Egypt expects IMF approval of loan package next week    The godfather of CIB Egypt bank, Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, returns as chairman – Al Arabiya    Hyde Park Developments showcases projects in east and west Cairo, North Coast at Cityscape Egypt exhibition    Misr Italia eyes EGP 7.5bn in sales during 2022    MNHD intends to deliver 1,500 units by year-end    K-pop creates mutual understanding between South Korea, Egypt: Korean Cultural Center    K-pop creates mutual understanding between South Korea, Egypt: Korean Cultural Center    Over 300 French companies urge gov't action on energy price crisis    Putin signs decree on partial mobilization in Russia    Three things to learn from Prince Harry about trauma and family    Three things to learn from Prince Harry about trauma and family    Three things to learn from Prince Harry about trauma and family    Angola's newly elected President appoints new Cabinet    Shoukry participates in ministerial meeting of Group of Friends of Global Development Initiative    Egypt's FM meets with his US counterpart on side-lines of UN General Assembly meetings    Korean Cultural Centre organises closing ceremony for traditional Korean music course at Academy of Arts    Egypt's gold reserves hike to $7,078bn in November –    Irrigation Minister stresses importance of scientific research in water sector    MV Logos Hope floating library to arrive in Egypt in January 2023    Self-care matters – 36% of professional gamers in MENA, Turkiye, Africa worry about mental health condition    Amazon unveils blueprint to boost workplace inclusivity for people with disabilities in Egypt    Dior showcases 2023 fall men's collection at Egypt's pyramids    Egypt holds its first championship in American dominoes    Egypt holds its first championship in American dominoes    Byline: Pressing save on the metaverse – the future of tangible experiences    Brazil-Argentina replay called off    US aquarium saves 150 sea turtles from cold    Tech giant Apple 'expresses interest' in acquiring Manchester United – report    Egypt operates solar-powered cars at 2 archaeological sites in Luxor    Egypt launches 200 Years of Continuing Science tourism campaign    QNB Group names TikToker Khaby Lame official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 brand ambassador    Three possible scenarios as Egypt's central bank governor resigns – MP    Adele is living a love story, wants to be a homemaker    In Photos: Egypt swears in 13 new ministers after major Cabinet reshuffle    Egypt's parliament approves Cabinet reshuffle in extraordinary session    Spain: prosecutor seeks 8 years sentence for Shakira over tax evasion    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

The Tigray question
Published in Ahram Online on 15 - 06 - 2021

A global, pro-rights movement is increasingly questioning how Abiy Ahmed earned a Nobel Peace Prize amid alleged war crimes by Ethiopian troops in the separatist Tigray region.
Ironically, some of the voices hail from Norway. The Guardian opinion piece published on 7 June, entitled "The Nobel committee should resign over the atrocities in Tigray", by Kjetil Tronvoll, a professor of peace and conflict studies at Oslo's Bjørknes University College who regularly tweets about Ethiopia, was widely shared on social media.
"The war on Tigray in Ethiopia has been going on for months. Thousands of people have been killed and wounded, women and girls have been raped by military forces, and more than 2 million citizens have been forced out of their homes. Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Abiy Ahmed stated that a nation on its way to 'prosperity' would experience a few 'rough patches' that would create 'blisters'. This is how he rationalised what is alleged to be a genocide.
"Nobel committee members have individual responsibility for awarding the 2019 peace prize to Abiy Ahmed, accused of waging the war in Tigray. The members should thus collectively resign their honourable positions at the Nobel committee in protest and defiance."
The committee gave Ahmed the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 on multiple grounds, including signing a peace agreement with Eritrea's President Isais Afwerki in September 2018 to end a border dispute.
However, contrary to the reputation you would expect, Ahmed admitted last March that "reports indicate that atrocities have been committed in Tigray region". He vowed that soldiers who raped women or committed other crimes would be held responsible, avoiding holding himself or his government accountable.
He also confirmed that Eritrean military troops "crossed the border and were operating in Ethiopia", an acknowledgement that Addis Ababa had refused to make for a few months. "Any damage [Eritrean forces] did to our people is unacceptable," Ahmed said.
In May, Gilles Carbonnier – vice president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – described conditions in Tigray as a "very worrying situation" to Al-Ahram Weekly. He added that the ICRC provided a "direct response" to 72,000 Tigrayan refugees in Sudan, working to restore family links and allow people to connect with their families. "We are also engaging with parties to the conflict, underlining the basic rules that should be respected in armed conflicts and trying to persuade them to protect civilians from the impact of hostilities and respond to their needs," Carbonnier added.
The UN children's agency announced earlier this month that more than 6,000 children, whether unaccompanied or separated, need protection and help. UNICEF underlined that humanitarian workers cannot easily provide healthcare, food and other supplies since the war erupted in November 2020.
The United Nations estimated that more than 350,000 Tigrayans are facing famine, while two million more are approaching the worst conditions they have had in a decade. It compared the situation to that of Somalia. Local officials, farmers and aid workers in Tigray, where six million people live, accuse the Ethiopian forces of preventing civilian access to food aid. Sometimes they steal it, officials revealed.
On 13 June, Pope Francis urged that all food aid and healthcare assistance should "be guaranteed" for the hungry Tigrayans. At a Sunday noon blessing, he said the people in Tigray have been "struck by a grave humanitarian crisis that has exposed the poorest to famine. Today there is famine! There is hunger!"
Almost a week earlier, a number of world leaders sent a letter to Ahmed to demand an end to the war. "We recall the powerful words of your Nobel Prize acceptance speech two years ago. As you so forcefully said, there are those 'who have never seen war, but glorify and romanticise it. They have not seen the fear. They have not seen the fatigue. They have not seen the destruction or heartbreak, nor have they felt the mournful emptiness of war after the carnage,'" they said.
Some of those who signed this letter were also Nobel peace laureates such as Jose Ramos-Hortam, Timor-Leste's ex-premier and president. Others were members of the Nobel Peace Committee itself, such as Emeritus Bishop of Oslo Gunnar Stålsett. The list also included ex-UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, Finland's former president Tarja Halonen and veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi.
The war in Tigray started in November 2020 between Ethiopian army troops and the separatist People's Liberation Front (TPLF). The latter created its own electoral commission and held separate regional polls in response to the decision by Ahmed to postpone nationwide elections due to Covid-19.
The premier believed that the TPLF "crossed the line", while parliament declared that Tigray's government was illegal. Ahmed's troops have used ground and aerial means in their war on Tigray. Tens of thousands of refugees fled to Sudan afterwards.
The situation reached a stage in which the United States imposed sanctions on Ethiopia and Eritrea in May. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that Washington has "repeatedly voiced our grave concerns about human rights violations and abuses in the Tigray region of Ethiopia."
Arguing that US adiministrations – especially Democratic ones – have been "historically pro-Ethiopian", Amani Al-Taweel, an Africa expert at the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, told the Weekly that this counts as a "change in US-Ethiopian relations."
*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 June, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Clic here to read the story from its source.