UN orders probe into rights abuses on all sides in Ethiopia conflict


The UN Human Rights Council on Friday ordered an international commission of experts to investigate and gather evidence on the atrocities committed in the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia, a move slammed by the government in Addis Ababa.

A resolution, proposed by the European Union, was adopted by states currently sitting on the Council, after rights groups said violations committed during more than a year of conflict might amount to war crimes.

Ethiopia has dismissed the move as politically motivated.

The UN rights council said there was a risk to the entire region and called on all parties to pull back.

All sides in the deepening conflict in northern Ethiopia are committing severe human rights violations and should pull back from their year-old war, the UN said.

An estimated 5,000 to 7,000 people are detained, including nine UN staff, under a state of emergency and its “excessively broad provision” declared by the government last month, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nada Al-Nashif, said.

“Many are detained incommunicado or in unknown locations. This is tantamount to enforced disappearance, and a matter of very grave concern,” she told a special session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Zenebe Kebede, did not comment directly on the accusations of detentions, but said that there was a failure to condemn what he said was a series of abuses by rebellious forces from the northern Tigray region.

“Ethiopia is being targeted and singled out at the Human Rights Council for defending a democratically elected government, the peace and the future of its people,” he said.

Thousands of civilians have died and millions have fled in the conflict between the federal government and rebellious forces including fighters loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition for nearly 30 years. (Sources: BBC/Arab News)