Mar 22, 2023

Mawazo Writing Africa

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UN urged to take action to prevent genocide in Ethiopia

Fifteen African civil society organizations have warned that the ongoing war in Ethiopia could equate to the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide if the United Nations does not immediately put the conflict on its agenda.

In a May 18 letter to the UN Security Council, the groups say that alongside war crimes and crimes against humanity on both sides of the conflict, words like “cancer” and “devil” are used to refer to people who are portrayed as opponents reflect what preceded the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.

Read:HRW Calls on Ethiopia to Investigate Tigray ‘War Crimes’


In Rwanda, the Hutu government at the time referred to the Tutsi population as “cockroaches” and gave the impression that they were parasites that needed to be eradicated.

< p>“28 years ago, the Security Council tsi also does not recognize warning signs of the genocide in Rwanda or act to stop it,” read the letter, which was spearheaded by Hala Al Karib, a women’s rights organization ts activist in the Horn of Africa and Sudan, and Corlett Letlojane, Executive Director of the Human Rights Institute of South Africa.

“The United Nations had the means to intervene, but they just didn’t care enough about Rwanda to intervene properly. We are concerned that the situation is repeating itself in Ethiopia today. We urge you to learn the lessons of Rwanda and act now.”

The war in Ethiopia that broke out in November 2020 between forces of Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy’s government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) began causing great human suffering. It extends south into the Amhara region and east into the Afar region.

A joint investigation by the UN Human Rights Council and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that parties on both sides of the Serious human rights abuses have been committed during the conflict, including attacks on civilians, unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions, torture, arbitrary arrests, kidnappings and enforced disappearances, as well as rape and other sexual violence.

The government has also been accused of using food as a weapon of war, blocking humanitarian aid as a means to starve Tigrayans into submission.

Read:First aid convoy in three months to arrive in Ethiopia’s Tigray soon: UN< /p >

Also read:Tigray region of Ethiopia receives first medical aid shipment since September

As a result of the conflict an estimated half a million people have died, 4.2 million have been displaced and nine million are in need of humanitarian assistance.

A new joint report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, based on over 400 interviews conducted over a period of 15 months documents ethnic cleansing in western Tigray. “In this context, there are serious reasons for concern about ongoing ethnic tensions and that violence could escalate to the point of genocide,” the letter said.

The groups say that despite the seriousness of the situation, the The UN Security Council has failed to formally address the situation in Ethiopia.

“This is a critical moment for the UN to take decisive action to open up these openings to the benefit of the people of Ethiopia use. However, this cannot happen without clear leadership from the UN Security Council,” the letter reads.

The UN Human Rights Council has taken significant action to bring to light the human rights abuses perpetrated in Ethiopia by their joint investigation with the EHRC and by appointing an international commission of human rights experts.

The group says the UN Security Council should use its diplomatic leverage to support these efforts.

During the announcement A ceasefire in late March provided an important opportunity for dialogue, the groups say the UN must take action to ensure both sides publicly commit to increasing humanitarian aid to Tigray.

” Such action will be critical in helping Ethiopian men, women and children who are suffering from direct hostilities, related human rights abuses and b


The civil society groups are now t He calls on the UN Security Council to officially place Ethiopia on its agenda and to take several important steps to help the Tigray region comply with its obligations under international law.

Other recommendations from the groups include urging the parties to allow immediate and unhindered humanitarian access, including access to detention facilities , where civilians are particularly vulnerable.

They also propose imposing an arms embargo on all parties to the conflict, with a UN monitoring body to report on the implementation of the embargo, and the disarmament of militias involved in have been at the forefront of human rights abuses.

Others are calling for a verification mechanism to ensure the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopia; supporting political mediation in the conflict in cooperation with the African Union; and support for the deployment of an AU-led international peacekeeping force in western Tiger with a mandate to protect civilians and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance over the past 16 months to be held accountable for their actions, including by supporting the Work of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts.