Category: "H.R. 2003"

Ethiopia - HR 2003 violates Ethiopian constitution: Meles

December 3rd, 2007
File Photo: Meles Zenawi AFP

Ethiopia - HR 2003 violates Ethiopian constitution: Meles

By Andualem Sisay

Capital

HR 2003, the bill in the US Senate on Ethiopia formulated to with advancing human rights and democracy in the country, violates the Ethiopian Federal Constitution, said Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
“As it is clearly indicated in our constitution, only this House has the mandate to ratify laws regarding Ethiopia,” said Meles, briefing Members of Parliament at the House of Peoples’ Representatives on Tuesday November 27, 2007. “HR 2003 is a mistake in terms of principle and for the two countries’ relationship.”

According to the Prime Minister, if the intention of HR 2003 is really to strengthen democracy in Ethiopia by replicating America’s experience of the past 200 years, the United States itself should have had implemented its recommendations in HR 2003.

While US democracy has never had an electoral board at all and elections have been carried out by the ruling party, asking Ethiopia through HR 2003 to include members of opposition parties on the Ethiopian Electoral Board shows that HR 2003 has no intention of using its suggestions to itself, according to Meles.

“Ethiopia is a nation of poor human beings not poor dogs,”
Meles Zenawi

“Ethiopia is a nation of poor human beings not poor dogs,” said Meles, explaining the ‘wrong’ assumption of the two individuals at the US Congress who instigated HR 2003. It is wrong and totally unacceptable if these individuals considered Ethiopia ‘as a nation that accepts anything from the US (HR 2003) along with its wheat’.

After the Prime Minister strongly expressed his belief that HR 2003 will not be approved by the Senate and the President of the United States, he said: “This will not have a big impact on Ethiopia’s effort to fight poverty and continue its rapid economic growth”.
Recalling the fact that Ethiopia’s 11.8% economic growth of two years ago, when most donors cut two thirds of budgetary support to Ethiopia after the May 2005 elections, Meles indicated that the impact of HR 2003, if at all approved, will not stop the country from registering similar or higher percentage growth this year.

Commenting on the recently released Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) leaders who are currently pushing the United States to approve HR 2003, Meles said: “It is a shameful act that one could not expect from anyone elected by the people.”

“I, for the first time for a few moments, felt ashamed when I heard that these people requested another nation’s congress to pass a law on their own country; while the public empowered them with its vote to pass laws for them in this House,” said Meles.
Their act ‘reveals their ignorance’ of Ethiopia’s sovereignty and is the result of what Meles calls, ‘zero-sum politics’ of the released CUD leaders.

Speaking on the future of the CUD leaders in Ethiopian politics, Meles indicated that his government will still give them time, ‘until the 11th hour and 59th minute’, to allow them play constructive roles in the democratization process of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia - U.S. House Subcommittee Hearing Video

October 8th, 2007

Ethiopia and the State of Democracy: Effects on Human Rights and Humanitarian Conditions in the Ogaden and Somalia

OPEN hearing of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, to be held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building .

Berhanu Nega
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Ms. Bertukan Mideksa Part2
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Fowsia Abdulkadir & Bertukan
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Saman Zia Zarifi Human Rights Watch
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Questioning Part1 Jendayi Frazer
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Questioning Part2 Jendayi Frazer
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Questioning Part3 Jendayi Frazer
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Questioning Part4 Jendayi Frazer

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Questioning Part5
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witnesses:

Panel I

The Honorable Jendayi Frazer
Assistant Secretary
Bureau of African Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Panel II

Saman Zia-Zarifi, Esq.
Washington Advocate
Human Rights Watch

Ms. Fowsia Abdulkadir
Founding Member
Ogaden Human Rights Committee of Canada

Ms. Bertukan Mideksa
Vice Chair
Coalition for Unity and Democracy, Ethiopia

Berhanu Nega, Ph.D.
Former Political Prisoner and Citizen of Ethiopia

J. Peter Pham, Ph.D.
Director
Nelson Institute for International & Public Affairs
James Madison University

Ethiopia's Ambassador Furious Over Bill to Limit U.S. Aid - WP

October 4th, 2007

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/03/AR2007100302383.html

Ethiopia's ambassador to Washington reacted furiously yesterday to a bill moving forward in Congress that would make future U.S. aid conditional on key democratic reforms, the Washington Post reported.

Samuel Assefa, Ethiopia's ambassador in Washington, warned that withholding aid from Ethiopia would have dire consequences in the Horn of Africa, in an interview with the Post.

"This is not about a humanitarian cause, nor about compassion or Africans who go against one another," he said.

"We are very disappointed because the House did not pursue an agenda that is recognizably that of the U.S., Ethiopia or friends of democracy," Samuel Assefa in a telephone interview with the Washington Post.

He said

"You are telling extremists: 'This is your day.' The bill basically sends a chilling message to all those who wish to see society heal."

"Passage of the bill sends a strong signal to the Ethiopian regime, the State Department and the international community. It shows that the U.S. government is on the record in supporting human rights in Ethiopia. For us this is historic," said Mesfin Mekonen, an Ethiopian American who is chairman of the International Council of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy in Ethiopia, a group active in Washington in an interview with the Washington Post.

Haile Shawel president of the coalition and an opposition prisoner attended the House session for the vote, the Post reported.



Click here for the Original article from The Washington Post

Ethiopia bill faces Bush backlash -FT

October 3rd, 2007

Ethiopia bill faces Bush backlash

By Barney Jopson in Nairobi and Daniel Dombey in Washington


The Financial Times


Published: October 3 2007 20:06

The US House of Representatives has set itself at loggerheads with the Bush administration by backing a bill that would force Ethiopia, a US military ally, to improve its record on democracy and human rights or risk losing substantial aid.
Samuel Assefa
The bill, passed on Tuesday, underscores unease among lawmakers over the US’s close ties with Ethiopia, which have grown since a violent crackdown on opposition supporters followed a disputed election in 2005.

But the Bush administration is unhappy about the bill, which it sees as an encroachment on the administration’s powers and misguided in some of its policies, and the legislation’s fate in the US Senate – which would also need to give its approval – is uncertain.

At the end of last year, the US gave implicit backing to Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia, which Washington feared had become a haven for Islamist militants.

In testimony this week to the House subcommittee on Africa, Jendayi Frazer, the state department’s top official on African affairs, hailed what she called “unprecedented” agreements between the Ethiopian opposition and government, which she said were “a monumental advancement in the political environment”.

Examples she gave included reform of the National Electoral Board and a new code of conduct for the press. But she added that the US had raised “strong concerns” about human rights violations in the Ogaden region.

Known as the Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act, the bill would ban “non essential US assistance” if Ethiopia obstructed US efforts to further human rights, democracy, independence of the judiciary and freedom of the press. It would restrict security assistance and impose travel restrictions on Ethiopian officials accused of human rights violations unless Ethiopia met the conditions – although the legislation would give the president a waiver to prevent such measures from taking force.

The US will provide around $300m of aid to Ethiopia this year but it is unclear how much would be affected by the bill, which also exempts humanitarian, healthcare and emergency food assistance.

The text also exempts counter-terrorism, peacekeeping operations and international military training from any funding restrictions, a reflection of Ethiopia’s military capabilities and its perceived role as a source of stability in the volatile Horn of Africa.

Samuel Assefa, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the US, described the bill as “unconscionable and irresponsible”.

Ethiopia and the State of Democracy : Testimony Statements

October 3rd, 2007


Ethiopia and the State of Democracy: Effects on Human Rights and Humanitarian Conditions in the Ogaden and Somalia.

The Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health hearing was held on Tuesday October 2, 2007 at Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building of the United States Congress. Donald M. Payne (D-NJ) Chaired the meeting. There were six witnesses.

Witnesses:

Panel I

The Honorable Jendayi Frazer
Assistant Secretary
Bureau of African Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Panel II

Saman Zia-Zarifi, Esq.
Washington Advocate
Human Rights Watch

Ms. Fowsia Abdulkadir
Founding Member
Ogaden Human Rights Committee of Canada

Ms. Bertukan Mideksa
Vice Chair
Coalition for Unity and Democracy, Ethiopia

Berhanu Nega, Ph.D.
Former Political Prisoner and Citizen of Ethiopia

J. Peter Pham, Ph.D.
Director
Nelson Institute for International & Public Affairs
James Madison University