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Ethiopia - Senator Leahy's statement on U.S. assistance to Ethiopia

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08/03/07

  05:47:48 pm, by anonyme, 1181 words  
Categories: Yeneta

Ethiopia - Senator Leahy's statement on U.S. assistance to Ethiopia

We have a long history of supporting Ethiopia and its people, and we want to continue that support. But our support to the government is not unconditional. We will not ignore the unlawful imprisonment of political opponents or the mistreatment of journalists. We will not ignore reports of abuses of civilians by Ethiopian security forces.

Statement by Senator Leahy on the the Senate floor today.
Aug 3rd, 2007

After the overthrow of Ethiopia’s brutal former Prime Minister Mengistu, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi ushered in a period of hope and optimism. On May 15, 2005, Ethiopia held its first open multi-party elections. The international community praised the people of Ethiopia for an astounding 90 percent voter participation rate, an encouraging beginning to a new political process. The Ethiopian people deserve a democratic process in which opposition parties can organize and participate, and journalists can publish freely, without fear of arrest or retribution. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the 2005 election was not the turning point many had hoped for.

Early polls suggested the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party would make gains in the Ethiopian Parliament that could threaten the control of Prime Minister Meles’ ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. These reports were followed by credible allegations of manipulation of the vote-counting process. When the government finally announced results that assured its continued hold on power, thousands of people took to the streets in protest. The police arrested over 30,000 people and some 193 people were killed. Although most of the protestors were released soon after their arrest, 70 opposition leaders and journalists remained in prison.

Following these events, I wrote to Ethiopia’s Ambassador Kassahun Ayele and officials at the State Department to express my concern with the imprisonment of the Ethiopian politicians. Human rights organizations and other international figures condemned the detentions and urged Prime Minister Meles to release them. These efforts were to no avail.

Some detainees remained in jail for over two years before being brought to trial in a manner that was incompatible with international standards of justice. Last month, they were convicted of such vague charges as "outrage against the constitution” and “inciting armed opposition." They were stripped of their rights to vote and to run for public office. Several were sentenced to life in prison. Nothing was done to prosecute the police officers who fired on the protesters. The situation had gone from bad to worse.

Then suddenly, less than two weeks ago, the Ethiopian Government announced the pardon and release of 38 opposition leaders. I am pleased that Prime Minister Meles heeded the pleas of the Ethiopian people and the international community and released these prisoners. The fact is, none of them should have been arrested or tried in the first place. Their release was long overdue and is welcome.

I hope the government acts expeditiously to release the remaining political detainees, and bring to justice police officers who used excessive force. I also hope the negotiations that resulted in the prisoners’ release will lead to further discussions between the government and the leaders of the opposition, to ensure that their political rights are fully restored and that future elections are not similarly marred.

While this news is positive, it comes at a time when journalists and representatives of humanitarian organizations report human rights abuses of civilians, including torture, rape and extrajudicial killings, by Ethiopian security forces, including those trained and equipped by the U.S., in the Ogaden region.

Congressman Donald Payne, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, and a vocal defender of human rights and democracy in Ethiopia, inserted into the Congressional Record a June 18, 2007, New York Times article that described these abuses.

This situation is also addressed in the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2008 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill and report, which were reported by the Appropriations Committee on July 10. The Appropriations Committee seeks assurance from the State Department that military assistance for Ethiopia is being adequately monitored and is not being used against civilians by units of Ethiopia’s security forces.

We need to know that the State Department is investigating these reports. We also want to see effective measures by the Ethiopian Government to bring to justice anyone responsible for such abuses.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Bush administration has made little effort to monitor military aid to Ethiopia. It is no excuse that the Ethiopian military has impeded access to the Ogaden, as it has done. In fact, this should give rise to a sense of urgency. If we cannot properly investigate these reports, and if the Leahy Law which prohibits U.S. assistance to units of foreign security forces that violate human rights is not being applied because the U.S. Embassy cannot determine the facts, then we should not be supporting these forces.

As if the allegations of human rights violations were not enough, the New York Times reported on July 22 that the Ethiopian military is blocking food aid to the Ogaden region. The article also claimed that the military is “siphoning off millions” of dollars intended for food aid and a UN polio eradication program. A subsequent article on July 26 indicated that the World Food Program and the Ethiopian Government have reached agreement, after weeks of discussions, on a process for getting food aid through the military blockade to civilians in the Ogaden region. But the same article also reported that regional Ethiopian officials have expelled the Red Cross.

Mr. President, during the Cold War we supported some of the world’s most brutal, corrupt dictators because they were anti-communist. Their people, and our reputation, suffered as a result. Now the White House seems to support just about anyone who says they are against terrorism, no matter how undemocratic or corrupt. It is short sighted, it tarnishes our image, and it will cost us dearly in the long term.

Prime Minister Meles has been an ally against Islamic extremism in the Horn of Africa, for which we are grateful. But there are serious concerns with Ethiopia’s U.S.-supported military invasion of Somalia. It has led to some of the same problems associated with the Bush Administration’s misguided decision to invade Iraq without a plan for leaving the country more stable and secure than before the overthrow of Saddam. Iraq’s partition now seems only a matter of time, and it is hard to be optimistic that Somalia a year from now will be any more secure, or any less of a threat to regional stability, than before the influx of Ethiopian troops.

Ethiopia is also a poor country that has faced one natural or man-made disaster after another, and the U.S. has responded with hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian and other assistance. We have a long history of supporting Ethiopia and its people, and we want to continue that support. But our support to the government is not unconditional. We will not ignore the unlawful imprisonment of political opponents or the mistreatment of journalists. We will not ignore reports of abuses of civilians by Ethiopian security forces.

I yield the floor.

30 comments

Comment from: Samuel Gebru [Member]  
Samuel Gebru

“After the overthrow of Ethiopia’s brutal former Prime Minister Mengistu”

First line and this poor senator shows her arrogance and stupidity?

:lalala:

08/03/07 @ 21:47
Comment from: ET [Visitor]
ET

who in the world is “Prime Minister Mengistu"?? :))

wey sera matat. he should know about ethiopia before he can speak. well,atleast he got some parts correct but overall it is the usual talk from representatives to show they care while they only care for themselves.

08/03/07 @ 22:21
Comment from: Jilibcaro [Visitor]
Jilibcaro

Thank you senator Leahy. Your commitment to the human rights is well appreciated by the people of Ogaden. Ethiopian dictator (Meles Zenawi) is doing all this evil because of the unconditional support by Bush Administration. It is time for dictator Meles to be let go. Ethiopian people will continue to love America and its support, but please and please don’t keep this blood sucker, who is about to finish our people in power!!!

Thank you again mr senator!

08/03/07 @ 22:40
Comment from: Gelmokurra [Visitor]
Gelmokurra

To Senator Leahy,

We Ethipians have always appreciated Americas friendship and assistance in combattimg our un-ending natural deisasters and and problems caused by tyranical governments.

We new that inspite of Dick Armey and Richard Gephardt some of the real Amercan patriots willhelp us.

Tahnk you Senator. God will pay you for the assistance you are giving us.

Thank you once again.
Gelmo

08/03/07 @ 22:48
Comment from: gembero [Visitor]
gembero

May God bless such judicious and humaniterian statement by Honorable Senator Patric Leahy who is a staunch advocate of of human right. The Ethiopian people have eye witness all over place and sooner or latter justice will be served for Ethiopian people. We salute you Senator.

08/03/07 @ 23:30
Comment from: Sodo [Visitor]
Sodo

There are always the good,senator Leahy,the bad,Herman Cohen and the ugly,Weyanes.God bless the good senator.Amen.

08/04/07 @ 01:27
Comment from: Aklilu [Visitor]
Aklilu

Who is running Ethiopia? The state department or pentagon?Who are the owners of Ethiopia?Its people or the NGO’S?
Why is that we become state department’s butlers?Do we have lack of confidence in our selves?Why we can’t tell state departmen to back off like Eritrea did?
Does our survival depends on the Americans for ever? If that is the case then why the USA dont lease Ethiopia and build our country?
I am asking all these questions because I lost hope in my people and my country because I can’t see we can stand our selves with out the help of outsiders.

08/04/07 @ 01:32
Comment from: Yeha [Visitor]
Yeha

senator Leahy,
do not worry so much Ethiopia is for Ethiopians only.Who cares whether you support us or not keep your green but leave us a lone that’s all we can asked you.

Why don’t you sit down relax and eat your fat hamburger instead. You and other senatore like you are mouthy the last couple days about our country.

08/04/07 @ 02:31
Comment from: Eshetu Daba [Visitor]
Eshetu Daba

Don’t you know what this man is? Vice President Cheney told him to his face and did not ask for an apology. It must be too personal that it should be kept in raps. The founding fathers the best mind of them all Alexander Hamilton died in a gentlemen’s duel. Ethiopia is not a country that gets humiliated by foreign aid from some one who can’t defend himself. Let him read the history of Mekedal, Sudan and the greatest of them all Aduwa. Africa is better of with a dictatorship, Eritrea’s President is still in power, Ethiopia has a lot of resources and the market for its product is increasing by the growth being registered by China and India. The earth has a finite resource if the economy of China, India and Russia are growing into a mass consumption society. It is at the expense of Americans that are competing with cheap labor from the rest of the world. There will be a time the American market is going to be shrinking as more and more American middle class is being replaced by its counter part in other countries. The well of in India and China and the Pacific realm will have more rich people who could consume more than what Ethiopia could sell. Ethiopia could not allow itself to become a protectorate of Italy and fought a mighty power and did register one of the greatest upset in the history of war of nations at the battle of Aduwa. The People better die than disrespected for the food aid that is chemically grown and the bread that is yeast infected.

08/04/07 @ 02:58
Comment from: ethiopian man [Visitor]
ethiopian man

“Senator this or that said this and that” wont bring anygood to ethiopia, these newly created angels and saints of ethiopians in the diaspora wont help us. Its unbelievable to see politicians in the diaspora quoting this and that senator here and there, CUD diasporas have started creating little Gods and Godesses, named senator this and that. CUD please wake up and smell the coffee, give peace to the senators, if u want call them saints. they are just doing their jobs, dont expect them to bring you to power, it just shows how moral decadence, rascism and hoplessness is affecting our people. Ethiopians used to raise their hands to god, or raise their arms to fight injustice. The diaspora are quiet different creed, they raise their arms to american senators to sort out our problems, lol. Keep it up till ur hands and arms are tired, you wont bring anything. Ethiopias problem will be sorted by Ethiopians in an ethiopian way. if the Cud are detained the EPRDF is critisised, if they are released same EPRDF and Elders are critisised, what do u want the government to do. You seem to be born again senator worshipers, I better call you senatorians, you new religion ya,, Ok Senatorians, worship ur senators there, we will keep up rebuilding our nation which is devastated by you. Stay where you are practising ur new religion “senatorianism".

08/04/07 @ 05:09
Comment from: ogaden [Visitor]  
ogaden

the dictator in addis ababa doesn’t care his pple instead
he cares foreign accusations
we should as ethiopians stand up against this leaders who don’t care about us…how can
one love being ethiopian while his leaders are killing himmmm/herrrrrrr.
tigres can u take ur soldies out of OGADENIA before it is too late…we ogadenians are united today 100%

08/04/07 @ 05:24
Comment from: Mesfin [Visitor]
Mesfin

…senator,leave us alone.
We can solve aur problems by aurselves.Ethiopia need a kind of democracy like China and Russia.I personal wish that Ethiopia government to stop any uncessary relation
with America.So called senatores struggeling to destablize Ethiopia.
From Germany

08/04/07 @ 06:38
Comment from: thom [Visitor]
thom

we are indpendent country F senator It doesn’t consern you about our country,unless you have another issu behained. we know U americans with out any profit you don’t involve in other country problems.Sanators of America please say enough every thing in Iraq.

08/04/07 @ 08:07
Comment from: ethiopian man [Visitor]
ethiopian man

Ethiopians from all walks of life, I beg you not to ignore this, and other websites which are very critical to EPRDF, some of them hate EPRDF just because of the presence of Tigreans. Websites like ethiomedia, addisvoice, arbegnoch, OLF,ONLF all of them ending with.com or .org or .die are now spreading their poisons against us. We need to get united as usuall and see their derogatory moves foil, thats it. No reconciliation with them. These are rascist tugs who want to see Tigreans kneel down and beg for their mercy, we didnt fight to harrass or intimidate anyone.We are proud people who fought to protect our inherent rights, we don ask pardon or clemency from anyone, we are people who respect the law if not object it and pay our sacrifices to see it destroyed.we wont lobby US or UK to help us in this or that way, when the push come to the shove we kow how to handle it, otherweise we keep our selves to ourselve, We wont beg for clemency, we live and die fighting in our land. There is no chance for religious or ethnic extremism. If a new form of Amhara chauvinistic extremism comes we will handle it, the way forward seems to be heading that way. We wont surrender to anyform of extremism, ethiopia is for ethiopians , not for Amharas or Christians. I have seen so many extremists joining hands in the diaspora, in some cases you wouldnt find any tigrean or Afars, or Somali, you will find a bunch of extremist Amharas and their servants buchiloch or korakur. Ethiopiand irrespective of our ethnicity will join hands and foil their evil agendas. Our beloved country is far greater than Tigre, Amhara, Afar, etc as it unoites all of us. there is no single ethnic group which can serve as a protectorate of modern and united Ethiopia, guys please wake up, this is the only country we have, and all of us need to live in peace.Ethiopia doesnt have step children, we are all equal. we all have the same share, lets not be greedy like the extremists who have been on betting on the loosing horse in the last century.

08/04/07 @ 08:50
Comment from: Sodo [Visitor]
Sodo

Aklilu— It is simple.The America of Bush is using Weyanes,as Mussolloni used their askari fathers.Remember Bush gave them HUM_VEES.Those vehicles were used to kill women and children.Ethiopian Americans have the right to political activism.Weyanes have Dick Armey and billions of dollars to lobby.The Ethiopian people have Ethiopian Americans.Like it or not,the Ethiopian people are winning.

08/04/07 @ 09:20
Comment from: Fed up [Visitor]
Fed up

We will survive,

Tha luck of understandig of Ethiopian politics is in full diplay by these comments made by the senator,Ethiopia is moving forward with our friends and allies in our corner,yet there are some mis-guided politicians abroud think they know which way Ethiopia heading,this informations they gathered came from non-other than the Diaspora useless who only have one thing in mind,which is power.This folks do not represent the interest Ethiopian people in general.

We,the concern in return ask you to have a true and basic understanding of these Diaspora’s politicians interest,their back ground need to be looked at with microscope, We the concern can and will provide th necessary information needed,you do need to know who you are collaborating with.

The need of Ethiopia should not be undermind the so called CUD leaders and their conspirators.

08/04/07 @ 09:23
Comment from: Xabsade [Visitor]
Xabsade

Senator Leahy, thank you! I hope all the Senators will follow suite to stop dictator Zenawi.

08/04/07 @ 09:50
Comment from: germognal [Visitor]
germognal

Thank you Senator Leahy, for speaking up the truth at the Senate floor. That is what we Ethiopians understood what democracy is all about - standing up for the democratic rights of all the people and not standing up for the few oppressors, as the Bush Administration and the State Department are currently doing.

We Ethiopians definitely appreciate and will never forget the fact that you stood up and spoke for all Ethiopians. You have a true vision of the long-term relationships between the US and Ethiopia.

Keep up the good works, Senator Leahy, and God bless you abundantly!

08/04/07 @ 09:54
Comment from: Roofer [Visitor]
Roofer

We deserve the freedom most people enjoy in most countries around the world. Because we are human too. American Congress has tremendous power to help us achieve such freedom and democracy. Senator Leahy, we are grateful that you took time to study this unfortunate country that falls under brutal dictatorships time and again. It looks like we are doomed for perpetual dictatorship. Please, keep on pushing for democracy for our people. Who knows, it may happen! This dictatorship is particularly harsh and deadly, we are concerned for the very existence of our nation. Indeed, America’s long term interest will be served best if it promotes democracy and respect for human rights in our country. These thugs will go away after they have done whatever they are trying to do, yet the people will always be there no matter how miserable their lives may have become. Therefore take the side of the people that America will be dealing with for a long time to come.

08/04/07 @ 10:15
Comment from: Yeha [Visitor]
Yeha

“Some detainees remained in jail for over two years before being brought to trial in a manner that was incompatible with international standards of justice”

senator are you saying that Kinijit leader were in jail for two years because of incompatible justice with international standards? again I don’t think this is your concen to begin with at all. These jailer were in prison because they were committed the crime and trying to changed a government by force, through violation. These people has abused their rights and chosen to walk the wrong diections. Therefore, the government has the responsibility to crack them down for these illegal individuals and punishing them so they can’t do what they have done again. Also the government has the right to safe guard the nation as well as the country security issues at any times.

Now senator I would like to ask you a bet question here:if you really concerned about Ethiopian situation about the prisoner and human rights etc, why don’t you worry and tell us why the “guatanamo bay” prisoners are still been hold for 6 years now without given no solution to them at all? Or perhaps these jailers are an arab nationality and they don’t have the right to be free? I don’t understand your agitation toward this issue at all.
Finally, I wanted to tell you that we don’t even needs your money. Keep your money in the mean times please leave us a lone. We the Ethiopians know how to solved and figured out our own problem by different ways than your nonsense false concern propaganda.

08/04/07 @ 10:28
Comment from: wesi [Visitor]
wesi

It doesn’t matter that Mengistu was either prime minister or president. The important point, as to me, Mengistu was HEAD OF STATE in Ethiopia. For that matter Megistu has a lot of different power names which were difficult to remember, like: Wana Tsehafi, Likemember, president, Yeministroch mikir bet teklay sebsabi, Teklay azaj…etc
So we need to read such a nice ststement by Sen. Leahy by appreciating the substancefulness of the points inside it. Woyane mouth pieces can say any thing but the statement above is the truth.

God bless Ethiopia!

08/04/07 @ 10:30
Comment from: boqor [Visitor]
boqor

well done senators
I know that you will kick the WOYANE once again.I think it is too late but what are you doing is warmly welcamed by the realist nations thank you senator leahy.

08/04/07 @ 11:28
Comment from: workamaw [Visitor]
workamaw

Oh yeha, the woyane cadre! You said why don\’t you leave us alone? The moment they do that, you would slide down the steep slope to end up at the bottom of the abyss. Why do you lie? You need their attention very much.

08/04/07 @ 12:01
Comment from: Test [Visitor]
Test

Funny

When they explored oil in Gambela, things were becomming out of controle …

When they are now exploring in Ogaden …

Wenetem Miskin Ethiopia!

08/04/07 @ 12:24
Comment from: Nigussie for action [Visitor]
Nigussie for action

Leave alon an american no ethiopian has
ever showed Zenaw as 1+1=2
Thankyou Seneter You are Good

08/04/07 @ 12:35
Comment from: teshome [Visitor]
teshome

Senator Leahy, we appreciate your economical support, but the rest issues, please leave it for us. We are smart enough to deal with it.
God bless you all!

08/04/07 @ 14:04
Comment from: baymeno [Visitor]
baymeno

Jomo Kenyata Once said about the colonizers of his country:

” When British came to our country the first time we have our land and they had a bible. They told us to close our eyes and pray.”

” When we open our eyes after our prayern they had our land and we had their bible.”

Now, it is the time of neo-colonialism. The westerners are trying to control us by the aids they are giving us in the name of humanitarian insreade of bible.

That does not surprize me. What surprize me most is that some Ethiopian in Diaspora are begging westerners to colonize us in high-tech fashion. It is very sad.

How ever, we won’t be fooled again. The worst that can happen to Ethiopia is the westerners keep their money, and we keep our land and sovereignity. We don’t allow any monitor, (mogzit). Except few shameless Diaspora, we Ethiopians are proud poeple.

The author of the HR 2003 who is an Ethiopian has 86 million reasons to lobby hard against Ethiopia. He is after that money. But, I don’t understand why the rest of few Ethiopian Diaspora follow him.

God bless Ethiopia!

08/04/07 @ 18:15
Comment from: ababu [Visitor]
ababu

Neo Colonialist mumbo-jumbo. I am sure the miss informed Senator means well and has good intentions. But he will be well advised to know his facts before he gives a press release that embarrass his position. Senator please stick to what you know. Ethiopia is a complex country not easily understood by foreigners.
Hey senator, while you are at it , how about giving a press release about the political prisoners in countries, hmmmm, like… oh I dono, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oh no! gods forbid, IRAQ. After all these are countries that the US pours BILLIONS of dollars every year. Ethiopia only gets the crams

08/05/07 @ 13:01
Comment from: Selam [Visitor]
Selam

Please live ethiopia for ethipians
Are the american senators going to be the governor of ethiopia, a country the never governed by foreigners in its history. We don’t want the out side government. Why we ethiopians in the diaspora open the door for external intervention in the politics of our country? You ethiopian in the dispora, please lets see ourselves and the future again and again aside of today.

08/05/07 @ 14:54
Comment from: Selam [Visitor]
Selam

My poor senator, I am so sorry, You did not know anything about the A.B.C of ethiopia and ethiopians. So, I think it was,is and will better if you say nothing. Go with your AId which you plunder from poor nations in the world.

08/05/07 @ 15:10

rebtel

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