Monday, July 03, 2006

U.S. Bill to finance human rights in Ethiopia

While EPRDF in Washington D.C. is busy lobbying hard to kill (no pun intended) H.R. 4423: Ethiopia Consolidation Act of 2005, the sponsor of the Bill, Republican Representative for New Jersey, Chris Smith, has further added to EPRDF's headache with the passing of a new Bill, H.R. 5680: Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights Advancement Act of 2006, which passed unanimously by the House of Representatives International Relations committee (unlike split vote for previous H.R. 4423 which angered the Ethiopian Opposition). H.R. 5680 carries more weight, for it includes an authorization of $20 million over two years to assist political prisoners, indigenous Ethiopian human rights organizations, independent media, civil society and to promote legal training. H.R. 5680 also denies visas to anyone who was involved in the June and November 2005 killings of demonstrators.

The House of Representatives International Relations committee approved a bill this week that addresses various Human Rights concerns in Ethiopia. This is a huge step as Ethiopia is considered to be an ally of the United States in the War on Terror. Full Text

Ethiopia Human Rights Bill advances through the House (Los Angeles Chronicle) July 4, 2006.