Haki Reteie 06/01/21
The international community must adhere to just moral and legal principles and take more robust and swift action against the Eritrean, Ethiopian and Amhara leaders/forces, including coercive law enforcement measures, to spare over 5 million Tigray’s civilian population, irrespective of their bogus sovereignty claims and foolish threats.
US sanctions commendable but won’t stop atrocities.
On 23 May, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, announced visa and economic sanctions on Ethiopia and Ethiopian, Eritrean and Amhara officials and leaders following their rejection of a peaceful resolution of the Tigray war, and because of the mass crimes, infrastructure destruction and looting, and deliberate hinderance of aid distribution in Tigray. The visa restriction may be extended to immediate family members of such officials.
The United States must be commended for demonstrating leadership in commencing appropriate action on the two criminal regimes and their Amhara cronies.
Surprisingly, the US’s action has also mentioned members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a ruling party in the Tigray regional State.
While the US has called upon the international community to do the same and contain the Tigray humanitarian catastrophe, the Ethiopian and Eritrean regimes along with their Amhara partners have intensified their offences against Tigrayan civilians.
The Telegraph revealed a credible report supported by video and photo evidence that the Ethiopian/Eritrean forces have used chemical agents, more specifically, white phosphorous or other incendiary weapons, against civilian targets. The UN has called a full inquiry into these reports.
Moreover, the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces have begun abducting hundreds of Tigrayan youth from the Shire Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in violation of humanitarian norms. Family members of the abductees have appealed to the UN office in the city, but the whereabouts of the victims is not known. Several of them sustained grave torture and all forms of physical abuse. As always, the Eritrean and Ethiopian regimes have rejected these credible claims of abductions as false and as enemy propaganda.
There are also reliable reports that the Eritrean and Ethiopian forces have continued killing, and raping civilians, and hindering humanitarian assistance and agricultural activities in Tigray. There are also trustworthy reports that the Amhara leaders have begun resettling Amhara in western Tigray as part of their ethnic cleansing project.
The extreme abuses and ill-treatment against Tigrayans outside Tigray are also continuing unabated. For example, military and police officers detained in several camps across Ethiopia are being tortured, killed and denied basic necessities. The former Speaker of the Ethiopian House of Federation, Mrs Keriya Ibrahim, who has also been unlawfully held in solitary confinement for months, has been coerced under suspected extreme duress to testify in court against her comrades and TPLF veterans. This is despite the regime’s account a few months ago that she was freed from any charges.
All these atrocities are part of the ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and genocide that are being committed against the people of Tigray. These abhorrent acts flagrantly disregard International Law and human decency. However, without a robust, swift, and principled response from the international community, evidence indicates that the killings and brutality will continue.