Security Situation in Tigray Could Become Humanitarian Crisis, Rights Group Warns

ADDIS ABEBA – The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said the security situation of civilians in the war affected areas in the Tigray Region and its surrounding areas could turn into a humanitarian crisis.

On Monday, the Commission has published a Brief Monitoring Report of its investigative mission in Gondar and Dansha from Dec. 15 to Dec. 20, 2020 and in Bissober and Ullaga Kebeles/Villages of Chercher Woreda in Raya Azebo from Dec. 31, 2020 to Jan. 5, 2021.

In Dansha, Humera, Bissober and Ullaga, the Commission reported the war has led to civilian casualties including death, bodily harm.

It has also exposed civilian residences and commercial properties to looting and various damages, and caused the destruction of infrastructure in the areas, according to the report.

“The continued disruption of public services such as electricity and water risks further exacerbating the humanitarian situation for residents and displaced persons,” said report which indicates the death of at least 31 civilians in Bissober and Ullaga.

About 104 residential houses were partially or completely destroyed by fire and the local school and health centres sustained heavy damage, according to the report.

In Dansha and Humera, the Commission said public service providing institutions, infrastructure and civilian residential and commercial properties were looted.

“Civilians further report fearing for their safety because of their ethnicity and due to the lack of security in the areas,” claims the EHRC’s report .

Overall, the rights group said the security situation in all four cities and the fact that the justice sector bodies have still not resumed their operations, has made it difficult to ensure the protection and safety of civilians.

“The unstable security situation in the areas covered by the monitoring and investigative missions, has contributed to an increase of the humanitarian need and gravely tested the resilience of both the residents and the displaced persons,” EHRC Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele said.

The report says most people affected by the war and persons displaced still rely on support from hosting communities or have received only one round of humanitarian assistance.

“The civilian suffering and the degree of damage to the areas calls for an immediate and high level of collaboration among all relevant bodies,” Commissioner Daniel said, to provide urgent humanitarian assistance and support.