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Press Release: U.S. Sanctions Undermine Eritrea’s Right to Self-Defense and Infringe on Ethiopia’s Sovereignty

In a set of sanctions that strip Eritrea of its right to defend itself and infringe on Ethiopia’s sovereignty as a nation, the United States once again imposed malicious, broad, and punitive actions clearly designed to disrupt Eritrea’s development and nation-building projects. These measures scapegoat Eritrea for the conflict in Ethiopia and are contrary to sovereign equality of states and the power given to the UN Security Council to take collective measures.

The actions taken on November 12, 2021, by the United States purport that Eritrea has “undermined the stability and integrity of the Ethiopian state”, however, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 13, 2021, denounced the actions as interference in its internal affairs and that it amounts to infringing on its sovereign rights. In the Ministry’s press release, Ethiopia said that it “never lodged any grievances to the international community regarding the initial presence of Eritrean forces on its soil in defense of their territorial integrity.” Furthermore, the statement underscored that “the prerogative to put forth such complaint lies with the Government of Ethiopia and not any other country” and “the Government of Ethiopia doesn’t believe that the State of Eritrea is an impediment to sustainable peace in Ethiopia.”

Eritrea was on the receiving end of the numerous missiles launched by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in November 2020; in what was widely condemned including by the previous U.S. administration, as an act of aggression designed to internationalize the conflict. According to Article 51 of the UN Charter, Eritrea is within its rights to self-defense.

We are deeply concerned that these draconian, unjust, maliciously designed sanctions harm Eritrea’s promising economy to the extent that it will compound the existing pull factors on migration, compromise Eritrea’s ability to address social, economic, and humanitarian needs of its population. These punitive actions undermine all the efforts being made by all the peoples and nations of the Horn of Africa to ensure peace and stability in their region and beyond.

We call upon all peace-loving peoples and nations to denounce these unjust sanctions against the people of Eritrea and demand that they be rescinded; we also ask that the U.S. refrain from undermining Ethiopia’s sovereign rights as a nation.

Coalition of Eritrean Canadian Communities and Organizations (CECCO)

National Council of Eritrean Americans (NCEA)

November 14, 2021

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