A new report published Saturday by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) described extensive human rights and war crimes violations allegedly committed in July and August this year in the regions of Amhara and Afar in connection to the ongoing Tigray crisis. The report was based on investigations conducted between August 28, 2021 and September 6, 2021.
The report by the Ethiopia government’s rights agency found that most of the violations had been committed by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which is opposed to the Ethiopian government.
The findings indicated that at least 184 civilians have been killed by the TPLF during the report’s research period. Some of the reasons for the killings include civilians’ support of the government and the ruling party, their harboring of wounded members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), and residents whom they deemed to be informants of the government. The report also suggested that this number could be higher since the investigation team was unable to access several locations in the conflict zone.
Additionally, the findings detailed mass destruction and looting of property; both civilian and government. EHRC suggested that the pillage was in most cases targeted at homes of ENDF soldiers, although on some occasions the looting was indiscriminate.
In addition to the outright human rights violations, the report also uncovered widespread violations of international humanitarian law. This includes the wounding and killings of civilians who are not engaged in hostilities and the indiscriminate use of heavy weaponry without regard for harm to civilians and civilian objects. Counterattacks by the ENDF, whose proportionality the investigations did not verify, were also speculated to constitute war crimes. EHRC found that these acts contravened the laws of armed conflict as embodied in the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of hostilities.
Further, the report revealed the dire need for aid by those displaced in the region. According to EHRC, humanitarian organizations have not yet provided any meaningful assistance. Of the over 183,404 internally displaced people, 62,000 have yet to receive any aid.
The report concluded with a raft of recommendations to both the federal and Amhara regional governments.