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Open letter to H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres Secretary General of the United Nations from Security and Justice for Tigrayans - SJT

By Teka Neguse, PharmD
Tigrai Online November 8, 2021

H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres
Secretary General of the United Nations
United Nations Headquarters
New York, NY 10017

Honorable Mr. Guterres,

Security and Justice for Tigrayans (SJT) is writing to make an urgent appeal to your office to strongly denounce the mass detentions of Tigrayans in Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia and press Mr. Abiy Ahmed’s government to stop this practice immediately. SJT is a US 501(c (3)) registered non-profit organization that advocates for the wellbeing of Tigrayans globally.

SJT does not doubt the UN’s knowledge of the year-long war of genocide and the atrocities committed on the people of Tigray by the allied forces of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Amhara region. These atrocities are continuing in western Tigray and in minority communities bordering Eritrea which are still occupied by these forces. And the entire Tigray region continues to be under humanitarian siege by the Abiy government which has shut down all utilities.

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Today, the world is witnessing that Ethiopia is dangerously sliding deeper into the civil war. On 2 November 2021, the government of Mr. Abiy declared a nation-wide state of emergency and is using this declaration to indiscriminately detain, torture, and even execute any Tigrayan within its reach. In Addis Ababa, security agents have intensified their house-to-house campaign rounding up and taking Tigrayans to undisclosed detention centers. A few days earlier, the Amhara regional administration and Mr. Abiy himself called upon ordinary Ethiopians to use whatever weapon they have including knives and machetes and turn on civilian Tigrayans living throughout Ethiopia, essentially inciting a bloodshed. The Amhara government on 31 October 2021 issued a nine-point decree calling everyone and everything in its administration to be mobilized to continue the war they started a year ago.

Clearly, the purpose of these calls and declarations, as many of the Amhara and Ethiopian officials have been telling their constituents, is to perpetuate the ethnic cleansing and other atrocities their forces have been committing in western Tigray, which the regional government still occupies.

The Ethiopian government on 1 November 2021 admitted that it has been taking actions against those who “threaten the unity of the country”, clearly referring to the mass detentions and executions of Tigrayans the government has been carrying out in recent days and weeks. The statement also warned Tigrayans throughout Ethiopia that they are under watch, a warning designed to spread fear amongst ordinary Tigrayans.

The federal and regional governments are also using their social media trolls to spread hate, instigate a bloodbath, and expand the genocide against Tigrayans to other parts of Ethiopia. One of the most explicit of these social media trolls specifically suggested the need to “weed out” Tigrayans who are in every neighborhood and “whom you fed and raised”. He accused ordinary Tigrayans that “…they are the enemy who collect information and money from Ethiopian cities and send to the war front.” He tells his followers “ …you know who they are!!! Do it even if it grieves you!… Hurry up!!!! Hurry up! Hurry up now!!!”

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Dear Mr. Guterres,

These are dangerous references also used by top Ethiopian and Amhara officials including the Prime Minister himself to incite violence against civilian Tigrayans. We are alarmed by these calls and fear for our families’ lives. We appeal to you and all UN agencies to condemn the mass detentions and executions and the statements inciting violence and expanding the genocide against Tigrayans. We urge you to put Mr. Abiy on notice that his actions are in violation of humanitarian and international law and make him aware of the consequences.

The people of Tigray have already suffered horrific atrocities in the hands of the government of Ethiopia and Eritrea and the regional government of Amhara. Tigray did not, and still does not, want war but cannot sit and wait to be slaughtered. The people and the regional government of Tigray have been calling for a peaceful resolution of the conflict for the last three years. But Mr. Abiy and his allies have rejected each and every call for dialogue and peaceful resolution of the conflict. As we write this letter, they continue to conscript and mobilize poor people including minors for their war, shop for all kinds of military hardware, and expand the war and bloodshed.

We urge you to use the powers of the UN to impress upon Mr. Abiy to sit for negotiations or resign so that other sensible and capable Ethiopians can do the work of leading before the war reaches a stage of no return.

We thank you and stand ready to assists with any information that your office may require.

Respectfully,

Teka Neguse, PharmD
President, Security & Justice for Tigrayans (SJT)
Tel: 443-537-3910 Email: sjte.info@gmail.com

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