The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) issued an alarming new report detailing a steep rise in human rights violations linked to the ongoing conflict plaguing Ethiopia’s Amhara region.
The EHRC report reveals numerous instances of human rights abuses taking place in the region, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and the displacement of civilians.
The report indicates that civilian harm, loss of life and arbitrary imprisonment are among the most urgent concerns facing the region. Often, individuals detained by state security forces are accused of “backing armed groups” or “concealing weapons,” according to the report.
Consequently, arbitrary arrests and killings have reportedly taken place even in major cities such as Debre Tabor and Debre Markos as well as smaller towns, according to the EHRC’s discovery.
The commission is urging all parties to honor human rights and international law.
In an effort to develop a comprehensive understanding, the committee gathered information from victims, eyewitnesses and residents across Amhara region. Eyewitness testimonies and interviews with affected families corroborated reports of armed conflict intensifying across numerous districts, endangering civilians.
“Farmers working in the fields as well as those seeking shelter in their homes have been caught in the crossfire of gun battles and heavy weaponry,” according to the findings.
The EHRC report also reveals places where detainees have been kept under control of military command centers.
Specifically, the report identifies the Awash-Arba Mineral Water Factory and the Western Command Military Training Camp of the Ministry of National Defense as detention sites.
The Commission has pledged to conduct further investigations.
The Amhara region operates under a system of regional governance within Ethiopia’s federal framework. The authorities and security forces in Amhara are tasked with upholding law and order. However, according to the EHRC report, these same regional government forces have been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings in multiple areas across Amhara.
The report emphasizes the severity of “extrajudicial killings perpetrated by government security forces in various areas affected by the conflict,” according to the findings.
In light of these allegations, the EHRC has urged all actors involved to avoid harming civilian populations or damaging infrastructure. They have also called for refraining from disruptions to social and economic life.
The Commission recommends properly executing the emergency decree and adhering strictly to legal protocols as an effective means of resolving the crisis.