U.S. Authorises Sanctions Amid Ethiopia's Tigray Conflict

U.S. President Joe Biden has signed an executive order that allows the U.S. government to impose sanctions against those responsible for a range of serious human rights abuses in northern Ethiopia.

The order establishes a sanctions regime that allows the U.S. to deny visas and freeze the assets of individuals and entities responsible for, or complicit in serious abuses and obstructing access to humanitarian aid.

Since the conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region began in November 2020, Human Rights Watch and others have documented massacres, widespread sexual violence, forced displacement, and deliberate attacks on civilian infrastructure by the Ethiopian army and their allies that includes Eritrea. Tigrayan militia forces have also allegedly killed and raped Eritrean refugees.

The order said that while maintaining pressure on those persons responsible for the crisis, "the United States will seek to ensure that appropriate personal remittances to non-blocked persons and humanitarian assistance to at-risk populations can flow to Ethiopia - through legitimate and transparent channels, including governments, international organisations, and non-profit organisations."


A general food distribution point in Afar, Ethiopia, August 30, 2021.

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