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Ethiopia Caucus in US Congress urges Addis Ababa to show restraint


US Rep. Mike Honda
15th District (CA) - California
Honda Leads Ethiopia Caucus in Decrying Recent Violence
Urging Ethiopian Government to Show Restraint

Nov 3, 2005 (Washington, DC) — Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) - joined by fellow Congressional Ethiopia and Ethiopian American Caucus members Donald Payne (D-NJ), Diane Watson (D-CA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), William Lacy Clay(D-MO), Albert R. Wynn (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Jim Moran (D-VA) - today wrote the following letter expressing concern with the recent violence in Ethiopia:

"We are extremely alarmed and saddened by the outbreak of violence in Addis Ababa, the death of innocent Ethiopians, and the recent arrests of opposition party leaders. Reports today indicate that at least 35 Ethiopians have been killed in the last two days alone, and that up to 1,000 opposition participants have been arrested.

We urge Ethiopia’s government to show restraint in dealing with civilians as it seeks to maintain law and order, and call upon all parties to address problems through peaceful means, dialogue and negotiation based on the country’s constitution and laws.

The use of violence, or attempts to incite violence are strongly condemned and we urge all concerned to maintain calm, exercise maximum restraint, and tone down the irresponsible rhetoric that leads to needless suffering, and impedes Ethiopia’s path to democracy.

The Associated Press has reported that citizens claim to have been targeted indiscriminately by law enforcement. We call upon the Government to immediately establish an independent commission to investigate the violence and deaths from November 1 and 2, as well as those from protests on June 8.

We call upon the Ethiopian government to release all journalists and political detainees, including Chairman Hailu Shawel, Vice Chair Birtukan Mideksa, Professor Mesfin Wolde-Mariam and elected mayor Dr. Berhanu Nega. All prisoners should be treated humanely and be given all due process rights according to the law and principles of justice. The government must also protect its citizens’ exercise of their constitutional rights to peaceful protest and assembly.

Our condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones as a result of needless violence, and our every hope is with Ethiopia as it restores calm and promise. The progress made in the past months to encourage and nurture democracy cannot be impeded by the recent intolerable developments."

- s/ Michael Honda, Chair of the Congressional Ethiopia and Ethiopian American Caucus
- s/ Donald Payne
- s/ Diane Watson
- s/ Gregory Meeks
- s/ Zoe Lofgren
- s/ William Lacy Clay
- s/ Albert R. Wynn
- s/ Chris Van Hollen
- s/ Jim Moran

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