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Time running out to avert ‘genocide’ in Tigray: WHO chief

#Time #running #avert #genocide #Tigray #chief

The World Health Organization chief condemned the dire situation in Ethiopia’s conflict-torn Tigray region Wednesday, warning that urgent action was needed to avert “genocide”.

“The world is not paying enough attention,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters from WHO headquarters in Geneva, stressing “there is a very narrow window now to prevent genocide in Tigray.”

Addis Ababa on Tuesday said it had captured three towns in the northern region, where fighting between pro-government forces and rebels has raged since August after a truce collapsed.

International concern is growing for those caught in the crossfire in Tigray, where Ethiopian forces and troops from neighbouring Eritrea have stepped up their offensive.

The UN has described the situation as spiralling out of control and inflicting an “utterly staggering” toll on civilians.

Tedros, who himself is from the northern region and has repeatedly decried the situation there, said he was “running out of diplomatic language for the deliberate targeting of civilians in Tigray.

– ‘Indiscriminate attacks’ –

“The social fabric is being ripped apart and civilians are paying a horrific price,” he said, insisting that the “hostilities in Tigray must end now, including the immediate withdrawal and disengagement of Eritrean armed forces from Ethiopia.”

Tedros stressed that “indiscriminate attacks or attacks that deliberately target civilians or civilian objects amount to war crimes.”

The WHO chief said the people of Tigray had essentially been blocked off from essential services since the conflict first erupted in November 2020.

“There is no other situation globally in which six million people are being kept under siege for almost two years,” he said.

“Banking, food, electricity and healthcare are being used as weapons of war,” he lamented.

“Even people who have money are starving because they can’t access their bank for two years,” he said, adding that “children are dying every day from malnutrition.”

Tedros acknowledged that he is personally affected by the situation in Tigray.

“Most of my relatives are in the most affected areas,” he said, but insisted that “my job is to draw the world’s attention to crises that threaten the health of people wherever they are.

“This is a health crisis for six million people,” he said.

“The world is not paying enough attention.”

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#Time #running #avert #genocide #Tigray #chief

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