – 7/11/2006
Rep McKinney, Cynthia A. [GA-4] – 6/26/2006
Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] – 6/26/2006
Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] – 6/26/2006
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] – 6/26/2006
Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46] – 6/26/2006
Rep Royce, Edward R. [CA-40] – 7/27/2006
Rep Sabo, Martin Olav [MN-5] – 6/26/2006
Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] – 6/26/2006
Rep Scott, Robert C. [VA-3] – 6/26/2006
Rep Smith, Adam [WA-9] – 7/11/2006
Rep Tancredo, Thomas G. [CO-6] – 6/26/2006
Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12] – 12/8/2006
Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] – 6/26/2006
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] – 11/14/2006
Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] – 7/25/2006
Rep Watson, Diane E. [CA-33] – 7/11/200
Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10] – 6/26/2006
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] – 11/14/2006

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