Where are Tigrayan ENDFs?
First and foremost I would like to express my deepest gratitude for the concern and bipartisan position from senators. Today I am writing to bring to your attention the matter of tens of thousands of Tigrayans who were serving in the security sector, mainly in the military, peacekeeping, police, intelligence who were collectively disarmed, dismissed, arbitrarily arrested and continue to be illegally detained incommunicado in various parts of the country without any due process of law. Those in detention, their situation negates all kinds of human rights including the right to fair trial, legal representation, family visitation, adequate food and health care and so forth. I have learned that some soldiers subjected to these conditions have committed suicide from chronic stress and others have died due to lack of critical medical care. In the six months since the start of the war, the families and loved ones of these military and law enforcement officers have been unable to contact them. Reliable sources, have also reported that high-ranking Tigrayan officials have been spirited to Eritrea where they are liable to be subjected to torture and are undoubtedly held in even more terrible conditions. These men and women are members of the defense force and law enforcement that have served their country for years and in many cases decades. Some have served in peacekeeping missions across the world thus contributing to regional and world peace. Respect for such brave souls that put their own lives at risk in service of humanity and the international community is a well recognized norm. The Ethiopian government has, however, opted to systematically profile, purge & collectively punish Tigrayan members of the security sector by violating their basic human rights. This crackdown, which was initially promoted as government reform, singled out Tigrayans in trumped-up charges, harassment, discrimination, and imprisonment. Over the next two and half years Tigrayan identity was criminalized through various means including speeches that utilize dehumanizing language like ‘daytime hyenas’. I am, therefore, writing this to call upon your leadership to: 1. Demand comprehensive assessment of the situation of those arbitrarily & illegally detained. 2. Demand legal safeguards of human rights for all detained under international law, including the right to a fair and free trial, protection from torture, and right to family visitation, are protected; 3. Demand human treatment & conditions of detention for all detainees regardless of the reasons for their arrest; 4. Demand restoring communication between families and detainees to alleviate the suffering; I hope and pray the United States will, as always, take the lead in the protection of vulnerable minorities as well as ensuring that a region that is vital to international peace and security is not destabilized by continued conflict.
First sent on May 9 by Stand With Tigray
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