Earlier this week, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) released a statement confirming extensive rights violations in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, in the context of the war between the Ethiopian government and Fano Forces, including drone attacks that claimed civilians’ lives.
The Ethiopian government on Thursday responded to the statement from EHRCO. It is saying that the report is based on wrong information and lacks fairness.
Legesse Tulu, Federal government minister for communication, had a press conference in the capital Addis Ababa. “The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission statement is not based on correct information and lacks impartiality,” he said.
The Ethiopian government is making strong allegations that the Human Rights Commission is infiltrated by aliens and domestic infiltrators.
The Ethiopian government has been making efforts to build independent and neutral institutions. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission demonstrates that. But independence and neutrality are not only from the executive but also from “aliens and other infiltrators,” the Minister said.
The Commission is funded by the Ethiopian government and is accountable to the House of People’s Representatives. In a statement it released this week, it said its findings are based on interviews with eyewitnesses and residents in the affected parts of Ethiopia. It called on the government not only to prioritize peaceful options to end the conflict but also not to target civilians, and civilian infrastructures under any circumstance in the conflict situation.
During the Press Conference, Legesse Tulu, highlighted what the “State of Emergency Command Post” has been doing since its formation in August this year. He said “law enforcement” measures were taken in the Amhara region to enable citizens return to normal life and ensure that their basic rights are protected.
Furthermore, he said that the State of Emergency was necessary because “basic human rights were in danger in the Amhara region,” because of what he called “illegal armed groups.” He also made claims that law and order were in danger in the region.
The statement from the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has confirmed recurring reports from local sources that the Ethiopian Defense Force deployed in the region, under the guise of disarming Fano, has committed recurring extrajudicial executions, in addition to artillery shelling targeting residential areas and drone attacks.
The Ethiopian government did criticize EHRC’s latest statement on a case-by-case basis.
The commission is yet to respond to the government’s allegation.
The Amhara region of Ethiopia has been under a state of emergency since August 2023. Local news providers with links to different parts of the region have been reporting egregious human rights violations.
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