The Government of Tigray welcomes a statement by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, issued on October 15, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the resumption of humanitarian aid. The United Nations, African Union, United States and European Union, along with others, all supported and endorsed our call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, issued on September 11. Yet, no practical step was taken to make this a reality. The Government of Tigray also notes that these bodies have now called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Efforts to bring about a cessation of hostilities underscore the gravity of the humanitarian catastrophe.
The war that we have been forced to take part in to save our people from extermination has, due to our adversaries’ flagrant disregard for basic rules and norms and genocidal intent, created a ghastly humanitarian crisis. Deliberately brutalizing civilians, as our enemies are doing, is not just a violation of international law but an affront to humanity. Indiscriminate aerial and artillery bombardments targeting civilians are destroying entire towns, villages, and homes. The massacres, rapes, displacement and starvation remain below the world’s radar screen, but are part of a systematic genocidal campaign.
Our overriding aim is, thus, to stop the massacres and the mass expulsion of Tigrayans in areas under occupation by the Eritrean-led forces. Until now, the Tigray Defense Force is all that stands between the survival of the Tigrayan people and the genocide clearly intended by the Government of Eritrea, being implemented in partnership with the Ethiopian Government. Furthermore, although now is the beginning of the harvest, active fighting is taking place in all areas in Tigray that are expected to produce enough yield to feed millions of Tigrayans. Consequently, absent an immediate cessation of hostilities, the humanitarian crisis in Tigray will further deteriorate.
The international community has a choice to make: either ensure an immediate cessation of hostilities or help the people of Tigray defend themselves against genocidal onslaught. If neither path is followed, the people of Tigray will continue to fight to ensure their survival, for they will never allow themselves to be ruled against their will. Without peace in Tigray, there can never be peace in Ethiopia.
We are ready to abide by an immediate cessation of hostilities. We also call on the international community to compel the Eritrean army to withdraw from Tigray, take practical steps towards an immediate cessation of hostilities, and press the Ethiopian Government to come to the negotiating table.