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H.Res. 128: Supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is an important development and regional security partner for the United States; however it continues to be a source of concern regarding human rights violations. Ethiopian elections in 2005 included violence, manipulation and the detention of opposition members and were deemed neither free nor fair in 2010. Additionally, Ethiopian government forces used violence against minority ethnic group protests in 2015, and the government has imposed a state of emergency which restricts freedom of assembly, association, and expression, including blocking Internet access.

H.Res. 128 recognizes Ethiopia’s efforts to promote regional peace and security, and its partnership with the U.S. to combat terrorism, promote economic growth, and address health challenges. The resolution also expresses concern about human rights abuses and contracting democratic space; and condemns excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces; calls on the Government of Ethiopia to lift the state of emergency, end the use of excessive force, release wrongfully imprisoned protestors, and improve transparency; urges protectors and opposition groups to use peaceful discussion and avoid incitement; and calls on the State Department and USAID to cooperate and strengthen ties with Ethiopia, condemn human rights abuses, and promote accountability.

Last updated Sep 26, 2017. Source: Republican Policy Committee

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 15, 2017.

Condemns: (1) the killing of peaceful protesters and excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces; (2) the detention of journalists, students, activists and political leaders who exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression through peaceful protests; and (3) the abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to stifle political and civil dissent and journalistic freedoms.

Urges: (1) protesters in Ethiopia to refrain from violence and from encouragement or acceptance of violence in demonstrations, and (2) all armed factions to cease their conflict with the Ethiopian government and engage in peaceful negotiations.

Calls on the government of Ethiopia to:

lift the state of emergency; end the use of excessive force by security forces; investigate the killings and excessive use of force that took place as a result of protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions; release dissidents, activists, and journalists who have been imprisoned for exercising constitutional rights; respect the right to peaceful assembly and guarantee freedom of the press; engage in open consultations with citizens regarding its development strategy; allow a United Nations rapporteur to conduct an independent examination of the state of human rights in Ethiopia; address the grievances brought forward by representatives of registered opposition parties; hold accountable those responsible for killing, torturing, and detaining innocent civilians who exercised their constitutional rights; and investigate and report on the circumstances surrounding the September 3, 2016, shootings and fire at Qilinto Prison, the deaths of persons in attendance at the annual Irreecha festivities at Lake Hora near Bishoftu on October 2, 2016, and the ongoing killings of civilians over several years in the Somali Regional State by police. Calls on such government to repeal proclamations that:

can be used to harass or prohibit funding for organizations that investigate human rights violations, engage in peaceful political dissent, or advocate for greater political freedoms; prohibit those displaced from their land from seeking judicial redress; permit the detention of peaceful protesters and political opponents who legally exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association; and limit peaceful nonprofit operations in Ethiopia. Calls on: (1) the Department of State to review security assistance and improve oversight of U.S. assistance to Ethiopia; (2) the U.S. Agency for International Development to lead efforts to develop a strategy to support improved democracy and governance in Ethiopia; and (3) the State Department, in cooperation with the Department of the Treasury, to apply appropriate 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;.

Supports the peaceful efforts of the Ethiopian people to exercise their constitutional rights.