Press Release from the Tigrayan Nationalist Parties Forum on the Deteriorating Humanitarian crisis in Tigray
Beginning with the genocidal invasion on Tigray by Ethiopian, Eritrean and Amhara militia, Tigray has gotten in to an immense humanitarian crisis. Tigrayans have been displaced in mass with a clear aim of ethnic cleansing in Amhara occupied Western Tigray, killing innocent civilians with impunity has become almost daily news, using hunger as a weapon of war has become a consolidated policy tool and rape as a weapon of war is become a routine. These horrible acts of crime are still underway despite the huge condemnation and loud and clear calls for them to stop by the international community. The situation in Tigray has kept on deteriorating further and it looks to continue for there has been little or no action taken by the international community to avert it. However, we still want to stick to our genuine hope that the international community will live up to its duty of ensuring respect of human rights and maintaining human dignity.
In this press release, we want to focus on the extremely urgent and immensely dreadful situation of a looming human catastrophe due to hunger. The genocidal forces in Tigray have been working in concert to use starving people as a means of war. Any time they reached a Tigrayan village they burned crops on plots, looted grains they found in houses, slaughtered livestock and plundered any kind of asset that could be used for survival by households. On top of these, cutting power lines and telecommunication services, obstructing banking and transport services have been used to stifle peoples’ efforts for survival. In fact, the policy of using hunger as a means of war is becoming clearer and a long term strategy as these forces have started to intentionally obstruct farming activity for the next harvest season also. They have now started to warn farmers not to plough their land and are burning farming tools. In some places farmers who tried to till their land are killed on site.
We observe that the international community is trying to provide aid to the needy. However, the invading forces are working in a coordinated manner to hamper the delivery of aid. In places where aid has been delivered somehow, these forces are confiscating it from receiving households. Thus, it turns out that the international community is indirectly feeding these genocidal armies. As a result of this, let alone in rural places of Tigray, we have witnessed in our own eyes, that people in IDP camps in Mekelle are not even getting aid. They have survived up to now thanks to the support by the residents of the cities. We also know very well that the IDP situation in Shire is far worse than it is in Mekelle. Hundreds of thousands of Tigrayans displaced from western Tigray due to the ethnic cleansing by the occupying Amhara forces have displaced to this city. At this time, this city has much more IDPs than its residents. We have similar camps in Aksum, Adwa, Adigrat and Abiy-Adi. Actually, almost all schools in Tigray cities have become makeshift refugee camps. People are stuffed in these schools living in a very crowded manner with no consideration for safety and hygiene. Anyone can imagine what this means given the COVID-19 pandemic. To make matters worse, the number of IDPs is still increasing as there is an active war regularly targeting civilians is going on throughout the region.
We have now started to receive reports of hundreds dying due to hunger in Mekelle, Shire, Aksum, Adwa, Aby-Adi, Enticho, Samre and Abergele. More could be dying in faraway and rural places form where getting reports is difficult. If we let things to continue this way, thousands or even tens of thousands may start to die due to hunger as people are running out of any means of survival that they might have had. We have witnessed in our own eyes that people in IDP camps of Mekelle are becoming emaciated and falling ill due to hunger. The illegitimate interim ‘government’ is an instrument in implementing the policy of invaders in starving the people of Tigray and other ill intentions. It is also busy working on how to remove the helpless people from the schools and avoid their presence to watchful eyes. It is evident that working with the invader and its surrogates in providing aid in Tigray is a futile exercise.
We are clearly observing that the humanitarian situation on the ground is becoming much more desperate. Unless a swift and decisive action is taken, we are really worried that there may be a manmade repeat of the 1984 famine related human catastrophe in Tigray. Meanwhile, we have found it very enigmatic that on the one hand the world appears to have given visible attention to the humanitarian situation in Tigray and on other hand there is little or no practical action taken so far to avert it. We believe the problem is not lack of will to help from the international community but inability to find the best ways of getting aid to the targeted people. In relation to this, the international community should note that the humanitarian crises in Tigray cannot be tackled using traditional methods that assume the government of the target state is collaborative. We, therefore, call up on the international community to work in concert and a sense of urgency to find ways of delivering aid directly and urgently to the affected people of Tigray. Failure to do so in earnest may end up in an unimaginable disaster that may leave a moral and historical remorse that cannot be atoned for by all of us any time in the future.
April 9, 2021
Tigray Nationalist Parties Forum