On 8 June 2021, the webinar “Brutalities against Religious leaders, Holy Places and Heritage in Tigray Confirmation” took place in the framework of the webinar series “Voices from Tigray”. The aim of this online meeting was to give a platform to testimonies of witnesses, describing the large-scale destruction and looting of cultural and religious heritage that occurred during the conflict in the Tigray region. Furthermore, religious leaders and local priests reported brutalities, atrocities and massacres against civilians, including religious leaders, that took place in holy sites, such as in the Maryam Tsion Church, in the Al-Nejash Mosque and in the Debre Damo monastery. After having listened to various witness testimonies, speakers called on the international community to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to push for the withdrawal of external troops from Tigray, by imposing sanctions; as well as support the reconstruction and recovery of the religious, cultural and historic heritage destroyed and looted during the conflict. Finally, experts reiterated the need for free access of humanitarian aid to the Tigray region.
Webinar proceedings (including all testimonies) can be found here: webinar proceedings.
In this week’s news highlights: United Nations Special Rapporteur states situation of Eritrean refugees of “grave concern”; UNICEF and Human Rights Watch state children severely affected by Tigray conflict; World Food Program reports that 90% of people in Tigray are in urgent need of food; Hundreds of detained people freed in Tigray after CNN report; Protests over US sanctions; 23 people drowned after a shipwreck off Tunisia; EU is developing and testing new surveillance digital technology that “dehumanise[s] people on the move”; Italy and France to collaborate on migration from Libya; New UK migration plan impacts the rights of refugees; Shift in migration to UK towards use of boats; and new UNHCR programme aims to enhance the education of refugees.
In this week’s news highlights: CNN report states Eritrean soldiers still in Tigray, blocking key aid routes; US Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman visits Horn of Africa; Oromia authorities detaining adults and children with no charges; Ethiopian peacekeepers of Tigray origin seek asylum in Sudan; The Telegraph: leaked church letter states Ethiopian and Eritrean troops massacred priests and other church staff in Tigray; Japan-IOM joint project to support IDPs, refugees and vulnerable communities in Sudan; 5 migrants drowned and 23 missing off the coast of Libya, 700 returned; More than 2000 migrants landed in Lampedusa (Italy) in less than 24 hours; 70 migrants rescued off the coast of Malta; Allegations of severe abuse and misidentification by Greek and Frontex authorities in Greece; Joint meeting between the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs; EU and UNHCR reject UK asylum seekers relocation plan.