Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif) is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, September 17, 2021 / – A coalition of human rights and human rights groups based in America and Europe has deliberated by posting this important joint press release in response to a recently released video where Rep. Karen Basse. United States Representative for the 37th Congressional District of California Karen Bass met Theodros Teshome Kebede, a pro-Ethiopian filmmaker in July 2021. A very disturbing video clip of the virtual meeting between Representative Karen Bass and the filmmaker pro-Abiy Ahmed is circulating on social media, causing concern and disappointment among voters in the United States and communities around the world. In the video, Mr. Kebede is seen making offensive comments that fall within the definition of hate speech; it also visibly promotes violence against the Tigrayans in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian government and its allies have been accused by the U.S. government, the United Nations and many respected human rights organizations of committing gross atrocities, including rape as a tool of war, against Tigrayans and others opposing the
Ethiopian government. We are not surprised that a member of the pro-Ethiopian government would make such intolerable statements against the Tigrayans and anyone who opposes their unitary vision for Ethiopia. What we find troubling is that these hateful comments and incitement to violence were made during a meeting with Representative Karen Bass, and the Representative apparently made no attempt to end the meeting or make any understand to Mr. Kebede that such statements were abominable and unacceptable.

Representative Karen Bass’s failure to stop or interrupt Mr. Kebede’s speech of intolerance, her refusal by the officer to meet with ethnic Tigrayans and other groups in the Ethiopian diaspora, and her continued reluctance to join President Biden, Secretary Blinken, Ambassador Powers, Ambassador Tai, and the United States Senate in influential exposure of the atrocities of the Ethiopian government and its allies against the Tigrayans and other parties opposition, all suggest to the public and the international community that Representative Karen Bass is more concerned about the victory of the pro-Ethiopian government in her constituency. than being a defender of human rights and justice – or, perhaps, the representative is indifferent.

We call on Representative Karen Bass to 1) withdraw and repudiate Mr. Kebede’s hateful statements 2) issue a public statement on the humanitarian crisis in Tigray and publicly call for unhindered humanitarian access to besieged Tigray 3) advocate for the shutdown hostilities in all affected regions of Ethiopia and demand that foreign armed forces engaged in the combat return to their respective bases and countries 4) visit political prisoners in Kaliti and Aksum prisons where deadly massacres took place 5) engage in discussions with senior U.S. Embassy officials regarding their negligence in protecting U.S. citizens in Ethiopia 6) virtually meet with coalition groups of Tigrayans, Oromos, Somalis, Kemant, Benishangul, Gebella, Agew , Sidama and others in the congressional representative’s constituency.

Finally, we urge Representative Karen Bass to call on the Ethiopian government to announce its willingness and plans for comprehensive political negotiation, to remove criminalizing labels from all opposing entities, and to delegates visiting Ethiopia to join President Biden. to lead with diplomacy and rights. The Ethiopian government’s violence against the Tigrayans, Oromo, Kemant, Benishangul, Gebella, Somali, Sidama, Agew and other oppressed ethnic groups must end.

Coalition of Human Rights Groups and the Ethiopian Diaspora – Signatories

South West Indigenous Peoples Humanitarian Organization

Abeba Teferi
Kemant Advocacy Group

Seenaa Jimjimo
Ormo Legacy Leadership and Advocacy Association

Hafsa Mohamed
Diaspora community

Meaza Gebremedhin

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