The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator McConnell:
We are writing to respectfully urge that you schedule a vote upon S Res. 168: A resolution supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia. Initially sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and co-sponsored by 29 Senators, it has bi-partisan support and was voted out of the Foreign Relations Committee unanimously.
On April 2018, the US House of Representatives passed HR 128 its companion resolution that had 114 co-sponsors.
We would like to express to you our strong support for the passage of S.Res 168. The political crisis facing Ethiopia is real & demands immediate action. Any instability in Ethiopia, the second most populous country, in Sub-Sahara Africa and the regional power in the geo-politically strategic Horn of Africa has severe consequences for the region as a whole.
The ruling Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in power for 27 years has virtually eliminated political space for opposition parties, civil society and independent media. It has monopolized power by criminalizing dissent and engaging in egregious human rights violations.
EPRDF which controls all 547 seats in Parliament lacks popular support and is unable and unwilling to address the legitimate grievances of the Ethiopian people. Protests that have rocked the country for the past three years has culminated in the regime declaring a State of Emergency for the second time in three years. EPRDF’s repressive rule is unsustainable in the long run and will lead the country into further chaos.
S. Res 168, just like HR 128 recognizes the strong US- Ethiopia partnership in fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and good governance. It also aims to prevent a downward spiral as a result of the regime’s intransigence to accede to the demands of the people.
US-Ethiopia relations established over a 100 years ago by the visionary President, Teddy Roosevelt has endured through many generations. The US remains the primary donor of foreign aid to Ethiopia, therefore a strong and stable Ethiopia is vital for the protection of US interests in the region.
We strongly believe that Congress must speak with clarity that it’s in the best interest of Ethiopia to carry out the necessary reforms the people are demanding and to establish a genuine inclusive democratic system of government.
We urge Congress to take action now.