Civil war in Ethiopia: “On the verge of a humanitarian disaster”

Status: 01/14/2022 5:04 p.m.

The UN reports that more than 100 people have been killed in airstrikes in Tigray since the start of the year. Millions of people depend on food aid but do not get it.

Critics of the Ethiopian government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed come from many quarters. The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, accuses the central government of deliberately wanting to deprive people of the northern Tigray region of food and medicine with a blockade. The conditions there are “hell”.

“We are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe,” recognizes Michael Dunford, director of the World Food Program (WFP). Due to intense fighting, WFP has not been able to deliver anything to Tigray since December. 9.4 million people there and in neighboring areas are in urgent need of food aid.

Hit civilian targets

Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reports at least 108 dead and 75 injured in airstrikes in Tigray. They were reportedly carried out by the central government air force. A school, a bus, a refugee camp and other civilian targets were also hit.

According to the human rights commissioner, 17 people were killed in a drone attack on a mill on Monday alone. The UN has called for respect for the principles of international humanitarian law and, in particular, for the protection of civilians. Violations could be construed as war crimes.

Millions on the run

Since November 2020, armed clashes have taken place between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The Ethiopian army (ENDF), various regional militias and the army of neighboring Eritrea are on the side of Prime Minister Abiy. In particular, the Oromia Liberation Army (OLA) fights alongside the TPLF and its military wing (TDF).

Both parties to the conflict are accused of serious crimes. The fighting has long since spread to other regions. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions have fled.

Nobel Prize Committee: “Special Responsibility”

In the meantime, even the Nobel Prize committee has reached out to Abiy, although, as the committee itself writes, it is not its role “to assess the attitudes of a Nobel laureate. peace after receiving the award”. Abiy received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 after making peace with Eritrea after decades of conflict.

Now the Nobel Prize committee is warning that Abiy has a special responsibility to contribute to peace in Tigray. It is unacceptable that there is not enough humanitarian aid.

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