October Quarterly Update 2021
The conflict in Ethiopia continues into its 11th month now extending to the neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions with both sides showing no signs of ceding ground. Whereas the genesis and responsibility for escalation of the conflict may be debatable, there is no question on the debilitating impact of this conflict on civilians. The conflict has caused immense suffering amongst civilians in the region and the situation described as dire with more than 5.2 million people across Tigray (more than 90 per cent of the region’s population) requiring lifesaving assistance, including nearly 400,000 people already facing famine-like conditions. Reports of rape being used as a weapon of war by both the government and militia forces show uglier developments. Efforts by the African Union, the EU, the US, the UN and others have been made to seek a solution to the crisis. While it seems like PM Abiy has remained impervious to external pressure, it would appear that his call for a unilateral ceasefire in June 2021 may have been in response to this pressure.
In early August, urged by partners, Crisis Action convened a global partner call with over 30 participants and a follow up call with about 15 partners from the Africa region. There was consensus on both calls that there is need for more African voices speaking up and that the African Union should be doing more in response to the crisis. To respond, Crisis Action is helping support a dream team of partners – Atrocities Watch Africa, the Pan African Lawyers Union, Haki Africa, Africans Rising and the African Leadership Centre – to coordinate a campaign that amplifies African voices to urge the African Union to step up its response to the crisis in Ethiopia with a view to increasing the pressure on both the government and opposition forces to desist from their current lethal approach.