United Nations Security Council
United Nations, New York
25 April 2021
Subject: Stop the continued genocide against the six million people in Tigray, Ethiopia
First, the Security and Justice for Tigreans in Ethiopia (SJTE) would like to thank you and members of the UN Security Council for recognizing the gravity of the humanitarian crisis in Tigray and arriving at a unanimous decision to resolve the conflict.
The war that was started by Mr. Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and Mr. Isayas Afework of Eritrea on 4 November 2020 is obliterating Tigray and its people. It has killed unarmed civilians in huge numbers and destroyed everything including churches and monasteries, mosques, heritage sites, schools, health centers, hospitals, universities and is even transporting donkeys from Tigray to Eritrea.
Today after more than 170 days, the genocide continues, and the massacres and rapes of girls and women is too gruesome to describe. The looting of food and medicine, obliteration of the remaining healthcare facilities, and the destruction of the entire economic infrastructure are everyday occurrences. As the European Union representative Mr. Pekka Olavi Haavisto has recently stated after visiting Tigray, the situation is getting worse. All these atrocities the people of Tigray endured have been well documented and reported by human rights organizations, United Nations agencies, and major international news organizations.
Today, the war rages with greater intensity with no sign of ending. We expected the world, the UNSC in particular, to intervene and save lives. Unfortunately, we don’t see that. Looking back at history, we see that the international community intervened and took timely military action in the former Yugoslavia. But it failed to do so in Rwanda and over 800, 000 people were killed in a gruesome manner.
The former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2004 said “The international community is guilty of sins of omission. I myself, as head of the UN’s peacekeeping department at the time, pressed dozens of countries for troops. I believed at that time that I was doing my best. But I realized after the genocide that there was more that I could and should have done to sound the alarm and rally support. This painful memory, along with that of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has influenced much of my thinking, and many of my actions, as Secretary-General.”
Is this history about to repeat itself in Tigray? Has this respected UN body learned from this mistake and will it take actions it deems necessary to prevent another genocide, this time in Tigray?
We know and appreciate the UNSC’s statement expressing its concern over the humanitarian situation in Tigray but words are not enough. Concrete actions are required. Forceful measures must be taken to stop the misery of unarmed civilians and bring the perpetrators to justice. Tigray lives matter just as much as any other lives. We are dismayed that all the UNSC can do is to put out a weak statement of concern, implicitly encouraging the Tigray Genocide.
During the crisis in the former Yugoslavia, and Srebrenica massacre, 7,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslims) boys and men were slain by Bosnian forces in Srebrenica in July 1995. In addition to the killing 20,000 civilians were expelled in the ethnic cleansing process. The West took a swift action to enforce a ceasefire that ended the Bosnian conflict. The International Criminal Tribune concluded that the killing at Srebrenica amounted to Genocide and the perpetrators were prosecuted.
In Tigray, over 60,000 people have been forced to take refuge outside the country, over 1,5 million have been internally displaced, 4.5 million people are facing starvation and by some estimates over 150,000 people have been killed. Yet, the UN, the UNSC and the Secretary General of the United Nations have opted for politics of appeasement with Mr. Abiy Ahmed and Mr. Isayas Afwerki.
Instead of taking immediate measures necessary to expel the murderous Eritrean Army and Amhara militia to save lives, the UNSC chose silence for a long time until it put out Thursday’s weak statement. We believe this inaction has emboldened the Ethiopian and Eritrean armies to continue brutalizing civilians and destroying the entire Tigray state.
Words will not stop genocide. Forceful actions will. When defenseless people are betrayed by their own government, the UNSC has the obligation to provide effective protection. The Ethiopian government has turned against its own people. And Tigray does not have the capacity to defend itself against the entire military might of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the brutal Amhara militia. We believe the UNSC has the duty and obligation to protect the people of Tigray against Ethiopia and Eritrea and stop their respective mad men, Abiy Ahmed and Isayas Afwerki. We are sounding the alarm today so that the UNSC and the world hear and act.
We particularly urge the governments of China and Russia to align themselves with what is right and stop being an obstacle to end the war. We are dismayed that their geopolitical interests took precedence over human life and suffering. Needless to say, history will not absolve those who side with atrocities and mayhem of defenseless people.
On behalf of the voiceless people of Tigray, we call upon you and all members of the UNSC to take all necessary collective measures including military action to stop the genocidal war in Tigray. We remain hopeful that history will not repeat itself and the people of Tigray will be spared from annihilation and extermination.
We should be grateful if you could circulate this letter as an official document of the Security Council.
CC: Members of the UN Security Council
The European Union
The African Union