Monday, May 20, 2024
NewsTigray Genocide Inquiry Commission Receives Federal Recognition

Tigray Genocide Inquiry Commission Receives Federal Recognition

The Tigray Genocide Inquiry Commission says it has begun collaborative work with the federal government and the World Bank.

Yemane Zeray (PhD), head of the Commission, told The Reporter the Tigray Interim Administration (TIA) has instructed his office to begin working with the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank.

“We’re currently funded by the Interim Administration,” he said. “It has ordered us to begin working in collaboration with the Ministry office responsible for implementing the national five-year strategic plan set to expire next year. We’re now getting into their format.”

The Ministry and World Bank are set to validate results to be disclosed by the Commission.

The regional commission of inquiry was established in May 2022 amid the turmoil of the northern war. Regional mistrust in the federal government’s ability to thoroughly investigate the reported crimes committed during the war was the reasoning cited behind the establishment of the Commission.

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Since then, it has been conducting assessments on the damage caused by the conflict, going door to door to register fatalities, economic damages, and social and infrastructure destruction.

However, the federal government had not recognized the Commission until now.

The Commission’s primary objective is to comprehensively assess the extent of human and material loss meticulously documenting the full spectrum of human rights violations allegedly committed against the people of Tigray. 

Yemane says data collection is nearly finalized and that the analysis of the survey’s socioeconomic component has begun. This section of the assessment is slated for use as input for recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction works.

A comprehensive census and survey of IDPs scattered across all of Tigray’s woredas, excluding those in the disputed western portion of the region and those under control of the Eritrean military.

The Commission’s general damage and loss assessment is stated to include data collected from every household in Tigray, covering more than 650,000 households through economic, social, and humanity questionnaires.More than 580,000 girls aged 15 and above are also part of the study.

“We’ve collected nearly all the data,” Yemane said. “We’ll work to include the necessary information and then present it in the format the Ministry and the Bank want it to be in.”

He expects to see the socioeconomic component finalized by the end of June.

Data from the socioeconomic survey indicates that the whereabouts of 80 percent of industry workers and 70 percent of close to 36,000 service employees previously registered in Tigray are unknown. Less than 18,000 of close to 100,000 people who used to work in industries in the regional state are accounted for.

The figures are even more haunting in the agricultural investment sector, which is left with a little over 1,300 of the 49,000 people it used to employ.

Yemane explains the tens of thousands of missing people could include those who have been let go from their work, who died or were wounded during the war, and others who have vanished without a trace.

He told The Reporter that neither the federal government nor the World Bank will be taking the Commission at its word. .

“After we provide them with the report, they will each go through their own validation processes and fact checking studies,” said Yemane.

He observes the need for resource mobilization has led the interim administration to join hands with the federal government and the bank.

“The point of all this is to gain the ability to mobilize the resources we need for the rehabilitation of Tigray,” he said.

However, the Commission will be omitting human rights violations and other law and order matters from its report, according to Yemane.

“Matters of law and order will not be included here. We will not be presenting any part of that to either of them,” Yemane told The Reporter.

The Commission states that the issue of transitional justice in Tigray correlates with the data it has gathered concerning reported violations. The analysis work is expected to commence in the second phase, meaning after June 2024, pushing the quest for transitional justice further back than expected by stakeholders.

The second-phase report is expected to include answers to who has committed what kind of violations, who needs to pay compensations, and who needs to answer for their crimes before a court of law.

“We will not be collecting data for the second phase. We have all the data needed but we were told to prioritize issues related to rehabilitation, so we’ve been doing that for the past six months and are still occupied with the work,” said Yemane.

[speaker]
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