July 16,2021 (ENA) Why is UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Silent on Deployment of Child soldiers by TPLF in Tigray?
BY SOLOMON DIBABA
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) has adopted a quickly baked EU sponsored resolution on violations of human rights in Ethiopia. But it never uttered a sentence on TPLF’s recruitment and deployment of child soldiers at the battle front. Silence on this, contrary to the international law, is no less than endorsing the inhuman action. Besides, the global human rights organization has become a tool for serving EU political objectives shrouded by a false commitment to human rights.
International NGOs, which are well known across the globe for fighting on the legal rights of children and minors, have rendered deaf ear to child soldiers recruited in Tigray to fight against Ethiopian federal forces. The ICC that has sentenced a number of criminals to long years in jail is also silent on the plight of girl children and boys in Tigray forcefully being recruited and deployed to battle fronts. Similarly, international advocacy groups are silent on the issue; but all these organizations have regrettably listed Ethiopia as one of the countries in which genocide is conducted with no reference to TPLF. Ethiopia is keeping an eye on criminals in journalism who are trying to hide in their Trojan horse.
The USA and EU betrayed the people of Ethiopia by openly siding with TPLF with their media and diplomatic support for TPLF. The government of Ethiopia has verified evidence that vehicles meant for transporting food and non-food items are being used to deliver satellite phones and armaments for TPLF working with this terrorist organization to destroy the statehood of Ethiopia. Particular officials in EU leadership and the USA speak about human rights violations in Ethiopia while keeping dead silence on the crimes against humanity that TPLF is committing.
Western media outlets, including New York Times and AP, are trying to hide the crimes against humanity in Tigray and embolden terrorism to take over Ethiopia by glamorizing on the actions of TPLF in deploying children to the battle front. Commercial media outlets may not be expected to advocate for child soldiers as long as they are paid to cover it up.
The UN Convention on the Rights of a Child to which Ethiopia is a signatory strongly prohibited using children as soldiers. Article 38 of the Convention provides,
Article 38 1. States Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to them in armed conflicts which are relevant to the child. 11 2. States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of fifteen years do not take a direct part in hostilities. 3. States Parties shall refrain from recruiting any person who has not attained the age of fifteen years into their armed forces. In recruiting among those persons who have attained the age of fifteen years but who have not attained the age of eighteen years, States Parties shall Endeavour to give priority to those who are oldest. 4. In accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict.
TPLF is violating this important international law and needs to be accounted for the crimes it is committing before the nations of the world.
By supporting TPLF through their unprofessional hoax news, international media companies are not only becoming the global wing of TPLF propaganda on Ethiopia but they are also violating the cardinal principles of their own editorial policies by meddling into the internal affairs of Ethiopia.
The leaders of TPLF need to be referred to the ICC for their criminal activities in Ethiopia. At any rate what are the major legal instruments that prohibit the recruitment and deployment of child soldier? Let us have a look at it. Human rights law declares 18 as the minimum legal age for recruitment and use of children in hostilities. Recruiting and using children under the age of 15 as soldiers is prohibited under international humanitarian law – treaty and custom, and is defined as a war crime by the International Criminal Court.
It seems that there is a double standard for crimes on recruiting and deploying child soldiers for a war. When TPLF commits such a crime in Tigray region, the international community is dead silent, but acts quickly if this happened in any other country. This indicates that the UNHCHR is politicizing the issue of human rights as a tool for putting pressure on the Government of Ethiopia by acting on the issue as urgently as possible. It is regrettable that OHCHR is being used as a tool for promoting political agenda of those countries which are now actively pressuring the country.