The Honorable [ Senator’s FIRST and LAST name]
Office Address [Senator’s Washington DC office]
United States Senate
City, State Zip
Dear Senator ___________
I am writing to urge you to vote in favor of a breakthrough Senate Resolution on the situation in Ethiopia that affects the Oromo and other people in that country who are protesting large-scale government sanctioned takeover of their ancestral lands. Nonviolent protesters are being labelled “terrorists” by the government and attacked in the thousands, with hundreds of innocents killed outright since November 2015.
These Oromo farmers and their educated children are exercising constitutional rights of assembly and expression when they chant and sing “Land is Life,” and similar slogans, calling for an end to dispossession of Oromo and others from their land. Yet Ethiopian security forces have responded with such a violent crackdown that according to a Human Rights Watch report of February 21, 2016, heavily armed “Agazi” forces have killed over 200 demonstrators using lethal force such as firing live ammunition into large crowds of unarmed demonstrators, throwing grenades at university students, arbitrarily rounding up and detaining thousands (probably tens of thousands) of Oromo to sites unknown.
This Senate Resolution is strong in two ways. First it brings attention to the extent of the ongoing abuse of civil and human rights and second, it offers remedies that provide steps toward inclusive governance in Oromia and Ethiopia.
In addition to condemning these serious human rights violations, the Resolution enumerates other abuses including:
- Limits on constitutional right to peaceful assembly and narrowing of democratic space
- Abuse of its Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to squash dissent, limit freedom of press and persecute bloggers and independent journalists
This resolution demands accountability from the Ethiopian government and calls for the Secretary of State and other US agencies to review their current levels of support to Ethiopia with the aim of devising a comprehensive strategy to democracy and participatory governance.
As a constituent born in the Oromia region (Oromo number 40 million in Ethiopia), I am deeply disturbed by the shocking violation of human and civil rights of the Oromo people by the Ethiopian government and the abysmal state of governance there. The regime of Prime Minister HaileMariam Desalegn remains an active diplomatic and economic partner of the United States. It is my hope that action by the US Senate will carry some influence.
Thank you for your support of this very important resolution by voting in favor!
Your Address, phone number, email
City, State, Zip