Ethiopia: Authorities Claims UN Report On Tigray War Abuses Suspected To Be Hampered
The findings of Ethiopia's blockaded Tigray region's only human rights probe has been disclosed on Wednesday, November 3, a year after the conflict began. However, sources familiar with the investigation claim that it has been hampered by authorities, who recently removed a UN official who was helping to conduct it, according to AP. All sides in Ethiopia's year-long civil war "committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian, and refugee law, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity," according to a joint investigation released on Wednesday by the UN's main rights body and Ethiopia's state-appointed human rights commission.
Nonetheless, with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as foreign media, barred from Tigray, the UN report is the only official source of information on war crimes, which began in November 2020 following a political split between Tigray forces that had long dominated the national government and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's current government.
The new report released today, is under suspicion because of those circumstances, as well as the fact that the United Nations delegated the investigation to its less experienced regional office in Ethiopia, AP reported citing David Crane, founder of the Global Accountability Network and founding chief prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, an international tribunal. People familiar with the investigation, speaking with AP on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, claimed that the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission's head, Daniel Bekele, downplayed some allegations that Amhara fighters were responsible for abuses in Tigray, preferring instead to focus on Tigray forces.
Whereas, according to a separate report by the Amhara Association of America, 112 persons were raped in numerous districts investigated by the ministry. Data from offices of women's and children's affairs, as well as interviews with witnesses, doctors, and authorities, were used by the diaspora group. AP reported that according to the expatriate group, Tigray soldiers "committed the rapes as revenge against ethnic Amharas, whom they blame as responsible for abuses in their home region."
'Without an explanation, we cannot accept the allegation', says UN
Gang rapes, mass expulsions, purposeful starvation, and thousands of fatalities have all been part of the battle. The combined inquiry by the UN human rights office and the government-created Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), is an unusual partnership that has prompted worries about impartiality and government interference among ethnic Tigrayans, human rights organisations, and other observers. The UN human rights office in Geneva told AP that it would not have been allowed to visit Tigray without the cooperation of the EHRC. However, Ethiopia's government has provided no justification for removing UN human rights officer Sonny Onyegbula last month. According to AP, UN stated, "without an explanation, we cannot accept the allegation that our staff member ... was meddling in the internal affairs of Ethiopia."
Ethiopia: Authorities claims UN report on Tigray war abuses suspected to be hampered (republicworld.com)