End of UN-backed Ethiopia rights probe a ‘betrayal’: AmnestyFri, 06 Oct 2023 13:14:57 GMT

Amnesty International on Friday denounced inaction over a UN-backed investigation into alleged atrocities in Ethiopia as a “gross betrayal” of the victims by the international community.The mandate of experts investigating the incidents will expire next week after countries at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva failed to put forward a draft resolution to extend it.This was despite a damning report in which the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) warned of an “overwhelming risk” of more atrocities there.Rights council member states “extinguished the only credible avenue for independent international investigations and oversight on Ethiopia -– a key source of hope for victims and survivors seeking justice and accountability,” said Amnesty.”The decision to not continue UN investigations into ongoing rights abuses, amid a sweeping national state of emergency and warnings by the ICHREE is a gross betrayal of victims and survivors,” it added.”The EU’s decision to ignore the UN’s warnings and abandon the only independent, credible international investigative mechanism on Ethiopia is shameful,” Amnesty said.The ICHREE was set up in December 2021, at the request of the European Union, more than a year after the start of the brutal war in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray.- Rights experts’ warning -Its mandate was renewed last year, but only by a narrow majority. All but one of the African members of the rights council voted against it.Officials from Ethiopia, which has always opposed the commission, did not respond to AFP requests for comment, and Tigrayan authorities have not reacted publicly.On the eve of the deadline, the EU and Ethiopia signed a 650 million euro ($680 million) development deal in Addis Ababa in what was described as a step towards normalising ties following the end of the two-year Tigray war.The ICHREE had warned that serious rights violations were still being committed in Ethiopia despite a peace deal signed between Ethiopia’s federal government and Tigrayan rebels in November last year. They voiced fears that the conflict was spreading across the country.Fighting erupted earlier this year between federal troops and local militias in the Amhara region. The security situation is also deteriorating in the most populous region of Oromia, with armed groups becoming more active.The government has said it is launching a process of “transitional justice” to handle crimes committed during the Tigray conflict.Atrocity crimes, considered to be the most serious crimes against humankind, include genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.