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The Internet Governance Forum: a spectacle of the United Nations’ complicity in the Tigray Genocide



The United Nations’ Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is convening its 17th annual conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week. Among the conference’s broader themes one is:“connecting all people and safeguarding human rights” and “Avoiding Internet Fragmentation”.  

It is ironic that a UN body  whose supposed objective is to promote wider and better access to internet is holding its biggest annual meeting in a country that has weaponized the internet and communications system to commit crimes that amount to genocide and disinform the world about it.

Ethiopia’s regime has imposed the world’s longest internet and general communications shutdown on the Tigray region, home to about seven million people and where an ongoing genocidal campaign has led to the death of up to half a million people over a 25-month-long period. During the last two years, hundreds of thousands of people of Tigrayan descent have perished due organized massacres, indiscriminate bombings of cities and villages and a deliberate mass starvation and lack of access to medical assistance because of a siege imposed by the Ethiopian regime and its allies. Over 120 thousand women and girls were reportedly subjected to systematic campaign of rape and sexual violence largely by Ethiopian and Eritrean armies and their allied ethnic Amhara militia, who have also been accused of carrying out a successful ethnic cleansing campaign in Western Tigray, which constitutes almost a third of Tigray’s territory. The numbers are likely to be very conservative estimates as the depth of the crisis is little known because of the communication blackout and lack of access to the region for human rights bodies and independent media.  

Tigrayans in their millions remain cut-off from the world as the IGF meeting goes on in Addis Ababa. Yet, this situation does not seem to have cause any concern for the UN officials attending the event. However, the United Nations complicity in the Tigray Genocide is not limited to hosting this event in Ethiopia. UN officials including the Secretary General himself have continuously been defending the Ethiopian regime’s campaign to wipe out Tigrayans in many ways. For many weeks into the war in 2020, Mr Guterres who is also attending the event in Addis Ababa today continued to deny the presence of Eritrean troops, who had by then committed some of the most gruesome atrocities against civilians in Tigray.

Despite overwhelming evidence of ongoing atrocities in Tigray, UN officials, including the Secretary General himself and UN representatives in Ethiopia, continue to downplay the scale of the human rights and humanitarian crisis and thus the need for intervention to stop the horrors.

In an open letter she wrote following her resignation, Filsan Ahmed, former Minister of Women and Children of Ethiopia stated:

The UN was born out of the horrors of World War two. Rather than upholding its mandate and recognizing the spirit (of Never Again) under which the UN was founded[, w]e  have top UN officials succumbing to the seductions of the Ethiopian government and accepting invitations to lavish resorts as quid pro quo for silence.

Leaked audio recordings of Addis Ababa- based senior UN officials reveal a general lack of sympathy among the officials towards the plights of Tigrayans in the country. 

The International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) confirmed this complicity of the UN offices based in Ethiopia in the ongoing violence against Tigrayans. In its preliminary investigation report, the ICHREE noted the following revealing the general lack of interest by the UN offices to support investigation into human rights violations in Tigray.

“Requests to various UN entities operating in Ethiopia to share documents and materials of interest were largely deflected, or responded to after an inordinate delay.”

During the IGF opening event today, Doreen Bogdan, Director of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), posted the following on her twitter.  

“Always great to be back at @UN @intgovforum #IGF2022.  At this years event, a resilient Internet tops the agenda with discussions on universal connectivity, safety and security, data protection, emerging tech and avoiding fragmentation. #LeaveNoOneBehind #OurDigitalFuture.”

While the stated aim of this conference is to promote digital rights, global connectivity and broader safety of the internet, Doreen says nothing about the absurdity of the situation in the host country of the event. The “#LeaveNoOneBehind” slogan in her tweet does not clearly include the  seven million Tigrayans in Ethiopia under siege imposed by the Ethiopian Government that is hosting the event that she is participating in and whose high officials were given a platform to gaslight Tigrayans and disinform the world. The event is being used by the Ethiopian regime to gain global legitimacy and to whitewash ongoing human rights violations in Tigray and across the rest of the country. No Tigrayans can attend the event for security reasons as we had previously tried to clarify to the organizers of the conference, which means the voices of the millions of Tigrayans will not be heard and what the regime officials say is likely to be taken as truth.  

During the opening day of the conference, gadgets were confiscated from participants at the entrances of the venue, likely to silence voices about the blackout in Tigray.  

Convening a conference of this level in a country that has weaponized the internet to commit genocide in Tigray is mockery of the idea and purpose of “Internet governance forum” itself. It particularly goes against some of the key themes of the conference. We thus suggest to people interested in the human rights implications of communication shutdowns and who would like to hear voices that are suppressed by the Internet Governance Forum to follow alternative virtual events such as the “Internet Ungovernance Forum”.   

Tekehaymanot G. Weldemichel has a Ph.D. in Human Geography from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. His research focuses on environmental policies and politics. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology where he studies the translation of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into policies and practices.

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  1. Stop invading & killing innocent civilians under the cloak of self-defense

    December 11, 2022 at 11:51 am

    As usual, Ethiopian telecommunication is closely working with the genocidal regime once again and targeting Tegaru now. For the purpose of their maliciously barbaric act , they are applying phone interception, & phone tapping to eavesdrop into the personal conversations of people in Tigray devoid of criminal activities but solely on the account of ethnic background and personal views.
    In contrast to the peace deal signed in South Africa and later in Kenya , Cessation of hostilities is not respected by the ruling party based in Addis Ababa, Arat Kilo, who d pledged not to target Tegaru living in and outside Tigray.
    According to some witnesses, certain Tigrayans whose phone communication was overheard and eavesdropped were killed and hereby would like to remind you to avoid throwing caution to the wind, and need to follow safety precautions while getting in touch with your family members living in Tigray to protect them from fifth columnists and co-genociders.
    The Devil Can Cite Scripture for His Purpose- it becomes a normative behavior among some activists to speak about religion & citing biblical verses while encouraging Fanos to resume in their mass killings and barbaric act. At RasMedia, recently we heard fanatic members of fano recommending Ethiopian Orthodox Church to arm , provide mass killing weapons, to its adherents. One said « it is not enough for the church to arm Christians with godly or eccleciastical accessories , word of God, Cross and others to protect themselves from evilsprits .The church need necessarily arm its believers to defend themselves . There is no biblical verse telling us to run after our neighbors who partake in the same faith , and national identity, above all who share likeness and image of God in order to expand our territory and grab power massively by degrading other ethnicities as minorities and devoid of rights . It is evidently barbaric act to invade and massively kill innocent civilians of all ethnic background who are peacefully staying in their home or work place with pretext of defending yourselves. Many of of those innocent civilians massacred by fanos were sleeping in their home and never used any kind of weapon to attack their neighbors .

    Stop killing innocent civilians of all ethnicities under the cloak of unity, victimization and self-defense without even being attacked !!!
    Source: ሰበር ዜና/ ሌሊቱን አዲስአበባ በቶክስ ተናወጠች/በትግራይ ስልኮች ተጠለፉ/በርካቶች ተረሸኑ-Hagare Tigray 11/12/2022

  2. Free detained Tigrayans and Free Tigray from Fano and Eritrean soldiers-genocidal army

    December 4, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    An extract about the massacre of Tegaru at the camp near Mirab Abaya, as witnessed by Katharine Houreld December 4, 2022 at 2:00 a.m. on Washington post: “By sunset the next day, around 83 prisoners were dead and another score missing, according to six survivors. Some were shot by their guards, others hacked to death by villagers . Many of those killed in the prisons were among the thousands of Ethiopian troops who have served in international peacekeeping missions under the United Nations or African Union. In a detention center near Didessa, near Nekemte town, at least five soldiers were killed and 30 others taken away and never seen again, a prisoner previously held there said. Two imprisoned soldiers, accused of having mobile phones, were also killed by guards at a detention center in eastern Ethiopia between Harar and Dire Dawa, a witness said.In Garbassa, two prisoners said six detainees had been killed and others injured so badly they had lost the use of limbs and eyes. Most of the guards who did the killing were from the Amhara region!!!

    Source:Washingtonpost Katharine Houreld
    December 4, 2022 at 2:00 a.m.

    • Free ethiopia from amharanised ideology perniciously deadly than a sword along with its expansionist theory

      December 9, 2022 at 5:07 pm

      Ras Media propagating its expansionist propaganda entitled ” ታጠቅ ፋኖ!” ordering eotc to arm its followers to go against others who they label “foreigners, aliens “, because they don’t accept amharanized ideology and amharanised ethiopia. (24:05, 1:05:57, 38:41 ) one said “አዋ እንደዚይህ ቆፍጠን ማለት ነው አኛ ደሞ በገንዘብ እንረዳለን” US should hold accountable those who ignite civil war and sponsor it .Amhara intellos and fake refugees in US who are reigniting civil war should be brought to justice. An intello from fano genocidal group described lingua franca in a derogatory manner (same above video between 42:02-42:29 -“የቋንቋ ሳይንስ ሊንጓ ፍራንኳ -Lingua franca-ማለት ናይ ፍራንክ ፤ናይ ሸቀጥ ቋንቋ ክብል ይገልፆ፥”፥ሊንጓ ፍራንኳ ማለት ታይ ማለት ምዃኑ ዊክፒዲያ ፍልይ ብዝበለ መንገዲ ከምዚ ዝስዕብ ይገልፆ: Lingua franca-A world language – a language spoken internationally and by many people – is a language that may function as a global lingua franca. A language used by people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both of the speakers’ native languages. Stop killing innocent civilians of all ethnic background.

    • xxxxxxxxx222222yyy

      December 10, 2022 at 10:35 am

      አማራ አባይን ለ ግብፅ ሽጥላት
      ድሮን ታንክ ጀት ትስጥህ ወንዙን ነቅላ አትወስድብህ ምን ችግር አለው ለ ግብፅ አባይ ፓለቲካ ነው ለ አንተ ግን አባይ ህልውናህ ነው አባይ ጆከርህ ነው
      ስለዚህ አማራ ከ ግብፅ እና ኤርትራ ጋር ተደራደር
      ለ ግብፅ አባይን ስጣት
      ኤርትራን ጠብቃት
      ኤርትራን ኢሳያስን የሚጠላ የ አንተ ጠላት ነው
      ከቻልክ ከ ብሄረሰቧች ጋር ተባብረህ አዲስ አበባን አድን ብሄር ብሄረሰቧች ካልተባበሩ እና
      ካልቻልክ አዲስ አበባን ሰተኸቸው ወለጋን ተረከባቸው
      ከዛ ራስህን አድን
      ከ አዲስ አበባ ወለጋ ትርፋማ ነች
      ምን አላት አዲስ አበባ
      ምንም ወለጋ ግን ሀብታም ነች
      ግን አሁንም ትዕግስት ትዕግስት
      ለ ኢትዩጵያ

      ke ሮሃ ዜና – በአዲስ አበባ የታሰበው አደገኛ ቀውስ! – ለአማራ ህዝብ የቀረበው የማንቂያ ጥሪ! ልዩ ሃይሉ ምን እያደረገ ነው?yetewesede for you to read and relax

  3. Free Tigray from Eritrean butchers and fano genocidal team

    December 3, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    We are constantly witnessing hate speech against Tegaru even after the peace deal signed.

    Godeliyas Egziber Talaq Nw said “ትግሬ በጣም ከባድ ነው 100 % ማመን ከያስፈልግም እስስት ዘደኛ ናቸው ቀብረው ቀብረው አስቀምጠዋል አዲስ አበባ መምጣት ሲጀምሩ ጉድ ይሰራሉ”

    Sami Muller “We never believe me ❗️ We should keep on searching and searching ❗️🇪🇹🇪🇹🌹🇪🇹🇪🇹
    TIgre ina Misx wede wusx

    Mizan Kassa “ትግሬን ማመን ቀብሮ ኤርትራዊያን ደሞቻችን እንወዳችሃለን የክፉ ቀን ደራሻችን መቸም ቢሆን ኤርትራን ሙቸ ነው የምወዳት ወዳጅ ያልናቸው የባንዳ ዘር መዥገር ትግሬ በጀርባችን ሲወጋን ጠላት የተባለችው ኤርትራ ነች የደረሰችልን ባለውለታችን ታሪክ ሲያውሳው ይኖራል”
    ش እነዚህን መዥገርን ማመን ቀብሮ

    Godeliyas Egziber Talaq Nw said”

    “ትግሬ በጣም ከባድ ነው 100 % ማመን ከያስፈልግም እስስት ዘደኛ ናቸው ቀብረው ቀብረው አስቀምጠዋል አዲስ አበባ መምጣት ሲጀምሩ ጉድ ይሰራሉ”
    Nejat Liben “የቀበሩትንም ያዉጡ እነኝህን መዥገሮች ማመን አይቻልም”

    Nejat Liben”
    @Sami Muller ሳሚዬ እኔም ወድሀለሁ እነኝህን ቁንዳፍ አጋሜወች ተዋቸዉ ኔትወርክ አገኙ መሰለኝ ፈላባቸዉ”
    Tilahun Tilahun “ትግሬን ማመን ቀብሮ ነው ።”
    Ethio-Eritrea Motivation said”እነሱን ቢሞቱ እንኳን አላምናቸው ። በቆላ እና በረሀው እንዲሁም በየጉራንጉሩ የደበቁትን ሁሉ እንዲያስረክቡ ማድረግ አለባቹህ ። ሳይጣን የሚቀናባቸው የተረገሙ ፍጡሮች ናቸው ስለዚህ ምንም ማመን አያስፈልግም!!!!”
    Ermyas Teshome told, “መዥገር?ነቀርሳ ናቸው እንጂ።”

    JEMAL Usman said”ወገኔ፣ትጥቅ፣ፈታ፣ብለህ፣እንዳታምን፣እባብን፣ማመን፣ይከብዳልና፣ጠንቀቅ፣ነው፣”

    Twins_Gunners Yabkal said, “እንኩዋን ቆመው ተቀብረውም አፆማቸውንም አላምነውም”

    Source: Ethiopia – ትጥቅ ማስፈታቱ ጀምሯል! | ህወሃት እያሰረከባቸው ያሉት ከባባድ መሳሪያዎች Feta Daily(30Nov2022)

    Tigraway responded to the above allegation as follows:
    The biggest problem is not the weapons, but the issue of security for the people of Tigray. That’s the only thing that bothers the people of Tigray…
    When security is assured, no one will want to take up arms!

    Because, do not forget that thousands of soldiers in Tigray are highly educated , like doctors, professors, teachers and many others who have taken up arms to defend themselves!
    Imagine what they would do if there was peace? Believe me, they don’t want to carry your damn gun, they just want to do their job!

    If everyone abides by the law and both parties agree now.
    Then it is logical that there is only one army in Ethiopia.

    But a lot of work will be required.

    The current ENDF is
    a butcher!
    and deserves no trust in Tigray!

    You can’t gain confidence by doing things that don’t build confidence!

    Therefore must
    The ENDF structure inevitably needs to be revised!

    After that, problems only have to be solved through political discussions!
    People need to get the platform
    to decide what they want and who they want to vote for…
    Whether the people of Tigray want to live with Ethiopia or not.”

    No to disarmament of TDF and endangering the people of Tigray!!!Free Tigray from Ethiopia!!!No to foreign forces who want to impose ethiopianism on Tigray under the pretext of unity and fight against terrorism etc or whatever reason may hold . No country or superpower has the legal right to force great people to stay in unison with fabricated story!! Free Tigray for durable peace and freedom!!

  4. Down down TPLF

    December 2, 2022 at 10:58 am

    Down down TPLF killed its army members while 17 years long struggle and later fired many of them order to allow new recrutees (army members) join ENDF from amhara region. Now, TPLF abandoned TDF as usual. TPLF is a group of habitual liars, killers and traitors.

    Tigray need to be led by new leadership composed of diaspora and Tigrayans within Tigray. No more outdated TPLF politics caused half a million Tigrayans to perish.

    Tghat is ardent loyal to TPLF officials and do delete comments from anti TPLF .TGhat aimed at commercializing the genocidal war for profit like Microphone media , Jstudio, and others!!

    • Almaz

      December 3, 2022 at 4:12 pm

      None of your Business!TPLF is great figter and leader!

  5. Free Detained Tegaru and free Tigray from Higdef and Fanos

    November 30, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    Free imprisoned Tigrayans (Tegaru) held captives with false pretexts fabricated by anti Tigrayan crew.
    Scale up humanitarian assistance to all Tegaru in need
    Stop the genocidal war waged by eritrean regime and excecuted by its genocidal army
    Ensure the safety and security of Tegaru in and outside Tigray
    Stop dismantling and disarming weapons while the genocidal eritrean army is operating in Tigray and massacring our people and involved in rampage and pillage.

    Free Tigray from Fanos and amhara militia who partnered with eritrean army with intention of occupying land of Tigray and killing and subjugating people of Tigray.

    If not, Tigray will be under the authoritative leadership of Eritreans and amhara who divide the land of Tigray among themselves and deploy thousands of Filth columnists to keep Tegaru under incessant scrutiny and terror. Killings and robberies will not be halted unless these genociders leave our land. So far the promise made at the peace agreement is not delivered rather the safety and security of Tegaru is at risk, humanitarian aid is not reaching the people affected by the famine , and PP officials are reportedly selling the food supply.

    Finally, Tigray and Tegaru should be free from ethiopia to maintain durable peace and safety making use of the existing constitution . Allowing ENDF to enter Tigray is destroying our language, merging our culture with other and consequently causing the same chaos that we see now . Free Tegaru and free Tigray from Ethiopia!A Free superpowers should not impose Subjugation and dependency upon us-we need a free and independent Tigray !!!

  6. Tigray was a country and will be a free country

    November 30, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    እኔ የምለው ሁለት ጊዜ ሞኝነት የለም ይሄን ይህል የትግራይ ህዝብ ሞኝ ነው እነዴ ሲጀመር ለዚህ ሁሉ ጥፋት የመለስ ጥፋት አለበት በኢትዮ ኤርትራ ጦርነት የ ኢትዮጵያ ሰራዊት አስመራ ድረስ ተጉዞ ኤርትራውያን ሊይጠፋቸው ሲል መለሰ አይደል ተመለሱ ሲል አንመለስም ሲሉ በአይር ሰራዊቱን የፈጀ ይሄ መላጣ እናቶ ኤርትራዊ ሰለሆነች የሱ ሰበ ብ ለሚስኪኑ የትግራይ ህዝብ ሁነ እናነተ እራሳችሁ የኤርትራ ሄዝብ ወንድም ነ ን እያላችሁ ስትሰበስቡ ምደረ ሰላይ ኤርትራውያን በትግራይ ምደር የትግራይ ህዝብ ዋጋ አስከፈለ ወይኔ ለትግራይ ህዝብ ምንድነው ይደረገው ተመፅዋች ነው ያደረጋቸው እና ለዚህ ማነው ተጠይቂ ደብረ ፂዬን እንዲሁም መንጆሪኖ ናቸው ለምን ብትል ንፁህ ተጋሩ ስላልሁኑ የኤርትራ ደም ይለበት ትግራይን ሊመራ አይችልም ሀቅ እንነጋገር ከተባለ የትግራይ ህዝብ በወይኔ ጊዜም ቢሆንም መከራውን ይየ ህዝብ ነው አሁነ ደግሞ ለጅብ አሳልፋችሁ ሰጣችሁት ፅዮን ማርያም ፍርዱን ትስጥ ታሪክ ይቅር አይላችሁም የትግራይ ህዝብ ልጅን ሀብቶነ ህይወቱን እንዲይጣ የፈረዳቹበት እናነተ ናችሁ የንፁሀን ደም
    don’t mind TPLF leaders agreed on a peace deal with PP , and bring peace to our People , but enforcing the disarmament of heavy weapons and giving to Ethiopian government is where TDF must draw a line in the sand!
    ሕውሃት በሚከተለው ያረጀ የፖለቲካ አሠራር ምክንያት ትግራይ በታሪኳ የማታውቀው የጅምላ ዕልቂት፥ ረሀብ፥ እና የሀገር ውስጥ የጅምላ ፍልሰትን አሳልፋለች፥፥አሁንም ከጅምላ ጭፍጨፋና ዕልቂት አልወጣችም፥፥የሀገረ ትግራይ ዘላቂ ሰላምና ደህንነት በማያረጋግጥ መልኩ የተፈረመው ሰላም ተጋሩን አሁንም ከጨፍጫፊው ከኤርትራ ሠራዊት እጅ ሊታደግ አልቻለም፤፤የሰላም ውሉ ወሥጥ በሀገርም ሆነ በውጭ በሚኖሩ የትግራይ ተወላጆችን ደህንት ዋሥትና እንደሚሰጥ ተነግሯል፤፤ነገር ግን ተጋሩ በጨፍጫፊው የኤርትራ ሠራዊት እጅ በጅምላ እየተረሸኑ ና ንብረታቸው እየተዘረፈ መሆኑ በተደጋጋሚ ይደመጣል፤፤የህውሃት ባለሥልጣናት ደጀንና ጋሻ ሆኖ የታደጋቸውንና ከሞት ያተረፋቸውን የሕዝባቸውን ደህንነት ማስጠበቅ አልቻሉም፤፤ከዳኣት፥ደለይቲ ሥልጣን እምበር ንሕዝቦም ብሥሩ ዘይሃስቡ ፥፥ካብ ሥልጣን ከእለዩ ጥራይ እዩ ዘድልይ፥፥ንሕዝቦም ፤ንመቓልስቶም አህሊፎም ከዳኣት፦፦ብበረኻ ክንደይ አህዋትና ረሺኖም ከብቑዑ ብሽም ሥውዓትና ልዕሊ ሠላሣ ዓመት ዓብ ሥልጣን አለው፤፤ከም ዓመሎም ሕጅውን ንትዲኤፍ ጠሊሞምዎም፥፥ትግራይ ሀገር ኔራ እያ ሕጅውን ሀገር ክትከውን አለዋ፥፥ሀገር ክትከውን እያ፥፥

  7. Ameha Getachew Ghebre

    November 30, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    Dear Tekle,

    Now we know this world is a place for the powerful gangs who can do any heinous crimes against humanity on the open and do not care at all, because they have got all the resources to silence and even denounce any one trying to expose their deeds using their media outlets.

    That is why we are witnessing what we are witnessing right now in Tigray.

    The only way out I see is

  8. Teklay Ezghihaye

    November 30, 2022 at 12:38 am

    Well put, in a nutshell!!! Thank you Teklehaymanot!!!
    But for this tweet:
    “Always great to be back at @UN @intgovforum #IGF2022. At this years event, a resilient Internet tops the agenda with discussions on universal connectivity, safety and security, data protection, emerging tech and avoiding fragmentation. #LeaveNoOneBehind #OurDigitalFuture.”
    IT IS SO VACUUM!!! What about the Tigray and Oromia? Aren’t they left behind as she tweet???

    • Almaz

      December 3, 2022 at 4:10 pm

      Thank is True!

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