Saturday, March 25, 2023
HomeOpinionLetter to Secretary Blinken (American Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee AEPAC)

Letter to Secretary Blinken (American Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee AEPAC)

Anthony J. Blinken 
Secretary of State 
U.S. Department of State 
Washington, D.C.  

Dear Secretary Blinken, 

As the Executive Chairman of the American Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC), I write to  urge public condemnation and concrete action regarding the abhorrent use of child soldiers by the  Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Ethiopia. 

Images of the TPLF providing arms and weapons training to children have been widely distributed  on social media channels and reported in Ethiopian press outlets. Then, this week, the  photojournalist Finbarr O’Reilly was in Ethiopia reporting for the New York Times. His images have  confirmed this horrific story. 

On his Instagram page he posted: 

“On multiple occasions, I saw Tigrayan children carrying weapons. Under the Statute of the  International Criminal Court, conscripting or enlisting children into armed forces or groups  constitutes a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts.” 

I have included a copy of the images that accompanied his post.  

Together with our thirteen partner organizations, AEPAC represents a great percentage of the  Ethiopian diaspora in the United States, totaling approximately 1.2 million. Collectively, we make  three urgent requests: 

• That the Biden administration immediately condemn the TPLF by name for the use of child  soldiers, acknowledging that it constitutes an international war crime. 

• That the U.S. impose sanctions on the TPLF’s leadership to compel the rebel group to end its  practice of arming children.  

• And that the U.S. demand that the TPLF and all combatants also adopt an unconditional  ceasefire similar to the Ethiopian government as the necessary first step to stem the  humanitarian crisis and create a path toward political dialogue. 

These images of the most vulnerable in Ethiopia being exploited for war demand condemnation and  action. We urge you to lead.  

Yours sincerely, 

Mesfin Tegenu
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  1. Mind you. The former president, Donald Trump has not recognized Joe Biden as president and never conceded defeat. I believe, Joe Biden himself half heartedly thinks that. The foreign policy decisions he has taken so far resemble the policies he for long promoted during his long service in the committee in the Senate Foreign Relations: such as imposing sanctions, advocating and supporting armed opposition groups (even those labeled as terrorist group such as TPLF in Ethiopia) for example.
    On imposing more sanctions in addition to the long and in humane economic embargo on a neighboring small country, Joe Biden said “that is just the beginning” suggesting more sanctions to come on that country.
    Joe Biden hopes to appease the former president and his supporters to lend him some sort of recognition or at least call his name not necessarily in the interest of well wisher voters.


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