The Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC issued a statement entitled “Decisive Actions Taken by the Government of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia to Stabilize the Security and Peace of Tigray Region.” Such sweeping measures included the “conviction of 4 soldiers and the ongoing prosecution of 28 others on a variety of charges including murder of civilians. An additional twenty-five soldiers are on trial for criminal sexual assault including rape.”
Washington D.C. – Decisive Actions Taken by the Government of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia to Stabilize the Security and Peace of Tigray Region
- Eritrean Military Presence: The Ethiopian Government is in diplomatic discussions to arrange the orderly withdrawal of all Eritrean forces from Ethiopian territory expeditiously. It is to be recalled that following the TPLF attack on the Ethiopian Northern Command on November 3, 2020, the TPLF also launched missile attacks on Eritrea. The current situation further reflects the decades-long border conflict which ended in 2018 with the election of PM Abiy Ahmed. Among issues to be addressed in the withdrawal process include Eritrean security concerns and threats arising from remnants of the TPLF, accommodation of Eritrean refugees in the region, the potential for flare up of hostilities by TPLF terrorists and TPLF disinformation campaign against Eritrea. Ethiopia and Eritrea have strong mutual interests vital to their economic development including access to and improvement of Eritrean port facilities to enhance Ethiopia’s maritime capabilities.
- Prosecution of Criminal Acts: The Ethiopian Attorney General has announced the conviction of 4 soldiers and the ongoing prosecution of 28 others on a variety of charges including murder of civilians. An additional twenty-five soldiers are on trial for criminal sexual assault including rape. Ethiopia follows a “zero tolerance” policy against gender-based violence and sexual abuse. The investigation on credible allegations of sexual violence and gross human rights violations by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers as well as TPLF militia and terrorists is robustly underway and all suspects will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Ethiopian Government eagerly awaits the final report of the joint investigation of the independent Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the UNHCR and is ready to hold all suspects accountable under the law.
- Humanitarian Relief: The Ethiopian Government has assumed the lion’s share of responsibility in caring and providing for relief assistance in the Tigray region. To date, the Government has provided over seventy percent of the assistance and is working with various international relief agencies. An inter-governmental task force jointly operated by the Ministries of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, Health, Defense and the Attorney General’s Office is working to endure the protection of women and children from violence and abuse and to provide them necessary psycho-social and other necessary support including individual counselling and treatment for victims of sexual violence.
- Humanitarian Access for International Aid Organizations: The Ethiopian Government has provided over seventy percent of all the food and other relief supplies. The Ministry of Peace, which has jurisdiction over NGO efforts, has reported there are currently 31 UN and international NGOs actively supplying aid along with 200 foreign staff and 8 international media organizations. The Ministry of Peace facilitates all NGO access, and has arranged for 6-month extended visas and other assistance for NGO staff.
- Full Access Provided to all NGOs. Any NGO needing assistance or encountering any delays or issues is encouraged to contact the Ministry of Peace and will receive immediate attention. In a few instances, there may be some temporary delays in access and relief delivery due to TPLF terrorist activity. However, such situations are addressed swiftly by the ENDF.
- Significant Achievements Recorded in Infrastructure Restoration and Governance: With the appointment of Dr. Abraham Belay as Chief Executive Officer of the Tigray National Regional State Interim Administration, working cooperatively with community leaders and the civil service, the leadership has substantially restored the region’s civilian administration. Ethiopian federal forces have withdrawn from populated areas leaving peace-keeping activities to local police authorities. TPLF terrorists have attempted to attack and disrupt transport, power and communications infrastructure and prevent delivery of healthcare and food supplies. The Ethiopian Government continues to pursue these terrorists and bring them to justice. Water, power, telephone, internet and banking services have been restored to the region.