WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yestarday,December 18,2020 U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Todd Young (R-IN), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement regarding the recent conflict in Ethiopia:
“The conflict in Ethiopia remains far from over, despite Prime Minister Abiy’s claim that military operations are complete. We are deeply concerned by reports of Eritrean refugees in Tigray being killed, abducted and forcibly returned to Eritrea by Eritrean forces, as well as disturbing reports that some trying to reach safer areas are being prevented from leaving. The State Department has also reported that Eritrean soldiers are present in Tigray. The internationalization of this conflict poses a threat to U.S. interests in the strategic Red Sea region, and could drive the Horn of Africa into a protracted crisis from which it could take many years to recover and needlessly take thousands of lives.
“We join others from the international community who have urged Ethiopia’s federal government to abide by its commitment to grant security for humanitarian workers and full access to the 96,000 Eritrean refugees in Tigray, in addition to the over 2.3 million in children in need of humanitarian assistance. We also call for an independent investigation into these claims of forced return, and demand accountability for those who have violated international law. Refugees are among the most vulnerable populations on Earth – the international community must be there to protect them in their time of need. Finally, we extend our sincere condolences to the families of the humanitarian workers from the International Rescue Committee and the Danish Refugee Council who were killed in this conflict. We are deeply saddened by the untold number of lives taken by this needless conflict.
“In the face of continued violence against civilians, we remind all parties of their obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure by following international humanitarian law (IHL), and we call on the Administration to engage the Government of Ethiopia, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, and the region to end the violence and further human suffering, and consider targeted sanctions on any political or military officials found responsible for violations.”