Marie Feyche | U. Pittsburgh School of Law, US December 23, 2020 12:22:48 pm
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet addressed Tuesday allegations of human rights and humanitarian law violations in Ethiopia, calling for an investigation into the allegations and protection of Ethiopian civilians. The conflict between central government soldiers and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) began seven weeks ago, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia.
Several large artillery bombardments were allegedly carried out in Humera between November 9 and 11. Witnesses report that shells were launched from Eritrea, devastating residential areas and destroying a hospital. The Ethiopian army and regional Amhara forces also allegedly then took control of Humera, where they killed civilians and looted buildings. A second massacre is also alleged to have occurred in Mai Kadar on November 9. Several hundred people were killed in Mai Kadar, the majority of whom were Amharan.
In her statement, Bachelet said that these killings would be classified as war crimes if “civilians were deliberately killed by a party or parties to the conflict.” Given the likelihood that these actions would fall under such a category, she also called for an immediate, impartial, and thorough investigations into the killings.
There has also been growing concerns over potential human rights abuses during the region’s communications blackout that started on November 4, as well as for the ongoing safety and physical wellbeing of Eritrean refugees who were located in Tigray when the conflict began.
Tens of thousands of individuals have been displaced due to the conflict, and more than 54,000 Ethiopians have fled from the Tigray region to Sudan.