Tigray Briefing: Blockade created grave social and economic condition

Briefing From The National Government of Tigray

August 30, 2021

I. Humanitarian Concerns

The cumulative impact of the humanitarian, social, psycho-social and economic crisis created by Abiy Ahmed’s genocidal war on Tigray has been well documented. The siege has generated grave social and economic situations in Tigray due to the halting of commercial activity, cutting off basic services such as electricity and telecommunications, and blocking humanitarian aid.

None of the 1,100 trucks of aid that should have reached Tigray through the sole access point at Semera have been permitted entry since August 20, 2021. What little aid was allowed to trickle through to Tigray before August 20 was subject to robbery by vigilante groups sponsored by Prosperity Party conduits in the Afar region. It has been eleven days since the largest aid donor, USAID, announced the complete depletion of its stock.

The highest concentrations of IDPs are hosted at 153 repurposed educational facilities, the Camp Coordination and Management cluster is working on relocating these settlements to allow for recommencement of schooling at the end of September. So far, construction is underway on a new settlement in Mekelle, sites have been identified and land allocated by Shire and Adwa municipalities, while Adigerat and Abiy Adi have undertaken preliminary studies on alternative shelter solutions.

Most relocation sites will require the erection or construction of shelter and other infrastructure to be operationalised, a possibility made distant by the harsh realities of Abiy Ahmed’s siege on Tigray. Representatives of IDPs are in frequent consultation with the government of Tigray and have expressed their willingness for relocation, however, they also communicated their current concerns about the availability of food, electricity , water, and sanitary provisions.

II. External Affairs

Given the clear awareness of the gravity of the humanitarian crisis and the brutality of the siege, it was with utter dismay that Tigray and the world witnessed the hesitance of UNSC to take decisive action to break the siege on Tigray and the end of the use of collective punishment as a legitimate means of warfare after nearly 10 months of genocidal warfare. We urge the international community to recognize its responsibility to protect human life and dignity.

The National Government of Tigray expresses its emphatic support of the African Union’s ideals, its high esteem for the personality and integrity of the AU’s Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, Former Nigerian President H.E. Mr. Olison Obosonjo, and its reservations regarding the African Union’s impartiality.

III. Hate Speech and State Terror

While we have previously reported that the Abiy Ahmed regime’s application of hate speech as a political instrument from the outset, a new trend of referring to Tigray defense forces as ‘Tigrayan’ invaders is particularly pronounced in Amhara state media’s coverage of the war. Programming from these media outlets has long since been laden with genocidal anti Tigrayan propaganda. Currently all federal and regional state owned media are encouraging members of the public to arm themselves with machetes and incentivising the privatisation of warfare by declaring that farmers who heed the call for combat can commandeer captured military equipment for private ownership. Amhara propserity party conduits, beyond calling for genocide against Tigreans, are creating conditions of mayhem for their own people with irresponsibe pronouncements of this kind.

The Government of Tigray would also like to call attention to Tigrayan members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces that have been sentenced to upto 18 years of imprisonment by the Southern Command First Instance Court upon trumped-up charges of treason through opaque proceedings by kangaroo courts. The ruling included accusations of seeking to flee to Kenya to defame the country by ‘claiming that the people of Tigray were being abused’. We have previously reported an increase in abuse of the estimated 17,000, referred to by state media as ‘Tigrinya speakers’, detained in internment camps throughout the country and for the previous nine months.

IV. Other Matters

We welcome the financial sanctions imposed by the U.S Department of the treasury’s office of foreign assets control (OFAC) on the Eritrean chief of defense forces, General Filipos Woldeyohannes as an overdue and underwhelming start. All parties involved in the genocidal aggression on Tigray must be sanctioned; we call for a full and independent investigation into all crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Tigray and the accountability of all individual and state actors.

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