TASSC Survivors Visit Paul Ryan's Office
TASSC is working hard to make sure the U.S. House of Representatives schedules a vote on House Resolution 128 on human rights abuses in Ethiopia. Three survivors— Fekade Ancho, Assefa Kitilla and Etsegenet Kedir—had a meeting inside the U.S. Capitol Building with an aide to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Ryan is one of the most powerful Members of Congress— he would become president if something should happen to the president and the vice-president.
House Res 128. was introduced by Congressman Chris Smith from New Jersey and has 73 cosponsors. It unanimously passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 27 and was scheduled for a vote on October 2. As Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) explains, a decision was made not to proceed with the vote after the Ethiopian Embassy threatened the United States, saying Ethiopia would stop cooperating with the U.S. on counter-terrorism if there was a vote.
Andrea said that Ethiopia is “requesting permission” from the United States to continue killing, torturing and raping its own people—that is why it objects to the Resolution. The House should not surrender to the bullying tactics of the Ethiopian government by refusing to hold a vote. Moreover, it is in Ethiopia’s interest to prevent al-Shabab from destabilizing the country. Finally, the U.S provides Ethiopia with hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign assistance. So what right does the Ethiopian government have to give orders to the U.S. House of Representatives?
Congressman Ryan’s aide was very impressed with the testimonies of Fekade, Assefa and Etsegenet, who “put a human face” on the brutality of the Ethiopian government. TASSC will continue working with survivors and with our partners-=- Amnesty International, the Amhara Association of America and the Oromo Advocacy Alliance—until this Resolution passes the House of Representatives.