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ReliefWeb: Members of Congress Condemn Sexual Violence in the Northern Ethiopia Conflict

ReliefWeb highlighted a statement from Gayatri Patel, vice president, external relations, Women’s Refugee Commission, after members of Congress introduced a resolution condemning the use of rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence in the northern Ethiopia conflict.

On the heels of reports unveiling possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in northern Ethiopia, including Tigray, 46 members of the U.S. House of Representatives led by Congresswomen Speier (CA-14), Frankel (FL-21), Bass (CA-37), and Jacobs (CA-53) yesterday introduced a resolution condemning the use of rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence by parties to the conflict and calling for specific actions to be taken to support survivors and address the humanitarian crisis.

The House resolution urges President Biden to ensure accountability for human rights abuses, especially against women and girls, in the Tigray region, and calls on all parties to cease obstruction of humanitarian aid, including food, fuel, and medicines, which is negatively impacting their well-being and heightening their risks of sexual exploitation. The resolution also calls on the United States to leverage existing programs to meet the humanitarian needs on the ground. To date, more than 2 million people have been impacted by the conflict.

“We are bearing witness to horrific abuses against women and girls as young as six years old in this region and, alarmingly, the cruelty is the point,” said Gayatri Patel, vice president of external relations at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC). “As is all too frequent in conflict, parties are deliberately using sexual violence to intimidate and humiliate their enemy. These atrocities, including the brutal gang rape of women and children, not only breach international law, they also leave survivors with severe trauma and fear for generations to come. WRC welcomes congressional action in condemning this humanitarian and human rights nightmare, and we urge President Biden and all parties to the conflict, including the Ethiopian government, which has been deliberately blocking aid, to immediately take up the recommendations laid out in the resolution.”