Sun. Jun 9th, 2024

Amnesty International has urged the UN to renew the mandate of a team of human rights experts on Ethiopia, which is due to expire at the end of the year, following the release of its most recent report.

International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) was set up by the UN Human Rights Council in 2021 to conduct an investigation into allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights laws in the wake of the brutal conflict between the army and regional forces in Tigray.

It documented crimes committed by all sides including Eritrean soldiers during the war.

“While the signing of the agreement may have mostly silenced the guns, it has not resolved the conflict in the north of the country, in particular in Tigray, nor has it brought about any comprehensive peace,” Commission Chair Mohamed Chande Othman said about the latest report, submitted on Monday.

The report also covered violations and abuses in other regions, such as Oromia and Amhara, saying hostilities in the country had escalated to a “national scale”.

For several years, government forces have been battling Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) fighters wanting “self-determination” for Oromia – in a conflict that has left many people dead, and forced thousands from their homes.

Fighting also broke out last month in the Amhara between local militias and government troops, which has claimed the lives of more than 200 people, according to the UN.

The report warned that “systematic and ongoing violations and crimes are entrenching alienation and estrangement amongst disaffected communities in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and elsewhere”.

It added: “The current situation across the country continues to bear hallmarked risks of future atrocity crimes.”

For Amnesty’s Tigere Chagutah this showed it was not time “for the UN to lower the accountability bar on Ethiopia”.

“Serious, ongoing human rights abuses and the unfolding crisis in the Amhara region show that Ethiopia is at a dangerous precipice,” the rights group’s regional director for east and southern Africa said in a statement.

“Reducing scrutiny now would further embolden impunity and abandon victims of heinous violations and set a bad precedent for the UN’s ability to exercise meaningful scrutiny over human rights crises in other parts of the world.”

By Joy

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