‘Crimes against humanity’ seen in Tigray conflict

ethiopia

A joint investigation by the independent Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN Human Rights Office has found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that all parties to the conflict in Tigray have, to varying degrees, committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. In a report published Nov. 3, the Joint Investigation Team details violations and abuses including unlawful killings and extra-judicial executions, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced displacement of civilians.

The report covers the period starting in November 2020, when the armed conflict broke out between the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), the Eritrean Defense Force (EDF), the Amhara Special Forces (ASF), the Amhara Fano and other militias on one side, and the Tigray Special Forces (TSF), Tigrayan militia and other allied groups on the other. The period studied ended in June 2021, when the Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire. (Jurist)

The ceasefire, however, has broken down, and the TSF and allied forces are now approaching the capital, Addis Ababa. The central government has called on civilians and military veterans in the capital to join what it now calls an “existential war.” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement called on the Tigrayan and allied forces to “immediately stop the current advance towards Addis Ababa.”

In a meeting in Washington DC on Nov. 5, a new rebel coalition was announced, the United Front of Ethiopian Federalist & Confederalist Forces, bringing together several armed organizations “fighting against the genocidal regime in Ethiopia.” The nine constituent groups are the TSF (armed wing of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front-TPLF), the Oromo Liberation Army, the Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front, the Agaw Democratic Movement, the Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement, the Gambella People’s Liberation Army, the Global Kimant People’s Rights & Justice Movement, the Sidama National Liberation Front, and the Somali State Resistance. (CNN, AP, Bansoro)

Map: Political Geography Now