February 16, 2022

HR 6600 bill deters joint human rights investigation: EHRC

City: Addis AbabaNews

“The bill will not encourage, but derogate, the peacebuilding process undergoing in the country and should be dropped from the onset,”

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HR 6600 bill deters joint human rights investigation: EHRC
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Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) criticized the HR 6600 bill to have a negative impact on the ongoing investigation conducted by the UN Human Rights Office and the EHRC into alleged violations of human rights, humanitarian and refugee law committed by all parties to the conflict in Tigray

Daniel Bekele (Ph.D.), Ethiopian Human rights Commission Commissioner, told the Ethiopian News Agency that the introduction of the HR 6600 bill, by a few members of the US congress, which is supposedly harmful to Ethiopia’s interests, will have a serious negative impact on the joint investigation EHRC & UN are undertaking and should be highly reevaluated. 

“The joint investigation team conducted and is still carrying out robust investigations into alleged human rights abuses in the conflict in Tigray. Proposing such a bill during this time, when the investigation initiative is striving to ensure accountability from all the belligerent parties, will be a hindrance in obtaining the appropriate information from the people,” he said.

He noted that the bill aimed at imposing political, military, and economic sanctions under the cover of human rights violations especially harms women and children severely. And it wouldn’t bring a positive solution to the country.

The Ethiopian government also rebuked the bill as disinformed, inconsiderate of the underlying situation of the country, and potentially damaging the longstanding relationship between the US and Ethiopia.  

“The bill will not encourage, but derogate, the peacebuilding process undergoing in the country and should be dropped from the onset,” said Ambassador Dina Mufti, Spokesperson to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.

He also called upon concerned citizens, friends of Ethiopia, and Americans to stand against the enactment of the bill as it significantly harms the country. 

“The Ethiopian diaspora should reinforce and advance the struggle it had been waging against issues posed against its country. We believe the diaspora will repeat the proudful movement it showed in the ‘No More” campaign by opposing the HR 6600 bill this time.”

In March, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) established a joint investigation partnering with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to undertake investigations into alleged violations of human rights committed during the conflict in Tigray.

The report published on Nov 3, 2021, by the team concluded that all parties in the conflict in Tigray committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian, and refugee law, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

The HR 6600 (Ethiopia Stabilization, Peace, and Democracy Act) bill was introduced on Feb 04, 2022, co-sponsored by US Congressmen Michael McCaul and Gregory Meeks. If enacted, It authorizes sanctions against those who are perpetuating the conflict and suspends security and financial assistance to the Ethiopian government until humanitarian and human rights conditions are met.

It would also require the U.S. to oppose loans by international agencies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to Ethiopia and Eritrea, according to the document.