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Ethnic Cleansing or Genocide? Either Way, the World Must Act to Prevent Further Atrocities in Tigray

By USCRI August 10, 2021

The Tigray region of Ethiopia is under siege, with Ethiopian and Eritrean forces at war with the armed forces of the Tigray Regional Government, a group fighting for the region’s autonomy under the current Ethiopian Constitution. The violence has caused massive displacement in the region, both of Eritrean refugees previously in Tigray, and of Tigrayans themselves. As of July 1, 2021, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had registered over 46,000 refugees from Tigray in Sudan, but the total number of refugees is estimated to be almost 70,000. There have been credible reports of atrocities committed by all actors in the conflict, but some of the most concerning reports implicate Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Amhara regional government forces in deliberate violence systematically targeting the Tigrayan people. Many have called the violence ethnic cleansing, but prominent Tigrayan leaders and human rights activists are now calling on the international community to recognize it as genocide.

The U.S. government is in the process of determining what terminology to use, but regardless of its decision, we know the violence occurring in Tigray is serious enough to trigger countries’ legal and moral obligations to intervene.

This paper lays out the definitions of ethnic cleansing and genocide and the key differences between them. It then describes the atrocities occurring in Tigray, and analyzes whether they meet the definition of genocide. Finally, it calls on the United States and other countries to intervene to prevent further atrocities.

Read more: https://refugees.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ethnic-Cleansing-v-Genocide_-1.pdf


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