US President Joe Biden has urged for an end to “human rights abuses” in Ethiopia’s troubled northern region of Tigray.
The Ethiopian army and its Eritrean allies are against a regional Tigrayan force.
The conflict surged when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered troops to disarm and detain leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a regional ruling party.
The fighting has resulted in the killing of thousands of people and has forced two million to flee their homes.
The conflict has now entered its seventh month.
Biden said he was “very concerned” by the escalating violence in Tigray. The US president has also highlighted the possibility of a famine.
He raised an alarm at “the hardening of ethnic and regional divisions” in various parts of the country. Biden called on Amhara and Eritrean forces to draw back from Tigray and for authorities to give “unimpeded, uninterrupted humanitarian access to the region.”
He said, “belligerents in the Tigray should declare and abide by a ceasefire”.
Biden said, “widespread sexual violence” was amongst the large-scale human rights abuses that were taking place in Tigray.
As per the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 91% of the Tigray region’s population are in dire need of aid, This forms nearly 6 million people.
U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock has asked the Security Council and global leadership “to take all possible steps to prevent a famine from breaking out.”
Lowcock, in a note, told the 15-member council that it is clear that people of the Tigray region are now facing alarmingly heightened food insecurity as a result of the conflict. He said the parties at conflict are restricting access to food which has brought up the serious risk of famine if aid is not scaled up in the coming two months.