World Council of Churches (WCC) interim general secretary Dr Ioan Sauca sent letters to Ethiopian prime minister Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali as well as to WCC member churches in Ethiopia expressing serious concern over alarming reports of conflict, massacres and other human rights abuses, particularly in the Tigray and Beninshangul-Gumuz regions, over the last months.
“The few humanitarian organisations that have managed to reach conflict-affected areas in the Tigray region are reporting a dire situation in which millions are at risk of hunger, severe child malnutrition and a looming famine, in the midst of a new desert locust infestation,” wrote Sauca to the prime minister. “They are also indicating large displacement of populations, especially in the rural areas, as well as reports of sexual violence and abuses of women and girls.”
While Sauca acknowledged and commended the efforts of the Ethiopian government to bring relief to conflict-affected areas, he urged the prime minister to allow humanitarian corridors so that international aid agencies can access a population in urgent need of food, medicines and other necessities.
“The ecumenical family prays for Ethiopia during these particularly trying and challenging times that the country is facing,” Sauca wrote. “We unequivocally condemn and deplore all barbaric acts of violence.” Sauca also noted that these tragic developments in both Tigray and Beninshangul-Gumuz are taking place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to WCC member churches in Ethiopia, Sauca expressed profound sadness and dismay at the situation. “The WCC conveys its solidarity and support to the churches and people of Ethiopia as they seek to fulfil their essential ministry for justice, peace and human dignity and rights at this difficult and dangerous moment in the life of the nation,” reads the letter. “We pray that you may experience the presence and the love of God even in the midst of these challenges.”
Sauca also extended condolences to the families of the victims. “We shall continue to pray for peace and reconciliation among the people and communities of your troubled country,” the letter concludes.