OPINION: It is time for us to challenge the Ethiopian Government



Senait Ambaw, right, who said her home had been destroyed by artillery, leaves by foot on a path near the village of Chenna Teklehaymanot, in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia, on Sept. 9, 2021. (AP Photo)

Opinions expressed in the Op/Ed section of The Knight Crier are not necessarily reflective of the views of the entire staff of the KC.

This is a follow-up article to a story from earlier this year. To read this article, click the following link.

The Hidden Refugee Crisis in Ethiopia

Two weeks ago, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken alerted the world with an announcement declaring that Ethiopia is on a “path of destruction,” with an impact that could devastate eastern Africa and has the potential to spill into the continent as a whole. In his message, he asked the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ali, to stop troops from pursuing more battle, urging him to assume responsibility and “end the violence.”

On November 27th, these sentiments were shared again by Blinken, only more urgent.

Yet on November 30th, Abiy told his army “Our remaining task is to rout the enemy and destroy them.” He has been with the army and leading efforts on the battlefront. He has also asked the Tigrayan Rebels to surrender, saying “[the] Tigrayan youth are falling like leaves. They should know that they have been defeated.” (Reuters)

As a world leader, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, these comments are egregious and insensitive. To be driven by fighting instead of peace is unacceptable in situations like this. The Tigray region is facing a humanitarian crisis because of this fighting, and yet even after proclaiming victory, Abiy continues to push a militant agenda. His comments will only continue to worsen the ever-escalating battles with the Tigray Rebels.

Some may come to the defense of Abiy, stating that this issue is one that stems from both sides of the fighting. While this has validity, it is not the full truth. Ethiopia has received military aid from allies, like Eritrea. Whether it be military or humanitarian, the entire Tigray region is not getting any sort of aid.

“The government of Ethiopia has created de-facto blockades, making communications, banking, and other vital services needed for aid efforts almost non-existent,” the US Agency for International Development said during a November 4th statement released by their Office of Press Relations.

In September, the UN reported that 90% of innocent civilians, or roughly 5.2 million people, are in need of humanitarian aid. From October 18th until Mid-November, trucks with aid were stopped from entering the region. A recent group of 40 trucks is attempting to deliver aid, but it is unknown if they have reached the region. Despite this, the UN stated that this crisis is so urgent that 100 trucks are needed daily to start aiding those in need. As far as it is known, though, the de-facto blockade continues.

Along with this, Ethiopia expelled seven senior UN officials from the country in October. This was after the UN’s aid chief shared concerns of famine in the Tigray region. These officials were from the UN’s Children Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). This order is one of the most serious and threatening expulsions of senior UN officials since the UN’s inception.

Innocent Tigrayans have seen empty promises and oppressive tactics employed on them for over a year now. The time to act now, and luckily, action has begun.

A starting point happened before right the anniversary. During a special briefing, US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman said that “the United States and others cannot continue ‘business as usual’ relations with the government of Ethiopia.” These actions have since been put into place.

Senior Biden administration officials said that Ethiopia will lose access to their current trading program in January if no solutions are put into place to solve human rights violations. During a message to Congress, President Joe Biden also announced that Ethiopia’s acts are not in accordance with the African Growth and Opprotunity Act (AGOA) regulations. Because Ethiopia is not within the set requirements, Ethiopia may lose eligibility on January 1st. The AGOA grants Ethiopia duty-free access to the US market for thousands of products, meaning trade barriers are avoided and limited.

These steps forward are the steps we need to continue taking. The situation is worsening during each update that is reported. There are still ways for you to help the situation if you have the ability.

I Stand With Tigray

The I Stand With Tigray funds go directly to the Tigray Development Association in North America (TDANA), which was established in 1989 in Washington DC as a non-profit organization to support the development efforts in Tigray.

Healing Hands of Joy

Healing Hands of Joy helps support women in Ethiopia who are facing devasting injuries due to war-related issues and pregnancy.

Lola Children’s Home Emergency Project Fundraising

Lola Children’s Home is raising funds to support women and children who are displaced due to the ongoing war in Tigray. They are focused on necessities such as food, water, clothing, and healthcare.