The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is concerned about rising tensions and reported sporadic fighting between forces of the Tigray Region and the Federal Government.
On 30 March 2022, EHRC welcomed the announcement of cessation of hostilities by the Federal Government and the Tigray Authorities indicating that it will “significantly contribute to alleviating the dire humanitarian needs in Afar, Amhara and Tigray Regions and lay the foundation for a political solution to the conflict.” Indeed, both the Tigray Authorities and the Federal Government acknowledge the need to “take extraordinary measures to save lives and reduce human suffering” and that “political problems should be resolved through peaceful means”. The Commission has also made repeated calls for improved humanitarian assistance, restoration of basic services, rehabilitation of victims and affected areas in Afar, Amhara and Tigray, as well as sustainable political solution and accountability measures for justice.
Since the start of the conflict on November 3, 2020, EHRC has documented first-hand the effects of the war in Northern Ethiopia on civilian men, women and children. Grave human rights and humanitarian law violations have been committed by all parties to the conflict, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity; including unlawful and extra-judicial killings; torture and ill-treatment; arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances; pillaging, looting and destruction of property; sexual and gender-based violence; forced displacement; unlawful restrictions on freedom of movement and violations of economic, social and cultural rights. Women, children, older persons, and persons with disabilities have been disproportionately affected.
Civilian men, women and children who continue to bear the direct and indirect effects of the war and suffering from deep trauma, loss of their livelihood and loved ones, and lack of access to essential services, still await full redress and justice including rehabilitation, recovery, healing, and full reintegration into society. Accountability for the appalling atrocities which were committed by all parties to the conflict in Afar, Amhara and Tigray Regions is yet to be achieved.
The rising inflation, shortages of basic supplies and suspension of productive activities from large parts of Northern Ethiopia, as well as humanitarian needs in other parts of the country have also significantly affected socio-economic rights. In such a context, the cost of further conflict and war in any part of the country will be incalculable. It will devastate civilian populations and would result in further gross human rights and humanitarian law violations.
EHRC therefore calls:
- On all parties to the conflict, national actors, civil society organizations, the media, religious leaders, and other actors, to renew efforts for a peaceful resolution to the conflict including by contributing to constructive discussions and dialogue, by refraining from engaging in any act of incitement or hate speech, and instead contributing towards mutual understanding, tolerance, and peace.
- On the African Union, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the United Nations, and Ethiopia’s international partners to support national efforts to prevent war, facilitate dialogue, and achieve peace.
- On the Federal Government, as well as the Afar and Amhara Regional authorities, to enhance their facilitation of safe and unhindered passage for humanitarian relief entering Tigray.
- On the Tigray Regional Authorities to provide all cooperation necessary to humanitarian relief efforts to allow civilian populations to receive much needed assistance including refraining from occupying areas in the neighboring regions through which humanitarian relief enters Tigray and refraining from seizing the trucks which transport humanitarian relief.