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An Open letter to Excellency Dr. Patrick Amoth Chair, WHO Board of Executive Officers in Support of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus

By Teka Neguse, PharmD
President, Security & Justice for Tigrayans (SJT)
Tigrai Online January 28, 2022

Excellency Dr. Patrick Amoth
Chair, Board of Executive Officers
The World Health Organization

Excellency Dr. Amoth,

Security & Justice for Tigrayans (SJT), a US-based global advocacy organization for Tigrayans, is writing to express our outrage at the malicious and baseless accusations made against Dr. Tedros Adhanom in a recent open letter penned by apologists of the genocidal policies of the current Ethiopian government. The letter contains no substance whatsoever and does not merit the attention of your good office.

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As a Tigrayan, Dr. Tedros is just one victim of the cruel assault Tigrayans in Ethiopia and all over the world have been subjected to since November 2020. The Ethiopian federal government, and its allies sent their armies and militias into Tigray about 15 months ago and committed atrocities that are too graphic, horrific, and numerous to list in this letter. Just to mention a few, they massacred hundreds of thousands innocent civilians, raped tens of thousands of women and girls, obliterated over 90% of the healthcare system, looted or burned people’s meager food resources, the list is endless. After eight months of anguish and suffering, angry Tigrayans rose from the ashes and managed to drive these brutal forces out of many parts of Tigray. Now the Ethiopian government has resorted to using siege as a tool of war and has blocked all humanitarian aid from reaching hungry and sick Tigrayans. It has cut all public services. As we write, Tigray has no electricity, no banking, no telephone or internet, and no fuel or transportation. The aim of the Ethiopian government is clear: starve and finish Tigray. The letter against Dr. Tedros is simply an extension of this campaign to exterminate Tigrayans.

The forces that have written the letter against Dr. Tedros are the same forces behind the problems in Tigray and in Ethiopia at large. They claim they are Ethiopians, but they do not represent Ethiopia or reflect the views of the true makeup of Ethiopia which is composed of more than 80 ethnic groups. The writers represent a small, chauvinist, and elite segment of one ethnic group and believe they are the only Ethiopians. They have been acting with anger because they lost the privilege and hegemony they enjoyed for more than 100 years. Today, they have declared a genocidal war on Tigrayans because they see Tigray as the roadblock on the path for their ascension to the position of dominance. Just listen to their leaders and government officials such as Deacon Daniel Kibret, who said a few days ago that Tigrayans should be “eliminated to the last person in the same way Australia eliminated tribes in Tasmania.”

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Attacking every and any Tigrayan that they perceive has achieved prominence is one of the strategies they have employed in the quest of their evil mission of silencing and eliminating Tigrayans. They see Dr. Tedros as one of these Tigrayans. They campaigned hard in 2017 before he was selected for the office. Now that he has served one term, they want to hobble his second 

term by any means including fabricating and using any lies. They have resorted to muckraking, but have failed to find anything that serves their purpose. So, now they have resorted to a smear tactic which consists of describing Dr. Tedros using all disparaging terminology they could find in the English dictionary.

They blindly accuse him of ethics violations without specifying what those violations are. Their most specific accusation is that he spoke about the impact of the “civil conflict in Ethiopia.” We are not sure how speaking up about the horrors being caused by the conflict in Ethiopia is a violation of any kind. The whole world has been speaking up about the misery this conflict is exacting on the people of Ethiopia and Tigray and the WHO cannot be an exception. In fact, it would be an ethical violation if the WHO kept silent. If the writers are troubled because he uttered the word Tigray in his “speaking up”, it would be disingenuous for anyone including the Director General of the WHO to speak about the current conflict in Ethiopia without mentioning Tigray and the misery its people are suffering. After all, Tigray is the epicenter of the conflict and, thus, is the subject of any conversation of the conflict.

The writers accuse Dr. Tedros of speaking about the lack of food and medicine in Tigray. They do not deny this fact, but they seem to argue that Dr. Tedros should not have spoken about it. They claim the shortage is just a “delay” caused by the “TPLF”. The argument these writers are making is the same narrative the Ethiopian government has been using to deceive the world. They know it is an international crime to deny food and medicine to millions. And their best defense it to accuse the very same people that need the food and medicine. The roads the writers claim were closed by the TPLF were actually closed by the Ethiopian government in close collaboration with the regional governments. What is more, the roads to Tigray through the Amhara region have been shuttered since 2018. If the roads were closed by the TPLF, why doesn’t the government allow medical supplies to be delivered by air? These inconsistencies show that their claims are fabricated and unfounded.

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The writers attempted to use Dr. Tedros’ “…press releases, his media interviews, and social media posts…” as evidence of his ethics violations. But they could not produce a single item of evidence showing what Dr. Tedros said or wrote violates WHO ethical standards. They used manufactured statistics to accuse him of not speaking about the Amhara and Afar ethnic groups. For example, consider their accusation that the TPLF caused “destruction and looting … of 78% Health facilities in Afar Region.” The Tigray Defense Forces (which the writers incorrectly refer to as TPLF) never occupied anything close to 78% of the vast Afar region in the course of the conflict. As such, it could not have destroyed 78% of the health facilities there. Besides, the TDF has proven to be a highly disciplined force whose mission is defending Tigrayans not inflicting misery on other brotherly ethnic groups anywhere in Ethiopia. So, the crimes these writers have listed are just fabricated statistics designed to mislead the WHO and the world at large. To the contrary, the crimes committed in Tigray by the Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Amhara forces have been documented including by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, a government-controlled agency. The whole world has spoken about these crimes and misery in Tigray. Dr. Tedros neither created his own statistics nor said anything the world has not said about Tigray. Further, he has spoken about what the WHO has done in Amhara and Afar. He said the WHO has delivered medical supplies to Amhara and Afar. The writers omitted this fact as part of their campaign to dishonor Dr. Tedros.

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Excellency,

We hope we have shown that the accusations and demands these individuals and the Ethiopian government have made are baseless. We also hope you have discerned from their letter that their primary motivation for the attack is to intimidate and silence Dr. Tedros Adhanom and the WHO Board of Executive Officers and stop them from speaking about the misery being inflicted upon the people of Tigray. This should not be allowed to happen to the WHO.

SJT humbly asks your office to reject the demands made by this vengeful collection of individuals and protect Dr. Tedros Adhanom against the wicked attacks so that he commits all of his time and energy on the health and wellbeing of the people of the world including Tigray.

We thank you,

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

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