Tigrayans in Canada urge Ottawa to provide more aid, push for transitional government in Ethiopia

Defenders of the Tigrayan community in Canada are calling on Ottawa to open its embassy in Addis Ababa to their relatives, who are asking for protection in a conflict with the Ethiopian government that has claimed thousands of lives.

Azeb Gebrehiwot of the Association of Tigrayan Communities in Canada said Ottawa should provide temporary protection to members of its community in Ethiopia and unequivocally denounce the violence there.

Global Affairs Canada issued a statement on Sunday calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and “an end to indiscriminate attacks against civilians and aid workers in northern Ethiopia.”

Gebrehiwot, who immigrated to Canada 18 years ago, said she was unable to contact her family due to a total communication failure in the Tigray region, but she was able to contact some of his cousins ​​in the capital who said they are afraid of being arrested and killed.

The executive director of the Canadian Center for Victims of Torture in Toronto said Ottawa should pressure the Ethiopian government to end the siege of the Tigray region and allow aid to enter the region.

Mulugeta Abai said Ottawa should take a leadership role and ask the Addis Ababa government to agree to form an inclusive and transitional government that would end the conflict.

“We are very concerned about what is going on and that is why we are really calling [for] a peaceful solution and that starts with a ceasefire, ”declared Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.

The worsening security situation in Ethiopia prompted Canada to remove family members of diplomats and non-essential personnel from the country. Joly said support for Canadians in the region will still be available despite the withdrawal of some embassy staff.

The United Nations has said that after heavy fighting erupted a year ago between government troops and supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), some 5.2 million people are still in need of assistance. in the Ethiopian regions of Tigray, Amhara and Afar.

The UN has said thousands of people will be killed and more than two million have been forced to flee their homes amid allegations of widespread human rights violations on all sides.

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