Ethiopians demand US stop funding ‘oppressive regime’ By Dani Prokop

The U.S. has provided almost $3 billion to the Ethiopian regime in 2015. Nearly half of that money reportedly goes to support the military, according to various media outlets and demonstrators.

By Dani Prokop / TMN Interns – September 20, 2016

Protestors brave the rain Monday and protest against Ethiopian regime that has jailed and killed hundreds. Dani Prokop/Talk Media News By Dani Prokop

WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) –About 2,000 demonstrators marched Monday on Capitol Hill to demand the United States stop funding the Ethiopian regime that human rights groups said has killed hundreds and jailed thousands of peaceful protestors.

“Out here we are wet with rain, back home people are wet with blood,” said Obang Metho, 40, a director of the civil rights organization Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia that spearheaded the march.

Metho wants the U.S. to cut military spending to the Ethiopian government, impose travel sanctions and to freeze assets.

“The United States has done it before in oppressive regimes, we ask them to do it now in Ethiopia,” Metho told TMN. “If it becomes personal it will have a big impact and the government will have no choice but to respond to the people.”

The Ethiopian regime arrested at least 5,000 Oromos between 2011 and 2014 for opposing the regime, Amnesty International reported. Since November 2015, hundreds of people have been killed in protests in the Oromia region, which surrounds the capital Addis Ababa. In January, Human Rights Watch (HRW) claimed that at least 140 people had been killed in the clashes.

The U.S. has provided almost $3 billion to the Ethiopian regime in 2015. In 2012, about$5 million went toward military aid. The money is supposed to earmarked toward development aid, but HRW research “shows that development aid flows through, and directly supports, a virtual one-party state with a deplorable human rights record. Ethiopia’s practices include jailing and silencing critics and media, enacting laws to undermine human rights activity, and hobbling the political opposition.”

The State Department issued the following statement to Talk Media News in response to the recent protest “We continue to actively discuss our concerns with the Government of Ethiopia. The bulk of our assistance focuses on helping to meet the Ethiopian people’s health, education and economic needs. Our relationship with the Ethiopian people is important and we intend to sustain it.”

The human rights groups presented letters last week to Congress detailing the violent crack down on protestors. The groups requested the U.S. and other countries to urge Ethiopia to do the following:

  • Immediately cease the use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force by security forces against protesters in Oromia and Amhara regions and elsewhere in Ethiopia;
  • Immediately and unconditionally release journalists, human rights defenders, political opposition leaders and members as well as protesters arbitrarily detained during and in the aftermath of the protests;
  • Respond favorably to country visit requests by UN Special Procedures;
  • Urgently allow access to an international, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into all of the deaths resulting from alleged excessive use of force by the security forces, and other violations of human rights in the context of the protests;
  • Ensure that those responsible for human rights violations are prosecuted in proceedings which comply with international law and standards on fair trials and without resort to the death penalty; and
  • Fully comply with its international legal obligations and commitments including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and its own Constitution.

Congress responded by introducing a resolution calling for transparency and investigations into Ethiopia’s human rights abuses after listening to Feyisa Lilesa, an Paralympic’s Silver medalist marathon runner who testified last week on Capitol Hill.

Metho said the international coverage of the Oromo Paralympian crossing his fists about his head brought much needed visibility to the Ethiopian cause.

“We have been screaming in silence for a long time, but when Lilesa crossed the finish line our voice was heard the whole world found out what’s going on,” Metho said.

Keberie Workue, 42, used her day off from catering in Smithsonian museum cafeteria to march in the demonstration.

“Over here it is a free country to demonstrate in, over there they kill you for this, for nothing,” Workue said.

Metho voiced his optimism that the administration will make the right choice.

“If Obama wants for his legacy, let him side with the Ethiopian people. If he doesn’t it will end up on his legacy as the man who abandoned Ethiopia. We don’t want you to come in and save us, we can do that ourselves. We want to be heard.”

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Posted by on September 20, 2016. Filed under FEATURED. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to Ethiopians demand US stop funding ‘oppressive regime’ By Dani Prokop

  1. Abi

    September 20, 2016 at 11:21 PM

    America is always where her interest is. Now, what would be the outcome of the Ethiopian movement for change? Chaos, instability and even ethnic strife or would it usher in a new down of hope for democracy, peace, stability and development? I think, American policy makers are closely watching events unfolding in Ethiopia daily and monitoring the direction of which of the two ways these developments lead to. The way is determined mainly on a more united and peaceful resistance. As long as the resistance movement continued to be sporadic and divided, America may opt to keep the status quo because the region could not afford another conflict that could have serious repercussion on the overall stability of the greater horn region that has already been marred with religious extremism in Somalia, Tribal bloodshed in South Sudan, fragile democracy in Kenya, very uncertain situation in the Sudan and beyond. So, as the saying goes the ball in the Ethiopians court and the key to the solution is in the hands of Ethiopians themselves. Would they manage to come together and forge a formidable alliance that could effectively counter the ruling TPLF regime as better option that could be reckoned with by the western nations, including the United States, or would they continue with their age old ethnic mistrust and rivalry for influence, that is very much the case between the Amhara and the Oromo that undercuts the effort of one another. If the situation remains to be as it is now, the coalition of opposition forces is very week to say the least and their organizational skill to lead and coordinate meaningful and effective popular resistance against the TPLF, the had determined to hold on to its lethal force as an ultimate shield, is even abysmal. Last but not least, the ethnic formula remains complicated unless it comes up with an innovative strategy that would put the majority of ethnic Tigre, who are now mostly in self-isolation, on board. Six or so million ethnic Tigre is needs a resistance movement that assures them that they would not be targets of retaliation and vengeance once the TPLF, is removed from power, even thought that seems to be far fetched at this stage, given the disorganized, sporadic and mostly weak resistance movement.

  2. samuel

    September 24, 2016 at 4:25 PM

    I might add that TPLF (EPRDF) is controlled by one ethnic superiority minority ruler. This dictatorial policy destroy the freedom of Ethiopians. Superficially, it looks developmental in economy, ethnic democracy, and constitutional right, but indirectly, it is the iron feast, and the iron curtain rule of backward government policy. The country is suffocated by special forces who control the voice of Ethiopian. They demanded democracy and democratic election, land to the tiller, freedom of speech, multi-party system, and united country. The problem of ethnic division arrived openly when TPLF took power; a divisive ideology that fueled and ignited the country into divide and rule and the scramble of Africa. This might benefited the current ethnic dictator, but it damaged the unity of the country. Currently, the opposition in the country or abroad are working to mend this problem. The hate monger ideology of TPLF telling the Tigrian people the Oromo and the Amara are coming to kill you, or tell the Oromo people the Amara are against you is a genocide ideology that is a rooted mental set up of the current dictatorial rule. This is what the opposition against up!!! The United States of America has to understand that with all promises given the war against terror, the state sponsor terror of Ethiopian people is damaging to American policy. The rigid ideology of EPRDF control by only Tigrian minority (Woyane) is a not benefit neither the the Tigrian people nor the rest of majority group of people. So, the aid give by America is a fuel to the fire of division and hate. It can not bring stability because it encouraged the dictator armed himself excessively and kill it’s own people for asking freedom peacefully. The persistent of peaceful demand for equality will not rest until the objective achieved. The opposition in and out of the country is communicating that the divisive divide and conquer is the idea of the past. To move forward is reconciliation, dialogue, and inclusiveness to all Ethiopians including EPRDF’s supporters, the Armed Force, Air force, and their political apparatus. Finally, the message to foreign donors and supporters of the current government of Ethiopia is until the killing of innocent life stop, prisoners released, human right respected, freedom of speech and media right- the donation has to stop!!!!