Urgent Appeal to: Tigray Interim Regional Administration, Mekelle, Tigray

MekelleŠć° 22 June 2024 (Tigray Herald)

Urgent Appeal to: Tigray Interim Regional Administration, Mekelle, Tigray

Subject: Abduction, Missing, Rape and Death of Women

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, write this letter to express our grave concern and to demand urgent action regarding the escalating incidents of abductions, missing persons, rape and deaths of women and girls in Tigray. These heinous acts continue to devastate the lives of countless individuals, predominantly women and girls, compounding their suffering and impeding the region’s path to recovery and peace.

The atrocities committed during and after the recent war on Tigray constitute gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Despite the cessation of active hostilities, these incidents persist, highlighting the persistent insecurity and lack of accountability in the region.

Detailed Incidents:

Betelihem Gebremichael: A 10th grade student at Kallamino Special High School went missing for 10 days and was found dead in a lake near Debri, Hadnet Subcity, Mekelle, Tigray. The cause of her death remains unknown.

Mahlet Teklay: A 16-year-old girl was abducted by unknown individuals in Adwa, Tigray, while on her way to language classes. Her parents have been asked for a ransom of millions of birr for her return. She has been missing for over seventy days.

Social Media Reports: Numerous reports of abductions and missing women circulate on social media, with families and friends sharing images and contact information in hopes of locating their loved ones. This trend is increasingly worrying as such abductions are becoming recurrent.

It is to be remembered that on August 19, 2023, Zewdu Haftu was murdered in Mekelle by unknown assailants. Advocates demand justice for Zewdu and accountability for the perpetrators, regardless of their affiliations. The interim government and its security forces must be held accountable for failing to uphold the rule of law. Members of the police forces investigating her case wrote a letter to the regional police commission on May 21, describing their concerns about threats and misconduct directed at them. This incident underscores the urgent need for action and accountability from the Interim Regional Administration and international actors.

We call upon the Interim Administration of Tigray, the Ethiopian government, and the International Community to take the following immediate actions:

Justice and Accountability: Conduct thorough, transparent, and independent investigations into all allegations of abductions, gender-based violence, and murders. Ensure that perpetrators, regardless of their affiliation, are held accountable through fair and impartial judicial processes.

Security and Protection: Enhance security measures to protect vulnerable populations, particularly women and children, from further violence. This includes deploying peacekeeping forces, improving local policing, and establishing safe zones for those at risk.

Support for Survivors: Provide comprehensive medical, psychological, and legal support for survivors of these heinous crimes. This includes access to healthcare services, trauma counseling, and legal aid to help them rebuild their lives and pursue justice.

International Involvement: Request increased monitoring and reporting on human rights violations in Tigray by the international community, including the United Nations, African Union, and other human rights advocacy organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Their involvement is crucial to ensuring adherence to international law.

Reparations and Redress: Develop and implement a reparations program for victims that acknowledges their suffering and provides tangible support for their recovery and reintegration into society.

We stand in solidarity with the survivors and all those affected by the ongoing violence in Tigray. Their voices and stories must be heard and addressed. Ensuring justice and protection for these individuals is essential for fostering lasting peace in Tigray.

We trust that you will take these demands seriously and act with the urgency that this crisis requires. The undersigned civil society organizations are committed to supporting efforts to end gender-based violence and ensure justice for all victims.

June 3, 2024

Regards,Gorzo – A Movement to Empower Women

Yikono – A Movement to End Gender based Violence

Rise and Shine Women Empowerment Center

Human Rights First

Tinsae Humanitarian Charity Organization (THCO)

TYN – Tigray Youth Network

RUFT – Rise Up For Tigray

Tegezo Advocacy for Justice and Democracy

Tigrayan Advocacy and Development Association (TADA) – UK

Voice for Democracy and Social Justice

Solidarity of Tigrayans for Independence and Liberty

Security and Justice for Tigrayans Canada

Health Professionals Network for Tigray

Peace and Justice for Tigreans International (PJTI)

Security and Justice for Tigrayans

News Sources – Betelihem Gebremichael – Mahlet Teklay – Zewdu Haftu

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