Opposition Party Slams Western Embassies for Mischaracterization and Downplaying of War on Tigray

Salsay Weyane Tigray calls on international actors to use precise language that characterizes and explains the genocidal war that ravaged Tigray.

Salsay Weyane Tigray (SWT), a nationalist opposition party in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, has criticized the recent joint statement made by several embassies based in Addis Ababa regarding the situation in Tigray. The embassies of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States collectively expressed their concern about “reports of violence in contested areas of Northern Ethiopia.” These Western embassies, along with Japan, also called for “progress towards disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), and the peaceful return of internally displaced persons.”

While SWT welcomed the international call for peace, it criticized the diplomatic language used to describe the legally and historically recognized territories of Tigray as “contested areas of Northern Ethiopia.” According to the weekly press release from SWT, these areas are constitutionally recognized territories of Tigray, currently occupied by force following the genocidal war, and are not subject to legitimate dispute as mischaracterized by the embassies.

The party also criticized the joint statement of the embassies for their use of “Northern Ethiopia” and considered it a deliberate avoidance of acknowledging the war on Tigray [Tigray War] for what it is, which SWT argues diminishes the perceived severity of the war and the international crimes committed.

SWT, an opposition political party that subscribes to the ideals of social democracy with the goal of realizing an independent Tigray, called on the international community to use more precise language that reflects the realities on the ground as outlined in the Ethiopian Constitution.

SWT has been calling for the immediate withdrawal of occupying forces from Tigray as a necessary step toward achieving lasting peace through dialogue and adherence to national laws, as stipulated in the Pretoria Agreement.

This critique from SWT underscores the critical role of diplomatic engagement by international actors in conflict zones, where the use of precise language that depicts the reality and the recognition of territorial sovereignty play pivotal roles in fostering good international relations and peacekeeping efforts.

Many Tigrayans are still wondering why these embassies and international observers of the Pretoria Agreement are emphasizing disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) instead of calling for the withdrawal of forces that occupied Tigray territories by force. People in Tigray expect members of the international community to act fairly and responsibly, and believe that internally displaced persons cannot be safe if they return to their homes while the militant forces that displaced them remain in place.