Re: Urgent Request for Further Practical Actions to Foster Durable Peace in Ethiopia
“———However, as commendable and encouraging as all these positive steps are, there are several roadblocks and obstacles still in place that might derail or even reverse the positive steps unless
they are addressed in earnest. Hence, in line with the aims and goals of the Pretoria Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) and the shared vision of sustainable peace in Ethiopia and the
broader Horn of the Africa region, the GSTS would like to respectfully urge your excellencies, the government of Ethiopia and authorities of the Tigray regional government, and other peace-loving actors and stakeholders to immediately prioritise and act on the following demands to foster durable peace and lasting reconciliation in Ethiopia and beyond:
1. Unconditional and immediate withdrawal of Amhara forces from all illegally occupied territories of Tigray to their Pre-November 3, 2020, lines of deployment and enact restoration of pre-war territorial and administrative status quo ante; and the return ofInternally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes, with full compensation for lost property, income, and physical and mental distress. Since the war was declared and waged on Tigray, the Amara regional government and its forces have been carrying out massive ethnic cleansing by employing various measures, including extrajudicial killings of hundreds of thousands, intentional displacement of millions of indigenous Tigrayans native to the area (over 2.3 million IDPs and more than 75,000 in refugees in Sudan), forcible disappearances of targeted individuals, deliberate and systematic removal and destruction of forensic evidence of the crimes committed including the remains of victims of genocide including using chemicals, etc. to alter and engineer the demographics. To accomplish its illegal and expansionist policy, the Amhara regional government and its forces have also effectuated further steps including destroying Tigrayan ID cards and reissuing citizens with Amhara identity cards, relocating a large number of new Amhara settlers from Gondar and other Amhara parts to Western Tigray, leasing forcefully occupied land to Amhara investors, established its own unconstitutional administrative setups etc. Thus, their complete withdrawal from all constitutionally
recognized territories is of the highest priority to realise durable peace.
2. Unconditional, immediate, complete and verifiable withdrawal of Eritrean forces from all illegally occupied territories of Tigray to their Pre-November 3, 2020, lines of deployment and enact restoration of pre-war territorial and administrative status quo ante, put an end to the large-scale atrocities that these forces continue to perpetrate in all territories under their occupation. Contrary to some media reports that Eritrean forces have partially left major cities, GSTS has reliably confirmed from the ground that these barbaric forces are still actively operating in all areas they have forcefully and illegally occupied during their multiple invasions and, unfortunately, they have also continued to commit heinous atrocities including large-scale massacre, kidnapping, rape and sexual violence, looting, evidence destruction etc.
3. UN-led independent investigation into all atrocity crimes perpetrated on the civilian population of Tigray and other parts of Ethiopia and ensure criminals are held accountable; victims and survivors receive justice, as well as all reparations owed to them. GSTS strongly underlines that accountability and justice are critical elements to foster genuine healing and reconciliation among nations, nationalities and peoples in Ethiopia, lasting peace, and security pact.
4. As per UNSC Resolution 24/17 (2018) and the Peace Agreement, ensure the immediate, unconditional, unfettered and sufficient delivery of humanitarian aid to all parts of Tigray.
5. Complete resumption of all essential basic services including telecommunications, internet, electricity, banking and financial services, fuel, civilian transport (land and air), trade and other public services in all parts of Tigray.
6. Immediate and full international media access to all parts of Tigray.
7. Urgent attention for Tigrayan refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), including but not limited to:
a. Facilitating the urgent and safe return of Tigrayan refugees and IDPs to their original homes, land, and property;
b. Providing sufficient health, psychological, and financial support for all forcibly displaced Tigrayans;
c. Expediting the reunification of separated families;
d. Urgently enacting the restitution of lost properties, compensation, and rehabilitation for all victims.
8. Immediate and unconditional release of all Tigrayan prisoners, including members of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF), security and law enforcement forces, and all Tigrayans that were ethnically profiled, detained and interred in prison and concentration camps with reparations and immediate return to jobs and livelihoods.
9. Immediate restitution with compensation of all the properties, businesses, investments, and bank accounts of Tigrayan individuals and entities that were arbitrarily nationalised, frozen, and embargoed by the Ethiopian government.
10. Return of all Tigrayan civil servants and other employees that were dismissed and suspended solely based on ethnic profiling to their previous employment with full salary and other benefits including backpay and/or ensure adequate severance packages and other mechanisms of redress.”
Global Society of Tigrayan Scholars-GSTS