Subcommittee Hearing: Democracy Under Threat in Ethiopia


One member of Congress is hoping for a “serious policy review” by the Trump administration of the United States’ relationship with Ethiopia, citing human rights abuses by the government there.

“To truly stop violence abroad, Ethiopia must stop violence at home,” Rep. Chris Smith, chair of the House subcommittee on Africa and global human rights, stated at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

“Since 2005, untold thousands of students have been jailed, have been shot during demonstrations or have simply disappeared in the last 11 years,” Smith stated Feb. 15. “Ethiopia’s next generation is being taught that the rights that democracy normally bestows on a country’s citizens don’t apply in their country.”

Chairman Smith on the hearing:

“Ethiopia has long been an important ally, providing effective peacekeepers and collaborating in the War on Terror.  However, increasingly repressive policies have diminished political space and threaten to radicalize not only the political opposition but also civil society by frustrating their ability to exercise their rights under law.  This hearing will examine the current situation in Ethiopia with an eye toward developing policies to help this nation to reverse an increasingly tense situation in the troubled Horn of Africa.”

Witnesses

Panel I
Terrence Lyons, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution
George Mason University

Mr. Felix Horne
Senior Researcher
Horn of Africa
Human Rights Watch

Panel II
Ms. Seenaa Jimjimo
President
Coalition of Oromo Advocates for Human Rights and Democracy

Mr. Tewodrose Tirfe
Co-Founder
Amhara Association of America

Mr. Guya Abaguya Deki
Representative
Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition

Mr. Yoseph Tafari
Co-Founder
Ethiopian Drought Relief Aid of Colorado