The Writers for Peace Committee of PEN International continues to call for an end to the war in the Tigray region of Northern Ethiopia and neighbouring areas. Hostilities and attacks on civilians by all sides have resulted in the deaths, injury and displacement of large numbers, many of them women and children.
The United Nations and the African Union have both expressed their concern in several declarations calling for the protection of civilians from hostilities and warning of critical shortages in the Tigray region. Adjacent areas of South Sudan and Eritrea, (desperately poor and prone to conflict themselves) are being impacted too. All sides have been accused of the mass killing of civilians. There is a very high risk of the conflict becoming an intercommunal fight mainly between the Tigray and Amhara ethnic groups.
It is hard to verify claims and therefore is imperative that the Ethiopian government should restore communication to the Tigray region and allow impartial reporting and monitoring of the conflict. There are growing fears that ethnic cleansing and forced deportation is being conducted in several areas under dispute.
Tigray is also already needing to support Eritrean refugees who are desperately dependent on monthly rations from UNHCR and on the protection of Ethiopia’s Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA). Meanwhile people displaced from their homes and land are becomimg destitute and dependent on inadequate aid.
The WfPC recognises that this is just the latest chapter in a longstanding and complicated regional conflict. Nonetheless the aggression shown by both Tigrayan and Federal Ethiopian forces is no way to solve a political problem. We call once again, as we did at the end of 2021, for a ceasefire and a peaceful political solution. We also call for neighbouring countries to refrain from aggravating the hostilities, for free and accurate reporting to be facilitated, and for peace and reconstruction measures to be put in place. Most importantly of all, we call for the harassment of the people of the region to stop.
Writers for Peace Committee,
11 April 2022