Addis Ababa፣ July 24/2021 (ENA The failure to condemn TPLF which is recruiting and using child soldiers forcefully has summed up the double standards of the international community on war crime, according to the prominent foreign policy experts.
The experts Ann Fitz-Gerald and Hugh Segal said in an article that the new video footage and images circulating in the media demonstrate how child soldiers are now being forced to serve as fighters in Tigray by TPLF.
They stated that the group has deployed child soldiers that range from 9 to 15 years old, some photos even show children as young as 5.
Though the recruitment and use of children in conflict is a war crime, the international community has not been condemning the TPLF for the crime it has been committing in this regard, the experts said.
Media outlets such as the New York Times and the Associated Press have been condemned on social media for portraying the children as “highly motivated young recruits,” they pointed out.
No one, however, should have been surprised as last November, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael promised a “people’s war” in which “starting with the children, everyone will be taking part,” the experts indicated.
“The recruitment and use of children in conflict is a war crime; a crime which justified the 2014 American foreign policy priority to hunt down Joseph Kony, a Ugandan insurgent and leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army,” according to the experts, Ann Fitz-Gerald and Hugh Segal for Inside Policy of MLI.
US Osprey aircraft and 150 American Air force Special Forces personnel swooped in to help the Ugandan Defense Forces hunt down the LRA leaders so they could be handed over the International Criminal Court, they added.
And yet the international community has, as of yet, failed to condemn the TPLF for the same crimes, the experts indicated.
Ethiopians and other Africans are within their rights to ask, “What makes Ethiopian children less deserving than Kony’s Ugandan victims?” the experts wrote.
According to the experts, video and photographic evidence from Tigray’s eastern border with the Afar regional state has also uncovered TPLF attacks on aid convoys.
Some residents in Tigray have confirmed the launch of a registration process which denies food aid to those families who don’t commit fighters to the insurgent force.
The experts recalled that the Ethiopian Government declared its ceasefire in good faith and allowed the international community to boost its humanitarian assistance in Tigray.
“But how can the Ethiopian Prime Minister continue to support a ceasefire which is leading to the killing and exploitation of children? Especially when the violent TPLF insurgents seeking to destabilize the state dismiss the ceasefire as a “sick joke” and attack innocent civilians of neighboring regions,” the experts stated.
Fitz-Gerald and Segal further called on the government of Canada to respond to the use of child soldiers in Tigray.
In the present violent anti-democratic TPLF insurgency in Ethiopia, the experts urged the Canadian government to reassess its dispassionate stand and more clearly support the duly elected federal government in defending itself and preserving the stability of Ethiopia as a whole and that of the Horn of Africa.
Any political-military insurgency that commandeers and exploits children as soldiers reveals its essential disregard for the humanitarian imperative, they pointed out.