Ethiopia: Civilians again mired in intractable and deadly war, Human Rights Council hears |

In their first extended report for Dong Nhan Quyen Association in Geneva, International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia say they believe that crimes against humanity were also committed during the war that broke out in the Northern region in November 2020.

The worst violation of rights

Serious rights violations in Tigray were ‘ongoing’maintenance report, note that Fighting resumed last month, breaking a five-month ceasefire.

Extrajudicial killings, rape, sexual violence and starvation of civilians as a method of war“Having happened in Ethiopia since the first days of the conflict,” the council said.

Citing information from “reliable sources”, Kaari Commission chair Betty Murungi – who, like two other members of the council is an independent UN-appointed rights expert – said that there were an “escalation” in drone attacks by government forces using explosive weapons “with wide-ranging effects in densely populated areas”since the wars resumed.

“Our investigation indicates that their use exposes civilians to new and higher risks,” she said. “We have received reports of drone attacks in Tigray over the past four weeks that are believed to have killed and injured civilians, including children.”

Turning to the Tigrayan forces, Ms. Murungi stressed that they may also have committed serious human rights violations “equivalent to war crimes”.

Those are included”Mass murder of Amhara civilians, rape and sexual violence, widespread looting and destruction civilian properties in Kobo and Chenna in August and September 2021.

“For example, while searching homes in Kobo, Tigrayan forces searched for weapons and dragged many men from their homes, executing them, often in front of their families.”

Desperate conditions

Today, international humanitarian access to Tigray continues to be blocked, despite the dire situation there, Ms. Murungi said.

There are reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government and its allies “plunder and destroy goods indispensable for the survival of the civilian population in Tigray, killing livestock, destroying food stores, and ravaging crops while also implementing severe restrictions on humanitarian access to Tigray,” she added, noting that over a year, six million people have been denied access to electricity, internet, telecommunications and banking row.

Denial and impeded access to basic services, food, health care and aid relief” crimes against humanity of mistreatment and inhumane acts”, emphasized the Chairman of the Committee.

‘Tactics’ of starvation

“We also have reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government is committing a crime using starvation as a method of war,The leading expert on the right to independence continued, noting that Tigrayan forces are said to have looted humanitarian aid.

Based on latest catastrophic humanitarian data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), conflict and displacement in northern Ethiopia have left more than nine million people in need in the Tigray, Afar and Amhara . regionswhile severe drought is affecting millions more in the south.

Quote OCHA, Mrs. Murungi said that the combined effect of the Federal government’s measures have left 90% of the population has urgent needs – 80% increase since the start of the conflict.

“Most of the population in Tigray currently lives on limited diets and undernutrition,” she said, adding that “the increase in child marriages and child labor, human trafficking and trafficking has also increased. prostitution as desperate means of survival”.

A child sits inside a burned vehicle during fighting in the Tigray region, northern Ethiopia.

© UNICEF / Christine Nesbitt

A child sits inside a burned vehicle during fighting in the Tigray region, northern Ethiopia.

Tigrayan women and girls are not spared

According to the Chairman of the Committee, Rape and crimes of sexual violence happened “on an astonishing scale” since the early days of the conflict, “with Ethiopian and Eritrean forces and regional militias targeting Tigrayan women and girls with exceptional violence and brutality”.

Tigrayan forces have also committed rape and sexual violence against Amhara women and girls and Eritrean refugees, Ms. Murungi said, highlighting the devastating long-term effects on survivors including trauma, unwanted pregnancy and HIV infection.

‘Unfair and biased surveillance’

Denying the results of the report, the Ethiopian delegation repeated its claim that the federal government was subjected to “unfair and biased scrutiny” at the Council for more than a year.

Addis Ababa was involved in the response to “an armed rebel group that jeopardized the territorial integrity of the country”, the council said.

An international commission of human rights experts on Ethiopia was established after the Human Rights Council adopted resolution S-33/1 on December 17, 2021.

It requires a panel of three human rights experts – appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council – “to conduct a thorough and fair investigation into allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights law as well as as a violation of international humanitarian law and international refugee law in Ethiopia committed as of 3 November 2020 by all parties to the conflict”.

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