Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Washington Update: Advocating for Peace and Human Rights

Meeting with Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Dr. Aklog Berera, Wzro Tsigereda Mulugeta, Counselor Bart Fisher, and Mesfin Mekonen, representing ten Ethiopian-American organizations, recently briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff about the current situation in Ethiopia. We discussed the deteriorated human rights situation and requested a hearing on the Crisis in Ethiopia.

We briefed committee staff on the underlying causes of the conflicts that are tearing Ethiopia apart, especially the federal government structure, which creates and exacerbates ethnic divisions and discussed ongoing efforts to draft a revised Constitution. We also presented proposed solutions to Ethiopia’s most pressing problems. We asked the U.S. Congress to help implement initiatives to bring peace, stability, and prosperity to the second-largest country in Africa. 

We suggest the U.S. government undertake a three-part strategy focused on cessation of hostilities, sanctions, and constitutional reform. 

We also reported for the record that the state-appointed human rights commission has reported repeated outbreaks of violence, including drone attacks and house-to-house raids by government forces in areas outside the capital, in the Amhara region.

Example of violence.

On February 23, a Reuters report described the kind of violence that the U.S. government should be trying to prevent. The Ethiopian government killed at least 15 innocent Amhara people, and probably more, in an air attack.

Ongoing Famine.

Famine still stalks the Ethiopian countryside, especially in Amhara and Tigray regions. In areas of the country not favored by the ruling regime, many people are starving. According to the United Nations, the number is between six and eight million persons, or about 10 percent of the entire population. Knowledgeable commentators have written about the risk of this famine exceeding in its horrible toll that of the famine of 1984, which is well documented. Of course, we can help stop history from repeating itself, but an indifferent or even hostile regime in Addis Ababa is a major impediment.

Famine is a crude political tool for the regime. Grudging toleration of their rule is the minimum price of food. Right now, millions of Ethiopians face the choice of supporting the government or seeing their families slowly starve to death. Some solutions can help mitigate the disaster. Food aid could and should be delivered via the U.S. Congress and USAID on an expedited basis, similar to the way the Congress under the leadership of the late Henry Hyde (R-IL) did earlier in this decade. The statements he made at that time echo through the decades. He said that recurring famine in Africa is directly linked to the failings and abuses of African governments. “Famine is not about waiting for the rains that didn’t come. It is about failing to enact policies that ensure a country’s means to cope with expected adversity.” Hyde said, “Famine is about the deliberate manipulation of resources for political gains. Famine is about denying people the right to own their own land, stifling free enterprise, and controlling the means by which to produce food.”

Food aid is essential and urgently needed, but it is not sufficient. Ethiopia requires a comprehensive development program focused on the needs of all Ethiopians. It should seek to use the resources of the Blue Nile and Awash Rivers to foster the introduction of extensive agriculture. 

Amhara Association of America (AAA) Condemns Persecution.

The Amhara Association of America (AAA) has issued a press release condemning in the strongest terms the Abiy Ahmed regime’s ongoing persecution of religious leaders and attempt to divide the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC). Since his ascension to power, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and his Oromo Prosperity Party have manufactured crises as they attempted to build an Oromo hegemony in the short term and, thereafter, an Oromo republic on the ashes of Ethiopia and its people. The state-sponsored attack against the EOTC is a continuation of the Abiy regime’s goal of destroying institutions and symbols of the Ethiopian state. This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of victims of the decades-long Amhara Genocide in the Oromia Region, as well as frequent targeting of institutions that promote inter-ethnic cohesion and solidarity, such as the EOTC and its followers (including Orthodox Christian Oromos). 

Amnesty International report.

On February 18, Amnesty International demanded that Ethiopian authorities must stop using the state of emergency law to silence peaceful dissent.

“The Ethiopian government must stop resorting to old tactics of denying basic rights through the pretext of emergency laws. Ethiopians face another armed conflict in the Amhara region, a serious humanitarian crisis in Tigray, a dire security situation in Oromia, and pervasive impunity nationwide. The role of the media and the right to freedom of expression is as vital as ever,” said Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.

The report is available here: Ethiopian authorities must stop using state of emergency law to silence peaceful dissent.

Author profile
Mesfin Mekonen

Mesfin Mekonen is the author of Washington Update, a bulletin about Ethiopia’s struggle for freedom and prosperity, and founder of MM Management.

- Advertisement -spot_img
- Advertisement -spot_img
- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest news

Generative AI Model Shows Fake News has a Greater Influence on Elections When Released at a Steady Pace Without Interruption

It’s not at all clear that disinformation has, to date, swung an election that would otherwise have gone another...

Older Swiss Women Just Set a Global Legal Precedent for Challenging Their Nation’s Climate Change Policy

The European Court of Human Rights has issued a groundbreaking ruling in a case between a group of Swiss...

Whither Democracy? Modi’s India and Its Implications for South Asia

"When a significant civilizational state is astray, it impacts its neighborhood and stability, threatening regional security." "West's neglect of India's...

Faith, Power, and Persecution

Washington, DC - The Romans. They persecuted the followers of Jesus because they didn’t like folks disagreeing with the...
- Advertisement -spot_img
- Advertisement -spot_img

Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Beijing Visit an Invitation for Chinese Strategic Expansion 

'China wishes to push forward BRI in Sri Lanka fully' 'Agreement on Chinese Marine Scientific Research Despite the Moratorium'  'Chinese Debt...

Must read

BRICS’ Type of Multipolarity is Not a Solution for the Global South

The announcement of BRICS enlargement in August 2023 was...