Ethnic bias and methodology that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch used for the report are some of the concerns that the government of Ethiopia expressed
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia on Wednesday reacted to a joint report from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch regarding alleged “Crimes Against Humanity” in what the organisations called the “Western Tigray Zone.”
While the Ethiopian government did not dismiss the report entirely in the sense that it has committed itself to “carefully examine it”, it has expressed concern that it was based on “alleged testimonials.”
One of the concerns is, from a statement that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia released on Wednesday, is that it could “strays into making recommendations unhelpful for any peace effort.”
The biased ethnic undertone of the report from organisations that paint themselves as defenders of human rights and the implications of reckless misrepresentation of facts on the ground did not go unnoticed.
“The Government is also concerned about the ethnic undertones of the report that seem to apportion blame disproportionally while trying to exculpate others. This fuels hatred and makes reconciliation and healing more difficult. Responsibility is individual. All those responsible for the alleged violations will be held accountable. Sensational and journalistic reporting discredits the bulky report. Simply blaming one group does not serve the cause of human rights and peace. Other weaknesses in the report are also very apparent. They rely largely on alleged testimonies from certain groups. The Government investigation team will examine this report despite such fatal weakness and unfair attack against the gallant forces of ENDF and allied forces,” said the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch made allegations that ethnic Tigreans were targeted for ethnic cleansing in what they called the “disputed Western Tigray Zone of Ethiopia,” and that the crimes committed are tantamount to “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
The report from these organisations came just a day after a research team from Gondar University released findings from a year-long study in the Wolkait region, which Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called “disputed,” regarding crimes committed by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) against unarmed civilians.
As many as 59,000 civilians were either massacred or tortured between 1983 and 1990, according to research from Gondar University.
Some Ethiopian activists, who expressed resentment toward Amnesty and Human Rights Watch in connection with the report, tend to believe that the timing of the report is deliberately intended to whitewash TPLF crimes.
The United States and its allies, and several organizations in the west, have been tacitly supporting the TPLF – which the Ethiopian parliament designated as a terrorist organization in view of the brutal and unexpected attack on several military bases of the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force.
Amnesty and Human Rights Watch are linking the alleged “war crimes and crimes against humanity” to the Ethiopian Defence Force and regional Ethiopian Forces in the Amhara region who played a crucial role in reversing TPLF attacks.
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