Washington D.C., Feb 16, 2017 / 10:44 am
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.”
Smith and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) introduced a House resolution (H. Res. 128) Wednesday “highlighting the crisis in Ethiopia due to government violations of the human rights of its citizens,” Smith stated.
“With this resolution, we are showing that the United States remains committed to universal respect for human rights, and that we will not tolerate continued abuse of those human rights by Ethiopian security forces,” Coffman said.
There has been a “steady erosion” of democracy in Ethiopia since 2005, the congressmen maintained.
Government dissidents have been jailed, citizens have been tortured and killed by the government's security forces, and freedom of the press has been infringed upon. Ethnic groups have been the victims of violence perpetrated by the government.
Peaceful protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions of the country were met with hundreds of killings and tens of thousands of arrests by security forces in 2016, Human Rights Watch said in its recent report on the country. Citizens released from jail claimed they were tortured while in custody.