Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Gregory W. Meeks and Michael McCaul, Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressing concern over the growing ongoing conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms reported atrocities and gross violations of human rights committed against civilians, including rape, torture, forced displacements and disappearances, acts of ethnic cleansing, extra-judicial killings, the looting and destruction of medical facilities, and restricted access to aid. We urge the Administration to utilize all available tools, including Global Magnitsky authorities and other targeted sanctions, to hold parties accountable for their actions and bring an end to this crisis.” 

The full text of the letter can be found here and below: 

Dear Secretary Blinken  

We are gravely concerned about the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. The growing humanitarian crisis has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and over four million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. We condemn in the strongest possible terms reported atrocities and gross violations of human rights committed against civilians, including rape, torture, forced displacements and disappearances, acts of ethnic cleansing, extra-judicial killings, the looting and destruction of medical facilities, and restricted access to aid. We urge the Administration to utilize all available tools, including Global Magnitsky authorities and other targeted sanctions, to hold parties accountable for their actions and bring an end to this crisis.

All sides of this conflict, including the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), Eritrean forces, and other armed groups operating in Tigray have been implicated in atrocities against civilians. While access to Tigray and in-depth reporting has improved in recent days, an independent, international investigation into the role of all sides of this conflict must be carried out without delay. However, additional targeted accountability measures cannot wait. Several human rights organizations and advocacy groups have documented allegations of extensive human rights abuses, including the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission’s recent report on atrocities committed against civilians in Axum. Prime Minister Abiy recently acknowledged the presence of Eritrean forces and the fact that atrocities have been committed in Tigray, and further committed to holding those responsible to account. We urge the Administration to continue its efforts to assess credible reporting and impose targeted sanctions swiftly.

It is clear that there is no military solution to this conflict. We are encouraged by the recent announcements from Addis Ababa and Asmara to withdraw Eritrean forces from the Ethiopian border and we urge immediate action to ensure all Eritrean forces depart Ethiopia. In addition, all parties to the conflict must commit to an immediate cessation of hostilities and participate in an inclusive national dialogue. Failure to resolve this conflict, as well as address violence elsewhere in Ethiopia, threatens to further enflame ethnic tensions, worsen economic and food security conditions, undermine the prospect of credible and inclusive elections in June, and destabilize the broader region.

While we remain committed to the important bilateral relationship between the United States and Ethiopia, this conflict jeopardizes shared political, economic and security priorities. We welcome the high-level statements and diplomatic engagements with regional and international partners and we will continue to work closely with you to pursue accountability, democracy, and the rule of law to end the crisis in Ethiopia. 

  

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