US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday he was also imposing restrictions on economic and security aid to Ethiopia, but also humanitarian aid in areas such as health, food and the ‘education.
“The people of Tigray continue to suffer human rights violations, abuses and atrocities, and urgent humanitarian aid is blocked by the Ethiopian and Eritrean military as well as other armed actors,” Blinken said in a statement. .
“Despite significant diplomatic engagement, the parties to the conflict in Tigray have taken no significant steps to end hostilities or seek a peaceful resolution to the political crisis.”
Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands more have been forced from their homes in the Tigray region since November, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to arrest and disarm ruling party leaders regional, the TPLF.
Blinken said the restrictions on “current or former officials of the Ethiopian or Eritrean government, members of the security forces or others – to include regional and irregular forces in Amhara and members of the People’s Liberation Front du Tigray (TPLF) – responsible or accomplices in, undermining the resolution of the crisis in Tigray.
Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands more have been forced from their homes in the Tigray region since November, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to arrest and disarm ruling party leaders regional, the TPLF, after alleged attacks on army camps.
Ethiopian troops and soldiers from neighboring Eritrea have been accused of massacres and murders in their fight against the rebel group.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the killings, forcible returns, systemic sexual violence and other human rights violations and abuses,” Blinken said.
“We are also appalled by the destruction of civilian property, including water sources, hospitals and medical facilities, which is taking place in Tigray.”
Blinken warned that if those responsible for undermining a resolution to the Tigray crisis fail to reverse course, they should anticipate further action from the United States and the international community.
The United States called on the Ethiopian government to honor its public commitments to hold all those responsible for human rights violations and abuses accountable, protect civilians and ensure unhindered humanitarian access, Blinken said. He also urged the “Eritrean government to respect its public commitment and immediately return its troops to internationally recognized Eritrean territory.”
The Ethiopian government is under increasing pressure from the international community to show responsibility as reports of atrocities in Tigray mount. The European Union has suspended budget support payments amid reports of brutal gang rapes, massacres of civilians and widespread looting in the northern region.
Ethiopia says it is determined to investigate human rights violations and Ethiopia and Eritrea have pledged the withdrawal of Eritrean troops.
The United Nations has said war crimes may have been committed by all parties involved in the conflict.