US House Resolution on Ethiopia Passes

US House Resolution on Ethiopia Passes
Resolution Calls for Commitment to Human Rights, Democracy, Rule of Law

Ethiopia’s incoming Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed delivers his acceptance speech after taking his oath of office during a ceremony at the House of Peoples’ Representatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 2, 2018. © 2018 Reuters

By Felix Horne, Senior Researcher, Horn of Africa, April 10, 2018

(HRW) — Today, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution encouraging Ethiopia’s government to increase respect for human rights, rule of law, and democracy. This non-binding resolution, combined with recent statements from the US Embassy in Addis, sends a strong signal to Ethiopia’s new prime minister that the US expects significant reforms ahead.

Resolution 128 was passed in large part because of Ethiopian-American voters concerned with the Ethiopian government’s rights record, who worked together to make themselves an important constituency. Their persistent efforts despite the efforts of the Ethiopian embassy and their Washington lobbyists led to an impressive 108 Congressional representatives from 32 states co-sponsoring this resolution. Hopefully they can build on this success and advocate for binding legislation on Ethiopia.

Amongst other things, the resolution calls for Ethiopia’s government “to allow an independent examination of the state of human rights in Ethiopia by a rapporteur appointed by the United Nations.” Ethiopia has repeatedly rebuffed efforts to investigate allegations of serious crimes by government forces and has not let in any UN Special Rapporteur to investigate allegations of abuse since 2007. With a new prime minister, now is the time for Ethiopia to change course and allow independent experts to investigate, including the Special Rapporteurs on torture and freedom of assembly.

Over the past two years, Ethiopia’s government security forces have arrested tens of thousands of people protesting government policies and have killed over 1,000 demonstrators. Torture in detention is rife, and independent media, civil society, and opposition parties are severely limited.

The United States, like many of Ethiopia’s international partners, is focused on collaborating with the country on counterterrorism efforts, peacekeeping, and economic growth. Yet for the partnerships to be effective, Ethiopia needs to be stable. And in light of the past two years’ sweeping protests, the question of stability is inextricably linked to Ethiopia’s harsh response to dissent and political opposition.

This resolution not only encourages the government to implement key reforms, but says that future US cooperation should be tied to Ethiopia’s “demonstrated commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.” Encouraging those reforms with measurable, specific, and transparent benchmarks in exchange for future cooperation is critical. It is also important that other countries follow the US Congress’ lead on tying support to tangible progress.

1 Comment

  1. This is a very great input from US congress, and it is much appreciated to see the execution of this H. Res. 128 resolution.

    Beyond absurdness who called Government led by TPLF that never even envisioned to exist in this world, they covert themselves, quench beer and other alcohols whatever they wish, hunt human-beings irrespective of gender and age, coerce civilians by military occupation that rapes youth and women at their residence of living including in front of their husband, made fatherless and motherless children either by killing or jailing parents, and contagiously occupied vicinity of civilians calling their approach Sate of Emergency-just simply to protect their selfish unholy exploitative actions and limitless embezzlement.

    These bothered rational people. It has been expected since Abiy Ahmed took PM position things to improve; however, a) there is no evacuation of military occupation whatever they called it State of Emergency; b) there are many politicians, protesters and civilians still mingling in the cursed place called jails that when human-being born would not be to suffer at such evil doers venue except criminals; c) there is no structural changes in removing military authorities who accustomed to perpetuate crimes or failed to enforce rule of law as part of their responsibilities; d) there are still political parties who have been never given a chance to participate in free atmospheres that people can elected whom they want including OLF, ONLF, CUD and so on.
    In brief, sequentially and urgently, with full of heart, Abiy Ahmed is expected to do without obstacles of TPLF: 1) Remove military occupation and State of Emergency; 2) release all politicians, protesters, and civilians; 3) invite all politicians to organize and work in a civil manner than to ambush each other in the jungle of forest; 4) remove puppet, inefficient, and incapacitated officials in the judicial systems who failed to uphold rule of law; 5) prosecute ruthlessly those who killed, abused, expropriate properties, wealth, income by using of weapons or positions; 6) create atmospheres for all people to work and live as they want just like what is in the developed countries, and enable people to elect any political party and be elected as they want.

    Especial thanks to people who really directly or indirectly contributed to this H. Res. 128 resolution. This is a start of your good inputs and you are indeed need to do more to see the outcome of your efforts.

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