US/EU: Weaponizing “Human Rights”

In the past few months, major western powers have invoked different facets of human rights and international laws of war in the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia to cast the crisis in almost apocalyptic terms. And for maximum outreach and impact, the chorus continues to be amplified by pliant media outlets and affiliated international agencies.

The packaging remains subtle and well calibrated. At times, and especially these days, the specter of “Rwanda” is harped on to ominously insinuate “potential or imminent ethnic cleansing” in the making. The famine that stalked Ethiopia in the 1970s is rehashed for good measure now and then. And, at other times, the analogy shifts to Yugoslavia to convey impending “break-up and State failure in Ethiopia with dire consequences to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region”.

Indeed, the constant refrain and chilling hyperbole in much sensationalized international media headlines and news reports run: “humanitarian conditions in Ethiopia are hellish as the nine-month Tigray conflict spreads in Africa’s second most populous country… People in Tigray are starving with up to 900,000 in famine conditions and more than five million in desperate need of humanitarian assistance”.

The frantic campaign is elastic with shifting focus and temporal intensity. As it happens, the tool kit in the first months of the conflict, mostly directed at Eritrea’s Defense Forces for reasons that will be elaborated later, consisted of churning out, almost on a daily basis, horrid stories on alleged “wanton massacre of civilians… vindictive looting and destruction of property... rampant sexual and gender-based violence, including gang rape, to instill fear on the civilian population in Tigray region…. etc.’’. <