First visit to Ethiopia by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Tigray

First visit to Ethiopia by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Tigray

Members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, prisoners of the Tigray forces in Mekele, northern Ethiopia (archives)

The UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations committed since the start of the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region began its first visit to Ethiopia on Monday, the UN said, but the Ethiopian government has reiterated conditions for its cooperation.

< p class="e-p">This commission, made up of three experts – Kenyan, American and Sri Lankan – was created in December 2021 for a period of one year, renewable by the United Nations Human Rights Council. She is in Ethiopia until July 30.

Among other things, it is responsible for conducting a thorough and impartial investigation into allegations of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian and refugee law committed in Ethiopia since November 3, 2020 by all parties to the conflict in Tigray, the Council recalls in a statement.

On Monday, the Ethiopian government recalled in a statement that it had initially refused to cooperate with this commission, before giving the green light when he came to Ethiopia.

There is an opportunity for the government to reconsider its position on the issue of cooperation with the commission if the latter respects the position of the government on various points and if an agreement is reached on [its] modalities of action, perhaps we read in this text.

The program of the visit of the three investigators has not been published, but they already had an exploratory discussion on Monday in Addis Ababa with Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, also Minister of Foreign Affairs, according to Fana BC, media close to the government.

The experts are in Addis Ababa to discuss with government officials and other partners, and try to find together acceptable modalities of working with the government within their mandate, says Fana BC.

The rebel authorities in Tigray had said they were ready in recent days to cooperate with the commission, while accusing the federal government of wanting to dictate the parameters and scope of the x27;investigation, thus compromising its credibility.

The conflict in Tigray, which then spread to neighboring Amhara and Afar regions, was marked by numerous abuses on each side.

A joint investigation by the United Nations and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC, a public body) had already concluded at the end of 2021 that possible crimes against humanity humanity committed by all actors, recalls the UN.

The conflict in Tigray began in early November 2020 when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent in the federal army, supported by regional forces from Amhara and the Eritrean army, to dislodge the rebel authorities from the Tigray region.

Initially defeated, the Tigray rebels regained control of the region during 2021. The fighting has almost ceased since a truce in March, but the humanitarian situation remains catastrophic in Tigray, difficult to access and deprived of telecommunications networks, the Internet or banks.

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