News: HRW World Report 2024 exposes Ethiopia’s humanitarian despair, global inaction

In its annual report, Human Rights Watch states that the prevailing conditions in Western Tigray are not conducive to voluntary, safe, and dignified returns (Photo: HRW)

Addis Abeba – In its most recent World Report 2024, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has thoroughly exposed the extensive wartime atrocities and humanitarian crises that have plagued Ethiopia, overshadowing the Horn of Africa for the duration of 2023.

The report, which examines human rights practices in over one hundred countries, draws attention to the inadequate international aid afforded to the region, which continues to grapple with longstanding historical grievances and a pervasive culture of impunity for severe criminal acts.

The HRW contends that the peace agreement signed in northern Ethiopia in November 2022 has not led to significant international actions to ensure accountability and an end to human rights abuses.

The organization has noted that Ethiopia’s international partners, such as Western countries and the European Union, are resuming normal relations with the Ethiopian federal government. This is occurring despite ongoing reports of crimes against humanity and other serious abuses, especially in the Amhara and Tigray regions, according to HRW.

The report further emphasizes the extensive displacement crisis throughout the Horn of Africa, which has been intensified by ongoing conflicts and climatic events.

In Ethiopia, the conflict has compelled in excess of 1.2 million individuals to flee to adjacent countries, thereby intensifying the pre-existing substantial refugee populations from South Sudan, Eritrea, and various other nations that have found refuge within Ethiopian territory.

In the face of pressing humanitarian needs, the region’s calls for assistance have received profoundly inadequate funding, according to the rights group.

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In Ethiopia, intentional measures taken by the conflicting factions have exacerbated the humanitarian situation. Accusations have been leveled against Eritrean forces for obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid to populations within Tigray that fall under their jurisdiction.

Concurrently, the Amhara region has encountered difficulties in executing relief operations as a result of intense combat, interruptions in telecommunications, and assaults on humanitarian personnel.

The report additionally underscores the regressions in advancing accountability within Ethiopia. The cessation of United Nations oversight concerning the human rights conditions by the European Union, notwithstanding a critical evaluation from the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, coupled with the African Union’s cessation of its independent investigation, has elicited apprehensions.

The HRW underscores that the Ethiopian government’s opposition to international examination has resulted in a focus on instituting an internal transitional justice mechanism. “However, this approach is regarded with suspicion by victims of abuse who harbor mistrust towards the nation’s institutions,” reads the report.

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Mausi Segun, the Africa director at HRW, has highlighted that Ethiopia and Sudan serve as distressing instances where government forces and armed factions contravene international law with minimal repercussions. Segun advocates for enhanced international and regional measures to protect civilians and cease the persistent violations and impunity that endanger civilian lives.

Notwithstanding these obstacles, a constructive development has been noted with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s decision to initiate an independent international fact-finding mission to scrutinize the transgressions in Sudan.

Nevertheless, the report emphasizes that the Security Council, concerned nations, and regional entities, especially the African Union and its human rights organ, ought to give precedence to accountability within any political settlement of the conflicts. AS

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