Washington Update – by Mesfin Mekonen
September 30, 2022
While the world is focused on the tragedy in Ukraine, Ethiopia is falling further into chaos. The most recent tragedy occurred over the last week in the Umuru district of Horo Guduru zone in the Oromo region, where over 200 civilians have been massacred. Ethiopian independent media reports that the forces aligned with the Ethiopian government participated in the killings.
The atrocity occurred at a time when United Nations officials were visiting Ethiopia to investigate human rights abuses. The officials restricted their activities to the Tigray region, disregarding promises they have made to investigate extensive human rights abuses against Amhara people in the south of Ethiopia, including killings, attacks and involuntary displacement. The Abiy government’s failure to prevent or respond to the loss of life and destruction of property is criminal. Wounded and displaced people are not receiving assistance. They are in desperate need of food, shelter and protection. Unless urgent action is taken, the humanitarian disaster could spiral out of control, just as it has in places like Rwanda and Syria when the international community turned away rather than confront obvious injustice.
The government lead by Abiy has failed to stop violence, including bank robberies committed by the Shanne/Oromo Liberation Front, the abduction of University students, the killing of innocent Amhara and Gurages people by extremists, burnings Christian Orthodox churches and the destruction of proprieties in Shashemne and other Ethiopia regions. Abiy has also failed to prevent the TPLF from conducting chaos, distruction of properties, committred atrocities on innocent civilians in the Northern Ethiopia.
Just as it is impossible to envision peace in Ukraine as long as Putin is in power, the Abiy government has demonstrated that it is both unwilling and incapable of bringing peace to Ethiopia. War is not the answer and continued war will only lead to more death and suffering. The only way to prevent greater catastrophe and avoid tragedy, the Ethiopian government and international community must support the creation of a transitional government that includes members of the peaceful opposition, civic and religious leaders. The transitional government must preside over the revision of the constitution, the formation of a new military representing the 13 provinces and region of Ethiopia, and the formation of a committee for peace and reconciliation. All of these steps must be directed toward the goal of holding new free and fair elections in Ethiopia within a year.
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