UN delegation returns from human rights mission in Ethiopia


The UN International Commission of Human Rights Experts for Ethiopia has been mandated to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into allegations of violations and violations of international human rights law.

In particular, it will investigate violations of international humanitarian law and international refugee law in the state of Ethiopia committed on November 3, 2020 by all parties to the conflict in the Tigray region.

Meeting for access

Originally established by the Human Rights Council on December 17, 2021, the three-member committee — composed of Kaari Betty Murungi (Chairman), Steven Ratner and Radhika Coomaraswamy — concluded a five-day visit to the country where they met with the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and other senior government officials.

The members hoped that their meetings with the officials would result in “instant and absolute access to visit sites”, as well as their ability to collect testimonials.

The Commission is also charged with providing guidelines and recommendations for technical assistance to the Ethiopian government on transitional justice, including accountability, reconciliation and healing.

In addition, members met members of the National Dialogue Commission and Interministerial Task Force, the National Human Rights Commission of Ethiopia, civil society, diplomats and UN agencies and staff in Ethiopia to discuss the current human rights situation in the country.

The sin continues

The Commission presented its first update to the Council on June 30, 2022 after UN-appointed investigators announced they would launch an investigation into an alleged massacre of at least 200 people in Ethiopia’s Oromia region.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms Murungi said that as the Commission continued its investigation into conflict-related human rights violations in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia, which flared up in November 2020, the Commission had received reports of murders in western Oromia,

Despite many other conflicts around the world, Ms. Murungi had emphasized that the world should not ignore what is happening in Ethiopia.

“The continued spread of violence, fueled by hate speech and incitement to ethnic and gender-based violence, are early warning indicators of further atrocities committed against innocent civilians, especially women and children who are more vulnerable.”

It is envisaged that the Commission will report in writing to the human rights body on this trip at its next session in September 2022.

Special rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to investigate and report on a specific human rights issue or situation in a country. The positions are honorable and the experts are not paid for their work.

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