Senators Cardin and Inhofe are working to revise House Resolution 128

Washington update – September 4, 2019

The human rights situation in Ethiopia continues to deteriorate. Killings, church burnings and involuntary displacements of entire communities are occurring and the government is doing little or nothing to assert the rule of law. Individuals who are guilty of nothing beyond attempting to exercise their political rights have been arrested and are being detained. The international community, including the U.S. Congress and State Department, are aware of the situation and have done nothing beyond making vague statements. The Ethiopian government is conscious of its reputation and it may respond to criticism and calls for action by the U.S. government, European governments or international bodies.

Senators Cardin and Inhofe are working to revise House Resolution 128, which was passed by the House in 2018, Supporting Respect for Human Rights and Encouraging Inclusive Governance in Ethiopia.

Concerned Ethiopians in the Diaspora sent a letter to Prime Minister Abiy on August 26. The letter begins: “As private and concerned persons of Ethiopian origin in the Diaspora, we continue to be deeply disturbed by the deepening of human rights violations, the selective and deliberate incarcerations and harassments of journalists, ex-military officers, human rights advocates, young and promising political and civic leaders, business women and men; as well as by the systematic burnings of places of worship, especially those of the Christian faith.” It notes: “Human rights abuses have increased sharply following the June 22, 2019 assassinations in Bahir Dar and Addis Ababa and the alleged coup d’etat that followed. The dreaded and draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation that was imposed by the TPLF-dominated regime has been reinstated full force by the Oromo Democratic Part dominated government that you lead.” The letter demands the release of “more than 400 police, retired military officers, youth, civic and political leaders and journalists” who are unjustly imprisoned in Ethiopia. The letter urges Abiy to follow through on his commitments to bring democracy to Ethiopia and calls for him to implement policies of peace and reconciliation – and to abandon policies of ethnic federalism and division.

The letter provoked positive responses from a group of 54 individuals claming to represent individuals/ethnic based. Unfortunately, it also was criticized and mischaracterized by individuals who seek to perpetuate repression, violence and disrespect for human. The authors have been wrongly branded “Amharic chauvinists.” Critics should ask themselves, in John F Kennedy’s words, what they can do for their country, not what their country can do for them. They should reflect on the contributions of heroes like Emperor Menelik II, who modernized Ethiopia and was victorious at the battle of Adawa; Emperor Haile Selassie, who earned the world’s respect; and General Hailu Kebede, (Wagseum), an unsung hero who resisted the Italian invasion, paid the ultimate price, and whose head was severed and taken to Rome as a trophy for the dictator Mussolini.

The Ethiopian government, and especially Prime Minister Abiy have an opportunity to put Ethiopia on the right path. They must respect human rights and the rule of law, and focus on economic development and prosperity.              

Mesfin Mekonen


  1. Did The late Emperor Haile Selassie bin Mekonen claim himself an Amhara? If he said so I must have missed it from his autobiography. But as of late I had come to know that his grandfather’s name was Guddesa. Guddesa ain’t a Puerto Rican!!! Ain’t Amharic either!!!! His mother is from the Warraa Illu father, right? Warraa Illu ain’t a Navajo clan. I bet you a dime that if we all scratch the surface Menelik himself may have a Gudataa in his far out family tree. Did the author even bother to ask surviving descendants of the late Emperor for permission before calling him an Amhara? If not, that would be utter churlish. I think we should not let our raw emotion get the best of us. As I had said before when I read the volleys of differing opinion by the two groups of intellectuals, they should harness their run away emotion, sit down and have a civil talk. Otherwise, shame on both groups for not doing that. They need to grow up and look beyond their pan handled masters and PHD’s. It’s more than a shame. It’s disgusting!!!!

  2. Oh ! My sister our intellectuals are one of the reasons our beloved people from all over Ethiopia kill each others, our intellectuals have left the jungle but the jungle in them is still there. Their masters and PHD’s can’t get the jungle out of them, sad to say, history and our children will judge them harshly. Their masters and PHD’s worth noting, Ethiopia has suffered enough because of these people.
    I pray to his almighty lord,Allah for our poor people.

  3. One more reminder and urging I want to make for those us who have lived here in the USA and become its citizens is to run for office at every level and become members of the congress just like others have done already. Just look at what the first thing the current member of congress with an Eritrean heritage did. When the democratic caucus decided to send a fact finding delegation to Africa who is a better candidate than him? Right? And the first pit stop, you may ask? It was Asmara, Piccola Roma or Secondo Roma!!! He did not disappoint either due to the fact they were treated there as if they were not in Africa but rather at small town in Italy. It was the first stop y’all!!! You will never hear Resolution this or that being tossed around by the congress. I really commend him for that. It is a feat very hard to accomplish but he did it!!! Even though members of the congress have had earful of stories of people in containers for years. He is and will be right there to debunk every such ‘false and unsubstantiated’ allegation!!! ‘If we do this or that such terrible will happen’ scare tactics, you know!!!

    So all of you masters and PHD’s among us wake up and run for offices but working for the good of the people that elect you


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here