tigray

Three United Nations (UN) independent human rights experts have concluded a five-day visit to Ethiopia where they met with the deputy prime minister, minister of justice, and other senior government officials.

The UN International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia is mandated to conduct a thorough and impartial probe into allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights law.

The three members of the UN commission, Kaari Betty Murungi, Steven Ratner, and Radhika Coomaraswamy, investigated violations of international humanitarian law and international refugee law in Ethiopia committed on 03 November, 2020, by all parties to the conflict in the Tigray region.

Additionally, the members met with members of the National Dialogue Commission and Inter-Ministerial Task Force, the Ethiopia National Human Rights Commission, civil society, diplomats, and UN agencies and staff in Ethiopia.

According to a UN statement, the members hope that their meetings with the officials would result in ‘immediate and absolute access to visit sites’ as well as their ability to gather testimonials.

Several humanitarian organisations halted their operations in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in January 2022 following an air strike that reportedly killed civilians in a camp for displaced people.

The air strike killed 56 people and injured 30, including children, according to local authorities and eyewitness accounts.

Conflict between federal troops and forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) started in November 2020.

Millions of people have been displaced, with almost 40 percent of Tigrayans facing food insecurity, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).

The UN commission is scheduled to submit a written report to the human rights body on this trip during its next session in September 2022.

Special rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country’s situation.

Photo source: UNHCR/Will Swanson

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