749 civilians killed in Ethiopia's Afar, Amhara states in a year: Rights body

749 civilians killed in Ethiopia's Afar, Amhara states in a year: Rights body

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission's report blames gov't forces, Tigray rebels for killings, rights abuses

By Addis Getachew

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) – At least 749 civilians have been killed in Afar and Amhara regional states during fighting between Tigray rebels and the government forces in a year, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said on Friday.

In a report submitted to the Ethiopian parliament, the EHRC said it recorded at least 749 civilian deaths from June 2021 to June 2022 as the 20-month-long war expanded from the northernmost region of Tigray into neighboring Amhara and Afar regions.

“In Amhara and Afar regions, 403 civilians were killed as warring parties used disproportionate actions and failed to adhere to the principle of discrimination,” the report stated, adding: “Another 346 civilians were victims of extra-judicial killings perpetrated by all forces involved, particularly the Tigray forces.”

The report covers the human rights situations across the country from June 2021 to June 2022.

“The figure is never conclusive,” EHRC Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele told reporters, adding further investigation is ongoing. “At the conclusion of the probe, it may be possible to give a reasonable estimate,” he said.

The report said hundreds of civilians were also massacred in ethnically motivated killings by gunmen, including the Oromo Liberation Army aka Shene, over the past couple of weeks particularly in Wollega zones in southwestern Ethiopia.

“ … All parties to the conflict have committed serious international human rights and humanitarian law violations against civilians,” the report said.

“The right to live, the right to security of person, the right to justice, the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and/or punishment have been violated by the government forces, the Tigray forces and other armed groups,” according to the report.

Currently, basic services such as telecommunication and electricity are cut off in Tigray regional state, further complicating the situation and further limiting human rights.

“In other regions of the country, in some police stations and irregular places of detention, detainees have been subject to unlawful treatment, extended pre-trial detention and beatings,” the report noted.​​​​​​​

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