Bill in US Congress could lead to Tigray genocide designation

Bill in US Congress could lead to Tigray genocide designation

Provision in a key piece of defence legislation would force Biden administration to declare whether Ethiopia’s actions in Tigray amount to genocide

A woman holds a child during a screening for malnutrition by aid groups in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. AP

 

The Biden administration has said that it would enact those sanctions on the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments as well as the Amhara Regional Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front within a matter of weeks unless the parties agree to a ceasefire.

The US last month sanctioned the chief of staff of the Eritrean defence forces, Filipos Woldeyohannes.

The Biden administration has repeatedly called on Eritrean forces to withdraw from Tigray.

Although Ethiopia has maintained an internet, phone and media blackout in Tigray, witnesses have described widespread human rights abuses, including the displacement and murder of civilians, rape, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and the burning of crops.

Fighters from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front have also retaliated with their own abuses during raids on villages in Amhara, including a massacre this month that killed 120 people.

The conflict broke out last year when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military offensive against Tigray with the backing of Eritrean forces and Amhara militias.