Thursday, May 19, 2022

Washington Update: Humanitarian Needs Remain High In Ethiopia

Need for economic development

Ethiopia is at a turning point. The government of Ethiopia must focus on peace, law and order, and development. To move toward prosperity, peace, and democracy, it is essential that the government find ways to increase economic opportunity, especially for the growing population of young Ethiopians who need training and jobs.

Religious conflict

According to a recent report by Aljazeera, Ethiopian police and Muslim worshippers clashed in Addis Ababa. The incident occurred outside the international stadium in the heart of the capital during prayers. This violence is alarming because Ethiopian Christians and Muslims have lived together in peace and harmony for over a thousand years. In addition to Addis Ababa, there have also been religious conflicts in other parts of Ethiopia, including Gondar, Harar, and Dessie. The government of Ethiopia must take responsibility for upholding the rule of law and bring to justice anyone who instigates violence.

Congressional resolutions

Ethiopian-Americans should call and write to their members of Congress expressing support for Senate Resolution 3199 and House Resolution 6600, “Ethiopia Stabilization, Peace and Democracy Act.

H.R. 6600, introduced by Rep. Malinowski (D-NJ), condemns the Ethiopian government’s killing of peaceful protesters, arresting journalists, and stifling political and civic dissent and journalistic freedoms. It puts the U.S. government on record calling for the Ethiopian government to take basic steps to protect the human rights of its citizens, stop killing them, and release them.

This bill has 13 cosponsors, 10 Democrats and three Republicans. In a message to constituents, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) wrote that “H.R. 6600 would put sanctions on those who are sustaining the conflict and repeal security and financial assistance to the Ethiopian government until human rights and humanitarian requirements are met.”

S.3199 was introduced on April 11, 2021, to address U.S. efforts to support a peaceful, democratic Ethiopia and bring an end to the conflict in northern Ethiopia.
Here are the highlights of the Ethiopia Stabilization, Peace and Democracy Act – From Congress:

This Act may be cited as the Ethiopia Stabilization, Peace, and Democracy Act.

Statement of policy
It is the policy of the United States—
(1) to support efforts to end the civil war and other conflicts in Ethiopia and gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and other atrocities in Ethiopia;
(2) to use all diplomatic, development, and legal tools to stabilize and end violence in Ethiopia;
(3) to support efforts to hold accountable those who committed gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and other atrocities in Ethiopia; and
(4) to promote an inclusive national dialogue in order to bring about a peaceful, democratic, and unified Ethiopia.

War in Ukraine hurting Ethiopia

The conflict in Ukraine, which has prevented the export of grain from one of the world’s largest producers, has driven up the cost of food worldwide, including in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s already high humanitarian needs are expected to rise in the coming year due to the ongoing conflict, drought, flooding, disease outbreaks, and locust infestation, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated. “Humanitarian needs remain high in several parts of Ethiopia with at least 20 million people requiring some form of humanitarian assistance until the end of the year,” according to a UN report. The number of people depending on emergency food assistance is increasing in the conflict-stricken regions of Tigray, Afar, and Amhara.

Reuters reported that malnourished children are flooding the pediatric ward of the main hospital in Ethiopia’s Gode city as the worst drought in 40 years has forced many families to leave their homes to search for aid.

The World Food Program said around 15 million people need food in the Horn of Africa, a figure that could rise to 20 million by the end of the year. “There’s been a series of climate shocks which has compounded the food insecurity situation,” Claire Nevill, a spokeswoman for WFP, told Reuters.

Author profile
Mesfin Mekonen

Mesfin Mekonen is a Washington, DC based Ethiopian-American writer.

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