The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Ethiopia Thursday to permit an investigation into allegations of murders and sexual violence in the Tigray region that may amount to war crimes.
“We urge the Government of Ethiopia to grant my Office and other independent monitors access to the Tigray region, with a view to establishing the facts and contributing to accountability, regardless of the affiliation of perpetrators,” Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.
Federal troops deployed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have been fighting forces of the region’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Thousands of people have been killed in the area where hundreds of thousands of people were dependent on food aid before the conflict began.
“A preliminary analysis of the information received indicates that serious violations of international law, possibly amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, may have been committed by multiple actors in the conflict,” Bachelet said.
In addition to the TPLF, Bachelet cited the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, Eritrean armed forces, and Amhara Regional Forces and affiliated militia as suspected perpetrators of the alleged murders and sexual assaults.
Abiy’s government, the Tigray administration and the TPLF did not immediately comment on Bachelet’s statement.
Journalists returned this month to Tigray, a mountainous region of about 5 million people, after being barred from the region since the war began in early November.
Communications have been inconsistent and relief agencies have also struggled to gain access to the embattled region.