America's Ethiopia Sanctions for Human Rights Violation

Blog / America's Ethiopia Sanctions for Human Rights Violation

What's Happening in Ethiopia

The conflict in Tigray began in November 2020 when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the regional ruling party in Tigray. The conflict escalated rapidly, leading to a full-scale war between the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and TPLF forces.

The conflict has resulted in widespread reports of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, and mass displacement. Both sides have been accused of committing atrocities, although independent verification of the events has been limited due to restricted access to the region.

The conflict has also caused a severe humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, and there have been reports of widespread food shortages, malnutrition, and lack of access to basic services such as healthcare, water, and electricity. Humanitarian organizations have expressed concerns about the deteriorating situation and the challenges they face in delivering aid to those in need.

Efforts to resolve the conflict have been challenging. The Ethiopian government has rejected calls for negotiations with the TPLF and has instead focused on military operations to regain control of the region. The conflict has also spilled over into neighboring regions, exacerbating ethnic tensions and raising concerns about the stability of Ethiopia as a whole.

International actors, including the United Nations and various countries, have called for an end to the violence and have urged all parties to engage in dialogue. Some countries have imposed sanctions on Ethiopian officials and entities involved in the conflict. However, finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict remains a significant challenge.

Sanctions and human rights are interconnected concepts that have significant implications for individuals and nations alike.

America's Role in Ethiopia

The United States, under President Joe Biden, expressed its concerns over the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region and called for a ceasefire. The US government, along with other international actors, urged all parties involved to engage in dialogue to find a peaceful solution.

In terms of U.S. involvement, the Biden administration did impose sanctions on certain Ethiopian individuals and entities over human rights concerns related to the conflict in Tigray. These sanctions were aimed at holding accountable those responsible for human rights abuses and encouraging a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The U.S. has also been involved in diplomatic efforts, working with international partners and organizations to address the crisis and provide humanitarian assistance to those affected.

It's important to consider that perspectives on the US role in the conflict may vary, and different actors may have different interpretations of the US position. While some may view the U.S. as supporting the TPLF, others may argue that the U.S. is concerned about the reported human rights abuses and is calling for an end to the violence and a negotiated settlement.

Ethiopia Sanctions Axis of America's Laws

In May, the United States first sanctioned Ethiopia to remove it from customs exemptions imposed on African countries under the African Development and Opportunity Law.

The New Sanctions, on the other hand, were introduced under executive order number 14046 as a result of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA); Biden declared a National Emergency with authority given by the National Emergency Law and evaluated it as a threat to the national security and foreign policy of the USA.

In addition to OFAC sanctions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the departure of US citizens in Ethiopia by their own forces and established a task force to supervise it.

America was advocating that the civil war in Ethiopia should be prevented through diplomatic means and was negotiating on this issue. Most recently, America has introduced a bill within the scope of the Horns of Africa, which includes imposing sanctions on persons and institutions, and organizations in Ethiopia. Sanctions will be imposed on those who undermine the peace to be provided in Ethiopia and prevent aid.

While gross human rights violations were committed during this civil war, democracy was damaged, institutions and organizations were emptied, humanitarian aid processes were undermined, and profit maximization was tried to be achieved through this. Sanctions on these and those who provide equipment to those who do them were announced in this bill. According to the bill, there is pressure to block the support and loans of Washington's international monetary fund and similar institutions to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. At the same time, there was a question of providing support and funding to Ethiopia's projects up to this time, and it was decided to stop them.

What Does Sanction Scanner Tell You About These Sanctions?

It is crucial for businesses to be aware that the recent sanctions are likely to be highly targeted, aiming to have a maximum impact while minimizing any unintended consequences on humanitarian efforts. While neighboring countries such as Eritrea and Somalia already pose high risks due to ongoing conflicts, companies should understand their overall risk exposure throughout the region. It is recommended to conduct an assessment of connections with Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), particularly regarding sensitive financial flows like aid. Having robust sanctions and adverse media screening systems in place is essential to identify designated individuals, as well as companies directly associated with them.

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