Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau, seen here on Jan. 15, 2020, and his counterparts say in a joint statement they are extremely concerned people are starving as conditions in Ethiopia’s northernmost region worsen.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Canada and other G7 nations are denouncing what they describe as human rights violations and calling for immediate access for humanitarian aid groups in Ethiopia’s conflict-ridden Tigray region.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau and his counterparts from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States say in a joint statement they are extremely concerned people are starving as conditions in Ethiopia’s northernmost region worsen.

They denounce reports of mass civilian killings, sexual and gender-based violence and the forced displacement of thousands of local residents and Eritrean refugees living there.

Story continues below advertisement

They say it is “essential that there is an independent, transparent and impartial investigation into the crimes reported,” including holding those responsible for human rights abuses to account.

Ethiopia declared war on the region in November in battle between Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy’s national ruling party and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which had ruled the semi-autonomous region.

The conflict escalated quickly with accusations of war crimes, massacres and rape, many of which have been difficult to confirm because of restricted access to the region by aid workers and journalists.

“We condemn the killing of civilians, sexual and gender based violence, indiscriminate shelling and the forced displacement of residents of Tigray and Eritrean refugees,” the G7 foreign ministers said in the joint statement.

“All parties must exercise utmost restraint, ensure the protection of civilians and respect human rights and international law. "

Ethiopians in Canada have protested recently outside Parliament Hill, demanding the world pay attention to the situation and calling on Canada to act.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who visited Ethiopia a year ago, spoke to Mr. Abiy by phone in late February and raised the continuing war in Tigray. A summary of their conversation said Mr. Trudeau raised the importance of humanitarian access and aid, and the need to restore access for journalists.

Story continues below advertisement

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front had been one of the dominant parties in the precursor to Abiy’s coalition Prosperity party. But the TPLF refused to join Abiy’s new party.

In the fall the TPLF went ahead with regional elections, after Mr. Abiy postponed national votes due to COVID-19.

The group later attacked a federal military base in early November. That attack prompted Mr. Abiy to declare war on the region.

It’s estimated as many as million people have been displaced by the conflict, and local aid groups say people are starving, lack access to clean water and basic medical care.

The region was already hurting from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and an infestation of locusts that harmed crops.

The United Nations has repeatedly called for leaders to improve access for aid groups, saying millions of people are at risk.

Story continues below advertisement

The G7 ministers say they took note of commitments made by Mr. Abiy’s government to address the human rights abuses and hold those responsible to account and “look forward to seeing these commitments implemented.

“We call for the end of violence and the establishment of a clear inclusive political process that is acceptable to all Ethiopians, including the citizens of Tigray, and which leads to credible elections and a wider national reconciliation process,” the statement read.

“We the G7 members stand ready to support humanitarian efforts and investigations into human rights abuses.”

The Canadian Press

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies