JERSEY CITY – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the below statement calling for an immediate ceasefire in northern Ethiopia and accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses following the resumption of hostilities between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in August 2022 after a five-month ceasefire:
“Conflict, famine, and lack of medical care in northern Ethiopia have already cost the lives of an estimated half a million people in Tigray alone since fighting began in northern Ethiopia in November 2020, and the collapse of the short-lived ceasefire between parties puts the lives of many more Ethiopians in jeopardy.
“I call on the parties to the conflict in northern Ethiopia to immediately cease hostilities, for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy to order his Eritrean mercenaries out of Ethiopia and lift his cruel blockade of Tigray, and for both the Ethiopian government and the TPLF to commit to renewed peace talks without pre-condition. In the absence of a ceasefire, I plan to pursue Senate passage of my Ethiopia Peace and Democracy Promotion Act of 2021, which would impose punitive measures on those undermining efforts to end hostilities or those providing weapons to parties involved in hostilities in Ethiopia.
“More than a year after issuing Executive Order 14046, the Biden administration has yet to sanction any Ethiopians, and the fighting and abuses have now resumed. The Secretary of State should make a determination relative to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide without further delay, and impose immediate sanctions on those who committed such acts. Those found guilty of abuses during the course of the conflict must be held accountable without further delay.”