The spokesperson of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Marta Hurtado, on Tuesday released a statement regarding the human rights situation in the country.
It said at least 183 people have been killed in the Amhara region of Ethiopia since July of this year. Local Ethiopian news sources seem to have a much higher estimate of the number of civilian casualties from the war in the Amhara region. The government has shut the internet in the region before even introducing a state of emergency. In some areas, phones are not working. The region has not been accessible to reporters and the Ethoipian government has also been mouting crackdown on journalists.
There have been accusations that Ethiopian Defense Forces mobilized a mechanized division of the army to control the situation in Amhara. Many civilian victims in the region are from artillery shelling of residential areas in major towns. Earlier this month, a drone attack in Finote Selam killed at least 28 people, which the UN report omitted to cite.
The Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency early this month with the aim of controlling widespread protest in the Amhara region but the situation has been worsening.
“In the Amhara region, following a flare-up in clashes between the Ethiopian military and the regional Fano militia, and the declaration of a state of emergency on 4 August, the situation worsened considerably,” said the statement from the UN High Commission for Human Rights.
Apart from indiscriminate killings in the region, there have been arbitrary mass arrests mostly targeting ethnic Amhara in the capital Addis Ababa.
The UN has confirmed it. It said, “We have received reports that more than 1,000 people have been arrested across Ethiopia under this law[the state of emergency].” The state of emergency curtailed all forms of rights in Ethiopia and has given government security bodies extra power. Local Ethiopian news sources indicate that the number of people arrested in connection with the state of emergency is much more than what the U.N, indicated.
A statement from the UN human rights body said “We call on the authorities to stop mass arrests, ensure that any deprivation of liberty is judicially reviewed, and release those arbitrarily detained. The Oromia regional state has reportedly arrested thousands focusing on ethnic Amhara.
The UN body has seemingly played a bothsidesism in its statement giving the impression that Fano forces are involved in rights abuse. It said, “with federal forces reasserting their presence in certain towns and Fano militias reportedly retreating into rural areas, we call on all actors to stop killings, other violations and abuses. Grievances must be addressed through dialogue and political process.”
It seems to have omitted that what is happening in the Amhara region is a full-fledged war between the Ethiopian government and Fano forces.
The UN statement also made claims about the arrest of ethnic Tigreans in what it called “the disputed area of Western Tigray.”
“We have also received allegations that at least 250 ethnic Tigrayans were detained in the disputed area of Western Tigray, reportedly in joint operations by the Amhara police, local authorities and local militia, including armed youth from Wolkait,” it said.
The report also expressed concern about the situation in the Oromo region of Ethiopia.
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