Monday, October 22, 2007

Help Pass H.R. 2003 in the US Senate

Were you outraged by Senator Inhofe's remarks on the floor of the US Senate regarding HR 2003 last week as I was? If you were, as many Ethiopians were (Not in Her Name, Senator!, Senator, You Owe Us an Apology, Open Letter to Senator Inhofe, etc), then here is one easy thing you can do to help the US Senate take up H.R. 2003 for mark up and, hopefully, pass it.

The web page forms for contacting members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations are hyper linked to their names below. Please click on their names and take 30 minutes of your time to send them a letter urging them to support H.R. 2003, or you can use the letter I sent to the Senators (see below). If 1000 of the 1778 weekly visitors of this blog help with this effort, that would be a great!

I just found out that there is an easy way to do this. Please go to Just Foreign Policy -- it will allow you to do this tedious task in one fell swoop!

Joe Biden
Richard Lugar
Chris Dodd
Chuck Hagel
John Kerry
Norm Coleman
Russ Feingold
Bob Corker
Barbara Boxer
John Sununu
Bill Nelson
George Voinovich
Barack Obama
Lisa Murkowski
Robert Menendez
Jim DeMint
Bejamin Cardin
Johnny Isakson
Robert Casey Jr.
David Vitter
Jim Webb


Dear Senator X,

I am writing to urge you to support H.R. 2003, the Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007, which was recently passed by the US House of Representatives and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

H.R. 2003 is a bipartisan legislation that is designed to promote democratic reforms in Ethiopia and encourage the Ethiopian government to respect human rights. This legislation does not negatively affect counter terrorism cooperation with the Ethiopian government.

I would encourage you to view or listen (see link below) to the October 2, 2007 hearing on the State of Democracy in Ethiopia conducted by the House Subcommittee on Africa to learn more why this legislation is necessary.

Hearing link: http://international.edgeboss.net/real/international/af_10-2-07.smi

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
X X

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Correction, you have the wrong link to the video of October 2nd, 2007 House Sub Committee hearing. The correct link is:

http://international.edgeboss.net/real/
international/af_10-2-07.smi

Please correct it before others send the draft letter with the wrong link to senators.

I'm a regular visitor of your blog.... I really appreciate your and others like you contribution to the democratization effort in Ethiopia.

JB.

enset said...

JB,

Thank you for pointing out the error. I have made the correction. I hope many of us will take our time to send letters in support of H.R. 2003 to the Senators.

Fikru

Anonymous said...

Wow ye debubu geta, when are you going to be frank and stright? I mean, since when do you care about starving or non starving Ethiopians? Do you sponsor any child in Ethiopia as many Ethiopians now a days do? Shame on you!! Because this guy who opposes the HR2003 bill said something (may be misspoke) you are asking him for an apology? Come on!

That is just another spin by you guys who can not see beyond your nose. You say you are doing this for the freedom of Ethiopians? How do you get the mandate to represent Ethiopians? Are you Ethiopian? I mean at this time. I wonder, how is that the people of Ethiopia going to get the promise of freedom of speech rights, if you are asking an apology from a person who just exercised his right? Goodness, if you have the audacity to do this to a senator, I can not imagine what you could have done to a fellow Ethiopian with a different opinion.

In a way it is going to help the other senators to see the nature of Ethiopians. What Hailu Shawel said in the hard talk interview, remember "two faces"... he must have been talking about you and other bunches like you. We get to be insulted all as Ethiopians because of your noise and lies. You guys are developing a bad habit of whining and inundating senatorial offices about everything which for sure won't help to move an inch towards the palace. They may already have put spam filters on Ethiopian names so that we can not use such a good forum for other more important things. Shame and shame on you.

Sometimes, you think Ethiopia is every senators agenda. It can only be of those congressmen who do not have any other important local agenda to champion who resort to such colonialistic agenda.

BTW can you can tell me one country that benefited from such a bill? I mean, even the presence of thousands of US soldiers did not change countries to democracy, let alone a bill as far as my knowledge is concerned.

Please do not call me "woyane", "tribalist kinjit" or some other name you have. I am just an Ethiopian. Shalom!

enset said...

Anonymous Ethiopian from South Carolina:

You may or may not be a card carrying member of the Woyane party, but your likening of this legislation to colonialism makes you a Woyane apologist without a doubt. Since when did advocating for human right and democracy became a colonialist agenda? Speaking of colonialism, what this legislation is intended to promote is the doing away with of a neftegna system of government from Ethiopia once and for all, the latest neftegna regime being this one you apparently support.

Partisanship aside, I believe you and anyone who heard Inhofe's "we got her before the dogs got her" remark must have cringed. If you did not, you are not honest. You can defend the other remarks that Inhofe has made in connection to this legislation, and I consider that fair game. But defending the Senator's racist remarks is idiotic and borders on self-hatred.

Fikru

Anonymous said...

I know you are good at name calling. I can not help. My debate is on the message. Here is a well articulated article on the subject by someone about the reality in Ethiopia. It is from Ethioobserver.net. I hope you will read,judge and post it knowing ....

Wow….racism, really?

By Hailu Nega


Dear Mr. Al Mariam (and bunches like you),

I gathered you are or were a staff member at a higher learning institution. I am, therefore, going to try to appeal to your reasoning abilities to help us draw different conclusion than what you did about the senator’s statement. Senator Inhofe went, saw and then spoke. Unfortunately, part of what he saw was ugly. You are calling the description of ugly fact racism. In a scientific world, one would want every detail of the subject in order to draw a complete and accurate picture. Wax and Gold does not apply.

Let me make two points very clear to you and others like you who are crying wolf.

Babies are damped (pardon the insensitivity, I guess a “civilized” person like yourself may prefer “abandoned”) not only in Ethiopia and Africa, but also in developed countries, including the USA.
I am going to describe a scene around a municipality dumpster in Addis Ababa. I am sure it will make you sick. It has, however, nothing to do with racism but a lot to do with realism of poverty in your country. It is a typical scene and if you still insist for evidence, I will get you a picture from Addis Ababa: the municipality garbage dumpster is the feeding ground for homeless children, goats, crows, vultures and dogs; yes starving stray dogs. Are you beginning to get the picture? Unfortunately, it is also a common damping site of teenager-birthed babies. Now tell me if the stray starving dogs will spare dead and nearly dead babies.
I guess the above description makes me a super racist or perhaps one of those “non-Ethiopian” nationalities trying to destroy the Ethiopian image. Where have you been and what in God’s name are you trying to pull? Are you and your vocal friends trying to cover up the ugly realty of abject poverty in Ethiopia or scare the world to submit to your views only? I am now beginning to understand why the Ethiopian Diaspora has capitulated into silence and has allowed you and your likes to dominate the US political and social scene. You have successfully scared them off with rabid accusations like this from expressing their differing views and taking steps to help their.

I hope Ethiopians and Ethiopian-Americans will read and circulate this short note and speak out. Judging from the articles you have authored and pictures you have posted on the internet, Ethiopia is nothing but a flag and a map to you. I guess it is easier for you to glorify inanimate objects than deal with real people and their problems. No sir, Ethiopia is any of those but a wonderful and beautiful mosaic of nations and nationalities. Unfortunately, most are poor but honest and hard working people, trying very hard to pull out of poverty on their own. And yes, homeless underage mothers are part of the society and do like anywhere else in the world abandon babies. Mr. Al-Mariam sir, abject poverty, and trust me that is not government created either, is the root cause of shocking occurrences like this.

As you have your own definition of democracy, which accepts a flag and a map, but not the people they represent, it is apparent that you also have a variant definition of racism. Those who dare point out ugly facts are racists in your eyes. I realize the message that babies are abandoned by their teenage mothers and get eaten by dogs is stomach churning and nauseating and add whatever superlatives and descriptors you would want to. Nonetheless, the fact still remains that it did and does happen in Ethiopia. Your anger and accusation of the person who said it after he witnessed it will not erase the incident.

So, why sir are you trying to turn this into such a controversy? You and I know better that it will not get you support, but stands to discredit you by those better informed. If your intent is to scare those less informed you should perhaps be considered a racist yourself. It is extremely presumptuous and unfortunate. if your intent is to scare the remaining members of the senate from speaking out against HR 2003. I have a better and plausible explanation, yes, it is partly to destroy the credibility of the first US senator for speaking out against your HR 2003, but more importantly, you are trying to rally disintegrating party around drummed up controversy.

The poverty and hardship of Ethiopia will not disappear because you wished it or are ashamed of it. We, the supposedly educated but intolerant and hateful Ethiopians in America should be ashamed of ourselves because we failed to lift a finger to accelerate the rate of poverty reduction in our birthplaces. Worse yet, we have taught our children to hate and portrayed to them Ethiopia as the nation it is not instead of what it is and what it will likely be. Your articles of hate and arrogance dear professor are my references and I do not have to provide any. However, should you, dear professor insist about the lack of evidence of what I described above, I will get you a picture…it is your call.

Shalom!

enset said...

I will not dignify this posting you brought from a Woyane web site with a response. If your argument against the legislation is on the grounds that the legislation colonialist agenda as you alleged, then present your argument as to why that is and I will debate you.

Fikru

Gooch said...

Fikru,

The only rational argument against HR 2003 is that it could cause the EPRDF to retrench and become even more repressive.

This is a possibility, we have to admit, but in my opinion, highly unlikely, given the strong dependence of the EPRDF on the U.S. - on all donors, but especially the U.S.

The bleating about neocolonialism and taking food from the mouths of the hungry Ethiopian masses is emotional rhetoric with no logical bases. Foreign aid makes the recipient more accountable to donors and less accountable to its own population, so donors have the responsibility to place appropriate conditions, including local accountability. Both layman's intuition or poli sci 101 would lead one to this unremarkable insight!

BTW, I'm really happy that EPRDF supporters are vocal in their anti-HR2003 efforts. Unfortunately, the slumbering pro-democracy diaspora only steps into action once foils and enemies are found. Now, we have them.

Anonymous said...

Opposition to TPLF should be held responsible for 'female babies eaten by dogs'?. Picturesqe evidence which shows only TPLF protects female babies born to teenage mothers from being eaten by dogs? I don't get it. And if it really happened shouldn't it be the governing party whether elected or not be responsible instead of the elected but never allowed to come to power and then imprisoned for almost two years?

Anonymous said...

My problem is that we Ethiopians are manipulated by shabia and ONLF to support this bill. We should stick together in the time of crisis. The bill in congress will not help us to accomplish anything. One of the basis of the bill was to free the CUD leaders, they are free now so let us move to the right direction. To tell you the truth I and most peacefully Ethiopians rather have woiana in power than anarchy and power hungry leaders like Nega and Hailu Shawel. Beleve me I am not anybody supporter but I hate people from here (US) starting fire from their safe distance. You guys like to call names when someone is against you so you can label me but do not destroy this poor country to satisfy some people power trust.

enset said...

What in this bill (see below) do you object to and why?

Fikru

=================

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2003

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 3, 2007
Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


AN ACT
To encourage and facilitate the consolidation of peace and security, respect for human rights, democracy, and economic freedom in Ethiopia.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007'.

SEC. 2. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

It is the policy of the United States to--

(1) support the advancement of 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) seek the unconditional release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia;

(3) foster stability, democracy, and economic development in the region;

(4) support humanitarian assistance efforts, especially in the Ogaden region;

(5) collaborate with Ethiopia in the Global War on Terror; and

(6) strengthen United States-Ethiopian relations based on the policy objectives specified in paragraphs (1) through (5).

SEC. 3. SUPPORT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN ETHIOPIA.

The Secretary of State shall--

(1) provide financial support to local and national human rights groups and other relevant civil society organizations to help strengthen human rights monitoring and regular reporting on human rights conditions in Ethiopia;

(2) provide legal support, as needed, for political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia and assist local, national, and international groups that are active in monitoring the status of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia;

(3) seek to promote and bolster the independence of the Ethiopian judiciary through--

(A) facilitation of joint discussions between court personnel, officials from the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice, relevant members of the legislature, and civil society representatives on international human rights standards; and

(B) encouraging exchanges between Ethiopian and United States jurists, law schools, law professors, and law students, especially in legal fields such as constitutional law, role of the judiciary, due process, political and voting rights, criminal law and procedure, and discrimination;

(4) establish a program, in consultation with Ethiopian civil society, to provide for a judicial monitoring process, consisting of indigenous organizations, international organizations, or both, to monitor judicial proceedings throughout Ethiopia, with special focus on unwarranted government intervention on matters that are strictly judicial in nature, and to report on actions needed to strengthen an independent judiciary;

(5) establish a program, in consultation with Ethiopian civil society, and provide support to other programs, to strengthen independent media in Ethiopia, including training, and technical support;

(6) expand the Voice of America's Ethiopia program;

(7) support efforts of the international community to gain full and unfettered access to the Ogaden region for--

(A) humanitarian assistance organizations; and

(B) independent human rights experts; and

(8) work with appropriate departments and agencies of the Government of the United States and appropriate officials of foreign governments--

(A) to identify members of the Mengistu Haile Mariam regime and officials of the current Government of Ethiopia who were engaged in gross human rights violations, including those individuals who may be residing in the United States; and

(B) to support and encourage the prosecution of individuals identified under subparagraph (A) in the United States or Ethiopia.

SEC. 4. SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIZATION IN ETHIOPIA.

(a) Strengthening Local, Regional, and National Democratic Processes- The Secretary of State shall--

(1) provide assistance to strengthen local, regional, and national parliaments and governments in Ethiopia, as needed;

(2) establish a program focused on reconciliation efforts between the Government of Ethiopia and political parties, including in minority communities, in preparation for negotiation and for participation in the political process; and

(3) provide training for civil society groups in election monitoring in Ethiopia.

(b) Democracy Enhancement-

(1) ASSISTANCE- United States technical assistance for democracy promotion in Ethiopia should be made available to all political parties and civil society groups in Ethiopia.

(2) RESTRICTION-

(A) IN GENERAL- Nonessential United States assistance shall not be made available to the Government of Ethiopia if the Government of Ethiopia acts to obstruct United States technical assistance to advance human rights, democracy, independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press, economic development, and economic freedom in Ethiopia.

(B) DEFINITION- In this paragraph, the term `nonessential United States assistance' means assistance authorized under any provision of law, other than humanitarian assistance, food aid programs, assistance to combat HIV/AIDS and other health care assistance, peacekeeping assistance, and counter-terrorism assistance.

SEC. 5. ENSURING GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN ETHIOPIA.

(a) Limitation on Security Assistance; Travel Restrictions-

(1) LIMITATION ON SECURITY ASSISTANCE-

(A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subparagraph (B), security assistance shall not be provided to Ethiopia until such time as the certification described in paragraph (3) is made in accordance with such paragraph.

(B) EXCEPTION- Subparagraph (A) shall not apply with respect to peacekeeping assistance, counter-terrorism assistance, or international military education and training for civilian personnel under section 541 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (commonly referred to as `Expanded IMET'). Peacekeeping or counter-terrorism assistance provided to Ethiopia shall not be used for any other security-related purpose or to provide training to security personnel or units against whom there is credible evidence of gross human rights abuses or violations.

(2) TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS- Beginning on the date that is 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and until such time as the certification described in paragraph (3) is made in accordance with such paragraph, the President shall deny a visa and entry into the United States to--

(A) any official of the Government of Ethiopia--

(i) who has been involved in giving orders to use lethal force against peaceful demonstrators or police officers in Ethiopia; or

(ii) against whom there is credible evidence of gross human rights abuses or violations;

(B) security personnel of the Government of Ethiopia who were involved in the June or November 2005 shootings of demonstrators;

(C) security personnel responsible for murdering Etenesh Yemam; and

(D) security personnel responsible for murdering prisoners at Kaliti prison in the aftermath of the election violence in 2005.

(3) CERTIFICATION- The certification described in this paragraph is a certification by the President to Congress that the Government of Ethiopia is making credible, quantifiable efforts to ensure that--

(A) all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia have been released, their civil and political rights restored, and their property returned;

(B) prisoners held without charge or kept in detention without fair trial in violation of the Constitution of Ethiopia are released or receive a fair and speedy trial, and prisoners whose charges have been dismissed or acquitted and are still being held are released without delay;

(C) the Ethiopian judiciary is able to function independently and allowed to uphold the Ethiopian Constitution and international human rights standards;

(D) security personnel involved in the unlawful killings of demonstrators and others, including Etenesh Yemam, and Kaliti prisoners are held accountable;

(E) family members, friends, legal counsel, medical personnel, human rights advocates, and others have access, consistent with international law, to visit detainees in Ethiopian prisons;

(F) print and broadcast media in Ethiopia are able to operate free from undue interference and laws restricting media freedom, including sections of the Ethiopian Federal Criminal Code, are revised;

(G) licensing of independent radio and television in Ethiopia is open and transparent;

(H) Internet access is not restricted by the government and the ability of citizens to freely send and receive electronic mail and otherwise obtain information is guaranteed;

(I) the National Election Board (NEB) includes representatives of political parties with seats in the Ethiopian Parliament and the NEB functions independently in its decision-making;

(J) representatives of international human rights organizations engaged in human rights monitoring work, humanitarian aid work, or investigations into human rights abuses in Ethiopia are admitted to Ethiopia and allowed to undertake their work in all regions of the country without undue restriction; and

(K) Ethiopian human rights organizations are able to operate in an environment free of harassment, intimidation, and persecution.

(4) WAIVER-

(A) IN GENERAL- The President may waive the application of paragraph (1) or (2) on a case-by-case basis if the President determines that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.

(B) NOTIFICATION- Prior to granting a waiver under the authority of subparagraph (A), the President shall transmit to Congress a notification that includes the reasons for the waiver.

(b) Treatment of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience-

(1) IN GENERAL- The President, the Secretary of State, and other relevant officials of the Government of the United States shall call upon the Government of Ethiopia to immediately--

(A) release any and all remaining political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, especially prisoners held without charge; and

(B) allow full and unfettered access to the Ogaden region by humanitarian aid organizations and international human rights investigators.

(2) TORTURE VICTIM RELIEF- While it is the responsibility of the Government of Ethiopia to compensate the victims of unlawful imprisonment and torture and their families for their suffering and losses, the President shall provide assistance for the rehabilitation of victims of torture in Ethiopia at centers established for such purposes pursuant to section 130 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2152).

(c) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of Congress that the Government of the United States should--

(1) encourage the Government of Ethiopia to enter into discussions with opposition political groups interested in reconciliation in order to bring such groups into full participation in the political and economic affairs of Ethiopia, including their legalization as political parties, and provide such assistance as is warranted and necessary to help achieve the goal described in this paragraph; and

(2) provide assistance to promote the privatization of government owned or controlled industries and properties in Ethiopia.

SEC. 6. SUPPORT FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN ETHIOPIA.

(a) Resource Policy Assistance- The President, acting through the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development and in cooperation with the World Bank and other donors, shall provide assistance, as needed, for sustainable development of Ethiopia's Nile and Awash River resources, including assistance to help Ethiopia with the technology necessary for the construction of irrigation systems and hydroelectric power that might prevent future famine.

(b) Health Care Assistance- The President, acting through the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, shall provide material support to hospitals, clinics, and health care centers in Ethiopia, especially hospitals, clinics, and health care centers in rural areas.

SEC. 7. REPORT.

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall transmit to Congress a report on the implementation of this Act, including a description of a comprehensive plan to address issues of security, human rights, including in the Ogaden region, democratization, and economic freedom that potentially threaten the stability of Ethiopia.

SEC. 8. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

(a) In General- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act $20,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

(b) Availability- Amounts appropriated pursuant to the authorization of appropriations under subsection (a) are authorized to remain available until expended.

Passed the House of Representatives October 2, 2007.

chereka said...

Damped? I prefer dumped for the sake of the English language, but that aside, your sarcasm is really misplaced. Yes, I am one of the ‘bunches’ and yes, there is some truth to what you said about babies being abandoned all over the world. But what you are willfully ignoring is the context in which the good Senator said what he said. You are either being disingenuous or like I said above, willfully ignorant when you try to defend the comment. He made that comment in the middle of a speech about Ethiopia and one can only reason that he was primarily talking about Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Again, the context he said it in is that Africans callously leave their children to be eaten by dogs. Yes, women leave their newborns for a variety of reasons; some may leave their babies because of underage pregnancy; others may leave theirs because they can’t afford to raise them, or others may feel like they are just not ready to accept one at the time. This happens all over the world, like you acknowledged. But Inhofe’s insinuation was that it is common for African mothers specifically to abandon their children because they just leave them. He said “throw away”, like a piece of trash. Are you seriously defending this RACIST???? Also, using your logic, why the hell doesn’t Inhofe save a child that was ‘damped’ here in the US? Oh wait, yes these Republicans care about American fetuses, not the children. And where the hell did you see one being eaten by a dog in Addis? I challenge to give an example. If that was true, we would still be seeing headlines about it on every news outlet. Be honest now and give us an example.

Shame on you for even trying to defend Inhofe’s statement! I am really embarrassed for you. In the name of being honest about the poverty in the country, you are willing to give a pass to a racist remark by a United States senator. No one is trying to cover anything, but when one sees a lie being told about its people, one feels the obligation to call out the liar. It sounds to me like you are riddled with some form of inferiority complex. If you can’t see the racism in Inhofe’s comment, may the force be with you, as you may be an easy target sooner or later. Or maybe you like that position you are in. I don’t know, but it is not healthy my friend.

I am no big fan of HR 2003 either. In fact, I think it is a pipe dream. I invite you to read this article. http://lelatensae.blog.com/ . But my God! Did you have to sink this low to show your opposition to it? Again, I dare you sir! I dare you give an example of incidents in Addis where a baby was eaten by a dog, I double dare you! . One picture is not enough. Remember, a stopped clock is also right at least twice a day and your beloved senator said, ‘it is common’ which implies that he must have witnessed multiple incidents, enough to warrant a vile statement like Inhofe Spewed and you dared defend. I am almost ashamed to call you a fellow Ethiopian or even African, for that matter. It sounds to me like you are the one who is hiding behind the poverty heartstring in order to be seen as a realist or a more genuine human being. Not so, buddy. You are too transparent.