His Excellency Mr. Pekka Haavisto
Minister of Foreign Affairs
PO Box 23
Dear Foreign Minister Haavisto,
We, the Board members of the Global Ethiopian Scholars Initiative (GESI), are writing to express our deepest outrage and to firmly demand an evidence-supported explanation for your recent statement in reference to the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
GESI is a non-profit organization registered in the US state of New York, with a mission to generate evidence relating to developments concerning Ethiopia, with particular reference to external public opinion and internal policy initiatives.
On June 18 2021, four months after you had visited Ethiopia as European Union Special Envoy, you stated: “When I met the Ethiopian leadership in February they really used this kind of language, that they are going to destroy the Tigrayans, they are going to wipe out the Tigrayans for 100 years and so forth… .”
The Board of GESI strongly believes that your brazen allegation is not only odious and deplorable, but also immorally and recklessly inflammatory and destabilizing for our East African nation, which has been experiencing one of the most difficult and traumatic challenges in her long and glorious history.
We all agree that no judicious human being can negate the perpetration of potential atrocities in a region of conflict such as the one that has followed the treasonous attack, by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defence Forces in November of 2020. We also avow that it is utterly legitimate to demand the investigation by independent groups, as well as to expect the prosecution of the perpetrators of any atrocities, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Indeed, no Ethiopian would wish harm to our compatriots in the Tigray region, which is the birth place of our cherished civilization, the cradle of the widely embraced Ethiopian Orthodox Christian faith, and once the seat of the kingdom where Muhammad’s first followers sought refuge from persecution by the rulers of Mecca. This is evidenced by the outpouring of aid and support for our brothers and sisters in the region, and the ongoing efforts by all of us to repair the damage caused by the poisonous ethnic policies
implemented by the now-defunct TPLF.
As you may know, the TPLF had once been labelled as a “Tier III terrorist organization under INA section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi)(III) on the basis of its violent activities before it became part of the ruling coalition and the government of Ethiopia in May 1991. For the subsequent three decades, the TPLF ruled the country ruthlessly until it was ejected from power through a popular uprising in 2018. The crimes committed by the TPLF while in power have been extensively documented by humanitarian organizations, including the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as the US State Department Country Reports. Following its defeat in the recent counterattack launched by the Ethiopian government to restore law and order, the TPLF, which has now been officially declared as a terrorist group, has been waging a campaign of disinformation to befuddle world opinion, with the strong patronage of certain Western media institutions and governments. It may be noted that while in power, the TPLF had embezzled billions of dollars of aid money that is now being used to finance this campaign.
As a Foreign Minister of the great people of Finland, your imprudent remarks are construed by us as a dubious scheme to further create antagonism and ethnic hatred in the troubled African country, as efforts are made by us all to build bridges and bring reconciliation among the brotherly people who have lived in harmony for millennia.
Given the gravity and repercussions of your allegations, we are, therefore, requesting you:
- To provide concrete evidence about your assertion: “… they are going to destroy the Tigrayans, they are going to wipe out the Tigrayans for 100 years”.
- If you cannot provide evidence, to officially retract your allegation, and make a formal apology to the people of Ethiopia in general, and the people of Tigray, in particular.
We look forward to receiving your response at the earliest possible time.
The Board of Directors, GESI
June 20, 2021
• H.E. Ms. Sanna Marin, Prime Minister, Helsinki, Finland
• H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations, New York, NY, USA
• H. E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson, African Union, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
• H.E. Mr. Joseph Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union, Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Brussels, Belgium
• H.E. Mr. Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, Washington D.C., USA
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