Urgent Appeal to Stop War in the Horn of Africa
We, members of the Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy, (ERIPS), are a group of Eritrean professionals and Intellectuals in the Diaspora. We are organized on the basis of our specific fields of expertise and our cardinal aim is to engage in research that could guide and serve peace loving Eritreans in the process of transition towards democratic governance and institution building.
We are writing this urgent appeal, to bring to your attention the raging civil war in the Tigrai region of Ethiopia. This is essentially a war between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Regional Government of Tigrai. It should not involve Eritrea and Eritreans. This futile war, amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Tigrai regional government, is covertly orchestrated and assisted by the self-appointed dictator of Eritrea, Isaias Afeworki. It is worth noting that sane leaders elsewhere are protecting their peoples from the consequences of the invisible killer, Corona Virus.
This senseless war has already involved the nation of Eritrea. There are reports that Eritrean troops attacked places in the border between Eritrea and Tigrai region of Ethiopia; and Missiles fired from the Tigrai region hit targets in Asmara the Capital city of Eritrea on November 14th, 2020. Other media reports (BBC, AFP) also indicated that the war already has caused significant casualties and displaced thousands.
We, therefore, vehemently condemn the war and any involvement of the Eritrean regime into the internal affairs of Ethiopia. The Isaias Afeworki Regime is known for instigating wars with neighboring countries (Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen) since 1991. These wars have led to the unnecessary loss of Eritrean lives, which in the eyes of Isaias Afeworki, are expendable. The current war will inevitably devour the lives of Eritrean youth who are forcibly conscripted to the army, and Eritrean civilian population will equally face death, destruction and displacement.
We are also gravely worried about the fate of about 100, 000 Eritrean Refugees inside and outside camps in the Tigrai region of Ethiopia. This puts them in an imminent danger. Their livelihood depends on donations from UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations. The war is causing limitations on movement and access in the region; thus, putting the refugees at risk of hunger and displacement on top of the dangers of being in the crossfire of the war.
If the international community including the United States, European Union, United Nations and African Union do not intervene quickly to mediate, we believe the rapidly deteriorating situation will create humanitarian catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. The war will also spill over to other neighboring countries, further destabilizing the horn of Africa. We truly believe there is no justification for this war, and it is the Eritrean and Ethiopian people who will bear the brunt of the crises.
We, therefore, urge the speedy involvement of the United States, European Union, United Nations and African Union, in order to de-escalate the situation, quickly avert a humanitarian catastrophe, and eventually move the region towards peace and stability. We call for such undertakings to entail applying pressure to:
- All warring parties (the Federal Government of Ethiopia, the Tigrai Regional Government, and The Eritrean Regime) to cease-fire immediately.
- The Eritrean Regime and President Isaias Afewerki to stop interfering in the internal affairs of Ethiopia and to cease and desist any war footing.
- The Federal Government of Ethiopia to lift any blockade and allow the UNHCR and/or the Red Cross to have free access to the refugees and civilian population in the Tigrai region to avoid humanitarian crisis.
- The Federal Government of Ethiopia and its rival in the Tigrai region, to stop brinkmanship, by peacefully and amicably resolving their outstanding political dispute.
Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy (ERIPS)
November 17, 2020