(By The Global Society of Tigray Scholars and Professionals (GSTS)) –
Evidences and Analysis on the Biased Reporting, and Lack of [Independence, Integrity, Impartiality, Credibility, Objectivity, Factual Consistency and Professional Competence] of EHRC
This report documents and analyses the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) partisan position on the war in Tigray. Through its investigation of public sources (e.g., videos, reports, etc.), this document concludes that the EHRC lacks the calibre and attributes needed to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide being perpetrated in Tigray.
The report presents ample evidences that the EHRC has been engaged in pro-government efforts; and it has been employing tactics that contributed to the unrestrained ethnic polarization in Ethiopia. These issues have manifested in their reporting, as the EHRC has repeatedly released biased information on human rights violations in Ethiopia while also tactfully downplaying the grave humanitarian crises and war crimes in Tigray. Additionally, reports from the EHRC have proved to be inconsistent and partisan. More specifically, the EHRC has selectively highlighted cases that are believed to serve the government’s narrative while also modulating the atrocities and consequences of the war in Tigray until they were reported by other human rights agencies.
The EHRC is not only effectively serving the interest of the Federal Government of Ethiopia but also that of the Amhara regional government, which is one of the main actors involved in the war in Tigray. In its reports about Western Tigray, EHRC refrains from admitting that Tigrayans have been ethnically cleansed from the area, despite mounting evidences about the case, including from the USA Department of State. By quoting government officials, it rather attempts to allude that Tigrayans consented to be transported to “chosen destinations”. The Federal Government of Ethiopia and Amhara regional government vehemently reject that ethnic cleansing of Tigrayans has been taking place in Western and Southern Tigray. Unfortunately, EHRC is working in support of the two governments in this regard.
Although many reports and videos have shown that Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) members are killing civilians and raping women and girls, the EHRC is quoting a member of the ENDF to report that ENDF was working lawfully and ethically. Additionally, in-line with the federal government’s claims, the EHRC report quotes the interim government in Tigray and insinuates to attribute the sexual and gender-based violence to prisoners who escaped following the war, while statistical evidences contrarily show that 89% of the rapes are perpetrated by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers, and Amhara militia. By doing so, the EHRC is defeating the whole purpose of an impartial investigation as it is seeking information from and collaborating with the alleged perpetrators.
These affiliations and partisan tendencies are critical impediments to the independent and impartial investigations concerning the war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Tigray. Given these concerns, we strongly urge that the UN reverses its decision to conduct a joint investigation with the EHRC into the human rights violations and abuses in the context of the war in Tigray. Furthermore, we call on the UN-OHCHR to conduct an independent investigation of the grave crimes committed in Tigray, as neglecting to do so would discount the UN’s commitments to human rights, deny a much-deserved justice to millions of victims, threaten the well-being of millions and have a lasting corrosive effect on the UN’s standing and legitimacy in the world.