The U.S President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order establishing a new sanctions regime that authorizes the United States to target any party responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that are prolonging the conflict in northern Ethiopia, and those that commit human rights abuses, or obstruct humanitarian access or progress towards a negotiated ceasefire.
These sanctions are not directed at the people of Ethiopia or Eritrea and have clear exemptions to allow for the continuation of ongoing development and humanitarian programs.
The United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to people affected by this crisis, and we will continue to provide life-saving aid to all those in need regardless of ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation.
The conflict in northern Ethiopia has sparked one of the worst humanitarian and human rights crises in the world, with over 5 million people requiring humanitarian assistance and up to 900,000 living in famine conditions in Tigray. The conflict now risks expanding into a wider civil war that threatens Ethiopian and regional stability.
The United States continues to work diplomatically to press for an end to this humanitarian and human rights crisis, and this Executive Order provides new leverage against those obstructing progress towards a negotiated ceasefire, hindering humanitarian access, or committing serious human rights abuses.
We cannot ignore the fact that heinous human rights abuses are being perpetrated against civilians. We have heard from Ethiopian refugees from Tigray, many of them women, who shared heart-wrenching experiences of armed actors committing murder, rape, and other gruesome acts of gender-based violence.
Tens of thousands of women and girls in northern Ethiopia will need medical, mental health, psychosocial, and legal services to begin to rebuild their lives. Hundreds of thousands of people are facing starvation, in large part because of the Government of Ethiopia’s efforts to delay and prevent humanitarian aid from reaching civilian populations who need this emergency food and medical assistance to survive.
The suffering of the Ethiopian people ensnared in this conflict must end. We call on all parties to cease hostilities, allow and facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, ensure accountability for human rights abuses, and enter into an inclusive dialogue to chart a path forward that preserves the unity of their state.
Since May, Washington is set to tighten sanctions on the Ethiopian government and other warring parties in the Horn of Africa country, in a sign of the Biden administration’s growing frustration at the lack of efforts to bring the devastating 10-month conflict to an end.
US president Joe Biden in May signed an executive order, establishing a new sanctions regime that will allow us to target those responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict in Ethiopia, obstructing humanitarian access, or preventing a ceasefire
Under the latest measures, the US reserves the right to impose sanctions on those in the Government of Ethiopia, Government of Eritrea, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, and Amhara regional government, among others, that continue to pursue conflict over negotiations to the detriment of the Ethiopian people.
Thousands of people are believed to have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes since a civil war erupted in November.
Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s prime minister, sent troops to quell unrest in Tigray after what he said was an attack on Ethiopian forces by troops loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF.
Abiy on Friday lashed out at the US for what he called “unwarranted pressure” and “double standards”.
In May, the US put visa restrictions and economic sanctions on some officials from Eritrea and Ethiopia. The latter has been both a strategic ally to the US in the conflict-prone Horn of Africa and a close partner of China.
The new measures would provide wide latitude to impose sanctions on individuals and entities connected to the conflict, said a person close to the US administration and another person in Washington briefed on the matter.
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