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The Horn of Africa Civil Society Forum Report on Tigray



The Horn of Africa Civil Society Forum (HoACS Forum), established in March 2016, is a regional network of civil society organisations working together to monitor and expand civic space in countries represented in the forum: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.

The following is a summary of the HoACS Forum’s Report on Tigray.

According to this report, it is now clear that the talks between PM Abiy and President Isaias were not about peace and normalisation of relationships; they were high-level secret preparations for war against Tigray. A Tigray whose autonomy and whose political elites emerged as mutual enemies requiring removal, especially following the September regional elections. The Eritrean military’s involvement means that this is a conflict that has a regional dimension and impact.

Major crimes committed

  1. Collective punishment;
  2. Grave atrocities and heavy indiscriminate shelling and aerial bombing of populated areas including using Unmanned Arial Vehicle (drones);
  3. Extrajudicial executions of tens of thousands of civilians;
  4. Denying people to collect corpses of their loved ones and let the hyenas eat corps;
  5. Widespread rape and sexual violence against women and girls used as a weapon of war;
  6. Systematic starvation of people by looting and deliberately destroying food and livelihood sources critical for survival;
  7. Deliberate and long interruption of basic services: water, electricity, phone, internet and banking and medical emergencies to deny fundamental needs and disrupt communication and support from families, relatives, and friends;
  8. Prohibition of humanitarian access and looting and diversion of aid deliberately to cause mass starvation and famine employed as a weapon of war;
  9. Ethnic profiling, firing from jobs, eviction from rental houses, detention and imprisonment in internment camps of tens of thousands of Tigrayans soldiers in the Ethiopian defence forces, including those in UN peacekeeping missions, wealthy private business owners, those that have been working in Ethiopian Airlines, banks and other public and private companies;
  10. Forcible return and attacks on refugee camps;
  11. The forced disappearance of close to 20,000 Eritrean refugees from Shimlba and Histats and the repeated and pre-planned destruction of the refugee camps;
  12. Annexure of a large swath of Tigray by the Amhara militias & systematic demographic change;
  13. Forcing people to acquire Eritrean ID and barring humanitarian assistant from reaching particularly to the Irob communities in Tigray by the Eritrean forces;
  14. Massive displacement of people, including 67,000 refugees from Tigray and more than 2 million internally displaced persons within Tigray;
  15. The systematic destruction of industries such as Almeda Textile Factory, Addis Pharmaceuticals, Sheba Leather, and Tsemayata Marble Stones;
  16. Systematic destruction and pillage of UNESCO registered and other heritage sites, religious and cultural buildings including in Aksum, Negash, and Debre Damo;
  17. Systematic destruction and looting of public and private service institutions and properties such as universities, hospitals, pharmacies, health centers, schools, hotels, bakery;
  18. The organised looting and unlawful confiscation of the Endowment Fund’s properties for Tigray’s Rehabilitation (EFFORT). A multi-million -dollar public endowment that belonged to the people and government of Tigray.

Regional war

  • The significant presence of Eritrean armed forces is a fact beyond dispute. The war in Tigray is not a civil war; it is a regional war.
  • The legal status of the Eritrean forces in Tigray is not clear, nor is the command structure under which they are operating.
  • If the federal government of Ethiopia admits to the presence of Eritrean forces in Tigray, the responsibility for Eritrean soldiers’ actions will fall on both countries. If Ethiopia denies Eritrean forces presence in Tigray, then their presence is an act of invasion, and it is the Ethiopian government’s responsibility to repel such invasion. To acquiesce to the invasion and the associated violations of civilian and refugees human rights by Eritrea is an abdication of the Ethiopian government’s responsibility to protect its population and the refugees. It is a severe breach of international law.
  • The Eritrean military is also responsible for the brutal and ferocious execution of Tigrayan civilians and politicians such as Ethiopia’s former Foreign Minister, Seyoum Mesfin. These actions by Eritrea constitute grave violations of jus cogens norms in international law. Ethiopia has also failed to fulfill its duty under international law to protect refugees hosted within its jurisdiction.
  • The assistance of the Eritrean military and the use of military drones launched and controlled from the UAE/Saudi bases in Assab, built in violation of the UN arms embargo imposed on Eritrea, has increased the number of deaths and internationalised the conflict.

Looming food crisis

  • With some two million internally displaced persons, Tigray now represents a significant humanitarian global burden at a time when “humanitarian needs have never been higher.”  In Tigray, people have died due to starvation, a tactic used to weaken the Tigrayan forces and annihilate its people.
  • With the support of the Eritrean army, the federal government and the Amhara regional government have built an intricate web of checkpoints and bureaucratic processes that are impediments to humanitarian assistance. The Amhara regional authority and the Eritrean army are diverting food aid currently stored in facilities under the Amhara regional authority’s territorial control, intended for Tigray.
  • Food insecurity and the denial of access to adequate nutrition and the associated hunger and starvation have been weaponised.
  • For more than three years, the federal government and Amhara regional state officials have intentionally blocked transportation corridors to Tigray and looted food-loaded tracks intending to deprive Tigray of critical sources of survival. Now, the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces have systematically denied people access to basic needs indispensable for their survival in the market, such as food and humanitarian aid.
  • The Ethiopian government also allows and facilitates the annexation of Tigrayan land by both the Amhara regional government and the Eritrean government. This is a violation of the Geneva Conventions and, in the long term, will cause further ethnic/sectarian divisions in Ethiopia, and it further fuels inter-communal distrust in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • As the Ethiopian government has so far failed to prevent or alleviate a situation of great gravity within its territory (such as genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes), and as it is a perpetrator of such acts, it cannot avail itself of the principle of state sovereignty and non-intervention. Therefore, the applicable standard in this situation is the “responsibility to protect.


The HoACS Forum strongly urges the UNSC to adopt a Tigray specific resolution to, among others, initiate estimation of cost of the war and post-war reconstruction needs by considering the infrastructure destroyed and looted public and private properties and initiating accountability and reparation modalities to Tigray. The HoACS Forum also requests that the UNSC resolution on Tigray establish a Commission of Inquiry on Tigray as well as a Peacekeeping mission.  

Amare is an economist from Tigray. He is interested in behavioral economics, psychology, philosophy and politics.

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  1. Tigray will Prevail

    March 31, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    The above story took place in the socalled Amhara region .It is genuine story, BTW. When they leave to steal harvest from a nearby hardworking peasant (farmer) or from another region , they mostly leave their home at night and they insist on saying ” Today is Wednesday or Friday or Lent(Tsome Arbeaa).

    It is like they honor Fasting to honor human tradtion(ሰዉኛ ልማዳዊ ሥርዓት)የሰዉ ልጅን ሕይዉትክቡርነት ወደኋላ በመተዉ ፆም ፀሎትን እንደ ሰዉኛ ልማዳዊ ሥርዓት ይቆጥሩታል፥፥ከተማረኩትይህን ሁሉ ግፍ ፈፅሙ ከነበሩት የአማራ ወታደሮችመካከል ፆመኞ ነኝ የሚል አታጡም በርግጠኝት እንናገራለን ፥በሌሊት ለሌላም ወንጀል ሲሰማሩ ፆማለሁ ማለት የተለመደ ነዉ

  2. Tigray will Prevail

    March 31, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    The war on Tigray does suprpass the stereotype of the war itself. Dear Brother you shouldn’t left out the intervention of Somlian and UAE governements. All these invaders wouldn’t have gained a considerable control over Tigray if UAE hadn’t supported and supplied its unmanned drones.

    This is what it reads in Quoran :

    Rules of War*

    [2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.
    [2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.
    [2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
    [2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.

    However, these people are the one who invaded us (including UAE -it doesn’t mater whether it didn’t send its infantry to Tigray but financed the operation )

    Most of the above verses coincides what we might get taught in any places of Worship belong to Christianity(i;e Orthodox Tewahedo, Protestant, Catholic etc)

    Hope you will not misunderstood the message of this comment. Those(Amhara elites, UAE …) who claim that they do believe in God and stick to moral and ethical values than Tegarus did commit all those unimaginable atrocities on our people putting aside all the above religious tenets of their own religion. The reason why am quoting all those verses is they do overestimate their moral values and speak about their religious conviction every minute to justify their own atrocities.
    “Morality is like the temple on the hill of human nature. It is our most sacred attribute.” — Jonathan Haidt
    We don’t merely overestimate our own moral virtue— we underestimate the moral virtue of those who are not like us.

    They constantly cry outloud like those ancient pharisees'”We amhara people are religiousthan any tribe , we do fast than any other tribe too , yada yada ……..
    let me share what my friend told:

    ከለታት አንድ ቀን ባልየው ወደ አቅራቢያዉ ከሚገኙት መንደሮች መካል ሄደዉ ከብቶች ለመሥረቅ በሌሊት እንደሚሄዱ(እንደሚወጡ፥የሚጓዙ)የተረዳች ሴት በሌሊት ተነስታ ቡና አፍልታ ቁርስ አዘጋጅታ የባለቤቷን ከመኝታ መነሳት ና ከቤት መዉጣት ስትጠባበቅ ቆየች፥፥ከባለቤቷ ጋር ለሥርቆት (ልብ ይበሉ ዘረፋ ሥርቆት ነዉ ያልኩት ሁሌም ለክፉ ሥራ አጋር አይታጣም፥ከኛ አስቀድሞ ከሰይጣን ጋር የተጎዳኘ ጓደኛ ኣይጠፋም)ሊሄድ የተነጋገረ ኑሮ፥አያ እከሌ የእርገጤ አባት ብሎ ተጣራ ፥የባልንጀራቸዉን ጥሪ የሰሙ ሰዉ ከአልጋቸዉ በደስታ ዘለዉ በሩን ከፍዉ ሊወጡ ሲሉ ሴትየዋ ቆዩ እንጂ ቡና ጠጥተዉ እህል ቀምሰዉ ነዉ የሚሄዱት የመሸሻን አባት ግባ ይበሉት ፥ለመጋኛዉም ቢሆን አይበጅም ትንሽ ታፎ ያርጉ ታልሆነ ዉሃ ይጎንጩ በሌት ያለ እህል መዉጣት ደግም ይደል አለች የባለቤቷን እምቢተኝነት አሳስቧት ተስፋ በመቁረጥ ስሜት ምን ቢሉ ጥሩ ነዉ ሰዉየዉ ዛሬ ኮ ረቡ ነዉ ጦምም አይደል፥ቀኑ ጠፋሽ የዞረባት ብለዉ ተቆጥተዉ በሩን በኋላቸዉ ዘግተዉ ወጡ፥የአምልኮ መልክ ያላቸዉ ሀይሉን ግን የካዱ ስነምግባር የጎደላቸዉ ስብስብ ነዉ ይህ የአማራ ሊሂቃን ድርጅት፥አገር ወረዉ ሲያበቁ እኛ እዉነትን ይዘን እናሸንፋለን ትግራይ የ ፮፮፮ እምነት ተከታዮች ሀገር ናት ወዘተ ለነሱ መልስ አትስጧቸዉ ፥ሰዉ ከሀሜት ፋሲካ ከሰንበት አይወጣም ይባላል፥ሁሌም መልካም ብታደርጉ መልካም ብታስቡ እንከን ሀሰት ፈብርከዉ በሀሰት መወንጀላቸዉ አይቀሬ ነዉ፥፥ገና ሕወሓት ሥልጣን በያዘ ማግሥት ወራት ባልሞላ ጊዜ ወያኔ ቅማላም አይገዛንም ወዘተ የሚሉ ልቅሶዎችን መስማት የተለመደ ነበር፥ያልተመረጠ መንግስት ነዉ፥አሁን ትግራይ ና ትግራዋይ መርጧቸው ይሆን?? ፥ልጆቻችንን የገበርንበት መሥዋዕት የተከፈለበት ስለሆነ አንወጣም የሚሉት ??
    እንደኔ ከሆነ ካሁን በኋላ ኢትዮጵያዊ ነኝ አማራ ብሔር ገንዘብ ንብረት አለኝ ቅብጥርሶ የሚል ትግራዋይ ወደ አማራ ክልል ይሂድ፥ከነርሱ ጋር ይቀላቀል አሁን እናንተ ፖለቲካ አትግቡ ነዉር ነዉ ምከሩን አንድ አድርጉን አንድነት ነዉ የሚያዋጣዉ ኢትዮጵያ ሀገሬ አጥንቴ ይከሥከሥልሽ ደሜም ይፍሰስልሽ ጠላት እኔ እያለሁ አይደፍርሽም ወዘት እያልን ለአሃዳዉያን ክብርና ወንበር ዘብ የምንቆለት ጊዜ አከተመ፥ከአረብ ሀገር ጋር ወግኖቻችን ልጆቻችንን ያለ ርህራሄ ከሚያርድ ፥ቤተክርስቲያንን ከሚያቃጥል፥መነኮሳትንና ካህናትን ከሚያርድ፥ሴቶች እናቶቻችንና እህቶቻችንን ከክብር የሚያሳንስ የሰይጣን አበጋዝ ጋር አንኖርም ፥፥ለልጆቻችንም ሆነ ለመላዉ መጭዉ ትግራዋይ ትዉልድ ከነዚህ ጋር አብሮ ለመኖር የሚያስችል ወስትና የለም የራስን ሀገር ከመመስረት በቀር፥፥
    Ethiopinism or being ethiopian is not something that you should keep it until you die ; because you had been brainwashed by the elites in the church and school since your childhood. Nationality , as for me , is a legal and adminstrative identity that is established by the consensus of the holder and the authorized person.Nationality affords the state jurisdiction over the person and affords the person the protection of the state . We are not protected by the state , genocider state of Ethiopia. Hence, We cannot claim that we are ehiopians.

    The release of captured EDF & ENDF prisoners does bother us a lot . These prisoners are demonstrating the traits of criminals on the loose-they are captured twice being engaged in those atrocities by joining the same Prosperity killing apparatus , ENDF & EDF.
    Let us say someone is released yesterday. Today he gonna start to rob private and public property to feed himself. When the owner is resisting and strive to protect his belonging he is gonna fight with him. You can imagine what will happen if there are only women and children in the house.
    The released soldier could also join his army when he meet them he would risk an execution.

    TDF is releasing these prisoners in an attempt to respect the law of war and rights of captured war prisoners , but they are endangering the lives of our people. For the sake of international law , TDF endanger the lives of our people. All these hypothesis and assumptions are evident to everyone , but the reality of exonerating ENDF and EDF soldiers is far from saving lives of Tegarus that could be lost in such manner and due to this reason.After they captured 10,000 prisoners , TDF left the city and most prisoners were resued like that of recycled items.

    The situation in Tigray (losing our family members to the brutal death and watching our people starving to death) poses a genuine moral dilemma . We are are encountering an immense chanllenge against our moral values . All those cruellties committed on our people are contagious .I cannot say Woyane should fight for me and save my country and my people ; because I dont want to talk and involve in Politics etc Which is exteremly ridiculous. It is not about advocating for one political party or plotting to extend the longevity of a ruling party or throw a ruling regime . Our struggle is far from defaming , accusing and imprisoning and killing an opponent. All these actions have nothing to do with our christian values apart from choosing any potenital leader who is believed to bring a change for our land. Now, it is a different story . All Tegarus from every walks of life , Secular and religious men should work together and save our people and land in all our capacity . Tigray will soon be a country.Amen !!!!

  3. Kinfe

    March 31, 2021 at 11:04 am

    Indeed, UNSC must have peacekeeping mission in Tigray.

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