News: UN rights experts call for continued monitoring of human rights violations in Ethiopia

On Wednesday, 25 October, 2023, the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia presented its final report to the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (Photo: United Nations)

Addis Abeba – The International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) has called for the continuation of international monitoring of the human rights situation in the country. This comes after the commission presented its final report to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. The report outlined widespread evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the two-year brutal war in Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions.

During their address to the UN General Assembly, the commissioners provided detailed accounts of the atrocities committed during the conflict, some of which are still ongoing despite a ceasefire agreement signed in November last year. These violations included executions, torture, sexual violence, and attacks on children, happening extensively in the affected areas.

In a statement released yesterday, Mohamed Chande Othman, the chairperson of the commission, stated, “We found evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on a staggering scale. In the region of Tigray, we believe further investigation is necessary to definitively determine the occurrence of genocide against people in Tigray.”

The experts accused the Ethiopian government of “quasi-compliance” in establishing domestic processes that claim to ensure accountability but effectively evade international scrutiny. They stressed that this approach undermines victims’ rights to truth and justice and poses a significant threat to the global human rights system. Commissioner Steven Ratner emphasized the need to vigorously confront the use of “quasi-compliance” whenever it arises, calling it unconscionable and an affront to victims.

The commission expressed regret over the UN Human Rights Council’s recent decision not to renew its mandate before completing its work, stating that it abandoned numerous distressed victims who felt abandoned by the international community. The experts emphasized the urgent requirement for comprehensive medical, psychosocial, and reparative services to address the deep traumas inflicted by years of conflict.

As national reconciliation efforts falter amidst mistrust between parties, the commission underscored the importance of steadfast international engagement, pressure, and support through various multilateral channels. This is crucial to ensure justice, prevent further violations by any party, provide redress for victims, and establish lasting peace.

In his concluding remarks, Commission Chair Othman solemnly urged, “The international community cannot ignore this crisis until justice is fully delivered and the promise of reform is achieved. We owe that much to the countless victims who have endured such profound tragedy and loss.”

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Rights groups have criticized the premature end of the commission’s contentious two-year mandate, given the uncertain trajectory of Ethiopia. Calls persist for the UN to establish an official investigative and monitoring mission going forward. AS

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