In a conflict there is usually some innocent civilians who is the casualties between the battling parties. There is no difference in the region of Tigray in Ethiopia. Where refugees and civilians are caught in crossfire. The parties are hit by the blocked roads and warfare. Also, the direct control of the National Army, Eritrean Army and Amhara Paramilitary Group “Fano”. All of these factors get’s into play. As much as the state wants to control the Law Enforcement Operation, which have been into play since 3rd November 2020.
We are now in middle or later January 2021. That is near to three months of conflict. A conflict where the United Nations Organizations and aid organizations haven’t been able to access or allowed to get to the ones in need.
UNHCR on the 19th January 2021:
“The assessment, which concluded last week, found help is urgently needed for the tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees in northern Ethiopia. Refugees were cut off from any supplies and services for more than two months. Wells were not functional without fuel for the pumps – leaving refugees to use water from a nearby creek for washing, cooking and drinking, resulting in diarrhea like illnesses. The only assistance refugees received since the start of the conflict was a one-time food distribution conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP) almost a month ago. Plans are underway for a second distribution” (UNHCR – ‘UNHCR finds dire need in Eritrean refugee camps cut off in Tigray conflict’ 19.01.2021).
These stories should haunt the authorities, the government and everyone in-charge. Unless, they are fine with starving civilians. Because, this is deliberate acts of injustice. This is violations of human rights and the basic needs of other human beings. Everyone needs shelter and food. That is just a mere fact.
So, when the Prosperity Party and the Law Enforcement Operation is acted out like this. The governing bodies of Addis Ababa is responsible for the disaster and humanitarian crisis in Tigray. As the UNCHR is only saying about the Eritrean refugees. However, we can imagine if the Eritrean refugees have it like this. How is the rest of the population of the populous region been held captive too? Are they also starving and blocked from food supplies?
That wouldn’t shock me, as the UNCHR doesn’t say how things are in general. Nevertheless, the ideals and the ability to cut-off these basics needs for civilians. Says a lot about what sort of play the government have towards this region. How little it care about lives and their fate. The state doesn’t care or value the needs. As they are even blocking World Food Programme and UNCHR to act upon the outcries and call for help.
Tigray region is hurting and its deliberate from the state. They are using everyone as targets and not shielding anyone from the harm of the conflict. That is the clear message of the state. Peace.
“All sorts of foreigners. We monitor them. Bobi Wine in particular is an agent of foreign interest. But the social group, the youth who feel marginalised, that’s a healthy internal force which we’re working with” – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (08.01.2021, Channel 4)
This week there was a rare sight where President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was interviewed by a foreign media house. That happened to be Channel 4, the Independent New-caster from United Kingdom. The interview was held on the 8th January 2021 and just mere 6 days ahead of the polls.
It is not the first time the President claims Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine is an foreign agent or supported by foreigners. That is very ironic. As President Museveni wouldn’t have a career or an office. If he didn’t have the backing of Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere and Libyan President Muammar Gadaffi. These two was vital for him to get to power and be able to deliver the coup d’etat in 1986. Nyerere helped him as a part of a Tanzanian-Ugandan invasion to topple Idi Amin. The other helped with ammunition and arms in the 1980s Bush War. Therefore, the President should be more careful throwing these allegations around. Especially, when he never ever brings any proof or evidence of it.
As he continues:
“The connection is some of the constituencies in the West, is that we choose to agree with some things and reject some. They want us to be puppets. They don’t expect us to be skeptical. So anything against us, they jump on it. And off course they make mistakes by so doing because they don’t know our situation” (Museveni, 08.01.2021, Channel 4).
Well, I don’t wants puppets anywhere, but legitimate leadership and not the ones that uses sorry excuses to be leaders. Leaders who uses the guns and the authorities to shackle the communities and citizens. People like me don’t want people to be suffering in injustice and impunity. Therefore, the allegations of puppets is utter nonsense. He just using the neocolonialism excuse to stay longer in office. As he has no trouble taking grants, donations or even loans from the West. He expects free money and with no strings attached. Like it is just supposed to fall from thin-air and into his lap. That is how it seems and that nobody should question him, but that he deserves to live forever in power.
Here comes the lies in three quick quotes:
“I know. We shall figure it out with my party. The NRM shall determine that. I don’t even need to be in the government. For what? I’m not looking for anything personal” (Museveni, 08.01.2021, Channel 4).
“Now what am I looking for in power? Unless I’m looking for something personal. Do you think I am looking for money?” (Museveni, 08.01.2021, Channel 4).
“If there’s a mission to be done. In Uganda here, and Africa we have a mission that has to be accomplished. And if we don’t do, we shall become a Latin America” (Museveni, 08.01.2021, Channel 4).
We can really see how he sticks to common traits. It is always his party that has to decide. A party, which his the forever Chairman and the leader of. Anyone who has ambition in the party gets kicked out and left astray. Therefore, the ideals that the NRM will let him of the hook is a lie.
Well, he knows that if he isn’t in power or in office. He will be more accountable and has to answer for what he did. However, as long as he stays in office and call the shots there will no ramifications. There will be no questions or even serious inquires. As he determines and micro-manage it all.
This man is the richest man in the Republic. By all means, so much of his family and cronies are involved in business ventures. They are all living large because of the stature and power. These folks are eating because they are in power. So, if the day comes and their gravy-train stops. The buck stops too. Therefore, the lie of not seeking money is rubbish. That is part of game. Not like his piss poor and driving a Honda Accord. No, his Richie Rich and has Tony Stark sort of money.
His still daring talking about “mission” in 2021. A mission that is never-ending story. A tale never ending. The man has been in power since 1986 and his always upping the bar. There is either something locally that was in his way or participation in abroad. Latest venture of was the East African Confederation. Where he surely would be liked to be crowned King of the whole EAC. Since, nobody else is as wise as this man.
The final lie: “No. I’m not the only one, but it’s not harmful if I also contribute” (Museveni, 08.01.2021, Channel 4).
His the only one. That’s why his never letting go and never trusting anyone else. It ends with him and only him. That is why his not the man he claims to be. This man isn’t a revolutionary or a liberator. If so, he only liberated a few chosen people and the elites. The rest has to suffer if they dare to oppose him. This is why this interview undermined his agenda here.
It only showed his disregard and lack of tolerance. Where he only wants to rule supreme and can do whatever. While the opposition is foreign agents. That coming from someone who wouldn’t have a career if he foreigners didn’t support him. That is disgraceful. Peace.
Increasing risk of famine amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing more than 7 million people into hunger.
NEW YORK, United States of America, January 2, 2021 – The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is extremely concerned about the counties in South Sudan where an increasing risk of famine amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing more than 7 million people into hunger. Food insecurity is rising amidst massive displacement of civilians resulting from a perfect storm of crises; the effects of years of conflict, an economic crisis, recurrent flooding and COVID-19. According to the IRC’s 2021 Watchlist, the risk of famine will increase even more in 2021. With more than 60% of the South Sudanese population facing food insecurity, the IRC is calling for a scale-up in international financial support and improvements in access for food assistance for South Sudan to prevent famine.
Caroline Sekyewa, South Sudan Country Director at the IRC, said,
“People in South Sudan were already struggling to access food. This year, counties are experiencing the impact of years of conflict, and peace is still extremely fragile. Further, an economic crisis, flooding and COVID-19 is forcing more people to go hungry as they lose their livelihoods and ability to feed their families. COVID-19-induced economic downturns and drops in oil prices are constraining the new government’s ability to implement the peace deal, whose implementation is already heavily delayed. South Sudan is the tenth deadliest country for civilians in the world – though many incidents likely go unreported.”
“It is estimated that 11,000 people are experiencing famine and this is likely amongst households where recent conflict and two consecutive years of severe floods are exhausting coping capacity. Due to the combined impact of devastating floods, conflict, and worsening economic conditions, most households are not able to meet their basic food needs or are using extremely detrimental strategies to cope. Amongst the 7 million people going hungry, 1.7 million people are estimated to be battling emergency levels of hunger across 35 counties, with areas of greatest concern concentrated in Jonglei, Unity, Lakes, Warrap, and Upper Nile.”
“Going into 2021, the 2018 peace deal remains fragile and even if it holds, conflict will continue, with civilian populations and humanitarians caught in the middle. Civilians and aid workers continue to face harm. Experts recorded over 500 fatalities in “violence against civilians” incidents in the first nine months of 2020. COVID-19 threatens to exacerbate the country’s health crises, given its extremely low coping capacity. More than half of the population has no access to primary health services, which, alongside limited access to clean water, poor sanitation services and extremely low immunization rates, has left the population highly susceptible to diseases like COVID-19. IRC calls on more support and funding for people in South Sudan as food insecurity threatens lives. ”
The IRC is one of the largest aid providers in South Sudan, operating there for over 30 years and delivering emergency assistance and supporting vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach areas. Our health response includes capacity building in state clinics, training of local health workers, nutrition programs, and sanitation services. We also provide support to survivors of sexual violence and child protection services. Community leaders and government officials are trained on the importance of upholding human rights. The IRC helps empower people through cash assistance, job and livelihoods training. Learn more about the IRC’s South Sudan response.
Geneva (22 December 2020) – Seven weeks after the conflict began in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, the continuing lack of overall humanitarian access, coupled with an ongoing communications blackout in many areas, raises increasing concerns about the situation of civilians, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned on Tuesday.
“While we welcome the Ethiopian Government’s statement that there would be unimpeded humanitarian access, in line with the agreement with the UN signed on 29 November, this needs to be to all areas of Tigray where civilians have been affected by the fighting,” Bachelet said, noting that two humanitarian assessment missions were able to enter Tigray on Monday.
“We have received allegations concerning violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, including artillery strikes on populated areas, the deliberate targeting of civilians, extrajudicial killings and widespread looting,” said the High Commissioner.
“These reports point to failure by the parties to the conflict to protect civilians. This is all the more concerning given that fighting is said to be continuing, particularly in some areas of north, central and southern Tigray,” she said. Tens of thousands of civilians have already been displaced or have fled across the border to Sudan. Bachelet also echoed the concern expressed by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, for the safety and wellbeing of some 96,000 Eritrean refugees registered in four camps in Tigray when fighting started.
Given the current restrictions, the UN Human Rights Office is not in a position to verify reports on the ground but it has received consistent information pointing to violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by all parties to the conflict.
Among the accounts, witnesses described artillery strikes on the town of Humera on the border with Eritrea between 9 and 11 November. The UN Human Rights Office interviewed several people from the town who alleged that shells launched from Eritrea had hit residential areas and the hospital. The Ethiopian army and regional Amhara forces and militia then reportedly took control of Humera, allegedly killing civilians and looting the hospital, banks, businesses, supermarkets and private houses.
Artillery strikes against the town of Adigrat in early November reportedly forced many families to flee to the mountains, where they were then trapped by heavy fighting between 20 and 24 November, with many people reported to have been killed.
One of the most shocking incidents reported to date was the alleged mass killing of several hundred people, mainly Amharans, in Mai Kadra, on 9 November.
“If civilians were deliberately killed by a party or parties to the conflict, these killings would amount to war crimes and there needs to be, as I have stressed previously, independent, impartial, thorough and transparent investigations to establish accountability and ensure justice,” Bachelet said.
“I urge the authorities to build on the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission’s preliminary findings into what happened in Mai Kadra. It is essential that there are investigations into allegations of human rights violations there against both Amharans and Tigrayans,” she said.
Based on multiple accounts, the Amhara “Fano” militia has reportedly committed human rights abuses, including killing civilians and carrying out looting. The UN Human Rights Office has also received information, which it has not been able to verify, concerning the presence of Eritrean troops in Tigray, their involvement in the hostilities and related serious violations of international law.
While telephone lines are beginning to be restored in some areas, the communications blackout that began on 4 November and restrictions on access raise significant concerns that the human rights and humanitarian situation is even more dire than feared. These reported allegations are likely only the tip of the iceberg regarding the extent and seriousness of the violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law committed by all parties to the conflict.
For instance, while the Government of Ethiopia has repeatedly alleged that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces have been involved in violations of international law, without access it remains challenging to verify these allegations.
“This underscores the need for independent human rights monitors to be given access to Tigray to adequately assess the human suffering resulting from the conflict, verify allegations and to help ensure accountability for violations,” Bachelet said.
“What has happened in Tigray over these past seven weeks is as heart-breaking as it is appalling. Despite the Ethiopian Government’s initial efforts to provide humanitarian aid in some areas, it is vital that life-saving assistance is delivered to all civilian populations in need without further delay,” the High Commissioner said.
“To avoid continued conflict and loss of life, Ethiopia should address its longstanding ethnic divides through accountability, inclusive dialogue, reconciliation and respect for human rights,” she stressed.
As the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region enters its sixth week, there is an escalating risk of a regional political and security crisis, coupled with a large-scale humanitarian emergency, that could affect nearly 2 million people.
InterAction, on behalf of its humanitarian and development Member non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to support conflict-affected communities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, calls on all conflict parties to allow safe, free, and unfettered humanitarian access into and around Tigray, as well as the full restoration of telecommunication services and electricity.
In this highly politicized context, all conflict parties must consider and treat the humanitarian response as neutral, independent, and impartial to ensure civilian populations can access the lifesaving services they are entitled to and the aid workers serving them remain safe. InterAction reminds all parties of their obligation to protect the civilian population and civilian objects during and after the conduct of hostilities by following international humanitarian, human rights, and refugee law, and to take the utmost care to ensure that humanitarian workers, facilities, and assets are not targeted or attacked.
As nearly 50,000 Ethiopian refugees have crossed into eastern Sudan, InterAction calls for all concerned parties to allow for free movement of the civilian population seeking safe refuge and assistance within the Tigray region or outside the affected areas. This includes protecting the right to cross international borders to seek asylum and upholding non-refoulment guarantees extended to Eritrean refugees in Tigray.
InterAction also calls on donors to provide new, flexible funding, particularly for frontline NGOs, to adequately scale up and sustain the humanitarian response in Tigray, the surrounding area, and in refugee-hosting communities, while simultaneously ensuring funds are not diverted from existing humanitarian or development programs in Ethiopia.
Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore
NEW YORK, 15 DECEMBER 2020 – “Some 2.3 million children in Tigray, Ethiopia, remain cut off from humanitarian assistance amid continuing violence since the beginning of November.
“We are extremely concerned that the longer access to them is delayed, the worse their situation will become as supplies of food, including ready-to-use therapeutic food for the treatment of child malnutrition, medicines, water, fuel and other essentials run low.
“Protecting these children, many of whom are refugees and internally displaced, and providing them with humanitarian aid must be a priority.
“Together with our humanitarian partners, we stand ready to provide lifesaving humanitarian support, including treatment for malnourished children, critical vaccines, emergency medicines, and water and sanitation supplies. We have already provided some supplies to a number of partners in Tigray but this is not enough. We need to be able to provide support at scale in Tigray and to have full access to determine the scale of children’s needs.
“We call for urgent, sustained, unconditional and impartial humanitarian access to all families in need wherever they are.
“We also urge authorities to allow the free movement of civilians wishing to seek safety elsewhere. This includes those requesting to cross the border to seek international protection.
“Meeting the critical needs of children and women must not be delayed any longer.”