An open letter to the U.S. Congress

Tigray: Amendment 555 to H.R 4350

654 so far! Let’s get to 1,000 signers!

As your constituent, I would to first thank you for your continued engagement to promote peace and human rights across the world. In this regard I am writing to you today to ask you to please support Amendment 555 to H.R. 4350 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 introduced by HE Congressman Tom Malinowski. This amendment requests the US administration to determine whether genocide or crimes against humanity have occurred in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Background: As you are aware, the war Tigray has resulted in one of the worst human rights humanitarian crises in the world today. According to Associated Press “The U.N calls it the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade.” This situation has been orchestrated and exacerbated by the grave atrocities, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide perpetrated by the allied Eritrean, Ethiopian, and Amhara regional forces. In addition, researchers from focused studies in war, gender, and women’s sexual and reproductive health have recognized the horrific acts of rape on Tigrayan women as genocidal rape. A researcher wrote “in the context of the foregoing definition of the term ‘genocide’, we can argue then that the sexual violence being meted out on women and girls in Tigray qualifies as “genocidal rape” given that some of the survivors of the violence have suffered severe injuries leading to infertility.” Moreover Amnesty international documents, injuries were inflicted intentionally to stop victims from reproducing. Different documentations, including from UNOCHA also indicate blockage of civilians from accessing medical care including following the shelling of a market in Togoga, Central Tigray in June. These and several other acts fit the UN definition of genocide. The United States Government, along with partners in the EU and Africa have made repeated calls for a negotiated ceasefire, unfettered access to humanitarian aid to the 900 thousand people that USAID has determined to be under famine conditions, and independent investigation of all atrocities. President Biden recently issued an executive order which acknowledged that this conflict “constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” and established the framework for a broad sanctions regimen to address the willful and deliberate escalation and protraction of this war. Further determination by the US government regarding the brutal campaign of atrocities which have included ethnic cleansing, massacres, weaponization of sexual violence, indiscriminate shelling, mass arrest and detention in prison camps, and the ongoing weaponization of food will undoubtedly support the steps already taken by the US government. It will also enable other partner countries to come along and work with the US government to ensure an end to the suffering of millions. Thank you very much,

First sent on September 23 by Human Right Defenders

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