Omna Tigray: Press Release on Secretary Blinken’s Statement “Building on Steps to End the Conflict in Ethiopia”
On April 29, 2022, Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a press statement praising the Ethiopian government’s steps in ending the conflict in Ethiopia. Much to our bewilderment and great disappointment, Secretary Blinken stated, “We are encouraged that the government of Ethiopia and regional authorities in Tigray and Afar have taken steps in recent weeks to enable the delivery of desperately needed food aid to war-affected communities.” This is, at best, a distorted assessment of what is happening in Tigray. This callous statement cruelly ignores the myriad of human rights violations that the Ethiopian government continues to commit and support in Tigray, including weaponized rape, torture, unlawful detainment, indiscriminate murder, destruction of heritage sites, ongoing siege, and weaponized famine. What Secretary Blinken’s statement does is encourage the Ethiopian government to continue its genocidal campaign with impunity, betraying the fundamental values of the United States, which call for the preservation and sanctity of human life.
Tigrayan advocacy groups, established before and during the war to chronicle the plight of Tigrayans after the November 4, 2020 invasion of Tigray by the Ethiopian and Eritrean armies and Amhara militias, strongly condemn the complacency and misinformation disseminated by the State Department. We have sought to engage with international actors consistently throughout these last 18 months of the war, only to be met with tepid responses and indifference. Secretary Blinken states that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed “has taken a series of encouraging actions that have laid the groundwork for an end to conflict,” which is an egregious misreading of the facts on the ground. Over 900,000 civilians live in famine conditions in Tigray, while millions more face severe food insecurity. Thirty-nine days have passed since the (Ethiopian government’s supposed) unilateral ceasefire declaration, and Tigray remains under siege. Since the announcement, only 170 of the 4,100 expected aid trucks have entered Tigray. This equates to less than 5% of what is needed to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths.
In addition, Tigrayan forces have entirely withdrawn from the neighboring Afar region, all while Western Tigray remains occupied by domestic and foreign troops who terrorize and indiscriminately murder Tigrayan civilians. The Ethiopian government and the international community are left without any justification for the lack of unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray. Humanitarian aid should never be regarded as conditional on political negotiations. However, despite being against international law, these preconditions have been met. In light of these facts, one wonders how Secretary Blinken can consider the Ethiopian government’s steps as a “series of encouraging actions”? On the contrary, failing to hold the Abiy administration and its allies accountable for their continued obstruction of humanitarian aid delivery makes international actors and diplomats complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Tigrayans.
The United States is committed, as Secretary Blinken states, “to a unified, prosperous, and sovereign Ethiopia,” however, the lack of severe consequences for the Ethiopian government’s actions and press statements such as these do very little to facilitate this. On the contrary, it assuages this murderous government to continue a genocide with impunity and increasingly risks the security and stability of the Horn of Africa and the disintegration of the state. The United States, and the greater international community, can and must do more.
- Omna Tigray
- Irob Anina Civil Society
- Tigray Youth Network
- United Tegaru Canada
- Tegaru Belgium
- Giovani Tigrini Italiani
- Tigray Center for Information and Communication
- Tigray Action Committee
- Tigray Unity Germany
- Health Professionals Network for Tigray
- Global Society of Tigray Scholars and Professionals
- Security and Justice for Tigrayans
Omna Tigray – Press Release, May 04, 2022