Open letter to His Excellency Federico Villegas, President of the UNHRC & Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet, UNHCR
Sebhidri International Civic Society (SICS)
Tigrai Online February 19, 2022
President of the United Nations Human Rights Council for 2022
Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet,
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland
From: Sebhidri International Civic Society (SICS)
Subject: Investigation of War Crimes and Genocide of Tigray by the Ethiopian Defense Forces, Eritrean rag army and Amhara Fano
We members of Sebhidri International Civic Society (SICS) we submit this urgent appeal concerning planned and targeted genocide. The action by the Ethiopian and Eritrean government was genocide. There is no doubt that there was, in fact, a state organized, systematic deportation and massacre of a designated population, defined by their religion and ethnicity, namely the Tegrawot (Tigrayans), that it was meticulously carried out, initiated, and organized to eliminate those people from their homeland, or to destroy their political and cultural potential.
Thousands have been killed in massacres, thousands more have fled, and countless women, nuns and girls have been violently raped. Four hundred seventy-four (474) days and counting; the people of Tigray have been ethnically cleansed, mass massacred, violently raped. Additionally, their infrastructure, factories and institutions turned to dust. They were cut off from the rest of the world by well-designed systematically implemented siege.
To continue its genocide, the government of Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afewerki made Tigray unreachable to humanitarian aid, and the death from end stage starvation and preventable and treatable diseases, piles up. As Tegaru-in diaspora we urge the world to take meaningful actions that would save our people than to serve us platitudes.
Since the declaration of a country-wide state of emergency on November 2, 2021, Ethiopia has imposed a “de facto humanitarian blockade”, a deadly chokehold on the people of Tigray, and the genocidal regime is now busy manufacturing fictitious narratives to evade accountability for engineering the siege starvation of Tigrayans—a heinous crime under international law.
In October 2021, the head of the World Food Program said of Tigray: “there’s no way that the people are surviving there”. More recently, the UN’s humanitarian chief called the lack of meaningful international action a “stain on our conscience”. And the World Health Organization director general in January 2022 described the crisis as “an insult to our humanity”.
Most egregiously, Abiy Ahmed and Isayas Afewerki combined forces, not only to carry out the war crimes of unimaginable savagery and scale on the ground, but they also took to the sky to bomb every city and town in Tigrai with Chinese, Turkish and Iranian drones with impunity. Since January 2022, the death toll by fixed wing drone strike, including on an internal displacement site, is above 1600.
At present, the humanitarian situation in Tigray is indescribably bleak. Hospitals in Tigray are now facing imminent total collapse. We call upon desperate plea to the world that lays bare the suffering of the people of Tigray. Most aid agencies have run out of food stock, medicine, and fuel. There is no therapeutic nutrition in Tigray for treating children suffering from acute severe malnutrition (SAM). The WFP has warned of a “humanitarian disaster.” About 50,000 children are believed to be severely malnourished, though the figure could be much higher. SICS acknowledges the recent supply of medicine to Mekelle by World Health Organization, however considering the depth of the crisis more is needed to reach all cities of Tigray.
The United Nations Human Rights Council should take its responsibility seriously and make an equivocal statement into the atrocities committed by Ethiopia and Eritrea governments.
We call upon United Nations Human Rights Council, & Security Council of the United Nation:
- We call upon you for immediate delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid to Mekelle and no fly zone over Tigray. WFP estimates that over 900,000 people in Tigrai are starving. Based on WFP and relief agencies data that the death from starvation and lack of medicine now surpasses the outrageous war causalities.
- The violation thus inflicted is irreversible; the death and destruction, the agony of millions cannot be undone, thus the urgency for action.
The Genocide Convention is aimed in making sure that there is no delay in the reaction of the world community. The world community, as one body, or member nations individually are obligated to act to remedy such violations. This is what the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has identified in past cases as an obligation erga omnes.
The UN must be reminded of these responsibilities. It must ensure the delivery of cross-border humanitarian aid with or without the consent of the Ethiopian government and establish a mechanism to monitor implementation. Just as it did for Syria in 2016, the UN must urgently approve and initiate the air dropping of emergency food and medicine. We thank you in advance for your attention; and we look forward to your credible response to this urgent plea.
Director General, Sebhidri International Civic Society
cc: H.E. Antonio Gutteres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
The Honorable Marie Louise Abomo, Commissioner, African Commission on Human and People’s Rights
Kennet Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch
Dr. Agness Callamard, Secretary-General, Amnesty International
Endorsed by the following Organizations:
1. Tigrai Global Advocacy Group (TGAG)
2. Security Justice for Tigray (SJT)
3. Tigrayan Community in Western Australia
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