Eritrea condemned at UN over attacks against civilians

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21 June 2021

The international community has expressed many concerns over the war crimes perpetrated by the Eritrean troops in Tigray

 Many Western countries have expressed their worries regarding the numerous violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) perpetrated by the Eritrean troops in Tigray, a northern region in the neighbouring Ethiopia. In order to contextualize such a surge of violence, it is important to recall that Eritrea and Ethiopia had been fighting against each other until 2018, when the warring parties surprisingly signed a coveted peace deal. Nevertheless, this agreement has not prevented the continuation of further hostilities, as it paved the way for the Eritrean army to provide the Ethiopian government’s armed forces with the support they need to defeat the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the region’s former leading party and bitter foe of Eritrea.    

Against this backdrop, the Eritrean military descended on Tigray, perpetrating ever since a massive number of extra-territorial infringements of the laws of war. As reported by Wionews, the Eritrean troops are accused of committing widespread and indiscriminate attacks against civilians. According to Human Rights Watch, on 19 November 2020 both Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers jointly attacked the Saint Mary’s hospital in the northern city of Axum, shooting at patients and medical staff members. One week later, as reported by Amnesty International, hundreds of unarmed civilians were slaughtered in that same city. Additionally, these troops have been conducting house-to-house raids, plundering people’s belongings, forcing Eritrean refugees back across the borders and establishing extrajudicial executions, plunging affected people into unprecedented traumas and mourning.  

In light of that, the international community has raised its concerns, voicing alarm at the UN over the ongoing atrocities committed by the Eritrean armed forces. Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea, portrayed a startling picture of the current situation of the country, highlighting the threats which civilians are exposed to and urging the Council to take appropriate countermeasures.

 

Sources:

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/03/05/ethiopia-eritrean-forces-massacre-tigray-civilians

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/02/ethiopia-eritrean-troops-massacre-of-hundreds-of-axum-civilians-may-amount-to-crime-against-humanity/

https://www.wionews.com/world/eritrea-condemned-at-un-over-tigray-abuses-393035

 

Author: Gianpaolo Mascaro; Editor: Jasmina Saric

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