The G7 countries are “seriously concerned” about the alleged human rights violations in Tigray, calling on all parties to provide “immediate and unhindered humanitarian access” to the conflict-affected region of Ethiopia.
The foreign ministries of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the top diplomat of the European Union. said in a joint statement on Friday they “condemn the slaughter of civilians, sexual and gender-based violence, indiscriminate bombing and forced displacement of Tigray residents and Eritrean refugees.”
They called on all parties to “exercise the utmost restraint, guarantee the protection of civilians and respect human rights and international law” and “provide immediate and unhindered humanitarian access” to the region.
“We are concerned about worsening food insecurity with the emergency conditions prevailing in large areas of central and eastern Tigray,” he wrote.
Famine and sexual violence
Ethiopia declared war on the semi-autonomous region controlled by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in November 2020. The party had been dominant in the federal government for decades, but refused to join a new coalition led by the first Minister Ahmed Abiy after his promotion. to power in 2018.
They then complained that they were being treated unfairly by the federal government and tensions escalated last year when Tigray held an election despite nationwide voting being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government then accused the TPLF of attacking a federal army, which the party has denied, and launched a military offensive.
No one knows how many thousands of civilians or combatants have died since the conflict broke out.
Food security in Tigray, which was already facing a deteriorating socio-economic situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a desert locust infestation, was affected by the disruption of commercial supplies and the lack of payment to public officials, said the UN.
Wafaa Said, UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia, said last month that the rapid nutrition assessment in the first week of March indicated that among children under 5 years of age screened, the proportion of those affected by malnutrition acute “far exceeded the emergency threshold of 15%” in the six areas evaluated.
The aforementioned estimates that 82% of the 229 health centers in Tigray are not working or have not established communication with them.
The UN humanitarian official also warned of targeted killings of civilians, saying five medical facilities recorded 516 rape cases in mid-March.
“The actual numbers are projected to be much higher,” he said. “The women say they have been raped by armed actors, they also told stories of gang rape, rape in front of family members and men forced to rape their own relatives under the threat of violence.”
An investigation jointly led by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. was announced last week to investigate reports of violations.
G7 member countries also welcomed Abiy’s recent announcement that Eritrean forces will withdraw from the region, calling for the process to be “swift, unconditional and verifiable.”
Abiy only admitted the participation of Eritrean troops, long an enemy of Tigray’s leaders, in mid-March. It is unclear how many Eritrean soldiers were involved in the conflict, although witnesses have estimated well at thousands. They have been accused of looting, killing and raping civilians.
The G7 said the violence must give way to a “clear inclusive political process” leading to “credible elections and a broader national reconciliation process.”
They added that they “are ready to support humanitarian efforts and investigations into human rights abuses.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism