Urgent Appeal to Stop Illicit Gold Exploitation in Post-Genocide Tigray

Mekelle፡ 5 June 2024 (Tigray Herald)

Urgent Appeal to Stop Illicit Gold Exploitation in Post-Genocide Tigray

By Yerga Yaecobe

The post-genocide Tigray region is experiencing severe environmental and human destruction due to illicit gold exploitation, particularly in the northwestern Tigray administrative zone. This exploitation has long-term negative impacts on the environment and the well-being of the local population. It is crucial for every concerned Tigrayan, both within the region and in the diaspora, to unite and address this critical issue.

Affected Areas
Illicit gold exploitation is particularly rampant in the following districts of northwestern Tigray:

Maeso Gula
Adie Hankray
Adie Gozemo
Hayeda Selemtie
These areas, along with numerous other blind spots and pockets across the northwestern and central zones of Tigray, are suffering from severe environmental degradation and humanitarian crises due to uncontrolled gold mining activities.

Environmental and Human Impact
Illicit gold exploitation is causing:

Environmental Degradation: Destruction of landscapes, deforestation, and contamination of water sources with toxic chemicals.
Human Health Risks: Exposure to hazardous substances, leading to serious health issues among local populations.
Economic Disruption: Exploitation of resources without benefiting the local economy, leading to increased poverty and instability.
Social Injustice: Exploitation often involves forced labor, child labor, and other human rights abuses.
Call to Action
To the Tigrayan Government and Security Forces:

Act urgently, immediately, and decisively to stop illicit gold exploitation.
Mobilize the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) to secure affected areas and prevent illegal activities.
Hold accountable those responsible for environmental and human rights crimes.
To the Tigrayan Diaspora and Humanitarian Groups:

Raise awareness about the the ongoing environmental and humanitarian destruction in Tigray.
Utilize media platforms to highlight the severity of the situation and mobilize international support.
Apply pressure on local and international authorities to take action against perpetrators.
To the Media and Community at Large:

Report and document instances of illegal gold mining and its impacts.
Support initiatives aimed at restoring and protecting the environment.
Engage in advocacy and support grassroots efforts to combat environmental crimes.

Warning and Evidence
There is clear satellite-coordinated evidence from international environmental monitoring agencies, confirming the extensive environmental damage caused by illicit gold mining in the specified areas. These reports underscore the urgent need for action to prevent further destruction and protect the people and environment of Tigray.

The illicit gold exploitation in post-genocide Tigray is a grave issue that requires immediate attention and action. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)-led government, security forces, and the TDF must act decisively to protect the environment and the people. The Tigrayan community, both at home and abroad, must unite to prevent further destruction and ensure accountability. This silent environmental and humanitarian disaster is no different from the atrocities committed during the genocidal war, and it must be stopped now.

By coming together and taking a stand, we can safeguard the future of Tigray and its people.

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