Ethiopia: UNHCR Must Break Silence on TPLF's Mistreatment of Eritreans

Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer, coined the word "genocide" in 1944 partly in response to the systematic murder of Jewish people by the Nazis. It was also a response to previous actions that targeted groups, such as the Herero by the Germans in Namibia.

Genocide was codified into international law in 1948 via the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This treaty is ratified by 152 countries. In Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Criminal Code criminalizes genocide, though it goes beyond the Genocide Convention by adding political groups to the protected groups.

Since the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) induced conflict started TPLF conducted a number genocide operations in Amhara and Afar states. To mention some the Maikadra, Chenna, Kobo, in Afar state Galicoma, Chifra are among others where hundreds had been killed for who they are. All the Genocides committed by TPLF are ignored by international community.

Similarly, over the year concerned bodies had been keeping on pitch out for safety of refugees and civilians but no one cares, because the growing concern for protection of civilian Eritreans and Ethiopians protest was conducted in various parts of the globe demanding for comprehensive protection of refugees, though the international community keeps on ignoring the call remaining silent.

According to the international law, all parties to armed conflicts are responsible for ensuring that the civilian population is protected. Guaranteeing compliance with and promoting accountability for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law; ensuring protection through UN peacekeeping and other missions; providing humanitarian access; and delivering protection specifically to those who are most vulnerable, such as women and children during armed conflicts are essential elements of effective protection of civilians.

For UN peace operations, protection of civilians includes the use of force to protect civilians under imminent threat as well as other activities such as contributing to creating the security conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance; taking measures to ensure security in and around IDPs camps; and contributing to the provision of security required for the safe, voluntary and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees.

Again, of late Eritrean refugees sheltered in North Gondar Zone of Amhara region expressed concern about the safety of their family members and fellows who are detained by the terrorist TPLF militants in Tigray.

The refugees expressed the concern during their discussion with officials of the Ethiopian Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) this week.

ARRA Director General Tesfahun Gobezay, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner - Operations, Raouf Mazou, UNHCR Acting Regional Representative, Charles Mballa and UNHCR Ethiopia Country Rep. Mamadou Dian Balde had visited refugees and IDPs in Dabat and Dabark, in North Gondar.

The delegates warmly welcomed by the Northern Gondar Zonal Administrator Yalelem Fantahun and his team in Debark and briefed on the overall situation of refugees and IDPs.

During the meeting, the Zonal Administrator underlined that most of the IDPs are sheltered in schools and are facing challenges as school opening time is approaching.

Therefore, those IDPs are in need of shelter and it is their top priority right now, he added.

Then the team visited one of the IDP's centers called Millennium. Some of the representatives of the IDPs reflected to the guests that they left behind all their livestock's and their farm lands so as to save their lives.

The next destination for the delegates was the newly established refugee camp, Alem-Wach where they had been briefed by ARRA and partners representatives about the overall development of the camp.

The team had time to visit the refugees, who are at Dabat town in one of the public infrastructure called Menfesawi, according to statement obtained from ARRA.

There were also discussions with some of the refugees' representatives in which they repeatedly voiced their concerns about their family and fellows, who are under detainees of the TPLF militants.

They urge UNHCR to take care of them, as it is only UNHCR that is present in the operation in areas where Eritrean refugees are detained by TPLF.

It was reported that the terrorist TPLF has been attacking refugee camps located in Tigray, abducting refugees and looting camp properties.

It is to be recalled that Eritrean refugees in Addis Ababa demanded the pertinent member of the international community to take urgent action to protect refugees in Tigray from TPLF's attack in a rally weeks held weeks ago.

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