UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week called for an end to hostilities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, including the withdrawal of Eritrean troops. The situation in Ethiopia is spiralling out of control. Violence and destruction have reached alarming levels. The social fabric is being ripped apart, said Mr Guterres. “Hostilities in the Tigray region of Ethiopia must end now, including the immediate withdrawal and disengagement of Eritrean armed forces from Ethiopia.”
“There is no military solution,” he added. The United Nations is ready to support the African Union in every possible way to end this nightmare for the Ethiopian people, he told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York. “We need the urgent resumption of talks toward an effective, lasting political settlement. The international community must rally together now for peace in Ethiopia.” Civilians are paying a horrific price.
The level of humanitarian need is staggering. Even before the resumption of hostilities, 13 million people required food and other support across Tigray, Amhara and Afar-UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
Indiscriminate attacks, including in residential areas, are killing more innocent people every day, damaging critical infrastructure and limiting access to vital services. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes since hostilities resumed in August, many of them for the second time. There are also disturbing reports of sexual violence and other acts of brutality against women, children and men, said the UN chief. He asked all parties to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law and to protect civilians and humanitarian workers. The level of humanitarian need is staggering. Even before the resumption of hostilities, 13 million people required food and other support across Tigray, Amhara and Afar. Deliveries of aid into Tigray have been suspended for more than seven weeks, and assistance to neighbouring Amhara and Afar has also been disrupted, he noted. All parties must allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for all civilians in need, he said.
Guterres pointed out that crises like Ethiopia should not be sidelined as the world’s attention is focused on the conflict in Ukraine. “We need to pay a lot of attention necessary to the crisis in Ukraine that is of global dimension. But we cannot forget crises like the Ethiopian one, where the level of suffering and the people, the number of casualties are gigantic,” he said. An armed conflict between government-allied troops and forces loyal to the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front broke out in Tigray in November 2020. Conflict resumed in August 2022 after a lull.