New York — The Pan African Unity Dialogue (PAUD) condemns the state of belligerence that still exists between the federal government of Ethiopia and the region of Tigray, where millions of civilians face a food, medical, and humanitarian crisis. The PAUD condemns the continuing blockade of Tigray by the federal government.
“The PAUD calls upon the Biden administration to press upon U.S. ally Ethiopia the need to come to the table for negotiations. The UN, and the AU must also use the highest organs of these respective organizations to act as mediators to peacefully resolve this crisis,” said PAUD Chairman and convener, Dr. Ron Daniels.
The conflict started on November 4, 2020, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the federal army to invade Tigray. PM Abiy claimed that the federal army was merely enforcing a police matter to apprehend rebellious officials in Tigray and that the operation would end quickly. In fact, it was a full-scaled invasion that involved Ethiopian ground and air-forces and the military of a neighbouring country Eritrea, at the invitation of Abiy.
The invasion was noted for its exceptional cruelty—most of the targets were Tigray’s civilian population and not military assets. Thousands of civilians were killed, many by the bombing raids, and others by mass executions.
Sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war. Women were targeted for mass rapes. The civilian population was displaced from the land and crops deliberately destroyed, creating hunger as international relief shipments were blocked. As a result, the U.N. estimates that out of a total population of 7 million in the region, more than 350,000 face hunger.
A refugee crisis was created, which has led to regional instability, when an estimated 70,000 Tigrayans fled from their homes to neighbouring Sudan.
Both PM Abiy and his ally, Eritrean President Isayyas Akwerki, refused repeated demands by the United Nations and the Biden Administration to withdraw their soldiers from Tigray.
Recently, the military situation changed dramatically on the ground when the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) broke through Ethiopian army lines and captured Mekelle the capital of Tigray forcing PM Abiy to belatedly announce a face-saving “unilateral ceasefire.” The TDF paraded more than 7,000 captured Ethiopian soldiers, making it clear that PM Abiy had suffered a decisive defeat on the ground.
The military situation on the ground remains very volatile. PM Abiy has drawn reinforcements from Ethiopia’s other regions, including Oromiya, the Amhara region, Sidama, and the Somali regions. PM Abiy has threatened to carry out another invasion. Parts of Tigray are still occupied by militias from the Amhara region. In the north, Eritrean soldiers have dug a fortified line on the border.
In order to immediately contain the crisis and move toward a peaceful resolution, PAUD issues the following set of actionable recommendations:
- UN Security Council Resolution calling for immediate cessation of hostilities.
- Immediate and unequivocal withdrawal of all Eritrean troops from Tigray Regional State.
- The end of the blockade so Tigray can have unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance.
- The deployment of UN/AU peacekeeping forces to secure peace and security on the borders with Eritrea.
- A UN-mandated independent international investigation into allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and possible genocide.
- Marshall Plan-type resources for rehabilitation of the war-devastated Regional State of Tigray.
- Convening of an all-inclusive national dialogue of all stakeholders from all regions of Ethiopia to explore avenues towards a lasting peace and reconciliation.
The PAUD offers to send an observer to this proposed dialogue.
PAUD has in the past engaged U.S. elected representatives on critical African issues and hosted several of them as guest speakers at its quarterly meetings including:Rep. Gregory Meeks, Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee and Rep. Karen Bass, Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa in the House Foreign Relations Committee.
PAUD calls upon Rep. Meeks and Rep. Bass to take a leading role in resolving the crisis in Ethiopia and the Tigray region.
PAUD is a Pan-African umbrella grouping that works for the socio-economic and political development of African peoples everywhere. Its members are individual organizations that represent African, Caribbean, South American, and African American communities. The PAUD is convened by the Institute of the Black World 21st Century.