Current Situation in Ethiopia
Current Situation in Ethiopia
Concerned citizens of Ethiopian origin and Residents
c/o Dr Ati Ferede
Minister S. Coveney, TD
Department of Foreign Affairs
St Stephen’s Green
Re: Insecurity in Ethiopia
December 10, 2020
Dear Minister Coveney,
We, citizens and residents of Ireland OF Ethiopian origin and Ethiopians studying/working in Ireland, write to draw your attention regarding the realities and background of the military operation in Ethiopia. As a strong supporter of Ethiopia, we would like to see Ireland and the Irish people stand by the Ethiopian people who strongly support the government's effort to bring the Tigray People Liberation Front’s (TPLF)-top leadership to justice for the innumerable sufferings they have brought to our country. The government of Ethiopia has a mandate and an obligation to maintain law and order in its territory and protect the safety of its citizens.
Below, we cite examples from the many inappropriate acts of the TPLF leaders vis-à-vis the Federal state before the latter was compelled into operation to restore law and order in the region:
● Ethiopia was forced to postpone the planned 6th general election due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the House of the Federation voted to extend the work-terms of federal and regional lawmakers and the executive branch of the government for about 12 months. However, on September 9, 2020 Tigray regional state (one of the 10 regional states in Ethiopia), led by the TPLF went ahead and held its regional election in violation of Article 9(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and in contempt of the authority of the House of the Federation.
● In an unprecedented act of defiance, the leaders of the Tigray state declared that the Federal Government is illegal and called themselves a “de facto state”. In a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Federal Government and exacerbate tensions, they overruled Federal laws, directives, and regulations. In the face of these provocations, the Ethiopian Government ruled out the use of force to resolve the political stand-off and the hostile attitude of disgruntled leaders of the region, opting instead for mediation and reconciliation, which were repeatedly rebuffed by the TPLF leadership.
● TPLF's undermining of the federal government was co-temporaneous with conflicts in various parts of the country in which civilians and prominent Ethiopians were killed and property and livelihoods were subjected to destruction. In all likelihood, and as a number of arrests of perpetrators have revealed, TPLF was the driving force behind all of the violence either as a sponsor or a perpetrator.
● The worst of this happened on the night of November 4, 2020, when the TPLF attacked the Northern Command of Ethiopia’s National Defence Forces (ENDF), and in the process capturing heavy weaponry and strategic military resources. They killed and maimed a large number of soldiers who were protecting Tigray and Ethiopia for the last 20 years and took almost seven thousand soldiers and senior army officers hostage. In response, the Ethiopian Government issued a command to bring those behind this act to justice and to defend and uphold the constitutional order by launching a law enforcement operation in the region. The government was obliged to undertake this act under the constitution, as would any self-respecting nation when confronted by an armed and organized rebellious force attempting to take an entire country hostage.
● On the night of November 9, 2020, more than 600 civilians, largely of Amhara ethnicity, were massacred in Mai Kadra, in a repeat of similar killings elsewhere in Ethiopia in the past several years. The killings happened before federal troops reached the town, and eye-witness accounts are coming forth. See here Amnesty's statement on the killing of innocent civilians:https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/11/ethiopia-investigation-reveals-evidence-that-scores-of-civilians-were-killed-in-massacre-in-tigray-state/ See also an independent investigation by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vS-0N8xCDZDRAM5lzBAELTVjqfKLrzJha8xpKdqh1OE/mobilebasic .
Therefore, any form of support for the TPLF is tantamount to condoning and even encouraging such acts. To request ‘dialogue’ with the TPLF at this point is unproductive since this group has used terror and violence as an ingredient in its ‘politics’. There has been talk of humanitarian disaster ‘caused by federal army’s action’, about ‘massive refugee streams’. Of course, and unfortunately, there are always internally displaced people and refugees as a result of any conflict. However, the alarmist predictions of massive displacement and disaster play too much into the narrative of the TPLF, who want the world to believe that they ‘did nothing wrong’ and that ‘all is the fault of the federal government’.
The law enforcement operation has had the popular support of Ethiopians across the country including many of those in Tigray and it now is practically concluded. It has been carried out with utmost care and attention to protect civilians in areas covered by the operation. The much-feared expansion of the conflict to the region has not happened in part because of the restraint of Eritrea, despite repeated provocations. Also, the concern that there would be a bloodbath when the Federal army entered the capital of Tigray regional state, Mekele, was unfounded and was avoided thanks in large part to the efforts of the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF). At the moment, the government is working to restore public services, repair civilian infrastructure destroyed by the TPLF and also facilitate the return of displaced citizens to their homes.
We believe the peace and stability of Ethiopia, with an estimated 110 million people and a strategic ally of the EU and Ireland, is of paramount importance for the region and also the European Union. Therefore, we kindly request the Irish government:
To recognise the mandate of the Ethiopian Government to maintain constitutional order and territorial integrity of the country, support its law enforcement operation in the region of Tigray to bring to justice those responsible for massacring innocent civilians;
To continue its structural support to the government of Ethiopia in its development and re-construction efforts; and
To call up on the EU’s humanitarian aid entities and the UNHCR to continue to provide assistance to the efforts of the Ethiopian government in rehabilitating refugees and internally displaced people.
Dr Ati Ferede
On behalf of Concerned citizens of Ethiopian origin and Residents
(Signatures of supporters of the letter attached)
Ceann Comhairle, Sean O’Fearghail, Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Mr Eshetu Dessie Hordofa, Ambassador of Ethiopia to Ireland, 93 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2
European Parliament Liaison Office in Ireland, 12-14 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2