The UN calls on all parties in the Ethiopian conflict to de-escalate

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2 November 2021

As the conflict in Ethiopia intensifies, causing a humanitarian crisis, the UN calls for an immediate cease-fire

In the first week of November, the conflict in Ethiopia has intensified. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its allies have been advancing towards the capital city, Addis Abeba. The international community is extremely worried that new clashes so close to this regionally important metropolis could compromise the stability of the Horn of Africa. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres called for all parties in the conflict to cease the hostilities. Guterres also asks for ‘an inclusive national dialogue’ to end the one-year-long civil war, which has had terrible humanitarian consequences. 

The UN reports that since the beginning of the conflict around 100,000 people have been internally displaced, while 45,449 people have fled from the Tigray region into Sudan. On 3 November 2021, Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), also expressed her concern as the Ethiopian Prime Minister declared a state of emergency, which provides the government with extremely broad powers of arrest and detention that might further destabilize the situation in Ethiopia. At present, the humanitarian situation is already deteriorating in Tigray’s neighbouring regions of Amhara and Afar, which are also involved in the conflict. Furthermore, as aid agencies are prevented from accessing many towns and villages and food and medical supplies are lacking, the life of many people is in danger.

Despite Guterres and Bachelet’s calls to de-escalate and to enter peace negotiations, the parties to the conflict do not seem inclined to this option. On November 6, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed invited Ethiopians to ‘be ready to make sacrifices to save the country from rebel forces.’ On the other hand, the TPLF formed a coalition – the United Front – with other nine rebel groups, including the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). The aim of the United Front is to remove Abiy’s government either by force or negotiations. As at present peace negotiations seem unlikely, the risk of further escalation is concrete. If so, the impact on civilians, who already face famine and basic human rights violations, might be devastating.


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Author:Lorena Bisignano; Editor: Alexander Collin

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