Monday, September 19, 2016

Sample letter to representative in Congress

Sample letter to representative in Congress. Copy and paste or modify -

I am writing with great concern about the escalating human rights violations in Ethiopia and asking you to support House Resolution 861. I am a constituent who has family and friends in Ethiopia and I fear for their safety.

In the Ethiopian elections of May 2015, the ruling party claimed 100 percent of parliamentary seats. In November the majority ethnic group in Ethiopia, the Oromo, began a series of overwhelmingly peaceful protests asking for democratic reforms. The Oromo were later joined by other ethnic groups, including the Amhara and the Konso. The Ethiopian government has responded with arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, and restrictions on freedom of expression and political organizing. Human Rights Watch gives a low estimate of 500 peaceful protestors killed in the Oromia and Amhara regions in the last few months. In the last few weeks government-sponsored violence has escalated, with security forces seemingly adopting a scorched-earth policy to punish protest. Last week Ethiopian National Defense Forces attacked the community of Konso, in the south of the country, burning entire villages and killing more than 30 people. The following day more than 400 shops in the city of Gondar in Amhara were burned. 
 
We must do something to help. Ethiopia is an ally in the war on terrorism and receives large amounts of aid from the United States. In return we have the right to expect respect for basic human rights. I ask you to support House Resolution 861 condemning the killing of innocent civilians in Ethiopia and calling for increased accountability of United States assistance to Ethiopia.

On behalf of my loved ones in Ethiopia, thank you for your help,

Friday, September 16, 2016

Message from Konso

We are locked in the house. Lots of people are arrested. More than 30 people are killed, many injured. More than 200 houses are burned. More than 10,000 people and children are homeless, no healthcare, no food, no water.
My little boy is sick and I am afraid to take him to the hospital because they are arresting everyone. He has a fever, maybe malaria. I have nothing to bring the fever down. I am so afraid.
 
This message came today from my friend in Konso, Ethiopia. I will not identify him out of fear for his safety. The human rights situation across the country is going from bad to worse. Bad was when peaceful protesters were being shot by government troops. Worse is when anyone who sets foot outside is arrested or killed, when entire sections of towns are burned down. The unrest has spread from the Oromia Region, where the country's largest ethnic group has been asking for proportionate representation in government, to the Amhara Region, where the beautiful green town of Bahir Dar and the historic city of Gondar have experienced mass killings, to Konso, where a small community is asking only that they can continue their traditional way of life. I feel so incredibly powerless to help. The only thing I can think of doing is contacting my government representatives - and asking you to do the same. Please call or email or go in person to see your congressperson and senators. There are currently resolutions in both the House and the Senate asking the Ethiopian government to stop killing its citizens and calling for a review of security assistance to Ethiopia. The U.S. considers Ethiopia an ally in the war on terrorism and gives aid accordingly; our government can leverage this aid to help innocent people like my friend. 
Please ask your congresspersons to support House Resolution 861 and Senate Resolution 432 


And please spread the word.  

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