Seb-Hidri Civil Society Tigray Statement on The United Nation Security Council's Paralysis and a Renewed Call to the Western Powers for AN Urgent Action to Stop an Ongoing Genocide on Tigray:
With only a trickle of the truth surfaced so far, the ongoing war of Genocide on Tigray, by Ethiopia's and Eritrea's armies; plus, by Amhara militia, Amhara Fano, and Amhara special forces, conducted on the dark to the most part, is one of the vastly documented campaigns of Genocide in human history. It's not scarcity of information or lack of evidence which allowed it to go this long unabated, but an evident paralysis of the international mechanism to deal with it.
Only this week, EU's envoy to the crisis in Tigray, Mr Pekka Haavisto, detailed on the worsening humanitarian situation; worsening human rights violations; and the fact that there is no sign of Eritrean army leaving. The representative reiterated his demand for Eritrean army to withdraw, unhindered access to humanitarian aid to be allowed, and hostilities to cease.
The New US government was well aware of the campaign of Ethnic cleansing by the Amhara in Western Tigray; the unlawful involvement of Eritrean troops in the war on Tigray; the grave human Rights violations by Ethiopian, Eritrean armies and Amhara militia; and the presenting obstacles in delivering humanitarian aid to peope in need, from the beginning. In fact, the crisis in Tigray was mentioned by Secretary Antony Blinken to be one of his priority issues to handle during his Senate hearings. The USA government has been repeatedly calling for Eritrean troops and Amhara militia to withdraw; unhindered humanitarian access to be allowed; independent investigations into the crimes committed to be initiated. US Ambassador to the UN, Mrs Linda Thomas Greenfield, very recently, said that the Eritrean forces are re-uniforming as Ethiopian military in order to remain in Tigray indefinitely, and that the human rights violation, including GBV, is worsening, and that the humanitarian situation in Tigray is worsening. She called for end to the hostilities; unhindered access to humanitarian aid; independent international investigations into the crimes; and for Eritrean Army and Amhara militia to withdraw. None of them are materialized so far. Only a couple of days back, President Joe Biden's envoy to the situation in Tigray, Senator Chris Coons, expressed his disappointment about Ethiopia's unfulfilled commitments.
World Peace Foundation has come with a vast 66-pages study detailing how the government of Ethiopia is conducting a war of starvation in Tigray, with a concerted plan to reduce Tigray to poverty and leave its people dependent on food handouts. The document detailed how the government is engaged in widespread and systematic destruction and impoverishment of the region, with special emphasis on the systemic and long-term destruction of the agricultural sector in Tigray with clear intention of starving the population to death and perpetuating long term destitution.
Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) also showed how the health facilities are intentionally targeted, destroyed and looted by Ethiopian and Eritrean armies to make them non-functional. MSF also witnessed extra-judicial killing of unarmed civilians in Tigray, whereby, civilians were dragged out of a public transport bus by Ethiopian Soldiers and shot on spot. The Emergency Coordination Center's latest assessment also showed that out of the nearly 230 health centers in Tigray, only 29 are fully functional.
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock told the closed UN Security Council meeting that his bureau knows that 4.5 million of Tigray’s nearly 6 million people need humanitarian aid. He also noted that there is no sign of Eritrean withdrawal, and that Eritrea's soldiers are changing uniforms. The continued atrocities on civilians were also stressed. Mr Lowcock said "there is no doubt that sexual violence is used as weapon of war". UNOCHA documented 150 starvation related deaths in just one district (Ofla). OCHA's latest assessment showed an alarming degree of severe acute and moderate malnutrition since the war (2.9 % and 25% respectively).
At the end of January, the United Nations (UN) Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict reported that serious allegations of sexual violence were being reported. Women reported being gang raped, family members were forced to rape members of their own family at gunpoint, and women were forced to have sex in exchange for basic commodities.
The newly established Regional Bureau of Labor and Social Affairs estimated that there are 1.7 million internally displaced people across the region as of 27 March, and the UN estimates 2.3 million people. The number is growing fast with each day passing. Humanitarians estimated that almost 50% of the people who need are not getting it yet, due to impediments put by the government and allies, and the fragile security situation in the region.
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), UN agencies, MSF, and other humanitarians are reporting the continued forced eviction of Ethnic Tigray civilians from Western Tigray. More than 85 % of Western Tigray residents (Tigrians) are either killed, or forced out(the remaining few forced to take a new Amhara identity).
Health officials and the UN continue to report horrific sexual violence by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces. Sexual slavery is being documented by UN agencies, Human Rights organizations, and the international media. Head of the Regional Health bureau in the new Tigray provisional government, Dr Fasika Amdeslassie, said "women are being kept in Sexual slavery". Doctors in Adigrat hospital shared a similar opinion. UN agencies, Rights Organizations and the media are documenting cumbersome evidence on the use of rape, starvation, and destruction as weapons of war daily.
In short, by now:
- The international community very well understands that Ethiopia's government and its allies are using rape, sexual slavery, starvation, destruction of civilian livelihood as weapon of war;
- The international community knows that Ethiopian, Eritrean armies, and Amhara forces are burning crops, seeds, cutting trees, destroying agricultural materials, burning grasses (food for the cattle), killing livestock, destroying small dams and irrigation canals to starve the people of Tigray for years to come; this is a systematic campaign of starvation and destitution of Tigray.
- The international community also knows that Ethiopia's government, allies are destroying health facilities, clean water infrastructure, water pumps so that Tigrians die of water-borne and other communicable diseases, gun inflicted injuries, non-communicable diseases;
- The international community knows that Ethiopia's government and its allies are destroying schools, roads, other civilian infrastructures, heritages, private houses, factories for the sake of destroying Tigray and leave it destitute - not to "enforce law and order" as they claim to be;
- The international community has more than enough evidence of the mass killings, the GBVs;
- The Ethnic cleansing and Genocide in Western Tigray, by Amhara militia, Fano, Amhara special forces, is also a well-established fact and widely known by the international community;
- The international community also knows government of Eritrea wants to loot and destroy everything in Tigray and leave nothing valuable behind.
Generally, by now, the international community clearly understands that Ethiopia's government and allies don't want to govern Tigray but to destroy it, erase it! The international community has more than enough evidence regarding the ongoing Genocide in Tigray.
Unfortunately, what we have witnessed over the past 5 months, is an international mechanism failing to do anything tangible to avert the situation in Tigray. Today, Ethnic Tigrians in Tigray and beyond are witnessing a series of civilian massacres by Ethiopian, Eritrean, And Amhara forces; women in Tigray are living under sexual slavery; entire villages, infrastructure, livelihoods systematically destroyed; they are witnessing rape and starvation being used as weapons of war; they are witnessing Ethiopian government and allies working to leave Tigray in absolute destitution for years to come.
With five rounds of United Nations Security Council closed-door discussions on #TigrayGenocide conducted , the Council couldn't even reach a consensus to issue a statement regarding the basic, non-political issues like on the need for unhindered humanitarian access; Verifiable withdrawal of invading Eritrean and Amhara armies; and independent investigations in to the rights violations, mainly due to China's and Russia's indifference to the human suffering in Tigray, the established antagonism the two countries have with the USA and other Western powers, and other causes.
China's showed time and again that its politics was purely a transactional one, with a complete disregard of human rights and dignity, and respect of International norms; China thus is less likely to be a partner in a fight to stop the ongoing Genocide in Tigray. Russia appears to have aligned herself to the Abiy-Esayas-Formajo axis of bad-boys(evils). A statement by Russia's embassy in Addis Ababa two weeks back hinted that 'Abiy agreed on a possible partial Eritrean withdrawal'. Abiy gave a false promise to the international community about 'Eritrean withdrawal'; Russia knew (was tipped) that Eritrea was not doing that any time.
It can be said that 6 million people in Tigray are at an imminent danger of extinction due to a paralyzed international mechanism of dealing grave situations like this, likely a result of political and inter-civilizational rift between a West ready to Step in, and the East in a complete apathy. As we stand, it is evident that international political mechanisms have so far failed to do anything tangible to stop #TigrayGenocide. This is very sad!
Noting this fact, credible human rights organizations are calling up on the international community and its apparatuses to end the paralyses and swiftly act. Human Rights Watch (HRW) Horn of Africa Director, Laetitia Bader, on the same day with the latest closed-door discussion on the issue on the 15th of April, wrote "Five months into one of the world’s gravest humanitarian and human rights crises, the UN’s most powerful body needs to end its paralysis and support concrete measures to deter further abuses". Laetitia Bader blamed UN Security Council Permanent members China and Russia, for that, and said "they have undermined small efforts by other members to move discussions beyond the humanitarian situation and condemn ongoing abuses in Tigray". Laetitia Bader further said "Greater scrutiny and unified action by the Security Council is needed for meaningful impact. The council should hold a public session and condemn the rights abuses and humanitarian disaster unfolding before their eyes. It should voice clear support for independent oversight of humanitarian assistance and an independent, international investigation into alleged crimes with the aim of paving the way for a credible accountability process. The council should also make clear that failure to cooperate with such efforts could result in targeted sanctions".
Other Human Rights organizations, too, are calling for the international community to step up efforts to avert the Human calamity. Unfortunately, nothing on that line materialized so far!
Tigrians, today, are feeling abandoned not only by their government but also by the world. They are especially disheartened by UN Security Council's inability to do something tangible in the face of this blatant disregard for human suffering and international norms.
Disheartened and despaired by the UN Security Council Paralysis and knowing that no other international political machinery exists to tackle this, Seb-Hidri Civil Society Tigray call upon Western Powers to use all their leverage and their existing diplomatic, economic, and military machineries to put Palpable Necessary Pressure on Ethiopian and Eritrean governments to put a stop to the ongoing Genocide on Tigray.
- We call upon the United States government, European Union, the UK government, the governments of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil to sanction the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea for the continued Civilian massacres, use of Sexual violence, induced hunger, and destruction of civilian infrastructures and livelihood as weapons of war;
- We call upon NATO member states to militarily intervene in Tigray and 1. verify Eritrean withdrawal, 2. Force Amhara militia withdraw 3. Force ceasefire by all parties, 4. Declare Tigray's sky a "No Fly Zone" 5. And generally, Stop the ongoing Genocide;
- We call for an immediate joint UN-USA-EU independent investigation in the war crimes and grave crimes against humanity in Tigray; and perpetrators to be held accountable.
Seb-Hidri Tigray Civil Society
April 20, 2021
[Seb-Hidri Tigray Civil Society is a grass root, youth-oriented local NGO based in Ethiopia, committed to promote human rights, rule of law, and good governance in Tigray and the Horn.]
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