Int’l Rights Experts Advised to Adequately Cover People, Regions to Illustrate Situation in N. Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa September 21/2022 /ENA/The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has advised the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) to adequately cover all affected populations and regions to fairly illustrate the situation in Northern Ethiopia.

In its  report published on September 19, 2022, ICHREE has admitted that it confined its investigation to Tigray and Amhara regions.

The report also stated that remote investigation was carried out by the ICHREE in the case of Tigray and excluded the Afar region. Both Amhara and Afar regions were invaded by the terrorist TPLF.

According to a statement issued by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, it “underscored the need to exercise caution in the approach which completely disregards the situation in an entire region in Northern Ethiopia and advised ICHREE to adequately cover all affected populations and regions to fairly illustrate the situation in Northern Ethiopia.”

As stated under Resolution S-33/1, the mandate of the ICHREE was to “conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into allegations of violations and abuses of [international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law in Ethiopia committed since 3 November 2020 by all parties to the conflict…] by building upon the report of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.”

The statement also recalled that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising the EHRC and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) carried out investigations into alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law committed by all parties to the conflict in the context of the conflict in Tigray, including its gender dimension, covering the period between November 3, 2020 and June 28, 2021.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Resolution S-33/1 welcomed the work, findings, and recommendations of the JIT report, and commended the OHCHR and EHRC for the impartial and transparent conduct of their work, it added.

EHRC further carried out extensive investigations on Afar and Amhara Regions, on the humanitarian situation and air strikes in Tigray, and arbitrary detentions under the State of Emergency in Ethiopia, covering the period between June 2021 and March 2022.

The HRC in Resolution S-33/1 expressed concern about the various violations identified in the JIT report and stressed the need for independent investigations and prosecution of those responsible to ensure accountability and justice for victims and survivors.

The Resolution envisaged the ICHREE’s support for the implementation of specific recommendations in the JIT report, including on transitional justice, by requesting the ICHREE to provide guidance on transitional justice, including accountability, reconciliation, and healing.

According to EHRC, the JIT has been in discussion with the ICHREE on the complementarity envisioned under Resolution S-33/1 (para 9) and on how the ICHREE intends to build on the JIT report.

The JIT has expressed its commitment to cooperate with the ICHREE on multiple areas, including follow up on the JIT recommendations, related to transitional justice and accountability, information sharing, and consultation and advice.

Regarding ICHREE’s request to access the JIT’s database, the JIT is required to observe the principles of informed consent of victims and witnesses for their information to be shared or used, confidentiality requests, and protection of sources.

After extensive deliberations on the issue, the JIT has agreed to grant access to its database guided by pertinent provisions on the protection of sensitive and confidential information, the statement explained.

It further stressed that “EHRC recognizes the limitations and challenges faced by the ICHREE which hindered its selection of incidents and themes to a handful, as well as the complete lack of coverage of serious human rights and humanitarian law violations which could amount to war

crimes and crimes against humanity in the Afar region.”

In this regard, the statement noted that “the Commission underscores that the JIT report together with EHRC’s follow-up Report on Afar, Amhara, and parts of Tigray regions, remain the most comprehensive reports on violations and abuses of international human rights law, humanitarian law, and refugee law committed by all parties to the conflict within the context of the conflict in Northern Ethiopia to date.”

In conclusion, the EHRC reiterated its readiness to cooperate with the ICHREE within the

framework of cooperation proposed, including support to the ICHREE on discussions

with the state to grant access to affected areas in Northern Ethiopia.

However, the Commission underscored the need to exercise caution in the approach which completely disregards the situation in an entire region in Northern Ethiopia, and advised ICHREE to adequately cover all affected populations and regions to fairly illustrate the situation in Northern Ethiopia.