OMNA TIGRAY – DECEMBER 2022 SITUATION REPORT
December 2022 marks the 25th month of the genocidal war on Tigray, the world’s largest and deadliest war. The last two years of attacks by Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), and Amhara regional forces and militia have devastated this region of about 7 million people in a myriad of ways. Since the onset of the war in November 2020, an estimated 600,000 people have died due to bombings, shellings, massacres, man-made famine, and siege. Over 60,000 Tigrayans have been forced to seek refuge in Sudan, while over two million are internally displaced. Widespread and systematic Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) has been unleashed by Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Amhara forces, affecting at least tens of thousands of survivors in the region. The man-made famine, which has already taken the lives of tens of thousands, threatens the health and wellness of thousands more, especially children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. Large-scale looting and destruction have destroyed the region’s health infrastructure, leaving the vast majority of health facilities in Tigray non-functional. Due to the communication and information blockade enacted by the Ethiopian government, only a small percentage of the atrocities unleashed in Tigray have been documented. Yet, this limited data provides a glimpse into the depth and scale of atrocities Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Amhara forces have committed.
In the last week of October 2022, after nearly two years of fighting, representatives from the Ethiopian and Tigrayan governments met in South Africa to negotiate a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA). This agreement was signed on November 2, 2022, and was supposed to go into effect immediately. The CoHA promises to alleviate the unimaginable suffering in Tigray by stipulating the imperative for protecting civilians, allowing humanitarian aid into Tigray, and restoring essential services. As underscored by multiple speakers during the signing ceremony in Pretoria, the agreement is the beginning of a long and complex process that the Ethiopian federal government and Tigrayan regional government must undertake to alleviate the suffering in Tigray and achieve lasting peace. The CoHA’s effectiveness in doing so depends entirely on the willingness and ability of signatories to abide by and respect its terms. Unfortunately, in the month since the signing of this deal, there has not been adequate action to meet the expectations outlined in the agreement. As shown in the following section, a month after the Pretoria Agreement (CoHA) and two weeks after the subsequent agreement in Nairobi, conditions in Tigray have only worsened. Without an effective enforcement mechanism and independent monitors, the agreements cannot bring the results intended. It is, therefore, incumbent on the African Union (AU) and all regional and international partners to ensure that signatories abide by the terms of the agreements.