This circular presents the latest edition of the Tigray Atlas, with focus on new maps related to internally displaced persons (section 1); a video evidencing the destruction of Hagere Selam that we mentioned months ago already (section 2); international calls for action, beyond statements of concern (section 3), some announcements (section 4), opinion pieces (section 5), and media articles (section 6). Unfortunately, no good news to bring, but witnessing is also important!
- A new edition of TIGRAY: ATLAS OF THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION has been published
Maps have been updated on conflict incidents, territorial control, casualties and massacres – unfortunately still on the rise. Casualties also have been presented on monthly basis (ANNEX B).
In addition, two new maps have been developed, presenting the situation of internally displaced people (IDPs). By the end of March 2021, 1.7 million people had been displaced since the onset of the conflict. The location and living conditions of more than 925,000 of these internally displaced people is known, of which 85% is living in the towns of Shire, Adwa, Mekelle, Aksum and Adigrat (ranked in decreasing order). The new maps present the areas in Tigray where people have left (some areas now virtually void of civilian population) and the areas where strong in-migration occurs. The zones of origin of the IDPs are graphically represented through pie charts.
- Video of the Hagere Selam destruction
A video has emerged about the destruction in Hagere Selam. “It was on Dec 3 -5/2020 and 23 people were killed in three days. Some of them were buried by the few people who were around and some have been eaten by hyenas (small remains of their body with some clothes were found and buried later) “ The video was recorded on 12/12 in the morning, when the people who escaped to neighbouring villages started coming back.
In the meantime, much worse videos have already appeared about other places in Tigray, but Hagere Selam is one of the destroyed towns in Tigray that has been systematically filmed all along the main road.
Timeline: 00:13 blood? // 00:34 Hotel – The first “ground +1” building in Hagere Selam // 00:45 small shop (“soap, candles and biscuits”) // 01:43 commercial bank // 01:51 hotel // 02:30 another hotel // 03:26 Hotel & Wegagen Bank // 03:47 Hagere Selam milk cooperative’s shop, clothes shop (the lower part of the door is the weak place) // 04:03 blood? // 04:25 barber and music shop // 04:30 left (and small shouting), a minibus tries to find passengers for Mekelle // 04:51 suspected traces of killing // 04:55-06:52 Dedebit microcredit bank (the most severely damaged from all) // 06:58 juice house at left, coffee house at right // 07:03 new administration building (not yet operational when the war started)
With some time lag, the massacres in the Tigray war become increasingly well documented on Wikipedia.
- More calls for action, beyond statements of concern
- “The world knows enough to say that war crimes are happening in Tigray. We should not need to wait until we are able to conduct full and thorough investigations before we act to stop rape as a weapon of war. We should not have to count the graves of children before we act to stop starvation crimes.”
- The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs has reiterated that rape is being used as a weapon of war. He said that six months after the conflict started, the rapes had not stopped.
- Speaking to the UNSC, he also said that “They are deliberately and systematically organized, targeted, ethnically based, and they are intended to terrorize, humiliate and brutalize.”
- He is urging for the international community to step in and hold the perpetrators accountable. Political dialogue, but also if necessary sanctions, need to be leveraged “to ensure respect for the law and the protection of civilians and the objects they depend on to survive”.
- In the same briefing, the President of the ICRC has also said that it is critical “for the Council to show leadership, so that the suffering of the women, men and children who have already lived through the horrors of wars is not compounded”.
- The UK Government should use its relationship with Ethiopia to ensure its Government protects the population from violence and ensure immediate protection of communities in the region from human rights abuses, including sexual violence.
- The UK Government should bear in mind its obligations to take appropriate action in line with the UN Genocide Convention should the Ethiopian Government fail to take the actions it needs to take to protect its people.
- In accordance with UN resolution 2417 (2018), the UK Government should explore whether to use the mechanisms of the UN Security Council to press for penalties such as sanctions against actors found to be obstructing the delivery of essential humanitarian supplies and using starvation as a weapon of war.
- GSTS-Agriculture Emergency Response for Tigray – We need to design ways for post-war rehabilitation of the agricultural sector in Tigray. Please write your ideas, suggestions and how you would like to contribute. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdRWwYtcYJnQgk0Mn_nYyIk2OKY9S28e26_qCfBsEr8_G-bZw/viewform
- ‘The War Waged Against Tigrayan Women’, Monday 17 May, 16:00-17:00 BST, webinar hosted by the Coalition for Genocide Response. Register here.
- Messaggio ai nostri amici italiani: Il collega Davide Tommasin pubblica un blog che contiene numerose traduzioni in Italiano di articoli di stampa internazionali relativi alla guerra del Tigray. Puoi visitarlo a: http://tommasin.org/
- Opinion pieces
- Alex de Waal: Abiy Ahmed’s Counterrevolution https://thebaffler.com/latest/abiys-counterrevolution-de-waal
- Ann Fitz Gerald and Hugh Segal: Ethiopia: A New Proxy Battlespace? (note that Fitz Gerald, in own words, is extremely well-connected to the Ethiopian security sector officials)
- Awol Allo: Ethiopia urgently needs inclusive national dialogue
- Bahar Oumer: Ethiopia should reschedule the June election. Here is why.
- Gurjit Singh: The African Union and the Tigray crisis
- Kjetil Tronvoll: Ethiopia’s Tigray War Is Fueling Amhara Expansionism
- Martin Plaut: The International Community Struggles to Address the Ethiopian Conflict
- René Lefort: Ethiopia’s vicious deadlock
- In the media
- AlJazeera, 1 May 2021: Ethiopia to designate TPLF, OLF-Shene as ‘terror’ groups
- AFP, 30 April 2021: Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: Six months on and no end in sight
- CNN, 30 April 2021: Tigray could face famine without increased access to region, US aid official says
- The East African, 30 April 2021: Opposition parties ask UN to ensure Eritrean forces leave Tigray
- The Guardian, 30 April 2021: Ending Tigray conflict will test UK’s claim to be ‘force for good’
- AFP, 30 April 2021: ‘No more sacred places’: Heritage sites under siege in Tigray conflict – “Plus rien n’est sacré” : le patrimoine du Tigré victime de la guerre [in French]
- Addis Standard, 29 April 2021: OFC and OLF call for dialogue and national consensus before elections; OLA calls for ceasefire and preconditioned national dialogue
- Medafrica Times, 29 April 2021: The EU disengages financially from Eritrea
- AP, 29 April 2021: ‘Clean out our insides’: Ethiopia detains Tigrayans amid war
- Africa Confidential, 29 April 2021: Issayas in for the long haul
- Addis Standard, 28 April 2021: Armed forces from Tigray launch attack inside Amhara region; local officials admit the attack, say casualities include civilians
- AFP, 27 April 2021: Eritrean troops block, loot food aid in Tigray: documents – Ethiopie: des soldats érythréens bloquent, pillent l’aide alimentaire au Tigré [in French]
- Le Soir, 27 April: En Ethiopie, le syndrome d’une Yougoslavie africaine [in French]
- Le Soir, 27 April: Corne de l’Afrique Le jeu dangereux des parrains régionaux [in French]
- The National News, 27 April: Blinken calls on Ethiopian and Eritrean forces to withdraw from Tigray
- Der Spiegel, 26 April 2021: Eritreas Diktator Isaias Afwerki – Der gefährlichste Mann am Horn von Afrika [in German]
- Addis Standard, 26 April 2021: Sec. Blinken presses PM Abiy for immediate, full & verifiable withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray; end hostilities immediately
- Vox, 24 April 2021: “Dying by blood or by hunger”: The war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, explained
- New York Times, 24 April 2021: The anguish of the World’s Doctor
- PassBlue, 22 April 2021: Tigray Can’t Wait: The UN Security Council Must Act to End Sexual Assault Now
- Place St Pierre, 19 April 2021: Guerre civile au Tigré, la situation sur le terrain (Fulvio Beltrami) [in French]
Follow up communication compiled by Prof. Dr. Jan Nyssen.
Jan Nyssen is full professor of geography at Ghent University (Belgium). Besides numerous scientific publications mostly related to Ethiopia, he published two books: “ካብ ሓረስቶት ደጉዓ ተምቤን እንታይ ንስምዕ”? “What do we hear from the farmers in Dogu’a Tembien”? [in Tigrinya] (2016), and “Geo Trekking in Ethiopia’s Tropical Mountains, the Dogu’a Tembien District”. Springer GeoGuide (2019).