Open Letter to International Institutions from Advocacy for Citizen Liberty and Equality Organization
November 13, 2020
Human Rights Watch
United Nations Human Rights Commission
The George Soros Open Society Foundation
The International Committee of the Red Cross
International Federation for Human Rights
Human Rights Foundation
Human Rights Without Frontiers International
The Advocates for Human Rights
We, the members of Advocacy for Citizen Liberty and Equality Organization, a legally registered a civil society organization in Ethiopia, urgently bring to your attention the state-sponsored assault on the Tigrayan people by the Government of Ethiopia.
Since 2015, Ethiopia’s political elites have been promoting a narrative that, despite all evidence to the contrary, scapegoat members of the Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) for all problems associated with Ethiopia’s failing state. This narrative has been widely and blatantly promoted through speeches, documentary films and state-sponsored media reports. The result of this demonization through hate speech has been an astonishing increase in the number of Tigrayans killed, injured, arrested, imprisoned and intimidated on the basis of their ethnicity.
The Government of Ethiopia, much like the Government of Rwanda preceding the 1994 genocide where nearly one million Tutsi (and Hutu moderates) were slaughtered over a period of several months, are using the institutions of the state to transform the fear and hate generated by this narrative into violence against the people of Tigray.
By targeting the leadership of the TPLF, the Government of Ethiopia is impugning the people of Tigray and creating an atmosphere of tolerance for acts of violence and other forms of intimidation against Tigrayans.
The examples of the Government of Ethiopia’s flagrant and unrestrained hostility towards the leadership of the TPLF are numerous. We cite several examples here:
§ The murder of General Tseare Mekonnen, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and retired General Gezai Tefera (former members of the TPLF);
§ The arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of Major General Kinfe Dagnew, former Director General of the military’s Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC) as well as the former deputy CEOs of the Corporation, Tena Kurundi (Brigadier General), Berhe W. Michael (Colonel), Mulu W. Gebriael (Colonel) and Tekeste H. Mariam (Colonel)
§ The arrest warrants for Abay Tsehaye, fomer Director General of the Wonjit Sugar Factory, former head of the Information Network and Security Agency (INSA), Maj. Gen. Tekleberhan Woldearegay, and former head of the National Intelligence and Security Services Getachew Assefa; President of Meles Academy,Tedros Hagos, Getachew Ambaye (who was head of the Federal Prosecutor), and Deputy Director of Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Colonel Tazer Gebregziabhier;
§ The arbitrary dismissals of hundreds of civil servants in the government from the Tigray region.
The objective of the murders, arrests and imprisonments is to justify the hate speech and false narrative of oppression and corruption that targets the leadership of the TPLF. By doing so, the Government of Ethiopia is lawlessly singling out the TPLF leadership and creating the same conditions that led up to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
The silence of the international community is deafening. Where is the international human rights community when the current Government of Ethiopia continues to target a group based on its ethnicity with violence and state-sponsored acts of retribution? Why is there a double standard in applying internationally recognized human rights norms to this government?
The Ethiopian Prime Minister has been praised by these very organizations for releasing prisoners in the country convicted of planning and executing terrorist acts against the Ethiopian people. The Ethiopian Prime Minister has been awarded a Nobel Prize for making peace with Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki, specifically called out in a United Nations report for “crimes against humanity.”
We call upon the international human rights community to carry out its obligations to the people of Tigray, to the people of Ethiopia and to its global constituency to fairly apply standards of human rights compliance to the Government of Ethiopia. To do anything less is to be complicit in a potentially horrific turn of events that results in another genocide.
We ask that you remember the people of Rwanda and respond to the people of Tigray.
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