H.E. Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière
Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
President of the Security Council for the Month of July, 2021
Re: Illegally Incarcerated Tigrayan Peacekeepers and Members of the Ethiopian Security Forces
We thank you very much for your continued engagement with the grave situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. As the United States and all international actors have noted the unfolding crisis has manifold implications for regional and international peace & security.
We are writing today to draw your attention and that of the United Nations Security Council to the ethnic purge of the Ethiopian security forces (an estimated 17,000), including active members of international peacekeeping missions, interned in camps under the most inhumane conditions.
We raise this with your excellencies at this time because this action is not only a gross violation of the most fundamental human rights of brave service people that have served their country and the international community with great honor and self-sacrifice but because it is also a violation of international agreements and a potential threat to international peace and security.
We the families and friends of Tigrayan members of the Ethiopian security forces illegally incarcerated by the Ethiopian government therefore ask:
- That your excellencies condemn this treatment of Tigrayan peacekeeping troops in violation of this violation of international laws and the UN’s Convention against Torture. Any atrocity committed on peacekeeping troops as a result of political discourse within a country is by extension an attack against peacekeeping troops. If these are left unconfronted or those responsible are not held accountable, it sets a bad example.
- That your excellencies demand accountability from the Ethiopian government for peacekeeping personnel kidnapped from active duty thereby creating a vacuum in those areas where they were deployed to the detriment of international peacekeeping efforts. It overstretches the capability of peacekeeping troops that are present in the areas leaving vulnerable communities at risk of immediate violence. For example, there have been reports of terrorist attacks by militants in Somalia in the aftermath of the rearrangement of Ethiopian Peace Keeping forces.
- Ensure that the fundamental Human Rights of Tigrayan security officers that have served their country and the world bravely are protected by the Ethiopian government including by allowing their rights to legal representation, family visits, and medical attention.
Brief Background to the Situation
After the announcement of an armed offensive against the Tigray region, on the 4th of November, the Ethiopian government withdrew peacekeeping troops from international missions and purged Tigrayan officers. Some were abducted from missions (Somalia) & taken to Ethiopia, and other troops have been forced to seek asylum where they are to escape abduction and internment. A leaked video published by the Associated Press, also, shows an Ethiopian military official referring to the purging of Tigrayans as ‘clean out our insides.’
Press reports, since then, citing UN internal documents have also revealed that the internment of Ethnic Tigrayan soldiers remains opaque. Trickling information coming out indicates detention centers are in different military bases across the country and that detainees have been denied fundamental human & legal rights including the right to legal defense, family visits, and medical care.
Considering the threat this reality poses to international peace and security, I urge that your govt demands the UN to investigate these violations and demand justice and accountability from the Ethiopian government.
Thank you very much for your attention and consideration.
1st July 2021
CC: Members of the United Nations Security Council
H.E. Antonio Guterres (Secretary-General of the United Nations UN)
New York, NY