Armed Conflict in the 2020s: The Crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region

On March 4th, 2021, the Washington Foreign Law Society hosted the first installment of its new virtual series, “Armed Conflict in the 2020s”. The series premiered with a discussion on the ongoing crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, featuring Prof. Alex De Waal (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy) and Prof. Awet Weldemichael (Queen’s University).

Prof. Weldemichael kicked off the conversation with a deep dive on the historical and political background to the conflict. Prof. De Waal then analyzed the conclusions of today’s UN Security Council, highlighting four key goals illustrated by the Council: bringing forth an immediate cease to the hostilities; ensuring humanitarian access in Tigray, especially in the wake of reports of widespread food emergency in the region; setting up an international investigation into abuses of human rights law and international humanitarian law; and guaranteeing the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray.

Noting that, despite the domestic nature of the conflict, civilians affected should be afforded the same degree of protection available under the law of international armed conflict, Prof. De Waal suggested that the UN Security Council should proceed under Resolution 2417 on Armed Conflict, which provides the United Nations with an early warning system and accountability mechanism when the denial of humanitarian access is used as a warfare tactic. The discussion then touched upon the role of the African Union and other members of the international community, such as the United States and the European Union.

The Washington Foreign Law Society wishes to thank Prof. De Waal and Prof. Weldemichael for their precious contribution. Stay tuned for the next installment of the series, which will focus on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Posted March 4, 2021 in: General News