Maria Arena calls for peace and reconciliation as Ethiopia heads for general elections

 

Maria Arena calls for peace and reconciliation as Ethiopia heads for general elections

(Europarl)—Following reports on further serious human rights violations in Ethiopia, Ms Maria Arena, Chair of Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, stated:

“I am deeply concerned about the persistent political and ethnic clashes in the country, which also faces a large-scale humanitarian emergency and widespread and horrific violence in the Tigray region. Ethiopians must no longer be victims of targeted violence, ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests and detentions as well as discrimination on the basis of their ethnicity or religion. I stand by all those whose lives have been affected by the fighting or who have suffered human rights violations, in particular gender-based violence.

It is the duty of the Ethiopian government to ensure respect for human rights and to put an end to the impunity of perpetrators of abuses. It is also imperative to guarantee unfettered access of humanitarian aid to civilian populations, in particular the internally displaced persons.

The government and all democratic forces must seize the opportunity of the forthcoming general elections to build a momentum for easing tensions between the communities of the country.”

Background

Since a military conflict began in early November last year in the Ethiopian Tigray region, thousands of civilians have been murdered or suffered from acts of violence, in particular sexual violence, and hundreds of thousands have been forcefully displaced from their homes. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (ECHR) recently condemned all actions that put in danger the safety and the security of civilians in the Tigray region, where the humanitarian situation remains dire. On 28 May, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs condemned the ill-treatment and brutal arrest of at least 200 internally-displaced persons during night-time military raids on their shelters in the region. The ECHR also expressed serious concerns over the treatment of detainees across the Oromia region. General elections initially planned in August last year have been postponed to 21 June 2021.