Mark Eyskens, former prime minister of Belgium and Koos Richelle, former director-general of the EU, are among 55 senior Europeans who supported this appeal.
Dear Excellencies Charles Michel (president of the EU Council), Ursula von der Leyen (president of the EU Commission) and David Sassoli (president of the European Parliament),
A call to the EU to urgently engage in peace efforts for the Horn of Africa.
The European Union must immediately appoint senior high-level envoys for the Horn of Africa to engage in and provide support to international, in particular African, efforts to curb the crisis in the Horn of Africa.
The UN has called for an immediate ceasefire of all hostilities.
According to the UN, 4,000 people a day are fleeing to Sudan from Ethiopia.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has called for a humanitarian corridor to reach the 96,000 refugees and internally-displaced persons in refugee camps in Sudan and in northern Ethiopia.
The UN is already preparing to receive 200,000 refugees in Sudan. An old refugee camp, that served during the 1984 famine, is sadly brought in use again.
The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has stated the hope that “Ethiopia will be able to find the peace it needs for its development and the wellbeing of its people.”
This crisis rightly has the full attention of the African continent.
The chair of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, has appointed three elderly statespersons as envoys: Joaquim Chissano, former president of the Republic of Mozambique; Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former president of the Republic of Liberia, and Kgalema Motlanthe, former president of the Republic of South Africa – as special envoys of the African Union. Their efforts should be supported.
Unfortunately, the military interventions are not the only problem in the region.
After the lost harvest due to the destruction by locust swarms, food reserves are in severe jeopardy.
The conflict is now contributing to an already dire situation.
A new famine of most severe proportions is looming. The current crisis comes on top of the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving children out of school for six months already. It affects tens of thousands of children in precarious situations, often separated from parents and guardians.
Ethiopia is globally renowned for its world cultural heritage representing one of the oldest human civilisations of which Ethiopians and Africans are rightly proud.
The UNESCO world heritage site in Aksum, other heritage sites and religious centres are now under threat. This tragedy is compounded by a terrible loss of innocent lives, sexual violence and a destabilising refugee crisis.
This regional crisis in the Horn of Africa requires the immediate attention of the EU at the highest level. The EU should call on the experience of statespersons to contribute as high-level envoys to the efforts of the African Union and the UN.
Professor Dr Mirjam van Reisen, professor of international relations, innovation and care, Tilburg University
Plus 51 other signatories, including:
Prof. Dr Mirjam van Reisen, Professor International Relations, Innovation and care, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Greet Vanaerschot, Secretary General, Pax Christi International
Agnes van Ardenne, former Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation and former Dutch Ambassador to the Food and Agri Organisations of the United Nations in Rome
Genoveva Tisheva, Director of the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation, Bulgaria
Malgorzata Tarasiewicz, Director Network of East-West Women, Poland
Juan Santos Vara, Professor of Public International Law and Jean Monnet, University of Salamanca, Spain
Prof. Dr Conny Rijken, Professor of Human Trafficking and Globalization, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Koos Richelle, former EU Director General European Commission, EU
Prof. Dr Rik Van de Walle, Rector of Ghent University, Belgium
Prof. Dr Luc Sels, Rector of Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven, Belgium
Lilianne Ploumen, MP, former Minister of International Trade and Development Cooperation, The Netherlands
Dr Gunnar Köhlin, Associate Professor and Director, Environment for Development Initiative, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Ron Rijnbende, Edukans, The Netherlands
Simon Stocker, LDC-Watch
Klara Smits, Europe External Policy Advisors, Belgium
María Luisa Gil Payno, Economistas sin Fronteras, Spain
Ionut Sibian, Fundația pentru Dezvoltarea Societății Civile, Romania
Antonella Napoli, journalist, Italy
Prof. Dr Jan Nyssen, Department of Geography, UGent, Belgie
Dr Jan Nouwen, Coordinator Global Health Education, Erasmus University, The Netherlands
Prof. Dr Augusto Montixi, University of Cagliari, Italy
Dr Violeta Moreno-Lax, Queen Mary University of London, UK
Dr Réginald Moreels, Humanitarian surgeon and former minister for development cooperation Belgium
Paddy Maguinness, Europe External Programme with Africa, Ireland
Jens Martens, Global Policy Forum Europe, Germany
Stig Lundberg, Consultant Religious Affairs, Sweden
Benoit Lannoo, Consultant International & Interreligious Cooperation, Belgium
Jasper Kuipers, Director Dokters van de Wereld, The Netherlands
Florence Keller, Referente for platforme Citoyenne, Namur and Luxembourg regions, Belgium
Mehdi Kassou, Président de la Plate-forme citoyenne de soutien aux Réfugiés, Belgium
Susanna Henriksén, Act Church of Sweden, Sweden
Rudi Friedrich, Director of Connection e.V., Germany
William Grech, KOPIN Supporting Refugees in Malta, Malta
Valerio Giaccoia, journalist, Italy
Pierre Galand, Former Senator, Human Rights activist, Belgium
Mark Eyskens, Minister of State, Former Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of International Cooperation, Belgium
Anne Catherine de Neve, Referee Antenne Plate-forme Citoyenne de soutien aux Réfugiés for Brabant Wallon, Belgium
Prof. Ronald de Jong, Professor of Practice, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Halle Jorn Hanssen, Writer and former secretary General Norwegian Peoples Aid, Norway
Dr Daria Davitti, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden
Allan Bussard, Director, Integra Foundation, Slovakia
Prof. Dr Frans Bongers, Professor Tropical Forest Ecology, Environmental Sciences Group, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands
Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
Dr Andrés Bautista-Hernáez, Professor of Public International Law, University of Málaga, Spain
Dr Martin Barber, Chair, United Against Inhumanity (UAI), UK
Iliana Balabanova, President, Bulgarian Platform European Women’s Lobby, Bulgaria
Africa ExPress.info, Italy
Laura Albu, President, Romanian Women’s Lobby, Vice-President of the European Women’s Lobby, Romania
Prof. Dr Bas Arts, Universiteit van Wageningen, The Netherlands
Sara Arapiles, Nottingham University, UK
Matyas Benyik, Attac, Hungary
Kees Zevenbergen, Director CORDAID, The Netherlands
Ian White, Changing Perspectives, Ireland
Prof. Dr Lindsay Whitfield, Chair in Global Studies, Project Coordinator Decent Work and GVC-based Industrialization in Ethiopia, Roskilde University, Denmark
Prof. Dr Fulvio Vassallo, Avvocato e Vicepresidente A-DIF, Emeritus University of Palermo, Italy