In a crucial move adhering to the African Union (AU)-brokered agreement, the Ethiopian House of Peoples Representatives (HoPR) has voted to remove the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) from its list of designated terrorist organizations. The decision, made during the HoPR’s special meeting, was approved by a majority vote, with 61 lawmakers against and five abstentions.
On May 5, 2021, the TPLF and the armed group Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), referred to as “Shene” by the government, were both designated as terrorist groups by the HoPR under Articles 18 and 19 of Proclamation No. 1176/2020 on the Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism Crimes. This designation followed a similar resolution by the Council of Ministers on May 1.
Following the designation, federal prosecutors charged 62 former and current TPLF officials with terrorism-related offenses, including Getachew Reda, who was recently chosen to lead Tigray’s incoming Interim Regional Administration (IRA). This designation exacerbated the ongoing conflict that began in the Tigray region and later spread to the Amhara and Afar regions.
The international community, including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), has repeatedly called on the Ethiopian government to lift the terrorist designations to enable peaceful conflict resolution. Although the Ethiopian government initially resisted international pressure, the removal of the terrorist designation became a crucial part of the Permanent Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed between the federal government and TPLF representatives on November 2, 2021, brokered by the African Union.
The recent decision to delist the TPLF as a terrorist organization follows US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s official visit to Ethiopia, urging the full implementation of the CoHA. This move is expected to result in the discontinuation of pending terrorism charges against current and former TPLF officials, including Getachew Reda.