Tip Sheets

Mass atrocities in Ethiopia could get worse as federal state loses ground

Media Contact

Becka Bowyer

The yearlong war in Ethiopia appears to be escalating. The government has declared a national state of emergency as rival forces threaten to move on the capital, and tomorrow the findings of a human rights investigation in the blockaded Tigray region will be released.

Oumar Ba

Assistant Professor

Oumar Ba, assistant professor at Cornell University, studies law, violence, race, humanity, and world order in international politics. He says campaigns of disinformation from both sides make it hard to assess the extent of human rights abuses.

Ba says:

“When Prime Minister Abiy launched an offensive against the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF), he certainly did not consider that a year later, his regime would be on the brink of collapsing and the very survival of the Ethiopian state at stake. Abiy’s decision is one of the most serious strategic blunders in Ethiopian’s recent history.

“There have been campaigns of disinformation from both sides of the conflicts, amidst restricted access to independent media, which makes it difficult to assess the extent of human rights abuses and mass atrocities. We may not know the true extent of these atrocities until much later.

“With the TPLF considering marching on the capital Addis Ababa, the support of Oromo forces, and Abiy calling on civilians to take up arms and defend their neighborhoods – one can suspect that the mass atrocities will only get worse, especially in the urban areas, as the federal state loses ground.

“The incapacity of the African Union – which is headquartered in Addis Ababa – to successfully mediate a political solution to this conflict after a year of fighting is also quite alarming.”

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