Statement on OCHA’s Puzzling Complicity in Injustice
The genocidal Ethiopian and Eritrean armies along with an assortment of marauding forces belonging to the Amhara expansionist region have committed and continue to commit heinous atrocities against the people of Tigray residing in Western Tigray, and parts of North-Western, Central and Eastern Tigray that remain under the brutal occupation of Amhara expansionist forces and the Eritrean army.
As documented by mandated institutions and media outlets, these forces have committed acts of genocide, systematically gang-raped women and girls, massacred civilians, engaged in ethnic cleansing, decimated Tigray’s economy, destroyed socio-cultural institutions, used hunger as a weapon of war and deliberately vandalized service-providing infrastructure.
Against this backdrop, the Government of Tigray is profoundly disturbed by the reckless decision of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to incorporate occupied territories in Western Tigray—Wolkayit, Tegedie, and Setit Humera—into Amhara regional State in its latest situation report, issued on April 29, 2022. By appearing to legitimize the forcible seizure of legitimate Tigrayan territories, OCHA has dangerously deviated from its basic mission of facilitating humanitarian operations around the world. By intentionally or unintentionally putting its imprimatur on the illegal and illegitimate seizure of Tigrayan territories, OCHA has acted outside the bounds of its institutional mandate in violation of the UN Charter, and General Assembly and UN Security Council resolutions.
OCHA’s unfortunate claim, retracted since, would amount to the willful endorsement of the illegal annexation of a constitutionally recognized Tigrayan territory, further complicating efforts to bring the current conflict to an end through peaceful means.
Finally, the Government of Tigray calls upon the UNOCHA, and other UN entities and organizations to consistently uphold their mandate, condemn the annexation of Western Tigray along with the attendant violations of international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law and use the constitutionally recognized nomenclature.
What is the statement responding to?
Note: OCHA Ethiopia published a report on 29 Apr 2022 where it included Western Tigray as part of Amhara territory. It specifically said:
Similarly in Amhara Region, more than 558 schools (6 per cent of schools in the region) across North Gondar, North Wello and Wag Hemra, Wolkayit Tsegedie, Setit Humera zones are still closed due to security reasons (1). And more than 97 schools in North Wello, Wag Hemra and North Gondar zones are temporarily sheltering IDPs and armed forcesOCHA Report, 29 Apr 2022
After Tigrayans reacted to this dangerous complicity in seizing lands by force, the phrase “, Wolkayit Tsegedie, Setit Humera” has been removed from the report. But the number of schools remains the same, that is 558 before and after. Clearly, Wolkayit Tsege and Setit Humera schools which are in Western Tigray are still reported as Amhara schools.
The Tigray Government statement above is responding to this dangerous complicity of a UN agency.