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.
The Global Society of Tigray Scholars
and Professionals (GSTS)
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
- Tigray Center for Information and Communication (TCIC)
- OMNA Tigray
- Vereniging van Ethiopische Tigreërs in Nederland
- Vereniging Tigrai Development Association in Nederland (TDA NL)
- Dekna Foundation
- Women of Tigray
- Vereniging Van Tigray Nederland
- Tigrayan Women Association
- Tigrean National Association in Sweden (Tigreanska riks föreningen)
- Tigrean Women Association in Sweden (Tigreanska kvinnors förening i Sverige)
- Tigray Advocacy & Development Association – UK
- Tigray Communities Forum North America
- Tigray Action Committee
- Irob Anina Civil Society
- Legacy Tigray
- Tigray Youth Network
- Australia Tigray Alliance
- Stand With Tigray Inc
- Health Professionals Network for Tigray (HPN4 Tigray)
- Security and Justice for Tigrayans (SJT)
- Tigray Association in Switzerland
- Tigray Youth Movement Switzerland
- Tigray community Vaud
- African Service Community
- Akabye Intellectual Disabilities Association
- Association of care for the elders
- Tesfa Hiwot HIV Positive Women Ass. Of Tigray
- Chain of Love for Human & Environmental Development
- Champions of change HIV Positive Demobilized Fighters Association of Tigray
- Chora Abugida Kine-Tebeb Association
- Ethiopia Siga Dewe Tetekiwoch Beherawi Mahiber
- EYES (Ethiopia Youth Educational Support)
- Family Umbrella Association
- Human Beings Ass. Of Brother Hood
- Integrated Children Aid Organization – Adigrat (ICAO-A)
- Lola Children’s Home
- Mums For Mums
- New Millennium Development Organization
- Operation rescue Ethiopia
- Organization For Social Services for Aids (OSSA)
- Quality of Education for Sustainable Development Association
- Relief Society of Tigray
- Rese Debriteka Senior citizens case support association
- Save Generation Association Tigray
- SOS Children Village Mekelle
- Special Educational Needs in Ethiopia (SEN Ethiopia)
- The Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission
- Tigray Development Association
- Vision in Action Social & Development Association
- Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development
- Abraham’s Oasis
- SAVE A LIFE 4 LIFE
- Tigray Women Disability Association
- Bete Desta Children Home
- Araya Women and Children’s Charitable org
- Tigray Association on intellectual Disabilities
- Drop of Water
- Senay Tegbar Mithigigaz Charity Orgo
- Covenant Axum Charity Fund Organization (CACFO)
- Adventist Development and Relief Agency
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Center
- Betsegaw Rehabilitation Center
- BIOECONOMY AFRICA
- Fremnatos Elders, Mentally Disabled & Children Charity Ass.
- Elshadai Relif and Development Association
- Unity for Development Raya
- Negeste Axum Child Community Dev. Ass
- Organization for Sustainable Development
- Berri Maida Girls Hostel & Education Center
- SAFER Ethiopia
- New Horizon for Disability and Development
- Adey Elders Women Care Center
- Gual Eno Charity Organization
- Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia
- Tigray Youth Association
- Tigray Fighters Martyrs’ Children Association
- Women’s Association of Tigray (WAT)
- TESFA One to One Relief & Dev.org.
- Mknay Tigray Development Association
- HEAL OUR PEOPLE (HOP)
- Organization Hiwnet Mogos (OHM)
- Adey Humanitarian Organization
- Bright Future (ብሩህ መፃኢ)
- Self Help for Vulnerable Community
- Board Led Sunrise Relief Organization (SRO)
- Rise Vision Community Based Ministry
- Kreodion Elders Support Ass.
- Tigray Youth Empowerment Solutions (TYES)
- Kebron Charity Association
- Maedot Charity Organization
- Relief for Inclusive Development (RID)
- Hearts of Humanity
- Care for the Needy
- Tigray Milibama Aid Association
- Mahber Mimlas Mennetn Merietn Hizbi Tigray
- Tigrayans Union In Denmark
- Tigray Äthiopischer Verein in Deutschland e.V.
- Tigray Frauenverein in Deutschland e.V.
- Tigray kultur verein in Deutschland e.V.
- Tigray Gemeinde der Kriegsgeschädigten in Deutschland e.V.
- Al Nejashi Tigray Germany e.V.
- Tigray Gesellschaft Nordrhein-Westfalen e.V.
- Association D’Entraide de Tigréen en France
- 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 email@example.com or GSTS.TigrayProfessionals@protonmail.com