Ethiopia: “Western chancelleries have some responsibility for the abuses committed by the regime”

Tribune. After a year of fighting in Ethiopia, the responsibility of the Ethiopian government in engaging the entire country in civil war is more evident than ever. On October 11, two years to the day after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and a week after his inauguration by the “elected” Parliament in June, Abiy Ahmed launched a new offensive by bombing Makalé, the regional capital of Tigray.

After having repeatedly called for a return to the status quo ante of the conflict to undertake peace negotiations and lift the blockade aimed at starving 6 million Tigrayans, the Tigrayan forces, allied with other federalist movements, relaunched the attacks. The regular federal army is routed.

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Faced with the increasingly concealable threat of a capture of the capital, the Prime Minister proclaims, on November 2, the state of emergency, uncovering without restraint an ethnically targeted hatred. The regime designates the Tigrayan civilian populations as enemies of the nation and calls on others to arm themselves. Through his speeches, he reduces political mobilization, whether consented or not, to warlike enlistment, often under duress. For a few days, these measures aroused the indignation of international public opinion who discovered that Abiy Ahmed was a warlord with genocidal speeches. Quickly, the world resumed its indifferent march and reasons of state won.


By considering the Ethiopian regime as their essential partner and by rapturing over the promises of a transformed Ethiopia, then by considering that the fall of Abiy would only lead to the worst, the western chancelleries in their great majority did not knew nor wanted to see the involvement of the regime in this conflict. By refusing to listen to the warnings of civil society, by obtusely relaying government communication, or by advocating mediation without considering the entire spectrum of political forces, they have a share of responsibility in the atrocities committed by the regime.

Deceived by the legitimacy of a supposedly elected government, they have been slow to take the full measure of the violence perpetrated by the Ethiopian state towards its populations and particularly towards its people of Tigray. The consequences of this blind trust are terrible. The regime is now launching the civilian populations into all-out war.

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It behooves us to question ourselves about the shared responsibilities of this conflict. Such a task cannot be carried out by the only “depoliticizing” tools of international law which equalize the position of the belligerents and advocate above-ground justice. The conflict must be understood in its multiple dynamics: social, territorial and political. While people are dying in Tigray, Amhara, Afar and the far fronts of Oromia, they do not all die in the same way, nor for the same reasons.

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Ethiopia: “Western chancelleries have some responsibility for the abuses committed by the regime”

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