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Ethiopia’s Human Rights Crisis: Abiy Ahmed’s Forces Responsible for 70% of Violations

June 14, 2024

The UN report highlighting the deteriorating human rights situation in Ethiopia is deeply concerning. It underscores the significant responsibility of government forces in perpetrating approximately 70% of the reported violations in 2023. This revelation calls for urgent attention from the international community to address these issues and ensure accountability for human rights abuses.

In a recent publication, the OHCHR has released a detailed report consisting of 24 pages, shedding light on 594 instances of human rights violations and abuses. These incidents have had a significant impact on 8,253 individuals throughout the past year, representing a substantial increase of 55.9% compared to the previous year. The report highlights that state actors, including the ENDF, federal and regional police forces, and state-affiliated militia groups, were reportedly responsible for 70% of these violations, affecting a total of 7,103 victims. On the other hand, non-state armed groups were associated with 22.3% of the incidents, with 25 specific cases attributed to the Eritrean Defense Forces operating in the Tigray region.

The report brought attention to the continuous conflict between government forces and the OLA, as well as revealed inter-ethnic tensions between Amhara and Oromia militias, and conflicts between Oromia and Somali groups, leading to more casualties. Furthermore, worries were expressed about the Ethiopian National Defense Force’s (ENDF) deployment of drone attacks. From August to December 2023, 18 confirmed drone strikes caused a significant amount of civilian casualties, with 248 deaths and 55 injuries recorded.

Following the declaration of the state of emergency on August 4, 2023, the report brings attention to a troubling rise in arbitrary detentions. The arrests primarily targeted individuals from the Amhara ethnic group across various regions of the country. A total of 4,879 arrests were documented in 16 detention facilities, and many detainees experienced prolonged periods of pre-trial detention. The report also highlights the ongoing concern of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). However, it acknowledges that the underreporting of such incidents remains widespread due to a combination of socio-cultural taboos, fear of retaliation, and limited access to comprehensive support services, particularly in rural areas.

The situation in northern Ethiopia remains a matter of great concern from a humanitarian perspective. The conflicts that persist have resulted in the displacement of civilians and hindered the safe return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes. The report highlights the various challenges faced by IDPs, including arbitrary arrests, inadequate identification documents, and restricted access to fundamental necessities like food, healthcare, water, and shelter.

Despite recognizing the government’s efforts in implementing human rights policies, including the transitional justice policy and justice delivery improvements, the report emphasizes the need for tangible actions to address ongoing violations and restore peace, specifically in the Amhara and Oromia regions. It urges both the federal government and regional state authorities to take necessary measures to halt hostilities, ensure the safety of civilians, honor the Pretoria Peace Agreement, and secure the complete fulfillment of economic, social, and cultural rights for all individuals, including those affected by conflicts.

Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasized the utmost significance of giving priority to political resolutions and human rights in order to achieve peace and accountability in Ethiopia. He specifically drew attention to the continuous violations occurring in the region.

Furthermore, the report offers recommendations to the international community, urging them to support and assist the government’s endeavors in implementing the peace agreement. It also encourages the promotion of peaceful dialogues for resolving conflicts, advocating for measures to ensure accountability, and providing resources for humanitarian aid, human rights, and recovery programs.

Read more  on UN News.

Full Report-  OHCHR-Update-HR-situation-in-Ethiopia-in-2023




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