DILI, June 11 (IPS) – Seven highly respected leaders in conflict resolution have issued a call to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to take immediate action to stop the atrocities being committed in his country’s Tigray region. The letter urges the prime minister to implement seven steps to resolve the crisis.
Created by Jose Ramos-Horta, the former president of East Timor and the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and five other international diplomats and peacebuilders, “colleagues and friends whom the prime minister knows well”, including former Finnish President Tarja Halonen, former special envoy For the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, Honorary Bishop of Oslo and former Vice-Chair of the Nobel Committee Dr Gunnar Stallsett, former President of Slovenia and former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the Global Leadership Alliance Danilo Türk, former UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Envoy for the Prevention of Genocide Adama ding.
The letter notes that “gross human rights violations and abuses are being committed against Tigrayan civilians, including extrajudicial killing, sexual violence, looting and destruction of property, mass executions, arbitrary arrests, rape, forced population displacement, hate speech and ethnic stigmatization. Profiling. Has These attacks have caused tens of thousands of Tigrayan children and adults to flee their homes and seek refuge in Sudan under extremely deplorable conditions.”
“As a result of this conflict, and according to United Nations estimates, approximately 4.5 million of the population of 6 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance,” the report stated. “Between 2 million and 2.5 million people in the region will experience severe food insecurity during September. News outlets from around the world are also increasingly reporting horrific stories of rape, torture and mass arrests.”
She recalls in the words of my father himself, from his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago, “There are those who have never seen war before, but glorify and romanticize it.” They did not see fear. Did not see fatigue. They did not see the destruction or grief, nor did they feel the sad emptiness of war after the carnage.”
Specifically, the leaders urge Prime Minister Ahmed to:
1. Act now and quickly to save his country and end the suffering of the war-stricken Ethiopians in Tigray.
2. Call for independent and credible investigations, in full cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, into violations of human rights and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by all actors in Tigray. We encourage the Prime Minister to ensure that other human rights organizations are allowed access to independently investigate reports of human rights violations and abuses in Tigray.
3. Consider establishing a hybrid court with powers to hold Eritrean war crimes perpetrators accountable.
4. Fully cooperate with regional organizations and the international community to facilitate inclusive dialogue, reconciliation and healing, and to engage all Tigray political and civil actors with a view to charting a consensual path forward in the future governance of the region.
5. Leading calls for a cessation of hostilities by all parties involved and encouraging other parties to commit to ending hostilities immediately. Press for the immediate and verifiable withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara regional forces from the Tigray region.
6. Facilitating the work of international staff in the humanitarian field, including by issuing long-term visas, accelerating the import and use of satellite communication technology by humanitarian organizations, and instructing military and allied forces to establish a civil-military coordination cell to facilitate the work of humanitarian organizations on the earth.
7. Issue orders to protect all civilians in Tigray and throughout Ethiopia regardless of their ethnicity, including refugees and internally displaced persons, especially women, in light of widespread reports of sexual and gender-based violence.”
“It is clear that like all wars, the political dispute that led to the Tigray crisis cannot be resolved by military means alone,” the report states. The suffering experienced by the people of the region was already greater than it should have been. For the sake of Ethiopia and the good of the region and the world, we ask the Prime Minister to work towards a political solution as soon as possible. Only through dialogue and negotiations can a lasting peace be established, and healing for many can begin.”
So far, there has been no response from Prime Minister Abe.
Signatories are available for comment and discussion.
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