By Oromsis Adula*
Bi-partisan group of United States lawmakers praised the Institute for Horn of Africa Studies and Affairs (IHASA) conference held from June 18th to 20th, 2010 at the University of Minnesota. In letters to their constituents, the lawmakers lauded the group’s effort to bring the political abuses in Ethiopia to light and pledged to continue pushing for a policy that takes into account the deteriorating human rights situation in the region and Ethiopia as a whole.
In a letter addressed to Mr. Hamza Warfa, the Executive Director of IHASA, Congressman Ed Royce, former chairman of African Subcommittee, expressed his concern about the “deeply flawed Ethiopian election…the jailing of political opponents and journalists” adding that “Ethiopia is one of the few countries that jam the Voice of America” radio service.
Eric Paulsen of Minnesota’s third congressional district for his part stated that the growing human rights violation in the Ogaden region is “unacceptable on any grounds” and expressed his hope that the United States congress will “do everything possible to stop the abuse of human rights immediately.”
Congressman Earl Pomeroy, a representative from North Dakota and a member of Committee for International Relations, praised IHASA’s commitment to conflict resolution. He expressed that “conflict resolution in the Horn of Africa is an important United States foreign policy objective, and IHASA’s focus on the political, social, human rights, and economic issues at play in the Ogaden can help the work towards bringing peace to the region.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, shared that “the situation on the Horn of Africa demands increased action from the international community.” She also stated that “hundreds of thousands of civilians, including those living in the Ogaden, have found themselves caught directly in the middle of the regions violence.” She also added that the ongoing conflicts warrant a “comprehensive policy to stabilize the region…end violence and provide humanitarian assistance.”