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Menendez, Coons on POTUS’ Executive Order Sanctioning Perpetrators of Human Rights Abuses in Tigray Conflict

Announce new, robust legislative effort to combat humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chairman of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following joint statement announcing new forthcoming legislation regarding Ethiopia’s civil war after President Biden unveiled a new Executive Order to sanction parties to the conflict in Tigray that are responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuse in northern Ethiopia, deliberate targeting of civilians in the course of the conflict, obstructing humanitarian aid to northern Ethiopia or targeting United Nations or African Union personnel, or actions or policies that undermine democracy or the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. 

“As we close in on a year of conflict in Ethiopia the situation continues to spiral out of control. The scale and nature of the abuses in Tigray and neighboring regions is staggering and we fully support President Biden’s focus on this crisis, including today’s Executive Order. The international community cannot afford to look away from the growing body of evidence out of the Tigray region documenting mass rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war, massacres, extrajudicial killings, murder of aid workers, and a blockade of humanitarian goods which continue to expose some of the worst consequences of a brutal war with no clear military solution.

“Continuing human rights abuses by the parties to the conflict in Ethiopia warrant an unequivocal response: We will not tolerate war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic violence. In that vein, we will unveil a new legislative effort in the coming weeks for Congress to drastically bolster U.S. efforts to pursue accountability for the carnage in the Tigray region as this protracted ethnic conflict approaches the one year mark. It is our hope that this effort will help galvanize a political process to help stabilize Ethiopia. In advance of this tragic milestone, we once again call upon all parties to reach a negotiated ceasefire, pursue dialogue, and reach an agreement that ultimately results in a democratic, prosperous, and peaceful Ethiopia.”