UN criticizes atrocities committed in Tigray conflict as Ethiopia declares state of emergency

The investigation – which is the only human rights investigation that has been allowed into the blocked Tigray region since fighting broke out between the region’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and the Ethiopian government last year – did not. lay the blame for hostilities and human rights violations at the feet of one group.

Instead, it said all parties to the conflict, including forces from Eritrea and Ethiopia’s Amhara region, allied with the government, had “committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian law and refugee law, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.” “, to varying degrees.

Among the violations that may constitute war crimes, the report describes detailed out-of-court killings, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, violations against refugees and the forced expulsion of civilians.

Ethiopia announces state of emergency as Tigrayan forces gain ground

The joint study by the UN Office of Human Rights and the State-appointed Ethiopian Commission on Human Rights, or EHRC, is a rare partnership that has raised eyebrows among Tigrayans, human rights groups and other observers who have raised concerns about its independence from government influence. . But the UN has reaffirmed its impartiality.

“We did not come under pressure from the government,” UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said during a press conference on the report in Geneva on Wednesday, adding that limited access to some areas of Tigray made it difficult for the team to quantify abuses.

In response to the results, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the report “clearly established the allegation of genocide as false and completely without any factual basis.”

The report covers the number of civilians from the beginning of November 2020, when the armed conflict began, until June 2021, when the Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire – a ceasefire that has not lasted. It draws from interviews with 269 confidential interviews with victims and witnesses to alleged violations and assaults.

Bachelet called the report “devastating.”

“The Tigray conflict has been marked by extreme brutality. The seriousness and seriousness of the violations and abuses we have documented underscore the need to hold the perpetrators accountable on all sides,” she added.

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