The UN experts raised serious concerns about Eritrean refugee women and children being at particular risk of trafficking for sexual exploitation, following abductions and displacement.
GENEVA, Switzerland, October 3, 2022 – Women and girls in the Tigray, Afar and Amhar are increasingly vulnerable to abduction and trafficking for sexual exploitation as they flee the conflict in Northern Ethiopia, UN experts* warned today.
The protracted armed conflict in the Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia have heightened risks of trafficking for sexual exploitation as a form of sexual violence in conflict, the experts said.
“We are alarmed by reports of refugee and internally displaced women and girls in the Tigray, Afar, and Amhara regions being abducted while attempting to move to safer places,” they said. “We are concerned at the risks of trafficking, in particular for purposes of sexual exploitation, including sexual slavery.”
The UN experts raised serious concerns about Eritrean refugee women and children being at particular risk of trafficking for sexual exploitation, following abductions and displacement. “Urgent action is needed to prevent trafficking, especially for purposes of sexual exploitation, and to ensure assistance and protection of all victims, without discrimination on grounds of race or ethnicity, nationality, disability, age or gender,” the experts said.
They warned that children were at particular risk of trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation especially in the Tigray region, where hundreds of children have been separated from their families. “The continuing lack of humanitarian access to the region is a major concern,” the experts said, urging immediate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent all forms of trafficking of children and to ensure protection for all children.
Sufficient measures were not being taken to identify victims of trafficking, ensure protection and assistance and support their recovery in ways that fully takes account of the extreme trauma suffered, they said. “The failure to provide accountability for these serious human rights violations and grave crimes creates a climate of impunity, allows trafficking in persons to persist and perpetrators to go free,” the UN experts said.
They urged all relevant stakeholders to ensure that victims of trafficking can adequately access medical assistance, including sexual and reproductive health care services and psychological support.
The experts have been engaging with the Governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
“We do not have a war plan and there will be no war. Thinking that the Eritrean government will invite Ethiopian government – let us attack Ethiopia (Tigray) together – is a sin. How on earth will they ask us, let us attack your people? Ok. Let us leave them (Eritrea), how on earth we Ethiopian government will invite Eritrean government let us attack Ethiopia? Not possible. This has never happened in Ethiopian history and it will never happen” – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali (28.07.2020).
Surprise, surprise, but the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy was lying about something. This was months ahead of the “Law Enforcement Operation” in Tigray region. The Tripartite Alliance was prepared on several fronts ahead of it. First the Tripartite Alliance acted like it was shocked by an supposed attack on the Northern Command. However, the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF), Amhara Regional Special Force, Amhara Para-Military Group “Fano” and Eritrean Defence Force (EDF) was all prepared and ready to invade. Therefore, the attack has been used as a pawn, but mechanical divisions, regional special forces and ENDF/EDF was all ready to go in before that.
When Abiy was speaking like this he was still trying to convene he was a man of peace and hadn’t made a war-pact with Eritrea. That’s how it seems now after the soon years of warfare on Tigray. It isn’t long to a two year mark on the conflict there.
Abiy has spoken of avoiding war and need for dialogue. However, he has in the same regard never really invested or tried to hold talks. He has appointed someone and made a commission, but it’s not like it’s trying to do it. Neither is the African Union (AU) mediation going anywhere. The Ministry of Peace is more invested in the war and supporting the war-effort than anything. So, we know where the important parts of policies are going. Not like the Prosperity Party or Abiy wants peace. He just wants to destroy the ones who didn’t bow down to him and let him reign without questions. The ones who has questioned him or a threatening him has either spent time behind bars or is legal trouble.
That’s why you know these words from July 2020 is compelling now. When the 40 day offensive on Tigray region. As the army and allies has had offensives against the Oromo Liberation Front/Army in Oromia. When the army has attacked other regions and shown force, which it so commonly does. Journalists silenced, media houses attacked and whatnot. The government only accept their messaging and everyone is supposed to follow that one. There isn’t a space for dissent or questions about it.
That’s why Abiy wanted to act like Afewerki and the Eritrean army wasn’t involved. When everyone has seen and heard how Asmara has been complicit in it. That’s why the EDF has violated and crossed Rubicon several of times, but on the will of Abiy. He wanted them there to boost his chances and settle the grievances with Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
However, the brief “Law Enforcement Operation” has become a prolonged and expensive war. The ENDF and EDF has lost huge parts of their troops on the battlefield. They have been touched and haven’t been the conquers or the one to overcome the Tigray Defence Force (TDF). Seemingly it is a humiliating and humbling experience for Abiy. He should have been crowned and won already, but that hasn’t happened.
It is just unique to read these words from an interview in July 2020. Knowing what has happened since. The massacres, the war-torn region and how the FDRE have blocked Tigray region from the rest of the world. They wanted to hurt it, destroy it and silence it for generations to come. That’s what Asamra and Addis Ababa wanted all along. This is why he had to lie about the involvement and inclusion of Eritrea as an ally in the war. They are now in it together and their whole future is bound by it too. Peace.