Washington Update, September 19, 2017 – Mesfin Mekonen

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed a revised version of Senate Resolution 168, “Supporting respect for human rights and encouraging
inclusive governance in Ethiopia.”
The resolution, introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md), condemns the Ethiopian government’s killing of peaceful protesters, arrest and detention of journalists, and stifling of political and civic dissent and journalistic freedoms. It puts the U.S. government on record calling for the Ethiopian government to take basic steps to protect the human rights of its citizens, stop killing them, and release those who have been unjustly jailed. It also calls on various U.S. government agencies to develop plans to support Ethiopian democracy and human rights. Most importantly, it requests the Trump administration to apply sanctions “on foreign persons or entities responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against any nationals in Ethiopia as provided for in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
The Senate resolution is not as strong as House Resolution 128, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). House Resolution 128 “calls on the Secretary of State to conduct a review of security assistance to Ethiopia in light of recent developments and to improve transparency with respect to the purposes of such assistance to the people of Ethiopia.” The Senate resolution has no similar language.
Mesfin Mekonen

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