Washington Update on HR2003 By Rep. Donald Payne and Hailu Shawel’s Treatment

April 25th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Washington Update

April 24, 2007

1. Congress.

Rep. Donald Payne introduced the Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 on April 20. (more…)

Washington Update

April 24, 2007

1. Congress.

Rep. Donald Payne introduced the Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 on April 20. The bill essentially the same as HR 5680 that Rep. Chris Smith wrote and introduced last year. The primary differences are:

[Click here to see list of HR2003 Cosponsors]

1) the “findings”? have been updated to include language from the State Department’s human rights report that describes outrages the Meles regime has inflicted on members of the opposition, including unlawful killings, beatings, and arrests.

2) the findings describe the results of an investigation by the Commission of Inquiry that the Meles regime created to investigate the use of force by government security forces. Although the Commission was hand picked by the government, it concluded that government security forces acted illegally and with extreme brutality.

3) Makes U.S. non-humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia contingent on punishment of security personnel who were involved in the unlawful killing of demonstrators. The bill specifically mentions Etenesh Yemam and the killing of prisoners at Kaliti prison.

4) The section on economic development assistance for Ethiopia has been expanded. It specifies that the U.S. government is to provide financial assistance for the development of irrigation to avoid future famines, including funds for the Blue Nile and Awash River. It also directs the U.S. to support Ethiopia’s healthcare infrastructure.

5) The bill authorizes the expenditre of $20 million per year for fiscal years 2008 and 2009 to accomplish its goals. 6) Language in the previous version of the bill that provided assistance for development of Ethiopia’s tax collection system, debt management and other financial infrastructure has been deleted.

This legislation may not be perfect, but its enactment would be a tremendous benefit to Ethiopia. We should have an initial list of co-sponsors very soon. Once we have the list we will know who should be thanked for their support and especially who should be contacted to solicit support.

We have spoken with Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and he has indicated that he will co-sponsor the Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007. He was a co-sponsor of HR 5680.

At this point it is important for every Ethiopian in the U.S. to contact Rep. Payne’s office to thank him for introducing the legislation and to urge him to push hard for its rapid enactment. It is also important to acknowledge Rep. Smith’s efforts and to ensure that this remains a bipartisan issue. Especially when this legislation moves to the Senate, bipartisan support will be critical. The Meles regime is certain to look for cracks that it can exploit to block the bill. We need to create and maintain a united front. There is no reason that Ethiopian human rights, freedom, democracy and economic development should be a partisan issue in the United States.

2. State Department

U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Donald Yamamoto, has helped arrange for a physician to travel from South Africa to Addis Ababa to treat Hailu Shawel, who remains in prison. We are hoping that he and all political prisoners will be released quickly.

  1. Mimi
    | #1

    Good to hear that Ato Mesfin. It is uplifting and spiritual experience to read the report on the progress of our peaceful struggle for democracy and human rights in Ethiopia. It is always feels good and rewarding to fight against blood sucker evil forces.

  2. fish
    | #2

    Donald Payne\
    you are more Ethiopian than those who sat in the so called parlament of woyane. Keep up the good work.

    fish

  3. Abiy
    | #3

    Congressman Payne! God Bless You!& your household.Peace comes from God through people like you.You must be proud of yourself to be chosen by our savior for this purpose.
    You know what? your’e not only better than those stugges, but also far better than most of us who are indifferent! KEEP IT UP BROTHER!!

  4. Emnet
    | #4

    Honarable Payne, we salute you. You walk the walk. Thanks. (read the attachment)

    For Immediate Release
    June 22, 2001 Contact: Kerry McKenney
    (202) 225-3436

    Congressman Donald Payne Arrested Protesting Tragedy in Sudan
    Congressman Donald Payne, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, who serves as ranking member of the House International Relations Subcommittee on Africa, was recently arrested during a demonstration at the Sudan Embassy to protest slavery and genocide in Sudan. Also arrested was John Eibner, Director of Christian Solidarity International’s (CSI) anti-slavery program and Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds, author, radio talk show host and syndicated columnist.
    Payne, a founder and co-chair of the Sudan Caucus in Congress, was handcuffed upon his arrest and held in prison under deplorable conditions for 11 hours before being released. He has long been a crusader for an end to the tragedy in Sudan. Reaffirming his continued strong commitment to protecting human rights, Payne said, “Slave raids by the armed forces of Sudan’s Khartoum government are being used to gain control of southern oil fields. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Sudan Peace Act with a provision for capital market sanctions against oil companies operating in Sudan. We will continue pressuring this government until genocide is ended and there is a resolution of these crimes against humanity.”
    Dr. Reynolds called on Americans of conscience to stand up and speak out on behalf of people being enslaved and killed in Sudan’s genocidal war.
    In recent months, Walter Fauntroy, former U.S. Representative and chair of the Sudan Campaign, Joe Madison, human rights activist and national director of the Sudan Campaign and Michael Horowitz, Hudson Institute fellow were arrested for handcuffing themselves to the Sudan Embassy in an anti-slavery demonstration. Renowned attorney Johnnie Cochran, one of the attorneys who represented the demonstrators in D.C. Superior Court, said, “These vigorous protests and demonstrations conducted by Horowitz, Madison, Fauntroy, Dick Gregory, and others demand justice for the humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan.”
    Many prominent individuals have stepped forward to advise the Sudan Campaign, including Representatives Sam Brownback, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Gregory Meeks, Charlie Rangel, Joseph Pitts, and Frank R. Wolf.
    For nearly half a century, Sudan has been involved in a civil war being fought between the Sudanese government’s army and the largest armed opposition force, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. According to interviews, the slave raids by the armed forces of the government of Sudan in the south are a tool being used to gain control over the southern oil fields. To exacerbate the situation, the Sudanese government imposed a ban on UN relief flights to the area, which puts 3 million people at risk of starvation.

  5. Dinka
    | #5

    Thank you Mr.Payne for standing up with the oppressed! you truly are the result of the teaching and the message of Martin Luther king.
    God bless you.Black and white peace seekers Americans must rise up with you to stop the madness that is getting unleashed by Republicans
    especially by George Bush and company throughout Africa.

  6. Zefere
    | #6

    Honarable Donald Payne;

    You make me fill good. You did all this. Wow!
    Sending a physician to Ethiopian prison. You did what Jesus has ordered us to do.Now you have one more rightous answer to God Almighty.

    God Bless you
    God Bless America

  7. TSEGAYE BERTA
    | #7

    Oh! payne u give us just a ease that’s great admirable wishing u all the best!keep it up GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.

  8. Eshete Dessalegne
    | #8

    Dear Payne,

    You reach to Ethiopia and its people in this very difficult time for us. You are a friend of indeed. We need your support until the Ethiopians accomplish their wishes- to construct democratic Ethiopia.

    Thank you for your wonderful job
    God bless you and your family.

    Eshete,
    From Addis
    Eshete Dessalegne
    tegenued@yahoo.com

  9. | #9

    Dear Payne,

    You reach to Ethiopia and its people in this very difficult time for us. You are a friend of indeed. We need your support until the Ethiopians accomplish their wishes- to construct democratic Ethiopia.

    Thank you for your wonderful job
    God bless you and your family.

    Eshete,
    From Addis

  10. workneh
    | #10

    Dear Payne,

    The Late great pan-african leader and one of the great father of Africa Jomo Kenyatta once said “I have stood always for the purposes of human dignity in freedom, and for the values of tolerance and peace”, Source: Kenyatta, Jeremy Murray-Brown, 1972. You did repeat his legacy, thank you very much our brother!!!

  11. fish
    | #11

    Dear Payne:
    ” A friend in need is a friend in did”

    you are the messaya. How proud your childrens will be to have a father like you and how shame full is to have a father like mr. Bush.

    fish

  12. Ethio.
    | #12

    “Rep. Donald Payne introduced the Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 on April 20.”

    “The bill essentially the same as HR 5680 that Rep. Chris Smith wrote and introduced last year”
    ———————————————–
    1.First of all we thank both Rep.Donald Payne and Rep.Chris Smith for drafting the original article and for their continued commitment in following up with its amendement. It is a very welcomed news to find the title name changed to ETHIOPIA DEMOCRACY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT …..instead of “freedom”. It is exactly a matter of accountablity especialy for its original mission regarding HUMAN RIGHT. The rest of the detail seems to be a process that changes with times.
    ———————————————–
    2. U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Donald Yamamoto’s actions are commendable, good news and a relief regarding the health concern of CUDP’s Chairman Ato Hailu Shawel. We hope the treatment will be successful. There was some petition to be signed to be forwarded to Sec. of State Dr.C. Rice, and some were of the opinion that the regime should be collectively and directly contacted and a petiton forwarded to the PM of Ethiopia. In matters of HEALTH CONCERN of the “PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE”, it is very disappointing that the regime responds only when it is approached by a third party mediator. Regardless, thank you very much Mr.Yamamoto.
    ———————————————–
    Dear Ato Mesfin Mekonen,
    May you have that continued commitemment to be a very important link with such develpments. People like you make us ask our conscious, “what can we do and how?”. The least we can do is comprehend the goal, the amendement, its implications and worth and have the will to write those letters and /or sign petitions to confirm our support. May the spirit of “ACTION” take hold again.

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