10/23/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/23/2021 18:45
After the passage of the resolution, Rep. Bass released the following statement, which also reflects in part her remarks during the markup:
"I led this resolution because I want to see a peaceful, negotiated solution to this multifaceted conflict that is complicated by ethnicity, politics, and history. Initiated in November 2020 by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) attack on the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) in Tigray, to which the ENDF responded, this conflict has expanded to the Afar and Amhara regions as both sides strategically align with other forces. I fear, without a change in course and a negotiated ceasefire, the conflict will extend to other parts of the country.
"In September, I led a trip to Ethiopia, where Representative Sarah Jacobs and I met with Prime Minister Abiy, and a cross-section of representatives from government, humanitarian organizations, civil society, youth and the private sector to hear the views of those on the ground and to articulate that the only way forward is negotiated peace while addressing the humanitarian crisis. These meetings corroborated reports that all factions to the conflict have interfered with humanitarian efforts and materials, caused human suffering, and created unrest.
"H. Res 445 resolution calls for the end of violence in Ethiopia and an immediate ceasefire between the ENDF-led forces and the TPLF-led forces. It condemns soldiers, rebels, and other actors from all sides committing a myriad of abuses and atrocities, including mass executions, and sexual and gender-based violence, and pillaging of humanitarian aid commodities and urges the Government of Ethiopia to cooperate with independent and transparent investigations of credible allegations of abuse and atrocities.
"In addition to the resolution, TPLF must end the use of child soldiers, pull its forces from Amhara and end its alliance with OLA-"Shene", an armed rebel faction of the Oromo Liberation Army.
"The resolution calls for the immediate and unfettered access of humanitarian workers and aid material to relieve the suffering of the displaced and the approximate half-million people facing famine-like conditions. In addition, the ENDF needs to send in at least 100 trucks a day to Tigray. TPLF-led forces should not seize trucks or loot aid commodities to continue their war efforts and should also ensure all aid-bearing conveyances enter and depart Northern Ethiopia unfettered so they are able to return with additional supplies.
"Like some of my colleagues on this committee, I have a large Ethiopian diaspora in my district in California and I've tried to hear all sides of this situation and I am fully aware that all stakeholders have a part in contributing to the conflict as all stakeholders must also take part in contributing to a ceasefire and negotiated peace.
"I want to reiterate that I believe there is no military solution to this conflict, and I am concerned the country is fracturing and will only get worse without national dialogue. I'm also concerned that Ethiopia is in danger of sanctions from the Administration as well as compromising its ability to participate in AGOA if the violence continues. This conflict and the resultant humanitarian crisis are eroding Ethiopia's ability to remain a pillar of the continent and a key contributor to advancing peace and security across the region. We must turn this situation around.
"I urge my colleagues to join this bipartisan resolution as we continue to show the people of Ethiopia on the continent and in the diaspora that we support them and are expeditiously looking for a long-term peaceful solution to ending the violence against all Ethiopians."
The resolution was voted out of committee by voice vote. Read the resolution here.