, ,

IPIS Briefing August 2021 – Ethiopia-Tigray Conflict

SourceIPIS Briefing August 2021

The IPIS briefing offers a selection of articles, news and updates on natural resources, armed conflict, Business & Human Rights and arms trade. Every month, an editorial and related publications shed a light on a specific topic in IPIS’ areas of research.


U.S. Response To The Human Rights Crisis In Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict | 30 August 2021 | The Organization for World Peace

When Ethiopia elected Abiy Ahmed to be the prime minister in 2018, the international community looked optimistically on the country’s future. In 2019, the new prime minister disintegrated the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which was led by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party in Ethiopia since 1991. Abiy successfully negotiated for peace over border disputes with the neighbouring nation Eritrea, winning him a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, and instituted a number of promising reforms.

Ethiopia on diplomatic campaign in East Africa as int’l pressure mounts | 30 August 2021 | Borkena

In what appears to be a move to deepen diplomatic ties with countries in the region, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with leaders from three countries in a span of less than a week.

Women in Tigray Face Increased Risk of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Amid Humanitarian Crisis | 26 August 2021 | Refugees International | ReliefWeb

The world has watched as long-standing political and ethnic rivalries in Ethiopia have turned into active conflict and horrific mass atrocities in the northern region of Tigray.

Ethiopia Risks U.S. Trade Access on Tigray Rights Violations | 26 August 2021 | Bloomberg

The humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s northern region could affect Ethiopia’s eligibility to export goods to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, according to the U.S. Trade Representative.

U.S., EU warn of influx of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia’s Tigray | 24 August 2021 | Reuters

The United States and European Union are raising alarm over the recent deployment of troops from Eritrea to Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where nine months of war have killed thousands of people and sparked a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Ethiopia acquires Iranian UAVs for Tigray War | 23 August 2021 | DefenceWeb

In the latest effort to halt the advancing Tigray Defence Force (TDF) and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), it appears Ethiopia has purchased several Iranian-made Mohajer-6 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Ethiopia grateful to Russia for its position on Tigray crisis, Ambassador to Moscow says | 23 August 2021 | TASS

Ethiopia is discussing the crisis in the Tigray region with the Russian side at various levels and is grateful to Russia for its position on this issue, Ethiopian Ambassador to Moscow Alemayehu Tegenu Aargau said in an interview with TASS.

Sanctioning Eritrean Military Leader in Connection with Human Rights Abuse in Ethiopia | 23 August 2021 | U.S. Department of State

The United States is designating the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) Chief of Staff General Filipos Woldeyohannes (Filipos) for his connection with serious human rights abuse committed during the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia. Filipos is designated pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world. Filipos commands all of the EDF forces that have committed serious human rights abuses in Ethiopia throughout the conflict.

Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: US accuses Abiy’s government of blocking aid | 21 August 2021 | BBC

The US international development agency has blamed the Ethiopian government for a shortage of humanitarian aid in the country’s conflict-torn Tigray region.

UN chief gravely concerned over ‘unspeakable violence’ in Tigray | 19 August 2021 | UN News

Speaking outside the Security Council chamber on Thursday, UN chief António Guterres told journalists that he is gravely concerned about the situation in Ethiopia, particularly the “unspeakable violence” against women and others in Tigray.

Violence in Tigray Threatens Ethiopia’s Already Fragile Stability | 18 August 2021 | Foreign Policy Research Institute

The ongoing violence between the Ethiopian central government and the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), which began in 2020, has Ethiopia at a crossroads. An ancient kingdom that stood as a powerful state between the Roman Empire and Persia and home of the earliest hominids on Earth, Ethiopia’s written history dates from the time of King Solomon. The country was ruled by emperors from the Zagwe dynasty in the 9th century until 1974 when Haile Selassie, the last emperor of the Solomonic dynasty, was overthrown and the communist Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia took control of the country.

Ethnic Tigrayans Forcibly Disappeared | 18 August 2021 | Human Rights Watch

Ethiopian authorities since late June 2021 have arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, and committed other abuses against ethnic Tigrayans in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The authorities should immediately account for Tigrayans’ forcibly disappeared, release those being held without credible evidence of a crime, and end all discriminatory treatment.

TDF accuses UN of lying as Tigray conflict escalates | 15 August 2021 | Garowe

The Tigray Defense Forces [TDF] has accused a top UN body of misleading the public over alleged deaths at Galicoma in the Afar region, where the separatist group was blamed for opening fire, killing children, and innocent women.

Ethiopia: “I don’t know if they realized I was a person”: Rape and sexual violence in the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia (AFR 25/4569/2021) | 11 August 2021 | Amnesty International

During the conflict that began on 4 November 2020 in Tigray – Ethiopia’s northernmost region – troops fighting in support of the federal government have committed widespread rape against ethnic Tigrayan women and girls. The perpetrators include members of the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), the Amhara Regional Police Special Forces (ASF), and Fano, an informal Amhara militia group. Given the context, scale, and gravity of the sexual violence committed against women and girls in Tigray, the violations amount to war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity.

Tigray forces seek new military alliance | 11 August 2021 | Reuters

Ethiopia armed group says it has alliance with Tigray forces | 11 August 2021 | The Associated Press

Is the new Tigray-Oromo pact more political than military? | 14 August 2021 | The East African

Forces from Ethiopia’s rebellious Tigray region said on Wednesday they were in talks to forge a military alliance with insurgents from Ethiopia’s most populous region, Oromiya, heaping pressure on the central government in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia’s prime minister calls for mass enlistment amid battlefield losses to Tigray rebels | 10 August 2021 | The Washington Post

Amid a string of battlefield losses that have allowed rebels from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region to move into neighboring areas and down a key highway leading to the capital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s prime minister called Tuesday for a national war effort, including mass enlistment.

Tigray rebels seize UNESCO site of Lalibela in Ethiopia’s Amhara region | 5 August 2021 | France24

Rebels from Ethiopia’s war-hit Tigray region on Thursday seized Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the neighbouring Amhara region famed for its 12th-century rock-hewn churches, residents told AFP.

‘Heartbreaking’ devastation in Tigray, says UN humanitarian chief | 4 August 2021 | UN News

The new UN Emergency Relief Coordinator ended a six-day mission to Ethiopia with a fresh push to get badly needed food and other supplies into the embattled Tigray region.

US warns Ethiopia of ‘dehumanizing rhetoric’ on Tigray | 3 August 2021 | The Washington Post

The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development expressed concern Wednesday about the “dehumanizing rhetoric” used by Ethiopia’s leaders amid the nine-month conflict in the Tigray region, whose forces last month were described as “weeds” and “cancer” by the country’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.

Ethiopia: Growing concerns for unity as Tigray conflict spreads | 3 August 2021 | BBC

There are increasing concerns about Ethiopian unity as the conflict in the northern Tigray region escalates. The nine-month-long war between Tigrayan rebel forces and the Ethiopian army and its allies has been mostly contained in Tigray itself.

Bodies found in river between Ethiopia’s Tigray and Sudan | 2 August 2021 | The Associated Press

A Sudanese official says local authorities in Kassala province have found around 50 bodies, apparently people fleeing the war in neighboring Ethiopia’s Tigray region, floating in the river between the countries over the past week, some with gunshot wounds or their hands bound.

Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: Rebels vow to fight on until blockade ends | 2 August 2021 | BBC

The commander of the rebel group in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray has told the BBC they will continue fighting until their terms for a ceasefire are met. Gen Tsadkan Gebretensae said the group aims to force the federal government to lift a blockade in the region and agree to a political solution to the crisis.

Africa can prevent Ethiopia from going down Rwanda’s path: here’s how | 2 August 2021 | The Conversation

When Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2019, I congratulated him in a public US and Africa dialogue forum. I thought he deserved the prize, given what he had done. In particular he showed a calm and responsible interest in listening to all community grievances to avoid outbursts of war.

Ethiopian Airlines denies shipping arms, soldiers to Tigray | 1 August 2021 | France24

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest carrier in Africa, on Sunday denied it was transporting weapons and soldiers to the war-torn Tigray region. Calls to boycott the state-owned airline appeared on social media over allegations it was involved in the nine-month-old conflict.