This statement is a translation of the original peace call in Amharic linked here.
Initially, we had planned to make this peace call in a press conference in the presence of journalists this morning, but individuals who did not reveal their identity but claimed to be part of the government told us that we are not allowed to give the press conference for an undisclosed reason. We asked who ordered this ban at the press conference, however, we did not get an answer. To the best of our knowledge, local civil society organizations, the signatories of this call, it is only public demonstrations that require prior notification to government security agencies. This type of practice is against the rule of law and it also denies the role that civil society organizations should play in peacebuilding. Therefore, we condemn the action and urge it to be corrected, we have published the full statement below.
Urgent Call for Peace!
From local civil society organizations.
September 6, 2022
The war that broke out in the Tigray region a year and a half ago and spread to the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions has cost our country and our people a lot. During the war, many innocent citizens were subjected to extrajudicial killings, especially women were subjected to gender-based sexual violence, while others fled the conflicts and were forced to stay in various displacement camps and face terrible humanitarian crises. The Ethiopians who were physically injured in the war, their properties were destroyed and their families were scattered, have not recovered from their injuries until today. It is true that the civilians in the Tigray region and other parts of the country where the war has spread have been subjected to severe suffering and abuse due to the interruption of basic services and insufficient humanitarian aid due to the protracted war.
It is remembered that the local civil society organizations that have signed this call have made a similar call for peace last year. This year, the humanitarian truce between the warring parties and the beginning of peace talks had given us hope. Unfortunately, we are saddened that a few weeks ago, the heated exchange of words between the conflicting parties got out of control and restarted a new war.
Apart from the war in the north, other conflicts in western and southern Oromia, Benishangul Gumuz, and some areas of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples region are ongoing. These conflicts are causing extrajudicial killings and injuring many citizens. Women are subjected to rape and other horrific abuses. Many Ethiopians have been displaced from their villages due to the conflicts and have become aid seekers.
In addition to restrictions on the basic rights of citizens to life, physical security, property rights, and to the right of movement, the conflicts have reached the point where they are posing an existential threat to the country. If these conflicts are not resolved peacefully, we are afraid that our country will enter into a crisis from which it will not be able to get out.
Therefore, we, the signatories of this open Call for Peace, make the following urgent calls to all parties involved to see that the challenges we have listed above are resolved in the coming year of Ethiopia:
- The war in the northern part of our country in the Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions and the conflicts in other areas should be stopped immediately, and genuine, peaceful talks involving all the parties involved in the conflicts should be started;
- Economic and social services that have been interrupted in Tigray and other conflict areas should be resumed immediately and aid should be delivered without hindrance;
- Further investigation and accountability measures should be taken against those who have committed gender-based sexual violence and other human rights violations;
- The women and children who are victims of the conflicts as well as other sections of the society should be provided with immediate medical and social psychological support, and the innocent victims who are not involved in the conflicts should be given protection under any circumstances;
- Ethnic-based violence and discrimination acts should be stopped immediately and the federal and state governments should establish a special protection system for vulnerable minorities and marginalized groups of citizens;
- Warring parties and their supporters need to refrain from any war propaganda and conflict-inciting speeches and actions;
- Local and foreign media, civil society organizations, religious institutions, political forces, and activists need to use their voices only for peace and reconciliation;
- We also call for the national dialogue process that has been started to be inclusive and open and follow a process that has received the legitimacy of the majority of citizens to solve Ethiopia’s short and long-term challenges.
The local civil society organizations that have signed on this call for peace and accountability, on our part, express our readiness to help resolve conflicts peacefully and to do activities that build peace and to facilitate peacebuilding platforms, as well as to provide psychological support for victims of violence.
The signatory organizations of this call for peace are the following:
- Advocacy Center for Democracy and Development (ACDD)
- Association of Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE)
- Amhara Journalists Association (AJA)
- Center for the Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD)
- Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CDHR)
- Center for a Democratic Society (CDS)
- Consortium of Ethiopia Human Rights Organizations (CEHRO)
- Center for Human Rights and Peacebuilding (CHPB)
- Diligence for Human Rights Protection (DHRP)
- Empower Generation Charity Association (EGCA)
- Editors Guild of Ethiopia (EGE)
- Ethiopian Human Rights Defenders Center (EHRDC)
- Ethiopian Initiative for Human Rights (EIHR)
- Empathy for Life Integrated Development Association (ELiDA)
- Enquwa Tabra Women Empowerment
- Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA)
- Ethiopian Women’s Rights Watch (EWRA)
- East African Initiative for Change (I4C)
- InterAfrica Group – Ethiopia (IAG)
- Initiative for Peace and Development (IPD)
- Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR)
- Courtesy of Child and Family Development Association (MCFDA)
- Mujejegwa Loka Women’s Development Association (MLWDA)
- Network of Ethiopian Women’s Associations (NEWA)
- New Millennium Women Empowerment Organization (NMWEO)
- Organization for Girls, Adults and Advocacy (OGAA)
- Positively Responsive Child and Youth Development in Ethiopia (PRCYDE)
- Sarah Justice for All Women’s Association
- Siiqqee Women’s Development Association (SWDA)
- Setaweet Movement
- Union of Ethiopian Women and Children’s Associations (UEWCA)
- Women’s Association for Peace and Social Justice (WAPS)
- Women Can Development Initiative (WCDI)