By Dawit W Giorgis
To The White House
The US Africa Leaders Summit
The US Africa Leaders Summit being held next week is a follow up of the last one done in August 2014. The Biden administration aims to revive this spirit with a list of “ shared values” including peace human rights and governance. This summit coincides with the atrocities being committed in Ethiopia causing the greatest challenge both to the country and the region.
We understand that leaders accused of atrocities and have violated the cardinal principles of the AU and the UN charter and the Universal Deckaration of human rights , have been invited to this forum. One such leader is PM Abiy of Ethiopia. If the summit is expected to discuss “shared values “ peaceful coexistence and good governance the Ethiopian regime stands out not as a partner but a government that has challenged the very sacred norms of human rights and good governance. The idea of sharing values and establishing partnership depends on whether the summit puts the aspiration, the rights, liberty and freedom of the people of Ethiopia at the center of the deliberations. We Ethiopians, in and outside Ethiopia, believe with ample evidence that this government of Ethiopia headed by PM Abiy is committing crimes against humanity including genocide and cannot and should not be considered as a partner but as an enemy of the principles and values that the US and many African countries cherish.
As the leading human rights voice the US should not be seen partnering with despots and criminals who use violence and atrocities as a means of control. The Ethiopian people have endured these sufferings with the hope that with all the evidence that has become public, the US will take determined steps to prevent these atrocities from happening.
The invitation of such an autocrat to such an august assembly, sends the wrong message. The regime in Ethiopia should be at the ICC not at the White House. His presence in this assembly tarnishes the image of the US government and frustrates the hopes and aspirations of the Ethiopian people who looked upon the USA as an honest broker of peace and human rights.
The US must not be seen partnering with a regime accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. The Ethiopian people together with international criminal lawyers have built a solid case against PM Abiy and his regime. While we expect the US government to support the Ethiopian people in bringing our case to the desk of the ICC it is enigmatic to see the regime in the hall of the White House where the history of the struggle for freedom and justice shines in every corner.
By rescinding the invitation, the US will be sending the right message worthy of its history and the lead role it has played in the fight against dictatorship and violations of human rights.
Cc: State Department
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