Ethiopian Regime Creates Human Rights Task Force

United Nations headquarters in Geneva United Nations headquarters in Geneva Jonathan Ansel Moy de Vitry on Unsplash

30 November 2021

The Ethiopian government has launched a task force to address human rights violations during the Tigray War which began in November 2020

The Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Justice released a statement on 30 November 2021, announcing the creation of an inter-ministerial task force overseeing redress and accountability measures in response to human rights violations in northern Ethiopia. The task force has four committees, each focusing on a different aspect of redress and accountability. One is responsible for the investigations and prosecutions, another for refugees and internally displaced persons, another for sexual and gender-based violence, and finally, one for resource mobilization to rebuild damaged infrastructure and livelihoods. 

The ministry stated that the committees will adopt a victim-centered approach. The design of the task force is based on a joint report by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which identified atrocities committed by both sides. The violations listed in the report include genocides, sexual violence, killings, displacements, damage to livelihoods, and deprivation of access to humanitarian aid. The United Nations also stressed that over one million people are facing food shortages as aid routes to the region are blocked.

Armed conflict and associated human rights violations have been a major problem in Ethiopia since 4 November 2020, when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and their supporters launched an assault on a federal military base. The TPLF are a paramilitary group turned political party, which helped to end military dictatorship in Ethiopia in 1991. They remain in control of Tigray, a region in northern Ethiopia on the border with Eritrea. The Ethiopian government, however, has labeled the TPLF as a terrorist group. 

In October, the TPLF announced an alliance with the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), a rebel group from Oromia, Ethiopia’s most populous region. Subsequently, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is himself from Oromia, announced he would join the frontline, indicating that fighting is likely to continue despite calls for ceasefire and dialogue. The Prime Minister’s office further clarified that they plan to bring the war to an end, with the TPLF surrendering peacefully to the authorities.


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Author: Niranjana J. Anil; Editor: Alexander James

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