Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ethiopia Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State is now asking U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Ethiopia:

"The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Ethiopia due to ongoing unrest that has led to hundreds of deaths, thousands of arrests, as well as injuries and extensive property damage, especially in Amhara and Oromia States. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services in many parts of the country is limited by the current security situation. "The Government of Ethiopia declared a State of Emergency effective October 8, 2016. An October 15 decree states that individuals may be arrested without a court order for activities they may otherwise consider routine, such as communication, consumption of media, attending gatherings, engaging with certain foreign governments or organizations, and violating curfews. The decree prohibits U.S. and other foreign diplomats from traveling farther than 40 kilometers outside of Addis Ababa without prior approval from the Government of Ethiopia, which severely affects the U.S. Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens. The full text of the decree implementing the State of Emergency is available on the U.S. Embassy’s website.
"Internet, cellular data, and phone services have been periodically restricted or shut down throughout the country, impeding the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. You should have alternate communication plans in place, and let your family and friends know this may be an issue while you are in Ethiopia. See the information below on how to register with the U.S. Embassy to receive security messages.
"Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, continuously assess your surroundings, and evaluate your personal level of safety. Remember that the government may use force and live fire in response to demonstrations, and that even gatherings intended to be peaceful can be met with a violent response or turn violent without warning. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should monitor their security situation and have contingency plans in place in case you need to depart suddenly."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Another letter

Dear Senator / Representative:

I am writing to ask you to cosponsor Senate Resolution 432 / House Resolution 861, supporting respect for human rights and condemning violence in Ethiopia. In the last two weeks, at least 50 people - some reports place the number at over 600 - were killed at a cultural festival in the town of Bishoftu when police fired tear gas and live ammunition at the crowd. Protesters responding to the massacre killed an American researcher named Sharon Gray and destroyed foreign businesses believed to have government connections. The Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency, legitimizing arbitrary arrests, restricting freedom of movement, and making it illegal for people to cross their arms over their head.

The United States considers Ethiopia to be our ally. This crisis is happening with support from my taxpayer dollars. We need an urgent review of our security assistance to Ethiopia.

Thank you.

Find your representatives in Congress here.