The continent of Africa and the misfortunes it suffers are usually brushed under the carpet of global affairs and emergencies owing to the Eurocentric narrative the world follows. The latest emergency to be sidelined is the one arising due to the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia. What started in November as agitations between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has now left over 400,000 people suffering from famine, and 1.8 million more on the brink of it, in the Tigray region. As per the UN, the situation is only set to get worse, as even though the Ethiopian government has called for a ceasefire, it is unlikely to allow access to humanitarian aid.
Earlier in March, top Ethiopian health officials had disclosed that the worsening conflict had left millions of Tigrayans homeless and suffering from indiscriminate killings and sexual violence. It was only days after this disclosure that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had finally admitted to the presence of Eritrean soldiers in the region. The soldiers were accused by civilians and the TPLF of carrying out an ethnic cleansing. The same party has now declared the Ethiopian ceasefire a “joke”, for it knows that little will change despite grand claims. Humanitarian organisations like Doctors Without Borders and Human Rights Watch have been decrying the human rights abuses and have even become witnesses of indiscriminate civilian killings. Moreover, they have been constantly denied access to the war-torn region. Now, the UN says it only has enough food for a million people for a month.
Yet, despite the issue being raised every now and then by UN officials, the UN Security Council conducted its first open meeting on Tigray on July 2. And even then, some UNSC members believe that the conflict is an internal issue and should be resolved as such. With the cases of malnutrition and killings on the rise, the UN has once again failed to hold leaders — Nobel Peace Prize winners at that — accountable.