(Source: VOA) –
The U.S. Secretary of State, along with the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom and the High Representative of the European Union is strongly concerned about recent reports of human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in the Tigray province of Ethiopia.
Fighting started in November when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent federal troops into Tigray with the aim to “restore the rule of law” by ousting the governing Tigray People’s Liberation Front, following an attack on a federal army base. Since the fighting broke out, many people have fled Tigray and sought refuge in neighboring Sudan.
The G7, in a statement, “strongly condemn[ed] the killing of civilians, sexual and gender-based violence, indiscriminate shelling and the forced displacement of residents of Tigray and Eritrean refugees. All parties must exercise utmost restraint, ensure the protection of civilians and respect human rights and international law.”
The U.S. and its partners look forward to the government of Ethiopia implementing its commitment to hold accountable those responsible for such abuses.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights have agreed to conduct a joint investigation into the human rights abuses committed by all parties in the Tigray conflict. It is essential that there is an independent, transparent, and impartial investigation into the crimes reported and that those responsible for these human rights abuses are held to account.
The U.S. and its G7 partners “urge parties to the conflict to provide immediate, unhindered humanitarian access.” There is grave concern about worsening food insecurity, with emergency conditions prevailing across extensive areas of central and eastern Tigray.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy recently announced that Eritrean forces would withdraw from Tigray. The U.S. and its partners called for this process to be “swift, unconditional, and verifiable.”
The joint statement further called for an “end of violence and the establishment of a clear inclusive political process that is acceptable to all Ethiopians, including those in Tigray, and which leads to credible elections and a wider national reconciliation process.”
“We the G7 members stand ready to support humanitarian efforts and investigations into human rights abuses.”