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Dispensing Culpability: UNHCR’s Glaring Double Standard

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The Queen of Sheba

55707435 401On Tuesday 22 December 2020, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mrs. Michelle Bachelet, once again, muttered: “While we welcome the Ethiopian Government’s statement that there would be unimpeded humanitarian access, in line with the agreement with the UN signed on 29 November, this needs to be to all areas of Tigray where civilians have been affected by the fighting.”

This UN report, which cited the Commissioner, further stated: “We have received allegations concerning violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, including artillery strikes on populated areas, the deliberate targeting of civilians, extrajudicial killings and widespread looting.”

After effectively apportioning culpability to both parties in the conflict, the twisted report went on blatantly accusing the Ethiopian Army by quoting “witnesses” who charged “The Ethiopian army and regional Amhara forces and militia” for “allegedly killing civilians and looting the hospital, banks, businesses, supermarkets and private houses.”

It appears that, given the recent track records of the UNHCR, the conflict that ended up removing the TPLF cabal rather quickly appears to be an unwelcome news. Contrary to the fact that calm has largely returned to Tigray and over 80 percent of public employees have so far returned to work, the report cites “that fighting is said to be continuing, particularly in some areas of north, central and southern Tigray”. It is troubling that this flawed report has not been corroborated even by some of the most partisan sources known to be sympathetic to the TPLF cabal.

The twisted UNHCR report continued by feigning concern and timidly citing one of “the most shocking incidents reported to date was the alleged mass killing of several hundred people, mainly Amharans, in Mai Kadra, on 9 November.” As a matter of fact, the number of victims of this heinous crime, already recognized as genocidal by Amnesty International and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, has exceeded over a thousand, most of whom Amharas.

In her coverup sermon, Bachelet started out by offering a typical UN Statement:  “If civilians were deliberately killed by a party or parties to the conflict, these killings would amount to war crimes and there needs to be, as I have stressed previously, independent, impartial, thorough and transparent investigations to establish accountability and ensure justice.” She then deceptively watered down the My-Kadra Amhara genocide by quipping: “It is essential that there are investigations into allegations of human rights violations there against both Amharans and Tigrayans”.

In a more tragic blubbering that equated the My-Kadra butchers with non-existing “Fano” forces, the report reprehensively charged accusing that: “Based on multiple accounts, the Amhara “Fano” militia has reportedly committed human rights abuses, including killing civilians and carrying out looting.”

While the report calls out “witnesses” who make allegations against the Ethiopian government, it openly resists its statements, even when these have been augmented by irrefutable evidence. In one tragic double standard the distorted report stated as such: “For instance, while the Government of Ethiopia has repeatedly alleged that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces have been involved in violations of international law, without access it remains challenging to verify these allegations.”

The blatant double standard of the UNHCR—that questions the statements of the government but advances the words of so called “witnesses” without qualms—needs to serve as another testimony to the biased, if not compromised, UNHCR leadership. The Ethiopian government must vigorously protest this increasingly habitual injustice of double standard.

Shedding croc tears the Commissioner further stated “What has happened in Tigray over these past seven weeks is as heart-breaking as it is appalling. Despite the Ethiopian Government’s initial efforts to provide humanitarian aid in some areas, it is vital that life-saving assistance is delivered to all civilian populations in need [in Tigray] without further delay”.

What is truly laughable, if not pitiful, is the “breaking” of the Commissioner’s heart without the benefits of reports on the situation in Tigray. And yet, by its own admission, the report already complained “the continuing lack of overall humanitarian access, coupled with an ongoing communications blackout in many areas”. How is it that the Commissioner’s heart is breaking on non-existing reports given the admission of communication blackouts? It is possible that the Commissioner may have been constantly feeding on sources from compromised entities and cabal sympathizers.

The good Commissioner of Human Rights conveniently overlooked the threats and firing of rockets on civilian targets in the cities of Gondar and Bahir Dar—oh, yes, sites which happen to be Amhara territories—as pompously admitted by the TPLF cabal. Yet, this was promptly and unequivocally denounced by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While the UNHCR stains Eritrea in its report, it conveniently omitted the rockets hurled by the cabal on Asmara, for which its government was commended for its restraints.

So much for the principles of UNHCR, Commissioner Bachelet.


Where is Your Heart, Mr Bachelet?

At one point, Ethiopia had to manage over three million internally displaced citizens following the conflict largely financed and directed by the TPLF cabal. The Ethiopian government, with the support of its citizens, has managed to resettle quite a significant size of these nationals.

To be sure, these were mostly Amharas and Oromos, not Tigrayans. To this day, as we speak, Amharas are being slaughtered everywhere in the country, especially in the Oromia and Benshangul-Gumuz regional states. And yet, the good Commissioner has said, so far as we know, nothing about these citizens of Ethiopia.

The humble question to the good Commissioner now is that: “Why isn’t your heart breaking for the Amharas, the Oromos and many others, who have been in exactly the same predicament?”. It may be foolhardy to anticipate any meaningful response, if at all.

The glaring double standard exhibited by the head of the UNHCR, as evidenced in this twisted report and actions in the past, needs to be denounced by Ethiopians and any justice seeking global citizens.


UNHCR Only Deserves Unhindered, Not Unsupervised, Access

It is to be recalled that the UNHCR staff has shown utter disregard to the terms of agreement that it has signed with the Ethiopian government to get access to the affected areas. No sooner had they received permission than they broke its terms to which the organization later apologized, though not without consequences for Ethiopia.

There are some suspicions that the UN staff was attempting some nefarious acts to rescue some cornered cabal forces when it breached two check points and had to be stopped on the third one. Given the disproportionate representations of the TPLF cabal in such organizations, this may not be too surprising. It is important that the Ethiopian government pays a closer look at this pervasive reality.

The UNHCR report retorted that “While we welcome the Ethiopian Government’s statement that there would be unimpeded humanitarian access, in line with the agreement with the UN signed on 29 November, this needs to be to all areas of Tigray where civilians have been affected by the fighting”. It is imperative that the Ethiopian government fully honors its part of the deal to provide “unimpeded humanitarian access”. But, it should never permit unsupervised access, whatsoever. Yes, to unimpeded access, but no to unsupervised access. Because, the corrupt history of the TPLF cabal that manipulated aid organizations in the past—and helped it capitalize diplomatically, financially and logistically, as narrated by its former leaders—is such that access must be monitored—very closely.


In Conclusion

It is remarkable that the UNHCR Commissioner appears more concerned about a certain group of Ethiopians than the Ethiopian government and its people. We wish that this concern is equally apportioned to all the people of Ethiopia. But this concern won’t pass the litmus taste of honest arbiter as the twisted report and past actions exhibit.

Commissioner Bachelet and other sympathizers of the TPLF cabal must realize that TPLF is as good as the late Humpty Dumpty. Let alone a Commissioner of the UNHCR, even the UN Secretary General himself, even if he wanted, cannot save it. Needless to say, TPLF is now irretrievably dumped in the dust bin of history and no amount of mis-reporting, partisanship or deceptive dealings will revive it.

The Queen of Sheba may be reached at [email protected]