Statement at the 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the situation of human rights in the Tigray region of Ethiopia
Delivered by Paul Mulindwa
Thank you, Madame, President, and thank you High Commissioner for this timely update which indicates serious violations of international law, possibly amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
CIVICUS is particularly concerned about continued reports of extrajudicial killings, widespread serious sexual violence, as well as destruction of crops and refugee camps, attacks on civilian infrastructure, including factories, schools, and hospitals, underscored by obstruction of humanitarian assistance.
Civil society organisations, including Norwegian Refugee Council, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Al Maktoum Foundation have been suspended for doing their legitimate work. These suspensions hinder the accessibility of humanitarian relief by the famine-stricken populations and represent a clear attempt to silence the public communication of humanitarian organizations operating in the region. Reported telecommunications restrictions in order to control communication channels have left people unable to access key information and made it harder for victims and witnesses of violations to share their testimony.
While we welcome commitments made by the Government of Ethiopia to hold accountable those responsible for such abuses, the findings presented by the High Commissioner show the urgent need for the Human Rights Council to mandate an independent, transparent, and impartial investigation into the crimes reported to further such measures and ensure that those responsible for these human rights abuses are held to account regardless of rank or affiliation.
We thank you.
Civic space in Ethiopia is rated "repressed" by the CIVICUS Monitor.