WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken today condemned the lethal violence used by the government of Ethiopia against hundreds of Oromo protesters. The bipartisan Senate resolution calls for the Secretary of State to conduct 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.
“I am deeply concerned by continuing reports of violence and restrictions on civil liberties perpetrated by Ethiopian security forces in the Oromia region of Ethiopia,” said Klobuchar. “Minnesota is proud to be home to the largest Oromo community in the United States. My thoughts are with the families of those who have been victims of violence in Ethiopia. I call on Prime Minister Desalgen to restore confidence in the government by putting an end to the violence and intimidation from Ethiopian security forces against peaceful protestors.”
“Around 40,000 Oromo people live in Minnesota, and I’m proud that our state is home to so many vibrant immigrant families,” said Franken. “I stand with our local Oromo community against the terrible violence that’s affected their loved ones who are still in Ethiopia. For years, the Ethiopian government has been accused of serious human rights violations—unprovoked arrests, torture, and oppression—and in recent months, reports indicate that at least 200 people have been killed by Ethiopian security forces. Our bipartisan resolution will help bring much-needed awareness to a terrible tragedy that can no longer go overlooked.”
The protests in Ethiopia, which began last November, were prompted by concerns about lack of grassroots consultation with affected communities in advance of the Ethiopian government’s plan to expand the capital, Addis Ababa. At least 200 people are believed to have died at the hands of security forces during the course of the protests, and hundreds more have been jailed, including journalists reporting on the demonstrations. In February, Klobuchar and Franken sent a letter to Secretary Kerry urging the administration take action to address escalating violence against civilians in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Minnesota is home to the largest Oromo population in the United States.
The United States works closely with Ethiopia on Administration initiatives including Feed the Future and the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership.
The following is the full text of the resolution: