AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Stop violence against women in Tigray: an immediate solution is urgently needed

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Mekelle (Agenzia Fides) - "The residents of the Tigray region are calling for an end to violence", denounces the leadership of the Europe External Program with Africa and Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA) in a statement at the end of a series of webinars on "Conflict-related sexual violence against women in Tigray".
The international community should no longer regard the problem as an internal crisis in Ethiopia, because the ongoing sexual violence against women and girls in the Ethiopian region of Tigray indicates terrible conditions.
The EEPA documents incidents based on statements about "rape, murder, mutilation, torture of women and violence against infants". The authors of the report estimate that a total of 22,500 women would need support due to sexual violence in connection with the conflict.
"Unfortunately, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) have teamed up with Eritrean soldiers to rape their fellow citizens", the statement said.
"The situation is unacceptable", complains Assita Kanko, human rights activist and member of the European Parliament, who calls for an urgent response to save women and girls who are suffering and in need of help.
"Women are afraid to go to work or to go shopping and this is causing economic crisis and hunger", complains a Belgian journalist who has been a leading voice against gender-based violence against women in Tigray. "It takes great courage to talk about experiences of rape or assault, especially in traditional and conservative families and communities".
In their statement, the members of the EEPA appealed to the global community to take a stand and ensure the withdrawal of all foreign troops, especially from Eritrea; they also urge all parties in Tigray to end with immediate effect the impunity of the use of rape as a weapon of war. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 1/6/2021)