September 17, 2021

Risch: There Must be Accountability for Tigray War

BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement in response to the administration’s announcement of an executive order authorizing sanctions on those responsible for perpetrating human rights violations in Tigray:

“After months of threatening action, I’m glad the administration has finally established a program to impose financial sanctions on certain persons and entities perpetrating human rights abuses linked to the Tigray war. As I have said previously, the United States and its allies must quickly transition from “hands-off” diplomacy to “hands-on” engagement.

“Today's announcement does not impose blanket sanctions against the Ethiopian government or the Ethiopian people, but rather deploys a tool that can hold accountable those individuals committing grave human rights abuses in Tigray. The administration should look closely at all armed actors in this war, including the Tigray People's Liberation Front and Eritrean forces.

“Recent reports citing evidence of rape and torture of Eritrean refugees in Tigray is one of many areas in need of urgent investigation, and is a good place to start.”

During a hearing in May, Risch demanded there be accountability for the countless atrocities and humanitarian crisis surfacing in Ethiopia. He also encouraged the administration to “explore every option” to end the Tigray war.

On May 20, the Senate passed a resolution Risch authored with Senator Cardin calling on the government of Ethiopia, the Tigray People's Liberation Front, and other belligerents in the conflict in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia to cease all hostilities, protect human rights, allow unfettered humanitarian access, and cooperate with independent investigations of credible atrocity allegations.