A Year of Challenging Inhumanity – December 2021 Newsletter

Internally displaced people in Shire, Tigray, April 2021
Internally displaced people in Shire, Tigray, April 2021

Dear Friends,

At the end of this year, what is the state of inhumanity for civilians in wars and for refugees and asylum-seekers?

Over the past year, in these newsletters, we have chronicled some of the most glaring atrocities, with the help of brilliant accounts by members of UAI and others. Two situations have dominated our coverage:

  1. Ethiopia
    We have followed, with increasing alarm and disbelief, the rapid descent of Ethiopia into the most brutal internal conflict, pitting one region against another, exacerbated by the participation of Eritrean forces in some of the worst atrocities. In October, UAI Rome held a hybrid webinar, where Alex de Waal laid out, in stark detail, the appalling crimes that have been committed against civilians in the past year. And what has been the reaction of the international community? Hand-wringing. The Security Council was rendered toothless by the insistence of some members that the situation was an internal affair of Ethiopia. Efforts by regional and international leaders have been ineffective.
  2. Afghanistan
    On 15 August, the last NATO forces left Kabul, and the Taliban walked in. On the positive side, after 40 years of war, the guns have fallen largely silent. On the negative side, Afghans are facing a deadly triple crisis of drought, collapsed economy and humanitarian need. By far the most immediate problem facing the country is the threat of starvation during the coming winter. Human rights concerns are also mounting – beyond the right to food. Restrictions on the education of girls, persecution of officials and journalists associated with the old regime and reports of some revenge killings as well as atrocities committed by Islamic State, mainly against the Shia minority, continue to be deeply worrying. On 9th December, we published a hard-hitting Statement (click below for the link) setting out what needs to be done immediately to bring some relief and humanity to the people of Afghanistan.


Asylum Issues and the situation in Libya

At the thematic level, the issue of asylum, the denial of access to it, and the criminalisation of both asylum-seekers and the humanitarian workers trying to help them, has been a constant concern. This month, we feature a ground-breaking interview by Jeff Crisp with UNHCR on their programme in Libya.


Alongside Jeff’s article, we publish a Statement, setting out the immediate action that is required, particularly by the European Union, to end a totally unacceptable situation.



In 2022, we will continue to follow these situations. In addition, under the auspices of UAI’s new Working Group on Campaign Materials and Policy Positions, we are taking a close look at the situation in Mali and the Sahel more generally, in Mozambique, in Myanmar, and at the thematic level we will focus on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas, alongside our continuing work on Asylum.

New Website – We are delighted to announce that we expect to unveil our new much improved website early in the New Year. It will illustrate our unflagging commitment to exposing inhumanity in wars and asylum. We cannot remain silent in the face of what is happening on the borders between Belarus and Poland, Bosnia, and Croatia, between Greece and Turkey, between Libya and Italy, and on the southern border of the US. Nor can we close our eyes to the atrocities that continue to take place in armed conflicts in so many countries on every continent in the world except Antarctica.     

Photo: Rastakwere. Wikimedia Commons. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License

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