Tigrayan scholars urge ‘all-inclusive’ political process to end ‘unprecedented crisis’
In a statement extended to Sudans Post tonight, the Global Society of Tigrayan Scholars and Professionals (GSTS), a non-partisan global knowledge network with membership of over 3000 Tigrayan scholars and professionals urged "all Ethiopian scholars and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to take their civic duties and responsibilities seriously and explore alternative courses of action to urgently push for dialogue and peaceful political process in Ethiopia."
ADDIS ABABA – A body comprising Ethiopian scholars and professionals from war-ravaged Tigray region is appealing to other stakeholders countrywide to intervene and facilitate what would be an ‘all-inclusive political process’ to rescue the country from disintegration as regional and international observers raise alarm over escalating conflict.
The ongoing crisis in Ethiopia began in November last year when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed authorized what was then a ‘law enforcement’ operation following an alleged attack by armed TPLF soldiers on a federal army base, but has threatened, one year on, to throw the East African country into unprecedented crisis.
In a statement extended to Sudans Post tonight, the Global Society of Tigrayan Scholars and Professionals (GSTS), a non-partisan global knowledge network with membership of over 3000 Tigrayan scholars and professionals urged “all Ethiopian scholars and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to take their civic duties and responsibilities seriously and explore alternative courses of action to urgently push for dialogue and peaceful political process in Ethiopia.”
“Since the outbreak of the brutal civil war, Ethiopia is going through one of the most horrific internal conflicts in its history. This has led millions of Ethiopians to experience humanitarian crises and human rights violations including massive extrajudicial killings, forced displacements and disappearances, widespread rape and sexual violence, ethnic profiling and cleansing, systematic destruction and pillaging of public properties and other heinous atrocities, amounting to war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide,” the statement adds.
The statement said the group, along with other international organizations, “has been engaged in drawing attention to the grave impacts and ramifications of the brutal war on Tigray that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and affected the livelihoods of millions.”
“The war, which started in Tigray, has taken different forms and phases over the year and has now expanded to the Amhara and Afar regions. The magnitude, scale and nature of the war is gravely eroding thousands of years of shared values, social fabric, norms and coexistence of the Ethiopian people, leading to the disintegration of the country. Hate speech and inflammatory rhetoric aiming at inciting violence along ethnic lines are tearing Ethiopian communities apart. It is very saddening and concerning that such rhetoric is being propagated and spearheaded by higher government officials, including the Prime Minister, scholars, elites and religious leaders,” it adds.
While citing previous conflicts, the body says “the scale, complexity, characteristic, and trends of the current war is particularly worrisome, considering its implications to the human lives and integrity of the country. Civilian communities are being actively mobilized to fight their own compatriots, making the conflict a total civil and ethnicized war.”
It alleged that “civil servants and ordinary Tigrayans living outside the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) controlled areas are being ethnically profiled, arrested, tortured, mass murdered, disappeared and taken to concentration camps. GSTS worries that unless immediately challenged and averted, the political, constitutional and humanitarian crises in Tigray, neighboring regions and large parts of Ethiopia will lead to a violent disintegration of the Ethiopian state and adversely impact regional stability.”
The body said that Ethiopian scholars and civil society organizations “should have collectively opposed the war on Tigray when it was declared, more so when foreign troops invaded Ethiopia to commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide on the people of Tigray.”
It adds that “the inaction and silence of the Ethiopian scholars and CSOs, and even worse the widescale endorsement of the war and the unprecedented atrocities committed against the people of Tigray, have contributed to the continuation of the war and deteriorating political landscape in Ethiopia.”
“GSTS feels Ethiopian scholars are missing opportunities to salvage Ethiopia and time is running out fast. It has to be underlined that there will not be a military solution to a fundamentally political and constitutional crisis; and thus Ethiopian scholars and leaders of CSOs need to step up and play a much-needed role in averting the collapse of the country by expediting a peaceful negotiated settlement.
“Ethiopian scholars must explore innovative paths for a new social contract through inclusive negotiation and all-inclusive national dialogue and thus play a positive role to mitigate the highly dangerous, multifaceted and complex crises that has engulfed Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.”
The group further said that it “strongly believes the current crisis must be solved through an all-inclusive peaceful political dialogue and is ready to play its role in the process. In this context, GSTS would like to call on all Ethiopian Scholars and CSOs to engage in finding ways to an all-inclusive and peaceful process aimed at settling political differences through political discourse.”
“Moreover, GSTS also pleads to the Ethiopian scholars and CSOs to play their historic role in protecting the vulnerable, especially the hundreds of thousands of innocent but ethnically profiled Tigrayans in Addis Ababa, Adama, Amhara region and other parts of Ethiopia.
“Lastly yet importantly, GSTS would like to affirm that it remains open and committed to engage with Ethiopian scholars, CSOs, and other stakeholders in facilitating discussions aimed at attaining political and long-lasting peaceful solutions to the ongoing crises.
“Considering the severity of the situation, Ethiopian scholars and CSOs need to take a collective responsibility and urgently act to facilitate a national dialogue that brings all stakeholders to the table to participate and agree on a roadmap towards reconciliation, and a peaceful and long-lasting resolution of the unprecedented crisis.”
Sudans Post is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Sudan, South Sudan and East Africa, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the two countries and the region.