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The UN must adhere to the basic principles of human rights and dignity

By SJTE
Tigrai Online June 7, 2021 />

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His Excellency António Guterres
Secretary General of the United Nations

RE: The UN must adhere to the basic principles of human rights and dignity

Excellency,

Security and Justice for Tigrayans in Ethiopia (SJTE), an advocacy organization, has earlier brought to your attention the plight of the Tigrayan people who have been subjected to a genocidal war unleashed by Ethiopia and its allies. Currently, Tigrayans and other Ethiopians all over the country are living in a state of fear. The country under PM Abiy is heading towards disintegration. Only a swift measure by the UN and all peace-loving countries can avert this unfolding catastrophe.

The ugly war of extermination waged against the people of Tigray has been raging for the last seven months. As is well known to you, this unjust and senseless war was launched on November 4, 2020 by Mr. Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr. Isaias Afwerki, the President of Eritrea, and Amhara special forces and militia. The war has left heavy casualties, destruction of infra-structure, mass displacement of over a million people within Tigray, and according to current reports the fleeing of 71,000 Tigrayan refugees to Sudan.

The damage the world is witnessing does not end there. Civilians have been killed indiscriminately, including the execution of 230 priests, tens of thousands of women and girls as young as 8 and even nuns have been raped, destruction of heritage sites has been rampant. Attempts to deliberately exterminate the entire population by all sinister means, including the use of poisonous gas, are parts of the genocidal policy against defenseless people of Tigray. Deliberately starving millions of people is part of the dreadful formula of extermination.

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The African Union (AU) has made some half-hearted attempts to stop the war in Tigray when it dispatched a team of three former heads of state as special envoys to Addis Ababa in November 2020. On the 17th day of this month, in an unprecedented move, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee made an appeal for the cessation of hostilities in Tigray. The European Union and the United States have called for an end to the atrocities and access for humanitarian agencies. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has raised deep concern about the human rights violations and sexual violence in Tigray. On April 22, 2021, the members of the UN Security Council “expressed their deep concern about allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including reports of sexual violence against women and girls and called for investigations to find those responsible and bring them to justice.”

Mr. Ahmed has thwarted all regional and global attempts for peace through his repeated rhetoric on sovereignty and the so-called principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. He has arbitrarily resorted to this excuse despite the clear-cut provisions of the Section seven of the UN Charter on the collective security of the family of nations. Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union also provides for intervention in the case of “grave circumstances”, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. This principle of “responsibility to protect” was also adopted at the United Nations in 2001. Mr. Ahmed’s deliberate negligence of these principles has led to a dangerous development that has already endangered regional peace and security and is going to jeopardize peace and security of the family of nations.

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The genocide and war crimes being committed in Tigray are unprecedented and must be stopped immediately. We call upon the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union as well as all peace-loving countries and human rights institutions to use all multilateral, regional, bilateral, and unilateral means towards saving the lives of 6 million Tigrayans that will perish if action is not taken immediately. We demand:

  1. The full, unconditional, and immediate withdrawal of the Eritrean military and Amhara Special forces and militia from Tigray under the UN supervision.
  2. Cessation of hostilities and beginning of all-inclusive negotiations for a durable peace.
  3. Unhindered access to humanitarian aid.
  4. The re-instatement of the democratically elected Tigray regional government
  5. Resettlement of the most vulnerable sections of refugees and displaced people.
  6. Repatriation of refugee and displaced people to their homes in Tigray in safety and security under the supervision of the United Nations and African Union.
  7. Investigation of all human rights violations including the crime of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  8. Prosecution of the perpetrators of heinous international crimes.
  9. Return of looted property, reconstruction of war-ravaged infrastructure.

We expect the UN to value human life and protect human rights and play a leading role in bringing an effective and durable peace in Tigray and Ethiopia as a whole. The UN must adhere to the basic principles of human rights and dignity. It is only natural that the United Nations acts to protect citizens of the world, the basis of the reason for its creation.

AC: African Union European Commission

Yours sincerely,

SJTE

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