We, undersigned Ethiopian-Americans and civic organizations, independent media, and task forces in the US, hereby protest and oppose the fundamental premise of a Senate drafted resolution S3199.
The resolution sidesteps the following key elements in evaluating the conflict in Ethiopia and the human rights crisis, thus failing to bring about stability, peace, and democracy. Specifically, it:
Ignores Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front’s (TPLF) initial attack on the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) base on Nov 3, 2020 which launched the current crisis.
Ignores TPLF's refusal to observe the Ethiopian government's unilateral ceasefire in June 2021, and their expansion of the conflict outside Tigray to neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar, blocking humanitarian aid routes and displacing more than 2 million civilians.
Ignores the multiple reports by Amnesty International regarding egregious human rights violations including widespread killing and gang-raping of thousands of women by TPLF forces.
Ignores the destruction of thousands of health facilities, schools and other public infrastructures in Amhara and Afar regions.
Ignores the TPLF forced enlistment of child soldiers and using civilians as human shields.
Ignores Ethiopia’s genuine effort to comply with international human rights recommendations by allowing a joint investigation of the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) and the Ethiopian Human Right Council (EHRC).
Ignores the peace and reconciliation undergoing efforts which include allowing humanitarian access through airlift and hundreds of trucks to Tigray region and the decisive move of declaration of a humanitarian truce by the government of Ethiopia in March 2022.
Despite TPLF’s continuous belligerence, the Ethiopia government has taken significant actions in the past four months towards ending the conflict and to bringing peace in Ethiopia, such as:
The Ethiopian government declared a ceasefire and humanitarian truce
Lifted wartime State of Emergency as of Feb 2022, three months earlier than expected
Released prominent opposition figures
Ethiopian government initiated an inclusive national dialogue to bring long-lasting peace
These steps have been acknowledged by the international community, including the African Union (AU), European Union (EU), and United Nations (UN). António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG), affirmed this in his statement on January 19, 2022, “I am delighted that after over a year of armed conflict which has affected millions of people across Ethiopia and the rest of the region, there is now a demonstrable effort to make peace.”
Additionally, after his recent visit to Ethiopia on March 22, 2022, the US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Satterfield, said the United States “appreciated and acknowledged the positive steps taken by the Ethiopian government to pacify and stabilize the country.”
The Ethiopian advocacy groups listed above, representing thousands of Ethiopians in the US, are urging congressional leaders to reject the misguided S3199 bill that does not reflect the current situation in Ethiopia. If passed, this bill will compromise the US current foreign policy and President Biden’s approach of constructively engaging with the Ethiopian government to bring long-lasting peace to the Horn of Africa. More importantly, such legislative action may impact the national security interest of the United States in the region.
Therefore, we humbly request you not to co-sponsor or support S3199 by voting in the affirmation during the committee’s consideration.
Ethiopia American Civic Council (EACC), American-Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC), GETFact, Ethio-American Development Council (EADC), Unity for Ethiopia, Global Ethiopian Advocacy Nexus (GLEAN), HermelaTV, nomore.global, ETHub, Ethiopian Diaspora Communications Alliance (EDCA), Ethiopian North Carolina Civic Council (ENCCC), Ethiopia Shall Continue (ESC), Ethiopian Advocacy Network (EAN), Generation Bridge, Dallas Ethiopian Task Force, Minnesota Oromo Community (MOC), ABREN, The Ethiopian Center for Peace and Progress (ECPP), Association for Peace and Unity in Ethiopia (APUE), DMV Public Diplomacy Advocacy (DMV-PDAC)