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News: HRW says fighting, atrocities persist in Tigray, Amhara regions a year after peace deal 

A woman displaced due to the Tigray war at an IDP camp in Abi Adi, Tigray, June 24, 2023 (Photo:Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

Addis Abeba – Rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said, despite the signing of cessation of hostilities agreement a year ago, fighting and serious rights abuses persist in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara and Tigray regions.

In a statement released on Wednesday, marking the anniversary of the AU brokered peace deal which was signed between the Ethiopian federal government and Tigrayan authorities in Pretoria, South Africa on 02 November 2022, HRW said during the past year, the warring parties have continued to commit human rights abuses in Tigray in violation of the agreement’s pledge to protect civilians.

“Eritrean forces have carried out killings, sexual violence, abductions, and pillage, and obstructed humanitarian assistance, and impeded the work of AU monitors in areas under their control. In the Western Tigray Zone, which remains largely inaccessible to humanitarian agencies, the authorities and Amhara regional forces and militias known as Fano have continued an ethnic cleansing campaign and forcibly expelled Tigrayans,” the statement said.

“While the Ethiopian government and its international partners tout the tremendous progress made in the past year, civilians in conflict areas are still bearing the brunt of atrocities,” said Laetitia Bader, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. 

The statement also highlighted the continued fighting between the Ethiopian military and Fano militias in the Amhara region, which it said is “accompanied by reports of hundreds of civilian casualties, mass arrests of Amharas, and damage to civilian infrastructure”. 

Stating the “premature termination” of the mandate of the UN rights experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) and with victims of rights abuses “expressing lack of trust in domestic institutions”, HRW called on “the UN and concerned governments to maintain pressure on the Ethiopian government to deliver on its commitments to ensure that civilians are protected and to set clear benchmarks for ensuring victims’ access to justice”. AS

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