Amnesty Event Spotlights Ethiopia Crisis

Many people were killed in a stampede triggered when police fired teargas and bullets to disperse protestors in Bishoftu on October 2, 2016. Since then the authorities have declared state of emergency . (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — An event organized by the Manhattan- based Amnesty International volunteer group, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled on the evening of Monday, October 24th at the New York Society of Ethical Culture to spotlight Ethiopia’s current political and humanitarian crisis.

Steve Latimer, coordinator of the Amnesty volunteer group, says they hope to bring wider attention in the U.S. to the continuing violence and governance issues in Ethiopia. “With the events of the last couple of months, the recent killings during the protest, and the things that has happened since, we are very concerned about human rights violations by the Ethiopian government,” Latimer said. “And this discussion hopes to help educate some people at least in the United States about the situation in Ethiopia, which as you well know not many people in this country are aware of.”

Latimer, who is a retired civil rights lawyer and a human rights activist, told Tadias that Amnesty International will also push at the gathering for the approval of the U.S. Senate resolution on Ethiopia “condemning the lethal violence against protesters, journalists, and others in civil society for exercising their rights under Ethiopia‚Äôs constitution.”

The resolution calls for a review of U.S. security assistance to Ethiopia in light of allegations that Ethiopian security forces have killed civilians. It also calls upon the government of Ethiopia to halt violent crackdowns, conduct a credible investigation into the killing of protesters, and hold perpetrators of such violence accountable.

“To use amnesty’s favorite phrase, we just want to shine light on the situation,” said Latimer in a phone interview. “We support the pending Senate resolution about Ethiopia and we are going to be asking other people to write letters and sign petitions because that’s the kind of activity that Amnesty does and they are very good at it.”

The event’s media release states that the panel discussion, which features “scholars and witnesses to the human rights abuses,” is being co-sponsored by the New York Society of Ethical Culture, The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa; The Danbobidu Scholarship and Essential Life Foundation, as well as the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA), and Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE).

Semahagn Gashu Abebe, a former Ethiopian Public Prosecutor until 2003 who became a human rights activist and the author of The Last Post-Cold War Socialist Federation: Ethnicity, Ideology and Democracy in Ethiopia is a panelist at the event. Other listed speakers are Aklog Birara, President of ABRAW Center for Inclusive Development in Africa; Begna Dugassa, a public health expert and the author of Human Rights and Public Health: Toward Understanding the Root Causes of Social Problems in the Oromia Regional State, in Ethiopia; as well as presenters Obang Metho, Executive Director of SMNE (The Solidarity movement for a New Ethiopia), and former prisoner of conscious Girma Erena. The opening and closing remarks will be made by Adotei Akwei, Managing Director for Government Relations for Amnesty International USA.


If You Go
MONDAY, OCTOBER 24 th , 6:30PM-9PM
The New York Society of Ethical Culture
2 W. 64th St. (& Central Park West), NYC.

Related:
U.S. citizens urged to defer travel to Ethiopia -State Department

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