Wednesday, February 28, 2024

IGAD joins Jeddah talks to restore peace in Sudan

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has joined the US-Saudi peace talks in Jeddah to end the Sudanese conflict.

The Executive Secretary of IGAD Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, is currently in Jeddah representing the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government, to co-facilitate the Sudan talks together with the African Union (AU).

The first phase of the talks is aimed at achieving a durable humanitarian ceasefire.

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“IGAD together with the AU will continue their ongoing engagements and consultations with the Sudanese stakeholders to convene a Sudanese-led-and-owned comprehensive, all-inclusive political dialogue that shall take place in the IGAD region,” the statement read in party.

“IGAD, along with friends of the Republic of Sudan remain committed to supporting the Sudanese people in their quest for a lasting peace and political settlement.”

Also, Sudanese parties to the Juba peace agreement have affirmed their commitment to end the conflict during the two-day consultative dialogue held in Juba to resolve the ongoing conflict in Sudan.

The City Review South Sudan

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UN Experts call for ongoing international scrutiny and support for victims in Ethiopia

NEW YORK (26 October 2023) – The international community must ensure ongoing scrutiny of the human rights situation in Ethiopia and increase support for survivors of the conflict, the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia said today after delivering its final report to the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.

In their address Wednesday in New York, the Commissioner highlighted wide-ranging atrocities committed in Ethiopia – some of which are ongoing despite the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in November 2022 – and serious flaws in the Ethiopian Governments transitional justice policy. It also warned of the potential for future atrocities in the country.

“Recent years have seen some of the darkest chapters in Ethiopia’s history. We cannot overstate the scale and gravity of atrocities committed by all parties to the conflict,” said Mohamed Chande Othman, Chairperson of the Commission. “We found evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on a staggering scale. In the region of Tigray, we believe that further investigation is needed to determine the possible commission of the crime against humanity of extermination and the crime of genocide.”

 

The Commission’s mandate was not renewed at the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council earlier this month.

“The decision to discontinue the work of the Commission takes place against a backdrop of serious violations against civilians in the country, as our recent reports have shown,” said Commissioner Steven Ratner. “Our reports not only detail serious crimes committed in Ethiopia, they highlight ongoing, serious human rights concerns and warn of the very real risk of future atrocities.”

The Commissioners reiterated their concern that the Ethiopian Government has adopted a strategy of “quasi-compliance” – establishing domestic mechanisms and processes which purport to ensure accountability, but which in practice are used to deflect international attention and circumvent international scrutiny.

“The use of ‘quasi compliance’ as a strategy to shut down international scrutiny is deeply concerning, and often comes at the expense of victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence. It also poses a threat to the entire international human rights system, and we urge all Member States to be vigilant against its future use,” Ratner said.

The Experts noted that the termination of the Commission’s mandate meant that many victims of Ethiopia’s conflict felt they had nowhere to turn to have their voices heard and grievances addressed.

“The atrocities committed in Ethiopia have devastated communities and destroyed the fabric of society,” said Commissioner Radhika Coomaraswamy. “Victims, survivors, and their families will continue to suffer the consequences for years, if not decades to come. This is especially true of survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence, who were subjected to some of the most appalling acts of violence, brutality, and dehumanization.”

“It is unconscionable that, months, even years later, many have yet to receive adequate medical, psychosocial, and other support,” Coomaraswamy said. “In recent weeks, we have heard from victims who are devastated by the decision to end the mandate of the Commission. Many feel they have been abandoned by the international community. It is essential that, moving forward, the Ethiopian Government as well as the international community commit to putting survivors at the heart of efforts towards justice, truth, reconciliation, and healing in the country.”

The Experts underscored the importance of accountability, and encouraged members of the international community, whether as individual states or as members of multilateral organizations or institutions, to ensure all those responsible for atrocities in Ethiopia are held to account, including through recourse to universal jurisdiction.

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The Commission called for continued scrutiny of the situation in Ethiopia, especially given the potential for future atrocity crimes.

“We urge the international community, in particular all UN bodies dealing with human rights and conflict prevention, as well as Member States, not to allow the situation in Ethiopia to fall off the international agenda. Instead, they should ensure continued robust monitoring, reporting, evaluation, and advocacy on human rights in the country,” Othman said. “The millions of victims of conflict in Ethiopia deserve nothing less.”

UNOHCHR

US official reveals Ethiopia’s request for AGOA eligibility ‘still pending’, decision unlikely at upcoming forum

A US State Department official has disclosed that the decision to reinstate Ethiopia’s eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is “still pending”. Constance Hamilton, Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa, made this statement during a digital press briefing held on Thursday.

“Those decisions are still pending,” Ms Hamilton told journalists from the continent, and that “there probably will not be an announcement at the time that we get to the AGOA Forum,” she said referring to the upcoming AGOA forum.

Last month, US officials announced that the 20th US-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (AGOA Forum) will be hosted by South Africa in Johannesburg from 2–4 November, 2023. The forum aims to bring together the governments of the United States and AGOA-eligible countries, as well as representatives from key regional economic organizations, the private sector, and civil society.

Addis Standard

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