The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is monitoring the latest reports of further displacement and injury to civilian populations due to continuing hostilities in parts of Afar and sporadic conflict in areas of Amhara region bordering Tigray.  The Commission is receiving reports of alarming numbers of displacement from eight woredas of Kelbati Resu (Zone 2) in Afar, including Megale, Abala, Erebti, Berhale and Koneba. Reports show that residents are fleeing shelling and the internally displaced persons who have reached Semera indicate having had to walk several hundreds of kilometres from Berhale, Abala and Erebti Woredas. Recalling that the Regional Disaster Control and Food Security Bureau estimates the total number of displaced persons from these woredas to be between 300,000 and 400,000, EHRC Deputy Chief Commissioner Rakeb Messele said “As of February 16, 2020, some 920 households are said to have reached Semera where they are seeking protection and humanitarian assistance. Several of them also indicate being separated from family members who got stranded on the way.”  

EHRC Deputy Chief Commissioner Rakeb Messele

Many more people from Dallol and Koneba Woredas are reported to have been stranded on Berhale road which is said to be cut off. It is further reported that among the displaced are Eritrean refugees from refugee camp in Berhale Woreda.    

EHRC is also receiving reports of people fleeing “alleged shelling and forced conscription, labor and harassment by Tigrayan forces” from parts of Amhara region that remain under their control, including from Addi Arkay (North Gondar Zone), Abergele and Tsagbji Woredas in Wag Hemra Zone, and Alamata in Tigray. 

The Commission reiterates its call for the cessation of hostilities and urges all parties to the conflict to implement the recommendations of the joint EHRC-UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) investigation report and other human rights monitoring and investigation reports by EHRC on the conflict in Northern Ethiopia. EHRC will continue to monitor the situation.