H.R. 2003: Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 passed the first hurdle

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Africa has unanimously approved H.R. 2003 (Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007) today.

The bill, if passed by the full House and the Senate, would restrict, among other things, military assistance to the Meles regime unless the human rights condition in Ethiopia has improved.

The bill would also ban travel to the U.S. by the Meles regime officials who have authorized the use lethal force against peaceful demonstrators in Ethiopia. Such a travel ban directly affects Meles Zenawi himself who ordered his Federal Police and Agazi special forces to use deadly force against civilians.

An inquiry commission that was appointed by the parliament charged the Meles regime of using excessive force against peaceful protesters, causing the death of at least 193 civilians.

Meles has been paying the Washington-based DLA Piper lobbying firm $50,000 a month to quash H.R. 2003.

Meles and his high-powered lobbyists had succeeded in derailing a similar bill in the U.S. Congress last year after it had passed the Subcommittee on Africa.