HR 128 Press Release

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Press statement, for immediate release, October 10, 2017

 “To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right.” Martin Luther King

“Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.” Nelson Mandela

The sectarian regime that has been in power for 26 years is facing crisis. Discontent is observed in almost every part of the country and the regime has reached a point where it is unable to hold the country together. The schism within the ethnic coalition has created an open conflict in Oromo and Somalia, and latent conflict in the Amhara and Tigre inhabited areas. Thousands have been displaced but the international community has remained silent. The recent defections of the nominal Prime Minister’s chief protocol officer and a ranking military intelligence army General indicate the gravity of the split in the coalition. On the foreign front, though the regime touted its rotating chairmanship at the United Nations’ Security Council a success, the biggest threat to its international isolation comes from House Resolution 128 (of February 15, 2017) and Senate Resolution 168 (of May 17, 2017) of the United States Congress. Consistent with the mountain of evidence, the two resolutions demand for the accountability of the minority regime for the thousands of lives lost in the Afar, Amhara, Gambella, Oromo, Ogaden and Southern regions of Ethiopia. It demands the replacement of minority governance with inclusive governance, and seeks explanations for the uprisings and the plights of millions of Ethiopians. The resolutions question the 100% win in the 2015 election. The resolutions demand that credible and independent investigation be carried out, apparently under the direction of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who has been denied access. It demands that the powerful Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 be implemented on those who are found to be perpetrators of crimes against humanity and human rights violations. In many ways the U.S. law makers resolutions mirror the resolutions of the European Parliament. It is clear that individuals, groups and governments that are not implicated in crimes against humanity have nothing to fear from the two resolutions.

 

The Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF) led Government of Ethiopia has opened its latest defensive propaganda. We are therefore obliged to issue this press statement. The regime has sent its high level delegation led by the Foreign Minister. Like most authoritarian regimes, it is spending the country’s meagre resources on hiring SGR LLC lobbyists when millions of Ethiopians are facing starvation and hence are at the mercy of the donor community. Its defense strategies include down playing the resolutions, arguing that even “smart” sanctions do not lead to desirable outcomes, and making ridiculous allegation that law makers in the United States are driven by “extremists”. Added to these is the age old and worn out strategy of totalitarian and minority regimes of appealing to patriotic feelings of diaspora Ethiopians and the sovereignty of nations. However, far from the truth, Ethiopians very well know that TPLF is neither patriotic nor has a track record of defending the country’s sovereignty.

Its second strategy is providing misleading information to super powers and threatening the United States military of non-cooperation in security matters in the fight against terrorism in the Horn of Africa. Reliable sources have informed the broader Ethiopian-American community that the reason for the postponement of the vote on H.Res. 128 is the recent threat from the Ethiopian Ambassador. The Ambassador has reportedly threatened to suspend Ethiopia’s ant-terrorism cooperation with the U.S military. In this respect, it is a well-known fact that the conflict in Somalia has been a profitable source of income and corruption for TPLF’s generals. Despite the massive flow of finance there has been little success in the fight against terrorism in the region. Hence, the hard fact is demanding a review of strategy. TPLF’s third strategy is to divide and conquer the Ethiopian diaspora in the United States. Like most totalitarian regimes it is using its agents to harass, intimidate and spread fears in specific social groups so that gullible individuals sign a prepared form that requests law makers not to vote for the resolutions. The fourth strategy is buying time by making the usual false promise of reform and party renewal to U.S. law makers.

For U.S. law makers the time has come for the re-examination of the country’s policy towards Ethiopia and the fight against terrorism in the Horn of Africa. We commend those law makers who have already supported the resolution. We send our highest regards to the members of both the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees. The moment of truth has finally arrived.  Ethiopians in the United States must continue to call your Congressmen and Congresswomen and urge them to support the resolution. This is the minimum you can do to end the tyranny of the minority rule in Ethiopia. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King once said “to accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right”. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Reverend King’s light can only be found through an independent investigation. Ethiopia has its own heroes and heroines, and ‘Kings and Mandela’ who are now in TPLF’s prisons. Please help the campaign for accountability, freedom and democracy by signing the petition at http://hr128.org/

Ethiopian Advocacy Network and Ethiopian American Civic Council