An Open Letter to Mr. David Malpas President of the World Bank Group
Financing Genocide is Morally Repugnant and Legally Criminal Stop Enabling Genocide in Tigray, Ethiopia
Dear President Malpass :
Security and Justice for Tigrayans (SJT), a US based global advocacy organization of diaspora Tigrayans and friends of Tigray, would once again like to bring to your attention the genocidal war happening in Tigray and throughout Ethiopia so that your decision to finance the Ethiopian government is based on solid and principled grounds to which your organization is committed.
One of the basic objectives of the World Bank and IMF is to stabilize the economy of member countries by helping them maintain a fair economic and financial systems in their development schemes. As stated in your objectives, “the WB five institutions share a commitment to reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development”. Additionally, it is stated that the Bank promotes shared prosperity, “by increasing the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of people in every country”.
We would like to argue that contemplating providing financial help to a country, where the banking system has refused, and in fact illegally withheld the savings and investment of its seven million citizens is morally, financially, and economically untenable.
We have previously appealed to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to re evaluate their practices and halt any financial assistance to the government of Ethiopia which is committing atrocities amounting to a genocide on its own people, the worst of which is in the Tigray region. SJT is extremely concerned by the WB continued engagement with the Ethiopian government, widely condemned for committing human rights violations and committing crimes against humanity.
Given the current dire economic situation in Ethiopia inflicted by Prime Minister Abiy’s wars throughout country and the resulting shortage of hard currency, the government of Ethiopia has found many creative ways to divert hard currency provided by international donors such as the IMF and World Bank to purchase drones and other military hardware. Any assistance the government receives from international donors and governments will contribute directly or indirectly to this effort of financing its genocidal war. No amount of scrutiny will stop the Abiy Government from using the money for its war efforts. The World Bank should refrain from aiding a government to perpetuate a war that has caused so much misery to people that wish to live in peace.
SJT has no doubt that the World Bank is aware of the atrocities happening in Tigray and the rest of Ethiopia since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed rose to power in 2018 as extensively reported by international media throughout the world. The government of Ethiopia shut down everything including electricity, telephone, internet, water, and banking systems and attacked Tigray on November 4, 2020 with its full military might along with allied forces it assembled from the region. During the past two years, the invaders have massacred Tigrayans in the hundreds of thousands, raped thousands of women and girls as young as 12, some gang-raped by as many as 23 soldiers.
This is a government that has invited a foreign country to exterminate its fellow citizens in Tigray. To stay in power at any cost, Mr. Abiy Ahmed has militarily encircled Tigray and people are dying of hunger, air and drone strikes and heavy bombardment as we write this letter. The atrocities are simply too gruesome to list here. In the last few days alone hundreds if not thousands of civilians have been killed by drones and air bombardments.
It must be clearly understood that the Ethiopian financial system and its overall economic outlook is very bleak and no amount of intervention by international actors such as the World Bank and IMF will reverse the trend if the war efforts by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is allowed to continue. The World Bank and IMF can do their part by withholding funding until the government agrees to stop the war. Approving funds for Abiy government is an endorsement of his genocidal activities and we hope the World Bank will be on the side of victims and not war criminals.
We respectfully ask the world institutions to evaluate their practices on Ethiopia and cease assisting the government until the government commits to dialogue and peace, respects human rights, turns all looted properties, compensates individuals and the regional government for damaged and destroyed public and private properties, and respects the constitution of the country.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation and hope that your organization will respond positively to our letter. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any assistance with providing any further information.
Teka Neguse, PharmD
President, Security & Justice for Tigrayans (SJT)
SJT is a US 501(c (3)) registered non-profit organization that advocates for the wellbeing of Tigrayans at a global level.