Ethiopia conflict at a 'national scale' according to UN investigators


Violations of the peace treaty are widespread in Ethiopia, UN investigators said Monday.

Investigators for the United Nations cautioned that "atrocities, war crimes and crimes against humanity are still being committed in the country".

This comes despite the November 2022 peace deal between Ethiopia's federal government and rebels in the Tigray region. The deal ended a devastating two-year conflict.

"While the signing of the agreement may have mostly silenced the guns, it has not resolved the conflict in the north of the country, in particular in Tigray," Mohamed Chande Othman, head of the UN-backed Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia," told reporters at the presentation of their latest report.

"Nor has it brought about any comprehensive peace".

Regional conflicts
The report confirmed that Eritrean troops and Amhara militia members were continuing to commit grave violations in Tigray, "including the systematic rape and sexual violence of women and girls."

The Tigray conflict erupted in November 2020 and pitted Ethiopia's government forces, backed by Eritrea's army and forces from the neighbouring region of Amhara, against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

"It is hard to overstate the gravity of the violence which has taken place in Ethiopia," Othman said.

Equally alarming, the report said, is that "hostilities in Ethiopia are now at a national scale, with significant violations increasing particularly in Amhara region, but also ongoing in Oromia and elsewhere".

In a number of regions, "ongoing patterns of violations, entrenched impunity and increasing securitisation of the state bear hallmarked risks of further atrocities and crimes," Othman said.

War crimes?
The commission said it had uncovered ongoing patterns by government forces of arrest, detention and torture of civilians in Oromia.

It also said that it is already receiving numerous credible reports of violations against Amhara civilians since the announcement of a state of emergency last month.

"The risk to the state as well as regional stability and the enjoyment of human rights in East Africa cannot be overstated," the report said.

The commission is due to present its report to the UN Human Rights Council later this week

 (with newswires)