Five US senators letter to special envoy: Ethiopian election doesn't meet international standards

Published May 1, 2021, 1:23 p.m. by FNN


Five US senators wrote to US's  recently appointed especial envoy to the horn of Africa, Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman stressing the current condition in Ethiopia especially Tigray, the ongoing ethnic violence and civilains killings by state and non-state actors, and the upcoming election. The senators indicated more than 400 people were kiiled in the attack on Wallo Oromos. 


Moreover, the senators warned that the upcoming Ethiopian election slated to be held on June 5, 2021 is not on track to meet internation standards for freedom, fairness, and transparency. They stressed several opposition parties have already withdrawn from the election due to imprisonment of thousands of their leaders and supporters. 


Please read full letter below.   

"... we are also very concerned about the increase of ethnic violence in other parts of Ethiopia. For example, in December 2020, in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, at least 200 Amhara, Oromo, Shinasa, Agaw, and other ethnic minorities were killed by assailants. 4 Similar attacks have since taken place in the Oromia region, as well. 5 It is estimated that clashes in March and April 2021 in the North Shewa Zone and Oromia Special Zone of the Amhara region, which prompted the Ethiopian government to declare a local state of emergency, 6 left upwards of 400 people dead. 7 And on April 22, 2021, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission reported that the Sedal Woreda (county), which is home to about 25,000 people and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, was “under near full control” of a non-state armed group. 8 This spate of violence has devastated communities. In addition to the displacement in Tigray, more than 655,000 Ethiopians in other parts of the country have been displaced by violence in 2021 alone. 9 The Ethiopian government has left the victims of these attacks without sufficient support, protection, or justice, triggering mass protests across the Amhara region. 10 We must be unequivocal in stating that violence against civilians anywhere, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or politics, is a threat to Ethiopians everywhere and will not go unanswered.

      The destabilizing potential of these trends should not be underestimated, especially in light of the national elections planned for June 5, 2021. These planned elections are not currently on track to meet international standards for freedom, fairness, and transparency. Already, several opposition political parties in Ethiopia have announced plans to abstain from the elections11 due to a lack of faith that they will be conducted credibly.12 This fear is based in part on the government’s detention of thousands of opposition leaders and supporters, some of whom have been deprived of due process, tortured, or even summarily executed, according to Amnesty International’s May 2020 Report.13 We worry that, if elections move forward without the reforms required to earn the trust of the Ethiopian public, growing ethnic and political tensions across the country will boil over into even greater violence."

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