HR 128 resolution is now passed in the congress. Will it help Abiy Ahmed to introduce and carry out much needed changes in the realm of human rights?
HR 128, a bill that supports respect for Human rights and “inclusive governance” in Ethiopia, is passed this afternoon in the United States Congress.
It was sponsored by Congressman Chris Smith and was introduced in the congress a little over a year ago.
Well over one hundred Congressmen and women from the republican and Democratic parties have cosponsored the bill and it was passed unanimously. Thirteen Congressmen from California has cosponsored the Bill.
Ethiopian activists have been mobilizing Ethiopian-Americans to contact their respective Congressmen to vote for the resolution.
On April 5, Mike Coffman tweeted the Bill will be in the house for vote.
— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) April 5, 2018
Ethiopian activists based abroad seem to be celebrating the Outcome of the vote.
Thank you Congressman Smith, Coffman, Bacon and all your colleagues who supported #HRes128
Ethiopians are greatful to have you as an ally.@RepMikeCoffman @RepChrisSmith @RepDonBacon @EA_CivicCouncil @CohenOnAfrica @AmsaluKassaw @ras_araya @LulitMesfin1 @NeaminZeleke @hrw
— Fasika (@Fasikini) April 10, 2018
— Engidu Woldie (@EngiduWoldie) April 10, 2018
The regime in Ethiopia has been a long time United States ally no the “war on terror” in the Horn of Africa and has been one of the leading recipient of USAID despite records of egregious human rights violations which caused an outcry from Human Rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Last week, Abiy Ahmed was installed as the new prime minister and there seem to be anticipation among politicized Ethiopians that Abiy Ahmed will work on improving the human rights situation and in terms of broadening space for opposition parties and dissenting views to mobilize for change in Ethiopia.
Critical voices in the opposition,however, point to the fact that Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is a “state within state” and Abiy Ahmed does not have the power to effect changes in the interest of Ethiopians who have been clamoring for change for the last two years. Western governments,on the other hand, seem to be enthusiastic about Abiy Ahmed.
As much as the outcome of vote on HR 128 elated many Ethiopians and that the US congress is now moving in the direction of supporting Human Rights in Ethiopia, there are those who tend to think increasing role of United States on Ethiopian politics and society as something undesirable in the long term.