US Congress Passes Historic Resolution on Human Rights in Ethiopia

April 10, 2018
Ethiopian army soldiers monitoring Suri people during a festival in Kibish. Credit: Oakland Institute.

Ethiopian army soldiers monitoring Suri people during a festival in Kibish. Credit: Oakland Institute.

The Oakland Institute applauds the passage of House Resolution 128, Supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia. Introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), the bill was co-sponsored by at least 108 members of Congress.

For far too long, the US government – one of Ethiopia’s greatest allies – has abetted and turned a blind eye to the massive human rights abuses and state-sponsored violence taking place in the country in the name of development. By passing H. Res. 128, Congress has finally taken a small step forward to correct past US wrongdoings and stand for justice for the people of Ethiopia.

Over the past years, scores of students, journalists, land rights defenders, indigenous and religious leaders, opposition politicians and more have courageously faced repression and relentlessly spoken up against land grabs, human rights abuses, and lack of democracy in the country.

The passage of this resolution would not have been possible without their determination, as well as the dogged and inspirational advocacy by the Ethiopian diaspora, who put this issue on the map, and made it impossible for US elected officials to ignore the crisis taking place in Ethiopia. We likewise express gratitude to those elected officials who took leadership on this issue, including Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO), and Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN).