Official correspondence, Ref. No. UFEFCF 02/22

Date: 29/03/2022

Press Statement by the United Front of Ethiopian Federalist and Con-Federalist Forces

(UFEFCF): On the Continued Denial of Humanitarian Access To a Besieged Tigray.

On March 24, 2022, the Ethiopian government issued a statement proclaiming its readiness to facilitate the free flow of emergency humanitarian aid into Tigray. Since the announcement, however, no aid convoys have been able to transit into Tigray. The besieged people of Tigray have been denied access to food, medicine, banking, education, telecommunications, and other essential services since the start of the genocidal war on Tigray began in November 2020.

While immense, the suffering in Ethiopia is not limited to Tigray as the people in Oromia, Kemant, Benishangul-Gumuz, and Agaw are denied access to necessities while being mercilessly attacked by Ethiopian National Defense Forces and their allied forces. In Tigray and beyond, the Ethiopian government has closely aligned itself with Amhara and Afar regional forces, as well Eritrea’s despotic dictator, to decimate Tigray and its people.

The war on Tigray is nearing its seventeenth month and is widely recognized as the world’s deadliest conflict and worst humanitarian crisis. It is estimated that 500,000 Tigrayans have died due to the genocidal war, and millions require immediate life-saving intervention.

Horrific crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes against international law have been committed by invading forces in Tigray. Ethnic cleansing, extrajudicial killings, forced internment based on ethnicity, weaponized rape, a man-made famine, and the deliberate looting and destruction of critical infrastructure, personal property, and cultural and religious sites, and other heinous acts have been committed by the invading forces on the people of Tigray. These brutal acts are coupled with the intentional targeting of ethnic Tigrayans throughout Ethiopia.

Since the democratically elected Tigray Government resumed its duties and the Tigray Army successfully removed Ethiopian and Eritrean invading forces from a majority of the region in June 2021, the Ethiopian government has retaliated by enacting a harsh de facto blockade, essentially placing the region under a complete siege by blocking all access to and from Tigray. The siege was imposed to ensure the total decimation of Tigray and her people.

The unabated siege on Tigray continues despite the false declarations by the Ethiopian government that an indefinite humanitarian truce is effective immediately. We urge the international community to cautiously view the government’s promises, as their statements haven’t always resulted in positive, tangible changes on the ground in Tigray. Instead, what is being witnessed are hundreds of Ethiopian troops being deployed near the border of Tigray, United Front of Ethiopian Federalist and Confederalist Forces and high-ranking military officials have been shuttling between Addis Ababa and Asmara to coordinate joint operations with plans to reinvade Tigray.

It is to be recalled that the Ethiopian National Defense Force’s Deputy Chief of Staff General Abebaw Tadesse, as well as the Amhara and Afar regional leaders, have publicly stated their intentions renewed invasion of Tigray. The international community and donor organizations should be wary of prematurely believing the Ethiopian government, as the humanitarian needs of the vulnerable millions in Tigray have not been reached.

It is highly likely, and in line with the track record of the Abiy Ahmed led government, that this proclamation of a humanitarian truce was declared to ease the mounting international pressure. The international community must take concrete actions to ensure that unfettered humanitarian aid enters Tigray and that a renewed offensive on Tigray does not take place, while also supporting a permanent negotiated ceasefire to be followed by an all-inclusive political dialogue to bring an end to the political crisis in Ethiopia.

We are deeply concerned and extremely worried about the lives perishing in Tigray and throughout Ethiopia due to the inhumane and reckless actions of the Ethiopian government and its vindictive Eritrean, Afar and Amhara regional forces. While we note it is a positive development that the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed S3199 and the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee has passed HR6600, and are grateful for the leadership shown, we strongly urge the United States Congress to pass both bills to facilitate peace, stability and accountability in Ethiopia. The international community must take decisive action to end the humanitarian suffering in Tigray and throughout Ethiopia’s regions and zones.

Finally, we call upon all nations and nationalities in Ethiopia to stand by the Tigray thereby denouncing government’s criminality instead of sending their children to fight own citizens in Tigray, Oromia, Agaw, BenshangulGumuz, Afar, Kemant and elsewhere. We also urge the entire stakeholders in Ethiopia to stand united to defend nations’ rights to self-determination under genuinely federated and voluntarily united Ethiopia.

Issued by the UFEFCF on March 29, 2022