English translation of the article published on NEMA’s focus on africa program (Italian): http://nena-news.it/focus-on-africa-genocidio-nel-tigray/
The complaint was made by the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Matthias. Since last November, the northern region of Ethiopia has seen bloodshed due to the fierce conflict between the Ethiopian army and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (Tplf)
by Federica Iezzi
Rome, 5 June 2021, Nena News –
The strong statement was made by the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Matthias, who spoke openly about genocide in the northern region of Tigray, which saw bloodshed by a fierce conflict since last November.
Due to the violent clashes between the Ethiopian army and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), there are more than two million internally displaced persons and thousands of deaths.
The Ethiopan Government of Abiy Ahmed strongly rejects reports of crimes against humanity, widespread and systematic violations against the people of Tigray.
Human rights activists are calling for swift international responses to stop the ongoing atrocities, including military intervention. Ethiopian media have repeatedly used derogatory language and expressions of hatred towards the Tigray ethnic group.
There is no shortage of reports of ethnically selective violence against Tigrayans and restrictions on travel, business and residence. These violations, together with murder, rape and hunger, build the scale of genocide.
Clear recognition by the United Nations Security Council would validate a report to the International Criminal Court. The objections of China and Russia, which do not recognise the genocide in the Tigray region, are already clear.
The 1957 Ethiopan Penal Code prohibits genocide with a major variation. It includes ‘political groups’ among those protected. Legal curiosity arose because Ethiopia used one of Lemkin’s first drafts for the United Nations Convention on Genocide, before the Soviet Union insisted that political groups should not be included.
Thirty years ago, when Ethiopia tried officials of the deposed military regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam, it was decided to use the genocide charges for political assassinations.
Particular attention should also be paid to the variety of ways in which hunger is currently used as a weapon of war, oppression and punishment. The United Nations, the United States and the United Kingdom have expressed serious concern about an imminent large-scale famine in Tigray. A total of 5.2 million people in the region, 91% of its entire population, need emergency food aid.
The serious situation appears to be the result of looting, forced displacement, food shortages, looting of water and health facilities, widespread rape and obstruction of humanitarian aid. An internal U.S. State Department report released earlier this year speaks of ethnic cleansing in Western Tigray.
Ethiopia has a grey area of ethnically located and targeted violence, directly and indirectly involving different communities. Disputed borders between ethnically defined regions and disputes over the status of minorities within regions dominated by other groups are the most striking examples. Violence of this kind has recently increased with the Oromo, Amharas, Somali and Gumuz ethnic groups.
Federica Iezzi is paediatric cardiothoracic surgeon. Aid worker. Freelance journalist. MSF field team – Yemen based