Drawing Urgent Attention to the Plight of Tigrayan Refugees in Sudan”

MekelleŠć° 4 July 2024 (Tigray Herald)

“Drawing Urgent Attention to the Plight of Tigrayan Refugees in Sudan”

Drawing Urgent Attention to the Plight of Tigrayan Refugees in Sudan

The Global Society of Tigray Scholars and Professionals (GSTS) is deeply alarmed by the increasing danger to Tigrayan refugees sheltered in the Tunaydbah and Um Rakuba camps, in Eastern Sudan due to the ongoing and much regretted conflict in that country. The spread of the conflict means that the areas in which the refugee camps are situated are likely to be affected by violent military conflict. Moreover, reports reveal that the humanitarian workers are being evacuated from the region for safety meaning that refugees have no access to basic humanitarian aid, including food and healthcare.

As a result, extremely vulnerable refugees who fled across the border to escape horrendous atrocities and have persevered under very challenging conditions in underserviced camps for years are now once more in fear for their very lives. GSTS has reached Tigrayan refugees in the camps and recorded testimonies of their living conditions and fears of safety. They have been driven to desperation by privation and insecurity and at this time believe they have nowhere to turn. Many are falling victim to human traffickers promising passage to Europe through irregular and highly dangerous paths.

It is intolerable that almost two years after the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) in Pretoria steps have not even been initiated to facilitate the return of Tigrayan refugees to their homes, lands, and properties.

GSTS is a 501(C) and 33/2011 legally registered non-partisan, not for proft network knowledge network operating all over the world. With over 5.000 members. (approximately 1/5 of whom are PhD holders), GSTS is the largest and most active academic and professional association in Ethopia and the Hom of Alrica. Since the onset of the war on Tigray on 4″ November 2020, GSTS has been engaged in research-based fact finding: data collection and documentation, legal analysis and interpretation, and humanitarian advocacy surrounding human rights violations, amounting to war of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide perpetrated against the Tigrayan people GSTS strongly urges the Federal government of Ethiopia, the Tigray Interim Administration, and all international partners to act urgently to ensure that Tigrayan refugees do not fall victim to another war.

We particularly call upon the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to urgently

discharge its duties to safeguard refugees who have been under its care for more than four years.

With this in mind, we call upon all stakeholders to act with immediate effect. We particularly ask;

The UNHCR and the International Community at large to:

1. Take adequate and speedy measures that ensure their safety and well-being including relocating them to safer places and providing humanitarian aid;

2. Put all pressure and instruments on the Ethiopian government and other mandated stakeholders to return these refugees to their homes and property as per the Pretoria agreement; and

3. Urgently hold talks with both warring parties and other relevant stakeholders to reach concrete agreements to ensure maximum responsibility for the safeguarding of civilians.

The Ethiopian Federal Government to:

1. Immediately effect the complete withdrawal of Amhara forces from all territories of Tigray and facilitate the urgent and safe return of Tigrayan refugees. Sudan along with the millions of Internally Displaced Persons as per the Pretoria agreement and Nairobi’s senior commanders’ declaration; anda

2. Give due emphasis to the Tigray refugees in Sudan and take all measures to safeguard them.

The Tigray Interim Administration to:

1. Swiftly work in tandem with the Federal government and all parties into the Pretoria agreement to ensure the immediate and urgent repatriation of Tigrayan refugees to their homes and lands.

GSTS, and the Tigrayan community at large, remain very grateful for the incredible generosity of Sudanese people welcoming tens of thousands of Tigrayan refugees fleeing genocidal war on Tigray that started in 2020. We are deeply distressed by the terrible conflict in Sudan which has left over 11 million displaced persons and stand firm solidarity with the people of Sudan in the desire for a speedy resolution of the conflict and a return to peace.

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