U.S. Congress sends stern warning to TPLF by passing H.R. 128
By Ethiomedia
April 11, 2018

In a major blow to the government in Ethiopia, the US Congress on Tuesday adopted a bill that will hold the regime responsible for human rights violations and the restrictions of the rights of citizens to exercise their constitutional rights.

The ruling TPLF/EPRDF has been in power since 1991, and been committing gross human rights violations while shielding itself from any meaningful U.S. action by projecting itself as a U.S. partner in the war on terrorism.

That deception came to an end on Tuesday when the bill authored by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) was passed, though TPLF had hired powerful, DC-based lobbyists to help kill the resolution.

HR 128 moves next to the Senate for a similar approval after which it becomes a legal instrument with the following powers as summarized by the unsung hero, Mesfin Mekonnen of Washington, DC:

HR128 condemns

1. The killing of peaceful protesters and excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces;

2. The detention of journalists, students, activists and political leaders who exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression through peaceful protests; and

3. The abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to stifle political and civil dissent and journalistic freedoms.

HR128 urges:

1. Protesters in Ethiopia to refrain from violence and from encouragement or acceptance of violence in demonstrations, and

2. All armed factions to cease their conflict with the Ethiopian government and engage in peaceful negotiations.

HR 128 calls on the government of Ethiopia to:

1. End the use of excessive force by security forces;
2. Investigate the killings and excessive use of force that took place as a result of protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions;
3. Release dissidents, activists, and journalists who have been imprisoned for exercising constitutional rights;
4. Respect the right to peaceful assembly and guarantee freedom of the press;
5. Engage in open consultations with citizens regarding its development strategy;
6. Allow a United Nations rapporteur to conduct an independent examination of the state of human rights in Ethiopia;
7. Address the grievances brought forward by representatives of registered opposition parties;
8. Hold accountable those responsible for killing, torturing, and detaining innocent civilians who exercised their constitutional rights; and
9. Investigate and report on the circumstances surrounding the September 3, 2016, shootings and fire at Qilinto Prison, the deaths of persons in attendance at the annual Irreecha festivities at Lake Hora near Bishoftu on October 2, 2016, and the ongoing killings of civilians over several years in the Somali Regional State by police.

Calls on such government to repeal proclamations that:

can be used to harass or prohibit funding for organizations that investigate human rights violations, engage in peaceful political dissent, or advocate for greater political freedoms;

Prohibit those displaced from their land from seeking judicial redress;

Permit the detention of peaceful protesters and political opponents who legally exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association; and
limit peaceful nonprofit operations in Ethiopia.

Calls on:

. The Department of State to review security assistance and improve oversight of U.S. assistance to Ethiopia;
. The U.S. Agency for International Development to lead efforts to develop a strategy to support improved democracy and governance in Ethiopia; and (
. The State Department, in cooperation with the Department of the Treasury, to apply appropriate sanctions on foreign persons or entities responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against any nationals in Ethiopia;.

Supports the peaceful efforts of the Ethiopian people to exercise their constitutional rights.





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