Arlington, Va.–The Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc. (ECDC) has followed with great shock and sadness the heinous crime perpetrated against innocent civilians, including mothers and children, in Western Oromia and Benishangul villages in Ethiopia, based on their ethnic identity. The targeted killing of civilians in their homes and villages, which according to some reports, put the death toll at 1,500, is unacceptable.
“This is a crime against humanity. Maintaining law and order is any government’s primary and minimum responsibility. Humanity must transcend all political discussions. The value of human life is equally precious no matter which ethnic group one comes from,” said Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D., ECDC’s President, and CEO.
The plight of civilians in Ethiopia has not abated while the armed conflict in northern Ethiopia continues. The ethnic cleansing that has been carried out in the western Tigray region and the continuing war, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and displacing millions of others, is still an ongoing problem.
We unequivocally condemn the recent ethnic-based killings of innocent civilians in the Oromia region in what appears to be a cyclical act of senseless violence. The federal government and those parties to the conflicts must end all actions leading to the loss of innocent lives in Ethiopia, whether through guns or man-made famine.
Similarly, authorities must end the siege in the Tigray region and allow food and critical medicine to reach tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and restore essential services such as electricity, water, and banking. The lives of infants, mothers, and children are being lost due to a lack of critical medicine and nutrition.
In the wake of UNHCR’s recent announcement that the world has passed the alarming threshold of the displacement of 100 million people, enough is not being done to address the issues that cause people to uproot their lives and leave their homes for safety. We call on the international community to renew its commitment to addressing issues that cause people to flee their homes in fear for their lives.
ECDC, based in Arlington, Va., is one of the nine national resettlement agencies and has been resettling refugees since 1991, working with a network of affiliate organizations around the country. The mission of ECDC is to empower refugees and immigrants to become self-sufficient and integrated members of American society who receive support from and ultimately contribute to their local communities. For more information, visit www.ecdcus.org.