“My administration will continue to press for a negotiated ceasefire, an end to abuses against innocent civilians and humanitarian access to those in need. ”
– President Biden
Today, President Biden is taking further steps to respond to the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia. This conflict has triggered one of the worst humanitarian and human rights crises in the world, with more than 5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and nearly a million living in conditions bordering on famine.
Parties to the conflict – including the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF) and Amhara Regional Forces – have committed human rights violations against civilians. There have been numerous reports of armed actors committing brutal acts of murder, rape and other sexual violence against civilian populations. The United Nations Population Fund has estimated that tens of thousands of women and girls in northern Ethiopia will need medical, mental health, psychosocial and legal services to begin rebuilding their lives as a result of the conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.
Together with its allies, partners and international organizations, the United States calls on all parties to end hostilities, allow and facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, ensure accountability for human rights violations and initiate a inclusive dialogue to preserve the unity of the Ethiopian state. We also call on the Ethiopian government and the TPLF to begin discussions without preconditions to achieve a negotiated ceasefire and a political resolution of the conflict. In remarks to the UN Security Council in August, the UN Secretary General was clear: “All parties must recognize one simple truth: there is no military solution.
The United States is committed to helping Ethiopia meet the challenges of today, building on the deep and historic ties between our two countries. Under President Biden’s leadership, the United States is actively pursuing measures to promote an end to the fighting, protect human rights, and help meet humanitarian needs:
Sanction those who prolong the conflict and commit abuses
Today, President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) establishing a new sanctions regime that gives the United States Department of the Treasury (Treasury), in conjunction with the United States Department of State (State), the power to request accountable to members of the Ethiopian government, the Eritrean government, the TPLF and the Amhara regional government who are responsible or complicit in prolonging the conflict, obstructing humanitarian access or preventing a ceasefire. fire. The Treasury is ready to take measures within the framework of this EO to impose targeted sanctions against those responsible for the current crisis.
While imposing sanctions under this EO, the United States will take steps to mitigate the unintended effects on the Ethiopian people and the wider region. The United States will work to ensure that personal remittances to unsanctioned people, humanitarian assistance to populations at risk, and longer-term assistance programs and business activities that meet basic human needs continue. to flow to Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region through legitimate and transparent channels.
This executive order follows sanctions and visa restrictions that the United States has already imposed. In August 2021, the Treasury Department sanctioned General Filipos Woldeyohannes, Chief of Staff of the Eritrean Defense Forces, in accordance with OE 13818, which is based on and implements the Magnitsky Global Accountability Law. human rights. In May 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a policy under section 212 (a) (3) (C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act imposing visa restrictions on those suspected of ‘be responsible or complicit in undermining the resolution of the crisis. in Tigray.
The United States has imposed defense trade restrictions on exports to Ethiopia amid the ongoing conflict and has reported human rights violations. The United States urges other countries to implement similar measures to stop the flow of arms to all parties to the conflict and support a negotiated ceasefire.
The actions of those involved in the conflict will determine whether the US government imposes sanctions. The United States is ready to impose sanctions if there is no progress towards a resolution of the conflict. If there is progress, the United States stands ready to work with the international community to mobilize essential aid to Ethiopia to recover from this conflict, reorganize its large debt and revitalize its economy.
Facilitate ceasefire negotiations and a political resolution of the conflict
Together with its allies and partners, the United States pledged to support the Ethiopian government and the TPLF to negotiate a lasting ceasefire and peaceful resolution of the conflict. At the Carbis Bay summit in June, G7 leaders called for “an immediate cessation of hostilities” and the search for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. In August, a majority of UN Security Council members publicly supported the Secretary-General’s call for the parties to “immediately end hostilities without preconditions and seize the opportunity to negotiate a ceasefire.” sustainable ”. More broadly, the United States encourages an inclusive and credible national dialogue in which all Ethiopians have a say in their common future.
In March 2021, President Biden sent Senator Coons and a high-level delegation to meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy and offer to help resolve the conflict peacefully. In April 2021, the administration appointed Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman as the United States’ special envoy to the Horn of Africa. Special Envoy Feltman is leading a diplomatic effort to address the region’s interrelated crises. To this end, the United States will continue to work closely with our partners in the region, including the President of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Abdallah Hamdok, and welcomes the appointment by the Commission of the African Union of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as its High Representative for the Horn of Africa.
The United States has also supported local efforts in Ethiopia to promote dialogue and reconciliation across political and ethnic divisions.
Investigate and document human rights violations
Responsibility for the atrocities committed during the conflict is necessary for peace and will help deter a resurgence of violence. The United States is committed to supporting the investigation and documentation of human rights violations in the ongoing conflict to lay the groundwork for future accountability efforts.
The United States has provided financial support for the ongoing joint investigation by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. The United States co-sponsored the European Union’s resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in July to strengthen this investigation. The United States expressed further support for the work of OHCHR during the Human Rights Council’s interactive dialogue on Ethiopia on September 13.
The United States supports the ongoing Commission of Inquiry of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The United States has also pledged and is planning financial support for an additional third-party-led human rights documentation initiative focused on transitional justice and ensuring accountability for atrocities committed by all parties to the ongoing conflict. .
Support the Ethiopian people
Ethiopia has made significant progress in development in recent years, but the conflict threatens this progress and the well-being of the Ethiopian people. The United States has a long history of partnering with the Ethiopian people to promote development, and although we have placed restrictions on certain economic and security assistance due to the human rights situation, we continue to provide important aid to the Ethiopian people. Ethiopia remains one of the top recipients of U.S. humanitarian and development assistance globally, covering areas such as agriculture, health, clean water, food and nutrition security, l basic education and support for women and girls. This aid benefits all regions of Ethiopia.
The United States is Ethiopia’s largest humanitarian aid donor, providing nearly $ 900 million in total humanitarian aid over the past year. USAID has provided nearly 65% of all donor contributions to date to the humanitarian response in northern Ethiopia. In August 2021, USAID Administrator Samantha Power visited Ethiopian and Ethiopian refugee camps in neighboring Sudan and pledged to keep assistance ongoing.
The United States has also pledged to help Ethiopia cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States has provided more than $ 185 million in COVID-19 related assistance to Ethiopia, in addition to donating nearly 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine delivered to date. This support has included efforts to strengthen the capacity of the local health system for infection prevention control; reduce morbidity and mortality by strengthening the management of COVID-19 cases; accelerate widespread and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as the delivery of these vaccines; and mitigate the secondary humanitarian impacts of COVID-19 through emergency food assistance to affected populations.
Listen to and partner with U.S. stakeholders, including Ethiopian U.S. leaders
The Administration is committed to strengthening the deep and historic ties between Ethiopia and the United States. The United States benefits immensely from a large and vibrant Ethiopian-American community. We celebrate the rich contributions people with connections to the Horn of Africa make to all aspects of our nation, including academia, the arts, business, healthcare, sports and more. The administration is reaching out and creating opportunities for dialogue with Ethiopian-American leaders and stakeholders. We welcome their unique ideas and contributions to promote understanding and healing across ethnic and political lines as we seek to achieve the common goal of a united and peaceful Ethiopia.
“The United States has a deep and enduring commitment to the people of the Horn of Africa. We will continue to speak out against violence and inhumane treatment of any group of people, and we will continue to support the response to humanitarian needs in the region. We believe Ethiopia, a large and diverse nation, can overcome its current divisions and resolve the ongoing conflict, starting with a negotiated ceasefire. Building peace will not be easy, but it can and must begin now with dialogue and the search for unity in our common humanity.
President Biden, September 10, 2021