From the Ethiopian Embassy in London. Source.
Inclusive National Dialogue, a Reliable Path towards Peace in Ethiopia
It is to be recalled that with the change in government in April 2018, Ethiopia introduced an unprecedented wave of reforms towards the realization of true democracy. Unfortunately, the reform has been met with resistance from few disgruntled elites of the previous system. These elites led by the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) did not just resist, they dragged the nation into unnecessary conflict. TPLF’s brutal offensive against the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Défense Forces was the coup de grâce that led to such devastation. The event represents the most heinous treason ever to go down in the annals of Ethiopian history.
Despite this outrageous treason and subsequent atrocities, the government of Ethiopia still believes that the time for peace is never late. It endeavours to ensure this through a nation-wide dialogue. It is in view of this commitment that the government has established a national dialogue commission. The role of the Commission is to facilitate talks among all political groups, civil society associations, interested groups, religious communities, and the public at large. Questions about the inclusivity of the commission are not tenable as members are selected through direct participation of the people. The policy is that the nation-wide dialogue addresses prevailing political issues once and for all. The people of Tigray and the rest of the nation will use this framework to directly discuss through their delegated representatives and ensure consensus on divergent national issues including the flag, the constitution, and the right to self-determination. People decide, and the government abides by that decision.
Government Declaration of Humanitarian Truce In respect of the existing humanitarian concern in the Tigray Region, the government had boldly vowed that it would not sit idle when the people of Tigray die hungry. As per that commitment, it declared an indefinite humanitarian truce a couple of weeks ago. This is hoped to clear the misplaced accusations over deliberate humanitarian blockade in Tigray. If the TPLF live up to their words and practically reciprocate, this will help alleviate the suffering. However, we should take their words with a pinch of salt for the TPLF oftentimes give statements like this for political expediency. That is why we want to request the international community to urge them to deescalate practically and play a constructive role in this process.
If the TPLF committed to its words and facilitate humanitarian support to those in need, this will help the people get over whatever sentiment the restricted humanitarian supply created. It is to be recalled that due to TPLF’s continued incursion into the Amhara and Afar Regions, effective humanitarian delivery through the existing land corridor has been impossible for a long time. Therefore, with improved humanitarian delivery to Tigray, we could create understanding that there has never been an intention on the part of the Federal government to starve the Region as repeatedly claimed by the TPLF agents. Unhindered aid, which is still incumbent upon the TPLF, will also allow majority of the people of the region to see the truth and to defy naysayers and engage with their fellow Ethiopians through the national dialogue.
On the Joint Report of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a report regarding alleged crimes in Welkait and its environs. The report covers sensitive political changes in the country and details the organisations’ opinionated views about Ethiopia’s peace and security, internal boundary matters, and so-called findings on grave allegations of human rights. It further makes ostentatious allegations of ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
As has been made clear repeatedly, the Government of Ethiopia is committed to holding accountable those responsible for violations of human rights and humanitarian law. That is why it has established the Inter-ministerial Taskforce following the publication of the Joint Investigation by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Since its establishment, the Taskforce has been investigating alleged crimes, while putting in place various directives to expedite the accountability process. There is also a commitment to closely examine this report and give a deserving consideration.
However, the numerous political matters that the two organizations raised in the report invite a question of validity. Firstly, matters of internal boundaries are dealt with by constitutionally mandated bodies. It is unwise for these organizations to pass judgments on such matters. They must know their report will now be used for political purposes. They failed to exercise due diligence.
The Government is concerned about the ethnic undertones of the report that seem to apportion blame disproportionally while trying to exculpate others. This fuels hatred and makes reconciliation and healing more difficult. Responsibility is individual, and all those implicated in any criminal activity should be held accountable. However, the sensational nature of the report calls for extreme caution. Simply blaming one group does not serve the cause of human rights and peace. The report also suffers from lack of objectivity as it relies largely on alleged testimonies from certain groups. The unfair attack against the gallant forces of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) and allied forces exposes its glaring weakness.
Furthermore, this report comes after the declaration of the indefinite humanitarian truce which enabled a smooth flow of aid into the Tigray Region. It is hoped that this will lay the foundation for genuine efforts to end the conflict peacefully. The report, unfortunately, strays into making recommendations unhelpful for any peace effort. Nonetheless, the Government still reiterates its commitment to seriously examine all allegations of violations of human rights and humanitarian law and make its findings public.
Humanitarian Response Update in Northern Ethiopia as of April 08/2022 In accordance with the government's directives to deliver humanitarian assistance to those in need in the Tigray Region, coordination was made with partners. A cluster arrangement which aimed at ensuring smooth humanitarian response to the most affected areas has been put in place. i.e., logistics is being facilitated in such pattern where provisions are distributed in terms of food and nutrition, non-food items, emergency shelter, health services, wash services, and transport services. The government has given its all to ensure the delivery, despite the TPLF continuing incursions along aid corridors and making the movement of aid convoys impossible. The government has been able to facilitate the delivery of 52,537 metric ton of food and non-food items between July 2021 and April 2022 through the Samara -Ab’ala corridor. Sadly, trucks that were used to transport such supplies have been confiscated by the TPLF. Out of the total 1,338 trucks, a significant portion (1,016 or 76%) have been commandeered and used to transport TPLF militias. Following the humanitarian truce, a convoy comprising of 27 trucks delivered humanitarian support to Tigray on the 1st of April 2022. The convoy carried nutritious food and non-food items obtained from various aid organisations. One fuel tanker with 47,410 litters of fuel was part of this convoy. Moreover, On the 14th of April 2022, World Food Program announced that another humanitarian convoy, composed of 47 trucks loaded with food, nutrition & other lifesaving supplies plus 3 fuel tankers, fundamental to deliver these items to communities in Tigray, transported to Mekelle. On the other hand, humanitarian flights to Tigray started since 17 July 2021, with the service being provided by the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Ever since, more than sixty (60) passenger flights have been facilitated, enabling 78 Partners to transport ETB 1.37 billion cash to the Region for admin and program budget. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, and the Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management Commission have been coordinating with partners (ICRC and UN) to help increase humanitarian flights for cargo and passengers. As a result, since January 2022, UNHAS deployed two Cargo Aircrafts to deliver health and nutrition cargos from Addis to Mekelle, while ICRC deployed one. Since January 2022, Humanitarian partners have been actively using air cargo transportation to deliver Medicines, Medical equipment, and Nutrition cargo to the Tigray region. As of 08th of April 2022, nineteen humanitarian partners got approval to transport medicine (including vaccines), medical items and Nutrition Supplies to the Tigray region. These includes International Rescue Committee (IRC), ICRC, Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision Ethiopia, Plan INTERNATIONAL, World Health Organization (WHO), Save the Children , United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, International Medical Corps (IMC), World Food Program (WFP), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nation High Commissioner for Refuge (UNHCR), Medicine San Frontiers Holland (MSF-Holland), United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), Catholic Relief Service (CRS), The Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission (ECC-SDCO), Action Against Hunger , Medical Team International /MTI/, Centre for International Reproductive Health Training. Accordingly, more than 16 partners were able to transport 534,104 KG medicine and food supplies. i.e., 146,971 Kg of medicines, medical equipment, and 387,133 kg of nutrition supplies.
For further information on this brief, please contact the Embassy directly at DBekele@ethioembassy.org.uk
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