Ethiopian Government Must Stop Rights Violations

Ethiopian(US Congressman Chris Smith, NJ) — Joined by victims of torture at the hands of the Ethiopian government, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) and Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06), came together this afternoon to bring to light the actions of the oppressive government of President Mulatu Teshome.

For too long the government of Ethiopia has used violence, including the shooting of peaceful protestors, to snuff out any opposition,” said Smith, Chairman of the House Panel on Africa. “Simple conversations with the Ethiopian Government have proven to not be enough—the actions of the government have intensified rather than moderated.”

Feyisa Lilesa helped bring this issue to the international stage last year, but we must not let these violations fade from the public eye,” Smith continued, referencing the Ethiopian Olympic silver medalist who showed a symbol of solidarity with the Oromo people in the 2016 Olympics.

The press conference coincided with the introduction of the bipartisan H. Res. 128, which offers an outline to bring Ethiopia back onto the path towards Democracy. This resolution is designed to promote democracy and good governance in Ethiopia and, among other key provisions, condemns the actions of the Government of Ethiopia and calls on the Secretary of State to improve the oversight and accountability of U.S. assistance in Ethiopia.

This week, my colleagues and I introduced a bipartisan House Resolution calling on the Government of Ethiopia to take clear and decisive steps to respect the human rights for all Ethiopians.  The United States has closely observed a pattern of abuse by the Ethiopian government’s security forces while denying too many of its citizens the basic freedoms guaranteed under the Ethiopian constitution,” said Coffman.

Alongside Smith and Coffman was Seenaa Jimjimo, Tewondrose Tirfe and Guya Abaguya Deki, who have all seen the abuses of the Ethiopian Government first-hand.

Ethiopia’s ruling regime wanted to control me and demanded that I join the ruling party,” said Deki, describing his brutal treatment at the hands of the Ethiopian government. “When I refused, they dumped me in a jungle area with my wheelchair, believing hyenas would attack and kill me. But I survived. I am very grateful to Congressman Chris Smith for introducing this resolution on human rights in Ethiopia. I hope other Members of Congress will support it to stop torture and other horrible human rights abuses committed by the government of Ethiopia.”

The Government of Ethiopia has been an active participant in the war on terror,” said Smith. “However their brutal repression has been shown to create the environment where international terrorists thrive and recruit. To truly stop violence abroad, Ethiopia must stop violence at home.”

Smith has chaired three hearings on Ethiopia, the most recent of which looked into the deterioration of the human rights situation in Ethiopia and was titled “Ethiopia After Meles: The Future of Democracy and Human Rights.”

One Response to Ethiopian Government Must Stop Rights Violations

  1. Temesgen T. February 17, 2017 at 5:31 am #

    Very sad killings by the so-called Somali Liyu Police (Somali Special Forces) is currently underway in Borena, Guji, and adjoining districts. The United Nations, the US and the Security Council must act before Ethiopia submerge into nationwide genocide. While the paramilitary of the Somali region are killing innocent pastoralists, the Ethiopian Defense fore is giving it a cover. When the pastoralists group themselves and defend, the Defense force enters in between to help not to reconcile them but to help the paramilitary kill further innocent civilian. This situation is angering the entire Oromo people of close to 45 million. Today we are hearing that 22 pastoralists were killed by the barbaric paramilitary called Somali Liyu Police. The Ethiopian government is seating back and watching. The paramilitary is armed to to teeth and killing unarmed civilians. Independent international investigation should come into force before it is too late. The paramilitary is part of the Ethiopian defense force and can not act without the central command from the Ethiopian government. If the government is responsible, this could have not happened. Feyissa is very right and feeling our pain. How on earth, a government that collects tax from us turns its guns to us and kills us!! We have no words. It is totally shame.

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