U.N. Security Council, for first time, declares concern about Ethiopia’s Tigray

Source: Reuters

U.N. Security Council, for first time, declares concern about Ethiopia’s Tigray

ReutersMichelle Nichols
 Ethiopians, who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, carry their belongings after crossing the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in the eastern Kassala state, Sudan December 16, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

Ethiopians, who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, carry their belongings after crossing the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in the eastern Kassala state, Sudan December 16, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

The U.N. Security Council expressed concern on Thursday about the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, particularly abuse of women and girls, a week after the U.N. aid chief said sexual violence was being used as a weapon of war.

It was the first public statement by the 15-member council, which has been briefed five times privately on the conflict, since fighting between Ethiopia’s federal government troops and Tigray’s former ruling party began in November.

“The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern about allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including reports of sexual violence against women and girls in the Tigray region, and called for investigations to find those responsible and bring them to justice,” it said in the statement, drafted by Ireland and agreed by consensus.

The council was unable to agree language last month with Western countries pitted against Russia and China, whose diplomats questioned whether the body – charged with maintaining international peace and security – should be involved.

U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock last week told the council the humanitarian crisis in Tigray had deteriorated with challenges to aid access, people dying of hunger and many reports of “gang rape, with multiple men assaulting the victim; in some cases, women have been repeatedly raped over a period of days.” He said girls as young as eight had also been targeted.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, then challenged the body’s silence, according to diplomats familiar with her remarks during the closed briefing, asking: “Do African lives not matter as much as those experiencing conflict in other countries?” read more

Ethiopia’s mission to the United Nations in New York said in a statement on Thursday that the “law enforcement operation in Ethiopia is an internal affair regulated by the laws of the country, including human rights laws.”

It said that Ethiopia had committed to investigate and ensure accountability for violations of human rights, including sexual violence, and that Ethiopia was providing humanitarian aid in Tigray.

The conflict has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands more from their homes in the region of about 5 million. Eritrean troops – accused of massacres and killings in Tigray – have been helping Ethiopian troops.

Lowcock said the world body had not seen any proof that soldiers from neighboring Eritrea have withdrawn, despite demands from U.N. officials and the United States. The Security Council statement made no mention of Eritrean troops.

Eritrea told the Security Council on Friday that it has agreed to start withdrawing its troops from Tigray, acknowledging publicly for the first time its involvement in the conflict.


Source: ABC

UN Security Council: ‘Deep concern’ about Ethiopia’s Tigray

The U.N. Security Council is expressing concern about humanitarian conditions and human rights in Ethiopia’s wartorn Tigray region

The statement made no mention of Eritrean soldiers in Tigray, though U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock and Amnesty International said last week that the troops remain weeks after Ethiopia said they would leave. U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Wednesday that “we haven’t seen any evidence that Eritrean troops are withdrawing from Tigray.”

In November, political tensions between Ethiopian President Abiy Ahmed’s government and Tigray leaders exploded into war. Eritrea teamed up with neighboring Ethiopia in the conflict. Thousands of people have been killed.

The United States has alleged ethnic cleansing in the western part of Tigray, a claim that Ethiopian authorities dismiss as unfounded. The term refers to forcing a population from a region through expulsions and other violence, often including killings and rapes.

Ethiopia has said that life in Tigray is returning to normal.

Lowcock, meanwhile, told the council last week that some 4.5 million of Tigray’s 6 million need humanitarian aid and that “there is no doubt that sexual violence is being used in this conflict as a weapon of war.” He cited alarmingly numerous reports of rape and other sexual attacks, mainly by men wearing the uniforms of various forces.

In Thursday’s statement, the council conveyed “deep concern about allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including reports of sexual violence.” It welcomed an agreement by the U.N. and an Ethiopian rights agency to conduct a joint investigation into reported abuses.

The council also acknowledged Ethiopia’s humanitarian efforts but called for a bigger response, unfettered humanitarian access to everyone in need and “a restoration of normalcy.”

5 comments

  1. Hurrah! This is a huge diplomatic win for the UN humanitarian branches and the west – the beacons of democracy: Like wise happy news for our suffering brotherns of Tigre and the long marginalized majority Ethiopians – friends of Tigray people.

    We know the diplomatic obstacles you been up against – the anti human right group ( Russia and China ) who hampered every step of yours as they are engaged in same atrocities at their turf.

    Even with this knowledge, we have been nagging you for inaction all over the media. Sorry for that as it was due to the unendurable pain of our suffering brotherns – the Tigreans. In other words we acted like ‘ the sitting old women for whom wrestling seems a simple, easy matter’. Thanks again for your unwavering support.

    We hope for more substantial decisions and actions, like kicking out Isias, very soon and thus the end of Tigre people misery.

    A long marginalized Ethiopian and friend of Tigray people.

  2. Too little too late. This has been a relatively slow-moving crisis compared to Rwanda. If full details ever come out, the world will be shocked and ashamed and there should be condemnation of Russia and China.

    How did Rwanda genocide end? Remember? It wasn’t IC that stepped in, it was Paul Kagame with his rebel group. In Ethiopia it is more likely state collapse that ends it, which will make it even more difficult for humanitarian response.

    Good luck suffering people of Tigray. What is left is vengeance.

    And minorities everywhere, take Tigray as a warning there are no saviours in this world. I wish I am wrong.

    1. Rwanda genocide was not ended by Kagame. It was started by Kagame by killing the entire political leadership in the middle of a 4 year ethnic war.

      Kagame in fact denied safe passage to any intetnational forces that were willing to end the genocide in April 1994.

      All that Kagame did was win a war 3 months after his opponents had a UN arms embargo. Do you think Kagame could have “stopped” the genocide without a 3 month UN arms embargo against Kagame’s opponents?

  3. Information about Eritrea and the Horn of Africa

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    Red Cross condemns ‘horrific’ sexual violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray
    APRIL 23, 2021 ERITREA HUB ETHIOPIA, NEWS, TIGRAY
    Robert Mardini, director-general of the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross, said: “I haven’t heard such terrible accounts for more than two decades in the humanitarian sector.” Mardini, among other things, closely followed the civil wars in Syria and Yemen when he headed ICRC’s Near and Middle East division from 2012 to 2018. “Many of my humanitarian colleagues are testifying the same,” he said.

    Source: AFP

    Posted By: Anya Ayenion: April 22, 2021In:
    Red Cross condemns ‘horrific’ sexual violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray
    The Red Cross voiced alarm Thursday over “horrific” accounts of sexual violence in Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region, amid fears that rape was being used as a weapon of war.

    Robert Mardini, director-general of the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross, said the organisation’s staff in hospitals and clinics in the region were hearing first-hand of extreme sexual violence.

    “Those reports are extremely horrific, very shocking,” he told AFP in an interview, adding that this was a “matter of grave concern”.

    “I haven’t heard such terrible accounts for more than two decades in the humanitarian sector,” said Mardini, who among other things closely followed the civil wars in Syria and Yemen when he headed ICRC’s Near and Middle East division from 2012 to 2018.

    “Many of my humanitarian colleagues are testifying the same,” he said.

    “This is a top priority for us – to prevent this from happening again and, of course, to do everything we can to support the victims and help them overcome these extremely devastating experiences.”

    Five months into the Tigray war, stories of rape have become common, with doctors and nurses in Ethiopia’s northernmost region speaking of treating numerous women after gang rapes by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers.

    The United Nations’ humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warned earlier this month that sexual violence was being used in the Tigray conflict as “a weapon of war, as a means to humiliate, terrorise and traumatise an entire population today and into the next generation”.

    – Over one million displaced –

    Mardini said he did not want to speculate on whether rape was systematically being used as a weapon of war, saying the ICRC was simply “trying to gather the scope and the magnitude of this problem”.

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray in November to disarm and detain leaders of the region’s once-dominant political party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

    For months, the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments denied Eritrean troops were also involved, contradicting testimony from residents, rights groups, aid workers, diplomats and even some Ethiopian civilian and military officials.

    Abiy finally acknowledged the Eritreans’ presence in March, while Eritrea did so earlier this month, pledging to pull out its forces amid mounting international pressure.

    However, so far there is little sign of that happening.

    The international community is meanwhile pressing for Ethiopia to allow greater access for aid agencies to Tigray as the humanitarian situation has deteriorated.

    “Displacement is still happening,” Mardini said, pointing out that “more than a million people were displaced over the five past months”.

    He also voiced concern at the large-scale destruction in the region, pointing to “a lot of attacks against civilians, properties but also individuals, which of course is a matter of great concern”.

    ICRC has been working alongside the Ethiopian Red Cross Society to deliver aid to those affected by the Tigray conflict.

    The organisation is also working to help track down the numerous people who have gone missing, and to reunite separated families.

    “We don’t have reliable figures and statistics, but the humanitarian concerns are unfortunately on the rise, and it is a very worrying situation,” Mardini said.

    ICRCRapeRed CrossSexual violenceTigray
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    2 COMMENTS
    wadani1 says:
    April 23, 2021 at 1:36 pm
    These barbaric acts emanate from the Amara, particularly from the so called elites. Tigray existance is a danger to them; the end of their false Ethiopiannes narrative – a public knowledge all over the world now. What ever they held dear and they called their civilization is of Tigre origin and they can’t live with that.
    They have been trying to keep this secret for long but it came up to the open in the last 3 decades. Being in such sorrowful state ( no more superiority ) they found this power maniac, kingship seeker – Abiy – and thus changed the little power wrangling then into an all out genocidal-war on Tigre.

    What ever happens there is their responsibility and the end losers are them as they are the ones dispersed in every men’s land!

    Let us waite for the end.

    An Ethiopian from the long marginalized people and a freind of Tigre people

    Reply
    Mekonnen says:
    April 23, 2021 at 4:02 pm
    The released statement from the UN on 4/22/2021 is laughable. Any one can say the same thing. There is no even mention of the Eritrean sadist force that is slaughtering innocent men, women and children in Tigray. What is the encouragement for IGAD and the OAU for. They are not helping ending the war. There is not confusion here. The US Secretary of state openly testified to the US congress and the International community that ethnic cleansing is going on in Tigray. Responsible representatives of the international community including UN representatives in the Humanitarian field have to the open about the killing and the rape in Tigray. What is needed from the UN is to help stop the killing and rape immediately

  4. It is little too late that the UNSC has condemned the atrocities in Tigray. Remember that Rwanda genocide happened because of incapacities of the UN in 1994. It is high time that the UN takes concrete actions instead expression of ‘grave concern’.
    It is a waste of time to propose the ETHC and AUHC together with UNHRC will undertake joint investigations about human rights and atrocities in Tigray. It was indicated time and again that the ETHC has structural and legal bottlenecks (being a government institution), capacity limitations and biased reporting so far on the case, not to be able to undertake impartial and independent investigations. The AUHRC will not be impartial and independent as its commissioners have taken a stand which is contrary to governing a regional organization.
    It is not surprising to hear the same mistake of the Ethiopian Ambassador to the UN echoing its government’s rhetoric of “law enforcement operation” despite involving foreign forces, allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including rape of thousands of women and girls, which is contrary to law enforcement and being an internal affair.

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