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IPIS Briefing September 2021 – Ethiopia-Tigray Conflict

SourceIPIS Briefing September 2021

The IPIS briefing offers a selection of articles, news and updates on natural resources, armed conflict, Business & Human Rights and arms trade. Every month, an editorial and related publications shed a light on a specific topic in IPIS’ areas of research.

State-Sponsored Cover-Up of the War on Tigray | September 30, 2021 | OmnaTigray

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration continues to deny the ongoing genocide, weaponized rape, systematic killings, and the deliberate denial of basic needs that have occured since November 2020. Such denial, which is characteristic of perpetrators of genocide, as well as the complete blackout imposed on Tigray has made it nearly impossible to accurately report the impact of the genocidal war and the true severity humanitarian crisis in Tigray. His efforts to cover-up the atrocities in Tigray have exacerbated the suffering of Tigrayans.

7 UN officials told to leave country within 72 hours | September 30, 2021 | A news

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet that five members of the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, including senior leaders, were being ordered out of the country, as well as the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF Representative, and a team leader from the UN human rights office, OHCHR.

Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes in Ethiopia: TPLF, OLF and Abiy Ahmed | September 29, 2021 | Borkena

TPLF’s cruel and inhuman massacres and slaughtering of thousands of innocent civilians: women, children and the elderly and others in both Afar and Amhara regions including in Mai-Kadra have been well-documented and independently verified and confirmed by a number of international organizations and media outlets. Moreover, there are also recent reports of the terrorist group’s instigation of hunger and starvations in the more than four million people that the group has been holding hostage in the Amhara region.

Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: Why are hundreds of aid trucks stranded? | September 27, 2021 | BBC

With concern mounting about the food situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, there are conflicting claims about why supply trucks are stuck there, unable to transport further crucial supplies.

Witnesses accuses Tigray fighters of Kobo killings | September 25, 2021 | Al Jazeera

One man said he counted 55 corpses as he escaped from his town in northern Ethiopia, stepping over bodies scattered in the streets. Another asserted he was rounded up with about 20 men who were shot in front of him. Yet others claimed Tigray forces went door-to-door killing men and teenage boys.

Hate Speech and the Tigray Genocide | September 24, 2021 | OmnaTigray

Hate speech, dehumanizing metaphors, and outright calls for the eradication of Tigrayans have contributed to the genocide and widespread ethnic cleansing of Tigrayans throughout Ethiopia. “To catch the fish, you must drain the sea,” is an example of a widely known phrase used by Ethiopian state-sponsored media against Tigrayans. Consistent dehumanization of a group of people, especially by government officials who are trusted and in the position to protect their citizens, can be a catalyst in making people feel justified in their violent hate and actions towards that group of people.

The Rise and Rise of Fascism in Ethiopia | September 24, 2021 | African Arguments

Since November 4, 2020, Ethiopia is embroiled in a horrific civil war bearing the hallmarks of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and man-made famine. Underneath this grisly reality lies an appalling politics of hate that was deployed in full-scale and is currently permeating the social, political and cultural facets of the country. In her insightful book, Fascism: A Warning, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright cautions us to be wary of leaders who sow fear and anger and not to be tempted to give away freedoms, or the freedom of others, to leaders promising law and order.

Atrocity Alert No. 271: Ethiopia, Burundi and Philippines | September 23, 2021 | GCR2P | ReliefWeb

Last week at an event in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, Daniel Kibret, an influential political adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, gave an inflammatory speech targeting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the former ruling party of the Tigray region. Kibret said that, “they should be erased… from historical records. A person who wants to study them should find nothing about them. Maybe he can find out about them by digging in the ground. ” According to the UN Secretary-General, since armed conflict started in Tigray last November, an alarming rise in inflammatory rhetoric and ethnic profiling has been “tearing apart the social fabric of the country.”

Tigray war antagonists are reluctant to talk peace: why and what’s next | September 23, 2021 | The Conversation

It is almost a year since the war in Ethiopia’s northern state of Tigray broke out. It all begun with a “pre-emptive strike” on the North Command of the federal army by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on the 4 November 2020. The central government responded with what it described as a brief “surgical operation” to bring to justice the Front’s leadership. Since then, the war has expanded outside Tigray to Afar and Amhara regional states.

These old images do not show recent protests in Ethiopia’s Tigray region | September 22, 2021 | AFP Check

Several images of protests have been circulating on Facebook in Ethiopia alongside claims that they show recent demonstrations against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in the region’s capital, Mekele. This is false. There are no reports of recent protests; AFP Fact Check found that four of the photos are old or from unrelated events, and was unable to source a fifth photo’s provenance.

Biden-⁠Harris Administration Actions in Response to Ongoing Crisis in Northern Ethiopia | September 17, 2021 | The White House

Today, President Biden is taking further steps to respond to the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia. This conflict has sparked one of the worst humanitarian and human rights crises in the world, with over 5 million people requiring humanitarian assistance and nearly one million living in famine-like conditions.

Eritrean Refugees Targeted in Tigray | September 16, 2021 | HRW

Eritrean government forces and Tigrayan militias have committed killings, rape, and other serious abuses against Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Human Rights Watch said today. All warring parties should cease attacks against refugees, stay out of refugee camps, and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.

What Tigray portends: the future of peace and security in Africa | September 13, 2021 | War on the Rocks

Two years ago, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stood on the stage in Stockholm to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Now, he oversees a brutal civil war in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Abiy recently called the conflict a case where “the weed is being removed from our country.” This genocidal language follows a ten-month campaign characterized by acts of ethnic cleansing, sexual violence, and man-made famine.

Multiple reports of alleged human rights violations in Tigray | September 13, 2021 | A

UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet on Monday deplored “multiple and severe reports of alleged gross violations of human rights, humanitarian and refugee law” committed by all parties to the conflict in Tigray.

Ongoing Conflict and Human Rights Abuses in Northern Ethiopia | September 10, 2021 | US Department of State

The United States remains gravely concerned by ongoing conflict in multiple regions of Ethiopia. Reports of continued human rights abuses and atrocities by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, the Eritrean Defense Forces, Amhara regional and irregular forces, the TPLF and other armed groups, including the reported attack on civilians in one village in Amhara region this week, are deeply disturbing. We condemn all such abuses against civilians in the strongest possible terms and call on all parties to the conflict to respect human rights and comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Joint UN, EHRC investigation on Tigray concludes field work phase, final report due on Nov. 01 | September 10, 2021 | Addis Standard

The joint investigation by the UN Human Rights Office and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into alleged violations of human rights, humanitarian and refugee law committed by all parties to the conflict in Tigray has concluded its field work phase, with a final report to be published on 1 November 2021.

Men are marched out of prison camps. Then corpses float down the river | September 10, 2021 | CNN

The ghostly outlines of limbs emerge through the mist along the Setit River in eastern Sudan. As the river’s path narrows, the drifting bodies become wedged on the silty clay bank and their forms appear more clearly; men, women, teenagers and even children.

At scene of Ethiopia’s new killings, some fight, some fle e | September 10, 2021 | The Associated Press

The smell of death lingered for days after the killings. The bodies, more than a dozen in the uniforms of fighters, others in civilian clothing, were still scattered on the muddy ground.

In Ethiopia, the conflict threatens to spill over into the Oromo region | September 8, 2021 | The world

The rebels in the country’s most populous province have gained visibility since their agreement with the Tigrayan insurgency. An alliance that calls for the overthrow of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Ethiopia: Tigray rebels categorically deny killing civilians | September 8, 2021 | Mediapart

Ethiopian Region Accuses Tigray Forces of Killing Civilians | September 8, 2021 | Bloomberg

Tigrayan rebels on Wednesday denied allegations that they killed dozens of civilians in early September in Amhara, a region of northern Ethiopia swept over in recent months by the conflict raging in neighboring Tigray.

UN footage from northern Ethiopia shows humanitarian crisis | September 7, 2021 | Reuters

Footage of war-hit northern Ethiopia published by the UN World Food Program (WFP) on Monday reflected the severe humanitarian crisis there, after the United Nations warned that a de facto blockade on aid is bringing millions to the brink of famine.

Tigray: Women and girls bear significant costs of Ethiopian conflict | September 3, 2021 | UNFPA | ReliefWeb

Since conflict between federal and regional forces erupted in Tigray in north Ethiopia last November, some 2 million Tigrayans have been displaced with thousands fleeing to surrounding countries like Sudan. Not only has fighting not been contained, it has spread to neighboring regions like Amhara and Afar.

Why the Tigray rebels have been able to stand up to the Ethiopian army since fall 2020 | September 3, 2021 | Franceinfo

While Ethiopia has “one of the most operational armies in sub-Saharan Africa”, it cannot overcome the Tigray Defense Forces. Researcher François Lafargue gives us his explanations in The Conversation.

Tigray dispatch: “How do you expect to stop war crimes with a request?” | September 1, 2021 | African Arguments

I was lucky to get a data connection in Mekelle today, which enabled me to learn about reactions to political developments in Ethiopia. Getting a connection has become a rare luxury for almost ten months now, as Addis Ababa has cut Tigray out of all available infrastructure – from telecoms, to the electric grid, roads, and banking services – as it has used isolation as a weapon of its war.

Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels looting aid warehouses: USAID | 31 August 2021 | AhramOnline

Rebels in Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region have been looting aid warehouses, the US aid agency said Tuesday, calling the alleged thefts a “great concern for humanitarians”.

The Rise of the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) | 28 August 2021 | OmnaTigray

When Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared war on Tigray in November 2020, the people and government of Tigray were caught by surprise. The unexpectedly gruesome war turned their lives into hell on earth in a matter of weeks

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