By Alula Nuguse
After five months of humanitarian crimes in the region of Tigray, the United States has decided to intervene. The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, demands change in Tigray, calling for the military’s exit in Ethiopia’s northern region. "The challenge in Ethiopia is very significant. And it's one that we're very, very focused on, particularly the situation in Tigray where we are seeing very credible reports of human rights abuses and atrocities that are ongoing," Blinken said during a foreign affairs committee.
The situation in Tigray has been described as an “ethnic cleansing” by the Secretary of State. Protestors and the Tigrayan people call it a genocide. Between the various US government officials, the protestors and the United Nations, this issue is gaining international recognition fast. The UN Human Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet, commented on this issue on March 4. “Deeply distressing reports of sexual and gender-based violence, extrajudicial killings, widespread destruction and looting of public and private property by all parties continue to be shared with us, as well as reports of continued fighting in central Tigray in particular,” Bachelet said. Even the media, both local and international journalists have been detained (since released) for attempting to report on these atrocities in the Tigray region.
Ethiopian officials have allegedly threatened these members of the media, for possibly “misleading international media.” “Victims and witnesses of human rights violations and abuses must not be hindered from sharing their testimony,” Bachelet said. “Credible information also continues to emerge about serious violations of international human rights law and humanitarian laws by all parties to the conflict in Tigray in November l a s t y e a r .” On March 11, the White House called for an independent investigation of the human rights abuses in Tigray.
The White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, said in a conference with reporters on Thursday that President Biden is “deeply concerned, highly engaged” on this issue. “We need to get an independent investigation into what took place there, and we need some kind of process, a reconciliation process so that the country can move forward,” Blinken said. The United States now is more motivated than even to get involved in this issue.
There have been protests across the country in cities such as Washington D.C., New York, Seattle and many others. The voices have been heard by the government, and violating international human rights law is something the US seems to be taking very seriously. The measures the United States has taken are a step in the right direction but may have come too late. The damage done in the Tigray region is devastating to say the very least.
With over 100 documented cases of rape, an unnumbered amount of murders and senseless beatings shown on social media, it will be difficult for this region to build back its foundation. The US investigation will be taking place in the coming weeks, with international allies in the UN offering their aid as well. The violation of international law has gotten the attention of the United States, and intervention is inevitable.