In a first of its kind report on the human rights situation in Ethiopia, the EHRC submitted to the House of Peoples’ Representatives, the Commission called on the government to protect, respect and fulfill human rights at any time.
In the report submitted to the House of Peoples’ Representatives (Parliament), the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission states that the report includes encouraging steps taken and issues requiring urgent solutions identified through monitoring, investigation, awareness raising, studies/assessments and other activities of the Commission which he carried out during the Ethiopian fiscal year which has just ended.
Emphasizing that the current context in the country causes factors and circumstances to change and evolve rapidly, the Commission notes in its report that several human rights violations were committed during the reporting period.
The report details a number of serious human rights violations committed by both state and non-state actors in the context of the conflict, which have resulted in numerous deaths, psychosocial and physical injuries, sexual and gender-based violence , displacement and destruction of property, targeting civilians, including women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities and executed with extreme brutality and cruelty.
In the context of the war in Ethiopia, all parties to the conflict have committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law against civilians. In areas where conflict took place, the right to life, the right to security of person, the right to justice, the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and/or punishment were violated by government forces, Tigray armed forces and other armed groups. Although many of the victims of these violations are civilians, captured members of parties to these conflicts have also been victims of these violations. In other parts of the country, in some police stations and irregular places of detention, detainees were subjected to unlawful treatment, prolonged pretrial detention and beatings.
In connection with the state of emergency that has been in effect for some time during the reporting period, and in many parts of the country, widespread arbitrary and illegal detentions, detentions in places of detention irregular, the refusal of the right of visit and the – of the provisional detentions took place. Further, in some areas, court orders were ignored and people continued to be detained despite and in violation of court bail orders and even after prosecutions dropped charges.
While in many parts of the country almost all of those detained under the state of emergency were detained, in the Afar region nearly 9,000 people of Tigrayan ethnicity were arrested and expelled from the Kilbeti Resu area in December 2021 and remain, as of the date of publication of this report, detained against their will in two camps in Semera town (Agatina and Semera camps). Afar security authorities say the move was part of a campaign to “ensure their safety and facilitate the investigation and identification of those involved in criminal activities”. The report also indicates that the limited access/provision of humanitarian and medical care in the camps has resulted in loss of life.
In the regions of Afar, Amhara and Tigray where the conflict took place, interruption of basic services, destruction of health and education establishments as well as private properties, interruption of productive activities in many of these areas and large-scale displacement caused by the conflict all contribute to the negative impact on socio-economic rights, including the right to food, health and education. In Oromia and Somali regions, drought in parts of the regions has strained the ability of governmental and non-governmental organizations to deliver humanitarian assistance.
More than 4 million IDPs are still awaiting durable solutions and dependent on humanitarian aid, the availability and other aspects of which are themselves impacted by the general human rights situation in the country; an impact that is also felt by host communities. In the same vein, the report also underlines that the rights of women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities require the urgent and deliberate attention of government authorities.
With regard to freedom of opinion, thought, expression and the right to seek information, the Commission’s monitoring work also revealed that at various times between July 2021 and May 2022, 54 media personnel, 15 of whom were reportedly detained in the Tigray region. , were arrested and detained for a period ranging from a few days to several months.
During the press conference on July 8, 2022 for the official launch of the human rights situation in Ethiopia, the report also covers an overall assessment of the 6 national elections that took place during the closed financial year, conclusions based on the work of the Commission in the treatment of individual complaints, the situation of persons deprived of their liberty and detained in places of irregular detention, police stations and prisons.
In addition to human rights violations committed by governmental bodies/authorities, non-state actors are responsible for large-scale human rights violations. The Commission’s monitoring and investigative work also shows that, in the context of the war in northern Ethiopia and conflicts in other parts of the country, armed groups, unorganized groups and individuals committed killings, physical injuries, forced displacement and destruction or looting of property against civilians.
In his foreword to the report, EHRC Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele notes that since political discord/instability is at the root of the general context of war, conflict and widespread attacks on civilians in which Ethiopia finds itself at the moment, political solutions are inevitably part of durable solutions”.
Adding that the report is based on the findings of the Commission’s monitoring and investigation, advocacy, documentation, evaluation and human rights education activities during the fiscal year which has just ended, which has resulted in time, geographical and human rights issues Limited coverage, Daniel Bekele also said: “While this first annual report on the human rights situation does not purport to be an exhaustive list of incidents of human rights violations, it provides a comprehensive overview of human rights concerns that require immediate and urgent attention. As such, and with the recommendations it makes, the report is a useful tool for federal and regional governments in particular to review and take corrective action in their respective areas of work. The Chief Commissioner also indicated that the report also aims to contribute to the work of national and international organisations.
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