An element in a national DDR/SSR program or a compassionate humanitarian need for returning combatants in Tigray region?
Author: Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe (World Peace Foundation, Tufts University)
The proposal for disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration in Tigray, crafted by the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Interim Regional Government of Tigray, deviates from the conventional Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) model. Instead, it serves as a limited humanitarian and welfare initiative aimed at urgently rehabilitating Tigray.
In Ethiopia, there’s a pressing need to reform the security sector due to numerous challenges, including war crimes. The Ethiopian government’s approach to DDR, however, differs from comprehensive SSR/DDR plans, focusing on disarming the Tigray Defense Force and mobilising donor funds. Yet, for meaningful SSR/DDR to occur, the government needs to engage in genuine dialogue to address citizen grievances and resolve conflicts. A significant number of ex-combatants, including disabled veterans, must reintegrate into civilian life in Tigray, requiring substantial resources.
This program, however, is not a conventional DDR initiative and should be redefined as a humanitarian and welfare effort. Priority should be given to rehabilitating disabled veterans, and reconstruction projects could serve as a means of reintegration for ex-combatants.