On August 21, 2020, Congressman Dean Phillips (MN-3rd District) led a letter to United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo requesting his engagement with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, along with political opposition and activists, to address the recent unrest in Ethiopia this summer.
The letter, which was signed by an additional 19 bipartisan Members of the United States House of Representatives, deplores the undemocratic actions and violence that have engulfed Ethiopia following the June 29, 2020 murder of Hacaaluu Hundeessaa.
In addition to Ethiopian security forces using excessive violence against peaceful protesters, along with politically motivated arrests of certain opposition figures and journalists, Congressman Phillips draws attention to the “graphic reports of violence targeting ethnic and religious communities”. As reported by many media outlets worldwide, Amhara, Gurages, and Christian Oromos in the Oromia Region were singled out by extremist elements in the days after Mr. Hundeessaa’s death.
Finally, Congressman Phillips and the other signatories call on Secretary Pompeo to work with the Ethiopian Government on a number of actions to advance basic human rights and democratic principles in Ethiopia. These include a denunciation of violence against ethnic and religious groups and condemning those who have used Mr. Hundeessaa’s murder as a pretense for targeting ethnic and religious minorities.
The Amhara Association of America (AAA) would like to thank Congressman Phillips for his leadership in bringing awareness to this unprecedented violence and repression that only serve to destabilize Ethiopia. Additionally, we are grateful to all the Members of Congress who joined this letter and express support for a peaceful, pluralistic, and stable Ethiopian nation.
- worked closely with Congressman Phillips and his staff on the final text of the letter to ensure it reflects the current situation in Ethiopia. We then urged our friends in the House of Representatives to add their signatures, and we will make sure the letter is seen by policymakers across Washington, D.C.
- deeply appreciates Congressman Phillips championing the concerns of his constituents and the broader Ethiopian-American community. All Ethiopian-Americans should applaud the Congressman and the other signers for advocating for improvements in human rights, democratic reforms, free speech, and peaceful interethnic relations in Ethiopia.
We look forward to our continued relationships with Congressman Phillips, our other champions in Congress, and the State Department to implement the recommendations set forth in the letter.
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Tewodrose (Ted) Tirfe, Chairman, Amhara Association of America [email protected]
About AAA: The Amhara Association of America (AAA) is a nonprofit organization that coordinates the advocacy efforts of Ethiopia’s Amhara diaspora in the United States to Congress, the Executive Branch, non-governmental organizations, and international bodies. Visit www.amharaamerica.org for more information.