For several weeks now, the UN and NGOs have been denouncing a famine situation in Tigray that risks spreading to other Ethiopian provinces. But the regime in Addis Ababa stubbornly rejects the warnings issued by these organisations, whose objectivity it questions, as it did a few months ago regarding the presence and abuses of Eritrean troops on Ethiopian territory, before withdrawing its position. Is Ethiopia trying to cover up a humanitarian drama?
What is really happening in Tigray? This is the question that logically deserves to be asked following the alerts launched by the UN and international NGOs on the famine that is already affecting Tigray and that threatens to spread to other Ethiopian provinces, and the categorical rejection of the Ethiopian government that questions the transparency of the approach of these organisations.
In fact, mired in an endless conflict launched by the Addis Ababa government against the TPLF, the party in power in Tigray, the province is seriously threatened by famine. According to the UN and NGOs, more than 350,000 people are already facing starvation in Tigray. The risk of famine also hangs over « two million people in the regions of Tigray, Afar and Amhara, » added Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, before the Security Council on Tuesday.
At the end of the Security Council meeting he attended, the Ethiopian ambassador to the UN, Taye Atske Selassie Amde, took exception to Lowcock’s remarks: « We categorically disagree with this assessment » by the UN on the famine. The diplomat criticised the organisations for not having collected the data on which their conclusions are based in a « transparent and inclusive manner ».
Moreover, Taye Atske Selassie Amde criticised the very fact that the Security Council was addressing the issue of Tigray, a subject that was not on its agenda and which, moreover, was a matter of internal Ethiopian politics, thus reminding the UN of one of its fundamental principles. Faced with two diametrically opposed positions on the same issue, one is justified in questioning what is really happening in Tigray, especially since the outbreak of the war in November 2019, access to information has become very difficult in the province that has remained cut off from the world.
The regime of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made a habit of denying the obvious about the conflict in Tigray when it is not convenient. We remember that just a few weeks ago, after months of denial, it finally admitted what the NGOs had been pointing out for a long time: the presence of Eritrean troops on Ethiopian territory. Is the Ethiopian government trying to cover up a humanitarian drama that is taking place on its territory and that it has helped to create?