Tag: <span>Tigray</span>

World Hunger Appeals

 U.N. Security Council Focus On World Hunger.

Featured Image: Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash.

On 23 May, the United Nations Security Council will hold a special briefing to address the issue of food insecurity under the chairmanship of Mr Alain Berset, President of the Swiss Confederation. During May, the rotating chairmanship is held by Switzerland led by the Swiss Ambassador to the United Nations, New York  Ms Pascale Baereswyl.  The meeting will have as background a 3 May 2023 report of the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) concerning early warning on areas facing acute food insecurity.

Some 250 million persons are living in this situation of acute food insecurity.

The report highlights that some 250 million persons are living in this situation of acute food insecurity with the Democratic Republic of Congo leading the list with some 27 million persons due to armed violence and the breakdown of governmental structures.  The Congo is followed by Ethiopia, largely due to fighting in the Tigray area.  The war in Ukraine is also having a negative impact limiting production and export of food goods -a principal export of Ukraine.  In addition to armed conflict, there is the growing impact of the consequences of climate change.

European Union, African Union and United Nations system.

    Today, cooperation on food insecurity is needed among the U.N. family of agencies, national governments, non-governmental organizations, and the millions of food producers to respond to this food crisis.  These measures will have to be taken in a wholistic way with actions going from the local level of the individual farmer, the national level with new governmental policies, to measures at the multi-State regional level such as the European Union and the African Union, and at the world level with better coordinated action through the United Nations system.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano escorts H.E. Mr. Alain Berset, President of the Swiss Confederation, during his departure at the Vienna International Centre. Vienna, Austria, 8 January 2018. By IAEA Imagebank, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Additional funding for the U.N. World Food Programme and the release of national food stocks.

    There is a need for swift, short-term meaures to help people now suffering from lack of food and malnutrition due to high food prices, inadequate distribution, and situations of violence.  Such short-tem action requires additional funding for the U.N. World Food Programme and the release of national food stocks.  However, it is on the longer-range and structural issues on which we must focus our attention.

The Association of World Citizens has taken a lead in the promotion of a coordinated world food policy with an emphasis on the small-scale farmer and a new awareness that humans are part of Nature with a special duty to care and respect  for the Earth’s inter-related life-support system.  As Stringfellow Barr wrote in Citizens of the World (1952):

“Since the hungry in the world community believe that we can all eat if we set our common house in order, they believe also that it is unjust that some some die because it is too much trouble to arrange for them to live.”

    Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash.

Stringfellow Barr. Joining the Human Race.

A central theme which Citizens of the World have long stressed is that there needs to be a world food policy and that such a world food policy is more than the sum of national food security programs.  John Boyd Orr, the first Director General of the FAO proposed a World Food Board to stabilize food prices and supplies.  He resigned as Director General when the food board proposal was not accepted and then devoted much of his energy to the ,world citizen movement.

   For World Citizens, the emphasis must be placed on creating a world food policy which draws upon improving local self-reliance while not creating nationalistic policies which harm neighbours.  Food is a key aspect of deep structural issues in the world society and thus must be seen in a wholeistic framework.  The briefing and debate of the U.N. Security Council may give us strong elements  on which to promote a world food policy.

Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels.   

John Boyd Orr: A World Citizen’s Focus on Food.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Environment Appeals

Protecting the Environment in Time of War.

November 6 is set by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution (A/RES/56/4) as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.
Throughout history; in armed conflicts water wells have been poisoned, crops set on fire, forests cut down, and animals killed to gain military advantage.  Today, many armed conflicts have been linked to the exploitation of natural resources such as timber, diamonds, and fertile land and water.
 

     The Association of World Citizens has stressed that protection of the environment needs to be an important part of conflict prevention. 

 
The resource base that people depend upon for their livelihood needs to be safeguarded.
Most recently; the Association of World Citizens has highlighted the deliberate destruction of food-related resources in the armed conflict between the Ethiopean federal forces and the opposition movements in Tigray.
 
Tigray
 
Image: Ethiopian national defense force 2nd Lt. Aweke Demesse talks with his troops on where to station their perimeter watches during Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa’s “Train the Trainer” course. By right, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Tigray: After the Calm, A Possible Storm.

 

The restoration of the agricultural infrastructure will be a lengthy process.

 
     Since 4 November 2020; fighting has gone on in Tigray with the deliberate destruction of crops and agricultural infrastructures.  U.N.-led humanitarian food relief was prevented from entering the area. Fortunately; at the start of November 2022; a ceasefire and a peace agreement facilitated by the African Union was signed in South Africa; where the negotiations had been held.
 
The African Union has designated a team of 10 persons to follow up the process.  However; the restoration of the agricultural infrastructure will be a lengthy process.  It is not sure that all the factions involved will agree to the creasefire.  The situation merits a close watch.
 

Efforts  of protection need to be permanent. 

 
     There are currently other conflicts linked to natural resources such as those in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The International Day must serve as a reminder; but efforts  of protection need to be permanent.
The Association of World Citizens will continue its efforts.
 
 
  René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.
 
Democratic Republic of Congo

Photo by Kaysha on Unsplash.

Democratic Republic of Congo — Need for Reconciliation Bridge-Builders.

Credits:

Image Featured: Photo by Thomas Richter on Unsplash.

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Tigray Appeals

Tigray: After the Calm, A Possible Storm.

Featured Image: Ethiopian national defense force 2nd Lt. Aweke Demesse talks with his troops on where to station their perimeter watches during Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa’s “Train the Trainer” course. By right, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

On August 26, 2022, there was the bombing by Ethiopian federal troops of a primary school in Mekelle—the capital city of the Tigray province, which had a population of about 500,000 before the fighting began. It is not clear if the attack brings to an end some five months of relative calm in the war-torn Tigray or not.

There was a non-negotiated ceasefire but no negotiations between representatives of the federal government and the Tigray Province. Many of the former officials of the Tigray Province have fled to other countries. Thus, it is not clear who is in a position to negotiate for the Tigray factions were negotiations to be undertaken.

Ethiopia is a federal republic structured on the basis of 10 provinces. Each province is named after the major ethnic group within the province. However, no province is populated exclusively by one ethnic group. Through history and economic development people have moved to areas beyond their original “homeland”.

Elections for the parliament of Tigray.

People from a “foreign” ethnic group can be made to feel as “second class citizens”, and there may be violence used against them in times of tensions.

Prior to 2018 when the current federal government led by Abiy Ahmed came to power, the Tigray People’s Liberation-led government played an important role in national politics for three decades.

Tensions between the federal government and the Tigray authorities came to a head in September 2020 when elections for the parliament of Tigray were held against the wishes of the federal government who wanted all elections postponed due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Thus, the central government said that the elections were “illegal”. The Tigray authorities replied by saying that they were claiming independence and wanted to leave the Ethiopian federation, a possibility, depending on one’s interpretation of the Ethiopian constitution.

Federal troops started moving into Tigray. The fighting in Tigray became more complex each day as Ethiopian Defence Forces, Eritrean Defence Forces and ethnic militias fought Tigrayan forces. There was a build-up of Sudanese government forces on the Ethiopian-Sudan border, where some 50,000 refugees have fled into Sudan.

Abiy Ahmed

Abiy Ahmed in 2018. By Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia, PDM-owner, via Wikimedia Commons.

A first appeal for a ceasefire and negotiations in good faith.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has spoken out of the human rights violations involving mass killings, rapes, and abduction of civilians when presenting a report to the Human Rights Council on November 3, 2021. However, she stressed the difficulties of collecting information and the impossibility to visit certain areas where massive violations were said to have taken place.

There are few signs of a willingness to deal with the deep consequences of the armed conflict, especially the consequences on food supplies. The Association of World Citizens, knowing the fragile nature of the confederation of provinces which make up the Ethiopian State had made a first appeal for a ceasefire and negotiations in good faith in November 2020 shortly after the fighting had started.

Appeals have also been made by United Nations and the African Union officials. Strong measures for conflict resolution are needed if a new storm of fighting is to be avoided. [IDN-InDepthNews – 31 August 2022]

Michelle BacheletMichelle Bachelet Jeria, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, former President of Chile. By UNCTAD, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

By René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Note:

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. You are free to share, remix, tweak and build upon it non-commercially. Please give due credit.

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Ethiopia Appeals

Ethiopia: The Cry of the Imburi.

Featured Image by Steve Evans from Citizen of the World, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Rene Wadlow.

The Imburi are spirits that are said to inhabit the forests of Gabon in Equatorial Africa;  and who cry out for those who can hear them at times of impending violence or danger.  The Imburi have been crying out over the increasing dangers of the conflict in Ethiopia which began on 3 November 2020. However during the past year, the conflict has spread to other parts of Ethiopia and has impacted neighboring countries.

The fighting in Tigray becomes more complex each day as Ethiopian Defense Forces, Eritrean Defense Forces and ethnic militias face Tigrayan forces.  There is a build up of Sudanese government forces on the Ethiopian-Sudan border where refugees flee into Sudan.  The whole Horn of Africa, already fragile, is in danger of greater destabilization.

Ethiopia

You might be interested in reading: Urgent Appeal for Ceasefire in Ethiopia Armed Conflict.

For the moment, all efforts for mediation proposed by the United Nations, by the African Union or individual states such as the U.S.A. have been refused by the Ethiopian central government.  Many of the former officials of the Tigray Province have fled to other countries.  Thus it is not clear who is in a position to negotiate for the Tigray factions were negotiations to be undertaken.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has sent representatives to Ethiopia to collect information on human rights violations related to the conflict in Tigray.  With great difficulty some information on massive human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law has been collected.  The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet  has spoken out on these violations involving mass killings, rapes, and the abduction of civilians when presenting the report on 3 November 2021 in Geneva. 

Michelle Bachelet

 Official Portrait of Mrs. President of the Republic Michelle Bachelet Jeria, Period 2014-2018. By Gobierno de Chile, CC BY 3.0 CL <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/cl/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons.

However she stressed the difficulties of collecting information and the impossibility to visit certain areas where massive violations were said to have taken place.  Amnesty International has also tried to collect information by telephone since its representatives were not allowed to enter the country.

On 2 November 2021, a state of emergency covering all of Ethiopia was declared by the federal government.  Arrests of Tigrayans  living in the capital Addis-Abeba followed.  Travel within the country is limited and heavily controlled by the police and the military. There is talk of a wide-spread roundup of Tigrayans living in Adddis-Abeba and other large cities and placing them in camps.  There is an increase in local self-defense groups as fear grips the country.

Tigray

You might be interested in reading: Ethiopia’s Tigray, a New Biafra?.

There are few signs of compromise or a willingness to deal with the deep consequences of the armed conflict.  There might be some possibilities for non-governmental, Track II type efforts to see where some progress might be made.  The Association of World Citizens, knowing the fragile nature of the confederation of provinces which make up the Ethiopian State had made a first appeal for a ceasefire and negotiations in good faith shortly after fighting had started in early November 2020. 

However,  for the moment, possibilities for mediation either by governments or NGOs have not been acted upon. A situation which needs to be follow carefully.

Ethiopia

You might be interested in reading: Negotiation Appeals for to end The Armed Conflict in Ethiopia.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Ethiopia Appeals

Urgent Appeal for Ceasefire in Ethiopia Armed Conflict.

Featured Image: Church, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Photo by Mesfin Tesfaye on Unsplash.
The Association of World Citizens (AWC) reiterates its urgent Appeal for an immediate ceasefire and the start of negotiations in good faith in the Tigray conflict which has spread to other areas of Ethiopia and is impacting neighboring countries.
 
   When in November 2020, Ethiopian  federal troops entered Tigray Province, the Association of World Citizens, knowing the fragile nature of the Ethiopian  federation foresaw the dangers and called for a ceasefire and the start of negotiations. Ethiopia is a federal republic structured on the basis of 10 provinces. The provinces have the name of the major ethnic group within the province. 
 
Tigray
Administrative Zones of Tigray. By USAID, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Second Class Citizens.

 
However, no province is populated exclusively by one ethnic group.  Through history and economic development people have moved to areas beyond their original “homeland”.  People from a “foreign” ethnic group can be made to feel as “second class citizens”, and there may be violence used against them in times of acute tension or  violence.
 
   The Association of World Citizens has been concerned to detect the roots and dynamics of intra-state conflicts and to propose appropriate structures of government, often based on con-federalism, decentralization, and trans-frontier cooperation. Unfortunately in the nearly one year of armed conflict no such negotiations on the structures of the Ethiopian Federation have taken place.
 

The Armed Conflict.

 
   The AWC has also stressed the need for effective mediation to establish good communications between conflicting parties.  Today, many intra-state conflicts are secession-related.  Many states are the result of past conquests involving diverse ethnic groups. Thus, there is ample potential for lines of fracture especially when there are leaders who can use identity issues coupled with a sense of injustice as a base for mobilization.  Thus far all offers of mediation have been refused.
 
   The armed conflict has led to the destruction of the largely rural economy of Tigray. There are United Nations estimates that some 400,000 persons are in famine conditions.  Many persons are displaced, and there are refugee flows to neighboring countries.  Recently, U.N. humanitarian staff have been expelled from Ethiopia.  It is difficult to measure the extent of human needs, but they are great.
 
   Only dialogue can resolve the core issues of the structure of the Ethiopian state. Thus the Association of World Citizens reiterates its Appeal for an immediate ceasefire and the start of negotiations in good faith, helped if requested by international mediators.

USAID workers aiding displaced people from Tigray (15 March 2021). By USAID, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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The Armed Conflict in Ethiopia Appeals-Français

Appels de Négociations pour mettre fin au Conflit Armé…

Image en vedette : Drapeau national de l’Éthiopie. Photo par Kelly Lacy dans Pexels.
 

The Association of World Citizens (AWC) réitère maintenant son Appel aux parties au conflit armé en Éthiopie pour qu’elles négocient de bonne foi pour mettre fin aux combats et faire face aux conséquences profondes du conflit ; surtout la faim généralisée.

Mark Lowcock; le Secrétaire général adjoint des Nations Unies aux affaires humanitaires; a averti que près de cinq millions des six millions d’habitants de la province du Tigré avaient besoin d’une aide alimentaire; et le nombre augmente à mesure que les combats s’étendent à d’autres régions.

Peu de temps après le début des combats, le 3 novembre 2020 ; l’Association des Citoyens du Monde, connaissant la fragilité de la confédération des provinces qui composent l’Etat éthiopien ; avait fait un premier Appel à la négociation de bonne foi ; même si les informations sur les combats étaient très limitées. Les journalistes ont été empêchés de se rendre au Tigré comme la plupart des ONG humanitaires.

Mark Lowcock
Mark Lowcock, Secrétaire général adjoint des Nations Unies aux affaires humanitaires et Coordonnateur des secours d’urgence, prend la parole lors de la Conférence de sauvegarde à Londres. 18/10/2018. Par DFID – UK Department for International Development, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Les Combats au Tigré se complexifient chaque jour.

Cependant d’ici février; suffisamment d’informations avaient été recueillies auprès de sources réfugiées, qu’Amnesty International a présenté un premier rapport sur l’étendue des violations des droits humains, avec de multiples rapports crédibles et largement corroborés sur des atrocités généralisées impliquant des massacres, des viols et des enlèvements de civils.

Les combats au Tigré deviennent chaque jour plus complexes alors que les forces de défense éthiopiennes, les forces de défense érythréennes et les milices ethniques affrontent les forces tigréennes. Il y a une accumulation de forces gouvernementales soudanaises à la frontière éthiopienne-soudanaise et les réfugiés fuient vers le Soudan. L’ensemble de la Corne de l’Afrique, déjà fragile, risque d’être davantage déstabilisé.

Pour le moment, tous les efforts de médiation proposés par les Nations unies ou l’Union africaine ont été refusés par le gouvernement central éthiopien. Les anciens responsables de la province du Tigré ont fui, et on ne sait pas qui est en mesure de négocier pour les factions du Tigré si des négociations devaient être entreprises. Il peut y avoir des possibilités d’initiatives non gouvernementales.

D’où la réitération de l’Appel Des Citoyens du Monde de L’Association.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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The Armed Conflict in Ethiopia Appeals

Negotiation Appeals for to end The Armed Conflict in…

Featured Image: National Ethiopia Flag. Photo by Kelly Lacy in Pexels.
 
The Association of World Citizens (AWC) now reiterates its Appeal to the parties in the armed conflict in Ethiopia for negotiations in good faith to end the fighting,  and to deal with the deep consequences of the conflict; especially the wide-spread hunger.
 
Mark Lowcock; the United Nations Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; has warned that nearly five million of the six million population of the Tigray Province needed food assistance;  and the number grows as fighting spreads to other regions.
 
   Shortly after fighting began on 3 November 2020; the Association of World Citizens, knowing the fragile nature of the confederation of provinces which make up the Ethiopian state;  had made a first Appeal for negotiations in good faith;  although information on the fighting was very limited.  Journalists were prevented from going to Tigray as were most humanitarian NGOs.
 
Mark Lowcock
Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator speaks at the Safeguarding Conference in London. 18/10/2018. By DFID – UK Department for International Development, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Fighting in Tigray becomes more complex each day.

 
However by February; enough information  had been  gathered from refugee sources, that Amnesty International presented a first report on the extent of human rights violations, with multiple credible and widely corraborated reports of widespread atrocities involving mass killings, rapes and the abduction of civilians.
 
   The fighting in Tigray becomes more complex each day as Ethiopian Defense Forces, Eritrean Defense Forces and ethnic militias face Tigrayan forces.  There is a buildup of Sudanese government forces on the Ethiopian-Sudan border and refugees flee into Sudan.  The whole Horn of Africa already fragile is in danger of greater destabilization.
 
   For the moment all efforts for mediation proposed by the United Nations or the African Union have been refused by the Ethiopian central government. The former officials of Tigray Province have fled, and it is not clear who is in a position to negotiate for the Tigray factions were negotiations to be undertaken. There may be possibilities for non-governmental initiatives.
 
 
 
Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Tigray Appeals

Ethiopia’s Tigray, a New Biafra?.

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash.

By Rene Wadlow.

On 4 March 2021; at the United Nations, Mark Lowcock; the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; warned that a campaign of destruction is taking place in Ethiopia’s Tigray  Provence; saying that nearly five million of the six million population of the Provence, needed food assistance.  For the first time; a high U.N. official highlighted the role of the Eritrean Defense Forces fighting along side of the Ethiopian central government’s forces were committing crimes of war.  He indicated that as the Tigray fighting enters its fourth month;

there are “multiple credible and widely corroborated reports from Tigray of widespread atrocities, involving mass killings, rapes, and the abductions of civilians.”

The fighting in Tigray began at the time of the harvest of agricultural production. Much of the harvest has been destroyed as well as farm markets.  Thus; there is wide-spread hunger.  The question which;  we must ask is if famine is a consequence of the fighting;  or a deliberate policy to starve the Tigray resistance – starvation as an arm of war.  The famine situation in Tigray today brings to mind the Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967-1970.

The International Committee of the Red Cross.

During the Biafra war; I was a member of a working group of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva.  The armed conflict was the first in Africa; in which only an African State was involved; no colonial party used to the European laws of war. The International Committee of the Red Cross faced a new socio-cultural context; in which to try for the respect of humanitarian law.

We find many of the same elements in the lead up to the fighting in Tigray: a change in power in the central government;  an effort of the new administration to centralize the administration; demands for autonomy or independence based on ethnic criteria; a flow of refugees toward other provinces of the country; the influence of neighboring or other States in the conflict. The Nigeria-Biafra war dragged on for 30 months; and at least one million lives were taken.

Blocking food aid to Biafra became a deliberate policy. Starvation became not a consequence of war; but an arm of war.  The policy of starvation is remembered and still colors politics in Nigeria. (1)

 

To Uphold Human Dignity.

The fighting in Tigray becomes more complex by the day as Ethiopian Defense Forces, Eritrean Defense Forces, ethnic militias from the Amhara region face Tigrayan forces. There is a buildup of Sudanese government forces on the Ethiopian-Sudan border; and there are growing ethnic conflicts; in the Benishangul-Gumuz region; as Tigrans flee into Sudan.  Reporting on the war is very limited.  Communications are deliberately cut; and journalists unwelcome and under heavy government pressure.  Starvation as a government war policy is denied. One would not expect otherwise.

However; we know little of the military planning of the central Ethiopian government. For the moment; all efforts for mediation proposed by the United Nations or the Organization of African Unity have been refused by the Ethiopian central government; and the former officials of the Tigray province have fled.  For the moment; we on the outside can only watch.

We need to do more to uphold human dignity.

 

Note.

1) See: Ifi Amadiume and Abdullah An-Na’im (Eds)  The Politics of Memory: Truth, Healing and Social Justice; (London: Zed Books, 2000, 207 pp.)

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.