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June 13, 2021
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UN human rights chief nodded for Ethiopia’s invitation for joint investigation

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN Human Rights body will investigate the alleged war crimes and rights violations in northern Ethiopia 

Google map of Northern Ethiopia

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Michelle Bachelet, United Nations Human Rights Commission chief, reportedly accepted Ethiopia’s offer to jointly investigate alleged war Crimes and Human rights  violations in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

Jonathan Fowler, spokesperson, on Wednesday said the UN Human rights commissioner responded positively to a request from Ethiopia to investigate “possible war crimes” in the part of Ethiopia affected by conflict, according to the VOA Amharic report on Thursday.

It is said that Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and United Nations Human Rights Commission are working on a plan, including finances needed and the necessary conditions, to jointly investigate it. 

Reuters on Thursday quoted Mr. Fowler as saying “The U.N. Human Rights Office and the EHRC are now developing an investigation plan, which includes resources needed and practical modalities, in order to launch the missions as soon as possible.” 

Earlier this month, the UN Human Rights Commission expressed concern about the situation in northern Ethiopia. It said that “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.”

Last Month, Amnesty International made similar claims about an alleged massacre in Axum city which was said to have claimed hundreds of lives. This week, a Kenyan news source exposed that the picture that was used during a social media campaign, which seems to have informed policy makers including in the US government,  in connection with the alleged Axum massacre was false. It was found to be a picture from an atrocity committed by Boko Haram in Nigeria. 

Apart from the UN agency, US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, alleged that an ethnic cleaning took place in the Tigray region, which Ethiopia rejected as incorrect.  A press release from the US Department of State on Friday emphasized a “political solution” to avert a “worsening humanitarian crisis” in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. 

Maikadra massacre, which was carried out by youth groups and TPLF military leaders as verified by human rights organizations, however does seem to be ignored by actors in the west that are putting pressure on Ethiopia. 

Ethiopians have been opposing interventions from multilateral institutions and state actors in the west. There have been series of protests in North America and Europe against intervention to resuscitate, as they believe, TPLF under the guise of humanitarian assistance in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. 

The Ethiopian government this week claimed that 4.1 million people in the region received humanitarian assistance about 70 percent of which was provided by the Ethiopian government itself. 

Tigray region of Ethiopia degenerated into a situation of humanitarian crisis after Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) attacked the northern command of the Ethiopian Defense Force  on November 4, 2020. The incident triggered a total war from which TPLF emerged as a loser, but it also complicated the situation in the region.  The Ethiopian government says it is now working on rebuilding the region while it continues to hunt TPLF leaders who are believed to have started the war after what is said to be three years of preparation for war. 

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