PRESS RELEASE – HR2003 – HR2003
Tel: 323-988-5688 Fax: 323-924-5563
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COALITION FOR H.R.2003
URGES ATTENDANCE AT THE
JOINT SUMMIT OF THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES
CONGRESS AND EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Special Call to Ethiopians Living in Northern Virginia,
District of Columbia and Maryland
A Historic Transatlantic Legislative Summit on Human Rights
On June 8, 2007, a historic summit will take place in the United States Congress. On the agenda are three of the most critical contemporary human rights issues facing the African continent today: Genocide in Darfur, Unraveling of Somalia and Gross and Sustained Human Rights Violations in Ethiopia.
Unlike the European Union-United States Annual Summit which brings together the President of the United States, the President of the European Commission, the Head of State or Government of the EU Member State holding the EU Presidency and the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy of the Council of the EU, the Congressional-European Parliament joint summit on human rights in Africa is a rare and unique event in transatlantic legislative relations.
The Coalition believes that all Ethiopians who support democracy and human rights should attend and show support for the work of the Joint Summit in the U.S. Congress. The Coalition believes the Joint Summit will
1. Enable American and European legislators to work together on critical human rights issues in Africa, and coordinate policy responses and political action particularly on human rights abuses in Ethiopia.
2. Promote legislative cooperation on specific policy measures aimed at improving compliance with international human rights laws and conventions.
3. Encourage broader dialogue between and among human rights advocates, organizations and national policy makers on such issues as massive violations of human rights in Ethiopia under the regime of Zenawi.
4. Focus attention on specific human rights issues and problems such as the Kality political prisoners and other prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia.
5. Mobilize international action to encourage governments to re-evaluate and re-assess their foreign policies in light of the willful disregard of international human rights conventions by dictatorial regimes in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia.
6. Raise international public awareness on the sustained assault on innocent civilian populations, dissenters, human rights advocates and organizations in Ethiopia, Somalia and the Sudan.
7. Facilitate joint action between the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament to improve human rights protections.
8. Help develop effective strategies for human rights monitoring and accountability in Ethiopia.
9. Send a positive message to Diaspora Ethiopians and others that the U.S. Congress and the European Union will work together to improve human rights in Ethiopia, and
10. Review recent developments in the human rights records of dictatorial regimes in Ethiopia, Somalia and the Sudan.
Among the scheduled speakers at the Joint Summit include:
Donald Payne, (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health and author of H.R. 2003 (Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007). Over the years, Congressman Payne has made several trips to Ethiopia to study and discuss improvements to the human rights situation there. He has extensive knowledge of human rights violations not only in Ethiopia, but also Darfur and Rwanda.
Ana Gomes, Member, European Parliament and Head of the European Union’s Observer Mission to Ethiopia (2005), an extraordinary woman of courage, who has been in the forefront of the struggle for democracy and human rights in Ethiopia. See Ana Gomes’ message of solidarity, sympathy and hope on the first anniversary of the May 2005 elections.
Birhanu Tsigu, Former Head of Monitoring, Research and Public Litigation Department of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, Addis Ababa. Tsigu provided compelling testimony before the Congress-ional Black Caucus International Task Force and the Ethiopia Caucus in 2006. See,
Prof. Charles Schafer, Chair, Department of History, Valparaiso University. Prof. Schaefer taught at Addis Ababa University from 1992 through 1994 as a Fulbright Lecturer. Professor Schaefer has accepted a volunteer position as Country Specialist for Ethiopia for Amnesty International-USA, an activity to which he devotes considerable time.
Ethiopians Living in Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland:
Why YOUR Attendance is Important!
The Coalition urges all Ethiopians and other supporters of human rights in Ethiopia to attend the 11:30-12:30 session of the Joint summit focusing on Ethiopia. Here are just a few reasons why you should attend the Joint Summit:
I. The great Ana Gomes is in town! She has traveled thousands of miles to speak on YOUR behalf, and in the cause of human rights in Ethiopia, and to become a voice for our suffering brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. If Ana can travel thousands of miles, YOU can travel a few miles to welcome and thank her. YOU OWE IT TO ANA!
II. Donald Payne has exerted extraordinary effort coordinating the Joint Summit, and in sponsoring H.R. 2003. YOU need to show up and thank him personally. When he stands up for human rights in Ethiopia, we should stand up with him in Congress.
III. YOU must show the enemies of freedom that you will not rest until human rights and democracy triumph in Ethiopia. Attend the Joint Summit, and shout a mighty shout in support of democracy and human rights.
IV. YOU will be doing the RIGHT thing by attending the Joint Summit. You will learn a lot from the experience. YOU will show the depth of YOUR commitment to freedom, human rights and democracy in Ethiopia. YOU will show to the world that you are proud to be a human rights defender, and proud to show your support to the American people!
Friday, June 8, 2007, Washington, D.C.
U.S. House of Representatives, 2172 Rayburn Building
11:30-12:30 — Ethiopia: Prospects for Peace, Democracy, and Respect for Human Rights