The humanitarian crisis in Tigray, Ethiopia, is grave, urgent and under-reported. It is striking that for a region that is historically food insecure and the epicentre of famine in the 1980s, the current situation is entirely man-made: the direct outcome of war.
There is growing evidence that the belligerents in the war, specifically the Ethiopian federal forces, the Eritrean national army, and the militia from the neighbouring Amhara region, have engaged in a campaign of starvation. This includes destroying food and agriculture, pillaging and vandalising health clinics and water facilities, looting factories, shops, and schools. Widespread rape is not only a crime but also prevents survivors from caring for their families and fear of sexual violence prevents women and girls from engaging in essential activities such as travelling to market or farming. Humanitarian aid is desperately limited: deliberately obstructed and often stolen. All in all, this amounts to a clear instance of starvation as a weapon of war, and accusations are mounting of a crime against humanity.
This event will address these issues and seek to understand the ongoing emergency. It will invite conversation between humanitarian researchers and reporters covering events on the ground.
Christine Chinkin, FBA is Emerita Professor of International Law, Professorial Research Fellow and Founding Director of the Centre of Women Peace & Security at LSE. She is a barrister, a member of Matrix Chambers. Together with H. Charlesworth, she won the American Society of International Law, 2005 Goler T. Butcher Medal 'for outstanding contributions to the development or effective realization of international human rights law'. She is a William C Cook Global Law Professor at the University of Michigan Law School.
Professor Alex de Waal is an Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School, Tufts University, and has worked in north-east Africa for thirty years, including as an adviser on Sudan to the African Union. Alex is also an Investigator at the LSE Centre for Public Authority and International Development.
Tamrat G. Gebremariam is the Managing Editor of the largest English weekly in Ethiopia, Fortune. He has over 29 years of experience in nearly every aspect of publishing with over 11 various publications and he is a member of the Alumni of the University of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Policy, regularly contributing to specialised international publications such as the Global Integrity’s Index on Government Corruption, Transparency and Accountability and the Federation, a flagship publication of the Forum’s for Federations. He also writes for "Africa in Fact", a publication of Good Governance Africa and its online blog, The Wicked Conversation, as well as the Kenyan and The Daily Nation.
Tsedale Lemma is a journalist who for the last ten years has played a crucial role in turning Addis Standard magazine into one of the most influential magazines in the history of independent media in Ethiopia. In 2014, Tsedale was named one of the 50 Rising Stars in the continent Africa by the leading pan African magazine “The Africa Report” and in 2015 became a member of the International Advisory Board of the Bandung: Journal of the Global South. Tsedale contributes article to international media including the New York Times.
Tamerat Negera is a veteran journalist and political commentator who has worked in broadcast, print and online media for the 15 years. His journalism is informed by his study of Theology and participation in the landmark 2005 election. In 2007 he co-founded and edited Addis Neger newspaper for two years, which was shut down ahead of the 2010 election and led to its founding editors being charged with terrorism. Tamerat lived and studied in the US in exile until reform in Ethiopia led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. After returning from exile in September 2018, Tamerat co-founded Warka Media and communications, a share company of 105 journalists and media professionals; and Terara Network LLC, a YouTube channel designed as a platform for exploring, defining and promoting Ethiopianist ideas.
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Photo: 'Peacekeeping - UNMISS'. Credit: UNMISS. Licensed under creative commons.