Ironic Internet Governance Forum in Where the People of Tigray are Totally Disconnected for years!

By: Rosanna Fanna, Degital Policy Researcher

I am at IGF2022 in Ethiopia, where the northern Tigray region is under internet shutdown amidst the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Ironically, this year’s Internet Governance Forum host country’s state-owned communication operator imposed an internet shutdown in the Tigray region, leaving over six million people without phone or internet access. At IGF, over 2500 international experts will discuss connectivity and internet access during sessions under the first theme “connecting all people and safeguarding human rights”.

The shutdown is in place since war broke out between the federal military and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front forces in November 2020. Despite the recent peace agreement between the government and the Tigray forces earlier this month, the internet blackout is still in place.

While I am excited and grateful to attend IGF in-person for the first time to contribute to two great panels of the event, more attention needs to be paid to ending the humanitarian crisis and to the responsibility of international actors in implementing swift actions against internet shutdowns.

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