Ethiopia Atrocity Alert by The Global Centre for the R2P

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Ethiopia Atrocity Alert by The Global Centre for the R2P

RISING HATE SPEECH, STARVATION AND THE AID BLOCKADE OF TIGRAY

“they should be erased… from historical records. A person who wants to study them should find nothing about them.  Maybe he can find out about them by digging in the ground.”  

Last week at an event in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, Daniel Kibret, an influential political adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, gave an inflammatory speech targeting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the former ruling party of the Tigray region.  Kibret said that, “they should be erased… from historical records. A person who wants to study them should find nothing about them.  Maybe he can find out about them by digging in the ground.”  According to the UN Secretary-General, since the armed conflict started in Tigray last November, an alarming rise in inflammatory rhetoric and ethnic profiling has been “tearing apart the social fabric of the country.”

In July the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide expressed alarm at the increase in dangerous rhetoric used by Ethiopia’s political leaders.  In response to the most recent incident, Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, told Agence France-Presse that, “given the surge in deadly ethnic violence in Ethiopia it is hard to take at face value the claim that [Kibret] was only talking about the TPLF rather than Tigrayans in general.  The references to people as weeds that need to be removed, or as monsters that must be erased, is classic hate speech.  And calling for the total extermination of any political party and its supporters is tantamount to incitement to commit war crimes and other atrocities.”

Meanwhile, during her update to the UN Human Rights Council on 20 September, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, warned that grave abuses of human rights continue in the Tigray region, stressing that “there has been one constant: multiple and severe reports of alleged gross violations of human rights, humanitarian and refugee law by all parties.”  High Commissioner Bachelet noted that a joint investigation between her office and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has documented widespread human rights abuses, including gang rape, sexualized torture and ethnically-targeted sexual violence.

The violence in Tigray has also created a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.  Despite the imminent risk of famine in northern Ethiopia, Tigray has endured what the UN has called a “de facto aid blockade” for months, with only sporadic deliveries of food being allowed by the federal government and ongoing attacks on aid convoys and humanitarian workers by various parties to the conflict.  On 20 September the Associated Press reported that one aid agency was now documenting deaths from starvation in at least 20 districts of Tigray.  The expansion of the conflict into the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions has also led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing a military offensive by Tigrayan forces.

In response to the deteriorating situation in Tigray, on 17 September United States President Joe Biden signed an executive order that allows the government to impose economic sanctions and travel bans on those obstructing humanitarian aid and committing grave abuses against civilians.  All UN member states should follow suit and pressure all parties to the conflict to allow the unfettered delivery of lifesaving aid. The UN Security Council and African Union should pursue a negotiated political solution to the conflict in Ethiopia.

The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P) is an independent organisation that focuses on conducting research, analysis and advocacy in relation to mass atrocity.

The GI ADVISORY promotes a global vision to end mass atrocity crimes and contribute to international peace and security.

Lunga Dweba

GI ADVISORY

Defusing conflict with intellect

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