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Urgent Call for UNSC to Enforce Immediate Withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara Forces from Tigray, Ethiopia (March 09, 2021)

Despite more than four months of repeated international community’s appeal for the peaceful resolution of the war declared on Tigray and the recent demand by the United States and world governments for the withdrawal of Eritrean, Amhara and other Ethiopian army allied forces from Tigray, there are disturbing reports that PM Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki have mobilized their forces and launched waves of new attacks for the “final” offensive to subdue Tigray and its people. The aggression by these invading forces compounded by the silence of the UN Secretary – General, António Guterres and UN Security Council (UNSC) is increasingly exacerbating the already dire humanitarian crisis in Tigray. How long will the UNSC wait before it responds to the repeated calls? We ask for an immediate UNSC enforcement of the call for the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean and the brutal Amhara forces. If not addressed immediately, this crisis will unfold to unforeseen level of genocide affecting millions of Tigrayans in the 21st century.

Exploiting the delay of action by the UNSC, Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki are using inhumane tactics such as carpet bombings of villages and towns using Soviet era chemical warfare, complete deprivation of access to water, food, medical supplies, banking, electricity, telecommunications, shutting down access to independent media and transportation to collectively punish the Tigray people. Several reports, including from some Ethiopian government officials, show that the people in Tigray are already dying of hunger. It would be a grave mistake for the UNSC to allow this genocide to happen in the 21st century. It is to be noted that the UNSC promised to the world that the Rwanda type genocide will not be repeated.

Contrary to the founding principles of the UNSC, the world is witnessing a genocide in Tigray never seen before. According to some estimates close to 300, 000 people have been killed, and millions displaced. We think that the Kosovo model for intervention in the Tigray crisis including the implementation of an immediate “NO FLY ZONE” over the airspace in Tigray could end the ongoing genocide quickly and effectively. It is to be noted that, on June 9, 1999, after 11 weeks of aerial bombing by NATO, dictator Slobodan Milosevic was forced to capitulate and end his ethnic-cleansing campaign in Kosovo. If the situation in Kosovo, which was minuscule by many standards compared to that of the current crisis in Tigray, required the US led NATO military intervention, certainly the lives of the people of Tigray can only be spared by similar intervention adopted by the UNSC resolution. The belligerent governments in Eritrea and Ethiopia have defied adherence to the international community’s repeated calls. Nothing will stop them other than the UNSC’s unequivocal action.

As the Ethiopian community, we would like to draw your utmost attention to the following summary of facts that constitute war crimes and genocide on the ground in Tigray and that call for the immediate and strong collective action by the US, EU, AU, international community, and the United Nations Security Council: 

      i.         More than 4.5 million Tigrayans are in need of emergency humanitarian aid as famine has started and people are dying of starvation due to Ethiopia’s criminal action that contravenes UN Resolution 2417 (2018).

     ii.         Thousands have died by blanket bombing of villages in rural areas for quick military victory by the Eritrean and Ethiopian fighter jets using Soviet era chemical warfare and cluster bombs; satellite images show that villages are completely erased and building structures destroyed. 

   iii.         Massacre of innocent civilians in rural and urban areas, has continued unabated with more than 300,000 Ethnic Tigrayans killed due to the genocidal war.

   iv.         Tens of thousands of women and underage girls are being raped and as a result committing suicide.

     v.         Ethnic Tigrayans throughout Ethiopia have been profiled, fired from their workplaces (about 100,000 people excluding more than 17,000 military personnel including those who served in UN peacekeeping operations in Africa) and indiscriminately arrested and jailed for months.

   vi.         More than 75 % of hospitals, health facilities and schools in Tigray have been looted and destroyed.

  vii.         Almost 100 % of crops in the fields in Tigray burnt to the ground as the timing of the war was preplanned to occur during harvest season; food items and house utensils were looted from households by Eritrean forces supported with caravans of camels to reach inaccessible rural areas.

viii.         More than 75 % of domestic animals in Tigray were killed and looted (Tigray’s traditional farmers still use oxen to plough their fields and may take at least 10 years to recover).

   ix.         Private and public factories and enterprises in Tigray have been looted and transferred to Eritrea and Amhara region including thousands of private and public passenger and commercial vehicles.

     x.         Villages and small towns were and are still being bombarded with artilleries and drone attacks.

   xi.          Magnificent world heritages in Tigray like Al-Nejashi Mosque, Debredamo and other monasteries were destroyed, and their valuable religious artifacts and manuscripts looted.

  xii.          More than two and half million people in Tigray are internally displaced; 4.5 million are in urgent need of humanitarian aid while more than 65,000 are refugees fled to the Sudan.

As Martin Luther King said, Injustice anywhere is Injustice Everywhere!

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter!

To this effect, on behalf of the people of Tigray, SJTE is urging all Ethiopians to demand the withdrawal of Eritrean forces from Tigray, Ethiopia by signing and sharing this petition.