BY SOLOMON DIBABA
The WHO Director General who is busy tarnishing the global image of his organization has turned into advocate politician for a terrorist organization which has created a reign of terror in Tigray. In total disregard to his international mandate as the Director General of a global organization entrusted with global health issues, the official has become a disgrace for the UN systems and affiliated global organizations.
Now, international and regional civil society organizations which were fade up of the unethical and unprofessional behavior and actions of Tedros Adhanom did not choose to be indifferent to the whole situation.
A letter addressed to the WHO Director General was written and dispatched to him by Ethiopian Medical Association, Ethiopian Public Health Association, American Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee, and Ethiopian Diaspora High Level Advisory Council on COVID-19, and Ethiopian Scholars in Nordic Countries, South African Medical Association, Lesotho Medical Association, People To People, Inc.
In an open letter addressed to the Director General, representatives of 8 domestic and international professionals serving in various health institutions addressed the Director General noting:
“As part of the global medical community, we want to address your actions during the course of the current conflict in Ethiopia and share our sincere concern that you have used your leadership role of a UN agency, mandated to protect global health, to further escalate tensions in Ethiopia and purposefully ignore millions in need.”
Citing that many of them have worked in Afar and Amhara regional states during the conflict, they noted “We have seen first-hand the human cost of the fighting: malnutrition, acute injuries, mutilation, rape and death. Seeing such horrors has become part of our day to day lives.”
The health professionals further stated that they have had to work in the most extraordinarily difficult circumstances with severely limited resources. But, the letter added “throughout we upheld our duty and have done everything we can to save lives.”
According to some statistics from the latest United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs bulletin published on 7th April 2022 to articulate the desperate situation facing these regions, more than 10 million people in Amhara need health services and interventions. In Amhara, more than 500 health facilities, and 1,706 health posts have been damaged and/or looted due to the conflict and need rehabilitation and support. In Afar, only 94 health facilities, or 22 per cent of the 414 facilities, are functional, including two hospitals and 31 health centers.
The current situation is a direct result of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and allied forces’ attacks on the people of Afar and Amhara, the signers pointed out. During the TPLF’s invasion of Afar and Amhara in June 2021, the group undertook a systematic campaign to cripple the region’s health infrastructure as well as injure, rape, and kill civilians. These crimes have been documented by international organizations such as Amnesty International and the UN. “We have painfully witnessed it ourselves.”
Efforts to bring aid to the regions and Tigray have been severely hindered in recent months by further TPLF attacks. The UK’s Permanent Secretary to the UN in Geneva, Simon Manley, confirmed this on the 8th March, stating “TPLF attacks continue to inhibit delivery of aid across northern Ethiopia.”
The letter further elaborated: “During the conflict, we have looked to the World Health Organization (WHO) for support. Sadly, we have been forgotten. Under your leadership, WHO has ignored the plight of Afar and Amhara. ”
“As a Tigrayans, and as a former Health Minister in the TPLF-led Government, we understand your sympathies toward Tigray. Indeed, we too want to see more aid reach our brothers and sisters there. However, raising the alarm for Tigray should not come at the cost of shutting down the needs of Afar and Amhara.”
It also revealed that the Director General has taken a political and overtly biased approach to the conflict. “Your actions and rhetoric have helped create a warped international view of what has occurred in Ethiopia. This has been clear throughout the past 18-months. Every press conference, every statement and every tweet has been designed to raise the alarm for Tigray, quieting the TPLF’s destruction of Afar and Amhara and heighten opposition toward the government of Ethiopia. A simple Google search of your comments on the conflict highlights it for all to see.”
In addition the letter stated that the concerned signers were concerned by the director general’s trip to Washington D.C. last month to meet with dozens of US Government officials and representatives.
“It is no coincidence your meetings came at the same time as two bills that seek wide-ranging sanctions against Ethiopia and its people are progressing through Congress.”
Moreover, “there is wide frustration among the Ethiopian medical community that you have consistently refused to engage with the country’s Health Ministry and have ignored the Ethiopian Government’s request for an investigation into your actions as the head of the WHO,” the letter exposed.
“We ask you now, as an Ethiopian, to stop using your considerable influence to further the aims of the TPLF and stop silencing the urgent needs of Afar and Amhara,” it noted, adding that “as the current humanitarian truce holds, instead use your position to improve the health of all Ethiopian people, rather than engage in the politics that has brought so much destruction.”
This letter from fellow medical professionals in Ethiopian and across the African region is significant for a number of reasons. First it shows how even the professional associations in the country and at international level have abhorred the extent to which a medical professional posted at the highest managerial level in the UN is deliberately manipulating the whole situation trying to hide and lie on the vandalistic actions taken by his organization has destroyed the health delivery system in Amhara and Afar regions of Ethiopia.
Although the Ethiopian Government has officially notified the WHO Council on the mendacious propaganda of the WHO Director General, the UN body put the notification as if nothing has happened in a bid to ignore the issue in favor of the Director General.
Several other observers have also been exposing the unethical and unprofession actions of WHO Director General. For instance Lavani Miala Kenyan Pan Africanist Lawyer said:
“World Health Organization (WHO) General- Director Tedros Adhanom has failed to be neutral in the current situation in Ethiopia unexpectedly he is propagating the one sided TPLF agenda.”
The lawyer expressed his disappointment over WHO Director General Tedros failing to be neutral on the situation in Ethiopia favoring TPLF since the conflict started.
According to Miala, the WHO General- Director is using his position to influence the outcome of the conflict in Ethiopia instead of acting as a neutral part to this conflict.
He called on Tedros to refrain from such acts because right now he acts like TPLF agent that everyone understands his biased deed on the Ethiopian situation.
The Lawyer further urged Tedros and others to stop polarizing country by any means against the interest of the people of Ethiopia. Even if, Tewodros is currently mandated for WHO, when he retired, he would come back to Ethiopia. Therefore, he needs to work for the unity of Ethiopia rather than favoring TPLF group, Mila underscored. ‘’We are talking about unity because you understand when we come together, we can do greater things. So let us refrain from these divisive acts and support the efforts of the Ethiopian Government”, He added.
In his recent analysis on the same issue entitled “Wolf in the Fold: How the WHO’s Director Will Even Betray the World’s Health for the TPLF, Jeff Pearce wrote “Tedros Adhanom must feel pretty untouchable these days. From his infamous “Pride” tweet last June to his shameless abandonment of impartiality for his office by making public comments on the Tigray conflict, it’s been painfully clear for a while whose side he’s on.”
He added “And yet the evidence has been out in the open all this time that Tedros will even sacrifice the safety of the world in terms of pandemics for the political agenda of the TPLF.” Jeff hits the point and goes on “For those who want to jeer and say, “conspiracy theory,” again, this is a guy who has made his sympathies for the TPLF public and for all to see while holding one of the most important jobs at the United Nations. And how many millions died because this man put the political and military goals of his cronies ahead of global health concerns? How many could have been saved had he done his job properly instead of acted out of self-interest?” The world medical organizations and regional associations need to heed to the calls of the renowned global journalists and civil society organizations and tell Terdos Adhanom that enough is enough.