Multiple reports of alleged human rights violations in Tigray

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13 September 2021

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights gives update on situation in Tigray and denounces alleged gross human rights violations

On Monday 13 September 2021, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), Michelle Bachelet, briefed the UN Human Rights Council on the worrying situation in Tigray, Ethiopia. Bachelet expressed her particular concern with the human rights situation in the region. She noted that the conflict in Tigray has continued since June throughout these months and has expanded in the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara, where thousands of people leaving Tigray have sought refuge. 

The UNHCHR reported that in the last few months there have been widespread violations of human rights by all parties to the Tigrayan conflict. The allegations of human rights breaches comprise indiscriminate killings, mass detention, systematic looting, gendered violence and gang rapes. Tigrayan forces allegedly are recruiting children into the conflict and attacked and killed displaced people in Afar and Amhara. Government forces have also been responsible for human rights violations and findings from UNHCHR indicate that illegal detention and torture might have occurred. Moreover, reports show that law enforcement officials have detained Tigrayan civilians on ethnic grounds, and incitement to hatred, discrimination, and attacks on journalists have all been documented. With regard to all of these problems, Bachelet called for de-escalation measures to be put in place.

An UNHCHR-Ethiopian Human Rights Commission joint investigation into the Tigrayan situation is ongoing. The joint report, with recommendations and findings, is expected to be published on 1 November  2021. The Ethiopian government’s cooperation and its commitment to accountability was welcomed by Bachelet. However, she also points out that it is important that the Government accepts the recommendations that will be soon issued and to follows up with transparent proceedings to ensure accountability. Finally, Bachelet urged the prevention of conflict to spilling over into neighbouring States and the pursuit of peacebuilding and reconciliation programs with the ultimate aim of a  sustainable peace. 




Author: Lorena Bisignano; Editor: Alexander Collin


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