Call for Action to Address Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region from Women from Africa and of African Descent

As women from Africa or of African descent, we are marking the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict by signing this open letter in solidarity with the women and girls in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, who are being targeted in a campaign of sexual violence which the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict has described as being of “a level of cruelty beyond comprehension.”

During a disturbing briefing to the Nations (UN) Security Council in April, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Sir Mark Lowcock reported an unspecified agency operating in Tigray had estimated that 30% of all incidents against civilians involved sexual violence, which he confirmed is being used “as a weapon of war, as a means to humiliate, terrorize and traumatize an entire population today and into the next generation.” The perpetrators were identified as members of the “Ethiopian National Defence Forces, Eritrean Defence forces, Amhara Special Forces, and other irregular armed groups or aligned militia,” and nearly a quarter of the cases involved gang rape over an extended period of time.

Reports continue to emerge from Tigray of wives being raped in front of their husbands; mothers raped in front of their children and vice versa; family members forced to choose between raping female relatives or death, and of women themselves being forced to choose between rape or death. Several victims report their assailants boasted of “cleansing” their bloodline, while others arrive at medical facilities having suffered additional traumatic injuries to their reproductive organs inflicted by attackers to prevent them from bearing children. Researchers from Ghent University in Belgium have concluded this campaign of mass rape fits “a pattern that has been evident in previous genocidal actions, and [is] reminiscent of events in Bosnia and Rwanda.”

Continue reading “Call for Action to Address Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region from Women from Africa and of African Descent”

Massacres, famine et destruction gratuite : La communauté internationale doit agir rapidement pour sauver la région du Tigré en Éthiopie

Il y a des signes inquiétants qui indiquent que des atrocités sont commises au Tigré, où les civils sont les principales victimes du conflit opposant les armées d’Ethiopie, d’Erythrée, de Somalie et d’une milice alliée de l’ethnie Amhara aux forces de l’ancienne administration régionale. 

Par une tragique ironie, le gouvernement d’Ethiopie, l’une des premières nations à avoir signé la Convention sur le génocide de 1948, est actuellement accusé d’avoir permis et participé à des violences qui pourraient être assimilées à un génocide et à des crimes contre l’humanité.

Tout aussi ironique est le fait que l’avenir d’un prix Nobel qui professe le christianisme évangélique, est désormais inextricablement lié à celui du dirigeant dont le régime est réputé avoir commis des crimes contre l’humanité, y compris le crime de persécution religieuse qui vise en grande partie les chrétiens évangéliques érythréens.

Pour le dirigeant érythréen, Isais Afewerki, la guerre contre le Tigré est l’accomplissement d’une vendetta de longue date contre le Front de libération du peuple du Tigré (TPLF). Il a efficacement rallié à sa cause les dirigeants de l’Éthiopie et de la Somalie, aidé dans cette entreprise par l’antipathie que nourrit le Premier ministre éthiopien Abiy Ahmed à l’égard des dirigeants du Tigré et par ses ambitions de centralisation du pouvoir.

Continue reading “Massacres, famine et destruction gratuite : La communauté internationale doit agir rapidement pour sauver la région du Tigré en Éthiopie”

Massacres, starvation and wanton destruction: The international community must act swiftly to save Ethiopia’s Tigray region

There are worrying indications that atrocity crimes may be underway in Tigray, where civilians are bearing the brunt of a conflict pitting the armies of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and an allied ethnic Amhara militia against the forces of the former regional administration.  

In a tragic irony, the government of Ethiopia, one of the first nations to sign the 1948 Genocide Convention, currently stands accused of permitting and participating in violence that could amount to genocide and crimes against humanity.

Equally ironic is the fact that the future of a Nobel Laureate who professes Evangelical Christianity, is now inextricably linked with that of the leader whose regime is deemed to have committed crimes against humanity, including the crime of religious persecution that largely targets Eritrean Evangelical Christians.

For Eritrea’s leader, Isaias Afewerki, the war on Tigray is the fulfilment of a long-held vendetta against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). He has effectively groomed the leaders of Ethiopia and Somalia, aided in this endeavour by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s own antipathy towards the Tigrayan leadership and ambitions of centralising power.

Continue reading “Massacres, starvation and wanton destruction: The international community must act swiftly to save Ethiopia’s Tigray region”