In an email interview with TNH, Laetitia Bader, the Horn of Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said her organisation has received reports of Tigrayans outside of the northern region being harassed on the street, profiled at airports and cafes, and having their homes arbitrarily searched by Ethiopian security forces.
“The discrimination by state agents could fuel further discrimination or harm,” Bader said. “The government should immediately investigate these incidents, hold those responsible to account, and make clear that any violence, discrimination, or hostility against Tigrayans or any other group will not be tolerated.”
Media reports claim that Tigrayan soldiers serving on an African Union peacekeeping mission fighting Islamist insurgents in Somalia have had their weapons removed. And Tigrayan employees at Ethiopian Airlines – pilots, caterers, technicians, and security guards among them – have reportedly been instructed by their superiors to stay at home until further notice.
High-profile Tigrayans have also been accused by the government of supporting the TPLF. In November, Ethiopia’s army chief said – without providing evidence – that the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was trying to procure weapons and secure diplomatic support for the Tigrayan party. Tedros denied the allegations.