UN rights experts says mass killings risk ‘large-scale’ atrocities in Ethiopia


Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau

UNITED NATIONS, 19th Sept. UN human rights experts said on Monday that war crimes have unabated a year after a ceasefire was agreed between the Ethiopia Government and forces from the northern Tigray region.

The latest report from the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia documents atrocities perpetrated “by all parties to the conflict” since the start date of the armed conflict in Tigray including mass killings, rape, starvation, destruction of schools and medical facilities, forced displacement and arbitrary detention.

Commission Chair Mohamed Chande Othman said that violent confrontations were “at a near-national scale” and highlighted “alarming” reports of violations against civilians in the Amhara region as well as on-going atrocities.

He warned “The situation in Oromia, Amhara and other parts of the country – including ongoing patterns of violations, entrenched impunity, and increasing securitization of the State – bear hallmarked risks of further atrocities and crimes.”

The Commission said that it has received reports of “mass arbitrary detention” of civilians and “at least one drone strike” carried out by the Stat in the Amhara region, where the Government announced a state of emergency last month.

The report noted that multiple urban centres in the region are under curfew and a militarized “Command Post” system without civilian oversight has been deployed.

The Commissioners said “such structures are often accompanied by serious violations”.

“We are deeply alarmed by the deteriorating security situation in Amhara and the continued presence of risk factors for atrocity crimes,” they said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the people of Amhara “could not bear another conflict”, emphasizing that 2 million required health assistance, a situation made even more complex by the influx of refugees from war-torn Sudan.

Commissioner Radhika Coomaraswamy warned that rape and sexual violence against women and girls by Eritrean forces was “ongoing” in Tigray region.

“The ongoing presence of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia is a clear sign not only of an entrenched policy of impunity, but also continued support for and tolerance of such violations by the Federal Government,” she said.

She highlighted the trauma brought on by atrocities in Tigray, which is “likely to persist for generations”.

Ms. Coomaraswamy called for a “credible” process of truth, justice, reconciliation and healing.

She pointed out the shortcomings of the consultation process initiated by Ethiopia’s Government.

The report maintained that Ethiopia’s Government has “failed to effectively prevent or investigate violations” and has instead launched a “flawed” transitional justice process where victims “remain overlooked”.

The International Commission was established by the UN Human Rights Council in December 2021 to conduct an impartial investigation into violations committed in Ethiopia since the start of the conflict in Tigray in November 2020.

Three human rights experts are appointed by the President of the HRC.

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