The total number of civilian deaths committed by extrajudicial killing reaches 749 in a single year in the Amhara and Afar regions, among others perpetrated in the remaining regions, according to the annual report of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The report covered the one-year period ( June 8, 2021, to July 7, 2022).
In the Afar and Amhara regions, at least 403 civilians were subjected to extrajudicial killings as a result of negligence, failure to identify civilians prior to an attack, and unbalanced attacks by all parties involved in the conflict in the north during the year.
In the same territories, the warring parties killed another 346 civilians on purpose, including children, women, and people with disabilities.
According to the EHRC’s report, which also addresses TPLF’s human rights abuses, the right to life has been seriously hampered in the nation for the past 12 months and has continued.
The commission announced its annual Ethiopia’s human rights condition report that covered the time from June 8 2021 to July 7 for the first time. The report was submitted to the parliament earlier and announced to the public on July 8.
It is stated in the report that one of the major reasons for the rise in the violation of human rights and the deaths of civilians was the conflict that raged in northern Ethiopia. The principal perpetrators of the violation of rights, particularly the right to life, were government troops, the TPLF army, Oromo Liberation Army (OLA)-Shane, and other lone wolf and organized militants.
Analysis of civil and political rights, election-related rights, rights of prisoners, economy and social rights, rights of women and children, rights of persons with disability and elders, and rights of IDPs and migrants are also included in the document.
In the Amhara Regional State are recorded, ethnic-based attacks, religion-related conflicts, and measures taken by security forces. In these situations and other forms of attacks, 25 residents were killed and hundreds were wounded by attacks from Amhara Special Force members, along with individual and group militants.
The human rights report highlights ethnic-based gruesome killings that took place in the Oromia region mainly perpetrated by OLA-Shane, coupled with killings by armed groups and the region’s security forces. The OLA armed group brutally massacred hundreds of civilians including women and children in Wollega. The killing of 14 members of Karayu Michile Geda by security forces is also mentioned.
The Somali region, a relatively stable region in the country, also witnessed an attack by regional security forces and militants during a meeting to elect a cultural leader, which resulted in the deaths of 11 people.
The recent military operation reported to be conducted by OLF-Shane and Gambella Liberation Front (GLF) in Gambella regional state claimed a number of civilian lives.
Benishangul Gumuz regional state was also another ground for the death of civilians. Among the atrocities in the region, a person burned alive incited public anger following the wide circulation of the video of the incident.
The southern region, on the other hand, saw various violence because of referendum disputes and land ownership requests with an outcome of a number of civilian deaths.
Apart from the killings, the report shed light on restrictions laid on the rights to be free from wrongful capture and punishment, especially in the areas where the battle is raging.
The report alleged that the Tigrayan forces took part in these breaches of human rights. In this case, the federal troops, regional forces, and the Tigrayan forces participated in such human rights violations. Torturing captives of conflict from Ethiopian defense forces, Eritrean forces, and Tigrayan forces were committed by all sides.
It is noted that TPLF has violated human rights by unlawful imprisonment and forceful abduction since June 2021, when it started to rule the region under a state of emergency. “TPLF accuses any form of relations with the federal government, forces youths to take guns and fight on its side, and saying ‘No’ for these rules will result in abuse and torture,” the report reads.
The federal and regional governments were also accused of such violations. The Amhara region imprisoned more than 10,000 people without a legal basis and in the name of a campaign to assure peace and security, EHRC asserts. The Afar regional state is cited in this regard to imprison thousands of Tigrayans until the report is publicized.
In the past 12 months, freedom of expression and thoughts were also highly violated by the federal government, the report states. Blockade of phone service and internet in the Tigray region and detention of about 39 media personnel were practices referred to as against the freedom of expression and thought. TPLF also imprisoned 15 media personalities.
EHRC stated that most of the complaints forwarded to the commission are related to the right to life, right to physical safety, illegal capturing of individuals, rights of prisoners, and right to bail.
EHRC also stressed the state’s breach of signed continental and international human rights conventions and cautioned the government to address its responsibility to respect and enforce those rights.