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News: HRW calls for independent investigations in the war-ravaged areas of Ethiopia to ensure effective transitional justice

A woman sits at a school being used to house people displaced by fighting, in the city of Mekelle in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region on June 27, 2021. © 2021 Finbarr O’Reilly/The New York Times/Redux/HRW

Addis Abeba – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the international community to compel the warring parties in Ethiopia to allow an independent investigation into the war-affected areas in northern Ethiopia so that there will be a transitional justice in the war ravage regions.

The global rights body has also emphasized that insignificant attention was given to the two-year bloody civil war from different governments and the UN security council in comparison to what it has been done in the Russia-Ukraine war.

In its World Report 2023 assessing the annual review of human rights around the globe, HRW said, “the armed conflict in northern Ethiopia has received only a tiny fraction of the global attention focused on Ukraine, despite two years of atrocities, including a number of massacres, by the warring parties”.

It stated that the ethnic cleansing campaign against the Tigrayans in Western Tigray resulted in many deaths, sexual violence, mass detention, and the forced displacement of thousands.

Furthermore, the report said that the federal government’s “effective siege of the Tigray region continued through 2022, denying the civilian population access to food, medicine, and life-saving humanitarian aid, as well as electricity, banking, and communication, in violation of international law.”

HRW has also urged the international community including the African Union, UN, and US to pressure warring parties in Ethiopia for independent investigation to ensure those who committed grave crimes and held to account. “Governments and the UN have condemned the summary killings, widespread sexual violence, and pillage, but have done little else.”

Highlighting the crisis in other parts of the country, HRW said government security forces and armed groups have also committed serious violations of rights in other regions of the country, especially in the Oromia region, and conflicts and unrest in other regions of the country, accompanied by the drought, exacerbated one of the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophes leading to more than 20 million people needing humanitarian assistance.

“In western Oromia, fighting between government forces and armed groups resulted in serious abuses committed by all sides,” HWR said.

The report also emphasized that despite mounting evidence of international law violations by warring parties both in northern Ethiopia and in Oromia, government efforts toward accountability for past and present abuses have been inadequate, lacked transparency and independent oversight.

The ongoing war in the Oromia region has caught civilians crossfire and subjected thousands to alarming crimes amounting to “grave violation of human rights” in the escalating attacks and militarized clashes in different parts of Oromia region. AS

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