GENEVA (4 March 2021) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday stressed the urgent need for an objective, independent assessment of the facts on the ground in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, given the persistent reports of serious human rights violations and abuses she continues to receive.
“Deeply distressing reports of sexual and gender-based violence, extrajudicial killings, widespread destruction and looting of public and private property by all parties continue to be shared with us, as well as reports of continued fighting in central Tigray in particular,” Bachelet said. “Credible information also continues to emerge about serious violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict in Tigray in November last year.”
“Without prompt, impartial and transparent investigations and holding those responsible accountable, I fear violations will continue to be committed with impunity, and the situation will remain volatile for a long time to come.”
The UN Human Rights Office has been receiving information about ongoing fighting across the region, particularly in the centre of Tigray region, as well as incidents of looting by various armed actors. Reliable sources have shared information about the killing of eight protestors by security forces between 9 and 10 February in Adigrat, Mekelle, Shire and Wukro. More than 136 cases of rape have also been reported in hospitals in Mekelle, Ayder, Adigrat and Wukro in the east of Tigray region between December and January, with indications that there are many more such unreported cases. The Government has said investigations are under way into the cases of sexual violence.
The Office has also managed to corroborate information about some of the incidents that occurred in November last year, indicating indiscriminate shelling in Mekelle, Humera and Adigrat towns in Tigray region, and reports of grave human rights violations and abuses including mass killings in Axum, and in Dengelat in central Tigray by Eritrean armed forces.
A preliminary analysis of the information received indicates that serious violations of international law, possibly amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, may have been committed by multiple actors in the conflict, including: the Ethiopian National Defence Forces, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, Eritrean armed forces, and Amhara Regional Forces and affiliated militia.
“With multiple actors in the conflict, blanket denials and finger-pointing, there is a clear need for an objective, independent assessment of these reports – victims and survivors of these violations must not be denied their rights to the truth and to justice. We urge the Government of Ethiopia to grant my Office and other independent monitors access to the Tigray region, with a view to establishing the facts and contributing to accountability, regardless of the affiliation of perpetrators,” Bachelet said.
Bachelet also expressed concern at detentions this week in Tigray of journalists and translators working for local and international media. While the journalists have now been released, there have been worrying remarks by a Government official that those responsible for “misleading international media” would be held responsible.
“Victims and witnesses of human rights violations and abuses must not be hindered from sharing their testimony for fear of reprisals,” the High Commissioner said.
Bachelet welcomed recent statements by the Government on accountability and measures taken on access for humanitarian actors. She urged the authorities to ensure that those commitments are translated into reality, and stressed that the UN Human Rights Office stands ready to support efforts at advancing human rights, including efforts by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission aimed at ensuring accountability.
Today on the 3rd March 2021 National Unity Platform (NUP) Presidential Candidate and leader Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine had a call with Venezuelan Opposition Candidate Juan Guaidó. Bobi Wine said they discussed “the way forward for both countries” and “defence of democratic principals”. This was a bad move for Kyagulanyi. He shouldn’t even have picked up this.
It made so much more sense when he congratulated Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader on his 40th Birthday, Julius Malema the other day. They are in the same league and has similarities. They have common objective and spirits. That is something that is easily to salute and true brotherhood, but calling Guaidó is a waste of time.
Guaidó is a man who enjoys support of Pentagon and the United States Government. He wanted to be used a puppet President in Venezuela. This after President Trump was able to get his will in Bolivia the year before. The Trump Administration through Pompeo and other allies boosted Guaidó. Guaidó even hired mercenaries in 2020 and tried to overthrow President Manduro.
This is why Bobi Wine shouldn’t have picked up the call. Then describing it like this and calling him the “President” too. A man who is willing to be puppet and a the living embodiment of Western Imperialism. A man who is willing to be used as a tool of Pentagon and the U.S. State Department to undermine an elected government in Venezuela. That is the tragedy here.
Bobi Wine and the NUP should have researched this. Because, is this isn’t it and he shouldn’t be associated with leaders like this. They are not revolutionary or freedom fighters. Guaidó isn’t removing dictators, but wanting to be an installed Pinochet or Mobutu. His democratic principals cannot be deeply rooted, as his willing to hire guns and try to topple the government. This done with coordination of the US. Guaidó was even present at the State of the Union in Washington D.C. January 2020 and his attempt was in March 2020. Therefore, the whole ordeal was arranged, but didn’t succeed.
That is why Bobi Wine should know better and should have had his ears to the ground. Guaidó isn’t a renegade or a man fighting for freedom. The Venezuelan counterpart would trade away resources for his elite to eat in luxurious restaurants and have mansions in Miami. He would licence mineral industry and oil industry to American companies, instead of having the profits serving the general public and the state. That is the sort of man Guaidó is and why he was fitting in the game-plan of Washington.
We know that Guaidó is the President of Narnia and until he comes out the closet we shouldn’t take him seriously on his return to the real world. That is why the likes Bobi Wine shouldn’t address him or even take him sincere. He should have known better, but clearly he thought this would give him political capital.
Well, someone got to tell him and explain him the history. Even read some articles on Greyzone or Orinoco Tribune to get a gist of Guaidó is and his history. That would have been wise, but he can bring it back by acting smart, and learn from this mistake. Time will tell, if he does that, but this wasn’t it.
Bobi Wine, please don’t do this sort of thing again. Do research and check the history of the gentlemen you associate with. You are better than this. Peace.
“You have tarnished our country’s image more than enough, it’s better you stop” – Judith Nabakooba (01.03.2021).
Some people want to blind and deaf. One person like that is the current Minister for ICT and National Guidance Judith Nabakooba. She rather that nobody talks. No one says a thing and moves on in life. Everyone just accepts that their loved ones are disappearing, that their loved ones are abducted and held incommunicado. I am sure if it happened to a relative of hers. She wouldn’t post about on social media or ask for help. No, she would remain silent and not say a word.
The honourable minister should reconsider her stance. It is not the opposition that is the issue. It is the state and all of its security organizations, which needs to be held accountable and take responsibility for their actions. It isn’t National Unity Platform (NUP) fault that their members, activists, candidates and associates are taken without warrants, charges or arrested through ordinary procedures.
So when she says stuff like this, she must really not care about the citizens in legal jeopardy:
“They spend most of their time posting fake news about the country. They post photos of dead bodies, violence and so forth and this scares away our tourists” (…) “I see most of them deceiving Ugandans with very fake propaganda. They have spent a lot of time discussing US warships as if this brings food on the table of the people who voted for them” (…) “It’s time for the youths to move on and start working for themselves instead of feeding on lies from politicians” – Nabakooba (01.03.2021).
I expect Nabakooba to be silent as the grave if any of her in-laws, any of her family or friends are taken without any due process. That she will not say a word or cause any alarm. She will just await their destiny and their fate in the hands of authorities and the law, which wasn’t served properly or just to the ones abducted, kidnapped and detained without charges. These folks was taken because of their political affiliation. They were tortured, brutally arrested and some even killed.
That is the sort of thing Judith don’t want to hear or see. It damage the image that people talks about it. The Pearl of Blood is being revised for 2021. The Panda Gari’s of our Generation and the “Drones” are in the city. We are just supposed to not tarnish the name of the Republic and let bygones be bygones.
I wonder how that go when the government cry havoc over losing Facebook profiles and pages, but the opposition isn’t supposed to talk about arrests, tortured and extra judicial killings. It isn’t the opposition that abducts, tortures or kills. No, it is the vicious state and its officers who has taken the law into their hands and doing the bidding of the chain-of-command. They are the ones responsible and need to change their ways. It isn’t NUP, FDC or anyone else’s fault. No, it is the ones ordering the drones and the “safe-houses”. They are the ones tarnishing the image of the state.
Its the ones accepting this practices, this acts of deviousness and sinister approach to governing. It isn’t the fault of the opposition for crying and suffering. Hell to the NO. Nabakooba better be like a made-man in the mafia when someone scorns her loved ones. If she is so afraid of the image. She better remain silent when “the shit hits the fan”.
That is if she really means things. I hope it is a political stunt, but its really infuriating blaming the victims and their leaders for speaking out. Peace.
Since the launch of the Law Enforcement Operation in early November 2020. There been articles, reports and since been recorded massacres, murders and killings of civilians in the Tigray Region. The Federal Government, the National Army, Amhara Para-Miltary Group “Fano” and Eritrean Army have all participated in the destruction, the atrocities and the battles over the region.
Yes, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) shall be accountable for their parts and their activity as well, but the blunt force of accountability and responsibility is on the Head of State and the Federal Government who has more power, friends and allies to destroy the “outlawed” and deemed “terrorist” group the TPLF. Therefore, Prime Minister Ahmed Ali Abiy and President Isias Afwerki have much more weight on their shoulders compared to TPLF President Debretsion Gebremichael.
So, in this regard… the Internally Displaced People, the refugees leaving refugee camps and the tactics of starvations, mass-murder and shelling towns. Are all deliberate acts of the state and its allies to conquer and leave no one behind. They are looting, destroying and silencing anyone. These folks are using all means to get total control and impose an “interim regional government” on the region as well.
The Prosperity Party is sending own soldiers as “peacekeepers” as the Ministry of Peace is enlisting them. The state is using mechanical forces, brigades of Eritrean soldiers to fight their fight and a militia to kill anyone who oppose the new sets of rules. It is now the “Rule of Law Operation” instead of the “Law Enforcement Operation”. Both make it seems like a cause to catch thieves in a den and not conventional warfare, which is happening on the 4th Month with little to no access for humanitarian aid and organizations to help the ones in need. The ones who get can get raided later by the soldiers who is supposed to keep them safe, but instead steal their vital aid.
That is why all the deaths, by the guns, the shelling of mortars or missiles are all on Abiy and Afwerki. These bloodstains, the deceased and the ones is no longer with us. These souls are on their account. It was their responsibility and their orders that was the reason for them losing their lives. A quick and brief operation, which was promised to not take lives. Have not taken thousands upon thousand. We have no idea how many by soldiers, by starvation and by trying to seek refugee in Sudan. We just know that too many have died over the principal of control from Addis Ababa.
This war is one to prove supremacy.. That is it really.
Abiy can claim otherwise and also backtrack the planned efforts in Amhara and airlifting troops to Eritrea ahead of attack on the Northern Command in early November. That is part of the timeline, the state never will really tell, but the drips of information proves it.
They have tried to block information and reports. If anything comes out. The state is debunking and dismiss it. While they asking the world to not accept “disinformation” but they are not accepting anything else published either. So, they only want their vision and not accepting the witnesses who has revealed stories and reports, which the state doesn’t want out.
This is why all massacres, mass-killings and atrocities needs to be revealed. The state will downplay it… but we need to know more. We only have a very limited picture and that is deliberate by the state. They also not accepting the information dropped from other sources than their own. Still, these are saying something and has to be taken into account. Since, they dare to shed lights on the dark side of war. While the state will only say it will “investigate” but the reports will only be pointed at their enemy. Never take accountability or responsibility for their own action. The Prime Minister have already lied and would easily lie again. Therefore, Abiy and Afwerki cannot run away from this, even if we know that they want too.
The leaders doesn’t want to be questioned and that has been clear for so long. Abiy and Afwerki doesn’t want this out, but when it does. It should create an outcry. The amount of horrific actions, which is hidden and been kept in the dark. That is acts that the ones in power orders.
The bloodstains on their hands cannot be washed away. The bloodshed and deaths are all in the hands of the government and their allies. That shouldn’t be forgotten about and needs to be stated.
The hands are red and no sort of cleaner will get it off. They can only tell what happened and who ordered what, but don’t expect that ever to happen. Abiy and Afwerki just want the glory, but don’t want to take the responsibility. The citizens of the Republic can die in the hands of the soldiers, but the King only wants to be praised. Long live the King and his Republic will prevail. Peace.
Falls Church, Virginia (3/2/2021)—The Oromo Legacy Leadership and Advocacy Association (OLLAA) applauds the German government’s March 1 announcement that it has recalled its ambassador to Myanmar following the military government’s unlawful killing of peaceful protestors. “Such deadly violence against peaceful demonstrators can not be justified,” said German Foreign Ministry spokesman Steffan Seibert, “We summoned Myanmar’s ambassador today to make this position clear.”
OLLAA commends Germany’s commitment to democratic norms and urges the government to similarly signal its support for Ethiopian civilians, who are suffering gross violations of their human rights to life and freedom from unlawful arrest.
The atrocities in the Tigray region are part of an overarching pattern of human rights abuses committed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.
According to a report by Australian human rights monitoring NGO the Oromia Support Group (OSG), at least 1,342 civilians have been killed by Ethiopian security forces since October 2018. For example, nearly 350 civilians died in extrajudicial killings in the Western Oromia region alone. A 2020 report by Amnesty International documents dozens of horrific extrajudicial killings, including a father of three who was murdered by Ethiopian Defense Forces (EDF) at a town-wide meeting because his mobile phone rang in the middle of proceedings. In another case, the Oromia Police Special Force targeted and killed a 10th-grade student while he drank coffee at a local cafe.
Aside from the Ethiopian government’s abhorrent and illegal executions of civilians, the state has carried out a campaign of mass arrest and arbitrary detention for the past two years.
Between January and September 2019, Amnesty International reported that at least 10,000 people were known to be imprisoned in a wave of mass detention that targeted anyone believed to be even remotely associated with opposition political parties.
More recently in 2020, amidst the covid pandemic, the Ethiopian government arrested and imprisoned at least 5,000 people, many of whom were journalists, politicians, and student activists critical of the government according to Amnesty international. While the government postponed democratic elections, ostensibly due to covid transmission concerns, state security forces simultaneously placed thousands at high risk of the virus due to “punitive” conditions inside detention centers.
On the same day as Germany’s announcement, a BBC journalist was arrested and reportedly taken to a military detention camp.
OLLAA urges the German government to undertake the following actions:
For more information about the Oromo hunger strike, visit OLLAA.org/hungerstrike.