Skip to main content

tv   House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Development in Ethiopia  CSPAN  September 12, 2018 8:00pm-10:29pm EDT

8:00 pm
. . . . under the ethiopian calendar, so i want to wish our friends a very, very happy new year and many more to come. many of the hearings this subcommittee has held over the
8:01 pm
years, especially in ethiopia have been focusing on criticism, raising issues in ethiopia. it's a matter fact, introduced a bill back 10 years ago. the ethiopian human rights act. today, however, strikes a far different tone, one not a criticism, but accommodation for the gray striped ethiopia has made since prime minister abe assumed authority in april of this year. consider where we were just a year ago. a state of emergency existed in thousands of political prisoners languished in jail. a kilgore standoff existed between ethiopia and its neighbor are trying to and of course people in prisons were being tortured and mistreated in the most rhythmic waves. as the subcommittee pointed out in the were held in march 2017 and i quote increasingly repressing policy has diminished political space and threatened to radicalize not only the
8:02 pm
political opposition, but also society by frustrating their ability to exercise their rights under law. the response to this, i introduced along with the original cosponsors, karen bass and mike coffman, a good friend and colleague from atrios 128 supporting respect for human rights and encourage inclusive governance in ethiopia. the resolution sets for miles those which needed to be met and thanks to the leadership of so many including our chairman, ranking member eliot engel and kevin mccarthy and the speaker who ensure that the bill got to the floor in a timely fashion. success of this measure was due in large part to the efforts of the ethiopian gasper community and the united states and which came together to demand that egregious human rights abuses immediately seized and fundamental human rights must be promoted and protected for all in ethiopia.
8:03 pm
indeed one of the greatest collateral benefits brought about the passage of h. reds 128 is the political effectiveness of the ethiopian american community, which provided a textbook civics lesson for all of us to admire in to emulate. it is thanks to the tireless efforts of contacting your congressional representatives, providing very, very good insight as to what was going on on the ground in making the case in a persistent manner that helped spur congress to action. to assuming office, prime minister abe with nature as 128 called for. he has released thousands, i say again, thousands of political prisoners and lifted the state of emergency. he's also reached out to the asper community, catalyzed an end to the schism that's plagued the ethiopian orthodox church and initiated and historic peace deal between ethiopia this past
8:04 pm
july. his domestic reforms will also inspire a repressive regime to undertake similar internal reforms. as a side, and they put more than 10,000 prisoners being held unjustly including two u.s. embassy staff and one younger train american nancy hom how about you. this is an opportunity -- an opportune moment as well to enact justice reforms, release political prisoners and mentors of conscription policies. if that country did this, they would become a critical u.s. strategic partner and it could be professionalized as military and contribute to peacekeeping missions. just a few weeks ago, ranking member karen bass and i visited our staff.
8:05 pm
the ethiopian capital where we met with prime minister abe and a very broad a range -- array i should say of issues including his holiness abu mathias to first. one impression i had was a profound feeling of change in a system, the likes of which i have not seen in ethiopia ever appeared for what he has accomplished in less than half a year, the prime minister deserves praise and encouragement, yet we still must keep in mind that expectations have been raised and the reforms he has begun must continue. for example, victorious charities in society proclamation in anti-terrorism both in 2009 remain on the books and thus retain the potential to stifle legitimate civil society organization in political speech. many former prisoners still than injustice. ranking member by some i met with a group of torture that
8:06 pm
dems and what they described as having with they were went through was absolutely horrific. when we heard from the orthodox church is there is a need for reconciliation in order for the country to move forward. there also needs to be an opportunity for people who have been displaced to return home. catholic archbishop abraham of mackie recently brought to my attention over 2.5 million people internally displaced and require the government's immediate attention, especially provide an education with displaced children at the school year has already started. the economies to grow to provide jobs to many youth including those participating in protests. the economic sector including globalization and deregulation as well as an opening of economy to active groups that have not been fully enfranchised to continue. it's also been said to reform
8:07 pm
was begun by prime minister abe representing once in a generation opportunity for ethiopia. it is thus absolutely crucial that this opportunity be seized and in no way squandered. with this in mind can united states must remain a strong part with ethiopia. we know that they can call upon and i know we are and we are so grateful to have her assistant secretary who was the former ambassador to ethiopia here today. we collaborate on counterterrorism measures in support ethiopian peacekeeping with 12,000 troops deployed between the u.n. and au missions. ethiopia is the largest contributor to peacekeeping missions worldwide we must continue to encourage ethiopia to participate in international military education and training, military professionalism programs. i also was encouraged by her conversations of military chief of staff, general make:
8:08 pm
ethiopian peacekeepers on fighting the blight of human trafficking. ethiopia is currently a tier two countries is the author of the trafficking protecting mac i would be strongly advocating that all anti-trafficking training be included in our training or ethiopian peacekeepers and again they are not tier one, which is the best year to try to help them make progress in a broad range of trafficking issues in that country. i do believe having met the man and having an opportunity to engage in such a discourse with him, prime minister abe is the right man for the right time and therefore deserving of our support. finally, speaking of support come i want to especially thank our ambassador, mike reynard cammarata beachy permission trace visceral and political officer wilson coram as well as all her embassy staff and support they gave for our delegation. their professionalism and their
8:09 pm
dedication to give us great confidence that a relationship of the prime minister and his staff and country will remain strong and we will move forward together. a great deal to my friend and colleague ms. bass. >> thank you. thank you, chairman staff. thank you one for leading the caddell and have this go down even though it was a short trip. i think we were able to accomplish a lot and especially for holding this hearing today. i want to welcome the assistant secretary. thank you for your time coming and addressing us today. with the transition to prime minister abe, if we take a close look at our bilateral relationships and what exist to start the bond between our two nations. as africa's fastest-growing economy and a second most populous country come ethiopia is a key regional partner for the u.s. while unstable and turn chaotic have led to a peaceful transition of power to africa's
8:10 pm
youngest leader. the prime minister is a further promise and have elicited headline and publications. however, we do know he faces daunting challenges ahead in regional security issues, the country's past human rights record, ethnic tensions across the country and hard-liners within the epr that hope to reform his agenda. beginning this process of examining our relationship, it's really an opportunity for us to figure out as the u.s. how we can help boost ethiopia forward in this time. in relations with amalia continue to be the top security concerns and we know the government will need to address tensions with somalia as well as its key role in counterterrorism experts. ethiopia will also need to navigate a proportionate glut easing concerns from its own
8:11 pm
citizens and in a decades long stalemate. despite these challenges, i will say for the last 14 years i have represented a large ethiopian community in los angeles. we even have a section of town called little ethiopia appeared for the past 14 years the diaspora has been so concerned and so upset at what was taking place in their homeland and to me it just been so inspiring to see the ethiopian diaspora and the people in ethiopia when they visited that are really encouraged and excited about the possibility of moving forward and recognizing that their daunting challenges. we did a pushback of our resolution and some people voice why did we do it at that particular time, what were we trying to say in the chairman and i had an opportunity to explain that the resolution was
8:12 pm
not trying -- it was trying to be encouraging to move forward and not trying to slap ethiopia right when change was occurring and we had an opportunity to really discuss that with many people. i'm looking forward to seeing how we can provide continuing support, but how our support might change. one of the things we know is going to be a challenge is governance, compared for elections. when met with the air, the prime minister was very clear that he wanted to see change take place, that he was not wedded to be the prime minister forever and he made that point very clear with us. we had the opportunity to meet with different ethnic groups than for them to express their concerns and i think one of the challenges that ethiopia is going to face now is how to do the reconciliation, how to account for human rights abuses that took place in the past, how
8:13 pm
to account for that and how to bring people together at the same time. and then when we spoke with the prime minister, he was clearly want to move the country forward and will have to figure out the truth and reconciliation process along the way. but we can't stop and just focus on the grievances from the past. we absolutely have to do that killing, but we have to move the country forward. i want to welcome my colleague, mr. garamendi from northern california who is here and i know he was weak in a minute. i was particularly happy to have him come here because mr. garamendi lived in ethiopia and was member of the peace corps many years ago and although see or sense has maintained contact from the village in which he served. thank you for a much greater yield back my time. >> thank you for that. we'll recognize mr. garamendi in a moment. i would like to yield to mr. kaufman from colorado who has been a tenacious promoter of human rights in ethiopia and as
8:14 pm
the ranking member pointed out, when we brought this up in april, prime minister abiy saturday assumed office. we introduced this in february february 2017. we went through some rewrites because things are changing on the ground and frankly we gave to his government a prescriptive list of what the u.s. congress, the house of representatives expected would have been and it has been very telling how close many of the things on a bipartisan basis we recommended starting with the release of political prisoners have happened. we hope the resolution has made them different and as i said earlier, it does go back to 2005 after he visited with president malice and was profoundly disappointed with this human rights abuses, which was legion at the time and introduced the human rights bill at that point
8:15 pm
towards ethiopia. thank you, ms. bass. we worked very closely on this in the trip i think was a great success and is part of an ongoing. i'd like to yield. thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member bass, first i'd like to thank chairman smith, ranking member bath and the rest of the african global health global human rights and international organizations subcommittee for allowing me to participate in today's hearing. i have the distinct honor of representing the largest ethiopian community in colorado. one of the largest in the united states that is in my congressional district and over the past few years it has been my pleasure to get to know them, listen to concerns and work on their behalf here in washington d.c. i'm also very proud to have two of my constituents, mr. grown -- here today and jamal sais, to offer their thoughts on the
8:16 pm
current situation in ethiopia. what we have seen in ethiopia over the past few has been entirely remarkable. the reforms and changes under the leadership of prime minister abiy has started ethiopia in what i believe to be a stronger path of inclusion, democracy and new freedoms. it is of the utmost importance that the united dates can show to ethiopia and the ethiopian community that we stand side-by-side with them as these reforms occur and that we are able to provide assistance whenever and wherever possible. 128 which is passed by the house of representatives on april april 10th has played an important role in inner straining the commitment the united states has concerning the people of ethiopia appeared this legislation called on the government of ethiopia to make clear decisive steps towards
8:17 pm
becoming more inclusive, more democratic and more respectful to basic human rights of its own citizens. i was very glad to see the bipartisan report from the foreign affairs committee as well as the full house of representatives while progress has been made, we must also be aware of the steps that are still required to be taken to address the remaining issues with the ethiopia appeared specifically, there is a very troubling reports of ethnic violence taking place in a country where many have died/and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. still the result of the fbi's investigation into the grenada attack on june 24th of which occurred at a rally for the new prime minister and resulted in multiple deaths and injuries as well as -- as well as for further actions may be required to be taken. the ethiopian government to be able to show that it can protect
8:18 pm
all of its citizens to be free and also that it takes great concern with the reports of continuing violations of human rights. again, i would like to thank the subcommittee for inviting me to today's proceedings i look forward to listening to witnesses, testimonies as we continue this important discussion on how the united dates in the house of representatives can support ethiopia as it works towards addressing some of these remaining concerns. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes my good friend and colleague from california, mr. garamendi. >> thank you, chairman smith and ranking member is a privilege to be with you. this committee has been extraordinary importance in all that you do and important to me because of your work in africa and specifically ethiopia. it was 50 years ago -- an
8:19 pm
attempted to say -- in any case, we've gone back and forth to ethiopia in many, many years. the current situation in ethiopia is extraordinarily positive and i along with most others remain very, very optimistic about where this new government will lead ethiopia. there are certainly going to be issues that will affect the citizens and people in the area. it's a complex area with many ethnicities and languages and incredible economic challenges and challenges from the neighborhood. it would encourage all of us to be attentive, not to be patient, but to also understand the complexity that faced ethiopia.
8:20 pm
i know that the current government, mr. abiy ahmed is doing everything he can of particular note. i noticed the ambassador's time in ethiopia when the eritrea ethiopian war was underway with tens of thousands of people dying at the peace negotiations that occur during that time in which a team of return volunteers have a role has apparently now taken hold after some 17 years of passage. that's a good thing. it allowed the northern part, in fact all of the ethiopian area to enjoy the benefit of peace and reduction of the military attention in that area has had. there's much to be done. this committee is extremely important and i really want to thank the committee for the opportunity to be here and to follow along. i know that my wife and i will continue to always loved
8:21 pm
ethiopia and the people of ethiopia. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. very briefly as i pointed out during the subcommittee hearing on the full committee hearing and i'm sure i witnessed here today is more aware of than i am, the really the turning points as it relates to ethiopia's march forward. there is demographic old realities on the ground preferred temple, 15 points five times as much land area and get the population of russia is about 35 plus or minus. so, we have a lot of people in relatively small area which creates problems in and of itself, particularly when we consider the birth rate they are in. this isn't necessarily better bad thing, although i will point
8:22 pm
out the amazing diversity of vibrant cultural contribution as well as contributions in the realms of the arts in finance and literally millennia to the region. if we get it right, we may not be of the reel it back in. i'm encouraged by prime minister abiy's steps. i think we are headed in the right direction, but certainly a stupidly to regional stability, which i could articulate and argue plays in the 21st century directly and we need to make sure we get this right. mr. chairman, members of the panel, it is important to what we do here today, that we formulate policy in the united states appropriate to our role at outside nation as it tries to develop economically and educationally, culturally,
8:23 pm
socially and that we stand and speak with a clear voice as it relates to civil societies, as it relates to best practices engaging disparate elements, opinions because we won't have today over again. so with that, i thank the chairman for calling this meeting and i think the members of the panel. i hope we can do good work for the future here today. >> i'd like to now introduce our very distinguished leader in the job for a month, but certainly a very wise and experienced africa hand has done tremendous work over the years. the assistant secretary of african affairs. ambassador and nauseous than 32 years in government service including 22 years across africa. he served as united states ambassador to ethiopia for 1999 to 221,996 to 99.
8:24 pm
he served as state beaches from 93 to 95 and cameron for me came 93. after his retirement from the foreign service, ambassador manoj was vice provost at texas tech university to 2018. ambassador has received numerous awards for his service including recognition for helping prevent famine in ethiopia is supporting efforts to the ethiopian train more. he's lectured nationally in u.s. diplomacy and serves to global events. the ambassador is co-author of kiss are a lot say goodbye, the nonfiction winner of the 2014 paris book festival.
8:25 pm
he came to the united states in 1957 as a political refugee from hungary. he received his ba from texas tech, nsa from george washington university and he and his wife come either jane have three children and the first surplus to be born in independence. we welcome you, mr. secretary, mr. ambassador to the committee and we thank you for extraordinary service for so many decades and look forward to your testimony. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, ranking member bath and members of the committee. thank you for the invitation to testify on u.s. national interests and recent developments in ethiopia. i also wanted to take the opportunity at this hearing, my first before you to address eritrea and original significance of the improving relationships between ethiopia and trent five. as a former u.s. ambassador to ethiopia, this topic is of great importance to me personally, so
8:26 pm
it is a real pleasure to be here with you today. mr. chairman, ranking member bath, i also want to thank you for your recent trip to ethiopia. i greatly appreciate the focus of congress has on this region in which i believe it's very for national interest and i welcome the opportunity to discuss recent developments with the subcommittee. allow me to open our time today with some thematic remarks on recent developments. in ethiopia, prime minister abiy ahmed has initiated groundbreaking reforms across most every area of ethiopia society since becoming prime minister on april 2nd, 2018. he deserves tremendous credit for his boldness and tackling issues that previous government not addressed. we have a strong relationship with the highest reaches which reflects not only are centrally long diplomatic relations with ethiopia, the only country in sub-saharan africa which was never colonized, but also our great support for dr. abiy's
8:27 pm
reform vision. implementing this revision is not without its challenges and to make such broad and rapid changes will require reinforcing the foundation for the relationship between the ethiopian people and its government. we have seen dr. abiy do so, actively engaging with the public to support the government as it works to implement reforms aired in july he came to the net is based to days to meet with the ethiopian dias remembers, many of whom are enthusiastic participants in our own electoral process and care greatly for their homeland. dr. abiy has taken dramatic steps to end the former governments repression of civil liberties inviting a diversity of voices, including many who were previously criminalized to participate in ethiopia's future. yet, strengthening institutions and assessing the economy on a firm footing in restoring
8:28 pm
stability to areas facing humanitarian disaster and ethnic conflict will not be done overnight. the expectations of the ethiopian people are also incredibly high and many of them are young. we estimate that there are around 70 million ethiopians younger than 30, many of whom have participated in protests in recent years due to frustration with corruption and the lack of economic opportunity. the ethiopian government has recently sought partnership with the united states to achieve its ambitious reform plans. we have a tremendous opportunity to support ethiopia as a friend in the process you're worked to provide support to dr. abiy and his administration across all of these challenges as he continues his working years ahead. looking more broadly of regional issues, we enthusiastically welcome dr. abiy in eritrea president working together to end 20 years of conflict to
8:29 pm
train ethiopia in eritrea. there's so much work to do to repair the consequences of the conflict for the peoples of both countries, especially in border regions. the party stand of tremendous outpouring of emotion on both sides supporting peace and both governments have highlighted the positive comments to quinces this'll bring for the entire horn of africa. we support both sides as they explore possibilities for peace and continue to encourage and support their long-term success. guaranteeing the full benefits of peace for years to come will depend on the strength of all parties efforts to restore friendship and prosperity to both countries and this must be done as conclusively as possible including other important partners in the region in jan. didn't eritrea's decision to send it to legation to ethiopia, several meetings between the two governments officials in asmara,
8:30 pm
sabbagh and capital across the horn of africa to discuss trade, development and tourism. so far, the public and tangible examples of improved relations or the reopening of telephone service and the resumption of regular flights between both countries. since this was written, they open their land borders yesterday which was remarkable. eritrea is expanding capacity for use by ethiopia and it was just announced early in september. do you support from his father for the first outgoing shipment on ethiopian vessels and the peace agreement. we anticipate that these and other steps will create the potential for greater development and people to people ties on both sides of the border. peace between ethiopia and eritrea leads us to another remarkable story. eritrea's reemergence on the regional and global age and the many potential opportunities for
8:31 pm
the united states coming from regional peace with ethiopian eritrea conflict ended, we see strong potential for the contribution to improving regional security. eritrea has resisted extremists throughout could provide lessons to others on how to maintain a diversity of communities free from violent extremism. eritrea can contribute to reason no peace and stability as we've seen with engagement with somalia and south sudan and the role brokering agreements among ethiopian opposition groups. eritrea camacho is a strong tradition of self-sufficiency and independence could also promote a stronger regional approach to countering potentially malign influences of global competitors operating in the region. nonetheless, we still have significant concerns in our bilateral relations with eritrea that we will continue to highlighted days ahead. eritrea continues to imprison several of our locally employed
8:32 pm
staff members were politically motivated reasons. we've also raised concerns about detention of american citizens who are detained for the same reasons. the eritrea is regularly asserted that it has no substantive relationship of the democratic people's republic of korea, eritrea has not fully explain certain procurement transactions between eritrea in the dprk at the u.n. panel of experts reporting. broader humans rights concerns such as indefinite obligatory national service, the arbitrary detention of religious and political prisoners in a tightly controlled opaque system of government also hinder our scope for cooperation. the united states has deliberately engaged with eritrea in recent months with opportunities and concerns in full view and we will continue to do so. although we've already seen many games for a piece, which the
8:33 pm
president and the secretary of state have both held publicly, further progress will require more action to some of these priority issues in eritrea. thank you so much and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you so much mr. secretary for your leadership and for being here today. i have a number of questions that alaskans from a succession. you think is a good sign and concern that we have. but to sever sex trafficking and trafficking in general. it is an area that i have spent more than 25 years working on and written a number of laws on enemies everywhere, every time. ethiopia, prime minister abiy admitted a traffic problem with child sex tourism -- to name at least in areas where it is very, very rampant. convictions have dropped in 2016
8:34 pm
there were 640. in 2017 it dropped to 182. very bad trend line because we know the problem has not gone away. on the positive note, last month sudan and ethiopia signed an agreement to work together on their border to fight against human trafficking. i think that was a great step forward. when karen bass and i met with chief of staff, general acuna and, we asked him -- i have to wonder both really strongly made the point that his soldiers need to be trained in how to mitigate human trafficking to spot it on the side of protection and not on the side of explication committee seemed very open to it, especially when they mentioned the training, that might be an area we can conclude this. i think what we emphasized because he has so many issues and problems he has to deal with all the ones in the key here are
8:35 pm
concerned that we need to augment objects at patient will not all be done in a day, but this seems to be emphasized very, very strongly. secondly if i could design the issue of the internally displaced to .6 million displaced, about a million idp is an eastern drumming up. what are we doing to try to help them in their humanitarian crisis, which is obviously severe. we've also raised on our trip and were doing it again here. presented in our resolution and elsewhere the use of torture against so many individuals. the prime minister has cleaned house of the worst of the worst, but we know enough allowing prison, which is finally being shut down, we heard stories of people who have been grossly mistreated and the guards and others who are part of that need to be held to account. finally, the whole issue of the
8:36 pm
china's influence and i know you're very concerned about that as well. the debt that they are piling on one african country after another will be, and sustainable in exchange for their minerals, oil, would. it is a one-way ticket to beijing in terms of the net benefits of that relationship and they think ethiopia is beginning to understand that themselves. maybe you can speak to that as well. >> sure. thank you, mr. chairman. for extremely important areas to address. maybe i can take them in reverse order. the chinese one is extremely important and that is one that is of great personal interest to me. i think the ethiopian definitely understand that china is not the long-term solution for their problems. i think it is true in just about all of africa that the
8:37 pm
problems -- the greatest problems are going to face a demographic wave of the population doubling between now and 2015 and the solution all comes down, it sounds simplistic but it's not, but it comes down to jobs, jobs, jobs for the young people. and mr. abiy is one of those people who fully comprehend but to take ethiopia on the road to prosperity and stability requires creating jobs, jobs, jobs for those millions and millions and millions of young people with a huge percentage of population will be under 15 and not not going to come from trade with china. so he's extremely eager to open up trade and commerce and ethiopia with other companies. they are reaching out to us as a number of other african countries and i think it is extremely important for the united states to engage with him. obviously not only that area, but that area is critically
8:38 pm
important to their long-term future and that will require several strategic steps because of course it will require work on the part of ethiopia in the enabling environment which will be welcoming to other companies besides chinese and i think they are very eager to proceed on that. it will also require work on the united states government's part to help the ethiopians technically in those areas and finally would also require us to reach out to american companies to go to africa because unlike china, we don't have stayed on corporation and state owned banks were reporter companies to go to countries x,y and z and invest so much money. american companies i know are eager to invest in africa, specially ethiopia is now a phenomenal reputation and in many cases companies want to do that, but they find it difficult because they're not sure the environment is right for them.
8:39 pm
it's a cycle we have to actually step into and work on to help prime minister abiy succeed. in the area, the use of torture, extremely important area. the united states of course -- >> the torture victims really thought dinners for those over the years provide the intervention for ptsd especially. is that something you would consider healthy and ethiopian government obtained because the best part says these maybe not to the care, but an ability to overcome the nightmares to a great extent. >> absolutely. we've had experience doing this before. when i was ambassador in guinea, the whole region was engulfed in liberia and sierra leone civil war and became quite a good and working with the vic of the torture to try to help them overcome it.
8:40 pm
as a matter of fact, we helped the peace corps introduced a brand-new program to her third-year volunteers could actually have a competent abilities to work in the camps specifically with the torture but dems. as you said, mr. chairman, the military and the security forces are having to work on so many issues at the same time, but this is one that is critically important and also once the ethiopians will have a national dialogue on because different countries in africa have different approaches to this kind of internal peace and reconciliation post trauma. liberians did a one-way, sierra leone is it another way, the south africans of course did it a certain way and it has to be done culturally, but as you said coming to have to come to some sort of resolution because otherwise it's a poison pill that exist in our society going forward. it's not for the united states to tell other countries how to do it, but we certainly have to
8:41 pm
be prepared to support when asked to do so. i was delighted to hear you say that even the military are interested in this. but that would be another one. on the internally displaced, as usual, the united states does step forward very quickly. i was very pleased to see that in july for the u.s. announcement than $170 million in humanitarian assistance for the emergency response and ethiopia. we are there. the internally displaced numbers are horrifying. they go back several years also recently because of the emergency that happened in somalia and the brief violence that took part there that added another great number of internally displaced. silly affair. there. usaid disaster of foreign assistance and we will continue
8:42 pm
to be there and monitor and help whatever way we can. and i think the last one was the trafficking in persons began a figure the situation within ethiopia for you have a transitioning government with the enlightenment to want to change things. their problem comes up that they have to change things in so many critical areas and even the security forces again want to improve. we want them to improve, would love to see nothing more than to see them get up to that tier one status and if they want to engage with us, we want to get it done them with me specific recommendations that will work with him. actively to help them get there. it is very rarely that you have a government with so many good intentions. >> it might be worthwhile to figure a trip with the office because they are experts and
8:43 pm
they have, you know, a wealth of best practices they can share. ranking member bass. >> thank you very much. assistant secretary, thank you for being here in the giver to welcoming you on friday that the congressional black caucus is doing and looking forward to your comments. i want to follow want to follow up at the discussion you're having about the wreck deletion process and specifically my question want to know your opinions about what we can do in congress to be helpful with the process. you know, when we met with the various groups, on top of their agenda was reconciliation. when we met with the prime minister, with the prime minister are coming in no company that is slightly different message. he understands how critically is, but at the same time he doesn't want the country to be consumed by that. i just wanted to know your thoughts on what we might do
8:44 pm
that might be helpful. >> i believe -- i believe that the best thing to do would be for the united states of america as voiced by the people's representatives to recognize that prime minister abiy has indicated an interest in going towards national reconciliation and peer the importance of national reconciliation and that the heads they stands ready to support anyway possible to make that happen as we did with south africa, south africa, hazardous liberia, as he did a sierra leone to walk that fine line is not dictating, but recognizing and respecting so as i said before, does not become a poison in the future environment. it has to be taken out. >> you think it is helpful to a resolution, since the congress, some kind of statement
8:45 pm
especially on the heels of the resolution that we did? >> i think resolutions are greatly paid attention to and ethiopia. during my time as ambassador, i was called off in by the ethiopian government based on actions that congress took. so it definitely would proceed widespread. >> that wasn't >> that wasn't good i take it. >> heard me? >> i was not good i take it? >> yeah, i was chewed out a number of times because for me put it this way, credited with the action that affect congress took. but in that regard, it would definitely has its purposes and as i mentioned it definitely would be noticed by not only the ethiopian government but the larger ethiopian government worldwide. ethiopians are around the world. >> will you know, when you mentioned promoting u.s. business involvement in ethiopia
8:46 pm
and i agree with you 100%, but one way we might also look to be helpful, that he asked for a house and involved in terms of business, but we might look for ways to promote that, especially the diaspora that is not felt they could engage at the country because of prior administrations. so something we might figure out what we could do to help promote diaspora business involvement as well in addition to the multinational corporations. i wanted to ask you also about eritrea. with the opening of relations between the two countries come in do you think or do you have any sense at all whether the forest national service will can can you on the military side considering what the donation of it being especially given that is one of the major reasons for the migration out of eritrea.
8:47 pm
you know, the people getting on the boat and attempting to make it to europe. >> you're absolutely right on that. the last 20 years, eritrea is used ethiopia as an excuse to maintain what i would call a fortress state and help one of the largest standing armies in africa despite the size of their population plus the national service, which never seemed to end. with the opening of peace, they really will no longer have a reason to do that. so we will be very -- we will be following events very closely to see what domestic steps to eritrea government now takes to go along with their outward openings internationally because i think it's critically important for eritrea to do domestically the types of openings they do
8:48 pm
internationally. i was astounded also a couple days ago to see the president of eritrea in djibouti embracing on the tarmac of the airport. these events for me are mind-boggling in my 40 years of following africa i've never seen this type of transition happen. i think it is a clear indication of the wonderful things that could happen from enlightened strong leadership, just like wasting an awful things happen around and fortunately other types of leadership, which is the opposite of that. i hope this serves as an example to president isaias afwerki as well about the sense that popularity. you're not devastating to what you're doing right thing in taking your people's interest is your first goal. >> do you see our relationship having changed at all with eritrea? >> the atmosphere has improved
8:49 pm
remarkably, but now let's get to the heart of the issue and let's get to actual event and action because that also goes, for example, to the sanctions regime. eritrea cannot assume that by saying wonderful things in the opening good relations with their neighbors that will automatically make the sanctions relief. there have to be concrete actions taken and we of course will remain very engaged and say things that will not always be popular, but they have to be said. >> thank you. >> to yield to my good friend from denver. thank you, mr. chairman. real concern with these extraordinary numbers, high numbers of displaced individuals in ethiopia and the ethnic tensions inside the country, is there anything else that the united states can do to
8:50 pm
influence the situation in terms of getting better, reducing the tensions and what is the prime minister able to do? >> thank you, sir. that is a phenomenal question because of ethnicity and ethiopia as such and historically interesting issue. in one respect from ethiopia being an ethnic federalism offers almost a unique model in africa based on how some of the other state has been structured because of the boundaries, so it offers that example. ethnicity in ethiopia has been a very stark issue, but on the other hand, while the places i served in africa, i have never met people like in ethiopia who carry with them a sense that ethiopian mess in their dna going back to 2000 years of ethiopian history. it is one of those coming in no, two forces at esteem in the same
8:51 pm
place. i believe prime minister abiy recognizes that the best solution to ethnic friction is economic progress, economic opportunity for the young people who live there because of the opportunities exist and there's really no reason to be adding animosity towards the other ethnicity that may be in the other side of town. i believe he intends to work in that regard. we of course may be in position to offer programs, offer programs, you know, technical assistance in this regard, but i truly believe the heart of the issue in the heart of the solution really would be economic progress to where the ethnic groups don't feel the urgency of competition just based on ethnicity. >> ambassador, you mentioned the need to go through covert
8:52 pm
ethiopia to go through a process of reconciliation. he gave examples to the countries that have gone through the process of reconciliation. one of your examples of south africa. south africa in some way a model of reconciliation? >> the only difference being their dead in south africa you have of course the racial dimension, which is almost unique to that country. in zimbabwe it was at one time, but not in south africa, which is quite a bit different from ethiopia because in ethiopia of course it was not a racial dimension or even so much as an ethnic dimension is just an abuse of the segment of the population by the city of regimes going all the way back in some respects quite frankly to the emperor, but the successor regime led by prime minister dallas and the
8:53 pm
government, now the one that wants to take the lid off everything, let the light in, transparency, openness. it falls to them in many respects it is unfair because it falls to them to have to undo the harm that's been done in previous generations, but it has to be restorative but also cathartic experience. >> ambassador, what can we do to assist ethiopia to try to make these changes, these reforms from the abiy administration. >> to continue engagement, to take a whole of government approach to mobilize all of our resources together and in commonality, to maintain an ongoing dialogue, to stay with
8:54 pm
it and also to act as quickly as the u.s. government is capable of acting because he is moving very, very quickly and he realizes also that the changes that he is bringing in are quite fragile and that his people are expecting them to move quickly also and to show progress. we have to be also very flex bull in very tepid i'd like to also echo what the chairman said that we are fortunate to have ambassador rainer at this time an extremely talented embassy staff. our communications are constant. their communications with abiy's government of prime minister abiy's government are ongoing in constant, so we will work together to be able to maximize the effectiveness of the u.s. government because all of us want to see the same thing for a whole variety of reasons from
8:55 pm
u.s. security to our business prosperity, but also the regional stability, the greater horn of africa. >> thank you, mr. ambassador. >> joined by the distinguished chairman of the full foreign affairs committee, chairman worries. thank you, mr. chairman. i'll just make some general observations here. let me begin by thanking you and the ranking member karen bass for the trip he made in ethiopia and let me also thank mike coffman and let me say that this issue of advancing human rights in a field via his one that i think we are somewhat encouraged by some of the recent events, but your observation that we need to sustain this progress. we need to see the prime
8:56 pm
minister's were sort of taken up as long-term commitment by the government is important. the resolution was for the government in ethiopia and the human rights concerns head-on. we've indeed been some commendable progress since then. when we took office in april, prime minister abiy ahmed took some pretty bold steps in some pretty bold moves on the economy as well and we have tens of thousands of political prisoners now that have been released. many more in exile have felt safe enough to return home. that is what i'm told in los angeles and in southern california by the community.
8:57 pm
media freedom certainly is expanded from where it was. in the government i think in their public recognition about the need to systematically improve the human rights conditions have made the right commitment there. the economic reforms are encouraging, but many of them are proposed at this point. we went to see full implementation and enforcement. there's also been historic progress towards resolving the conflict between eritrea in ethiopia and we should comment on not because during my time as chairman of the africa subcommittee, we held a number of hearings on the brutal conflict between these two countries. years later we can finally look upon the conflict with cautious optimism. the recent reconciliation between these two countries is very encouraging.
8:58 pm
genuine peace and improved economic cooperation would bring stability would bring mutual prosperity to both ethiopian and eritrea. this is just the beginning. the road ahead for prime minister abiy's government will be a very challenging road. it must increase accountability of government officials. you've got to do something about accountability of the security forces. you will ensure that all citizens voices are heard and respected. the u.s. and ethiopia have long enjoyed a strong bilateral relationship, enjoyed the opportunity and i know my colleague sacrificed a lot of time and effort there, john, when you were in ethiopia at a very difficult time with the peace corps.
8:59 pm
americans are proving for ethiopia on the mend and everything we see is encouraging. sewer committee will continue to track developments and look forward to further strengthening the partnership, further strengthening ethiopia's efforts towards becoming a more free, more inclusive, more prosperous nation and i think the assistant secretary for his engagement all this. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back your >> a big deal to mr. garamendi. >> once again, thank you for the privilege of joining the subcommittee for this hearing. it's an extremely important hearing. the chairman of the full committee, mr. brace, thank you for your many years of attention to africa in ethiopia in that process and mr. kaufman, the same. just a couple of things.
9:00 pm
i'm on the armed services committee in the new national defense strategy emphasizes russia and china. the results of that apparently is a movement by the department of defense to move away from africa, particularly this a and areas of violent extreme organizations. a drawback to the attention of this committee, the inter-relationship between the work of this committee and the armed services committees with regard to the role of the department of defense and the state department in africa deserves our attention. specific interests beyond that is the questions that have arisen with regard to the current famine drought that is occurring on the eastern portions of ethiopia and
9:01 pm
probably going to move beyond that. .. taking place with regard to support for famine relief and in the area as well as security issues. with that, i yield back. >> thank you very much. on famine relief, our -- is a $373 million and ethiopia as
9:02 pm
you know, from your time there, unfortunately, suffers periodic famine.each time the united states tends to be the first one there. i had the same thing happened during my ambassadorship. we were actually able to stem off the famine and the types of famine that hit it are two varieties per sometimes unfortunately it's in the highlands and sometimes in the low lands. totally different requirements but i am always honored to be associated with the united states of america because thanks to your generosity, generosity of american people, we are always the first ones there to respond. and we will certainly continue to do so. going forward, whatever it takes. we are always the most generous. which in my lecturing i was think the american farmers because many of those kids in the classes. ethiopia is one of our most important partners. not just in the region but also throughout africa as i believe
9:03 pm
the chairman mentioned, ethiopia is the largest troop contributor to un peacekeeping. they contribute trips to several operations in sudan. they also do it in somalia because it is their neighbor and somalia is critically important to their own peace and well-being. that is one of the other reasons that this ongoing peace process between neighbors, one after the other after the other is so critically important. for my own experience in oath utopia, recognize the armed forces is one of the most professional i've ever worked with. and we depend on them for maintaining peace and security throughout the greater area and we certainly will continue that engagement. >> excuse me, mr. chairman. can you speak briefly about southern sudan? >> well, of course sudan, south
9:04 pm
sudan, kenya, everybody has been devastated by the events in south sudan. we were so optimistic when the country gained its independence. and what has happened since then has been devastated. a little while ago i was mentioning what a huge difference one enlightened leader who actually cares passionately about their own people, what difference it has made in ethiopia. and i mentioned, the opposite of that and i fear that that's exactly what we have seen in south sudan. the current peace process is the only peace process we have going. we hope that it will succeed. and of course, we will do our best to be supportive because
9:05 pm
everybody wants to see peace and reconciliation there. unfortunately, the leadership, to say that they, that it was disheartening is an understatement. the role of ethiopia and that has been long-term and significant. i assume it is remaining so. >> yes, sir, absolutely. ethiopia of course has been tremendously helpful on a number of fronts. both sudan, south sudan, when sudan was still one country because i remember when i was ambassador, add a number of conversations with then prime minister about the sudanese, at the time the civil war. and then of course the other neighbor, somalia so ethiopia has been a very positive force for stability and peace on both of those fronts. yes, sir?>> thank you very much.a few final questions if i could. mr. secretary, i have been to south sudan twice within the
9:06 pm
last two and half years or so. like you, greatly -- the performance and how destabilizing has been and the loss of life you not just south sudan but the explosion of refugees from the man-made crisis. we wish you well as the secretary for all of africa of course. in your efforts there. just a small recommendation would be to consider bringing former president george w. bush back into it. he and -- hit it off well. he still wears a hat given to him by president bush. and i think president bush would be more than helpful and i think effective in saying get with the program mr. president. and the complicity of your troops with rape and pillaging of foodstuff, and being stolen
9:07 pm
by some of them, it is just awful. if you could maybe take that back. let me ask a question. we know the disputed border, ethiopians played a huge role and we know that there is consideration being given two downgrading the withdrawal of artillery units replacing them with police. when we met with the general, he voiced his extreme concern about that and i would hope that you take that back. it could actually make the situation worse and he also made the point that he may withdraw the troops. hope it's something you might want to speak to. i think every dollar we invest especially in a place like that is a dollar will served. the support i think would be not achieved because there could be a loss of life.also
9:08 pm
some of her witnesses will follow. if you can speak to that we will follow a moment. and we heard this while we were there and of course we push this in the resolution. the idea of having a commission investigation perhaps peace and reconciliation that parallels with what south africa did. what el salvador did after the terrible war with the fmla. they try to weed out the bad apples and hold them to account and move to a reconciliation process that is, leads to a stronger and more human rights oriented ethiopia. if you can speak to those. finally, in witness testimony from emily, from aei there are good points. the risk mobilizing the population appear potentially causing opportunity al-shabaab to recruit or even expand ethiopia. your assessment of the risk of the somalis who obviously are
9:09 pm
in and around ethiopia. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. once again if you permit i will take this in reverse. with the somalia situation, indeed, one of the reasons that the somali regional state of ethiopia had such a large police force with the so-called police, they were so many of them that were exactly the reason to make sure that al-shabaab stays out of the ethiopian somali region. unfortunately, the local political forces were working for ill. they used the police for actually human rights violations, for repressing the local population. and when the prime minister recently changed the somali leadership, they were largely responsible for some of the violence and mayhem in the somali region. the prime minister and the
9:10 pm
ethiopian leadership is very concerned with the potential for al-shabaab influence and entry into the somali region. they are keeping their eyes on that. ethiopian security forces are also very sensitive to that issue. so we definitely will engage on that because that, it fits with u.s. strategic interest on that one. on the pieced and reconciliation commission, again, i absolutely accept that suggestion and i would underline that with ethiopians, it is a system that they will need to develop unique to their culture and history and how they want to go about it. and we will be as supportive as we can be as we have been in a number of other situations around the world. and the south african one obviously was a very effective and working model in africa. on the un peacekeeping of course, we have been in contact also with ethiopians on and
9:11 pm
their concerns and globally, the peacekeeping forces is very much of an issue for the united states. our government is looking at the various peacekeeping forces and how to put what resources where so we will definitely maintain that conversation with them. because we heard the same thing. >> thank you. >> mr. secretary, one final point. that is, how would you characterize the forces working against the ambassador right now in terms of his trying to move these reforms forward within ethiopia? >> as i mentioned, it certainly is not a done deal. the situation is still very fragile. we know that there are
9:12 pm
reactionary forces at work as well. they may have been partially, part of the reason the somali region so erupted in violence recently. that is why i think it is critically important for the friends of ethiopia at this time to be as supportive as possible so that the prime minister can go back to the people and show actual concrete results. one point that i make over and over again is that the young people of africa, and they are young people of africa, have exactly the same dreams and ambitions as young people everywhere else. thanks to modern technology. and that is the kind of life they want. that's what they are expecting from their own leaders. in the leaders understand this and they want to respond very quickly because otherwise they won't have much of a future. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> take you so much mr. secretary and we look forward to working with you. >> thank you so much.
9:13 pm
>> i would like to welcome the second panel. please do the introductions. >> thank you, mr. chairman.i would like to introduce our second panel. the cofounder of the ethiopian american development council. he is also a founding member of a sister organization, ethiopian american civil
9:14 pm
counsel. based in aurora, colorado. he plays the leading role in several engagement and premonitory projects in colorado. -- is the cofounder and cochairman of the nonprofit base and that is in denver. it promotes ethiopian heritage community services and a festival that brings together over 10,000 people each year. he grew up in ethiopia and studied philosophy and played soccer. he pursued a masters in science from oklahoma state university and it has -- is a phd candidate. thank you for being here today. we look forward to your testimony. do you want me to do the second one? okay.
9:15 pm
then i am proud to introduce from colorado as well, the president of the community of denver and human rights activist. he grew up in the regional state of ethiopia. he came to the united states in january 1999. seeking refuge from persecution.graduated from columbia college and that was in 2009 with a degree in business administration.he is married with four children lives in aurora, colorado. thank you for testifying before the subcommittee today. >> thank you very much, mr. coffman. i like that introduce emily, a senior analyst for the critical project at the american enterprise institute. and the africa team lead. she studies al qaeda, isis and associated groups. she specializes in the libya conflict and expertise in the horn of africa.
9:16 pm
also cornice critical threat projects training and tradecraft in the management of integration of technology into research process. she graduated from dartmouth college with a ba in anthropology. with arabic language. we then will hear from a senior program officer at freedom house. prior to his position there, he was the secretary-general of the ethiopian human rights council. the foremost human rights organization. -- fled ethiopian 2009 the government attacks on ethiopia, the council became more persistent. when he arrived in the u.s., he continued his human rights protection and good governance. in 2010 he received an award from human rights for his activism.
9:17 pm
he hasn't llb and a llm from -- in south africa. we will now begin. >> put on your microphone, please. thank you. >> chairman, ranking member, distinguished members of the committee. thank you for this opportunity to testify on the situation in ethiopia. i would like to open my testimony first by thinking the honorable coffman. for his support and the american constituents for giving us the forum about
9:18 pm
ethiopia. i would also like to recognize the active participation of all ethiopians all walks of life in advocating the passage of hr128. it was passed in 2018. and the long struggles of the ethiopian people resulted in disintegration from within. the former prime minister was unable to control the situation. even after declaring a state of emergency and resigned. following that, a new prime minister was appointed. i give full credit to -- for the extraordinary work in transforming ethiopia from a
9:19 pm
looming civil war into civil peace. ethiopia is undergoing changes unlike any that have been seen in its long history. after 27 years, for the first time, they are not seeing the dawn of a new day in which they are beginning hope and confidence in their future. over the past six months, we have seen that none of us expected it in our wildest imagination. the state of emergency was lifted. many political prisoners were released. ethiopians were denied entry into ethiopia and now receiving -- piece-- peace was finally.
9:20 pm
they were working hard to reconnect the countries. some of the roads were heavily mined, are not being retained for commercial use between the countries. the government has made a stride toward -- even offered to privatize some of the development of business. ethiopian airlines and telecom are the two big areas slated for private. the press is operating without being muzzled. by the government. and independent media are allowed to work from ethiopia. with all of the change happening there, there are some -- all of the country, nearly 2
9:21 pm
million people have been forced out of their homes to escape violence and -- most of them are women, children and elder men. now the new prime minister, the public support rally, this june -- there were highly publicized in -- the terror unleashed in the capital of ethiopia and somalia region where six churches were burned down,
9:22 pm
priests and people were viciously murdered in public squares. all of these signs i believe show the weakness in the institution that safeguard law and order. human rights and democracy. the last 27 years, they have weakened to be self-serving. -- providing resources, human rights commission, election commission and are independent incompetent institutions. we would like the usa to urge the ethiopian government to create an independent to conduct a full transparent investigation into the killings, torture and excessive
9:23 pm
use of force by security force . and hold accountable, security forces accused of such actions through public proceeding and to publicly have findings from such an investigation. organize an independent commission that oversees the recognition of the human rights commission. the election commission already cast to be independent. full credible and transparent investigation into the recent violence that led to loss of life and a large number of ethiopians. including those that -- in different regions. and hold accountable, those responsible for this human rights violations.
9:24 pm
and to call for an open, constructive dialogue with opposition forces at home and abroad. peaceful in order for the countries future together. i know the new leadership will do its part for the oath the-- the ethiopian people. thank you. and i would like any questions you might have. >> thank you very much. >>. >> chairman, ranking member, members of congress. -- i offer my gratitude to my congressman, mike coffman.
9:25 pm
ethiopia american in the district for the opportunity to represent not only denver but to speak to the other communities across the u.s. and ethiopia. when we brought to you the demand of the youth, we, who are known, we stepped up to speak for them because their voices were not heard in international community. now with many of the voices that were once silenced a finding expression and they can be heard. we are grateful that you, chairman and ranking member have followed up with congressional delegation to
9:26 pm
ethiopia on august 23. where you recognized to meet with, spoke with -- prime minister strong reform is to be celebrated. now it is necessary to consolidate on this reform in order to bring opportunity to the country. everyone told the ethiopia was on the verge of collapse and ã ãthey created the open and ushered in this era of change. i want to remind you of the need to ensure that the benefit
9:27 pm
and opportunity created now -- those that took the greatest risk and made the greatest sacrifice must not be forgotten again. at this point, most of the oromo protesters have not yet been met. but they have hope and we have hope. the first is land rights. the first resistance was overland. this matter has not yet been addressed. the land of indigenous oromo, -- and many other peoples have turned into commodity for sale or lease without their knowledge or consent.
9:28 pm
a major demand of oromo is to get access for prosperity. the need to adopt -- to remain a top priority. in day-to-day reality, access to vast array of opportunities currently blocked for those who do not speak -- and justice and accountability. you should be aware that despite the release of prisoners in ethiopia, the killings and distress meant of oromo, people in some areas particularly in -- over 2
9:29 pm
million people were displaced across the country. in urgent need of international assistance to be back in their homes. the many with imprisonment, torture highlights the need for an independent commission created to conduct a full investigation and the release of finding and recommendation. the demand of inclusive government. ethiopia is home to multiple communities. who have been marginalized. democratic, federal system where you can ensure that interest in ethiopia are severed. to attain a transition to democracy from authoritarian
9:30 pm
rule, free and fair election must be carried out in the context of society. with an independent board. i summarize my recent remarks by saying that the daily life of oromo have not improved. but the people have hope and have appreciated the opening offer. even from the most deprived area was pouring out, it has become deeply institutionalized. to undo the arrangement takes vision, time, patience, collaborative effort.
9:31 pm
they are committed to joining in the task. they understand that the u.s. congress has been a great ally who stood with them. we are pleased to continue to play a supportive role in this journey. finally, my written testimony include my recommendation for the subcommittee which i believe will help ethiopia transition to a democracy. thank you for this opportunity. mr. chairman, i yield the remaining of my time. >> thank you so very much. i would like to ask miss emily estelle if you can give us your testimony. >> chairman smith, ranking member and distinguished members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to speak about ethiopia
9:32 pm
strategic ãi will focus on the destabilization and present risk to u.s. national security interests. ethiopia is a key partner to secure u.s. interest. i'm aware of the current optimism about the trajectory and i want to share the optimism. but i must raise reasons for concern. there is a risk that local and regional conflicts exacerbated by geopolitical competition will destabilize ethiopia and expose the weakness of partner reliant u.s. strategies. direct u.s. interest rate risk and the horn of africa. include the fight against al qaeda and dices and freedom of movement in the red sea. ethiopia faces a rapid political transition and ethnic conflict that could challenge to build up your much on the board of the somali regional state where the prime minister also faces resistance to consolidation of power. sustained conflict could mobilize ethiopia is somali publishing potentially a
9:33 pm
opportunity for all shabob to recruit or attack in ethiopia. the government approach that includes internet blackouts can exacerbate rather than solve the problem. instability in ethiopia would undermine u.s. efforts of the affiliates and reverberate regionally. ethnic violence or resurgence of officials would draw the regime focus inward affecting regional peacekeeping and diplomatic effort. american somali and african union forces have disrupted all shabob in central somalia and approved security and mogadishu peer but not yet broken the hold on large areas in southern somalia. this will evaporate if ethiopia kenya or uganda, which faces escalating political crisis, falters. the problem of al qaeda and isis must also be considered along side human rights. they gain strength with
9:34 pm
conflict and societal disruption.conditions in ethiopia could create this opportunity. ethiopia is conflict typically divided along ethnic lines rather than congressional or sectorial in spirit al qaeda has a strategy of ethnic conflict and succeeding this way in west africa for example. both al qaeda and all shabob ambitions extend beyond greater simile which includes part of eastern ethiopia to all of east africa. isis, which is growing in somalia, could also target ethiopia. legitimate and responsive governance for all ethiopians both protect the human rights and inoculates them against extremist organizations. the ethiopia -- is another positive development that nonetheless raises threats to u.s. interest. the facilitation of the agreement occurs in the dangerous context of the larger contest among middle eastern states. escalating geopolitical competition in the horn of africa is having conflict and
9:35 pm
increasing potential for instability while generating positive effects. power plays by external actors have caused political turmoil in somalia weakening the federal government in which u.s. counter al-shabaab strategy relies. militarization of the horn and the southern red sea has already affected commercial trade and threatens freedom of navigation. russia and china are also expanding influence. the fear. -- might excerpt the trend as russia -- potential isolation that could drive towards china. expenses also show that supporting strongmen doesn't guarantee security. ethiopia is no exception. in supporting ethiopia we must recognize that we are addressing legitimate grievances and protect the human rights yielding long-term security dividends. investment good governance and
9:36 pm
security also prevent groups like al-shabaab and isis from attempting to co-op local grievances. the u.s. must also weigh the values of outsourcing foreign policy objectives to partners against the potential adverse effects of their involvement. the u.s. can begin to shape ethiopia in two ways. first, using all available tools to help prime minister to militarize the response ethnic violence to resolve internal disputes and conduct necessary structural reforms peacefully and acceptably to all sides. second, ensuring the u.s. remains the sole guarantor of the interest in the region. by not relying on the uae or any other outside power to manage the interests. ethiopia is a critical country in an increasingly important region. the u.s. must recognize the dangers of rapidly changing dynamics in the horn of africa to prepare for risk case scenario even as we regard new developments of optimism. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you so very much.
9:37 pm
>> chairman smith, ranking member and members of the subcommittee. it is an honor to testify before you today. i would also like to recognize the subcommittees great leadership on human rights issues on ethiopia. we are witnessing a moment in ethiopian history. if we succeed it would become one of the worlds few victories for governance with significant implications for the entire continent. since the election of the prime minister we have seen many positive changes. since a lot of the positive developments have been -- by my distillers panelists, i would like to focus on the challenge and recommendations that we would like to make, to make a
9:38 pm
change even deeper and more inclusive. the positive steps of thousands of political prisoners be released and the amnesty -- including those with parliament and also the plan is to limit the term of the prime ministers by making constitutional change. and initiating legal reforms including antiterrorism and the plans to liberalize economy and ending the state monopoly and executives and key positions is something we should all be recognizing and keep positive
9:39 pm
-- also that the new prime minister took to end 20 years of hostility between ethiopia and -- when it comes to the challenge, again, despite the many positive developments, this challenge still remains. the first one is while popular support for -- appears to be strong, power stroke have not yet been resolved. members of the establishment are not completely convinced of the wisdom of reform yet. and continue to lament that there have been in their ideological foundations of development and revolutionary democratic in favor of liberalism and populist tendencies. because there have been many
9:40 pm
distinctions in the party, -- the way they conduct its business. as a result government officials who are not on board or a position -- there's also need to revive the challenge of reviving independent media and civil societies that have been decremented through years of violence from the government and legislation. clashes also threatened the sustainability with violence and political -- in the past few months ethnic identity clashes, hundreds of civilians have been displaced. governments strategy in the
9:41 pm
area needs to be largely reactive. with the liberalization of the political environment and free speech we have seen heightened nationalistic and identity-based rhetoric with an enormous strength in the long tradition of existence with ethiopian ethnic communities. primarily organized and led by the youth. they are generating high expectations among the youth and can lead to resentment and unrest if left unmet. members form insurgent groups are returning home. is not clear whether these have gone through proper
9:42 pm
demobilization, rehabilitation. the injection of such a ready in a tense environment could easily fuel violence and there been incidents of violence and confrontation between government security forces and -- to make the elections fanfare the government has not yet rolled out a roadmap for electoral reforms. nor has it conducted constitutionally required -- that was postponed to november 2017. for security reasons. updated since that it is crucial for elections. they were bitterly contested and led to violence. lack of public trust in the security service is also a challenge. while there have been encouraging signs of restraint by security forces dealing with crowds in recent months, public
9:43 pm
remains very low and numerous instance remain unaddressed. widespread skepticism about the government handling of the june bombing at -- also the grand renaissance reflect that. this in the future poses serious problem impeding legitimate enforcement and resulting in extra measures that we've seen parts of the country. some policy recommendations i would like to -- for the united states to ensure the viability reforms the united states should press the government of ethiopia to make long-standing
9:44 pm
ethnic grievances. the vision of unity reconciliation and inclusion should include concrete strategies aimed at fostering social cohesion. the government should seek to prevent violent clash in a manner that will affect communities by establishing an early warning system and investigating and punishing perpetrators. it is critical that the government address the expectations and are taking economic reforms to generate education opportunities that allow opportunities for the future. with national elections, the importance of reforms to ensure free elections cannot be overstated. eliminating participation
9:45 pm
including registration, the structure and composition of the national electoral vote of ethiopia and the number of -- the long-standing questions that need to be addressed before any credible election is to be conducted. conducting this should also be part of preparations for elections. the government should accelerate the process of reforming the criminal justice system including revising and repealing repressive laws that impede freedoms of expression, opposition to and assembly. and importantly ensuring that a vision of these laws should be transparent and include all stakeholders and in a timely manner. there is also a need to ensure a system of accountability for serious human rights abuses
9:46 pm
that occurred in the past 27 years. this may not necessarily mean that persecution should occur but it could entail a form of inquiry that allows the opportunity to air grievances, question officials, obtain documents and seek closure. such an approach can extract acts of vengeance against former ruling party officials. there is a need to reform the judicial law enforcement, to undertake our plans of reform of the sectors to make them independent of political control. the courts have been routinely used the level political motivated traps with the ruling party. revision of restricted flows such as antiterrorism proclamation will have -- in
9:47 pm
the absence of reforms to the criminal justice system itself. they could also help deepen clinical reform in ethiopia by increasing u.s. financial and support for elections including capacity building before an institution such as the national election board. the 29 local elections will be key for the ability to advance the reform agenda and could be or build positive momentum and experience leading up to the 2020 national election. they should provide robust support to strengthen civil society and independent media. this would take advantage of the new political and test its practice. to the extent allowed by ethiopian law, they should also support capacity building for
9:48 pm
political parties. which are underdeveloped after years of repression and in need of to offer meaningful -- u.s. could also encourage engagement in the reform versus by the u.s. diaspora which would include exchange programs that aim at professional and key sectors associated with reform efforts. finally, if reforms continue to advance, the u.s. constraint in economic side between with ethiopia and expand u.s. economic to assist the new government in providing tangible democratic evidence to a broad population enabling political reform to become clearly associated with an improved standard of living and what remains a largely impoverished country where it
9:49 pm
has been unevenly distributed. a thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much for your testimony. i would like to yield to the ranking member. >> thank you. i have a couple questions. let me begin by thanking all of you because in each of your comments, we have your written documents here. you give very specific recommendations. i was just speaking with a member of my staff but i want to compile all of those recommendations and look and see where we might be helpful. i did have a couple of questions. i believe it was -- that mention the independent commission. he said the u.s. can be helpful. want to know what you meant and who would be on the independent commission. he also mentioned, i believe, people being, forced out of
9:50 pm
their homes and people going back. and how did you see that process taking place? >> thank you for the question. the independent, i meant through the last 27 years, the institution is diminished or came subservient. >> who would be on the independent counsel? >> i am contemplating ethiopians, who have independent view of this to be in that and see the commission, the election and to prepare for that and also putting that with a watchful eye of the united states with support. >> it was also mentioned about
9:51 pm
the human rights accountability act and the u.s. government applying to ethiopian government officials. why would we do that right now? and who would you be targeting? i know some of the offenders, the prime minister has gone after himself. >> i think this is related to the capacity of the ethiopian police investigator. in the last june, assassination attempt to -- just -- maybe this is an opportune time for to help in expanding the
9:52 pm
investigation and let the ethiopians know, the other questions, where it is, somalia region when somalia region leader forces territorial or some kind of misunderstanding there, a lot of people pushed out from the region and they were -- it goes to the capacity of the ethiopian government. we are right now with enthusiasm that doctor abby with peace and unity, how that is translated into the ground on that region is still questionable.
9:53 pm
>> okay. any other panelists want to contribute? okay. go ahead. >> thank you. thank you, -- you know, over 2 million displaced from the somali region, the somalis have never conflict, they are the same people. the displacement is politically motivated by the regime. -- atrocities that have been committed for 27 years. the country has been looted.
9:54 pm
when you made the communities in ethiopia, you have the stories. the young who were taken from the street and put in prison and he lost his two legs in the chambers. >> i was trying to get at if you were suggesting that the act be enforced before there is a truth and reconciliation process within ethiopia or that it would be one of the results? again, what else of the recommendations and i mentioned i want to compile them i just tried to figure out how to move forward. so there would be a reconciliation and then the u.s. would respond? or are you saying the u.s. should respond before?
9:55 pm
>> i am sure i think and how resolution 128, the human rights applied globally. >> right. >> u.s. could act now for the offenders who are on or on the ground. for example the head of security for example forces. -- >> right. >> so the united states can be able to apply that. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> let me just ask a few questions about first of all, trafficking in the earlier panel with the ambassadors and secretary raised the issue of trafficking in ethiopia. 15 years ago or so, i went to a
9:56 pm
shelter that was funded by the u.s. government largely.many of the women there had been trafficked in the middle east. they were the lucky ones that came back and were rescued. they were learning skills so they can be employed and again u.s. taxpayer was funded much of it. i think it's a great use of our dollar to help people who have been horribly abused. but ethiopia remains on tier 2. has very huge gaps particularly in the area of child sex trafficking. i think if all you want to respond or not, would take back that we need to keep this as a priority. in our dialogue with the new prime minister and his government. he has inherited is a said before, one problem after another certainly the cruelty that is imposed upon women and children with trafficking is among the worst on the planet.
9:57 pm
i would encourage you that we will be very productive and helpful with the government on that if you want to speak that please do. an issue of reconciliation, the south africans really wrote the book on that. desmond tutu leading the 17 member panel in the act of 1895. if my memory is correct some 21,000 people interview and became a very highly visible process and there were some trying and successfully destroying documents leading up to its creation and even after its creation. to avoid the accountability that this would help bring. but it had the incredible impact of moving the country forward. and my hope is he had that your testimony today, it certainly is something that needs to be very seriously considered. but it obviously, the call is
9:58 pm
to be made by the ethiopian government itself. if you want to further elaborate on that, it would be excellent. if i could, miss emily estelle, again you, i think one of the things or big take away we got to come back with was there needs to be a managing of expectations by all of communities. it will take a long time even though some high-impact things have been done by the prime minister and done very successfully. everyone is talking positively but we have got to make sure that everybody do not at some point say, well, now we are disappointed. then there is a reversion back to violence and what would be the worst possible scenario. we need to stay at this no matter how long it takes. and to encourage peaceful transition and reconciliation among all of the elements of the ethiopian society. and again, miss emily estelle you did bring out that very dangerous situation with the
9:59 pm
somali ethnic community. and maybe you would want to elaborate on that further? i did ask the secretary, your testimony about that earlier. i would appreciate that. and on the elections, everyone always wants the election asap. but it has to be done right with a full accounting as to who is eligible to vote. and the whole process, i was there 2005 when the president hijacked the election. and it was one of the most, one of the worst processes i've ever seen for elections. and so, we want a free and fair and totally transparent election. the united states i know can be helpful to the ethiopians. what date should there be? should the barren aspirational goal or should it be more hardened as to when the day should be?
10:00 pm
and we were slated to go to the dr congo right after the visit to ethiopia and we could not get in. we were denied by the president. and of course, the issue of elections there and what i believe to be for purposes to stay in power. not just because all the eyes are not dotted and t's crossed. i think you can speak to that well from freedom house. ...
10:01 pm
i'm sure there are some people who would play that role clearly and dispassionately so that they can be a very, very positive experience for the country. >> thank you. the first question -- [inaudible] the countries. this issue is, you know, very rampant and does i see it, it is the economic capacity of the country. alluded by edna farland where
10:02 pm
there is no opportunity in their village. so they are subject for this kind of sex trafficking as we have been seeing in history. the situation, the united states can play in helping small neighborhood capacity building and creating an opportunity. to create an opportunity with the village. young girls are not traveling for moral area to create an opportunity that support the poor family.
10:03 pm
we have only to succeed. so that is what they are going to somewhere they don't know with nothing in their hand to support their family. an opportunity in the village. on the second question in reconciliation, i work with churches, serve in church and usually we respect the elderly and religious figures. so we can use the religious figure in the construct of peace and reconciliation because the process that we are in. we don't know where it ends with
10:04 pm
peace and reconciliation. my suggestion is, the economic thing tank with the religious figures, the united states helps the government to formulate some kind of elderly group who can explain this piece to the young people who are being a result right now and i don't think, you know, the current situation allows the younger generation and what they're expecting from the new government. that is my suggestion tried to formulate the elderly group. thank you.
10:05 pm
>> again, thank you. to respond to the trafficking, it is important to raise what was happening for the last 27 years. their families owned trafficking companies. trafficking has been legalized in ethiopia very much. they are the ones who transport young men and women to the arab countries and everywhere. but another site, they are accepting money from the united dates government to prevent trafficking, but outside they are the one who are involved in
10:06 pm
trafficking. dr. -- with the removal of people from power, the trafficking can be under control. as far as the truth and reconciliation goes, i'm sure you have met -- [inaudible] is the leader -- [inaudible] need to be in ethiopia because for the last 27 years, and he wrote it, totally whacked out the civic societies.
10:07 pm
so with the elders we have changes and then we have a proven result because the elders have played a significant role with the somali elders to bring the trends we are seeing now. i will say, the strangles of civic society in ethiopia and repeal the anti-terrorism charity laws. so that will help. thank you very much. >> mr. chairman, to speak briefly to your question about the small smaller population and al shabazz, des main point i want to make us just because the conflict in that region is not
10:08 pm
yet connected to all shabbat doesn't mean that it can become that way. so i'll cut it globally has a strategy of working within local complex and potentially changing their carrot to serve there an object is. if we look at west africa right now, and there is a case where groups affiliated with al qaeda and other jihadist groups have taken on the rhetoric of global ethnic conflict and inserted themselves into conflicts and gain support that way. i think that's a possibility that we must be very aware of in ethiopia if conflict persists and continues to fester, particularly in an environment where al qaeda leadership is emphasizing east africa is a place for expansion right now. so i don't think this is an immediate concern, it is one that we certainly need to be prepared for come especially to ethiopia's importance, were ethiopia goes the region is going to follow.
10:09 pm
it's the worst case, but one we must guard against. thank you. >> i would like to make a contribution on the issue of reconciliation and coalition, it has been said lately on the first panel that the issues in ethiopia and elsewhere are clearly different than i think a deeper examination of what is on the ground in ethiopia. to start with, we still have a party technically in power, being accused of all atrocities that have occurred in the past 17 years. there's going to be a modest
10:10 pm
interest that will be perfect did when we embark on this part of assuring accountability. with the majority of cities is that there needs to be some process which may be an opportunity to air grievances, which may be to provide and the closure which may be for people who have suffered so much over the past 27 years at the hands of the security forces. before tortured -- and marketed 50 cents. the issue for me to carefully
10:11 pm
analyze what would be good for ethiopia and not to lose sight of the fact there is an imperative to at least provide this forum for airing grievances. on the issue of the election, that is where i see the environments past where the government is going to be tested in terms of delivery and and addressing expectations. one thing in this connection that i'd like to make a point discussed the reforms take root in the change got broadband, there is also a need to expand this new group of leadership
10:12 pm
that ethiopia is having to wider and more reform minded people. in other words, we encouraged the prime minister following than the adults so to get him and encourage him to continue some sort of embarking on a delegation of power and introducing many other supporters said that he should not necessarily be personally expect did to do a lot of the things that's expecting him to. coming back to the elections, if we start with the 29th team local elections, which have been postponed from this year, there
10:13 pm
is an enormous logistical and technical challenge that need to be made first. the first one is this notion that there are over 3.5 million seats across the country that need to be filled by local and national elections. this is what ethiopia deliberately did since 2008 to discourage so there is a lot of question from this newly reviving opposition groups to fix that system before any election. there is also this long-standing issue of the independence of the national electoral board of ethiopia. it has been widely recognized.
10:14 pm
where successive elections very single-handedly with 100% different. there is this crucial task of doing this reforms before thinking of but which is the core aspects. the opposition groups are indicating that these groups are given priority. in addition to supporting the prime minister to defend these reforms, it would be wise to encourage them to roll out their planned first and what is being planned could be running, conduct being the elections now or it could be waiting a little
10:15 pm
bit so everyone could have their views aired so that we will not be going back to the types of elections that have been taking place in ethiopia for the past 27 years. the logistical and technical and also legal challenge need to be addressed first and making the u.s. could be very harmful encouraging the government. when it's providing support to the legal reform process that is taking place right now with civil society organizations and independent media speak freely, engage the government and other stakeholders in wide-ranging democratic processes including the elections. >> before you go to mike coffman, i would just note that during our visit and we worked
10:16 pm
on this in this committee for years, but prime minister abiy, the first dozen days for conception to the second birthday and food security. i give them roger spoke, which is one of the experts who has testified before the committee. they mitigate child mortality to hopefully put a huge dent in stunting, which is a huge problem in ethiopia and elsewhere to increase the strength and ability for some of the problems that the food and supplementation is sufficient, both mother and baby are healthier and obviously for the child, some of the cognitive
10:17 pm
loss that occurs when there is food insecurity can never be reclaimed. so this is a critical window. so for the record i gave rogers out to him and made a strong appeal to him to work obviously with his own government, but also to work with us because usaid does have a robust program on this but by dunford a usaid and the first dozen days. i hope all of us while working on the political side continued to emphasize as well. we will do an additional hearing on this in the near future. but to get that on the record he was very empathetic to those goals obviously. the first thousand days is transformational. i've never seen in my entire career one program that can do so much. the pep talk program, all of those do enormous good in
10:18 pm
mortality, morbidity, really stopping aids and the like. but this fun, the kids are stronger, the mothers are stronger in the next 25 or 30,000 days of their lives without much improved when you get the first correct. >> thank you. i does have one final question for all the panelists. starting with you, mr. alemayehu, and that is how do you think that given the history of the united states in ethiopia, sometimes positive, sometimes not positive, but how do the people of ethiopia and you feel about the united states right now? >> thank you, congressman. it is a really good question and
10:19 pm
it touched me deeply. the united states has been helping since the relationship again in 1903. i am one of the biggest -- united states support to ethiopia. sometimes those who said it might be good to sometimes god because of our leaders in ethiopia. not because of the united states. i came to the united states from the university, which is built by the united states in 1953. that was the university of us working. my first english teacher was a peace corps gentleman. i love him dearly
10:20 pm
[inaudible] the good of people. i deeply think the united states for their help in thank you for that question. and now we have some question of support. it is not because the united states support this are people who are bad on the top of the government who are given not support to the wrong direction. suggesting any help, it helps somebody in that country who needs help. the united states support we appreciate. i am thankful about.
10:21 pm
thank you. >> thank you, mr. said, how do you think -- how do the united states, but how do you think the people of ethiopia right view the united states? >> thank you so much. it is a great question. let me start it from this, from the member of congress. representative mike coffman and the representative chairman, your names are household names in the ethiopian people. not just me, the cairo supreme, who made these days possible believe that the united states government and a member of congress as the greatest ally in their darkest time. we believe the help of the united states played a great
10:22 pm
role in bringing the change that we are witnessing, the changes that we see, that we are giving to the prime minister. prime minister abiy ahmed was a moral person about a year and a half ago. so our struggle brought him to the front line. so, i believe as my colleague said, the role of the united states is not something that we see in ethiopia. so it is great and the united states is a great ally of ethiopia. the other thing, something that i have to add is that ethiopia has never been governed by the
10:23 pm
multiethnic -- [inaudible] in the past 27 years. it is blood by rule. people need to really understand it. so it is a multiethnic democratic federalism has not been tried in ethiopia. people have been coexisted in some case there are three different religions in one household then we cannot compare it to ethiopia to somalia where it's just one religion. so we are very much a great example to the entire world where religion can coexist.
10:24 pm
we believe that we will lend not to god. i just want to have that. thank you so much. >> any closing thoughts about u.s. influence in terms of ethiopia and where we are right now in terms of how the ethiopian people see us? >> thank you, congressman. i think the u.s. ethiopia relationship assert is strong. the one point i would add is that we can't take that strength for granted good i know this committee absolutely understands that. looking at the rise of china in particular in the horn of africa, this week we had china refinancing ethiopia's debt, for example. the u.s. needs to be aware of competition in the face for other states may be gaining influence. i don't see the u.s. relationship to be particularly at risk at this time, but there
10:25 pm
are more people bidding for thought than there had been previously. >> thank you. mr. badwaza. >> thank you, mr. coughlin. i would say from government to government relationship, and has been strong. as much as the ethiopian population looks out for the united states and the type of freedom people have here in the democratic process, there is also a sense of disillusionment in some occasions, for example, that comes in recent years, that relationship being overly focus
10:26 pm
on counterterrorism and also humanitarian development support for ethiopia instead of publicly supporting to advance democratic freedoms when it is much needed in many instances. i would like to say there is a sort of sentiment when it comes to assessing that relationship [inaudible] is concerned. >> thank you, mr. kaufman. your leadership, your insight, without objection your false statements will be made part of the record and this hearing is
10:27 pm
adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> from president trump's announcement in july to judge kavanaugh's meetings with key senators this summer, to the recent confirmation hearings and thursday the senate judiciary committee debate the confirmation of judge kavanaugh. watch live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2, c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio at. >> what does it mean to be american? this year's student can kim
10:28 pm
competition question asking middle and high school students to answer it by producing a short documentary about a constitutional right, national characteristic or historic event and explain how it defines the american experience. we are awarding $100,000 in total cash prizes including a grand prize of $5000. this year's deadline is january 20th, 2019. for more information, go to our website, student kim.org. >> a discussion at the atlantic council that the russia's propaganda effort in the putin administration's use of the rt television network. the panel includes the plaintiff and her attorney in a law -- [inaudible conversations]

44 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on