- Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed in military fatigue on 23 June 2019 (AFP Photo)
April 18, 2021 (NEW YORK) – A United States senator has expressed disappointment over the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s failure to withdraw Eritrean forces from the Tigray region, remove obstacles to humanitarian access and hold perpetrators of human rights abuses accountable.
“I’m concerned by atrocities continuing to occur across #Ethiopia—inside & outside of Tigray,” Senator Chris Coons tweeted Friday.
Early this month, Ethiopian authorities said Eritrean troops started withdrawing from Tigray, where they have been fighting alongside Ethiopian forces in a war against the region’s fugitive leaders.
The Eritreans “have now started to evacuate” Tigray and Ethiopian forces have “taken over guarding the national border,” Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement issued on April 3, 2021.
The United States on Friday raised concerns in the Security Council over the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and credible reports that Eritrean forces are re-uniforming?as Ethiopian military in order to remain in Tigray indefinitely.?
“The Eritrean government must withdraw its forces from Ethiopia immediately,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Security Council on April 15, 2021.
The US diplomat said she was horrified by the reports of rape and other unspeakably cruel sexual violence that continue to surface.?
“The degradation and trauma associated with these attacks will have long-term effects on the affected communities. We condemn all sexual violence and demand perpetrators be brought to justice,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Thomas-Greenfield acknowledged the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s commitment to hold accountable all those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, and atrocities.
She said the Eritrean government must make a similar commitment.?
“We welcome the joint investigation by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission in Tigray and urge them to complete this investigation as thoroughly and swiftly as possible,” further stressed the US diplomat.
The United States has reportedly committed an additional $152 million to help address humanitarian needs in the Tigray region.
The Ethiopian government estimates that the number of displaced persons who have fled the fighting in Tigray stands at approximately 1.7 million. The situation is marked by continued reports of sexual violence and other gross violations and abuses, as well as high levels of food insecurity.
According to aid agencies, an estimated 5.2 million people in Tigray are food insecure, require assistance and are at risk of famine.