Humanitarian Priorities for Tigray, Ethiopia, after the Cessation of Hostilities

Humanitarian Priorities for Tigray, Ethiopia, after the Cessation of Hostilities

Authors: Mulugeta Gebrehiwot and Alex de Waal

This memo outlines elements of the political context of the international response to the immense and immediate humanitarian and reconstruction needs of Tigray and includes suggestions for avenues to be explored for policy and programming.

Tigray’s humanitarian needs must be met in the context of deep distrust between the Federal and Tigrayan authorities and a sharp decline in confidence among Tigrayans in their political leadership. At federal and regional level, institutions are at best quasi-functional. A ‘business as usual’ approach is incommensurate with urgent and flexible response. Work arounds will be needed, for example through the use of major NGOs as implementing partners.

Tigray needs an overall vision for peace and rehabilitation that captures the extraordinary levels of energy and commitment shown by the Tigrayan people during their resistance. This memo proposes that this energy can be found in communities and civil society, and that assistance modalities should prioritize mechanisms for immediate assistance direct to Tigray, that creates an enabling environment for communities to assist themselves, and which supports civil society, human rights and protection of civilians.

Aid funding to reconstruction in the aftermath of state policies of destruction, deprivation and pillage poses ethical and legal dilemmas for international donors. While questions of compensation, restitution and transitional justice cannot be resolved by donors, these issues should be borne in mind in programs and policies.