Following the ongoing hostilities between Ethiopia’s Federal Government troops and the forces of Tigray regional State in the northern part of the country, Pax Christi International, a global Catholic peace movement has called on the Federal government and the leadership of Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) to “stop the violence immediately and enter into peaceful dialogue.”
“We call upon the Federal government and the Tigray regional government of Ethiopia to work together with the international community, the United Nations, the African Union and fellow African countries and the European Union to initiate a peaceful dialogue which will lead to a ceasefire and a peace agreement,” Pax Christi International said in a statement sent to AMECEA online dated Monday, November 23.
The Catholic peace movement with about 120-member organizations worldwide including members from the African continent, highlighted that “military actions will not lead to a just resolution of the conflict and can only lead to further escalation of violence, aggravating the suffering of the population.”
In the Monday statement, the movement has strongly condemned the “country’s political crisis that has developed into a civil conflict between the Federal government and the Tigray People Liberation government, causing immense violence, internal displacement of persons and thousands of refugees.”
As a way forward, the non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Brussels has appealed to the parties to “stop the violence immediately” and instead “take steps towards pursuing the implementation of a well-defined and all-inclusive peace process to a united and stable Ethiopia.”
They have further asked “all parties to commit decidedly and effectively to protect and assist civilians, especially the most vulnerable,” believing that a “comprehensive inclusive and non-violent political process is the only way to end this violent conflict.”
Additionally, the organization has called for an end of “arms selling and arms trafficking to all parties involved in the conflict and equally, the enforcement of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).”
Emphasizing on the need for Ethiopia government to stop violence to mitigate the challenges bedeviling the country, the Pax Christi International leadership noted, “A ceasefire urgently needs to be declared. A major humanitarian crisis is imminent in the region if no decisive action is taken (and) significant humanitarian assistance for victims of violence and displaced communities should be secured.”
According to the Peace movement, the resources that are being used in the current violence should rather be channeled towards response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the entire world.
Releasing their statement weeks after the Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia and the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) earlier appealed to the Federal government and TPLF leadership for peaceful dialogue to end the disagreements, the organization has disclosed that they join the Church leaders in their plea for constructive and peaceful dialogue which will “not only benefit the people of Ethiopia but also the neighboring countries who are in danger of the escalating violence as the conflict is spilling over.”
Pax Christi International was founded in Europe in 1945 as a reconciliation movement bringing together French and Germans after World War II. Today, the movement has 120 member organizations active in more than 50 countries worldwide.