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One Year Later: Still No Accountability for WHO Director, Dr. Tedros A. Ghebreyesus

December 4th marks one-year since a formal complaint against the World Health Organization General Director Dr. Tedros A. Ghebreyesus was filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC). What has happened since?

By Christian Haile

There has been very little transparency from the ICC about Dr. Tedros’ alleged involvement and compliance in criminal activities during the Tigray People's Liberation Front’s (TPLF) reign in Ethiopia. The International Amhara Alliance as well as other organizations are invested in learning how accountability will be facilitated for the harm and violence Dr. Tedros has inflicted on the people of Amhara as well as other ethnic groups during his tenure with the TPLF-lead Ethiopian government.

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority of world health within the United Nations (UN) and upholds the UN’s values – integrity, professionalism, and respect for diversity. Dr. Tedros A. Ghebreyesus, who was elected as the World Health Organization (WHO) Director in 2017, is a man who is accused of his role in systemic genocidal violence and gross human rights violations during his time as Minister of Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and Foreign Affairs for Ethiopia. Documentation shows that Dr. Tedros has also been accused of other crimes and holds a legacy riddled with scandals. During his election campaign, many Ethiopians voiced their concern about Dr. Tedros’ membership with the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and their legacy of human rights violations.

The Amhara Professionals Union Research Department (APU) conducted research on international organizations leadership recruitment policies in 2017 using Dr. Tedros’ candidacy for WHO General Director position and found that Dr. Tedros was in violation of WHO’s core ethical values and lacked competency in 13 different areas. According to the APU, the 13 areas that Dr. Tedros lacked competency in are discrimination/marginalization, crimes against humanity, systemic genocidal violence, biased policies, inaction, and impartiality, corruption and misuse of budget, disregard for humanity, incompetency/inaction, lack of transparency, maleficence and risking public safety, poor judgement, lack of accountability, violation of basic human rights/suppression of freedom of expression, and lack of integrity/truthfulness/honesty.

During Dr. Tedros’ time as FMOH of Ethiopia, he implemented treatment at the expense of other regions in Ethiopia, namely the Amhara region, which resulted in disparities in health coverage and outcomes between the Tigray region and the Amhara region. For example, he banned khat (a stimulant substance) from being used in the Tigray region but did not ban it from the Amhara region. It is also important to note that Dr. Tedros carried out the objectives of TPLF, a terrorist organization, as FMOH. Between 1997 and 2007, the Ethiopian census highlighted that the Amhara population lost more than 2.5 million people while the other major ethnic groups showed an increase by 2.6%.

This depopulation of the Amhara population has often been associated with forced sterilization of Amhara women. Despite the testimonials from Amhara women and families, their concerns for their health were intentionally sidelined by federal health entities. It has been four years since the APU conducted their research on Dr. Tedros’ candidacy and an actual investigation is required to facilitate accountability for the genocidal and systematic violence Dr. Tedros participated while in his various roles in the Ethiopian government. WHO needs a Director General who embodies the values of its organization, and a person who upholds the mission and values of the organization they serve. WHO should not select individuals who align with terrorist organizations and marginalize ethnic groups based on ethnic politics. Dr. Tedros served to carry out the objectives of TPLF during his tenure as FMOH of Ethiopia and violated many human rights, most of which still need to be investigated.

The IAA calls on public health organizations and advocates at all levels to facilitate accountability by demanding investigation into these human rights violations and public health concerns in the Amhara region as well as others. We also demand that Dr. Tedros A. Ghebreyesus resign as the Director of the WHO due to his conflict of interest and involvement in potential crimes against humanity. Without these actions, we believe the current humanitarian crisis in the Amhara region will reach catastrophic levels resulting in hundreds of thousands of lives. The IAA calls on the International Criminal Court to investigate Dr. Tedros and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front for the atrocities they’ve committed. Without these actions, there will be no justice for the Amhara community in Ethiopia and across the world.


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