Solidarity of Tigrayans for Independence and Liberty Condemns UNOCHA’s Handling of Tigray Crisis.

Mekelle:  3 May 2024 (Tigray Herald)

Solidarity of Tigrayans for Independence and Liberty Condemns UNOCHA’s Handling of Tigray Crisis.

We write to express our profound dismay and righteous indignation at the developments surrounding UNOCHA’s handling of the crisis in Tigray. The revelations concerning UNOCHA’s actions and statements have deeply shaken our trust in the organization’s commitment to impartiality, neutrality, and the fundamental principles of humanitarianism.

The statements made regarding the safety and security of humanitarian workers in conflict areas, particularly in Tigray by UNOCHA official, Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov during an interview with The Reporter Ethiopia on April 6, 2024 are unacceptable. The assertions made deny the grim reality faced by humanitarian personnel on the ground in Tigray.

Firstly, it is imperative to acknowledge the tragic loss of humanitarian workers in Tigray. Contrary to the assertion that attacks on humanitarian workers were not deliberate, the evidence suggests otherwise. Reports, including from the UN and other humanitarian organizations,  indicate a significant number of humanitarian workers who have lost their lives while carrying out their duties, including incidents that claimed the lives of four humanitarian workers in 2024 alone, adding to the distressing toll of 46 aid personnel who perished since 2019 in Ethiopia, 36 of which were on the genocidal war on Tigray.

Additionally, the expulsion of more UN staff in a single day from Ethiopia than in Syria over fifteen years raises serious concerns about the safety and integrity of humanitarian operations that were ongoing in Tigray. Such actions disrupted vital humanitarian activities and compromised the ability of humanitarian workers to deliver essential assistance to those in need.

Furthermore, the misrepresentation of areas in Tigray as “North Ethiopia” in communications is a blatant attempt to erase the identity and territorial integrity of Tigray and legitimize the unconstitutional occupation/annexation by Amhara forces. This deliberate distortion of facts not only exacerbates the suffering of the Tigrayan people but also undermines efforts to address the displacement crisis in the region. Further, it negates the Pretoria Peace Agreement signed in 2022 which requires that the territorial integrity of Tigray should be returned to Status Quo Ante.

In addition, statements made on 22 April 2024: “Ethiopia: Flash Update #2: Displacement in North Wello and Wag Hamra Zones, Amhara Region (As of 22 April 2024)” and on 19 April 2024: Ethiopia: Flash Update #1: Displacement in North Wello and Wag Hamra Zones, Amhara Region, As of 19 April 2024 undermine the internally displaced in Tigray while exaggerating the internally displaced in Amhara region. Tigray hosts the highest number of internally displaced persons in Ethiopia, primarily due to conflict as documented in a January 2024 report by IOM. Any attempt to downplay or ignore this reality is a grave disservice to those who have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety and security while obstructing aid that should go to them.

Furthermore, the lack of accountability and the failure to address allegations of complicity of UN officials in the genocidal war in Tigray is deeply troubling. Reports of UN officials such as Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov downplaying atrocities, making inflammatory remarks, and echoing government propaganda only serve to erode trust and further endanger the lives of humanitarian workers and the populations they serve.

Mounting evidence also suggests complicity of UN officials in the genocide against Tigrayans perpetrated by Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Amhara forces. UN Ethiopia officials downplayed sexual violence. A former Ethiopian minister wrote that UN officials were bribed by the Ethiopian government. Refugee International highlighted the UN’s role in the humanitarian crisis. The UN even incorporated occupied Tigrayan territories into the Amhara region, while the IOM Ethiopia chief made derogatory remarks about Tigrayans.

Concerningly, the UN Resident Coordinator in Ethiopia repeated the regime’s propaganda phrases, signalling partnership with the government responsible for atrocities. Shockingly, a UNDP memo echoed the government’s grievances, likening the Tigrayan conflict to “cancer.”

The inclusion of articles from Borkena, a notorious mouthpiece known for its unequivocal support of the genocidal war on Tigray, within the UNOCHA daily briefing email is nothing short of a betrayal of the trust placed in the United Nations to uphold human rights and protect the vulnerable. By giving a platform to voices that propagate violence and oppression, UNOCHA not only fails to fulfill its mandate but actively contributes to the legitimization of the ongoing atrocities in 45% of Tigray. This not only undermines the credibility of UNOCHA but also perpetuates the suffering of innocent civilians who are enduring unimaginable horrors on a daily basis.


In light of these facts, it is essential for UNOCHA to acknowledge the gravity of the situation that was ongoing in Tigray and take concrete steps to address statements being made by UNOCHA official, Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov. Addressing the root causes of attacks on humanitarian workers, holding perpetrators accountable, and upholding the principles of humanitarian assistance are crucial for the effective delivery of aid and the protection of human lives.

Considering these grave concerns, we call on UNOCHA to take immediate and decisive action to rectify the injustices that have been committed. This includes conducting a thorough and independent investigation into the complicity of UNOCHA officials in the genocide against Tigrayans, holding perpetrators accountable, and reaffirming the organization’s commitment to the principles of neutrality, impartiality, and human rights. We include with this not sourcing sites such as Borkena for daily email updates.

Based on the territorial integrity of Tigray and forceful and unconstitutional occupation by Amhara forces, we urge the UNOCHA to clearly designate Tigrayan lands as the Tigray Region.

Failure to take meaningful action in response to these concerns not only undermines the credibility and integrity of UNOCHA but also jeopardizes the lives and well-being of countless innocent civilians who continue to suffer as a result of the genocide in Tigray and Sudan. The time for action is now, and we urge UNOCHA to rise to the occasion and fulfil its duty to protect and serve all those in need, without exception or hesitation.

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