Strong Condemnation of UN Food Award to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Mekelle:  1 February 2024 (Tigray Herald)

By Yearga Yaecobe

Strong Condemnation of UN Food Award to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Dear Cindy H. McCain
Executive Director, World Food Programme.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy

I write to express profound dismay and unequivocal disapproval regarding the recent decision by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to confer the Agricola Medal upon Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. This award, given amidst the ongoing genocidal war and humanitarian crisis in Tigray, stands as a stark endorsement of a regime implicated in egregious atrocities and crimes against humanity.

The recognition of a leader responsible for using gangrape as a weapon of war, engaging in Siege Warfare, and employing the Starvation of Civilians as a Weapon of War and War Crime is not only morally indefensible but also a blatant disregard for the suffering and hardships endured by millions of Tigrayan people. The award fails to acknowledge the dire consequences of deliberate tactics adopted by Ethiopian government forces under Abiy, contributing to a man-made famine and hunger crisis of catastrophic proportions in Tigray.

The timing and nature of this award cast a shadow on the credibility and integrity of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Instead of standing as a beacon of hope and assistance for those facing food insecurity, hunger, and famine, this decision sends a disturbing message that undermines the very principles the United Nations is meant to uphold.
We urge the Food and Agriculture Organization to reconsider its stance and take a principled stand against supporting regimes implicated in severe violations of international law. It is crucial that the FAO upholds the integrity of its awards and demonstrates a commitment to promoting ethical leadership, human dignity, and global accountability.

It is imperative that the United Nations takes immediate action to rectify this egregious oversight. The Ethiopian regime, under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, should be held accountable for its role in the genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity taking place in Tigray. The appropriate forum for such accountability is the International Criminal Court (ICC), where justice can be sought for the victims of these heinous acts.
Furthermore, we implore the FAO to use its influence to advocate for a comprehensive investigation into the reported crimes in Tigray and to support initiatives that address the urgent humanitarian needs of the affected population.

In light of the above, we call upon the United Nations and the FAO to reconsider their decision and take a principled stand against supporting leaders implicated in gross human rights violations. Failing to do so not only jeopardizes the credibility of these institutions but also perpetuates a grave injustice against the people of Tigray.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we anticipate a prompt and considered response that reflects the values of justice, human rights, and accountability that the FAO represents.

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