The signing of the peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia on 9th July 2018 in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, brought to an end twenty years of hostility between the two countries. One would think that peace after so long would be welcome by all, but the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) — former ruling party in Ethiopia — made it its life ambition to reverse the new found peace and revert back to the previous state of war. Continue reading Al Jazeera Appears to Lend Itself to TPLF Disinformation→
Ambassador Sophia Tesfamariam from Eritrea is one of only a handful of African female Permanent Representatives of their countries to the UN in New York. In Africa Renewal’s series profiling the African women representing their countries at UN Headquarters, she spoke with Zipporah Musau about her priorities, the challenges so far and why she is keen on bringing a fresh narrative of her country to the world. Here are excerpts: Continue reading Eritrea at the UN: Rebuilding Towards a Fresh Narrative→
The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has rejected the press statement issued by the US Secretary of State Mr. Antony J. Blinken yesterday regarding Tigray regional state.
“An attempt by the U.S. to make pronouncements on Ethiopia’s internal affairs and specifically, the reference to the Amhara regional forces redeployment in the press statement, is regrettable,” the statement said.
“It should be clear that such matters are the sole responsibility of the Ethiopian government, which as a sovereign nation, is responsible to deploy the necessary security structures and means available in ensuring the rule of law within all corners of its borders,” it added.
Read the full statement issued by MoFA below:
(PRESS RELEASE) On the US Statement on the Situation in the Tigray Region
The Government of Ethiopia’s prevailing focus and priority has been and still is to effectively respond to the humanitarian situation in the Tigray region. In doing so, it continues to collaborate and coordinate its actions with international partners to reach out to every person in need.
It should be noted that the Ethiopian government thus far is covering 70% of the assistance from its resources, while the remaining 30% is shared by development partners and NGOs. So far, the ongoing relief efforts have reached out to more than three million people. Priority is being given to people in vulnerable situations, particularly for women and children.
With the significant improvement in the security situation in the region, the government has now allowed unfettered access to humanitarian actors. It has also put in place an expedited clearance system to remove the bureaucratic hurdles in securing the necessary permits to operate in the region.
The United States is gravely concerned by reports of atrocities in Ethiopia's Tigray region. We strongly condemn the killings, forced removals, sexual violence, and other violations of human rights. The international community must work together to prevent further atrocities.
Accordingly, the World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director, David Beasley, has confirmed the important progress that has been made in the humanitarian response, while also underscoring the need to do more. The international community needs to respond to his urgent appeal for more resources to scale up the ongoing relief operations, instead of continuously lamenting the dire humanitarian situation in the region.
On the other hand, the Ethiopian government has made its position unequivocally clear concerning human rights abuses and crimes allegedly committed in the Tigray region.
The government of Ethiopia takes its responsibility for the safety, security, and well-being of all Ethiopian citizens very seriously. That is why it is fully committed to undertake thorough investigations to get to the bottom of the issue and bring perpetrators to justice.
In this connection, the government not only welcomed the support of international human rights experts but also signaled the possibility of collaboration on joint investigations with the relevant human rights bodies.
Therefore, the government has shown its determination to engage positively and constructively by responding to the two major requests of the international community, i.e., unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and independent investigation into the alleged human rights violations and crimes committed in the Tigray region.
These are also the main issues raised by the US Secretary of State, Mr. Antony J. Blinken in his press statement issued on 27 February 2021.
However, an attempt by the US to make pronouncements on Ethiopia’s internal affairs and specifically the reference to the Amhara regional forces redeployment in the above-mentioned press statement is regrettable.
It should be clear that such matters are the sole responsibility of the Ethiopian government, which as a sovereign nation is responsible to deploy the necessary security structures and means available in ensuring the rule of law within all corners of its borders.
The Ethiopian government, like any government of a sovereign nation, has in place various organizing principles in its Federal and regional structures which are solely accountable only to the Ethiopian people. The Federal Government is mandated by the Constitution to ensure peace and security against any threats to the Constitutional order of the country.
It is in the spirit of this responsibility and holding a nation together from treasonous and divisive forces that the Federal government has been undertaking the rule of law operations in Tigray.
Ethiopia has an unwavering commitment to honoring its international responsibilities, despite the destabilizing nature of the challenges that ensued due to the high treason of a criminal clique.
Nevertheless, honoring international obligations and responsibilities should not be deemed by any entity as an invitation to dictate a sovereign nation’s internal affairs.
Atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region (Press Statement)
ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE
FEBRUARY 27, 2021
The United States is gravely concerned by reported atrocities and the overall deteriorating situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. We strongly condemn the killings, forced removals and displacements, sexual assaults, and other extremely serious human rights violations and abuses by several parties that multiple organizations have reported in Tigray.
We are also deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian crisis. The United States has repeatedly engaged the Ethiopian government on the importance of ending the violence, ensuring unhindered humanitarian access to Tigray, and allowing a full, independent, international investigation into all reports of human rights violations, abuses, and atrocities. Those responsible for them must be held accountable.
The United States acknowledges the February 26 statements from the Ethiopian Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promising unhindered humanitarian access, welcoming international support for investigations into human rights violations and abuses, and committing to full accountability. The international community needs to work collectively to ensure that these commitments are realized.
The immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces and Amhara regional forces from Tigray are essential first steps. They should be accompanied by unilateral declarations of cessation of hostilities by all parties to the conflict and a commitment to permit unhindered delivery of assistance to those in Tigray.
The United States is committed to working with the international community to achieve these goals. To that end, USAID will deploy a Disaster Assistance Response Team to Ethiopia to continue delivering life-saving assistance.
We ask international partners, especially the African Union and regional partners, to work with us to address the crisis in Tigray, including through action at the UN and other relevant bodies.
The United States remains committed to building an enduring partnership with the Ethiopian people.
The oral report of the High Commissioner on Eritrea presented to the 46th HRC Session attempts to portray a dark picture and essentially repeat fallacious narratives advanced by the EU and certain countries.
In a way, this is not new. Indeed, a core group of western countries have unfortunately made it a habit to sully the image and coerce Eritrea for reasons known to them.
The crisis in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia is being used conveniently at this point in time as one element in the continuum of unrelenting smear campaigns of Eritrea.
Eritrea has earnestly worked to partner with the OHCHR, and to this effect, four OHCHR technical missions were conducted so far. Furthermore, Eritrea identified its own priorities for technical assistance (relating to administration of justice, the right of persons with disabilities, and the right to water).
On the other hand, to expand the scope of cooperation and the benefits that accrue from the technical assistance offered by OHCHR, Eritrea decided, as a first step, to invite certain thematic mandates and treaty bodies. But these earnest requests fell on deaf ears.
Furthermore, the technical missions and the attendant reports of the OHCHR have never reflected the efforts and the outcomes gleaned in an adequate and balanced manner. In substance and intent, they seemed to blindly endorse or recycle the lopsided approaches and templates of the Special Rapporteur’s report.
This is another indication that the OHCHR is not prepared to work as a partner to enhance ongoing technical capacities for the promotion and protection of human rights in Eritrea.
– Opposes adoption of country-mandate without the consent of #Eritrea – Calls for the Council to terminate country-specific mechanism – Opposes using #HumanRights as political tool to exploit & interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states pic.twitter.com/H4KsELpuC3
The allegations levelled by the EU and the OHCHR oral report of sexual violence, looting, and other “crimes by Eritrea’s armed forces” are utterly baseless. These are alien and an affront to the history and culture of Eritrea and its military establishments.
In the smear campaigns focussed on Eritrea, the grave situation that unfolded in Ethiopia in early November by the massive, pre-emptive attack by the TPLF clique on the largest contingent of the Ethiopian army continues to be routinely downplayed or totally ignored.
One wonders whether Eritrea is being deliberately targeted as a scapegoat to deflect attention from the gravity of what was in store and potential regional conflagration that would have ensued had these reckless attacks succeeded.
We have not also seen sincere attempts to re-examine the prudence of the unbridled financial and military assistance – to the tune of 40 billion US dollars – that were given to the TPLF regime in spite of policies of ethnic exclusivity and repression in Ethiopia and continued aggression and occupation of sovereign Eritrean lands in flagrant violation of international law.
These days, disinformation in the cyber domain remains the dangerous weapon left in the hands of the defunct TPLF clique. This is pursued, on a daily basis, through a frantic fabrication and recycling of fake news and photo-shopped images of events and narratives that never occurred. Certain media outlets – most of them hired by the TPLF clique in the past years – continue to be fully engaged in these unconscionable acts.
In the event, we request the OHCHR to refrain from making hasty decisions based on unaccounted and unverified allegations. Attempts to deflect attention from the high crimes perpetrated by the TPLF clique and downplaying its culpability will not, indeed, serve the cause of regional peace and stability.