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News: Ethiopia Rights Commission says staff in Gambella harassed, intimidated after report on extrajudicial killings

Dr. Daniel Bekele. Photo Credit: africanchildforum.org

Addis Ababa: – The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said that its staff in Gambella regional state received threats and intimidation after it published a report highlighting rights violation including extrajudicial killings committed by regional security forces and armed groups in the region.

In its September report EHRC said security forces killed at least 50 civilians between 14 June and 16 June in the wake of a clash between government forces and armed groups Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and Gambella Liberation Front (GLF).

But earlier this weak the Gambella regional government has condemned the report and rejected it as “exaggerated” and “irresponsible”.

In the statement it released on 06 October, the EHRC said since its report was released, inflammatory and threatening information, hateful messages, and threats against its staff in Gambella have been circulating on social media. A group of people also went to its office in Gambella and committed various “destructive acts”, including vandalizing its offices and threatening the staff to “leave the city.”

“… this type of attack on the National Human Rights Institute and its employees is totally unacceptable and casts a negative impact on the state’s human rights management”

The Commission 13-pages report revealed that the region’s special forces took part in the killings of civilians in the Gambella city on June 14 to 16, 2022. It also said the bodies of civilians killed by the regional security forces were collected by the regional Special Forces and regular police in trucks and taken to unknown location for mass burial. The report called for accountability measures to be taken .

EHRC chief commissioner Daniel Bekele (PhD) says “although the commission faces various challenges while carrying out its monitoring and investigation work; this type of attack on the National Human Rights Institute and its employees is totally unacceptable and casts a negative impact on the state’s human rights management”.

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The chief commissioner urged federal and state governments to work together to put an end to such activities as soon as possible. AS

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