The president of the regional state of Tigray, Debretsion Gebremichael, has written on April 20 an open letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, denouncing the state of the crisis in Ethiopia and its possible consequences.
According to the Tigray leader, the truce announced by the federal government in Addis Ababa has not been accompanied by the influx of humanitarian aid urgently requested by the government in Mekelle, and in the last 4 months only 67 trucks have crossed the borders, being able to satisfy only 6% of what is necessary to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population.
Gebramichael then insists again on the genocidal nature of the conflict, arguing that the continuation of the crisis accelerates “the country’s journey towards the abyss” […] “endangering the integrity of the State and threatening to tear the country apart”.
According to the President of Tigray, the paralysis of the electricity system and the communications network prevent from providing a true and accurate picture of the conditions of the crisis and the difficulties of Tigrayan society, while the blockade of bank transactions has prevented the diaspora communities to help their families.
The blocking of supplies of seeds and fertilizers, moreover, has prevented local farmers from being able to meet the food needs required in the context of the already serious crisis, further aggravating the suffering of the population and the risk of more serious consequences.
Unresolved problems remain, Gebremichael adds in his letter to Guterres, the occupation of western Tigray by Amhara forces as well as the presence of Eritrean troops within the borders with Ethiopia, while there is a proliferation of local community conflicts that risk further widening the front of crisis within the country.
In this context, Gebremichael continued, “the blockade of Tigray, the intentional obstruction of humanitarian operations, the denial of humanitarian access to civilians and the suspension of vital services, have one overriding objective: to use the hunger and suffering of civilians as an instrument of war, a war crime under international law as well as a moral obscenity that no human being should endure or bear. In short, it is an assault on humanity”.
The letter to the UN Secretary General then goes on to argue how the Tigray government cannot and will not continue to tolerate this situation, calling on Guterres not to make the mistake of considering the current dimension of the crisis sustainable. If the international community should not guarantee stable and viable humanitarian channels for the supply of basic necessities for the civilian population, concluded the president of TPLF, Tigray will be forced to resort to other means to break the devastating blockade” that affects it.
Debretsion Gebremichael’s letter to Antonio Guterres, in short, dangerously raises the possibility of a new escalation in the Ethiopian crisis, putting the issue of effective control of the ceasefire and the management of humanitarian aid at the center of the agenda of the international community.