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Ethiopia - Washington Update By Mesfin Mekonen

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01/29/08

  12:09:22 am, by admin, 815 words  
Categories: Ethiopia, H.R. 2003

Ethiopia - Washington Update By Mesfin Mekonen

Ethiopia - Washington Update

January 29, 2008


1. The Senate Foreign Relations Africa Subcommittee hearing on human rights in the Horn of Africa has been postponed at the request of Republicans who have requested more time to prepare. This hearing will be important because it will set the context for introduction of a Senate version of H.R. 2003. Senators need to hear about the human rights abuses, the suppression of basic democratic rights, political prisoners, media censorship, elimination of the freedom of assembly, and the other facts that make enactment of legislation important.

2. The Meles regime has stepped up its campaign to prevent enactment of H.R. 2003, both with propaganda within Ethiopia that mischaracterizes the legislation, and with lobbying abroad. Meles even gave an interview to the Guardian (London) newspaper in which he asserted that the U.S. and European countries should not do anything to promote the democratization of Africa.

Meles has a very personal concern because the legislation could help Ethiopians bring leaders of their choice to power, and because the legislation would prohibit travel to the U.S. of government officials who were involved with the killing of peaceful protestors. Because the Meles regime is spreading lies about H.R. 2003, it is useful to reiterate its purpose and key points.

Ethiopian democracy achieved a major milestone on October 2, 2007 when the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2003, the Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007. House passage of the bill sends a strong signal to the Ethiopian regime, the State Department and the international community. Representatives Payne and Smith, the Republican and Democratic backers of HR 2003, described the need for the legislation in speeches on the House floor. They highlighted the Ethiopian regime’s brutality, the killing and unjust imprisonment of opposition politicians, civil society leaders and journalists. Payne and Smith also dismissed arguments that the Ethiopian regime should not be criticized because it is assisting the U.S. in the war on terrorism. The regime’s actions will breed more terrorism, Smith said.

Congressional Research Service summary of HR 2003:

Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 - States that is U.S. policy to: (1) support human rights, democracy, independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press, peacekeeping capacity building, and economic development in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; (2) collaborate with Ethiopia in the Global War on Terror; (3) seek the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia; (4) foster stability, democracy, and economic development in the region; and (5) strengthen U.S.-Ethiopian relations.

Directs the Secretary of State to take specified actions to support human rights and democratization in Ethiopia.

Prohibits until the President makes specified congressional certifications: (1) security assistance to Ethiopia, with exceptions for peacekeeping or counter-terrorism assistance; and (2) U.S. entry of any Ethiopian official involved in giving orders to use lethal force against peaceful demonstrators or accused of gross human rights violations, and government security personnel involved in specified shootings of demonstrators and prisoners.

Directs the President to provide assistance for the rehabilitation of Ethiopian torture victims.

Expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S. government should: (1) encourage the government of Ethiopia to enter into discussions with peaceful political groups to bring them into full participation in Ethiopia's political and economic affairs; and (2) provide necessary assistance to help achieve such goal.

Directs the President to provide Ethiopia with: (1) resource policy assistance; and (2) health care assistance.

3. As important as the House vote was, it will only be a symbolic victory unless the Senate and President Bush act. It is essential that all Ethiopian-Americans contact the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Majority Phone: (202) 224-4651, Minority Phone: (202)
224-6797), its chairman Sen. Joe Biden (http://biden.senate.gov/contact/emailjoe.cfm), and its ranking member Sen. Richard Lugar (senator_lugar@lugar.senate.gov mailto:senator_lugar@lugar.senate.gov, to request that that the committee act on Ethiopian democracy and human rights.

4. Engineer Hailu Shawel was invited to speak at the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta, Georgia last week. His speech was very well received and MLK Center officials expressed interest in working on projects to promote human rights in Africa. In addition
to the MLK speech, Engineer Hailu Shawel spoke last week at a town hall meeting in Atlanta. During the meeting Ato Abayneh Berhanu, a Kinijit representative, and other Kinijit organizers from different regions of Ethiopia, spoke from Ethiopia about ongoing initiatives to organize the democratic opposition throughout the country. They are laying the groundwork for future elections. Engineer Hailu Shawel also spoke last week about his vision for a democratic, prosperous Ethiopia to a packed audience at a town hall meeting in Oakland, California. He told Ethiopians in America to work together, and stressed that they are carrying the hopes and expectations of their country. Also Kinijit representative Wzro. Nigist G/hewot, and Dr. Taye Woldesmiat, chairman of Kinijit International Council addressed the town hall meetings.

Mesfin Mekonen, Kinijit International Council Foreign Relations

22 comments

Comment from: wepe [Visitor]
wepe

Why in hell are ppl worshiping this HR-crap while we all it won’t make a difference? Please be like your ancestors don’t beg and don’t ever let the thought *foreigners will bring peace and prosperity in mama Etyopia* cross your mind.

If the choice was up to them we wouldn’t have existed today. I’m not blaming US here but every foreign state, except very few, has only made us suffer by trying to invade us and now promoting all kinds of evil regimes within. So please stop! I don’t even like the aid itself b/c only made us look like beggars, I must say some us have become real beggars though, while we have a green country (80%) with full capability of hydro-power to provide all and beyond with electricity, geothermal-energy, some oil and gold reserves and the most important thing a ppl of free mind and free will that wasn’t brainwashed like all colonized countries are.

These are almost all we need to be civilized (materialized) if we want to be civilized. The only problem we are facing is how to establish a democratic gov’t in our country but that Human Right bill in US is not a solution to that. The west didn’t beg anyone to be what they are, the west never got aid and they didn’t get help but they stole everything they needed from Africa. We have everything they needed to be where they are, so can anyone tell me what’s the difference b/n them and us?

Igzer Ethiopian 1 Yargat, Kekfum Yitebikat.
Wakes up every day proud that am an Ethiopian.

01/29/08 @ 05:18
Comment from: Multinity [Visitor]
Multinity

Why are you Americans of Ethiopian origin, resort to playing the remote control game. You know what happened when the east and the west fought over african territory during the cold war.

No policy, carved out elsewhere would benefit africa. Leave us alone, so called opposition guys, you always play the ethiopian ball in an american field. That was your undoing……… Come and do it right here.

You are like Odinga in Kenya, who himself is corrupt and when it comes to rigging he immediately called for sanctions on Kenya.

Straighten out your messy politics, come home and do it. You enjoy all the benefits of living in America and think that you would fight EPRDF by proxy. Reckless method!!!!!!!! If you have the balls leave aside all your rosy lifestyle there, and get your hands dirtied here at home. Then and only then can you raise your voices against the sufferings endured by the people.

The yankees never cared for democracy… In fact they were responsible for all the sufferings perpetrated by dictators like Suharto, Ferdinand Markos, Mobotu SeSeSeko, in the name of keeping an eye on the expansionist Soviets, during the cold war.
They will never care now as well, so long as their dear interest is not at stake.

It is only the people of minds and thinkers at home that are well able to mount up resistance against all forms of wickedness from the government.

Sad to see all the CUD top brass, flying off to the US immediately once the shackles are loosened off their hands. They counted more on the americans than on the people who voted them and catapulted them into the lime light. Shame on them. They believe on the power of the dollar than the power of the will of the people at home

Shame on remote control politics along with the nonsense HR bla bla staff.

01/29/08 @ 07:38
Comment from: ehhron [Visitor]
ehhron

Few times i read back to back comments which makes me proud as an Ethiopian.Both wepe and Multinity comments are on the money.Thanks a lot guys.

01/29/08 @ 10:18
Comment from: negela [Visitor]
negela

Dear Mesfin Mekonenf,

Generally,you shock tplf and its chicken.

So, it is a big did and good job that has been done to have freedom up to now.

We all Ethiopian who seek development and prosperous in Ethiopia are alwas stands at your side.

Down with narrow tplf and its ethnic theory !!!

Death to all dectators such as meles and to all tplf people!!!!

Long live Mother Ethiopia!!!!

God bless our Unitary principle!!!

01/29/08 @ 10:28
Comment from: GOBEZ [Visitor]
GOBEZ

Mesfin Mekoonen- Sick Sick man.
Just shut up and wash your dishes Banda. what an IDIOT.

01/29/08 @ 10:31
Comment from: unanimus [Visitor]
unanimus

Dear Mesfin God be with you. The woyanes are disturbed and they don’t know what to do. Dear Mesfin don’t wory about what they (woyanes) say. Slow and steady wins the race. Weldone about the update and God be with you again.

01/29/08 @ 11:11
Comment from: Z-Mike [Visitor]
Z-Mike

HR2003 supporters should as the west to invade Ethiopia. What a cry babies. The bill is reject from been heard. Let us be honest and clear here about what Mesfin is attempting to do.

When a bill is presented to the senates’ floor for a debit/vote and any of the senator’s voice against it… it’s then forced to be pushed aside and will NOT be considered for a vote. Now, what we see Mesfin or known in this for as “JAS” is that diverting his focus towards to the PM as the only way and means to make us think somehow Ethiopia is having problems with the items he listed above and attempts to tie it with PM MELES’ recent comments about the western leader who have nothing to do with this bill. They problem CUD is having is all the tactics failed them and they now realize its not easy to be a leader. To be a leader is not to just b/s. you have to first do your entire homework and hope the people will support you and trust you to leader them. What Ethiopians have done is put their trust in the leader who is moving the nation’s economy forward and working with the people to build democracy.

No matter how many times he cries about this bill, we are simply opposing it because we don’t believe the bill will have positive outcome in Ethiopia. Ethiopian political system must be worked out through dialog and from with the people of Ethiopia in Ethiopia not from those who are American passport holders trying to tell the Ethiopian people what to do. Ethiopians learn long ago that they will not let you sell them or sell their soul. You can cry but you will be crying river for nothing. We’ll make sure we stop this bill in every step of the way and you will soon come to realize that is not the way to promote democracy among our citizens.

Z-Mike

01/29/08 @ 11:22
Comment from: anbesaw [Visitor]
anbesaw

This bill by no means is in the interest of our country.

01/29/08 @ 12:03
Comment from: ethio [Visitor]
ethio

WEY GUD HR3000 lishetu metewu erakutachewun keru.please dont sing at air port ho blen meten please.
sing asong HO BLEN KEREN HO BLEN @ WALFARE OFFICE IN USA
LEBA HODAMOCHI SM ATFI ATELA

ETHIOPIA TIKDEM.
TELATUWA EWUY BLEW YTFU

01/29/08 @ 13:47
Comment from: yoni [Visitor]
yoni

ereeee…bekentu

01/29/08 @ 15:21
Comment from: teshome [Visitor]
teshome

crap

01/29/08 @ 17:39
Comment from: philly [Visitor]
philly

black african stop crying to the white man. tplf rats stop selling out the white man. licking american boots for bread of loaf. while your soldiers are being draged in somalia. long lie PIA

01/29/08 @ 19:45
Comment from: moa [Visitor]
moa

It is obviously clear why tplfs are worried about HR2003. It is a prelude for what is waiting for them in the future that is a trial at an international court, for the crimes they committed against humanity. The cold blooded killing of an innocent mother in front of her children while dragging her husband to their prison, the massacres in Awasa, Gambela, Addis Ababa and the never ending incarceration of untold number of Ethiopians is too much to cover up. Get ready to join your friends the likes of Charles Taylor, the Rwandan Hutu leaders and of course your imitator KIbaki.

01/29/08 @ 22:27
Comment from: Geez [Visitor]
Geez

Tigrinia Rules:!:

So what if TPLF stole your election
So what if TPLF Killed
Amharas/Oromos/Ogadi/Somalis
So what if TPLF invaded somalia & raped there girls/women:!:

Tigrinia rules from up to down to right to left. get use to it. Tigrinia rules

Tigrinia rule in Eritrea
Tigrinia rule in Ethiopia
Tigrinia rule in Somalia
Tigrinia rule in Eastafrica :idea:

Tigrinia aka Geez aka Habesha is here to stay for ever. get use to it.

01/30/08 @ 07:10
Comment from: ABATE [Visitor]
ABATE

I used to respect Mr. Mekonen the job he is handling about hr2003. Now i have a doubt about this guy he comes every few weeks an old news about hr2003 and try to remind us that Engineer Hilu’s meeting. He kept saying his article Eng. Hilu spoke packed audience that wasn’t true at all. I attended one of the meeting in Oakland only few people attended compare to Mrs. Birtukan. Please Mr. Mekonen disassociate from Eng. hilu and work your hr2003.

01/30/08 @ 08:04
Comment from: Mr Beyene [Visitor]
Mr Beyene

Mesfin (Shabia a.. licker) :)…he is not Ethiopian

01/30/08 @ 10:30
Comment from: philly [Visitor]
philly

Geez

shut up ulgy tplf rat. donkoro adgi. geez is eritrean and you stole our lau. besides i thought you rats were ashamed to speak tigrina. wow go to your dusty tigray begger

01/30/08 @ 16:51
Comment from: Thinktank [Visitor]
Thinktank

How many times did meles and his EPLF friends lobbyed against Ethiopian government during Mengistu in the United states senate? Please all you EPRDF supporters speak out. How come HR 2003 is a crime now? you call the Opposition to stop beging the Americans and the west but you take the donation money coming form them. It is ironic. Didn’t Meles him self begged former US president Jimmy Carter standing at the airports? Speak out about your lobbies against Ethiopia during your gorilla years? Speak out about the hijacking aid food from the highways of northern Ethiopia. Speak out about your involvements on Hawzen killing to make poor Tigraians join you. I know you guys very well I was one of you.

01/30/08 @ 17:21
Comment from: Habesha [Visitor]
Habesha

Mesfin is Shibia who wants to kill mama thiopia. We are Habesha and don’t need any body on our behalf.

Get your strength and come to Mama to struggle for her freedom.

02/01/08 @ 10:35
Comment from: teshome [Visitor]
teshome

University instructor’s attempt to paint good pictures of H.R. 2003 is cover up for poor academic performance

By Yirgalem Seyoum

It is to be recalled that the US House of Representatives or Congress passed the H.R. 2003 bill known otherwise the Ethiopian Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 last October. The bill was crafted in a way to put pressure on the government of Ethiopia improve human rights situations using economic restrictions as a tool and is reportedly before the Senate.

When the bill was made public here in the country through local and international media outlets, various cross-sections of the society out rightly rejected it as it poses a threat on the sovereignty of the country as well as puts the interests of the general public at stake. Teachers of higher learning institutions, civil servants, various associations, religious institutions, among others denounced the bill in unison.

Promulgating laws and attempting to enforce it in a sovereign nation is illegal and totally unacceptable. History tells us that no nation has lead its citizens receiving laws and regulations developed by another country unless and otherwise when it is under colonization. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said in his report to the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) that “If the US government promulgates laws for our country, then we do not need a parliament.”

We all remember that the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paid a visit to Ethiopia a few months before. The Secretary of State on the occasion told journalists that her government does not support the bill.

Hence, who has crafted the bill initially? We all know that the bill is the evil outcome of the congressman Donald Payne and his accomplices such as the rogue Eritrean regime as well some members of CUD who left for the US following their pardon by the government. All are anti-peace forces who don’t’ wish good for the country and we do not expect something constructive from them. We have recently learnt about the visit the congressman paid to Asmara and the moral support he gave to the regime involved in various criminal acts by supporting, financing and officially harboring international terrorists. Hence, one does not need to go through the bill to learn about it rather observe the sponsors and individuals behind it.

Scholars in some of the universities in the country have organized panel discussions to share ideas on the bill known otherwise the Ethiopian Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007. We have watched the scholarly and live discussions held in one of such institutions the-Mekelle University. The ideas forwarded by the scholars of the university how much the bill affects our nation if it is passed by the US senate was really praiseworthy.

However, a staff of same university recently attempted to show us the importance of the bill in her article she wrote to one of the websites. Human Rights teacher with the university’s law faculty, Abigail Salisbury wrote that, “Although the vast majority of Ethiopians publicly denounce the H.R 2003 bill…, the spirit of the bill is correct…” Here the instructor herself is of the conviction that the bill has no popular support. If so, what is the need to go in depth to show us how much our country would benefit provided the bill is endorsed by the senate? Do the public reject something which helps to change its lives?

Besides, she could not boldly and explicitly put the bill as correct. But there is a sort of vacillation, “The spirit of the bill…’’.If she is dead sure, she should have boldly said the bill is correct.

Salisbury also said that “[the bill] is intended to persuade the Ethiopian government to change its ways, using economic restrictions as a tool.” It is public wisdom that no nation has the right to intervene directly or indirectly for any reason or whatsoever, in the internal or external affairs of any other nation. Hence, how on earth could the US government forcefully persuade the government of Ethiopia to change its ways… [Improve its human rights situation]. If the problem they cited really exists, it should be checked and resolved only by the government of Ethiopia. No other state has entrusted with such mandate of delving into the internal affairs of others.

More surprise is in store. The instructor mentioned in her article that “… all of instructors at Ethiopian universities are made to sign a contract that we will never say anything against the government or the ruling party.” This is not something expected from such ‘scholar’. The government could not oblige as well as control what each and every instructor speaks. Hence, this is baseless and absurd fabrication.

Reporter of Walta Information Center (WIC) approached some students of the Mekelle University to have their comments on the matter. Third year law students expressed that the human rights instructor was attempting to put pressure on the students to accept the rightness of the bill.

Besides, Salisbury spent most of the period talking nonsense bragging about the mighty, history, prosperity and the like of her country which has nothing to do with her human rights class.

She also failed to appear in class for three consecutive weeks. To this effect, she was rated with ‘zero’ performance by her students and all her destructive attempts are made deliberately as cover up for her poor academic performance.

The instructor was also heard calling opposition parties in the country by names complimenting some and belittling others. She even wrote in her article as there is hatred among nations and nationalities in the country in light of the obvious fact that our nation is a home for over 80 nations and nationalities that have coexisted for centuries with love and mutual understanding.

To this end, over 130 third year law students of the university signed petition which demands the instructor to refrain from her destructive attempts and only do her teaching. In addition, the faculty’s students’ dean office also requested the instructor to give response to the demands of the students. She, however, turned down the requests of both.

If she had firm convictions in what she said, she would have given response to the demands of her students as well as the faculty’s students’ dean office rather than writing a gross distortion. No sovereign nation would accept laws and regulations designed by another country. We have also here a body in charge of promulgating laws suitable for the country. Besides, it should be underlined that the country’s development policies and strategies which have miraculously transformed the Ethiopian poor framers into a millionaire are not designed by any other state but the government itself.

Needles to state great numbers of expatriates in different higher learning institutions in the country are immensely contributing in meeting the shortage of instructors in higher learning institutions in the country. This, however, would not be compromised when they are found resorted in matters nothing to do with the teaching-learning process. Besides, those who attempt to delve into the internal matters of the country should not be overlooked.



02/01/08 @ 12:39
Comment from: M.T. [Visitor]
M.T.

geez,

yes geez will rise can be used in the continent as supplement to western and arabic languages. can we abstain only from the word ‘rule’ instead nations will adopt it. It is a beautiful language and alphabet that people will easily express themselves in. I agree with you, but i am only scared of slogans and force. You must convince people rationally as some readers like coolman and multinity in/frequently do it.

I absolutely agree geez will give mental asylum to many eastafricans and the rest. we must only work hard to validate that spirit.

geez rules!

fanATIC, mt

02/02/08 @ 09:16
Comment from: solness [Visitor]
solness

hi scotty-we the ethiopian people in diaspora should have more power to influence this congress if all of us participate in getting our money and efert together.

02/02/08 @ 11:56

rebtel

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