Ethiopia: Women March in Capital Adds to Growing Calls for Peace

Addis Abeba — A peace rally was held in Addis Abeba on Thursday 08 August organized by three women-centered indigenous civil society organizations based in Ethiopia. The march for peace adds up to the rare, yet growing calls from non-state actors calling for an end and a peaceful resolution to the ongoing civil war in Ethiopia.

Several women organized by the Network of Ethiopian Women’s Associations (NEWA), the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) Network, and Timran, marched in the capital carrying banners with messages of peace, the role of women in peace, as well as condemning war-related rape and sexual assault against women. Some of the messages in the banners read “no disagreement has ever found solution through war”, “women’s body is not a battlefield”, and “war is not an instrument of development but of death, hunger, migration and destruction.”

This is the second call for peace in Ethiopia in as many days echoed by local civic organizations after a group of 35 local CSOs issued a statement on 07 September calling for immediate peace in Ethiopia, restorations of basic services provision in Tigray and other conflict hit areas, investigations and accountability to war-related crimes being committed in Ethiopia and an end to ethnic-based violence and discrimination in various parts of the country, among others.

Last week, both the Ethiopian Teachers Association and the Ethiopian Civil Societies Organization Coalition (ECSOC) called for de-escalation and an immediate return to cessation of hostilities after the resumption of militarized hostilities between federal defense forces and Tigrayan forces.

The Association said that the war would bring nothing to Ethiopia except for poverty and generational rifts, while the Coalition warned that it would bear massive consequences for civilians, especially vulnerable segments of the population, namely children, disabled persons, the elderly, and women in the affected areas.

The resumption of the militarized hostilities on 24 August has already been condemned by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), multiple countries and institutions and their leaders including The United States, Turkey, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and AU Chairperson, Moussa Faki, who have raised concerns in regard to the situation and stressed a resumption of peace talks.

Despite widespread calls however, the war has continued in the backdrop of absence of independently verifiable reports. AS

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