UN Establishes Body to Monitor Human Rights Violations in Ethiopia


The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday adopted a resolution to establish an International Commission of Human Rights Experts to investigate allegations of abuses committed by all warring parties in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict.

The resolution passed 21 to 15, with 11 abstentions at the end of a daylong special session to address the grave human rights situation in Ethiopia.

Among those voting against the resolution were China, Cuba, Eritrea, Pakistan, Russia and Venezuela. The European Union, which sponsored the resolution, said an independent investigation is necessary to ensure a transparent and impartial accountability process is put in place.

Speaking earlier in the day, Denmark’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod told the council it was Addis Ababa’s responsibility to bring perpetrators of crimes to justice. However, he expressed concern that Ethiopia’s national institutions were not up to the task.

“In order to ensure accountability and to prevent further violations, additional independent, international investigations are necessary,” Kofod said. “This is essential to ensure the timely gathering of evidence, of violations, and of abuses committed and for justice to be served.”

Since Ethiopia’s military attacked the Tigray People’s Liberation Front 13 months ago, human rights violations have escalated at an alarming rate. Tens of thousands of people have been killed, and more than 400,000 are suffering from famine.

The U.N. human rights office accuses all warring factions of gross violations, some amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity. These include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, sexual- and gender-based violence, torture, and widespread destruction and looting of civilian property.

The resolution calls for the three-member commission to conduct investigations, establish facts, collect and preserve evidence, identify those responsible and provide guidance on transitional justice, including accountability, reconciliation and healing.

The commission’s mandate is for one year, renewable as necessary.

In a statement issued after the vote, the Ethiopian government denounced the resolution as being politically motivated. It accused the council of double standards and of meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign state under the pretext of human rights. It said it would not cooperate with the established mechanism imposed upon it against its consent.

Source: Voice of America

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