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Conflict in Ethiopia

  • 03 March, 2021

  • 8 Min Read

Conflict in Ethiopia


  • Ethiopia’s Tigray region and the country’s humanitarian crisis give rise to concerns of long-term regional deterioration.
  • Without a clear framework for peace-building, post-conflict reconstruction and transitional justice, the country is at risk of drastically postponing both political and economic recovery.

Crisis in the Horn of Africa

  • Entire Horn of Africa region is already plagued by:
    • low-level conflicts,
    • uneven economic development,
    • border disputes,
    • continued food insecurity,
    • climate change,
    • a precarious political situation, and a
    • dire refugee crisis.

The conflict

  • Breakdown of relations: The breakdown in the already strained relations between the federal government in Addis Ababa and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)’s leaders in Tigray has resulted in the national crisis.
  • Protests by Oromo: In 2018, anti-government protests by the marginalised Oromo population forced the TPLF to step down, resulting in the election of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his subsequent crackdown on Tigrayan politicians for corruption and human rights abuses.
    • Note: Oromos are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.
    • Note: Tigrayans are the smallest ethnic group in Ethiopia.
  • Refugee Crisis: Internal conflict in Ethiopia has resulted in the death of 52,000 people and the displacement of over 2 million, over 60,000 of whom have taken refuge in Sudan’s eastern border. This has triggered an influx of Sudanese and Eritrean military personnel near Ethiopia’s northern frontier.


  • The complex process of developing a post-conflict reconstruction framework requires a comprehensive analysis.
  • Immediate coordination between the federal, regional and local governments, independent and partial adjudicators, civil society and victims’ and community groups.
  • The various levels of government need to be responsible for two roles:
    • first, the generation of effective regional security architecture for uncomplicated jurisdictions; and
    • second, a narrowed scope and mandate for the Reconciliation Commission and its independent committee of facilitators.
    • Independent mediators and adjudicators can further assist in framing post-conflict models.

Steps taken by Ethiopia

  • Currently, Ethiopia is attempting to tackle its domestic emergency.
  • This phase includes securing a military conflict-free environment, addressing increased displacement, allowing access to basic needs assistance for citizens at risk of famine, and strengthening humanitarian capacity in conflict-ridden areas.
  • The federal government would be urged to consider steps in effectively building frameworks for accountability, transparency and power distribution for inclusive national systems of governance.

Major Ethnic tribes in Ethiopia:

  • Oromo, Amhara and Tigrayan groups


  • Cities in the Northern Gondar Zone, such as Welkait, which have been under the contested control of TPLF forces for decades, will require socioeconomic transitional institutions for effective post-conflict recovery.

Conclusion-Need for post-conflict resolution policies

  • A lack of transitional processes will result in a return to violence in not only the Tigray region but also in other regions where there are rising ethnic tensions.
  • The best way to prevent the same chain of events that led to the 2010 post-election violence in Côte d’Ivoire is to begin structuring a post-conflict environment that promotes a peaceful transition.
  • It is imperative to recognise a broader view and develop successful post-conflict reconstruction policies before stability is beyond reach.



Source: TH


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