From "Beyond the Headlines: Refugees in the Horn of Africa" (U.S. Committee for Refugees, January 1988):

The government of Ethiopia must cease violating the basic human rights of its citizens.

The overwhelming majority of refugees in the Horn of Africa are Ethiopians who have fled the abusive policies and actions of their government. The Ethiopian government's persecution of political dissidents has been well-established, and its poor human rights record is well-known. Its use of force to implement controversial resettlement and villagization programs has been widely and rightly condemned. Refugees, and the international community, are paying the price for the Ethiopian government's actions. We call upon the Ethiopian government to cease using coercive methods to implement its resettlement and villagization programs, and to desist from persecuting its citizens because of their political beliefs, religion, or national identity. . . .

USCR challenges both the Ethiopian government and the national insurgent groups to put people before politics and to desist from actions, such as the burning of fields or the obstruction of relief efforts, whose main victims are innocent people.

The conflicts between national insurgent groups and the Ethiopian government appear to be intractable. Nevertheless, the prolonged suffering engendered by these conflicts demands that solutions be found. In the meantime, the wanton destruction of homes and fields, and attacks on those trying to bring relief, must end. Until the conflicts are resolved, all sides should at the very least minimize the suffering they cause innocent civilians. Food must not be used as a weapon against civilians.