Crimes against humanity continue unabated in Ethiopia despite a truce that was agreed upon almost a year ago, according to a report published by United Nations experts.
Despite the formal end of the two-year conflict in November last year, war crimes and atrocities are still being committed in the country. Both government forces and regional forces from Tigray have been accused of carrying out massacres, acts of rape, arbitrary detentions, and other abuses. However, each side denies responsibility for these systemic violations.
While the signing of the truce may have silenced the guns to some extent, it has failed to resolve the deep-rooted conflict in the northern region of Tigray. Mohamed Chande Othman, the chair of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, stated that the agreement has not brought about comprehensive peace in the region.
The report by the commission highlighted the ongoing and severe human rights violations in Tigray. It also pointed out that there have been attacks on civilians by the Eritrean Defence Forces, which joined the Ethiopian government forces during the conflict. Eritrea vehemently denies these accusations and rejects claims made by residents and rights groups.
Yemane Ghebremeskel, the Information Minister of Eritrea, stated that the report’s findings are defamatory and added that the country is preparing a formal response. On the other hand, Ethiopia’s army and government officials have not yet commented on the report.
The situation in Ethiopia raises serious concerns about the persistent violations and the lack of accountability for the crimes against humanity being committed. It is essential for the international community to take decisive action to ensure the protection of human rights and to hold those responsible for these atrocities accountable.
The report’s findings serve as a reminder that the truce alone is not sufficient to bring about lasting peace and security in Ethiopia. A comprehensive and inclusive peace process is needed to address the underlying grievances and to build a foundation for reconciliation and stability.
According to Radhika Coomaraswamy, a member of the commission, the sexual violence that occurred during the conflict was extremely severe. She specifically highlighted the actions of Eritrean forces in Tigray as being particularly concerning, although Ethiopian forces were also responsible. Additionally, she noted that Tigrayan forces had also perpetrated sexual violence in Amhara.
The commission’s report stated that these violations were “abetted or tolerated by the federal government,” which failed in its duty to protect its population. The report revealed that the Ethiopian National Defense Force, Eritrean Defence Forces, and allied regional special forces carried out a widespread and systematic attack on civilian populations through acts such as murder, torture, rape, and other violations.
Despite attempts by the commission to meet with government officials, their requests went unanswered. Ethiopia has continuously tried to impede international scrutiny by attempting to halt the UN-mandated inquiry.
Both Ethiopia’s government and armed forces have consistently denied allegations of widespread crimes committed by their soldiers alone or in collaboration with Eritrean forces. They have also pledged to investigate individual abuse complaints.
Authorities from Amhara have similarly refuted claims that their forces committed atrocities in neighboring Tigray.
Furthermore, it is crucial to establish an independent and impartial mechanism to investigate the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. Perpetrators must be brought to justice, regardless of their affiliation, in order to ensure justice for the victims and to prevent further violations.