Ethiopia faces a litany of human rights abuses

Ethiopia faces a litany of human rights abuses

ADDIS ABABA – A video of males in uniform burning a civilian alive in western Ethiopia has sparked widespread outrage on social media, renewing condemnation and concern over the continuing violence.

The state-affiliated Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – an entity appointed by the Ethiopian parliament to defend human rights – recognized the perpetrators as authorities safety forces. Addis Ababa has pledged to punish the culprits.

An unidentified armed group attacked a civilian convoy and its army escort within the Benishangul-Gumuz space on March 2, killing 53 individuals.

The subsequent day, 11 extra individuals have been killed by authorities troopers. Eight Tigrayan civilians have been overwhelmed and shot, together with two males from the native Gumuz ethnicity.

Another man was tied up and burned alive, in line with the EHRC.

The violence in Benishangul-Gumuz, house to a number of ethnic teams, is distinct from the continuing warfare within the northern Tigray area, the place Tigray forces have been battling the central authorities since November 2020.

More damning reviews emerge

In a report on the human rights state of affairs within the Amhara and Afar areas printed on Friday, the EHCR claimed that at the least 750 civilians have been killed in assaults or extrajudicial executions since July 1999. ‘final yr.

EHCR chief Daniel Bekele advised DW the killings have been carried out “mainly by Tigrayan forces”.

Bekele listed a sequence of human rights abuses inflicted on the civilian inhabitants, together with “widespread brutal and systematic individual and gang rapes of women, children and the elderly”.

“Their sexual abuse and exploitation of women is a systematic strategy to achieve their goals in the war,” he mentioned.

More than 2,400 well being services within the two areas have shut down because of the violence, whereas greater than 1,000 colleges have been destroyed and one other 3,220 broken, Bekele added.

Denials and accusations

The report follows a joint investigation by the UN Human Rights Office and the EHRC masking the interval from November 2020 to June 2021, which detailed a big selection of rights violations. Most have been blamed on Ethiopian forces and Eritrean troops, which offered army assist to Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopian authorities has recurrently denied concentrating on civilians, whereas the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has beforehand mentioned it will welcome unbiased investigations into wartime atrocities. He accuses the Ethiopian human rights fee of bias – a cost the EHCR denies.

Human rights activists concern for his or her security

Promoting human rights in Ethiopia has by no means been simple, Dan Yirga, government director of the Ethiopian Independent Human Rights Council (EHRCO), a corporation that has tracked abuses for 3 many years, advised DW.

“The conflict we have in Ethiopia right now has really had a significant impact on human rights and human rights activities,” he mentioned, including that fighters additionally put defenders at threat. of human rights who have been attempting to watch the battle.

Restrictions put in place by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s authorities have additionally made it tough to research human rights abuses there.

“My organization has suffered state-sponsored persecution for three decades,” Yirga mentioned, together with harassment, violence in opposition to its members and arbitrary arrests, including to the widespread “environment of fear” for human rights defenders. .

In recognition of EHRCO’s work, the German chapter of the human rights group Amnesty International introduced on Monday that it had acquired this yr’s worldwide human rights award.

Call for extra worldwide assist

Yirga mentioned he was pleased that the work of his group was acknowledged.

“This international human rights award will lift our spirits, encourage us to do more for respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law,” he mentioned.

But he hopes for extra assist from the worldwide neighborhood in the longer term to higher allow human rights defenders in Ethiopia to do their work, together with monetary help and capability constructing.

“We need strong and varied support from the international community for our human rights activities. But they should also advocate for the improvement of human rights in Ethiopia,” Yirga mentioned.

Solomon Muchie in Addis Ababa contributed to this text

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