UN notes ‘extreme brutality’ in Ethiopia’s war
The United Nations human rights chief has stated that the war in Ethiopia has been filled with “extreme brutality” after the United Nations and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission filed a joint investigation into alleged violations, as reported by The Associated Press.
The joint investigative report accuses all sides in the war of being involved in the torture, murder, gang-rape and ethnically-targeted arrests of civilians, reports Reuters.
The AP reported that the investigation generally broke little new ground in confirming general abuses throughout the conflict, and that the 1,300 rapes it reported are likely far less than the real number.
It said the United Nations investigation was negatively impacted by restrictions that prohibited the investigators from looking into some of the locations that were impacted most by the war.
By working with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, however, the U.N. was able to access a specific part of the country that has been hard-hit by the war, reports the AP.
“The Tigray conflict has been marked by extreme brutality. The gravity and seriousness of the violations and abuses we have documented underscore the need to hold perpetrators accountable,” said Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, to The Associated Press.
“All parties to the Tigray conflict have committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law. Some of these may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Bachelet said, according to Reuters.
The report comes as Tigray forces from the north have advanced toward the Ethiopian capital of Addis Abada. The advancement has led to a state of emergency in the capital city.
The report faulted all sides for the human rights violations, including the Ethiopian government and neighboring Eritrea, which has had forces involved in the conflict and previously fought a war with Ethiopia.
The report was based on 269 interviews, according to Reuters. The interviews outlined horrific conditions and abuses in painful detail such as rape and mutilation, according to Reuters.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has accepted the report, even though he holds “serious reservations,” and Abiy has said he will establish a task force to investigate the atrocities and put any soldier guilty of them on trial, states Reuters.