Ethiopia: Amidst a humanitarian crisis, violations are compounded by civic space restrictions

State,emt at the 51st Session of the UN Human Rights Council – 51st Session 

Interactive Dialogue on Ethiopia 

Delivered by Lisa Majumdar 

Thank you, Mr President, and thank you to the Commission for their first report. 

It paints a grim picture of resumed hostilities compounding violations which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

We are seriously concerned by the civic space restrictions that are adding to the crisis – from restrictions to humanitarian access, to imposition of internet blackouts, to widespread arbitrary detention. 

The situation in Ethiopia, including the humanitarian disaster that has unfolded, will have consequences well beyond its borders. It is critical that full, unfettered, and sustained humanitarian access to Tigray is immediately restored. 

The report references the arbitrary detention of thousands of Tigrayans across the country, including in administrative detention centres, as well as on a massive scale in western Tigray.

We note that mass arbitrary detention can amount to a crime against humanity. 

We call on the Ethiopian government to cease all forms of intimidation of human rights defenders, journalists and other media actors. 

We note with serious concern the constraints on the work of the Commission owing to shortfalls in resources and lack of access. We therefore urge this Council to not only renew the mandate of the commission, but to ensure its adequate resourcing, and we call for the Commission’s unhindered access. 

We thank you. 

 Civic space in Ethiopia is rated as "Repressed" by the CIVICUS Monitor