Irresponsible reporting by Amnesty International on Eritrea in the conflict in Ethiopia
Joint Statement by the Eritrean-Scandinavian community in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
We refer to Amnesty International’s report stating that “Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray state systematically killed hundreds of unarmed civilians in the northern city of Axum on 28-29 November 2020”. We are deeply concerned of Amnesty International’s irresponsible reporting characterized by uncorroborated information.
Amnesty refers to testimonies from refugees in Hamdayet (Sudan), phone interviews with witnesses in Axum from distance and alleged gathered satellite pictures. It is mind blowing to see an organization like Amnesty, making grave allegations, when no personnel have been in the ground to verify the alleged atrocities.
There are several reasons to questions your alleged findings.
- The report claims that the atrocities took place on the 28-29th of November 2020. However, the leader of TPLF claimed that their forces retook the city of Axum on the same dates. For a genuine and concerned organization, Amnesty International should have considered this claim and made further investigations before making any hasty conclusions. Unfortunately, this claim is not even mentioned in your report.
- Contrary to the assertion of Amnesty, on the 30th of November 2020, the population of Axum celebrated the annual anniversary of Sant Marie. It is hard to imagine a population of 60 000 people celebrate in a city where 200 or more of their inhabitants have been massacred. Amnesty is not only insulting the Eritrean and Ethiopian people, Amnesty is also dehumanizing the inhabitants of Axum.
- There are several reports that informs that TPLF members and militiamen have escaped to Hamdayet after committing a massacre in Maikadra. Many of them are now residing in Hamdayet. Is Amnesty referring to testimonies made by TPLF members and militiamen, that are now refugees?
- There is not a single video or picture to confirm the allegations that are made in this report. No confirmed shootings on civilians, no corpses nor graves.
For several years, there has been and continues to be, relentless and unsubstantiated accusations against Eritrea, for acts of destabilisation and discord in the Horn of Africa. One of the glaringly deceptive accusation, was the concocted allegation levelled against Eritrea, by TPLF backed by the USA and western media. This put the country under unjust and illegal sanctions in 2009, and was lifted in 2018. Now it seems like some entities are aiming for history to repeat itself with similar accusations. It is deeply concerning to see that Amnesty International is actively spreading this propaganda.
Consequently, we kindly request Amnesty International to:
- Stop scapegoating Eritrea for all the heinous crimes committed by the TPLF and other regional problems.
- Refrain from irresponsible reporting based on unverified allegations.
- Engage with Eritrea on regional issues for lasting peace in the Horn of Africa.
- Stop absolving TPLF’s unpardonable crimes.
- Absolving TPLF culpability is not acceptable.
We sincerely believe that a fact-based evidence is crucial for a comprehensive response to the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia. Especially in these times, we depend on independent, fact-based and reliable information.