A collection of 23 civil society organizations (CSOs) under the theme ‘Gender in Focus’ called up on the government to provide proper and adequate protections to civilians in the country.
In a statement the societies issued on Friday May 14, 2021, they stated that “The Ethiopian government has the authority, structure and the capacity to protect its citizens and thus holds the lion’s share of responsibilities to protect its citizens.”
They further stressed that it should ensure accountability for attacks resulting in loss of life, destruction of property and displacement; develop conflict resolution strategies with other parties to prevent conflicts from reaching such stage; pay attention and respond to citizens’ needs and demands in the event of a conflict; protect vulnerable civilians from further attacks by government structures; pay special attention while facilitating humanitarian aid to people living with disabilities, women and girls with disabilities who are often at greater risk in situations of conflict; facilitate a redress and rehabilitation mechanism for victims of violence through creditable investigation and persecution of perpetrators; collaborate with non-governmental and aid organizations to set up dignified temporary shelters for IDPs with their consent and consultations and provide access to food, shelter, and give due attention for the special needs of women and children in the dissemination of aid; ensure the safe delivery of aid to the people in need and provide protection for civil society organizations that seek to provide support in conflict areas and allow for independent and impartial investigations of the various atrocities occurring in different regions of the country.
Furthermore, the CSOs asserted that despite calls from various stakeholders for the government to take proper measures to ensure safety and security of civilians, “civilian casualties continue to rise due to conflict, instability, and unrest that erupt in various parts of the country.”
They also called up on international and local humanitarian agencies to address the urgent need for food, health services, counseling and other essential basic services, including the provision of food, water, shelter and other sanitation and medical supplies, counseling and other basic services.
“We seek to empathize on the value of human life. The right to life and safety should be guaranteed to all civilians. We stress our concern over human rights violations that are clearly and frequently committed in various parts of the country. This instability has caused the citizens to feel perturbed by the recurring violence. Thus, we implore all actors to play important and positive roles by taking the above actions to avoid further damage to civilians, to respond to the plight of women and children and prevent human right violations,” they stated.
The humanitarian situation in Ethiopia has been at the center of attention for many local and international entities that voiced their concerns repeatedly for the protection of the right to life of citizens. Frequent attacks on civilians by armed forces as well as sporadic conflicts have claimed the lives of multiple Ethiopians in addition to displacing millions and destroying property.