ETHIOPIAN-AMERICANS and FRIENDS of ETHIOPIA in OKLAHOMA
For Immediate Release
January 25, 2008
Mr. Muluneh Zeleke, Spokesperson
PEACEFUL PROTEST ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2008
DATE: TUESDAY, January 29, 2008
TIME: 11:00 AM
ADDRESS: 1900 NW Expressway Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Human Rights in Ethiopia
In its most recent human rights report on Ethiopia (April 5, 2007), the U.S. State Department concluded: The [Ethiopian] government’s human rights record remained poor in many areas. Human rights abuses reported during the year included the following: unlawful killings; beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces; poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly of those suspected of sympathizing with or being members of the opposition; detention of thousands without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of the press; arrest, detention, and harassment of journalists for publishing articles critical of the government; restrictions on freedom of assembly and of association; violence and societal discrimination against women and abuse of children; female genital mutilation; exploitation of children for economic and sexual purposes; trafficking in persons; societal discrimination against persons with disabilities and against religious and ethnic minorities; and government interference in union activities.
Human Rights Bill in Congress
On October 2, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously and with full bipartisan support passed H.R. 2003 (“Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007). This bill urges the government of Ethiopia to release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in the country and prosecute individuals who have committed gross human rights violations. Additionally, it provides financial support to strengthen human rights and civil society groups and build democratic institutions including a court system free of political interference and an elections system that is free from fraud and political manipulation. The bill is currently in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Why Does Senator Inhofe Oppose Human Rights in Ethiopia?
Senator Inhofe’s continued strong opposition to the bill in the Senate is preventing consideration by the full Senate. He says the “bill is misguided and takes the wrong approach by placing demands on a friend and ally that has made obvious advancements in democracy and human rights.” He further claims that the bill will “derail progress Ethiopia has made in furtherance of democracy and supporting human rights.”
Ethiopia Human Rights Bill Advances American Foreign Policy in the Horn of Africa
H.R. 2003 advances U.S. foreign policy in the Horn of Africa in several ways: 1) support the growth of democratic institutions by helping establish a free and competitive electoral process, independent judicial institutions and democratic civil liberties, 2) bolster all existing counter-terrorism efforts and allow the continuing delivery to Ethiopia of peacekeeping and security assistance, 3) allows delivery of all humanitarian assistance and food aid programs to Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Americans Protest Senator Inhofe’s Continued Opposition to Human Rights Bill?
Ethiopians in Oklahoma and the United States strongly protest Senator Inhofe’s opposition to H.R. 2003. We believe Senator Inhofe’s continued opposition to the bill will result in the continued detention of thousands of political prisoners in Ethiopia, prevent the prosecution of human rights violators, undermine the growth of democratic institutions and civil liberties.
Ethiopian Americas Strongly Protest Senator Inhofe’s Continued Refusal to meet with Supporters of HR 2003!
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EAFE OF HR2003
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