The ongoing war in Ethiopia could equal Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in, 15 African civil society organisations have warned.
In a May 18 letter to the UN Security Council, the groups urged the United Nations to immediately put the conflict on its agenda.
They accuse the UN Security Council of failing to formally address the situation in Ethiopia.
Great human suffering was caused by the war in Ethiopia that began in November 2020 between forces of the government of Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
An estimated half a million people have died, 4.2 million have been displaced and nine million are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Besides war crimes and crimes against humanity on both sides of the conflict, words such as “cancer” and “devil” that are used to refer to human beings cast as opponents reflect what preceded the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi.
In Rwanda, the then Hutu-led government referred to the Tutsi population as “cockroaches”, giving the impression that they were parasites that needed to be exterminated.
“Twenty-eight years ago, the Security Council similarly failed to recognise the warning signs of genocide in Rwanda or act to stop it,” said the letter that was spearheaded by Hala Al Karib, a women’s rights activist in the Horn of Africa and Sudan region, and Corlett Letlojane, executive director of the Human Rights Institute of South Africa.
“The United Nations had the means to intervene, but simply did not care enough about Rwanda to intervene appropriately. We are concerned that the situation is repeating itself in Ethiopia today. We call on you to learn the lessons from Rwanda and act now.”
“This is a critical moment for the UN to take decisive action that leverages these openings to benefit the people of Ethiopia. This cannot be done, however, without clear leadership from the UN Security Council,” the letter said.