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ማሕበር ተጋሩ ኣውሮፓ
Union of Tigrayanss in Europe
OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE UTE-OC-20221118-01
Friday 18 Nov. 2022
A press statement regarding the CoHA signed between the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in South Africa and Kenya.
UTE values and endorses any initiative that might lead to solving political differences via dialogue. As a result, UTE have been positive about the negotiation processes arranged in Pretoria, South Africa, and Nairobi Kenya between the government of Ethiopia and “TPLF,” as it is mentioned in the agreement. UTE has been anxiously waiting for the outcomes of the negotiation as its prime wish has been the ending of the atrocity crimes imposed on the people of Tigray.
UTE’s expectation from the Pretoria and Nairobi negotiation processes has been an outcome that will serve the interest of the people of Tigray, Ethiopia and even Eritrea; something that pave the path towards sustainable peace and stability in the region. Unfortunately, UTE is uneasy about the contents of the CoHA signed and sits with a pessimistic view if the agreement signed by GoE and TPLF will serve the purpose of ending the sufferings of the people of Tigray for the following reasons.
1- UTE strongly reacts by the fact that the mediators and the observers have viewed TPLF as the sole representative of the people of Tigray, discrediting the government of Tigray (GoT) elected by 2, 8 million Tigrayans in a legal way. Article 39 of the FDRE renders the regional states of Ethiopia an unconditional right of self-governance and hence the right to establish institutions of government in the territory that it inhabits. According to Article 58(3) of the FDRE constitution, the House of Peoples’ Representatives shall be elected for a term of five years. Since the term of HPR was expired, Tigray held election in September 2020 establishing a regional election commission after receiving a negative response from the NEBE for its request to organise an election for the Tigray regional parliament within the constitutional term. The right to self-determination is also recognised under the FDRE constitution and international human rights treaties (ICCPR and ICESCR) to which Ethiopia is party. Both the ICCPR and the ICESCR specify the right of self-determination in their Article 1. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. However, the CoHA underestimates the root cause of the tensions and the rationality behind the 2020 election. UTE mean that first, equating an elected government with a political party by denying people’s constitutional right to vote is wrong. Secondly, insinuating a single party represents the whole people of Tigray is even worse which will lead to a complete rejection of the deal by the majority of the Tigrayans. Furthermore, the discrediting action also violates article 21 of the universal declarations of human rights that clearly states, “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.”
2- UTE denounces the official politicisation of international human rights and Humanitarian laws. It is unfortunate to negotiate about humanitarian issue which in accordance to the IHL is supposed to be respected and enforced under any circumstances. To the contrary, the disarmament plan detailed in days is under execution before people’s rights underpinned by the international human rights and humanitarian laws are restored and respected. Guns have not been silenced so far as the war is still going on, unfettered flow of humanitarian has not started except for the 2 ICRC trucks carrying medicals supplies. The basic services, such as bank, power, telephone, and internet are not resumed. Flights and logistic activities have not started two weeks after the deal has been signed as the mediators and observers allowed for these universal human rights to be linked with the disarmament process. We urge the UN, EU, AU and the US (international community, here after) to force the GoE to allow unfettered flow of humanitarian aid both in air and land, end the blockade and restore the basic services immediately by prioritizing people in dire need of food and medicine by delinking them from disarmament. It is also unfortunate the international community failed to discharge its responsibility to protect (R2P) civilians from mass atrocities and Genocide with humanitarian aid used as a weapon of war.
3- There is no sign of withdrawal of foreign forces from Tigray either. We cannot find any justification that the withdrawal of the “FOREIGN FORCES” is going to happen concurrently with the DDR of Tigray combatants as we are receiving reports of horrific atrocity crimes being committed under the watching of the IC after the CoHA was signed. For the peace to prevail, the invading forces of Eritrea (the elephant in the house), the Amhara Special Forces, and the afar militia must withdraw from the constitutional territories of Tigray with no preconditions. The international community must step up its effort to request the Ethiopian government demands the withdrawal of the Eritrean army in particular from the occupied areas of Tigray as soon as possible. Moreover, UTE calls on the inclusion and deployment of representatives of the UN, EU, US, and other multilateral organisations as a part of the monitoring and verifying team that follows the withdrawal of theses invading forces.
4- UTE strongly opposes the accountability and transitional justice mechanism to be handled by GoE as the atrocity crimes committed on the people of Tigray are planned and executed by the government itself. Justice will not be served for the victims if the world allows actors accused of committing “crimes against humanity” to establish a transitional justice mechanism to hold themselves accountable. UTE demands the establishment of an independent transitional justice mechanism to hold the perpetrators and make sure that leaders of this Genocidal war will not go free by manipulating the national transitional justice to their favour. UTE means that the transitional Justice should serve the victims wherever they are and will only be secured via an independent transitional justice mechanism in the auspices of ICC, just like the case of Darfur.
5- UTE is extremely concerned about the psychological impact of the planned entrance of the ENDF in the Tigray region, as mentioned in the agreement. Such an action will have a disastrous psychological impact on the victims and will expose them to extensive traumas. Hence, UTE believes that avoiding the traumatization of the victims is very important and can be achieved by re-deployment of the Tigray combatants that would possibly be reintegrated to the ENDF and use of 17000 former Tigrayan ENDF soldiers who are languishing in GoE’s detainee centers via the reintegration process. Such actions will provide an opportunity to neutralise the relapse of the psychological traumas that the people of Tigray might experience when they meet the ENDF soldiers that committed atrocity crimes on them in the last two years. Reintegration of members of TDF in ENDF and their subsequent deployment as guardians of Tigray will also fasten the healing process and give an opportunity for confidence building.
The international community should understand that further ignorance and disrespect to basic human rights enshrined in the IHL will jeopardise the implementation of the agreement signed both in Pretoria and Nairobi. Therefore, UTE asks the international community to demand for the prioritisation of silencing of the guns, unfettered flow of humanitarian aid, an immediate restoration of basic service, which are not yet executed two weeks after the agreement has been signed. The international community needs also to press for an immediate withdrawal of invading forces from Tigray’s constitutional territories if the intentions and smooth implementations of CoHA shall be realized.
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