SourceIPIS Briefing May 2021: “Ethiopia Tigray crisis – Warnings of genocide and famine”

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.

Ethiopia Tigray crisis: Warnings of genocide and famine | 29 May 2021 | BBC

His Holiness Abune Matthias – an ethnic Tigrayan himself – explained that since the outbreak of conflict in November between the Ethiopian military and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), his “mouth had been sealed, unable to speak from fear”.

Ethiopia-Tigray: Call for Referring Conflict-Related Sexual Violence To ICC | 29 May 2021 | Eurasia Review

The scale and brutality of crimes of conflict-related sexual violence against women committed in Tigray have drawn widespread condemnation from around the world. It was no surprise that the Europe External Programme with Africa (EEPA) focussed on that theme in the Webinar organised on May 25.

‘Our season’: Eritrean troops kill, rape, loot in Tigray | 28 May 2021 | The Associated Press

Women who make it to the clinic for sex abuse survivors in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray usually struggle to describe their injuries. But when they can’t take a seat and quietly touch their bottoms, the nurses know it’s an unspeakable kind of suffering.

Tigray Schools Occupied, Looted | 28 May 2021 | HRW

All warring parties in Tigray have been implicated in the attacking, pillaging, and occupying of schools since the conflict started, Human Rights Watch said today.

U.S. warns of further action against Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray | 27 May 2021 | Reuters

A senior U.S. State Department official warned on Thursday that Ethiopia and Eritrea should anticipate further actions from the United States if those stoking the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region fail to reverse course.

Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers detain hundreds in Tigray | 25 May 2021 | SwissInfo

Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers forcibly detained more than 500 young men and women from four camps for displaced people in the town of Shire in the northern region of Tigray on Monday night, three aid workers and a doctor told Reuters.

Ethiopia accuses United States of meddling over Tigray | 24 May 2021 | Reuters

Ethiopia accused the United States on Monday of meddling in its affairs after Washington announced restrictions on economic and security assistance over alleged human rights abuses during the conflict in the northern Tigray region.

US imposes Ethiopia, Eritrea restrictions over Tigray crisis | 24 May 2021 | al Jazeera

The United States has announced visa restrictions on Ethiopian and Eritrean officials accused of increasing the six-month-old war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, saying those involved had “taken no meaningful steps to end hostilities”.

Propaganda Machine: Voice of America Is Accused of Ignoring Government Atrocities in Ethiopia | 21 May 2021 | The Intercept

As Patinkin watched a brutal civil war unfold in Ethiopia this winter and spring, the coverage by his most recent employer, the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America, shocked and unnerved him. Troops and paramilitaries loyal to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed were accused of killing and expelling civilians and committing gang rape, but VOA’s coverage largely favored the government, in Patinkin’s view, while ignoring its potential war crimes.

US Senate passes unanimous resolution calling for withdrawal of Eritrean forces from Ethiopia | 21 May 2021 | CNN

The US Senate has unanimously passed a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopia’s war-torn northern Tigray region, after a CNN investigation revealed that the soldiers were cutting off critical aid routes.

Four Ethiopian soldiers convicted of crimes against civilians in Tigray | 21 May 2021 | Reuters

Three Ethiopian soldiers have been convicted of rape and one of killing a civilian in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the government said on Friday, the first public statement that soldiers had been found guilty of crimes against civilians in the conflict.

Ethiopian soldiers armed with guns and grenades raid hospital featured in CNN report | 19 May 2021 | CNN

Ethiopian soldiers armed with machine guns, sniper rifles and grenades raided a hospital in Ethiopia’s war-torn northern Tigray region earlier this week in retribution, doctors say, for a CNN investigation that revealed Ethiopian and Eritrean troops were blocking humanitarian aid to patients there.

Pandemic of Hunger Symposium: The Ethio-Eritrean Hunger Plan for Tigray and the Failure of Resolution 2417 | 18 May 2021 | Opinio Juris

Tigray, Ethiopia, is a test case for United Nations Security Council resolution 2417 (2417). The United Nations has failed that test. Today, between 4.5 million and 5.2 million people of Tigray’s total population of 5.7 million are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. Famine is probably occurring already, and without doubt in the coming months Tigrayans will be starving on a scale rarely witnessed in the modern world.

Photostory: Reaching the forgotten communities of the Tigray crisis | 18 May 2021 | MSF

As the conflict in Tigray continues, emergency teams have been deployed to cities across northern Ethiopia to help the six million people hit hard by the crisis. At the same time, the huge numbers of people living in the region’s remote and mountainous rural areas have been cut off from essential healthcare for six months – almost invisible to the outside world. Now, MSF’s mobile clinics are delivering aid to people still living in fear.

UN, Ethiopia Rights Groups to Launch Joint Probe Into Tigray Abuses | 17 May 2021 | Daily Nation | AllAfrica

An Ethiopian agency and a UN team is, in the coming few weeks, set to start a joint investigation into serious human rights violations committed in the Tigray region.

US concerned about increasing political, ethnic polarization in Ethiopia | 17 May 2021 | DefenceWeb

The United States is deeply concerned about increasing political and ethnic polarization throughout Ethiopia, the US State Department said on Friday, adding that Washington will work with allies to secure a ceasefire in the Tigray region, provide assistance and hold human rights abusers accountable.

ENDF claim quashing armed groups set for Tigray | 15 May 2021 | The Reporter (Ethiopia)

The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) announced that the army has destroyed three armed groups that attempted to enter the country from Sudan with the mission of salvaging the leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

US condemns ‘atrocities’ in Tigray and calls for those responsible to be ‘held to account’ after CNN investigation | 15 May 2021 | CNN

The US has condemned Eritrea and Ethiopia for coordinating their troops to close off a key aid route to Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region, following an exclusive CNN investigation published earlier this week that found that Eritrean soldiers were blocking critical humanitarian aid to starving and wounded civilians.

Ethiopia revokes press credentials of New York Times reporter | 14 May 2021 | Reuters

Ethiopia has revoked the press credentials of a foreign journalist working for the New York Times, according to the newspaper and an Ethiopian official. The Times said in an article on Thursday that Simon Marks, an Irish national who reports for it and other publications, had his credentials revoked by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority in early March, after returning to Addis Ababa from the Tigray region, where he had interviewed civilian war survivors.

Hunger Threatens Ethiopia’s Tigray Region | 14 May 2021 | VoA

Six months into the conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, the specter of widespread hunger and starvation looms, as continued military operations and violence stall aid delivery and threaten the approaching planting season, according to the United Nations and several other observers.

Ethiopian former UN peacekeepers seek asylum in Sudan | 10 May 2021 | BBC

More than 100 former United Nations peacekeepers from Ethiopia have sought asylum in Sudan. The group was part of a recently closed UN mission in Sudan’s Darfur region, and had been due to return home.

The alleged atrocities in Tigray risk tearing Ethiopia apart | 9 May 2021 | The Guardian

When Ethiopia’s government under prime minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military offensive to dislodge the Tigray region’s dissident leadership, he promised a rapid surgical operation.

Ethiopia’s crackdown on ethnic Tigrayans snares thousands | 7 May 2021 | Reuters

Police arrested Tigrayan street trader Nigusu Mahari last year as he strolled along the traffic-clogged streets of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. He says he was speaking on the phone in the language of his homeland, a distant region in the north.

Tepid international response to Tigray conflict fuels horrific violations over past six months | 4 May 2021 | Amnesty International

African and other world leaders must urgently speak out and do more to stem the ferocious tide of human rights and international humanitarian law violations in the armed conflict that has now raged for six months in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Amnesty International said today.

Fears of exploitation grow for children stranded in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict | 4 May 2021 | Reuters

Hundreds of children separated from their parents are at risk of abuse, exploitation and child labour after fleeing conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, aid agencies said on Tuesday.

Why Eritrea Won’t Leave Ethiopia | 4 May 2021 | Foreign Policy

When U.S. Sen. Chris Coons visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and met Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in March, the top American demand was that Abiy should order the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the Tigray region. After four months of denials that the Eritreans were inside Ethiopia, Abiy belatedly acknowledged their presence and promised to request their withdrawal.

Gender Analysis Key Findings: Women’s Exploitation & Gender-based Violence Across Ethiopia’s Tigray Crisis | 3 May 2021 | IRC | ReliefWeb

Between late February and early-April 2021, as the crisis continued in Tigray, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) conducted a Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA) with 186 clients and stakeholders across 6 refugee camps and sites for internally displaced persons (IDPs). The RGA is a critical step in the IRC’s efforts to ensure that emergency programming in Tigray is responsive to the needs of women and girls, who have been impacted differently by the crisis than men and boys. This document focuses primarily on the findings around gender-based violence, and the sexual exploitation of women and girls in exchange for cash to buy food.

Rape and Ethnic Cleansing in Tigray | 3 May 2021 | CounterPunch

Victims have told investigators that when Ethiopian federal regular soldiers and militia inflict infertility on Tigrayan women with burning metal rods, after gang-raping them, they tell the women that this is to stop them having ‘Woyene’ children (the Amharans’ derogatory term for ‘Tigrayans’).

In serious escalation, Ethiopian cabinet designates Tigray People Liberation Front terrorist organization | 2 May 2021 | Egypt Today

The Ethiopian Cabinet approved on Saturday a proposal to designate the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) and Oromo Liberation Front-Shene (OLF-Shene) terrorist organizations.

House of Commons International Development Committee: The humanitarian situation in Tigray (Tenth Report of Session 2019–21) | 30 April 2021 | UK Government | ReliefWeb

UK can lead international response to addressing horrors in Tigray using its combined development and diplomatic prowess within the FCDO. The International Development Committee (IDC) has today said that the UK’s response to the deeply concerning humanitarian situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region will be an early test of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, where it’s combined development and diplomatic strengths can be utilised to end the violence and suffering.

Tigray crisis dents Ethiopia’s emerging image | 27 April 2021 | DW

Fighting continues in Ethiopia, despite Ethiopia’s premier Abiy Ahmed declaring victory over Tigrayan rebels in November 2020. With elections on the horizon, has the war in Tigray done more damage to Ethiopia’s unity?

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