Please see the two letter options below. The first is a short, general letter and the second is more detail about H. Res. 128.
Option 1: Short Letter
City, State Zip Code
The Honorable [Insert Representative’s Name]
City, State Zip Code
Dear Representative [Last Name]:
My name is [Your Name]. As one of your constituents, I am very concerned about the deteriorating human rights conditions in Ethiopia. I am writing to ask that you co- sponsor House Resolution 128 (H Res 128), which proposes measures that can improve the rapidly deteriorating situation in the country and push Ethiopia toward democratization. The resolution text is here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-resolution/128/text.
Ethiopia has become one of the worst abusers of human rights in Africa.Over the last decade and more rigorously in the last two years the Ethiopian government has been dismantling democratic rights and intensifying human rights abuses in the country, yet, it remains a recipient of over a half a billion dollars in aid from the United States. Ethiopia has received international attention for its mishandling of the Oromo protests that broke out in November 2015 over land displacements in the Oromia region and have continued to the present moment. These protests spread to address a wider set of issues concerned with the denial of human, civil and economic rights. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch corroborate that the protests have been peaceful. Yet, security forces have killed over 1000 people and injured thousands of others since the protests began.
Your co-sponsorship of H. Res. 128 is a strong signal that that the United States will take a firm stance on Ethiopia’s violent treatment of peaceful protesters. If Ethiopia is not given an official rebuke to discourage it from brutally repressing dissent, the country could descend into instability.
Thank you for your time and considering my request.
[Insert Your Name]
Option 2: Longer Letter
Sample Letter for Congresspersons regarding House Resolution 128:
Dear Representative _________________,
I am writing to ask you to co-sponsor House Resolution 128 on “Supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia. House Majority Leader has agreed to put it on the calendar for a vote between April 9 and 16, 2018. I urge you to support this excellent legislation by becoming a co-sponsor. There is unprecedented grassroots support from diaspora constituents with ties to Ethiopia. There are currently 98 co-sponsors!
Ethiopia is in a state of crisis. Nationwide protests, resisting the loss of human rights, closing of democratic space and imprisonment of political opponents and community leaders, have persisted for 3 years. Activists and international human rights groups have documented deaths of thousands of peaceful protesters, killed by security forces. Tens of thousands of protesters demanding justice have been imprisoned since the protests began. Recently 6,000 were released, welcome news but a fraction of those held without charge.
The scale of this crisis is staggering. The government attacks it citizens, regarding them as enemies.
- Far more than 1,000 young people have been shot and killed during peaceful demonstrations in the last two years.
- Peoples all over the country have been dispossessed of their lands without recourse — in Oromia, Amhara, Gambella, Southern Nations, Nationalities and People Region and Somali Region.
- Over a million people have been displaced from the Oromia region of Ethiopia since early 2017, instigated by a government-supported police force in the Somali region.
- Since a State of Emergency was imposed in mid-February 2018, 60 unarmed persons have been killed while participating in peaceful demonstrations.
- On March 10, 2018, the government carried out the latest unprovoked attack from a military Command Post established under the State of Emergency. Unsuspecting civilians in the border town of Moyale were killed. Nine civilians were killed on the roadside and in coffee shops running from sudden gunfire and 12 were injured by heavily-armed Ethiopian security forces.
- As a result of this attack, at least 10, 000 Oromos have fled to neighbouring Kenya in under a week, creating a humanitarian nightmare.
- Inexplicable carnage has become commonplace in Ethiopia since the declaration of the second State of Emergency mid-February, 2018.
- In addition, Ethiopia remains one of the top jailers of journalists and continues to censor the media.
- EthioTelecom, the state-owned monopoly supplier of Internet services has imposed a blackout of all services to most of Oromia.
The Ethiopian government has a clear and consistent pattern of failing to respond to the legitimate demands of its people. It clings to power through brutally suppressing both majority and minority populations, placing the stability of the country and the entire region at risk. In the midst of these atrocities, the US has been silent. Ethiopia has been emboldened by the lack of meaningful action from one of it’s most influential and powerful allies.
The House Resolution effectively addresses the crisis and offers hope to those in Ethiopia who yearn for justice and have held peaceful and disciplined protests. The United States must send a clear signal to the people of Ethiopia that they are heard and their nonviolent calls for change have been heard. This measure also signals to the government that it must take steps toward real reforms to maintain its support from the US and keep the country from descending into further chaos.
House Resolution 128 is the right first step in sending these signals. Read it here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-resolution/128/text.
I urge you to cosponsor House Resolution 128.