The United Nations announced that it continues to receive reports of serious violations against civilians in Ethiopia, noting that about 7000 detainees are detained due to the conflict in Ethiopia, including 9 UN employees.
Meanwhile, the Tigray Front said that Abi Ahmed’s regime does not respect international humanitarian law and its forces target civilians and infrastructure, as they bombed a market in the city of Alamata, killing 28 people.
On Thursday, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said that fighters in the Amhara region allied with the Ethiopian army are arresting and killing civilians from Tigray in a new wave of ethnic violence linked to the war. At the same time, the Committee to Protect Journalists called on the Ethiopian authorities to release journalists detained since the end of November.
The two human rights NGOs confirmed that these fighters were arrested in November and December, and tortured and starved civilians, including teenagers and the elderly, in western Tigray.
With machetes and axes
These militants and security forces attacked civilians who tried to flee the long-disputed area with machetes and axes, while others were put into trucks and have since disappeared.
“Without an urgent international response to prevent further atrocities, the people of Tigray, and especially those detained, remain at grave risk,” said Joanne Mariner, director of crisis response at Amnesty International.
The warnings come while the United Nations Human Rights Council is supposed to hold a special session on Friday to consider appointing investigators into possible human rights violations in the war.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the army to Tigray in November 2020 to oust local authorities from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which challenged his authority and accused them of attacking military bases. Abiy declared victory three weeks later, after capturing the provincial capital, Mekele.
Amhara and Afar
But in June, the TPLF regained control of most of the Tigray districts and continued its offensive in the neighboring districts of Amhara and Afar.
The conflict resulted in thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than two million people and pushed hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians to conditions close to starvation, according to the United Nations.
laws of war
The two NGOs said this “massive avalanche of abuse should serve as a wake-up call” about a conflict that has exacerbated historical tension between the Amhara and Tigray, two of Ethiopia’s major ethnic groups.
The United Nations is concerned about the displacement of large numbers of people, while the United States is talking about “ethnic cleansing”.
In contact with AFP, a spokesperson for the Amhara region described this information as “unjustified” and “baseless”.
“Wrong accusations and defamation of security forces in Amhara are unacceptable,” spokesman Geezachoy Muluneh added, adding, “Our people are suffering from a terrible humanitarian catastrophe because of” the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
Amnesty and Human Rights Watch said deliberate attacks on civilians and forced evictions “violate the laws of war” and those responsible should be identified and held accountable.
On the other hand, the New York-based NGO, the Committee to Protect Journalists, called Thursday on the Ethiopian authorities to immediately release all journalists detained since the state of emergency was declared.
The organization’s appeal comes after Ethiopian police arrested a video reporter working for the US Associated Press and two other local journalists in late November.
The task of journalists in Ethiopia has been complicated by the declaration of a national emergency last month due to the 13-month-old conflict between central authorities and forces in the northern region of Tigray. The Committee to Protect Journalists said at least 14 journalists have been arrested since the state of emergency was declared.