March 2024 marks one year since the United States Department of State published a statement formally recognizing the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing carried out in Ethiopia since the outbreak of the Tigray war in November 2020. As detailed in their 2023 Human Rights Report, the Department of State determined that while all parties to the conflict had committed war crimes, members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), and the Amhara forces committed crimes against humanity, including murder, sexual violence, and persecution. This statement additionally noted that Amhara forces committed the crime against humanity of forcible transfer and ethnic cleansing in Western Tigray.

Since the outbreak of the genocidal war on Tigray in November 2020, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people have been killed, tens of thousands more injured, and more than two million people displaced. While nearly two million people are Internationally Displaced Persons (IDPs), tens of thousands of Tigrayans were forced to flee to neighboring Sudan and are currently caught amid the devastating war in Sudan. The war on Tigray also entailed systematic and widespread Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV), which has affected at least tens of thousands of people, primarily women and girls, and continues in occupied territories today.

Survivors of CRSV remain cut off from lifesaving medical and psycho-social aid and are still grappling with a myriad of medical and social challenges. The two-year siege enacted by the Ethiopian government and the wholesale destruction of medical facilities, schools, and public infrastructure undertaken by the ENDF, EDF, and Amhara forces during their occupation of Tigray has severely degraded the living conditions of all Tigrayans, leaving many without the means to sustain their livelihoods.

The signing of a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) in November 2022 was supposed to alleviate the immense suffering and humanitarian catastrophe in Tigray. While the CoHA managed to halt much of the active fighting, it has failed to improve the conditions of life within Tigray, free Tigray of foreign forces, and stop the silent genocide. Two years of war and a government-imposed blockade, combined with drought, have once again brought about a famine that has already killed thousands of people. Numerous reports by news organizations, regional officials, and humanitarian agencies concur that thousands of people have already died due to starvation, and tens of thousands more are at serious risk of death.

Vulnerable populations, including young children, pregnant people, young mothers, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, face the highest risk of starvation-related deaths. However, despite clear evidence of a devastating famine in Tigray, the Ethiopian government has maintained its modus operandi, failing to respond appropriately and downplaying the magnitude of the humanitarian catastrophe. Despite the mounting evidence, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Ethiopian government officials have repeatedly dismissed reports of famine in Tigray, where more than 90% of the population is facing the risk of starvation, according to the head of the Interim Regional Administration of Tigray, Getachew Reda. The famine in Tigray could rival the 1984-1985 famine in Ethiopia that killed an estimated 1.2 million people. Therefore, all relevant stakeholders, including states and international organizations, must work to ensure that signatories uphold all articles of the 2022 CoHA, prioritize the protection of civilian lives, and address the unfolding catastrophe.