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U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken condemned the lethal violence used by the government of Ethiopia against hundreds of Oromo protesters. #OromoProtests April 29, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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Klobuchar, Franken Condemn Ethiopia’s Lethal Violence Against Protesters

For Immediate Release:
Klobuchar, Franken Condemn Ethiopia’s Lethal Violence Against Protesters

Contact:
Colin Milligan (Klobuchar), 202-228-6317
Michael Dale-Stein (Franken), 202-224-2916

The bipartisan resolution calls for the Secretary of State to conduct a review of U.S. security assistance to Ethiopia in light of allegations that Ethiopian security forces have killed civilians;it also calls upon the government of Ethiopia to halt violent crackdowns, conduct a credible investigation into the killing of protesters, and hold perpetrators of such violence accountable

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken today condemned the lethal violence used by the government of Ethiopia against hundreds of Oromo protesters. The bipartisan Senate resolution calls for the Secretary of State to conduct a review of U.S. security assistance to Ethiopia in light of allegations that Ethiopian security forces have killed civilians. It also calls upon the government of Ethiopia to halt violent crackdowns, conduct a credible investigation into the killing of protesters, and hold perpetrators of such violence accountable.

“I am deeply concerned by continuing reports of violence and restrictions on civil liberties perpetrated by Ethiopian security forces in the Oromia region of Ethiopia,”said Klobuchar. “Minnesota is proud to be home to the largest Oromo community in the United States. My thoughts are with the families of those who have been victims of violence in Ethiopia. I call on Prime Minister Desalgen to restore confidence in the government by putting an end to the violence and intimidation from Ethiopian security forces against peaceful protestors.”

“Around 40,000 Oromo people live in Minnesota, and I’m proud that our state is home to so many vibrant immigrant families,” said Franken. “I stand with our local Oromo community against the terrible violence that’s affected their loved ones who are still in Ethiopia. For years, the Ethiopian government has been accused of serious human rights violations—unprovoked arrests, torture, and oppression—and in recent months, reports indicate that at least 200 people have been killed by Ethiopian security forces. Our bipartisan resolution will help bring much-needed awareness to a terrible tragedy that can no longer go overlooked.”

The protests in Ethiopia, which began last November, were prompted by concerns about lack of grassroots consultation with affected communities in advance of the Ethiopian government’s plan to expand the capital, Addis Ababa.  At least 200 people are believed to have died at the hands of security forces during the course of the protests, and hundreds more have been jailed, including journalists reporting on the demonstrations. In February, Klobuchar and Franken sent a letter to Secretary Kerry urging the administration take action to address escalating violence against civilians in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Minnesota is home to the largest Oromo population in the United States.

The United States works closely with Ethiopia on Administration initiatives including Feed the Future and the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership.

 

Minnesota Congressional Leaders Call on President to Prioritize Human Rights on Trip to Kenya and Ethiopia July 23, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in US-Africa Summit.
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Minnesota Congressional Leaders Call on President to Prioritize Human Rights on Trip to Kenya and Ethiopia

 July 23, 2015

Keith Ellison

Press Release

WASHINGTON—Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Al Franken (D-MN), and Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Tim Walz (D-MN) sent a letter today calling on President Barack Obama to prioritize human rights during his upcoming trip to Kenya and Ethiopia.

The text of the letter is below and a signed copy can be found here.

Dear President Obama,

We write to urge you to prioritize human rights during your upcoming visit to Kenya and Ethiopia. Minnesota is home to a large Ethiopian and Somali diaspora that adds rich cultural diversity to our state. We are proud to represent them and ask that when you visit Africa you address issues of concern for our Ethiopian and Somali communities. Specifically, we ask that you urge the Kenyan government to prevent discrimination against Somalis and call on the Ethiopian government to address reports of troubling human rights abuses.

After nearly two decades of violence and famine, Somalia is making steady progress towards stability. A provisional constitution and the political will for progress have helped Somalia reestablish a central government. The United States has provided critical assistance, enabling Somalia to make security gains against the terrorist group al-Shabaab. Despite important progress, recent terrorist attacks in Mogadishu and Garissa, Kenya remind us that Somalia still faces enormous challenges. Kenya has been deeply impacted by the instability in Somalia; Kenya is home to more than 350,000 Somali refugees, and al-Shabaab continues to pose a security threat to the region.

As the Kenyan government continues to battle the threat of terrorism, Somali refugees in Kenya are often targeted for detention or deportation, and Somali neighborhoods are frequently raided by Kenyan military and police forces. Recently, Kenya temporarily suspended the licenses of 13 Somali money remittance firms. While the licenses have been restored, the threat of disruption in remittance services remains. Cutting off remittance services compounds the humanitarian crisis being face by Somalis in their home country.  This could reverse the limited gains that the Somali government and the international community have made against al Shabaab and lead to increased terrorist activity in Somalia and the greater Horn of Africa.  We ask that you raise these issues during your visit.

In Ethiopia, we ask that you urge Prime Minister Desalegn take stronger action to improve human rights. Amnesty International and the U.S. State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights have documented the Ethiopian government’s crackdown on freedom of the press, arbitrary arrests, politically-motivated prosecutions, and the use of excessive force by security forces. While we are happy to hear that the Ethiopian government has released five journalists from detention, legislation restricting nongovernmental activity remains in place and is contrary to international standards. We also urge you to address the very serious concerns that have been brought to us by Ogaden and Oromo groups. As the first U.S. President to visit Ethiopia, this is a historic opportunity for you to press for meaningful and long-lasting change.

We urge you to use your time in Kenya and Ethiopia to persuade policy makers to prevent discrimination and prioritize human rights. Thank you for your commitment to improving economic growth and security in Africa.

Sincerely,

Read more at:-

http://ellison.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/minnesota-congressional-leaders-call-on-president-to-prioritize-human

http://www.omnnorway.org/#!Minnesota-Congressional-Leaders-Call-on-President-to-Prioritize-Human-Rights-on-Trip-to-Kenya-and-Ethiopia/c8bg/55b140960cf25466c2a7b8f2