The US Department of State issued today January 14/206 a second press statement with a matter of a month calling for meaningful Dialogue about Oromo Community urging the Ethiopian government to allow all interested parties to express their views freely. The Statement reads,
“The United States is increasingly concerned by the continued stifling of independent voices in Ethiopia, including the detention of Oromo political party leaders. These arrests have a chilling effect on much needed public consultations to resolve legitimate political grievances in Oromia.
We support the Government of Ethiopia’s December commitment to public consultation with affected communities. For these consultations to be meaningful, all interested parties must be able to express their views freely.
We reaffirm our call on the Ethiopian Government to refrain from silencing dissent and to protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of all citizens, including the right to gather peacefully, to write, and to speak freely as voices of a diverse nation. We call for the release of those imprisoned for exercising their rights, such as political party leaders and journalists.”
It is recalled that the US State Department issued the first press statement on Oromo protests on December 18/2015 that read,
“The United States is deeply concerned by the recent clashes in the Oromia region of Ethiopia that reportedly have resulted in the deaths of numerous protesters. We greatly regret the deaths that have occurred and express our condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives.
We urge the government of Ethiopia to permit peaceful protest and commit to a constructive dialogue to address legitimate grievances. We also urge those protesting to refrain from violence and to be open to dialogue. The government of Ethiopia has stated publicly that the disputed development plans will not be implemented without further public consultation. We support the government of Ethiopia’s stated commitment to those consultations and urge it to convene stakeholders to engage in dialogue as soon as possible.”
The second press statement appears to be stronger than the first one; however, the United States of America doesn’t seem to be ready to influence the Ethiopian government to listen to the plights of the Oromo people that still remains unsolved under the current regime of Ethiopia. In both statements, the US government failed to condemn the killings of Oromo peaceful protesters. Human Rights Watch says 140 people have been killed in Oromia regional state over the last two months.
The US government sees the Ethiopian government as a good ally in the fight against the Islamist radical, Alshabab in Somalia. So, when it comes to lack of democracy, human rights violations and the restrictions of freedom expression, America chooses to be silent fearing that the Ethiopian government stops cooperating with them in the fight against terrorism in the horn America. It is disappointing to see America give millions of dollars to the Ethiopian government(Ethiopia is the second largest recipient of American financial aid in Africa) that uses the money to stifle freedom of expression and to quell dissidents of any kind.