WILPF UK, as a women’s peace organisation, is deeply concerned about the escalation of violence in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, it’s neighbouring areas, and the Horn of Africa region and its grave impacts on civilians, as well as the allegation of serious breaches of fundamental human rights.
In echoing statements of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet on 24th November 2020 and the UN Secretary-General António Guterres on 26th November 2020, and the Emergency Resolution adopted in the European Parliament on 26th November 2020 (2020/2881(RSP) as well as other international calls for peace and dialogue:
WILPF UK calls on all parties to the conflict to:
- Give “clear and unambiguous orders” to their forces not to target civilians, avoid placing military facilities near or in civilian areas, and ensuring civilians are not used as “human shields.”
- Do everything possible to protect civilians, ensuring humanitarian access for the provision of much-needed relief-aid and assistance, and securing the free and safe movement of people searching for safety and assistance, regardless of their ethnic identity, across both national and international borders.
- Abstain from any aggressive rhetoric or actions that may contribute to the further escalation of the conflict and the violation of humanitarian law.
- Seek support from regional and international agencies to ensure proper investigation of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.
- Take the opportunity to de-escalate tensions through the initiative of the Chairperson of the African Union, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa or of other African leaders to facilitate peaceful solutions.
WILPF UK urge the UK Government to:
- Work with humanitarian agencies and other states, making every effort for the urgent mobilisation, as well as the structured and concerted deployment, of additional resources to ensure much-needed aid reaches those civilians affected.
- Continue to raise the need for de-escalation and an immediate cessation of violence with diplomatic partners and all parties involved.
- Call on all parties of the conflict to ensure that women and girls are protected from sexual and gender-based violence and to provide resources to support those who fall victims of such violence.
- To demonstrate its commitments to the Women, Peace & Security Agenda as well as further its support for the ‘Protection Framework for Women Peacebuilders’, as women’s participation is key to the success and longevity of peace processes in the Horn of Africa region.