Urgent Plea for the Freedom of Tigrayan Prisoners in Ethiopia

Mekelle:  10 February 2024 (Tigray Herald)

By Yerga Yaecobe

Urgent Plea for the Freedom of Tigrayan Prisoners in Ethiopia

Dear [State Department/European Union/Human Rights Organizations/Human Rights Watch/Amnesty International/UN Human Rights Council/Pretoria Peace Agreement Witnesses and Guarantors],

I am reaching out to urgently highlight the critical situation faced by more than 17,000 Tigrayan detainees in Ethiopia, enduring severe mistreatment solely due to their ethnicity. These individuals, who have served Ethiopia in various roles, including peacekeeping missions endorsed by the international community, are enduring consistent violence, atrocities, and abuse in detention centers and prisons nationwide.

Despite the Pretoria peace agreement mandating the release of all Tigrayan detainees, the Ethiopian Federal Government persists in its severe mistreatment, including killings and torture, of these individuals. The Ethiopian government bears the primary responsibility to address this humanitarian crisis, alongside international stakeholders such as the U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer, and the African Union.

The Tigray authorities, under the leadership of TPLF, must also prioritize the release of these detainees as a matter of urgency.

Immediate and unconditional measures are crucial to securing the release of these detainees in line with the Pretoria peace agreements. Failing to do so not only prolongs the suffering of the Tigrayan people but also jeopardizes the prospects for sustainable peace in the Horn of Africa, endangering the interests of the United States and Western nations in the region.

We urge the U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Mike Hammer, the African Union, including the Tigray interim government led by TPLF, and other relevant parties to prioritize the release of these detainees in all discussions and engagements with the Ethiopian Federal Government and international partners. Their immediate and unconditional release is not only a moral imperative but also a legal obligation under the Pretoria peace agreements.

I appeal to you to leverage your influence and resources to prioritize the plight of these overlooked Tigrayan detainees and to pressure the Ethiopian government to fulfill its obligations under the Pretoria peace agreements. Furthermore, I urge international human rights agencies to address this issue urgently, as it constitutes another dimension of the genocide unfolding against the people of Tigray.

While the voices of these detainees may have been silenced, it is our duty to amplify their calls for justice and put an end to their suffering. The Ethiopian prison facilities where they are held epitomize some of the gravest human rights violations globally, and we cannot ignore their plight any longer.

Let us stand united in solidarity with the Tigrayan people and strive tirelessly to ensure the immediate release and safe return of these unfairly detained individuals to their families in Tigray.

Thank you for your attention to this pressing matter.

Sincerely, Yaecobe Yerega. Human Rights Activist based in Europe.

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