Open Letter to Members of the AU-High Level Panel

Originally Published on Addis Standard:

HE Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta CGH.

HE Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR.

HE Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Dear Members of the AU-High Level Panel,

I am writing this letter to add my voice to those that have already expressed concern about the continued violation of human rights in Tigray. These violations include continued summary executions of civilians, kidnapping of young Tigrayans, looting and destruction of properties, deliberate methodical continuation of the siege in varied forms and the slow implementation of the Permanent Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed in Pretoria November 02, 2022. I am copying this letter to other relevant officials.

Like others, I greatly appreciate your continued commitment to bringing peace to the territory. Nonetheless, your continued silence in the face of apparent breaches of the agreement, including reported killings, the continued presence of Amhara and Eritrean forces, and what appears to be systematic obstruction of humanitarian access, is likely to cause confusion concerning your precise position. It is hurtful, to read HE Olusegun Obasanjo recent statement in the financial times that the Eritrean forces have withdrawn to the Eritrean border, while they are still committing extensive atrocities in many towns in Tigray.

It has been almost three months since the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed the CoHA (the ‘Pretoria deal’) and its addendum declarations of Nairobi, which together form an agreement to end Ethiopia’s war on Tigray. The main promises contained in the agreement are as follows:

1. Disarmament of the Tigrayan forces (TDF);

2. Concurrent withdrawal of non-Ethiopian National Defense Forces from Tigray;

3. Provision of general security and the protection of civilians;

4. Unhindered humanitarian access, including facilitating the return and reintegration of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees; and

5. Confidence-building measures, including restoration of essential services in the Tigray region within agreed time-frames, and the deployment and functioning of a monitoring, verification and compliance mechanism that will report ‘instances of violation’ and ‘inform the two parties to … take immediate measures to rectify’. At the same time, ‘if the violation is not rectified within 24 hours, the AU, through its High-Level Panel, will convene the Joint Committee to resolve the problem’.

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