by Sunny Robinson
Concerned people in the U.S. should be gravely concerned about the humanitarian disaster and the wide spread hunger and starvation in Tigray Province, Ethiopia. In the strongest possible terms and with the greatest sense of urgency, the U.S. should use its voice to bring the conflict in all of Ethiopia, and especially Tigray, to an end.
The severe lack of access to food, combined with the destruction of property, killings of large numbers of civilians and the use of sexual violence, including rape as a weapon of war all heighten my concern & sense of urgency.
The United States should work through all available channels to seek
- an immediate cessation of hostilities by all parties;
- the withdrawal of Eritrean forces from all areas of Ethiopia;
- unfettered access into all of Tigray province for humanitarian assistance-food, medicine &medical care;
- open access for international media to Tigray & all refugee camps in northern Ethiopia;
- a thorough UN investigation with an internationally public report of its finding; & conducted by an independent & international group of investigators; &
- the beginnings of on-going negotiations between all parties which are involved to bring the situation to a peaceful resolution as quickly as possible.
Many people in our local area are gravely concerned about their families in these affected areas. We can be grateful that the U.S. does not appear to be militarily involved in this situation, and it should remain so regardless of the severity of the situation. The U.S. should evaluate what assistance it provides Ethiopia and assure that this does not include military assistance, weapons, or military training, none of which would be useful to resolving the situation or enhancing the U.S.’s interests. The U.S. should not assist Ethiopia in any new manner or in securing new development loans until this situation has been resolved.
Food stores have been destroyed, and therefore food assistance is urgently needed to the entire Tigray area. The time of spring planting for the agriculturally based Tigrayan people is rapidly approaching. We need to speak as forcefully as possible to bring these hostilities to an end.
– Sunny Robinson is a retired public health nurse and decades-long human rights activist who lived in Ethiopia in the 1960s and has kept in touch with the region ever since. She is an active member of Mass. Peace Action’s Latin America and Caribbean Working Group.