Mon, 24 May 2021 - 03:33 GMT
Mon, 24 May 2021 - 03:33 GMT
CAIRO – 24 May 2021: The United States announced imposing visa restriction for Ethiopian government officials and members of security forces or any other individuals responsible for, or complicit in, undermining resolution of the crisis in Tigray.
“The time for action from the international community is now. Today, I am announcing a visa restriction policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act on the issuance of visas for any current or former Ethiopian or Eritrean government officials, members of the security forces, or other individuals—to include Amhara regional and irregular forces and members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)—responsible for, or complicit in, undermining resolution of the crisis in Tigray.” The United states secretary of state Antony Blinken stated in a statement.
We have repeatedly voiced our grave concerns over continued human rights violations and abuses in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Starting today, we are taking steps to impose visa restrictions on those we believe to be responsible for perpetrating the conflict.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 23, 2021
He added that this includes those who have conducted “wrongful violence or other abuses against people in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, as well as those who have hindered access of humanitarian assistance to those in the region.”
The statement explained that The United States has deepening concerns about the ongoing crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region as well as other threats to the sovereignty, national unity, and territorial integrity of Ethiopia.
It stated that people in Tigray continue to suffer human rights violations, abuses, and atrocities, and urgently needed humanitarian relief is being blocked by the Ethiopian and Eritrean militaries as well as other armed actors.
“Despite significant diplomatic engagement, the parties to the conflict in Tigray have taken no meaningful steps to end hostilities or pursue a peaceful resolution of the political crisis. The United States condemns in the strongest terms the killings, forced removals, systemic sexual violence, and other human rights violations and abuses.” The U.S. secretary of state said in the statement.
The Ethiopian Cabinet approved earlier in May, a proposal to designate the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) and Oromo Liberation Front-Shene (OLF-Shene) terrorist organizations.
The move is considered a serious escalation given that the TPLF was once part of the ruling regime in Ethiopia.
The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) got marginalized since Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018 prompting its ministers in the federal government to resign. Also, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) – of which the TPLF and entities representing other regions – got dismantled.
The TPLF governing the region housing more than five million people had tensions with the federal government after the prime minister had called off elections scheduled for August 2020.
As a result, the region's government held elections in the region in September 2020. As a consequence, the federal government refused to approve of the results of such elections. Equally, Tigray's government considered Ahmed's government illegitimate since October 5 calling on him to resign and advocating for the formation of an interim government until elections are held.
It is noted that half of members of the Ethiopian Armed Forces are affiliated to the TPLF, which possesses 70 percent of missiles, and anti-aircraft warfare.
On October 31, the Ethiopian Army issued a firm statement after Deputy Commander of the Northern Military Zone Gamal Mohamed had been captivated upon arrival to the region before he was released.
A large number of Tigray military commanders expelled by Ahmed from the Ethiopian Armed Forces and other security agencies have been training elements to defend the ethnicity.
On November 4, Abiy Ahmed launched military operations against the Tigray Region. Atrocities occurred, and 950,000 got displaced. Of those, 50,000 fled to Sudan.
The attacks were carried out by the Ethiopian Armed Forces and the special forces of Amhara Region. Eritrean forces have amassed on borders with Tigray, and reportedly took part in the aggression.
It is noted that Late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi whose rule extended from 1995 until his death in 2012 belonged to Tigray and was – while in office – leader of the TPLF and the EPRDF.