Use of Chemical Weapon in Tigray against Civilians
With each passing day, the world is confronted with evidence for more and more horrific atrocities committed in the Tigray War by Ethiopian and Eritrean governments along with their ally Amhara forces from the Amhara region of Ethiopia. In light of this I am grateful for the bi-partisan concern evidenced through the passing of S.Res.97. Unfortunately, the speed with which the humanitarian and human rights crisis is worsening necessitates even more urgent actions. Most alarming, in this regard, is emerging evidence for the use of chemical weapons in Tigray as revealed in the Telegraph article published on the 24th of May. The report included exclusive videos, images, & testimonies from civilians who have been subjected to chemical weapons. All of this led experts in chemical weapons to conclude that the evidence is “consistent with the use of white phosphorus, which is banned from use against human targets under international law.” The victims in the pictures have disfigured bodies and burnt skin. Victims indicated that they were at their house when the attack happened & described instant burns & smell of gunpowder. Smell was described as suffocating & the appearance was “like a cloud” to the point the victims couldn’t see the house. “There was smoke and fire everywhere immediately,” explained one of the victims. This use of chemical weapons is against all international laws banning the use of chemical weapons against civilian populations & adds another layer of impunity & grave violation of international law on the part of the Ethiopian & Eritrean governments. It also bears noting that all of this is happening amidst a catastrophic humanitarian crisis on the verge of being famine. According to USAID’s early warning system, Tigray has reached the maximum category, category 5, of food emergencies. With this in mind, I as your constituent urge for you to: 1. Call upon the senate to take decisive and swift actions beyond visa restriction on the military command chain of both Ethiopia & Eritrea. 2. Push the US government to submit the issue again before the United Nations Security Council for a resolution as resolutions and protocols addressing the use of chemical weapons and other grave breaches to humanitarian & human rights laws already evidenced in the war on Tigray. Most particularly, the UNSC can prompt an independent investigation & the deployment of UN peacekeeping force in Tigray & the initiation of prosecution before the international criminal court. 3. Promote communication with allies & diplomatic connections to address this grave breach of international law in a concerted manner. I pray that the Tigray crisis will be a blue-print for how to address gross human rights violations and the United States will, as always, take the lead in the protection of human rights and vulnerable minorities by ensuring the maintenance of international peace and security in the horn of Africa region which is vital for the american interest as well.
First sent on May 25 by Human rights defenders
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