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.
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.