African civil groups accuse UN of inaction over Ethiopia war

African civil groups accuse UN of inaction over Ethiopia war

African civil society groups have accused the UN of inaction over atrocities in Ethiopia, warning in a letter that it had not learned the lessons of the 1994 Rwanda genocide and that the situation risks repeating itself in Ethiopia today. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions more are thought to have been displaced since the war between Ethiopia's federal government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front TPLF, the ruling party of the country s northern region in November 2020.

The UN Security Council issued a statement expressing concern over the fighting in November 2021, but it has yet to take any concrete steps towards resolving the conflict.

A report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accused forces from the Amhara region of waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Tigrayans, with the acquiescence and possible participation of Ethiopian federal forces Dismas Nkunda, head of Atrocities Watch Africa, said last month that there was real reason for concern that some of these crimes reach the level of genocide, and it is important for the United Nations to take account of the seriousness of the current situation. The UN human rights council has appointed a team to investigate abuses committed during the conflict, although the government has vowed not to cooperate.

Tigray has been largely cut off from the rest of Ethiopia since the fighting began, with transport and communications links cut. About 90% of the region's 5.75 million population is in need of aid, and the region's health bureau estimates that at least 1,900 children under the age of five died of starvation in the past year.

In March, the government unilaterally declared a humanitarian truce in order to allow supplies to reach the region, but only a handful of aid trucks have arrived since then.

The letter urges the UN security council to press for immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access to Tigray and impose an arms embargo on all parties to the conflict. The signatories also call for the deployment of an international peacekeeping force led by the African Union, which has its headquarters in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

They said that such action will be vital to aiding Ethiopian men, women and children who have been suffering direct hostilities, associated human rights violations and obstructed humanitarian aid.