Letter to the Honorable Joseph R. Biden Jr. on the Newly Escalating War in Ethiopia

 

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden Jr.

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Dear Mr. President,

 

For years, humanitarians and human rights advocates pleaded with the international community to take active steps to prevent the mass slaughter of civilians in northern Sri Lanka, only to stand by and watch as hundreds of thousands of civilians perished.

 

The review that followed criticized the UN for failing to learn from tragedies such as the genocide in Rwanda, drawing parallels of the UN’s actions in Rwanda that were repeated in Sri Lanka, including the absence of political will amongst member states and the failure leadership by the UN Secretary-General and UN Agencies to speak truth to power. The world’s failure to protect civilians trapped in violence in Sri Lanka is a stark reminder of what happens when human rights concerns are minimized or labelled as too political.

Today, in a similar atmosphere, a tragedy exponentially larger could occur with the resumption of war in Tigray, Ethiopia.

 

The five months of tenuous humanitarian truce did little to address skyrocketing emergency needs amongst over 6 million civilians who remain encircled by the Ethiopian government and its allies. This humanitarian catastrophe will be exacerbated by the new round of war launched by the joint Eritrean, Ethiopian, and Amhara regional forces in the last few days. Recent history shows that civilians bear the brunt of violence during war, and nowhere is that truer than in Tigray.

As has been widely documented by international human rights organisations the grave human rights abuses and atrocity crimes, namely ethnic cleansing, war crimes, crimes against humanity, mass killings, torture, rape, and the intentional denial of relief assistance to civilian populations all underscore the seriousness of the situation. And while there is no doubt that all parties to the conflict bear a burden of responsibility, so do the United States, United Nations, African Union, and other bodies as they fail to prevent relapse to conflict.

As in Sri Lanka and Rwanda, the United States and other key stakeholders recognized too late their failures to respond early to warnings of impending resumption of hostilities, which led to mass atrocities and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. We fear these mistakes are being repeated in Tigray, Ethiopia.

We urge you to take every measure possible to force the Ethiopian government to call off this military offensive, end the siege imposed on Tigray and genuinely allow adequate relief assistance to reach populations in need, and enact an immediate cessation of hostilities followed by the withdrawal of invading forces from all territories of Tigray.

To this end, we ask you to enact sanctions against the Ethiopian government and its allies under the authority listed in your September 17, 2021 executive order which authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to sanction those “extending the crisis in northern Ethiopia or obstructing a ceasefire or a peace process”.

Finally, we ask that the United States spearhead the establishment of an international mechanism to bring perpetrators of atrocity crimes to account, to support victims and the recovery of Tigray and other parts of Ethiopia affected by the war.

If the words “never again” are to ever mean something, the time to act is now.

Sincerely,

The Global Society of Tigray Scholars

and Professionals (GSTS)

CC:

H.E. Mr. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State

H.E. Amb. Samantha Power, Administrator, USAID

H.E. Amb. Linda Thomas- Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

H.E. Sen. Bob Menendez, Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

H.E. Sen Jim Risch, Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

H.E. Rep. Gregory Meeks, Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee

H.E. Rep. Michael McCaul, Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee 

 

List of Co-Signatories

  1. Tigray Center for Information and Communication (TCIC)
  2. OMNA Tigray
  3. Vereniging van Ethiopische Tigreërs in Nederland
  4. Vereniging Tigrai Development Association in Nederland (TDA NL)
  5. Dekna Foundation
  6. Women of Tigray
  7. Vereniging Van Tigray Nederland
  8. Tigrayan Women Association
  9. Tigrean National Association in Sweden (Tigreanska riks föreningen)
  10. Tigrean Women Association in Sweden (Tigreanska kvinnors förening i Sverige)
  11. Tigray Advocacy & Development Association – UK
  12. Tigray Communities Forum North America
  13. Tigray Action Committee
  14. Irob Anina Civil Society
  15. Legacy Tigray
  16. Tigray Youth Network
  17. Australia Tigray Alliance
  18. Stand With Tigray Inc
  19. Health Professionals Network for Tigray (HPN4 Tigray)
  20. Security and Justice for Tigrayans (SJT)
  21. Tigray Association in Switzerland
  22. Tigray Youth Movement Switzerland
  23. Tigray community Vaud
  24. African Service Community
  25. Akabye Intellectual Disabilities Association
  26. Association of care for the elders
  27. Tesfa Hiwot HIV Positive Women Ass. Of Tigray
  28. Chain of Love for Human & Environmental Development
  29. Champions of change HIV Positive Demobilized Fighters Association of Tigray
  30. Chora Abugida Kine-Tebeb Association
  31. Ethiopia Siga Dewe Tetekiwoch Beherawi Mahiber
  32. EYES (Ethiopia Youth Educational Support)
  33. Family Umbrella Association
  34. Human Beings Ass. Of Brother Hood
  35. Integrated Children Aid Organization – Adigrat (ICAO-A)
  36. Lola Children’s Home
  37. Mums For Mums
  38. New Millennium Development Organization
  39. Operation rescue Ethiopia
  40. Organization For Social Services for Aids (OSSA)
  41. Quality of Education for Sustainable Development Association
  42. Relief Society of Tigray
  43. Rese Debriteka Senior citizens case support association
  44. Save Generation Association Tigray
  45. SOS Children Village Mekelle
  46. Special Educational Needs in Ethiopia (SEN Ethiopia)
  47. The Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission
  48. Tigray Development Association
  49. Vision in Action Social & Development Association
  50. Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development
  51. Abraham’s Oasis
  52. SAVE A LIFE 4 LIFE
  53. Tigray Women Disability Association
  54. Bete Desta Children Home
  55. Araya Women and Children’s Charitable org
  56. Tigray Association on intellectual Disabilities
  57. Drop of Water
  58. Senay Tegbar Mithigigaz Charity Orgo
  59. Covenant Axum Charity Fund Organization (CACFO)
  60. Adventist Development and Relief Agency
  61. Alternative Dispute Resolution Center
  62. Betsegaw Rehabilitation Center
  63. BIOECONOMY AFRICA
  64. Fremnatos Elders, Mentally Disabled & Children Charity Ass.
  65. Elshadai Relif and Development Association
  66. Unity for Development Raya
  67. Negeste Axum Child Community Dev. Ass
  68. Organization for Sustainable Development
  69. Berri Maida Girls Hostel & Education Center
  70. SAFER Ethiopia
  71. New Horizon for Disability and Development
  72. Adey Elders Women Care Center
  73. Gual Eno Charity Organization
  74. Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia
  75. Tigray Youth Association
  76. Tigray Fighters Martyrs’ Children Association
  77. Women’s Association of Tigray (WAT)
  78. TESFA One to One Relief & Dev.org.
  79. Mknay Tigray Development Association
  80. HEAL OUR PEOPLE (HOP)
  81. MOPC
  82. Organization Hiwnet Mogos (OHM)
  83. Adey Humanitarian Organization
  84. Bright Future (ብሩህ መፃኢ)
  85. Self Help for Vulnerable Community
  86. Board Led Sunrise Relief Organization (SRO)
  87. Rise Vision Community Based Ministry
  88. Kreodion Elders Support Ass.
  89. Tigray Youth Empowerment Solutions (TYES)
  90. Kebron Charity Association
  91. Maedot Charity Organization
  92. Relief for Inclusive Development (RID)
  93. Hearts of Humanity
  94. ALYA
  95. Care for the Needy
  96. Tigray Milibama Aid Association
  97. Mahber Mimlas Mennetn Merietn Hizbi Tigray
  98. Tigrayans Union In Denmark
  99. Tigray Äthiopischer Verein in Deutschland e.V.
  100. Tigray Frauenverein in Deutschland e.V.
  101. Tigray kultur verein in Deutschland e.V.
  102. Tigray Gemeinde der Kriegsgeschädigten in Deutschland e.V.
  103. Al Nejashi Tigray Germany e.V.
  104. Tigray Gesellschaft Nordrhein-Westfalen e.V.
  105. Association D’Entraide de Tigréen en France
  106. Association Developement de Tigray (ADT)

 

The Global Society of Tigray Scholars and Professionals (GSTS) is a global knowledge network of over 5,000 Tigrayan Scholars and Professionals worldwide and can be reached via gstsp@tigrai-scholars.org or GSTS.TigrayProfessionals@protonmail.com

 

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