HR 6600: A counterproductive bill directed at the Ethiopian people


The age-old cordial relations between Ethiopia and United States have been ruptured due to the latter’s unfair policy in recent times. Under the previous administration, the US rubbed shoulders with Egypt to put pressure on Ethiopia in relation to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Former US President Donald Trump boldly sided with Cairo and even made a dangerous remark against Ethiopia. In fact, Trump’s handling of the GERD negotiation drew sharp and worldwide condemnations.

Unfortunately, Washington’s flawed policy has continued to this very day with intensity under the current administration. Misled by the intrigues of a few politicians and interest groups, Washington’s policy has gone from bad to worse especially after Ethiopia is dragged into the conflict by the terrorist Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The US has indeed been barking up the wrong trees in the conflict.

America’s unwarranted pressures have been accompanied by coordinated media attacks, smear campaigns, economic sanctions, and Ethiopia’s suspension from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). These impositions and interventions came under the pretext of humanity.

The Biden administration claims these actions are solely targeted at perpetrators of human rights violations in Ethiopia’s conflict. These actions fell short of credibility as they fail to address the elephant in the room; TPLF which is the cause and the actor of every human suffering in Ethiopia.

Contrary to Whitehouse’s rhetoric, it is the Ethiopian people that are victims of the US hasty decisions such as the blanket ban of the AGOA pact. Low-income youth especially women are eventually losing jobs due to the deprivation of the trade privilege while many careers are on the line. The entire economy would be on knife-edge. The country also loses substantial income that could be used for the expansion of basic infrastructures such as transportation systems, communication networks, sewage, water, and electric systems.

Against this backdrop, the relationship between the two nations has been improving on the heels of the release of opposition parties’ leaders and others by the Ethiopian government. The exoneration of the political figures is meant to widen the political landscape and find peaceful solutions. Even if received with cheers and jeers locally, the decision of the government has attracted applause from the international community including the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and many leaders of western countries including the US president Joe Biden.

But on February 8th, legislation with the name “Ethiopian Stabilization, Peace and Democracy Act” has advanced in the U.S. House of Representatives to impose sanctions on Ethiopia. The act is quite opposite to its name as it is clearly hostile to Ethiopia in many terms. To put some of the drafts here, the bill suspends U.S. security and financial assistance to the Ethiopian government and opposes any loan Ethiopia could get from IMF and the World Bank. It also curtails investment and restricts basic rights such as the immigration of Ethiopians to the U.S.

The advancement of the counterproductive resolution has instantly ignited denunciation from the government, Eritrean allies, the Ethiopian, Eritrean, and the Diaspora in the Horn of Africa in general.

Different associations and individuals are voicing their concern saying the bill jeopardizes the Ethio American relation and harms the lives of Ethiopians despite its claim of enabling the restoration of peace and stability in the country. Petitions are already being signed by Ethiopian diasporas and sent to their respective lawmakers that are representing their constituency.

Commenting on the proposed bill, Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesperson Dina Mufti said the bill has not considered Ethiopia’s current condition and should be terminated as it would only play a negative role in the efforts of finding peace. “We understand the bill is in the process. Has not been ratified yet but we realized HR 6600 has not depicted the present realities. It is proposed on the basis of wrong information. So, it is unhelpful to current efforts of solving issues in a peaceful manner. It would make efforts of finding peace difficult.”

The American-Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC) chairman Mesfin Tegenu fears the move would damage the Ethiopia-US relationship. “͞Put quite simply, this will bring about the end of the Ethiopia-US relationship as we know it.” He emphasized the bill would contribute nothing but compromises Ethiopia’s commitment to peace.

“The Bill is simply not reflective of the realities on the ground, many of the actions it requests of Ethiopia from an amnesty for prisoners to the formation of national dialogue are already in progress. Also, the Bill has a limited focus on the TPLF, the insurgent group who triggered this conflict, and is yet to fully lay down arms and cease fighting.”

On the other hand, the AEPAC in a tweet elaborates the bill’s drastic effect on the lives of ordinary Ethiopians. “This bill ignores the millions in Amhara and Afar who were victims of the TPLF’s attacks. It will do nothing to repair the lives of those who have been left without loved ones or who have suffered serious

The No More movement, a global peaceful movement has also denounced the Orwellian entitled “Ethiopia Stabilization, Peace and Democracy Act” (HR 6600), which calls for the imposition of harsh sanctions and violent measures against Ethiopia.

In its statement posted on February 12, the NoMore movement reaffirmed that it stands unified against HR 6600 and US aggression toward Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia. The movement condemned in the strongest terms possible the bill passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee that was introduced by US representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ-07) and Young Kim (R-CA-39), who calls for hostile US intervention in the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia.

For the movement, as this bill came as US restricted visas to Somalis, the advancement of the bill shows the Biden Administration’s reprisal for its failure of policies in the horn of Africa. “It appears that both the executive and legislative branches of the US government, which are currently under the control of the Democratic Party, are taking hostile, counterproductive and punitive measures against all peoples of the Horn of Africa who they subjectively believe is “undermining” their failed policies in the Horn of Africa region.”

The movement threatened to mobilize US citizens to the maximum possible extent to remove from office all sponsors of HR 6600 and exercise their democratic rights against all parties that openly or tacitly endorse the deadly neocolonial actions of the Biden Administration against the people of the Horn of Africa.

It does not need much expertise to predict the damage of this bill on Ethiopia and its people. People in the diaspora and home are already letting know the world the danger of this bill on Ethiopians life and the fate of Ethiopia and the region as a whole. Lack of security and financial assistance might leave the country and the region to lawlessness and vulnerable to terrorist groups.

Ethiopia is a top ally of the U.S. in counter-terrorism efforts in the strategic place of the horn of Africa. If it is not for Ethiopia and America’s partnership, the region would have faced an unimaginable crisis by Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda. Hence, halting American assistance means making the region volatile to terrorist organizations.

On the other hand, if Ethiopia denied a loan from IMF and the World Bank and U.S. investment on every level left the country, it would multiply the already existing number of unemployment. So, the bill nicknamed “Ethiopian Stabilization, Peace and Democracy Act” is irony of the time. As it is clear, people who are denied of all opportunities cannot be stabilized, find peace or democracy. It is rather a book of chaos and disorder.

The relationship between Ethiopia and the U.S. undoubtedly will fall into the abyss if this bill is approved and entered into effect. The ball is now in the US court whether to preserve its age-old relation or jeopardize it for no gain.



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