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News: Tigray’s women rally against ongoing atrocities, demand end to gender violence

(Photo: Addis Standard Source)

Addis Abeba – A large demonstration was held today in Mekelle by women demanding an end to violence against women in the region. The protesters called for justice for victims of sexual violence, kidnappings, and other abuses.

Semhal Kid, one of the organizers, told Addis Standard that women and girls have been enduring these atrocities “at the hands of various fighting forces” and continue to face threats. “We are demanding an end to the continued injustice,” Semhal added.

Birikti Hailu, another participant, emphasized the lasting physical and psychological trauma inflicted on victims. She argued that society has failed to protect women and called for an end to the ongoing violence.

The demonstrators gathered at Romanat Sequer in Mekelle and marched to the office of the Tigray Interim Administration. While they were unable to meet with Getachew Reda, president of the Tigray Interim Administration, the head of the regional justice bureau, Hadush Tesfa, listened to their demands.

Hadush acknowledged the ongoing struggle for women’s safety, stating, “Your presence here condemning violence against women amplifies the need for continued action.”

He condemned the recent violence against Tigrayan women, calling it “a reprehensible act with no place in a society that values justice.”

Hadush emphasized the government’s commitment to addressing this critical issue, stating it demands immediate attention. “We will work towards maintaining law and order and bringing perpetrators to justice,” he added.

A similar demonstration was also held in Adigrat town this morning. Protesters called for an end to the violence and for those responsible to be held accountable.

Adigrat’s mayor, Solomon Hagos, expressed his support for the demonstrators and condemned the violence.

He assured them that the city administration is working to bring criminals to justice and restore peace and order.

According to a report by Refugees International, cited by Addis Standard in April 2023, an estimated 40-50% of Tigrayan girls and women experienced gender-based violence during the war.

The report, based on extensive field research and interviews with victims and health workers in the Tigray region by Senior Fellow Sarah Miller, revealed a harrowing reality. Over 80% of these victims reported being raped, with nearly 70% experiencing brutal gang rape by armed groups. AS

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