Human Rights Dilemmas in Ethiopia
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the current state of human rights in Ethiopia.
While Ethiopia has proven to be a willing ally in the war on terror and partner in developing successful models to strengthen food security and community resilience, many aspects of its human rights record continue to raise concerns. In recent years there has been a disturbing trend towards repressive interpretations of laws, which have led to significant human rights abuses targeting civil society groups, freedom of the press, and indigenous peoples.
A growing number of journalists and political opposition actors have been arrested under anti-terrorism statutes. The inability of civil society groups to function has prevented meaningful engagement on a number of important human rights issues, including land and water rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. In spite of these abuses, the United States and Ethiopia have continued to maintain strong relations, with the United States providing over $800 million per year in aid to the Ethiopian government over the past several years. Although there have been some calls to review the provision of this aid to ensure that the United States is not enabling human rights violations, there has been little indication that the delivery of aid will be re-examined or altered in any significant way.
This briefing will provide an overview of the current state of human rights violations in Ethiopia and will examine how the Ethiopian government has limited the activities of civil society, repressed the media, and abridged the human rights of indigenous people living in the way of development projects. The panelists will also discuss possible ways that the United States might be able to leverage its bilateral relationship to help improve the human rights situation in the country.
Soleyana S. Gebremichale, Co-founder, Zone Nine Bloggers
Robert Herman, Vice President of Regional Programming, Freedom House
Susan Valentine, Africa Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists
Felix Horne, Ethiopia Researcher, Human Rights Watch
Joshua Klemm, International Rivers