The Government of Tigray is, as always, ready to organize, coordinate and ensure timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Tigray.
First and foremost, on behalf of the people of Tigray, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the international community (including the many human rights advocate organizations and humanitarian donors) for standing with, and in support of, the people of Tigray during these trying times, as our people face unprecedented atrocities, maliciously inflicted socio-economic crisis and psychological turmoil at the hands of an unholy coalition of invading forces.
The diabolic atrocities that are still being carried out by the fascistic government of Abiy Ahmed and the expansionist leadership of the Amhara regional state are led and masterminded by the dictatorial regime of Isayas Afeworki. These atrocities are motivated by the sinister desire of these invading forces to cause deep misery and chronic poverty on the people of Tigray through the means of systemic atrocities and weaponized starvation.
As a result, the invading forces are causing destruction of unprecedented scale across all cities and villages of Tigray that they happened to get control of by massacring civilians of all ages, gender and religious affiliations. The barbarism and sadistic nature of the atrocities is beyond imagination. Large numbers of innocent civilians have been tied and thrown to their deaths off steep cliffs and even into deep ground latrines. Against international laws and norms, innocent civilians have been murdered or incapacitated through the use of chemical weapons such as white phosphorous. Girls and women of Tigray have been victims of weaponized rape and torture of unimaginable scale. The gender-based sexual violence has not spared nuns and even girls aged as young as five years – causing severe harm and, in many cases, even deaths.
The invading forces looted a significant amount of property and infrastructure that the people and government of Tigray have produced through their collective effort over the last 30 years. True to their desire to infuse misery and poverty on Tigray, they burned or destroyed all of the industrial facilities and public infrastructure that they were not able to take away. They looted and carried away all livestock and all stored grain from the farming communities throughout Tigray, and anything that they were not able to take away was either consumed on the spot by the invading forces or butchered so that it cannot be left behind. Farmers throughout Tigray have been forcefully prevented from farming their land and have seen their farming equipment deliberately destroyed. All the atrocities and diabolic actions described above point to a deliberate and sustained weaponized use of starvation, famine and sexual violence as a means of a genocidal war against the people of Tigray.
The government of Tigray gratefully acknowledges the commendable actions taken by the international community in recognizing the true nature of the genocidal atrocities by the invading forces and, hence, passing various resolutions condemning the unprecedented atrocities against the people of Tigray. The government of Tigray deeply appreciates the humanitarian assistance provided so far by the international community to those who sought refuge in the Sudan and to internally displaced communities within Tigray and is hopeful that the much-needed humanitarian assistance will continue at even larger scale.
We would like to take this opportunity to underscore the Government of Tigray’s solemn pledge and assurance to the international community about its commitment to allow and assist in any effort to provide humanitarian assistance throughout Tigray – without any hindrance and with full cooperation. The Government of Tigray and the Tigrayan Defense Forces are ready not only to allow unfettered movement and activities by humanitarian agencies but also to provide protection to humanitarian workers.
We would like to point out that the government of Tigray has a strong track record of aiding and cooperating with humanitarian agencies – going all the way back to efforts to overcome the impact of the 1985 famine on the people of Tigray. During that period, even in the midst of armed struggle, humanitarian assistance successfully reached the people of Tigray under an operation widely know as “ARP”. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Tigrayans were successfully moved to the Sudan to save them from diseases and starvation via humanitarian assistance. These temporarily displaced communities were successfully repatriated back to their homesteads and normal lives after only a year of displacement. Therefore, we assure the international community that we are ready to repeat the same spirit of cooperation, dedication and steadfastness in order to save our people yet again against starvation and atrocities – even in the midst of the ongoing armed conflict.
In contrast, it must be emphasized that the invading forces are creating obstacles in order to hinder the timely delivery of assistance to the people of Tigray as their intent is the deliberate use of starvation as a weapon. Therefore, we call for the following urgent measures to be taken in order to overcome the danger of the looming famine and to allow for unfettered, orderly and overdue delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Tigray:
1) Organizing means of unfettered delivery of humanitarian assistance to all parts of Tigray using all possible means of transportation and modes of delivery;
2) Creating a conducive condition for farmers of Tigray, especially the close to three million currently displaced, to return to their homes and resume their much-needed farming activities during the fast-approaching farming season by also providing monetary and material assistance (including fertilizers and farming equipment);
3) Forcing the invading armies from Eritrea and the regional state of Amhara to leave all parts of Tigray and return to their pre-conflict positions, so that all displaced people (including farmers) could return to their original homes in order to resume farming and other normal activities;
4) Stopping the ongoing genocide on the people of Tigray and the weaponized rape and gender-based violence against women and girls of Tigray; as well as setting up the means for independent international investigation of the genocidal atrocities and crimes against humanity so that all perpetrators could face justice;
5) Enabling the resumption of normal and peaceful life for the people of Tigray by restoring all essential services such as water, electricity, telecommunication, banking, healthcare, education, etc.
Finally, we want to reiterate the fact that the people and government of Tigray were given no choice but to defend themselves in order to protect their safety and to ensure their survival so that the people of Tigray go back to their peaceful lives. As always, we assure the international community that we are ready for any steps towards a peaceful resolution to the current devastating conflict that has been imposed on the people of Tigray by the unholy alliance of the invading forces.
Tigray will prevail!
Government of Tigray
June 8, 2021
See the statement in its Tigrinya version