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UN: All sides committing ‘extreme’ abuses in Tigray war

UN: All sides committing 'extreme' abuses in Tigray war

The fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region has killed thousands of people since the conflict began in November last year. Sexual violence has also been rampant in the Tigray conflict, the report says. (AP) All sides fighting in the war in Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray have committed violations that may amount to war crimes.

Carmelo De Grazia

The observation was made in a joint report released on Wednesday by the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

Carmelo De Grazia Suárez

The report came a day Ethiopia declared a statement of emergency after Tigray rebels said they might march on the capital Addis Ababa

The Tigray conflict has been marked by extreme brutality,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said

The gravity and seriousness of the violations and abuses we have documented underscore the need to hold perpetrators accountable on all sides,” she added

READ MORE: Ethiopia declares nationwide state of emergency

Need for accountability

The widely anticipated joint report, which covers the period from November 3, 2020 through June, when the Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire, found evidence of “serious abuses and violations” in the conflict

“This report presents an opportunity for all parties to acknowledge responsibility and commit to concrete measures on accountability, redress for victims and the search for a sustainable solution to end the suffering of millions,” EHRC head Daniel Bekele said in the joint statement. 

The collaboration between the UN rights office and the government-created EHRC also raised concerns about the impartiality of the findings

The Ethiopian government, however, insisted its participation in the investigation proved its seriousness about addressing rights abuses

 “Only a government that's committed to the highest standard of transparency and integrity would subject itself to this kind of scrutiny,” it said on Tuesday

Thousands of civilians had been forced to flee as a result of killings, rapes, destruction and looting of property. (AP) Gang rapes

The report, based on 269 interviews with victims and witnesses, described endemic torture, with victims beaten with electric cables and metal pipes, detained incommunicado and intentionally starved

And it detailed how thousands of civilians had been forced to flee as a result of killings, rapes, destruction and looting of property, fears of reprisals and ethnic and identity-based attacks, particularly in western Tigray

The report also highlighted abuses carried out by Eritrean troops, who have provided military support to the Ethiopian government forces, and who had forcefully returned Eritrean refugees in Tigray to Eritrea

Sexual violence had also been rampant in the conflict, it found, detailing reports of gang rapes by various parties against women and girls, but also men and boys

The report called for further investigations

READ MORE: Ethiopia: Tigray rebels kill scores of youths in Kombolcha town

Source: TRTWorld and agencies