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AI : Protect civilians in Mekelle offensive

Mekelle Offensive _ AI

Amnesty International
Pres Release
November 23, 2020

Spokespersons available to take media interviews

The conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region is on the brink of a deadly escalation after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gave fighters loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) 72 hours to surrender before the military begins an assault on Tigray’s capital Mekelle. Amnesty International is calling on all parties to the conflict to prioritize the protection of civilians, and to grant access to human rights monitors and humanitarian organizations.

“The conflict in the Tigray region has already claimed hundreds of civilian lives, left many more injured, and forced thousands into refugee camps in neighbouring Sudan. As Ethiopian federal troops begin preparations to encircle Mekelle, Amnesty International reminds all parties that deliberately attacking civilians and civilian objects is prohibited under international humanitarian law, and constitutes war crimes. Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks are also prohibited,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

“As well as abiding by this prohibition, commanders in both the Ethiopian national army and the TPLF must take active steps to protect civilians during any fighting, including by taking all feasible precautions to avoid harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure and avoiding locating military facilities and soldiers near concentrations of civilians.

Amnesty International is particularly concerned about potential civilian casualties after military spokesman Colonel Dejene Tsegaye appeared on state-run TV and said:

“We want to send a message to the public in Mekelle to save themselves from any artillery attacks and free yourselves from the junta … After that, there will be no mercy.”

Amnesty International calls on all parties to the conflict to:

  • Not target civilian facilities such as hospitals, schools, and religious institutions, and residential neighbourhoods.
  • Avoid placing military facilities such as camps near or in civilian areas, and ensure that they do not use civilians as “human shields.”
  • Avoid using explosive weapons with wide area effect — including artillery, mortars, and unguided aerial bombs – in populated urban areas and other concentrations of civilians.
  • Ensure unfettered access to humanitarian organizations throughout Tigray, where access to much-needed relief aid has been hindered since the start of the military offensive on 4 November.
  • Allow human rights monitors access to Tigray.
  • Seek support from regional and international actors to ensure proper investigation of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.
  • Immediately restore telephone and internet communications in Tigray in respect of the right to freedom to expression.

Public Document
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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Seif Magango on:

+254 788 343897
email: seif.magango@amnesty.org   

Out of hours contact details
+44 20 7413 5566
email: press@amnesty.org  
twitter: @amnestypress

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Nice words, nice advice and polite appeal to the two entities fighting against each other. Like other commentators, I refrain from going through the real cause problem of why the two are fighting each other, tooth and nail. Of course, needless to say, the ordinary people have NOTHING to do with it. They are just innocent creatures that they wish to work hard for the benefit of themselves and their families for modest living with tiny bit of happiness. It is not their choice to squander their Life and killing others for a cause they don’t really believe. Dear Reader: Would you kill some one that you don’t know? As you can see, I AM NAIVE. If these nine lines are accepted for printing my SOUL will be thankful to
    borkena.com for ever and ever and ever
    And to those relatives of the DEVIL, who instigated the war, I would only say SHAME, SHAME SHAME UPON YOU >>> especially since you are safe and sound in a secured space, with secured life, while the poor ordinary people sacrifice their LIVES. May the Good Lord UP in HEAVEN would close the door upon you, as you deserve. AMEN & INSHALLAH, in alphabetical order (please!!!)

  2. Amnesty international,the disgraceful, corrupt supposed human rights organization, that only focuses and lingers around the African continent and for what they call “third world countries “.
    Just look over to what’s going on in Saudi Arabia and in all Arab countries, migrants being rapped, forced labor, mass incarceration in inhumanly conditions,
    , including the United States of America, black Americans, children, women, men, old & young being murdered in the streets of America and in their neighborhoods, just to mention a few, and does the so called a supposed human rights organization amnesty international raises its voices against nations mentioned above, of course not! The Saudis dump millions of mighty dollars in amnesty international’s deep pockets and therefore it looks the other way and gives it’s deaf-ear to the Saudi’s egregious, relentless and gross human rights violations.
    As far as I am concerned the so called “ amnesty international “ is as guilty as those who grossly violates human rights, by virtue of conspiring with those who are guilty of crimes against humanity.

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