The UN human rights chief said Wednesday that Ethiopia’s annual war has been marked by “extreme brutality” as a joint investigation into alleged atrocities blamed all sides for the abuses, but refrained from saying that the most Who was more guilty?
The investigation was hampered by threats and sanctions from the authorities and did not visit some of the worst affected places of the war.
The report, a rare collaboration by the United Nations Human Rights Office with the government-created Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, was released a day before the war marks a year and Africa’s second most populous country is in a state of emergency with rival Tigre forces. Enters new position. threat to the capital
The United Nations told The Associated Press that cooperation was necessary for his team to gain access to a troubled area where Ethiopian officials had barred journalists, rights groups and other outside observers from entering.
The conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigre region has killed thousands as the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister, allowed troops from neighboring Eritrean to join Ethiopian forces in invading Tigre and fighting Tigre forces which had long before dominated the national government. Abi took over. Ethnic tigresses across the country have since reported arbitrary detentions, while civilians in the Tigre have described gang rapes, famines and mass expulsions.
“In the western Tigre, it was clear that the Tigreyan had abandoned most areas, as it was difficult to find the Tigreon to interview,” the new report said.
The joint investigation covered events until the end of June, when Tigre forces reclaimed most of their territory, but due to security and other constraints, it failed to visit some of the war’s deadliest sites, including the city of Axum. Stayed. In particular, the report said, those impediments include the Ethiopian government’s failure to release the purchased satellite phones for investigation.
The investigation stated that abuses by all sides, including forces from the neighboring Amhara region claiming the Western Tigre, could be crimes against humanity and war crimes. It breaks a little new ground and confirms the abuses commonly described by witnesses throughout the war. But it gives little sense of scale, saying only that the more than 1,300 rapes reported to authorities are likely to be much lower than the actual number.
Despite the report’s shortcomings, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that it “founded the genocide claim as clearly false and lacking any factual basis.” The statement noted “serious objections” to the report, but claimed it laid “horrendous allegations to rest”. And it acknowledged the need to “redouble our efforts” to hold criminals accountable. A high level task force will be constituted, it said.
Among the findings of the investigation: Several Ethiopian military camps were used to torture captured Tigre forces or civilians suspected of supporting them. Others were detained in “secret places” and military camps across the country, in many cases being detained arbitrarily. Tigre forces detained, and in some cases tortured, some ethnic Amhara civilians in western Tigre suspected of supporting the military in the early days of the war.
“The Tigre conflict has been marked by extreme brutality. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said: “The seriousness and severity of the violations and abuses we have documented underscore the need to hold perpetrators accountable on all sides.
And yet the report gives little indication that Eritrean soldiers were responsible for many of the atrocities, as witnesses have alleged since the early days of the war. By March, Ethiopia’s prime minister denied that he was even in the country.
“Some of the worst violations were committed by Eritrean defense forces,” Jeffrey Feltman, the US envoy to the Horn of Africa, said on Tuesday.
The Ethiopian government imposed a blockade on Tigre as Tigre forces regained control in June, cutting off almost all access to commercial goods and humanitarian aid. This was followed by widespread looting and destruction of food and crops across the region, which “have had serious socioeconomic impacts on the civilian population,” the report said. In addition, some camps did not receive food rations for months for displaced people fleeing the war.
And yet the joint investigation “could not confirm the intentional or willful refusal of humanitarian aid to the civilian population in the Tigre or the use of starvation as a weapon of war.” This called for further investigation.
The new report, based on more than 260 interviews with victims and witnesses, says it has received no response from the Eritrean government or the Amhara regional authorities, and that Tigre forces have expressed their opposition to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission’s involvement. . The report acknowledged that at times the presence of EHRC staff interrupted interviews.
The investigation said the Ethiopian government should “consider” setting up a court to ensure accountability and “support” the government in restoring stability to the international community.
Ethiopia’s government has said it will pursue accountability for the perpetrators, but the new report raises concerns that “investigations conducted by Ethiopian national institutions do not match the scope and breadth of the breaches it has identified.”