An open letter to the U.S. Congress

A call to action against mass arrests of Tigrayans in Ethiopia

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Shortly after the war on Tigray started on November 4, 2020, the Ethiopian Government announced on television that citizens should call their local police to identify and report anyone who they suspect to be connected to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This signaled the start of alarming state-sponsored violations of human rights and an escalation of the terrorizing, marginalizing, and othering of Tigrayans in Ethiopia. The arbitrary arrest of Tigrayans is further aggravated by violence-inciting statements issued by PM Abiy Ahmed, who during a press statement after his forces were expelled from Mekelle, stated that the ENDF left Mekelle because the Tigrayan civilian population in Tigray were hostile towards them. In a dehumanizing statement issued by his office on July 18, 2021, Abiy Ahmed also referred to the ‘JUNTA’ as “the cancer of Ethiopia” and “weeds” that he and his government will work to “remove permanently.” He added that in Ethiopia, “we remove weeds collectively”. He also coined the terms “daytime hyenas” and “breast biters” to describe TPLF and by extension Tigrayans. Such calls do not go unheeded, as can be noted from the mass murders of Tigrayans across the country. Abiy Ahmed’s call to “clean out the weeds” also resulted in waves of violence in Humera (Western Tigray) at the hands of Amhara Regional State special forces, militia, vigilante groups, and ENDF who are actively committing atrocities against Tigrayans including rape, torture, mutilations, and murder. There are over 34,050 Tigrayans currently detained in different parts of Ethiopia as the state of emergency declared by the government continues to be used as an excuse to search Tigrayans without a warrant and detain them without any charge or due process of law. We call on the diplomatic community in Ethiopia and the international community to speak out against the state-sponsored ethnic profiling, harassment, economic sanctioning, and arrests of Tigrayans in Ethiopia. We call on you to demand that the Ethiopian government immediately: 1. Stop the unwarranted ethnic-based arrest of Tigrayans in Addis Ababa and all other parts of Ethiopia. 2. Release all Tigrayan civilians, political prisoners, and all ENDF soldiers that have been held without charge or due process. 3. Return confiscated property and upholds the right of all citizens, including Tigrayans, to exchange goods and services. 4. Cease the use of hate speech and dehumanizing rhetoric which vilifies and marginalizes Tigrayans. 5. Reinstate Tigrayans who were fired from their jobs based on their ethnicity 6. Ensure the safe and free movement of all Ethiopians, including Tigrayans, within Ethiopia, and outside its borders.

First sent on November 23 by Stand With Tigray

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