Addis Abeba – UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said “at least 183 people have been killed in clashes in Amhara region since July, and expressed its concerns at “the deteriorating human rights situation in some regions of Ethiopia.”
“In Amhara region, following a flare-up in clashes between the Ethiopian military and the regional Fano militia, and the declaration of a state of emergency on 4 August, the situation worsened considerably,” the UN said.
It also criticized that the wide-ranging state of emergency gives the authorities broad powers nationwide, to arrest suspects without a court order, impose curfews and ban public gatherings.
The report released a while ago said the UN Human Rights Commission “received reports that more than 1,000 people have been arrested across Ethiopia under this law. Many of those detained were reported to be young people of Amhara ethnic origin suspected of being Fano supporters. Since early August, mass house-to-house searches have reportedly been taking place, and at least three Ethiopian journalists covering the situation in the Amhara region have been detained. Detainees have reportedly been placed in improvised detention centers that lack basic amenities.”
The UN calls on the government “to stop mass arrests, ensure that any deprivation of liberty is judicially reviewed, and release those arbitrarily detained. Authorities must ensure that conditions of detention comply with international norms and standards.”
It also called on to allow oversight bodies – including the UN Human Rights Office and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission – regular and unconditional access to all places of detention. The safety of detainees needs to be guaranteed and they must be afforded full protection of their human rights, including fair trial and procedural guarantees.
“With federal forces reasserting their presence in certain towns and Fano militias reportedly retreating into rural areas, we call on all actors to stop killings, other violations and abuses. Grievances must be addressed through dialogue and political process.”
Western Tigray new mass detentions
The office also said it has received allegations that “at least 250 ethnic Tigrayans were detained” in Western Tigray, reportedly in joint operations by the Amhara police, local authorities and local militia, including armed youth from the Wolkait area in Western Tigray, which is currently occupied by Amhara forces who continued committing the crimes of ethnic cleansing as recently as June this year.
The report by the UN said the victims were then reportedly taken by armed youth in Wolkait to an area controlled by the Tigray Interim Regional Administration, where they were intercepted by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF). “The ENDF then reportedly screened and gave those detained the option of either returning to Western Tigray or remaining in the Tigray Interim Regional Administration area.”
The office mentioned that the “situation in Oromia is also of concern” before urging that “all human rights violations and abuses in the various regions of Ethiopia must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated, and those responsible must be held to account.” AS