WASHINGTON—As the United National General Assembly continues in New York, 30 organizations issued a joint open letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and permanent representatives of Security Council member states calling on them to take urgent action to end violence and famine in Tigray, northern Ethiopia.
Since November 2020, civilians in northern Ethiopia have been cut off from assistance, banking, and communications, leaving almost 1 million people to experience famine conditions, with many more on the brink. Fighting in the region has been marked by widespread human rights abuses including sexual violence, starvation as a weapon of war, and mass displacement.
The letter issued today calls on the UN Secretary General and members of the Security Council to take the following steps to help the people of northern Ethiopia:
- Call for a humanitarian cease-fire that includes a withdrawal of all forces from Tigray and surrounding regions;
- Demand that the government of Ethiopia remove the humanitarian blockade and bureaucratic obstructions to the aid effort;
- Press for the deployment of international monitors and independent investigations into allegations into war crimes and other abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law, and;
- Encourage a national dialogue that includes opposition groups such as the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front.
Upon release of the letter, Refugees International Vice President for Programs and Policy Hardin Lang stated:
“UN leadership matters and could mean the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of people in Tigray. As the reports of starvation deaths continue to rise, we urge the UN Secretary General and Security Council to take swift and bold action to save lives before it is too late. The blockade must be lifted so that humanitarian aid can reach those in need and the parties must find a negotiated settlement to the conflict.”
Organizations signed on to the letter include Alliance for Peacebuilding, Bread for the World, Ethiopian Community Development Council, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, HIAS, Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, Jewish World Watch, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, R-SEAT, Refugees International, The Center for Victims of Torture, The Sentry, The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society, and U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI).
See the full letter and list of signatories here.
Learn more about Refugees International’s #StopTigrayFamine campaign.
Contact Refugees International Director of Communications Sarah Sheffer at email@example.com or +1 202 540 7029.
BANNER PHOTO CAPTION: A woman stands in a metal sheet room that was damaged by shelling, in Humera, Ethiopia, on November 22, 2020. Photo Credit: EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images.