UN: Serious rights violations taking place in Ethiopian conflict

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Cows walk past a tank damaged in fighting between Ethiopian government and Tigray forces, near the town of Humera, Ethiopia, March 3, 2021. Picture taken March 3, 2021. To match Special Report ETHIOPIA-CONFLICT/EXPULSIONS REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Cows walk past a tank damaged in fighting between Ethiopian government and Tigray forces, near the town of Humera, Ethiopia, March 3, 2021. Picture taken March 3, 2021. To match Special Report ETHIOPIA-CONFLICT/EXPULSIONS REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Serious human rights violations have been committed in the conflict for control of the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, according to a UN investigation.

Most of them have been perpetrated by the armed forces of Ethiopia and Eritrea, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said in Geneva on Wednesday.

Recently, however, there has been an increasing number of reports of human rights violations by members of the Tigray independence movement.
Ethiopia’s government denied the allegations.

There were disturbing reports of ethnic violence, but not enough evidence to speak of genocide, said Bachelet.

The investigation was carried out jointly with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. This gave the team access to large parts of the Tigray region, which has been largely sealed off by the government.

The team documented killings, torture, sexual violence, violence against refugees and the displacement of civilians.

The military conflict began in early November 2020 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed began ousting the People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which had been in power in the Tigray region.

Since the beginning of August, the conflict has spread to the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara.

The Tigray conflict is characterized by “extreme brutality,” said Bachelet, adding that perpetrators on all sides should be made accountable.

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