U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday described the violence in Ethiopia’s Tigrean region as “ethnic cleansing.” The secretary general’s statement comes after evidence emerged of abuses in the region during and after the war. Blinken insisted on the investigation and withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the region, stressing that abuses and ethnic cleansing had taken place in the region.
Since the war in the region, there have been calls and criticisms of Ethiopian government officials and abuses against civilians. Some reports said Tigreans were targeted and civilians were deliberately killed. The region has been the scene of numerous rapes, bombings of civilian areas, assassinations and other abuses.
“I want the region to see a security force that will not” violate the human rights of the people of Tigray or commit acts of genocide that we have seen in western Tigray, “Blinken said. He added: “That has to stop. We also need full accountability,” Blinken said in a question to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Blinken called for an independent inquiry into what happened there, and said we need some kind of process, a reconciliation process so that the country can move forward politically. “
Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said last week her office had identified major abuses that could be “war crimes and crimes against humanity”, while aid officials warned that the number increasing number of people dying of famine in Tigray.
She said there were serious concerns about racism and violence against Tigreans in the region, and that an independent investigation was needed. She called for an end to all human rights abuses to protect the dignity of civilians.
As per media Blinken’s comments came hours after Berhane Kidanemariam, deputy ambassador to the Ethiopian embassy in Washington, DC, resigned, accusing Abiy of leading Ethiopia on a “dark path to destruction and disintegration.”
“I resigned in protest of the genocide in Tigray, and in protest of all government repression and destruction in the rest of Ethiopia,” he said.
I wanted to work as a diplomat for my country but I can’t do it based on my values, and I really don’t want to hurt my people. It costs money to practice one’s principles, but there is a greater cost to abandon, “said Kidanemariam, who is believed to be the first Ethiopian diplomat to resign due to concerns over the Tigray conflict.