Aklog Birara (Dr)
Part 10 of 14
It has been clear to me since TPLF colluded with Ethiopia’s foreign adversaries and initiated its treasonous war in November 2020 that the European Union (EU), the US and UN Specialized institutions such as the Human Rights Council as well as the UN Security Council will be unrepentant in showing favoritism by dominating the international narrative and by exercising unabashed dominance concerning the causes, pains, and possible outcomes of the war in Ethiopia.
Behind this unrepentant one sidedness and flawed Western position on Ethiopia and Eritrea is deliberate Western pressure on Ethiopia and the rest of Africa to choose between the potentially explosive struggle between the USA/EU on the one hand; and China, Russia, and the rest on the other. Sadly, the UN system is unable to play its neutral and impartial role.
It is my contention in this commentary that the UN Human Rights Council dominated by the West has become a misnomer. Its name no longer represents truth, impartiality and or justice. Eurocentric to its core, the Council’s pronouncements are heavily politicized and pro-West. This is true regarding its repeated claims, assessments and conclusions concerning human rights violations, atrocities and socioeconomic destruction caused by the TPLF. The Council singles out the victims, namely, Eritrea and Ethiopia as victimizers. It never refers to TPLF atrocities in Mai-Kadra in November 2020 and Mai-Kadra like atrocities perpetrated by TPLF since then.
The UN Human Rights Council took advantage of this year’s UN Annual General Assembly deliberations in New York. In a seamlessly synchronized parade of fake news and propaganda blitz, the Council lodged formal complaints from Geneva against Ethiopia. On September 22, 2022, the Council quoted so-called International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia that “Ethiopia’s people are once again “mired…in the intractable and deadly consequences” of conflict between Government troops and forces loyal to Tigrayan separatist fighters, who are all responsible for war crimes.”
It is true Ethiopians are “mired” in a death trap. It is equally true human atrocities are caused by the TPLF that initiated its third people’s war on August 24, 2022. Neither the “Experts” nor the Council identified the primacy causes of continued atrocities let alone condemn the culprit and its foreign backers. “The Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia told the Human Rights Council that it found reasonable grounds to believe that the parties to the conflict had committed serious violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law.”
I believe both the Council and the Commission of Human Rights Experts that includes a prominent African on Ethiopia that the Council charged to conduct violations failed to conduct due diligence. For example, they did not acknowledge the fact that the government of Ethiopia had declared a unilateral ceasefire while the TPLF had failed to do so. The “five -month ceasefire” had offered ample opportunity for TPLF to reciprocate. Instead, TPLF amassed more fighters, including child soldiers, received more lethal weapons from foreign sources, diverted foods and fuels from humanitarian agencies like the World Food Program. In effect, declarations and pronouncements by the UN system emboldened the TPLF and made it more reckless.
Western monopoly on truth
There is a plethora of material evidence for the Council to hold TPLF accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity and economic crimes. It chose not to revert to truth for geopolitical, strategic, and political reasons. The reader must ask “What is the motive behind treating the terrorist and treasonous TPLF at par with the government of Ethiopia?”
The Council and its Commission of HR Experts on Ethiopia failed regarding the impartiality test too. Let me give the Council and its experts the benefit of the doubt that both believe in the core principle that each person’s life matters in Ethiopia, and further believe that a “Rwanda-like scenario is unfolding and must be prevented.” If true, why fail to recognize the following facts perpetrated by the TPLF and its backers:
- Recruitment and deployment of child soldiers by TPLF is a crime for which it must be held accountable. It also demonstrates TPLF does not believe in peace or stability.
- Capturing and diverting humanitarian aid including food is a crime for which TPLF must be held accountable. Humanitarian aid agencies have an obligation to recognize the TPLF and not the government of Ethiopia has weaponized starvation in Tigray.
- Expanding the war to the Afar and Amhara regions as well as to Eritrea caused and still causes instability, human atrocities, and economic destructions by TPLF for which it must be held accountable. A conflict-ridden Ethiopia destabilizes the entire Horn and TPLF is the culprit.
- Sealing off Tigray from independent international public scrutiny and forcing Tigrean mothers to deliver their children to TPLF’s asinine war killing machine with the consent of the EU, USA, and the UN system is a core part of war crimes that the Council and Experts are unwilling to consider.
It is patently false and immoral for the Council and its well-paid HR Experts on Ethiopia to claim that non-Tigrean Ethiopians: Fano, Amhara and Afar Special Forces, Ethiopia’s National Defense Forces as well as Eritreans have targeted or are targeting Tigreans and are committing genocide. The Federal Government of Ethiopia is not deploying child soldiers. TPLF is. Thousands of child soldiers are dying. Communities treat those who surrender more humanely than the Council and the Experts are willing to admit. The Experts reported to the Council “Extrajudicial killings, rape, sexual violence, and starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare.” There is no independent and credible evidence to support this allegation.
The Experts took the TPLF unfounded narrative of the use of drones and the dropping of explosives on the civilian population in Tigray and declared these as facts. UN-appointed HR Expert leader Kaari Betty Murungi says “Our investigation indicates that their use (drones) has exposed civilians to new and heightened risks…We have received reports of drone strikes in Tigray in the last four weeks, which have allegedly killed and injured civilians, including children.”
Ethiopia is fighting for its very existence. It is legitimate for Ethiopia to use drones in defense of the country’s sovereign rights and to protect its territorial integrity with utmost caution concerning civilians.
To give credence and balance to her allegations, Ms. Murungi insisted that they (Tigrean forces) had also likely committed serious human rights abuses that amount to war crimes: large-scale killings of Amhara civilians, rape and sexual violence, and widespread looting and destruction of civilian property in Kobo and Chenna in August and September 2021.”
I agree with Ms. Murungi that “During their searches of homes in Kobo, for example, Tigrayan forces looked for weapons and pulled many men from their homes, executing them, often in front of their families.” They raped girls and women in front of their spouses and families.
However, the Experts failed short by not documenting and or reporting the scale of TPLF rapes, slaughters of innocent Afar and Amhara, thefts, lootings, and the immense destructions of social and economic infrastructure in successive wars conducted by the TPLF that will take billions of dollars in investments and decades to rehabilitate and reconstruct. Their report is deliberately partial and partisan.
The Council places greater burden on the Federal Government of Ethiopia. Experts including Ms. Murungi weighed in by declaring the Federal Government and its allies “looted and destroyed goods indispensable for the survival of the civilian population in Tigray, killing livestock, destroying food stores, and razing crops while also implementing severe restrictions on humanitarian access to Tigray.” These well documented atrocities by Ethiopian sources were in fact committed by the TPLF and not by Ethiopian Federal and allied forces. The most compelling evidence is that the Federal Government of Ethiopia declared a unilateral ceasefire and gave peace a chance. Why did the UN system fail to demand reciprocity?
The Experts flipped the accusation and placed unjustified and unwarranted blame on Ethiopian Defense and allied forces. They failed to recognize an internationally recognized and accepted mandate that Ethiopian and allied forces have a Constitutional obligation to defend the safety and human security of Tigreans, Amhara, Afar and other Ethiopians from the mayhem inflicted on them by TPLF. How come principles that apply in Europe do not apply in Africa.
You cannot restore basic human services like “electricity, internet, telecommunications and banking” when you are cognizant that TPLF destroys them and blames it on the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Experts and the Council know well that TPLF destroys social and physical facilities (hospitals, schools, bridges, roads, electric grids etc.) and blames it on Ethiopian and Eritrean forces repeatedly. TPLF diverts international humanitarian food and medical supplies and weaponizes the gaps deliberately and repeatedly without a modicum of challenge from the UN system. It accuses the Federal Government of Ethiopia that it is starving Tigreans and forcing TPLF to surrender without due diligence. Quoting TPLF and its diehard supporters is hardly due diligence. “We also have reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government is committing the war crime of using starvation as a method of warfare.” I wonder why the Experts dd not interview the thousands of Tigreans who either surrendered or captured. hosted and treated most humanely by Afar and Amhara communities.
- It astonishes me that Ethiopia is not fighting solely a terrorist group. It is also fighting a biased, partisan, and politicized UN system.
- It astonishes me because Ethiopia is a founding member of the UN and hosts the African Union. Yet, the Council treats Ethiopia like a pariah.
- It astonishes me that Ethiopia contributes its share in the fight against terrorism, but the UN system does not give it support in its fight against the terrorist TPLF.
- It astonishes me that the Eurocentric and Western dominated UN system of which the Council is a core part criticizes one of the most ancient countries on this planet for defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity while giving a differential treatment to Ukraine.
- It astonishes me that the UN Human Rights Council and its Commission of HR Experts on Ethiopia can get away with “unfair and biased” reporting at a time when the General Assembly of the United Nations is in session. It is hardly coincidental that the Experts submitted this pro-terrorist TPLF report with intent that the entire world would buy into it.
To say the report by the UN Human Rights Council based on its high-powered Commission of HR Experts on Ethiopia is “unfair and biased scrutiny” is an understatement. The conclusions absolve the TPLF. Its lead conclusion is to hold Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders and officials accountable for a war they never initiated and for crimes they did not commit.
I am not saying there has not been collateral damage, including deaths of innocent civilians: Tigreans, Afar, Amhara and Eritrean. We are talking about a civil war. But placing the burden of war crime, crime against humanity and crime of genocide on the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea is patently partisan, unfair, unjust, and arrogant. For me, the international governance system is breaking apart. The pronouncement on Ethiopia and Eritrea shows Eurocentric bias and Western hegemony concerning a Black African state.
My conclusion is this is a form of proxy war on the diplomatic front that Ethiopia must deal with.
I urge Ethiopians in Europe to demonstrate against the UN Human Rights Council.
September 23, 2022