The UN Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia have arrived in that country. They will discuss with authorities the modalities of their planned investigations into the atrocities committed in the country’s northern region.
The Commission, headed by three experts, was formed in December 2021 by the UN Human Rights Council following concerns about human rights violations in the ongoing conflict between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a rebel group.
The experts will be in the country from 25th to 30th July.
In December 2021, the UN Human Rights Council voted to establish independent investigation into abuses in the conflict in Ethiopia’s north. The three-member expert team appointed by the UN, is seeking Ethiopia’s support to enable it carry out independent investigations into the human right violations in the country’s north.
The visit to Ethiopia is a continuation of discussions the team had with the government in May.
The experts will be seeking to meet and engage with victims and witnesses in conflict-affected areas, as well as with the government and other stakeholders.
Thereafter, the investigation team will make recommendations to the government of Ethiopia on issues of accountability, national reconciliation and healing.
A Joint Investigations report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission released in November last year revealed that atrocities have been committed by both the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and the rebel group’s Tigray Defense Forces among other entities.
These include; mass killings, sexual violence, military targeting civilians and forceful displacement of people. The report recommended an independent investigation and appropriate prosecution of those responsible.
Ethiopia was originally opposed to the independent investigation calling it a “politically motivated move”. The government says it is seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict through a national dialogue process.
Meanwhile, the UN continues to raise concern over what it terms as deteriorating situation in the country’s north where over 13 million people are in need of emergency aid.
The experts will issue a communique on 30th July when they conclude their visit.