Heightened Risk of Genocide and Mass Atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region – HMM
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is deeply concerned about further crimes against humanity and the increased risk of genocide in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The situation worsened exponentially as Ethiopian security forces backed by Eritrean forces and Amhara special forces occupied key towns and threatened vulnerable Tigrayan civilians.
As we warned a year ago: “Numerous warning signs of a potential genocide against the Tigray people are present: reports of massacres and other targeted killings of Tigray civilians, dehumanization and hate speech – amplified on social media – inciting violence against group members, mass arrests and arbitrary detention and possible collective punishment in the form of a man-made famine in the Tigray region.” These risks have only increased, and our Early Warning Project consistently ranks Ethiopia among the ten countries at highest risk of a new outbreak of mass killing in the world.
“The news of peace talks is a positive step, but it is important to remember that mass atrocities are often committed even during negotiations. Similarly, there is often a failure to realize that actors use the invocation of “civil war” to conceal persecutory intentions and actions. While the attention of policymakers was elsewhere, nearly half a million people were reported to have been murdered or died as a result of forced starvation. Tigrayan women and girls have been subjected to widespread sexual violence – including rape, gang rape and sexual mutilation,” said Naomi Kikoler, director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for Genocide Prevention at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Ethnic targeting and the commission of mass atrocities have been a deliberate strategy of the parties to the conflict between the Ethiopian and regional Tigray governments and their allies that began in November 2020. Crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed in the past two years. impunity. These crimes include murder, rape, sexual violence, stalking and other inhuman acts. Evidence of sexual slavery and forced pregnancy is mounting.
The parties to the conflict must immediately stop targeting civilians and seek a solution to the conflict. Every effort must be made to reduce the capacity and costs of those who commit mass atrocities. This includes social media companies that must stop inciting violence and demonizing communities on their platforms. Support for the investigation and documentation of crimes should be provided as part of a commitment to accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims and survivors. The commission of these mass atrocities and the failure thus far to prevent them or protect civilians is a stain on our human conscience.
A nonpartisan federal institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America’s national Holocaust memorial dedicated to ensuring the permanence of Holocaust memory, understanding, and relevance. Through the power of Holocaust history, the museum challenges leaders and individuals around the world to think critically about their role in society and confront anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity.