Ethiopia: Security and Justice for Tigreans in Ethiopia (SJTE) – Reject the terrorist designation of the TPLF by Mr. Abiy Ahmed (14.05.2021)

Excellencies,

The Security and Justice for Tigreans in Ethiopia (SJTE) wishes to extend its appreciation for the attention the UNSC has given to the war in Tigray and to the atrocities that are being committed there. In our previous letters addressed to this respected body, we detailed the need for a strong and impactful action by the UNSC to stop the war which has become one of the most destructive.

The UNSC instead issued a weak statement that has emboldened Mr. Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, and Mr. Isaias Afewerki, the president of Eritrea, to continue their atrocities at a much greater intensity. Just a few days ago, Mr. Abiy asked the Ethiopian parliament to designate his political foes including the TPLF and the people of Tigray as terrorists and parliament complied almost instantly. But this designation has no merit whatsoever. Any government that worked with the TPLF as part of the former ruling coalition in Ethiopia knows that it led a government that fought terrorism and contributed to world peace immensely. The legacy of its effort in peace keeping is evident in the peace keeping missions around Africa today. The designation by Mr. Abiy is rather a sinister political maneuver to continue detaining, torturing, and killing Tigrayans at will. His evil action, like all actions he has taken in the past, is irresponsible, dangerous, and potentially eliminates any hope for a peaceful resolution of the war and will only escalate the ongoing violence, detention, extrajudicial killings, and extermination of the people of Tigray.

The people of Tigray and TPLF are peace-loving. They are not committing terrorism. They are rather the recipients of a dangerous and ugly form of terrorism – state-sponsored terrorism. The government of Mr. Abiy Ahmed in close collaboration with Mr. Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea has been committing widespread extrajudicial killings and massacres over the people of Tigray for six months. Tigrayans throughout Ethiopia also live in fear because they have been the targets of detention and disappearances. If anybody in Tigray or Ethiopia deserves terrorist designations, the governments of Mr. Abiy and Mr. Isaias should be the ones to receive such designation. The people of Tigray, TPLF, or any other organization in Tigray have not done anything that resembles terrorism. To us, the bogus proclamation by the expired Ethiopian parliament is meant to legitimize the governments’ terrorist acts on the people of Tigray and to take away Tigrayan-owned properties and continue incarcerating them without due process.

It behooves the UNSC to ponder whether a regional government elected by more than 80% of eligible Tigray voters can even be designated terrorist. Furthermore, the designation was made by an illegitimate parliament whose term expired seven months ago and does not have a single representative from Tigray.

The designation of Tigray’s TPLF and Oromia’s OLA as terrorist entities is a clear demonstration of Mr. Abiy’s intent to continue the path of violence to silence his political challengers.

Excellencies,

We appreciate the UNSC’s expression of serious concern about the increasingly dire situation in Tigray. But as you are aware, concern alone will not help the people of Tigray. The UNSC must take strong actions similar to that of the former Yugoslavia. It is our belief that the UNSC and the international community have the legal and moral obligation to take a swift action to save the people of Tigray from total annihilation and Ethiopia from total disintegration.

SJTE respectfully demands that the UNSC:

Rejects and condemns the designation of TPLF as a terrorist organization and pressures Mr. Abiy Ahmed to come to the negotiating table.

Takes required actions to remove the Eritrean Army and the Amhara militia from Tigray.

Pressures Mr. Abiy’s government to allow humanitarian aid reach the more than 5 million needy Tigrayans without any restriction.

Demands that Mr. Abiy releases the tens of thousands of Tigrayans detained in different parts of the country including in concentration camps for their political beliefs or for no reason at all.

SJTE urges the UNSC to be actively engaged in resolving this crisis that has the potential to spread throughout the horn of Africa. Ultimately, this crisis can only be solved if the UNSC takes a decisive action commensurate with the problem. Without such action, the crisis will deteriorate and may reach a point of no return, causing a complete collapse of the country and cascading detrimental effects which will destabilize the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea Region.

We thank you and SJTE remains ready to provide additional information. We also would appreciate an acknowledgement of the receipt of this letter.

Respectfully,

SJTE

CC: The European Union

The African Union

Secretary of State

UNSC member states

Mr. Jeffrey Feltman

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