In the early hours of November 4, 2020, the federal government, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, declared war on Tigray and its people for conducting its regional elections in accordance with the national constitution in defiance of the federal government which postponed the election. indefinitely under the pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alarmingly, the government has taken, as part of the war, unprecedented measures to shut down all public services, including land transport, flights, telecommunications, the Internet, banking and electricity throughout the region. Tigray, which is home to nearly seven million people. suffocate people, in fact that could be labeled the initial stage of ethnic cleansing.
The region has been stifled by restrictions on essential supplies of food, medicine, fuel and other livelihoods. Now, the war has intensified on many fronts surrounding the Tigris. Unfortunately, in violation of international law and the recent rapprochement to peace, Eritrean forces have also joined forces of the federal government in the fighting, aimed at crushing the regional state of Tigray and its people with long-term consequences.
As reported by many international media outlets, the federal government has intensified airstrikes against its own people on the outskirts of the capital, Mekelle and several other cities in the Tigray, endangering the safety and livelihoods of civilians which could lead to hunger and displaced by millions.
Surprisingly, according to the latest reports confirmed by the international community, thousands of Tigraians in Ethiopia residing outside Tigray are targeted. The ongoing mass detention of thousands of Tigraians serving in security, military, police and intelligence; the mass layoffs of civil servants in the banking, foreign affairs, aviation and other sectors, and the expropriation of Tigraians’ properties, purely for their identity, are signs of the first phase of state-led ethnic cleansing . Such irresponsible and dangerous acts can lead to extensive pogroms against tigraphs and severe humanitarian crises of unprecedented proportions in Ethiopia.
As healthcare professionals and leaders, we are extremely concerned about the safety of millions of people who are currently stranded in the war zone with no access to essential supplies. The impact of warfare on health extends far beyond the battlefield into communities’ lives, often with devastating consequences that include collapsing health care, lack of access to medicines, acute food shortages leading to hunger and a physical and mental tension health of children and adults.
The war has already affected large segments of the population affected by HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, who are now deprived of access to life-saving medicines donated by the global community. It has also affected more than 600,000 people (10 ° / o of the population) who rely on the Safety Net program, supported by the international community. It should be noted that this war is happening amid a vast invasion of locusts and the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. We strongly emphasize that if this war continues, all socio-economic and health benefits of the past three decades in the region and ultimately the country will quickly be reversed.
Therefore, a declaration of a total and massive military invasion by their own government in this context is therefore deeply concerning. Unless this madness is stopped, there will be severe consequences for the population with a sharp increase in communicable diseases and preventable childhood diseases due to lack of vaccines and hygiene, resulting in a substantial increase in maternal and neonatal mortality. Recent conflicts in other countries such as the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the collapse and aftermath of Yugoslavia and, more recently, Syria, South Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, DRC and Yemen are striking examples and strong reminders.
Therefore, the Health Group of the Global Society of Tigrai Scholars (GSTS) invites the international community to take the following actions as immediate actions:
1. Guarantee the rights of civilians to access basic health services, food and shelter
2. Make efforts for an immediate ceasefire of all forms of hostilities and initiate an inclusive national dialogue for peaceful resolution of the crisis, free movement of people and essential supplies to affected communities.
3. Ask the federal government to urgently restore basic services (electricity, telecommunications, Internet, banking, roads, flights, etc.), as well as providing medical and other supplies to people.
4. To help establish alternative humanitarian corridors through Sudan for the immediate delivery of food, emergency medical supplies and other essential resources to the millions of people in the Tigray region.
5. Enable the Red Cross and the World Food Program to immediately initiate humanitarian operations in the Tigray region.
6. Convince the federal government to release all recently arrested Tigraian service men and women; stop targeting and profiling; and return all Tigraians fired from their services due to their ethnic origin.
The Global Fund for HIV / AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM)
The Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI)
The International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRD)
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) International
United Nations World Food Program (WFP) World Health Organization (WHO)
The United Nation Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
World Vision International
The media of the United Nations Population Fund
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