Western Tigray: In spite of peace deal, ‘war crimes’ continues says HRW

Forces from the Amhara region of Ethiopia continue their campaign of “ethnic cleansing” of the part of neighboring Tigray under their control, despite the end of the conflict in this northern part of Ethiopia. , (HRW) Human Rights Watch have said Thursday.

The November agreement to end hostilities in northern Ethiopia “does not end the ethnic cleansing of the Tigray people in the West Tigray region,” alleged Laetitia Bader, the human rights group’s deputy Africa director. in a press release.

Regional paramilitary units and the Amhara “Fano” militia, who supported the Ethiopian federal army in its brutal two-year war against Tigray’s rebel regional government, took control. control of this area, administratively under

Tigray but the Amhara people consider it their ancestral homeland.

The “Amhara forces” in place “continue to forcibly deport the Tigrayans as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign,” HRW alleges in a new report.

“Since the beginning of the armed conflict in Tigray in November 2020, the Amhara security forces and the interim government have carried out an ethnic cleansing campaign against the people of Tigray in western

Tigray, having committed crimes against humanity and war crimes,” emphasized HRW. , denouncing “arbitrary detention, torture and forced deportation”. HRW said it interviewed 35 people by phone between September and

April this year – witnesses, victims and members of aid organizations.

“Interviewees said that local authorities and Amhara forces detained more than a thousand Tigray people “in formal and informal prisons in three towns in western Tigray” based on their identities before expelling them from the government in November 2022 and January 2023,” HRW said.

The exact number of Tigray people expelled from Western Tigray is unknown, but “by 2021, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from West Tigray to other parts of Tigray”, according to the organization. .

He continued: “In March, West Tigray militia continued to threaten and harass Tigraya civilians.
HRW said it referred its preliminary findings to the Ethiopian government in May but received no response, accusing it of reluctance to “bring those responsible for the abuses west of Tigray to the front. justice” and “oppose independent investigations into the atrocities committed in Tigray”.

The peace agreement signed in Pretoria in November between the federal government and the government of Tigray provides for the establishment by the Ethiopian government of a “transitional justice” mechanism to identify and try those responsible for the crime. responsible for many atrocities, committed by two factions, recorded during two years of war in northern Ethiopia.

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