27 January, 2021
The Permanent Mission of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the United Nations Office in Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland notes with dismay the baseless Press Statement of Ms. Pramila Patten, the UNSRSG on sexual violence in conflict, on 21 January 2021, whereby she called for “The prohibition of the use of sexual violence and cessation of hostilities in the Tigray Regional State”.
We recall that the Government of Ethiopia undertook a law enforcement operation in the Tigray Regional State to restore a constitutional order in the country and bring the perpetrators of atrocities to justice. Although the law enforcement operation is by and large completed, cmrently a few pocket areas of confrontation ierriain, where remnants of the TPLF clique are hiding and trying to deny the consolidation of sustainable peace in those seas. Every possible effort however, is being exerted in close coordination with the Regional Provisional Adminisnation to ensue peace and stability as well as to restore basic services to the people.
We would like to underline that the people of Ethiopia seek peace and rule of law and it is the government, who has the constitutional responsibility, to maintain law and order and ensure the safety and security of civilians.
Moreover, we would like to remind TPLF’s history of systematic human rights violations is well documented, particularly its destabilization, terror and massacres in the past three decades as well as its recent vandalism against public and private infrastructure.
There is a need to emphasize that allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are extremely serious and the Ethiopian government takes there very seriously. But these should be verifiable both in terms of facts and their perpetrators. It should also be pointed out that these accusations are based on concocted fictitious facts, based on unwnranted assumptions egregiously failing to refer to crucial facts on the ground. They emerged from the quick defeat of the TPLF and as a result their supporters are using it as a tactic of war to gained support and sympathy from like-minded groups as well as to terrorize the civilian population and achieve their tactical objectives by tarnishing the image of Ethiopia. We regret the re-echoing and baseless accusation of the office of the SRSG in this regard. It would have been appropriate if such information was communicated to the relevant authorities, in a timely manner, foe investigation and verification of its objectivity, accuracy and reliability rather than stating fictions and allegations. Echoing accusations of past regimes and its affiliates who want to hijack Ethiopia’s new chapter of reform, will not contribute to fighting impurity nor to provide the necessary assistance to victims of sexual violence and their families.
Regarding the allegations of Ethiopian refugees in the Sudan by the SRSG, the Permanent Mission believes that those comments should have been directed rather towards its own affiliate agencies since the refugee camps are not within the Ethiopian Territories. It should be underlined that the UN has the responsibility to ensure the protection, safety and security of those displaced refugees, particularly since Ethiopia has received reliable reports that some of those “refugees” we suspected criminals who fled after committing the Maikaéra massacre and those identified should face justice.
Concerning the allegations of sexual violence linked to Government, the Permanent Mission would like to reiterate Ethiopia’s full and unwavering commitment to the zero- tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. In this regard, it would suffice, as a litmus test, to look into the impeccable disciplinary track record and history of the Ethiopian forces deployed both at horne and in UN peacekeeping operations in the region and elsewhere. It should be emphasized that the allegations do not even meet the minimum evidentiary standard.
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