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One Year After the Pretoria Agreement: Hopes and Challenges in Tigray.

MekelleŠć° 4th November 2023(Tigray Herald)

One Year After the Pretoria Agreement: Hopes and Challenges in Tigray.

Introduction

One year has passed since the signing of the Pretoria agreement between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This historic agreement was seen as a beacon of hope, a promising step towards ending the devastating conflict that had engulfed Tigray. However, the road to peace and recovery has been filled with challenges, leaving many to question the tangible changes that have taken place. This essay explores the impact of the Pretoria agreement on Tigray’s situation, acknowledging its achievements while also highlighting the lingering issues that demand attention and resolution.

Achievements: Silencing the Guns

The most notable achievement of the Pretoria agreement has been the relative cessation of hostilities in Tigray. Prior to the agreement, the region was plagued by the horrors of war, with invading troops, bombarding drones, and fighter jets causing untold suffering and destruction. The silencing of the guns brought much-needed relief to the people of Tigray, who no longer live in constant fear of violence and bombardments.

Challenges: The Cost of Conflict

Despite the reduction in active warfare, the cost of the conflict remains staggering. The war has exacted a heavy toll on Tigray’s economy, with infrastructure in ruins and countless livelihoods disrupted. The loss of millions of lives, including the horrifying number of women and girls who endured sexual violence, paints a bleak picture of the human suffering inflicted by the conflict. Moreover, the deliberate destruction and looting of hospitals and healthcare facilities have left the region ill-prepared to address the health needs of its people.

Unmet Expectations: Economic Recovery

One of the key expectations following the Pretoria agreement was the swift resumption of government employee salaries, which had been unpaid for more than two years. However, the reality fell short of these expectations. The allocated budget for the rehabilitation of essential sectors was far from adequate, leaving Tigray struggling to meet the basic needs of its population. Malnutrition, inadequate healthcare, and a lack of medical supplies have created a dire situation for those in need.

Humanitarian Crisis and Exodus

The humanitarian situation in Tigray remains dire. Millions of people are living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, and significant portions of Tigray are still under occupation. Preventable diseases like malaria and cholera continue to pose a threat to the people in these camps. While education, including universities, has reopened, the insufficient budget allocation raises concerns about its sustainability. Furthermore, the exodus of highly trained medical professionals, exemplified by the loss of over 100 senior doctors at Ayder Hospital, underscores the challenges facing the healthcare system.

Conclusion

The Pretoria agreement undeniably brought relative peace to Tigray, a vital step towards ending the suffering caused by the conflict. However, peace alone is not enough. Justice, the return of IDPs to their homes, and the comprehensive rebuilding of the region are crucial to ensuring lasting stability. The challenges facing Tigray are daunting, and the international community must continue to support the region, both through diplomatic efforts and humanitarian aid. The martyrs and brave individuals who made this peace possible deserve our gratitude, but their sacrifices must not be in vain. A complete and just implementation of the Pretoria agreement is the way forward, offering hope for a better future for Tigray and its people.

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