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Urgent Call to Address the Neglected Humanitarian Crisis in Ethiopia - National Moment of Amhara

Urgent Call to Address the Neglected Humanitarian Crisis in Ethiopia

National Moment of Amhara

1) TPLF’s Destructive War
A senseless fratricidal war has been forced upon Ethiopia by the militant group Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF). This is nothing but a warlordish conflagration ignited by the group’s intransigence to accept a post-TPLF Ethiopia after the end of its 27 years of divisive, unjust and tyrannical rule in April 2018.
Over the past three years, TPLF has made clear to the whole world its policy of either recouping the status quo ante or avenging its loss by destroying Ethiopia. It assembled and led, allied and conspired with, both internal and foreign anti-Ethiopia elements. It sponsored violence and terror, and wreaked immeasurable havoc among various groups and communities.
The National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) has attempted to disclose and counter TPLF’s belligerent and war-mongering nature at every turn. Notwithstanding this, the unprecedented tolerance of the Ethiopian people to bring TPLF to a negotiated peace failed primarily because of the latter’s obstinacy and preference to settle the course by force of arms.
TPLF’s treacherous attack on the Northern Command of the ENDF (24 October 2020), which has few historical parallels, finally provoked a protracted conflict threatening the very survival of the nation. Since then TPLF has made explicit its twin aims of war to be dismantling Ethiopia and “settling scores” with the Amhara people.
2) Role of the International Community
Ethiopia is a founding member of both the League of Nations and its successor United Nations. It has always played an active and constructive role in global and continental movements and diplomacy. Unfortunately, the international community has repeatedly failed Ethiopia on its hours of need.
It is once again saddening that the international community largely remained unenthusiastic about lasting peace and order in the region. It unabashedly avoided addressing the real cause of the problem in Ethiopia. By a rather misguided and biased support to TPLF, it licensed impunity and paid only lip service to established international norms, ideals and laws.
A. Unequivocal support to armed insurrection against a UN member state
NaMA deplores the fact that leading international actors chose to ignore the rights and aspirations of the Ethiopian state and people in favor of a rebellious and terrorist group. TPLF is not the Tigray regional state as it is deliberately misrepresented. It is an armed regional front duly categorized as terrorist by the national parliament and fighting to upset a legitimate state.
There is no viable legal and moral ground to support, encourage or be indifferent to wars of destruction by any entity. No one is yet taking issue with TPLF’s explicit vow to dismantle Ethiopia or its leaders’ genocidal wars  of revenge to “settle scores” with the Amhara people.
B. Violation of  the sovereign rights of a nation state
NaMA denounces all unwarranted and politically motivated interference on the internal affairs of Ethiopia. It is a pity to witness coordinated diplomatic and media campaign which remained skeptical about Ethiopia’s inalienable rights to defend itself from armed attack, restore peace and order, and preserve the integrity of the state.
In hand-twisting diplomacy reminiscent of the Cold War era, some powers made unacceptable advances violating the sovereign rights of Ethiopia even regarding its internal boundary arrangements. The outrageous reference of historic Amhara territories of Raya and Wolqait respectively as “southern” and “western” Tigray reveals the true mark of current diplomacy.
C. Unethical use of  humanitarian issues for political ends
NaMa is also surprised by the hypocrisy in one-eyed advocacy of human rights so far pursued by renowned aid and humanitarian organizations.
By overlooking TPLF’s deliberate expansion of the war to humanitarian corridors, its attacks on aid convoys, and continued looting and diverting of aid to fighting forces, they have encouraged impunity in using hunger as instrument of war.
The ongoing armed conflict has endangered the life, health, property and livelihood of millions of Ethiopians living in Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions.  Despite this all eyes are exclusively on the Tigray side and with complete indifference to a part of the humanitarian crisis in other regions.
3) Neglected Humanitarian Crisis
The recent offensive by TPLF and escalation and expansion of the conflict from its Tigray epicenter to neighboring Amhara and Afar regions has alarmingly increased the magnitude of the human, material and psychological costs of the war.
The death toll in the conflict zone is rising as TPLF continues to massacre POWs, hospitalized soldiers and even camped refugees. Summary execution of “blacklisted” civilians for allegedly siding with Ethiopian government and even for simply being Amharas and Afars are most common deeds by TPLF invading army.
The war is also taking toll on vulnerable communities, especially women, children, disabled and aged people who are facing serious threats. TPLF has made sexual violence part of its war strategy as widespread rape of women and underage girls in Afar and Amhara regions testifies. The forced conscription and deployment of child soldiers in the J. R. Kony style is a more flagrant but largely ignored war crime committed by TPLF.
Destabilization of hundreds of thousands of people from the conflict areas and fleeing to safer towns and areas has posed serious problems. The Afar region alone has a record of 75,000 people displaced from the four districts invaded by TPLF army. The Amhara region suffers even a greater humanitarian crisis with nearly 300,000 civilians so far displaced from Raya, Tegede, and Seqota areas.
Displaced people are not getting basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter so that hunger, disease, and social distress are intensifying. The limited infrastructure and economy of the destination areas is under immense pressure.
The summer season and attendant heavy rains complicate the matter by raising the risk of disease outbreaks among people exposed to hunger, cold, and contamination. As destabilization forced farmers to miss the planting season, tens of thousands of peasant families will be exposed to imminent famine.
TPLF is waging medieval like campaign of vandalism, looting and carrying the booty back to Tigray.  An army of scavengers follows TPLF fighters for a systematic pillage and plunder of all personal and public properties; and destruction and dismantling of all infrastructure and public amenities.
NaMa is worried that the burgeoning humanitarian crisis in the areas marauded by TPLF army has so far received little attention and even lesser aid from the international community, humanitarian groups and institutions, as well as the media.
4) NaMA’s Urgent Call
The National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) believes that peace at the point of a gun is a flimsy foundation for lasting peace vitally needed in Ethiopia and the Horn. TPLF’s destructive war to force Ethiopian government to its knee, in complete disregard to the latter’s unilateral ceasefire, is a dangerous precedent which could set the entire Horn aflame unless swiftly and genuinely addressed.
NaMA also believes that Ethiopia had enough of a hastily contrived and externally imposed “peace” of the 1991 fashion. We demand lasting peace based on the genuine desires and aspirations of the Ethiopian people and call for a redress of misconceptions and misinformation about ongoing conflict as the first step towards that goal.
We thus call the international community to maintain a balanced view towards all belligerent parties and avoid lopsided pampering of TPLF, which only helped encourage the armed group to spread terror with impunity and in complete disregard of national and international norms and laws.
NaMA firmly holds that justice must be a precondition for viable peace and strives to make TPLF accountable for its genocidal crimes on the Amhara people both now and in its 27 years of rule over Ethiopia.
We also underscore the fact that TPLF’s suicidal and destructive war is in the recalcitrant nature of the group. This is amply demonstrated by its rejection of any peace effort and continued havoc and bloodshed in the country. We thus demand the government of Ethiopia to review its unilateral ceasefire and set in place a better coordinated military and humanitarian response immediately.
Our movement applauds the fact that Ethiopian people are united against TPLF and have set in motion nation-wide mobilization to repel and bring the criminal group to justice. We also recognize that show of national unity discredits TPLF and its adherents’ propaganda effort to portray the conflict as interethnic issue between the Amhara and Tigrayan people.
NaMA calls all Ethiopians and members of the international community to marshal their efforts towards providing emergency responses to all affected areas. Urgent supplies of food, clothes, medication and other necessaries are needed. Short and long-term assistance in social, medical and psychological services should be planned and coordinated by local, national and international aid organizations.
We particularly demand Ethiopian people to take the matter in their hands and rise in the true Ethiopian tradition of benevolence, and coordinate their efforts with the government to mobilize the money, goods, materials, and volunteer services required to avert the imminent humanitarian catastrophe. We also urge international aid agencies and humanitarian organizations to extend purely humanitarian assistance as all communities and lives matter!
30 July 2021
Addis Ababa, Shoa, Ethiopia
Filed in: Current Affairs / News