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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights in Ethiopia - An Update

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - 11:00am
2255 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the current human rights situation in Ethiopia.

Home to the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the region of Oromia was witness to mostly peaceful student protests in November of 2015 against the Ethiopian Government’s plan to take over territory to expand the nation’s capital. However, this spontaneous outcry has developed into the country’s longest and most widespread protest movement since the ruling party took power in 1991.  The government has since ceased border expansion plans, but the discontent has proven to transcend land rights and to extend beyond any one particular ethnic group.  The government’s authoritarian structure and tight controls on the media have led many to feel that they have no voice.  Peaceful opposition is frequently met with arrest and detention (using the country’s draconian anti-terrorist law) and police brutality too often results in death.   Human Rights Watch has received reports of over 200 people killed and several thousand arrested (including many whose whereabouts are unknown), since protests began. Although the documented turmoil threatens to disrupt Ethiopia’s fragile political stability, Ethiopia’s strategic state partners have been relatively quiet.       

This briefing will examine Ethiopia’s current human rights situation in light of the recent events in Oromia.  Speakers will provide an overview of the human rights situation and challenges, including how Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law is misused to stifle dissent, and will make recommendations as to what role the U.S. government can play in promoting stabilization by advancing and protecting human rights.  

This briefing will be open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public and the media. For any questions, please contact David Howell (for Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or or Isaac Six (for Rep. Pitts) at 202-225-2411 or

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Joseph R. Pitts, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


 Opening Remarks

  • Rep. Keith Ellison, Executive Committee Member, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission


  • Anuradha Mittal, Founder and Executive Director of the Oakland Institute
  • Mohammed Ademo, Journalist formally with Al Jazeera America
  • Adotei Akwei, Managing Director, Amnesty International USA


  • Lauren Ploch Blanchard, African Affairs Specialist, Congressional Research Service 


114th Congress