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Ethiopian rights body demands security of civilians ‘a priority’


The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission on Saturday called for urgent measures to ensure “the safety and security of civilians” is made a priority in Tigray after eight months of conflict that has left millions facing famine.

The region of northern Ethiopia, a country of about 110 million people, has been riven by fighting since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in early November sent the army to topple the dissident leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

33After declaring an early victory, the operation turned into a long-lasting and bloody conflict between pro-TPLF forces — the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) — and the Ethiopian army.

Confusing matters, the Ethiopian military was supported by troops from neighbouring Amhara regional authorities and the army of Eritrea, which borders Tigray.

The conflict has been marked by numerous accounts of abuses against civilians, with reports of massacres, rapes and forced displacement.

More than 400,000 people have “crossed the famine threshold” in the region and another 1.8 million people “are on the verge of starvation”, a senior UN official estimated at a public meeting of the Security Council on Friday.

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NGOs and the World Food Programme (WFP) raised the alarm on Friday over the destruction this week of two bridges that provide vital road access after the TDF retook the regional capital Mekele.

The Ethiopian government denied any responsibility after it was accused of destroying the bridges to prevent humanitarian aid arriving.

“The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission expresses its deep concern about the situation of civilians in the Tigray region” and “urges that urgent measures be taken to ensure their safety and security,” the independent but federal government-affiliated body said on Saturday.

“The safety and security of civilians must remain a priority,” it said.

With electricity and telecommunications cut off and many roads impassable, it stressed the importance of “transparency and clarity on the current security and humanitarian situation”.

The commission called on all parties to respect the ceasefire, unilaterally declared on Monday night by the federal government and described by the TDF as a “joke”.

The pre-war TPLF government in Tigray on Friday pledged its support for the UN and organisations “working to provide vital assistance” to Tigrayans, saying it was “committed to facilitating humanitarian access”.

At the Security Council meeting, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo also urged the TDF on Thursday to “immediately and fully endorse the ceasefire”.

In Addis Ababa, the commission also said it was monitoring reports of “arrests of media personnel and residents of Tigray ethnic origin suspected of connection with the ongoing situation in the region”, pointing to a “risk of ethnic profiling”.



  1. I am not sure what to think about this article. The same Tigrean people did choose to identify the Ethiopian Armed forces that were protecting them from TPLF thugs as their enemy. The Tigrean population even willingly did play a role as human sheild for TPLF thugs to which the ENDF did have a rules of engagement and did not budge on it and most ended up being prisoners. Real army that value human life handed his hand to them but they choose the old murders of millions across Ethiopia. Now they are given the chance to have their own thug rulers and probably the rest of Ethiopians are at peace with it not to look back. Ethiopia should use the infamous article 39 once to ejectt the Tigrean region on it own and then abolish the current ethnic system for ever and ban any political party based on ethnic affiliation as many African countries do. Let the Tigreans proaepwr in their dusty land with west help because after so many sellout there is no way other Ethiopians will trust them ever. They can confederate with Sudan and Egypt or join the EU if they will. Let them be golden race there. Wehnbyou do not have respect for fellow citizens that is what you deserve. All these pain and shame has been brought by the useless leadership in on the incumbent PP and not strength or outwit of TPLF thugs. I do not get the western analysts description of war strategy using humans as a shelid. They are silent on it l. I would not even doubt TPLF did have access on satellite imagery for US possibly via Egypt. That as far as treacherous is TPLF and the Tigrean people has received it with open hands. As our leaders incompetent ones never seen in Ethiopian history. Painful. they are even putting pressure military or else to realse their own POW that is not less than also treacherous.

  2. I am a big suppierter and admirer of the Ethiopian Human Right Commission and it leader Daniel but I do not think Ethiopia is in the position to protect Tigrean people when clearly the people have sided with TPLF thugs that have terrorized Ethiopians for the last three decades. The only way to do it without putting in harm’s way our army men and women is cost prohibitive simillatvto what USA dis in Afghanistan with a billion dollar military compounds and we’ll know even with those how many civilians casualties were caused by USA in Afghanistan evenwith progressive Obama So not thanks no we are not putting our army in harm’s way let the Tigreans deal with their own affair outside of Ethiopia. LLet them go and beg the west to assist them.

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