AURORA | A resolution from Aurora Congressman Mike Coffman condemning human rights violations by the Ethiopian government is now slated for a House vote after being tabled to let the nation’s government decide whether to let in United Nations observers.
“They (Ethiopia’s government) see that as a violation of their sovereignty,” Coffman said.
The resolution was temporarily put on hold so that Ethiopian government officials could have until the end of February to respond to the measure’s demands. Coffman said former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed the resolution while visiting the nation, and said government officials “strongly rejected” letting the UN observers into the country.
According to the Human Rights Watch, Ethiopian security forces have killed between 500 and 800 protestors in the Oromia and Amhara regions of the nation — Coffman said many of Ethiopians in Aurora hail from those regions.
“We hear about these violations on a daily basis now,” Yoseph Tafari, chairman and co-founder of the Ethiopian American Civil Council, previously told the Sentinel.
The resolution was originally scheduled for a vote in October. Part of what held up action was a lobbyist, paid $150,000 per month by the Ethiopian government. But it’s now expected to see a House vote in April, according to Coffman.
He says it’s a significant political message to send to Ethiopians.
“I think it’d be the first time the U.S. has formally taken a position in favor of the people over their government,” Coffman said. “It lays the foundation for other things, such as the potential suspension of military aide, which I think is order.”
— By KARA MASON, Staff Writer