The renewed drive for action by US lawmakers was prompted by CNN’s investigation, which revealed Eritrean soldiers were manning checkpoints in Tigray, obstructing and occupying key humanitarian aid routes, roaming the halls of one of the region’s few operating hospitals and threatening medical staff.
“We are doubling our push for passage of S.Res.97 and sanctions against Ethiopian and Eritrean officials guilty of crimes against civilians in Tigray,” the group added.
Despite pressure from the US, there has been no sign that Eritrean forces plan to exit the border region anytime soon.
The Senate on Thursday called on the Biden administration to “conduct and impose strict accountability measures on those found responsible” of human rights violations, opening the door for potential US sanctions.
Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Gregory Meeks, the New York Democrat who chairs the committee, have been leading a continued push for the Biden administration to “urgently use all available tools, including sanctions and other restrictive measures, to hold all perpetrators accountable and bring an end to this conflict.”
“It is clear that the Government of Ethiopia and the Government of Eritrea have not upheld their public commitment to withdraw Eritrean forces out of Tigray. Now we have this on-camera evidence from CNN.”
He argued that the “Biden administration needs to take action now to demonstrate we are serious when we demand accountability for atrocities.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has repeatedly called for the withdrawal of Eritrean and Ethiopian regional forces from the Tigray region, unfettered humanitarian access and an independent investigation into the human rights abuses being committed.
He has spoken several times with Abiy about the crisis, most recently last month to press Ethiopia and Eritrea to make good on commitments to withdraw Eritrean troops “immediately, in full and in a verifiable manner.”
“The continued presence of Eritrean forces in Tigray further undermines Ethiopia’s stability and national unity. We again call upon the Government of Eritrea to remove its forces from Tigray,” Blinken added.
Ethiopia and Eritrea have not responded to repeated requests for comment on CNN’s findings that soldiers are blocking aid in Tigray.